Monday, April 22, 2024

Classics worth millions


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OWNERS OF CLASSIC CARS in Barbados could be holding assets worth millions of dollars.

This emerged during the Barbados Classic Car Association’s first show for 2016, which was sponsored by Courtesy Garage and staged recently at Content, St Thomas.

More than 40 classic cars, some of them no longer in production, were exhibited at the event which brought together a range of vehicles steeped in history and worth millions of dollars – all in one place.

According to Nicholas Mackie, the general manager of Courtesy Garage and an automobile aficionado, it was also a convergence point for the showcasing of the technical skills of many Barbadians who are involved in the business of restoring these cars – such as upholsterers, mechanics, painters, auto electricians, and bodywork men.

Hundreds flocked to the Classics showpiece, where new drawing cards emerged in the form of a 1965 Austin Princess, which was the island’s plush state car for at least three Governors General, and a replica of the Mercedes Benz driven by late Prime Minister Errol Barrow.

George Ullyett, the coordinator of the show and a Classic cars expert, estimates that based on the history of the luxurious Austin Princess, and its use in transporting royalty and other high-flyers in Barbados between Independence in 1966 and 1978, the vehicle could fetch at least US$1 million if it was auctioned today.

This may be a conservative estimate, owing to the fact that only three Austin Princesses of this type, featuring a slightly higher roof to accommodate the ceremonial head-dress of the colonial governors, were reportedly manufactured in England in the 1960s.

The two others were said to be ordered by the governors of Trinidad and Tobago and Mauritius but are no longer usable and the one present in Barbados has less than 50 000 miles on the odometer.

According to specialist insurance agencies, attached to Lloyd’s of London, the value of sought-after classic cars has been soaring in value in recent years with vehicles from the 1950s and 1960s having the most uplift.

The classic car market is said to be robust and proving to be a popular alternative investment for higher networth clients, as investors move away from volatile gold. (BB/PR)


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