I have noticed the market tendency, but no one seems to have put words on it – until now: Neoclassics are cars which are newer than youngtimers, but still aspire to be something. Granted, it’s a word which at least sounds impressive.
Luckily I anticipate learning a lot more about the subject when I step into the Retro Classic exhibition in Stuttgart tomorrow. It was in a press release from them that I first heard the word neoclassics, and the sender, Karl Ulrich Herrmann, is responsible for a complete display focusing purely on these younger youngtimers. It’s the first time cars of this type get this amount of attention at the Stuttgart exhibition, and Herr Herrmann argues that this is the case because these cars are currently experiencing huge interest.
This was the precise market tendency which I had noticed: Those skyhigh values of classic cars which we have all spoken and written about in recent years, also applies to a few cars which aren’t particularly old at all. The point was made quite clearly at Rétromobile where a Bugatti Chiron from 2017 was auctioned at Euro 3.3 million – thereby making it the most expensive car to sell in Paris this year. And that with a birth certificate where the ink was barely dry yet.
This phenomenon can even apply to brand-new cars, which is confirmed by Herr Herrmann: “Car manufacturers have caught on to this trend as well, and have realized that they can access new customer segments by pitching new cars as collectable classics”. Porsche 911 R is an obvious example of this, and Ferrari are making wide use of this as well with all sorts of limited-production special versions based on existing models. But it doesn’t even have to be quite that exotic, as the press release also mentions the Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series as one such neoclassic.
Pardon me? Personally, I merely viewed it as a secondhand Mercedes. However, they only produced a limited 500 examples of the Black Series between 2007 and 2009, which is fewer than the Porsche 911 R – and they are holding their value quite nicely. They are apparently among the cars which Karl Ulrich Herrmann wants to include in the Neoclassics display. He reckons that they are popular because they can be used on an everyday basis. Which they obviously can, as they are very modern cars and have often only seen very light use in their first few years of existence.
But I’m of the opinion that much older cars can be equally useable as an everyday car, if that’s what you want and you’re not afraid of the upkeep: After all, if you can afford regular authorised servicing of a CLK 63 AMG Black Series, then I should think you can afford to service an AMG “Hammer” from the eighties or even a 6.9 from the seventies or a 6.3 from the sixties.
So I’m not entirely sure I understand the phenomena? But I’m looking forward to learning more about it at Retro Classics.