by George Dyke
A bold statement indeed, but one I think will come to fruition based on the recent auction trends in classic cars and the desire by those with wealth wanting to drive unique and iconic vehicles.
Let me cite, for reference purposes, an excellent article recently published in Bloomberg Business on why hyper-luxury cars are now selling faster than luxury ones. The statistics and trend predictions in the article give a fascinating insight to how automobiles are being marketed to the ultra rich and how these strategies trickle down to the ‘mere mortal’ market:
Note in the article they say that what the rich clamor for, so those that want to enjoy the good life envy. Luxury aside, the one thing people with more modest disposable income seek is distinction. And our beloved Citroëns, while lacking the modern accoutrements and trendy luxury environments of today’s super-cars, excel beyond any other automobile in their combination of style and engineering innovation to deliver a unique driving experience. They are becoming a coveted automotive fun factor and selling prices are starting to indicate that.
Beyond the exotic price of Citroën DS cabriolet or 2CV Sahara, a regular old 2CV in nice condition (and some in less than pristine shape but claimed by unscrupulous sellers to be lovely) have been selling in the $20 – 25K range for the past couple of years. Their counter culture, artsy genre and iconic character have an across the board appeal.
Citroën restoration has become a gold mine for companies with the experience to restore them properly. They are now are seeing their clientele prepared to pay the cost of full restorations that in some cases are exceeding $200K !
Consider for a moment that a very rough Panhard PL17, for sale in Northern California three years ago for $2,500, was bought and then re-sold to a fellow in Arizona. He put the car for sale on eBay having merely buffed out the paint, put on new tires, recovered the front and back seats, cleaned up the interior and attended to a few problems with the engine and brakes. And it sold for $10,000 US!!
And of course there are the ridiculous prices paid for the 60 car collection of Roger Baillon auctioned at Retromobile in Paris this past February where a decrepit 1924 Citroën Type C 5 HP sold for 23,840 euros!
One can argue these prices have been artificially inflated or are special cases, where a sub-sector of the uber-rich is willing to pay near any amount for an automobile brought to their attention through some savvy marketing. While that may be so, iconic Citroëns are a finite number and those in nice condition even more so. Citroën, under Peugeot ownership control, have not built a new iteration of any of their modern classics. Many hoped they would introduce a contemporary DS with all the attributes of the original, but instead Citroën chose to take the DS moniker and create a new brand around it. The new DS cars offered being essentially upscale versions of homogenized PSA Peugeot Citroën models.
Those of us fortunate enough to own classic Citroëns need to understand we have made an investment that is worth preserving. By all means enjoy your time behind the wheel, but take the care needed that when the time does come to part with it, there will be people in line prepared to a price that not only protects your investment but will allow you substantially profit by it.
Citroën always claimed their cars were about comfort. The greatest comfort Citroën owners may have is knowing they have made a sound investment!