Can’t get an invite to a Royal Castle even if you are a Chinese internet Czar or a Russian oil tycoon? Here’s what will…with the added bonus of a snap of knicker elastic.


Has the classic car market seen such unprecedented growth over the past ten years? If there has been one boom industry over the same period it has been the creation of new centi-millionaires and billionaires. So what does he or she spend their money on? Assuming he has collected enough real estate to house a small nation and a mistress who looks like a snake that has swallowed two bowling balls (the male equivalent having the balls on his arms and a dumbbell in his underwear), next on the shopping list in the glamour stakes are one of the big three. 1) Hollywood cachet 2) A mega Yacht 3) Art and collectables

...and another thing

The ability to keep your mistress/toyboy (apart from a tsunami of cash) often revolves around the social side of one of the other three. I mean a woman could just about put up with a 4ft 9 inch Chinese meat packing billionaire if she was snacking on caviar canapés at a Renoir auction in New York; but not if she was stuck in a smoke filled Penthouse in Shanghai playing Mah-Jong. How can our zillionaire best show off as well as improve his circle of friends?

Aspiration number 1 Hollywood

All I can say about the Entertainment Industry is I have met dozens and dozens of millionaire investors in Hollywood… however most were billionaires before they started. Turning money into light (my favourite definition of making a movie), does not always mean that light turns into more money.More risky than playing hopscotch on a mine field.

Aspiration number 2 Yachts

“My dear,” a super yacht broker confided in me “you don’t make a splash in the yacht market under 300 foot and it’s at least $1.5m per foot to build and 15% a year running cost. It takes time to build of course, but you just have to patient. Do you really want a Donald Trump cast off while waiting?”

So you have to kick your heels for a few years before you can show off half a billion dollars and get noticed. On top of that, your floating gin palace is not only very conspicuous but easy to seize should you have a dispute with the taxman, creditors or the president of your country…. (Or a revolution, if you are the President). Takes too long and difficult to move quickly.

Aspiration number 3 Art and Collectables

The ‘Masters’ of the Renaissance rarely come up for sale and a $100m barely gets you noticed. Again you are looking at half a billion dollars to make an impression in the art world and then what? You sit and stare at your collection till you go cross-eyed, whilst your mistress/toy-boy just wants to go out and party.Too much intellectual stress…and a bit boring.

Most of the newly über wealthy certainly want to see their wealth grow but also yearn to be in with a group of their peers. To be taken seriously outside their personal fiend, I mean field, of endeavour. So classic car investment and the social world it entails begins to look attractive. Easy to enter, relatively cheap and fabulous social whirl.

Nothing is deemed second hand, rather the cars are “an appreciating asset with a finite production number. Just like land and Michelangelos. God stopped making 1950s Mercedes Gullwings”.

No waiting; a cheque book will get you most things. The cars themselves make good business sense. Experience has shown them as very lucrative, appreciating assets;in most cases this gain is tax free. Best of all compared to movies, a yacht or an art collection, quite modest sums can put you on the map.

A Porsche 911 RS (1,580 examples produced 1973-1974) has leapt in value by over 700% in ten years and still is rising fast to well over $1m each.

A Bugatti EB110SS (39 SS made along with 95 GTs 1991-1995) has leapt from being a backwater footnote in recent automotive history at under $200,000 each to $1,100,000 each in just 18 months.

As for the real the top end collectables such as classic racing Ferraris, Maseratis, Aston Martins and Ford GT40s the numbers are accelerating as quickly as the cars themselves. A Ferrari GTO (1962-1964, 39 produced), is now worth in excess of $60,000,000. (Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, who once owned two I believe bought his first one for around $35,000). Nice! Best of all, as well as a sprinkling of sex appeal the asset, by definition, moves!

...and another thing

I would suggest a paltry $18m for one of the 16 Jaguar XKSS, a car that will give you the keys to a Kingdom of the Elite. Instant acceptance into a world of sophistication and elegance, even if you are a Bulgarian Banker with more gold chains round your neck than Mr.T. And very cool. It was Steve McQueen’s favourite car.

The Jag will get you VIP treatment at classic car events,

The biggest of these annual jamborees are:

1)The Villa D’Este Concorso d’Eleganza on the Lakes Como in May,

2)The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on the fabled Monterrey Peninsular in August and

3)The British Concourse of Elegance held each Fall in a Royal Palace…. where the twiglet thin mistress will be able to display her Azzadine Alaïa dress and Manolo Blahnik spikes whilst sucking down Krug champagne. How wonderful for some newly minted Titan to bathe in the envious glances shot at his girlfriend and car, knowing only he can take them both for a spin…Which neatly leads us back to the ‘snap of knicker elastic’ and ‘Royal Castle’ in my title.

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  1. Kevin Cooney says:

    What does the author think about the new kid on the block:

    2015 Bund_Classic_The_3rd_China’s_Premier_Concours_d’Elegance

    Surely this has a big future?

    My regular local gatherings are more basic

    But they still love their cars

  2. Tony Ritz says:

    Grenside has the unique ability to succinctly explain why we can only fantasize and visualize the collector car of our dreams, but probably never realize actual ownership. The excitement, I suppose, will always remain in the hunt. We rise earlier on Thursdays in anticipation of the Grenside blog. . . .
    Great Job!. . . .carry on!

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