Anyone who thought they could pick up a classic car on the cheap in the wake of the global financial downturn is in for a disappointment. Bugattis, Bentleys and similar veteran vehicles simply don't belong in the bargain basement. 'Classic cars keep a firm hold of their value as there is always a strong demand for them,' said Ian Foster, the vice-chairman of the Classic Car Club of Hong Kong. 'Put simply, guys want their toys. Classic cars are a great investment, and a great chance for social networking, especially in Hong Kong.' The Classic Car Club's members have been motoring Hong Kong's highways for 30 years, appearing in parades and events, raising funds for charity and adding more than a little tone to the local traffic. The club boasts about 550 members, who together own 1,500 vehicles. They get together for regular Sunday morning drives and events dubbed 'Noggin and Natter', which are member gatherings. 'It's primarily social, but you meet a lot of interesting people who own classic cars,' explained Foster, who heads up his own architectural practice, Urban Design International. 'While most of our members are men, classic cars are essentially family cars. And some owners like to buy the car they had at college as a sort of personal memento.' To be rated a classic, a car has to be at least 20 years old, while a vehicle at least 40 years old is vintage. There is a school of thought that a vehicle previously driven by a celebrity also attracts a certain pedigree. Buying a classic car requires a substantial investment, both in money and time. Towards the top of the range, an E-Type Jaguar costs between HK$500,000 and HK$1 million, a Lamborghini HK$5 million and a Ferrari up to HK$10 million. 'It's not just the money, you have to dedicate a certain amount of time to classic cars,' Foster said. 'If you just leave it in the garage it will deteriorate. A classic car needs maintenance, but it also needs to be driven to give the engine a good run.' As a dedicated classic enthusiast, Foster owns both motorcycles and cars, including two DeLoreans, which were made in Northern Ireland and feature gull-winged doors. One of them had barely been driven when he bought it. 'It's a terrific feeling, driving a classic car in Hong Kong,' Foster said. 'About 50 or 60 owners regularly turn up with their cars to our Noggin and Natter sessions at a bar or restaurant, while on Sundays we head over Route Twisk or up to the Jockey Club at Beas River for brunch.' Hong Kong's classic cars adopt their highest profile when they are put on display in the annual show in Chater Road. They are also frequently wheeled out at charity events and promotions. And the good news is that membership of the club is open to anyone interested in classic cars - not just those with half a million to spare for an E-Type Jag.