Precious possession: vintage cars are still in demand

MS Dhoni bought himself a Land Rover III through an online vintage car auction earlier this year. Big Boy Toyz (BBT), a pre-owned luxury car brand, has sold the vehicle that was originally owned by Abhimanyu Sharma of Heritage Motoring Club of India.

Despite the global slowdown in the new car market, India is witnessing a huge growth in the ownership of vintage cars due to the steady demand of young professionals and entrepreneurs. And when sporting idols like Dhoni splurge on vintage aesthetics, it’s an important boost to the heritage car industry.

Classic cars are a multibillion dollar industry globally, especially in the US and UK, which are very mature markets.

In India, companies like BBT and Historic Auctions are among the first to auction vintage cars in an organized manner.

“Owning an antique or classic car is as unique an experience as owning a painting or a piece of art,” said Jatin Ahuja, Founder, CEO and Managing Director of BBT. “Gradually, this business will expand in the country, and we will do our best to provide the best classic and classic cars for all car enthusiasts.”

“We want to be a platform where people can always find the heritage cars they want. This year the BBT auction which took place in February started at Re 1 for a Beetle and its price went up to Rs 25 lakh. Sharing a brand new batch saw a group of customers who don’t know Where do they buy old cars from; and most of them were first-time buyers.”

Diljeet Titus of Titus and Co., a collector and advisor to vintage car auctions sellers, said the recent surge in interest in such vehicles is due to new DOT regulations and a growing realization that they are a viable investment asset.

According to the new regulations, cars and two-wheeled vehicles over 50 years old will have to have a new registration certificate valid for ten years. However, owners can keep the original documentation of their previous registration numbers. The sale or purchase of such cars will be allowed, as long as the state transport authorities are informed of this by the buyer and seller within 90 days. The notification also states that these vehicles will only be allowed to operate on the roads for display, technical research, antique rally, refueling, maintenance, exhibitions and vintage gatherings.

Unlike new cars, which depreciate every year, old cars, like art, are a high-value asset. These cars aren’t just about speed and efficiency, they’re about style, expertise and craftsmanship, making these vintage beauties even more exclusive.

Online antique car auctions, popular abroad, have recently gained popularity in India due to the pandemic. There have been some online auctions for vintage cars in the past, hosted by Saffron Art and Astaguru, but without much success.

However, India is now witnessing the emergence of a specialized assembly car and “automobilia” auctions. Historic Auctions held an auction in January of this year selling 11 of the 15 cars for sale and has already announced four online vintage car auctions for 2022. BBT has also planned online auctions of vintage and classic cars during 2022.

(The author is a celebrity lifestyle and travel writer who has worked in a senior position with leading publishing houses.)

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