EVERY NOW and then we cop an angry email or note, giving us a bollocking for pumping up the market. More often than not, the message comes via social media. Actually, since we’re on the topic, why do they call it social media? It’s anything but.

People take offence at everything and folk who might otherwise be fairly normal, family-loving, dog-walking souls during the day, turn out at night to be foaming-at-the-mouth lynch mob leaders on forums like Faceplant. It’s called having web cojones. At home you’re Mr or Ms Average, on social media you’re Maledicta the Avenger. Really, they should call it antisocial media.

Now, where were we? Oh yes, the car market. We’ve reported on the scary stuff that goes on, like the million dollar wunderkind with wheels that most of us will never get to steer. No harm in dreaming and that’s just the nature of things.

There is the philosophical issue that a lot of the high-end metal has become an investment rather than something the owner is actually willing to drive, which seems a shame. That in turn has led to a burgeoning tribute car industry, where for an astronomical fee that’s a tenth of the cost of the real thing you can have a version of (for example) your Ferrari 250 GT that you don’t mind using on the road.

Then there’s the hardly new issue of locally-made hero cars selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is a market that has wild peaks and troughs and, at the moment, seems to be somewhere near a peak. Are they really worth that much? It depends on how you look at it. In one respect, they’re worth as much as what two very determined people with deep pockets (which is what settles the score at an auction) are prepared to pay. On another level, as a collection of nuts and bolts, no, they’re not worth that.

I did work with someone who reckoned no car, no matter how technically advanced, was worth more than, say, a few hundred thousand. Beyond that, it was all hype and branding. Fair enough.

In the local market, the inevitable has happened. As the hero cars like the GT-HO Phase 3s of this world have shot forward, they have dragged the less glamourous models along in their wake. First it was the GTs that shot up in value and now it’s the turn of the family cars.

A good example is that of a mate, call him Bob, who bought an XB Falcon V8 four years ago for around $7500. That car is now being assessed by an insurer at $25,000-ish. That looks good for the owner, though you have to wonder if it really is. Sure it seems like a handsome paper profit, but it won’t be realised unless he sacrifices something he genuinely enjoys and has no intention of offloading.

If he sold it to buy another, he’d be dealing with the same inflated market, so there’s no gain. Really, the only way you’d make good would be if you got out of classic cars altogether, sold off the pride and joy, and took up… well, golf. No thanks.

And Unique Cars magazine’s effect on this? Minimal, really. As much as we’d like to think we’re influential, as a mag we’re here to report, inform and encourage, but market manipulation is beyond our skill set.

The truth is we’re a gaggle of car nuts who, like Bob, are along for the ride and look a little askance at what’s going on. And no, none of us are taking up golf…

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

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