I have had the pleasure of attending Retromobile several times, however last year was my first-time representing Cambridge & Counties Bank. To return this year with over twelve months of funding classic, racing and vintage cars under our belt was rewarding. We had turned a business plan concept into a useful finance solution enjoyed by so many customers throughout 2019.
Retromobile is the first ‘big’ European show and it is a litmus test for the year ahead. This year was slightly unusual as the show came less than a week after the UK exited the EU. How would the market react? There were three big auctions, and the presence of some of the UK and Europe’s leading dealers represented optimism in the hope that the market would ‘keep calm and carry on’.
Throughout 2019 we had heard whispers and indeed seen a decline in some classic car values. Our trade friends and broker introducers were, to a certain extent, as unsure as the rest of UK. The paralysis of the UK economy talked about by Boris and echoed by classic car expert, Sir Greg Knight MP was very likely impacting our customers decisions to buy their dream classic cars. Others had seen the perceived paralysis and dip in classic car prices as an opportunity to further invest. So we were busy financing cars regardless.
As ever the organisers of Retromobile delivered an outstanding show. When you have been around classic cars as long as I have there is always the thought that you’ve seen everything. Take heart. Our French enthusiasts always deliver things that you’ve never seen. There were some simply fantastic ‘never seen that before’ vehicles. This emporium of outstanding cars extended from the show itself into the auction catalogues. Arcturial, Bonhams and RM Sotheby’s gathered a sensational inventory of new things for us to drool over. Truly remarkable some of them. I will select a few of my favourites for individual mention at another time.
The upshot of Brexit uncertainty in my view is that in 2019 the classic car world was slightly ‘paralysed’ by what might happen when the UK went its own way. A new government and Brexit happening has persuaded classic car collectors to tentatively emerge from their enforced pre-Brexit hibernation and indeed ‘keep calm and carry on’. The auction results from RM Sotheby indicated this feeling. Putting my money where my mouth is, I couldn’t help myself and bought another Jaguar! The XK150S is on its way home under the stewardship of one of the outstanding transport companies that support delivering such a superb event.
Retromobile 2020 is an outstanding event. Très Bien!