Sunday Drive - discovering vintage car values Featured

A collector in Shanghai shares his joy of driving excerpts from automobile history, with some fine pictures of vintage cars
by 25 October 2010

Mr. Victor Ma is an expert in vintage cars for sale, and so his story is the very story of vintage cars in China. Born in Shanghai in the 1960s and a resident in Hong Kong since the late '70s, he is an avid traveler who loves to see the world. His collection of vintage cars is as impressive as the journeys he has made around the globe. But as he explained, not every vintage car has what it takes to be a collectible classic.

“A vintage car makes a very impressive statement with its unique silhouette and special parts, and sometimes it even has better performance than other cars in the same class. In certain cases, the vintage car will have won competitions in the past and made its mark on the automobile world,” Mr Ma said, glad to share his insights. The bodywork of his 1935 Rolls Royce was painstakingly made by Parisian coachbuilders Franay over the course of one year, using century-old timber. Back in the Thirties, one of the status-symbol characteristics of an automobile was its wooden coachwork, rare even in station wagon models. Manufacturing timber bodywork is not only expensive, but it is also a long process. You can imagine that the customer had to be not only affluent, but above all, willing to wait.
Just like paintings or other great works of art, vintage cars also have unbelievable price tags. But Mr. Ma emphasised that that's not really the point, because to come across a precious vintage car is like the hand of destiny. Even if a collector has money, a truly beautiful vehicle is hard to come by.

Collectible cars have a certain history, so maintenance requires a high level of expertise. Unfortunately, some vintage cars on the market have been repaired without respecting the original technical specifications. Also, at an auction, when the bids for an item continue to rise, new bidders may find the situation rather intimidating. Mr. Ma suggests that car enthusiasts should first join a car club, network with different collectors, and enjoy learning about the art of collecting vintage cars. Some clubs organise sales, which are a great opportunity for new collectors to purchase a well-maintained vehicle from a club member, instead of bidding online or going through dealerships that might not be as trustworthy. Visit www.collectorscarclub.hk for more information.

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