Looking for a more rewarding alternative investment? Restore a classic car

Luxury London

12 January 2022

Classic car insurance specialist, Footman James, and London-based luxury renovation company, Classic Investments, explain why restoring a vintage car can result in far more than financial return

"Yes, you are investing, but who said you can’t have some fun at the same time?”

12 January 2022 | Luxury London

In partnership with: Footman James

E

veryone at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show seemed to agree. The car that had just been unveiled transcended the automotive industry. It was more than a mode of transport. It was a work of art.

The launch of the Jaguar E-type has become folkloric, with tales of journalists falling over each other to see the sensation for themselves, and one car’s last-minute, overnight dash from Coventry to Switzerland becoming legendary (Jaguar had taken only one model to Geneva. Realising the extent of demand, they ordered another to be driven through the night. It made the journey in an astonishing 11 hours, averaging a speed of 68mph). The E-Type redefined car design, Enzo Ferrari reportedly referring to the roadster version as “the most beautiful car in the world.”

This year marked the 60th anniversary of the quintessential British sports car, and thanks to specialist insurers and restorers, like Footman James and London-based Classic Investments, new generations of enthusiasts are discovering that the joy of ownership extends far beyond potential financial reward. Yes, big gains in recent years have made halo cars like the E-type a bankable asset, but renovating, owning and driving a classic car provides the kind of pleasure you just don’t get from investing in stocks and shares.

Recently restored by Classic Investments this 1966 Jaguar E-Type was one of just 1,583 right-hand drive 4.2L coupes ever built 

“It’s about giving a special car a second chance,” says Agris Alksnis, founder of Classic Investments, who advises his customers to invest with both their heads and their hearts. “Not every car is deserving of a second life but the ones we restore are proven masterpieces of a given era – an era defined by grace, flawless design and incredible stories. You get to resurrect these treasures from the ashes.”

Classic Investments renovates vintage cars to concours standard from its workshops in London. The company’s internal team of craftspeople – including welding and body experts, traditional panel beaters, paint specialists, coach trimmers, mechanical technicians, chemists and electricians – work on every nut and bolt, handling complete restoration work, as well as subtle modernisation. All restoration is carried out on-site, including re-chroming, reupholstering and restoring seats and interior trim.

Recently, Classic Investments renovated a 1966 Jaguar E-type, one of only 1,583 right-hand-drive Series 1 4.2 coupes ever built. Bought new by a U.S. army sergeant serving in West Germany, it was wrecked in 1968 and then parked – meaning that the 24,555 miles on the odometer are, amazingly, accurate. After Classic Investments’ work, the car must rank as one of the most meticulously finished E-Types in existence.

Incredibly, the car has just 24,555 miles on the clock

“This car was the essential time-capsule project,” says Alksnis. “It was so well-preserved that it retained lots of parts and components that are typically replaced, dissolved, or just absent after every-day driving. As we pay attention to all minor details in order to get the car to authentic factory concours standard, it’s invaluable to have such a complete package. There are plenty of components you can’t buy anymore – once they're gone, they're gone.”

“The Jaguar E-type is a perennial favourite, and rightly so – it’s in our top 10 of most-insured models,” explains David Bond, Managing Director of Footman James. “It retains a special place in many enthusiasts’ hearts and so we know from speaking with our clients how dedicated owners can be.”

“The E-type market will always be solid and stable, but for some its true value may have been overlooked over the past few years. However, we’re seeing renewed interest, and milestones like the 60th anniversary of that famous debut have served to remind and reinforced its iconic status.”

Classic Investments equipped the car with a handmade luggage set that matched its new interior

Finished in contemporary opalescent gunmetal grey, with a red, Italian leather interior, the car restored by Classic Investments manages that difficult task of looking both cutting-edge and remaining faithful to the original vision of William Heynes, then-Head of Design at Jaguar. “This is one of just six car designs recognised by the New York City Museum of Modern Art as a permanent addition to its collection,” explains Agris. “You can’t be heavy handed when it comes to working with these cars, and small mistakes can leave the finished project wide of the mark.”

As well as restoration work, Classic Investments also manufactures bespoke luggage to match the cars it works on. Using traditional techniques and materials to create mounted or enclosed trunk luggage, the company creates contemporary pieces or vintage-inspired articles that are indistinguishable from the original trunks on which they are based.

Full Italian leather was used on the seats, door cards, boot floor and dash

“It’s a case of providing a unique touchpoint that helps you anticipate and appreciate the car before you even sit in it,” says Agris. “Pack a case for a weekend away, and you’re already thinking about the drive ahead. Our cars are intended to be used, not simply stored in an air bubble – where would be the enjoyment in that? Yes, you are investing, but who said you can’t have some fun at the same time?”

Footman James covers many classic car ownerships, from desirable motorbikes through to multi-car, million-pound collections and everything in between. This enables it to tailor its service to suit clients looking to make sizable investments in classic vehicles, like the E-type. “We ensure our services meet client’s needs, but our Private Clients team specialises in providing tailored insurance packages for prestigious vehicles, vehicle collections and even high-value homes,” explains Bond.

As well as a completely rebuilt .20 piston engine, the restored E-Type features a new, period-correct battery

“We currently insure £1.3bn in our Private Clients team alone, and each Private Client has a dedicated account handler who can look after any needs throughout the lifetime of a policy. Classic cars are our passion, and it makes us happy to be able to ensure that someone’s pride and joy stays well protected under our care.”

The team at Footman James Private Clients can insure your entire vehicle collection under one policy. This can include cars and bikes, classic and modern vehicles, kit cars, supercars and much more. Find out more about Footman James’ Private Client insurance at footmanjames.co.uk

The information contained in this article is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general risk management and insurance information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such. If you wish to discuss your specific requirements with Footman James, please do not hesitate to contact collectors@footmanjames.co.uk. Footman James is not a financial advisor and the information contained in this article is not intended as, and should not be construed as, financial advice. For investment activity FJ always recommend that you seek advice from a professional investment advisor.