I want to drive a classic
Aston Martin, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, and Alfa Romeo are all legendary brands that inspire the emotions and are collector’s items all over the world. Although the Seicento, the Biscuter and the 2CV are common in Spain, the number of enthusiasts for classic cars and motorcycles is increasing every year. Out of nostalgia rather than for business reasons, they purchase, restore, maintain, drive, exhibit and share what are true gems of automobile history. The Auto Retro show is the ideal place to begin to get an idea of this hobby.
“On a whim, out of fondness or taste, but not as an investment.” Rafael Viña, secretary of the Spanish Federation of Vintage Vehicles (FEVA) reviews the reasons why someone in Spain would collect cars. “Many people get hooked on it and end up owning more than one model,” he explains.
Cars, motorcycles, lorries and tractors manufactured after 1945 and at least 25 years old are considered classic. However, some classic vehicles become collector’s items before that if they are limited editions, or because they are unusual. Meanwhile, vintage vehicles are the ones manufactured in the first half of the twentieth century and are normally classified as historic.
However, according to the regulations, any vehicle over 25 years old can be registered as historic. The vehicle’s authenticity and that of its parts must be accredited during this procedure, and it must pass technical tests and obtain a special registration document. The advantages of this are that it has to undergo an MOT every five years, it is not subject to municipal road tax, the insurance is very low and maintenance is not excessively expensive, except for the spare parts that are difficult to find.
Where to purchase
From individuals, specialised companies, at auctions or at shows. Putting a classic or vintage vehicle in your garage costs between around 2,500 euros for a Simca 1000, a Seat 124 or a Renault 4, to over 300,000 euros for some exclusive Ferrari and Aston Martin models. Between these two extremes, there is a wide range of prices and Spanish and imported brands to choose from. It is a question of taste, budget and space for parking one’s purchase.
There are also restoration and maintenance expenses. The vehicles are bought by many enthusiasts with the idea of repairing them themselves in mind. The pleasure comes from finding the original spare parts and pieces, making them work and returning the bodywork and upholstery to its initial appearance. Many companies and workshops specialise in helping them to achieve this objective.
After sorting out the necessary documentation and compulsory insurance, classic and historical vehicles can take to the road on their own. However, it is easy to find associations and clubs all over Spain that organise group excursions and exhibition rallies. An example of this is the Revival Montjuïc, organised by RallyClassics and held on 5 December, which features 200 cars and motorcycles that parade around the legendary Barcelona circuit during the entire afternoon.
The opportunity of semi-new vehicles
As the years go by, perhaps some Smart, Volkswagen Golf and Seat Ibiza models will become collector’s items. Meanwhile, they are sure to be some of the cars with the highest levels of sales at the Ocasión show, which is a type of enormous dealership featuring 1,200 nearly new vehicles with low mileage, which can be purchased on the spot with all appropriate guarantees. Unlike classic cars, these ones are for everyday use.
Jaume Roura, president of the Catalan Federation of Motor Vehicle Dealers (FECAVEM) explained the appeal of the second-hand market for consumers, especially in the middle of a recession. “It is a shrewd purchase, because of the quality of what is on offer and the price, as it could be a major savings compared to a new car.” Roura emphasises the safety and trustworthiness involved in purchasing a second-hand car from the sector’s dealers and companies, and not only in terms of their professional advice. “The cars have been properly refitted and checked technically, have no problems and are guaranteed for at least a year, which isn’t the case with transactions between individuals. Furthermore, the processing of the documentation takes place automatically and there are opportunities for financing.”