A chic Porsche or a lovingly groomed Beetle: the number of vintage cars on German roads has increased. Some owners also hope for an increase in the value of their treasures. But is it realistic?
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It doesn’t always have to be high-tech: there are even more classic cars on the streets of Germany. According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), 595,046 vintage cars were registered in Flensburg on January 1, 2020. This is 10.9% more than as of the 2019 reporting date. The largest share (88.4% ) was by far made up of cars (526,002). 52,399 vehicles were 60 years and older. As of January 1, 2019, 43,000 classic cars were aged 60 or over.
Free environmental zones for cars with an H license plate
Possible reasons for the increase over the years, according to the KBA, are that everyday cars of the 1970s and 1980s, such as the Golf 1, Opel Kadett, Mercedes 180 and 220, were built in large number and due to their good condition. have a “classic car report”. In addition, vehicles with an H license plate can circulate in environmental zones.
An “H” at the end of the license plate can carry companions who are considered “historic cultural property” and who are at least 30 years old. In order for a vehicle to reach the 30 year mark and – according to the H license plate requirements – to be in good original condition, good maintenance and servicing is necessary at an early stage. For the keeper, the H mark can present advantages in terms of insurance and vehicle tax.
Claus Mirbach has been dealing with classic cars since the 1950s, operates a classic car business in Hamburg and also organizes rallies. For him and his wife Britta, it is “the beautiful historical forms, the simple mechanics, the beautiful events in this field” that fascinate them about the old companions. According to his experience, several criteria make a classic car a sought-after good: is it a rarity, is the price-quality ratio correct? But what you know about your own youth or your home environment also plays a role. And “beetles, ducks and the like are always disappearing,” says Claus Mirbach.
H registration: Registration of classic cars can only get vehicles that are at least 30 years old. (Source: Carsten Rehder / dpa)
Is a classic car suitable as an investment?
According to the Mirbachs, buying a classic car as a pure investment is not worth it. “A historic automobile is always a hobby, just like a horse or a boat,” explains the classic car dealer. The increase in value always depends on the individual object, condition, history, scarcity. It also shows the costs associated with a vehicle, for example for workshop, insurance, storage and spare parts. And you also have to drive your classic car: “The worst damage always happens when the car is stationary.” If you consider all this, still drive the car and wait regularly, then you will trade your money, or with luck, like on the stock exchange, you will also get a lot more. But: “For whom the ‘return’ is in the foreground, you should keep your hands away from these objects.”
Fritz Cirener, head of historic vehicles at the German Automobile Industry Association (VDA), says that in some cases it may seem like a classic car is a good investment. “A dazzling of special classics auctions is often the case. If you factor in stand costs, operating costs and inflation, disillusion is the order of the day as the supposed increase in the value often goes out. ” In general, the performance trend has slowed down considerably.
The average owner of a classic car
According to the 2017/18 Classic Car Study conducted by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy in collaboration with the VDA, the average classic car owner is male (90.4%) and is 54.7 years old . He owns 1.6 classic cars, which he covers 1,740 km per year. As a result, more than 20% are organized in a classic car club. According to Cirener, the 19/20 study has yet to be published due to the corona situation.
Britta Mirbach sums up a little less statistically what makes a classic car enthusiast: “He has ‘bacillus veteranicus’ and lives with and for its treasures.” And very important: “You have to like to move slowly and be able to face difficulties.” Because you sometimes lie down. “So: if you’re ashamed of having to push your 80-year-old Fiat Balilla after eating ice cream past the fully occupied ice cream parlor, you shouldn’t do it,” says the classic car enthusiast.