The pandemic and parts shortages have caused the new car market to struggle to meet demand, which has made for a very strange used car market – many older models are now more expensive than their new equivalents.
However, it’s the classic car market where the truly astonishing sales figures can be found. While most auction lots go for low prices to keen enthusiasts, some rare and desirable exotics can fetch millions of pounds.
Specialist insurance provider Hagerty tracked auctions last year and said there were about 12,500 lots, more than double the number seen in 2020. And these sales raised £310.8 million, with 14 fetching more than £1m.
After looking at the figures, Hagerty has highlighted some of the most important sales, whether that be down to their high price, the rarity of the vehicle or their indication of an emerging trend.
The highlight of the year was a 1995 McLaren F1, which went for £15.5m at Pebble Beach in America in August. The price was just shy of Hagerty’s guide price for an example in concours condition, and although the firm says it is aware of higher private sales, this represented a record figure at a public auction.
Keeping the McLaren theme, a 2010 MP4-25 Formula 1 car, driven by Lewis Hamilton, went under the hammer at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It was raced by the F1 champion and won the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix and sold for £4.7m.
Japanese Domestic Market cars have seen a huge boost in recent years, particularly in America. The country has a rule that bans cars from being imported if they were not officially sold in the country until they are 25 years old.
This means iconic cars often see a bump in value as they approach this age, but recently prices have been jumping for cars that are not eligible for import. A 1998 Subaru Impreza STi 22B sold for £240,000 on the online auction site Bring A Trailer.
This price hike hasn’t been quite so dramatic in the UK, with the highest sale last year being £171,000. A low-mileage example reached £200,000 at another auction but didn’t sell.
Other landmarks included £90,000 for a wrecked 1960 Jaguar XK150 S Drophead, a Group B 1988 Audi Sport Quattro hitting nearly £1.7m, and a Ferrari F40 that became the first car to sell for more than £1m in a dedicated online auction in the UK.