Classic cars ahead of gold, art as top investment vehicle for rich Asians

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 September, 2013, 4:36am

Classic cars such as Ferraris, Bugattis and Bentleys soared by 28 per cent in value in the year to June, outstripping gold, art and luxury London property thanks to demand from wealthy Asians.

Property consultancy Knight Frank, which publishes an index tracking the performance of luxury goods, said the world's wealthy were putting more money into tangible items that they could enjoy as the world economy looks to be recovering.

In July, a rare 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 in which five-time Formula 1 World Champion driver Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina won two grands prix, was sold at auction for £19.6 million (HK$237 million), making it the most expensive car to go under the hammer.

"It's an asset class that's very rare and it's very aspirational," said Andrew Shirley, editor of the report. "A lot of Asian high-net-worth individuals have acquired classic cars … They keep them in their garage in the UK or Europe and they come over and drive them in rallies."

This is in stark contrast to gold, seen as a safe haven investment in difficult periods, whose value has slumped by 23 per cent over the same period following a 12-year bull run.

"The thing about gold is that it's tangible … it's a physical thing, but there's no great enjoyment … from gold … Whereas a classic car, it's still a safe haven play, but it's something you're going to enjoy," Shirley said.