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Last month, we at Clayton Classics had the privilege of attending the HCVA (Historic and Classics Vehicle Alliance) Heritage Matters Insight Day at the Hagerty Clubhouse in Bicester, Oxfordshire. The event brought together over 100 influential figures from the classic car industry, including restoration experts, aftermarket suppliers, MPs, and auction specialists. The event was a melting pot of valuable industry insights, progress updates and networking opportunities.

Here are the top four things we learned at this year’s event:

1. A call to collaborate from parliament

Greg Smith MP emerged as an advocate for a collaborative approach between the classics sector and policymakers. Greg’s impassioned speech detailed his endeavours to bring the industry’s concerns to the attention of ministers and government bodies.

Clayton Classics fully support his efforts, as we believe policies that should protect classic cars haven’t always kept up with the times and evolving technologies. The call for collaboration is particularly timely given that the DVLA had initially intended to participate in the event, but withdrew when concerns were raised by other speakers regarding its perceived sluggishness in resolving cases pertaining to classic cars.

Quite simply, we must work more closely to develop smarter policies and legislations to ultimately safeguard the future of our wonderful industry. It is a promising sign that the government recently called for evidence on how to future-proof classic cars and back drivers, and we are looking forward to submitting our thoughts to the consultation in the coming weeks. 

2. Improving parts quality across the industry

Jon Crocker of BCC Car Parts also led a session focused on the Parts Improvement Scheme. This initiative aims to tackle the persistent issue of aftermarket part quality, which all too often burdens businesses with unexpected costs when parts fail. The HCVA board’s commitment to fostering better collaboration between parts suppliers and businesses is commendable and promises to enhance overall industry standards.

We work hard to source trusted suppliers who align with our high standards for parts quality. Also, in many cases, we develop mechanisms in house using original parts and tooling – including our range of air conditioning kits. We believe that open dialogue with our suppliers has been key in developing these kind of relationships and ultimately offer the highest standards for our customers.

3. Affordable classics are still an option despite growth in high-value vehicle market: Giles Gunning’s analysis

Giles Gunning of The Classic Valuer delivered an insightful presentation on market values spanning the past 50 years. His analysis provided valuable perspectives on the current state, as well as the trajectory of market values.

Giles noted that we are seeing more vehicles worth over £100,000 come to market than in any previous year on The Classic Car Valuer’s records. His survey of hundreds of market experts revealed that 48 per cent believe prices will rise, 28 per cent think they will remain flat, and 24 per cent predict they will decline.

This is positive news for existing owners looking to sell, but offers a less promising forecast for first-time investors. However, he also highlighted that just under half (49 per cent) of historic vehicles are worth £25,000 or less, while only one in ten (11 per cent) are valued at over £100,000 – indicating that there are still plenty of affordable options for those looking to purchase their first classic car.

4. The joy of classics is for all ages: OEM panel discussion

Furthermore, an OEM panel discussion involving representatives from JLR Classic, Aston Martin Works, and Bentley saw an eagerness to continue working alongside their independent counterparts to benefit us all as classic vehicle enthusiasts.

The OEMs emphasised the significance of challenging misconceptions that this industry is exclusively for older demographics. In reality, enthusiasts of all ages are increasingly venturing into classic vehicle ownership and maintenance, and as a community we must do all we can to highlight this.

At Clayton Classics, we have experienced this firsthand as an increasing number of younger people show interest in our work. We believe that the more people who experience the joy of owning classic cars, the better. These enthusiasts will ultimately become the custodians of this passion and ensure its long-term future.

Conclusion: a collaborative vision for progress

The HCVA Heritage Matters Insight Day was a testament to the passion and dedication of individuals and organisations shaping the classic car industry. From addressing regulatory challenges to enhancing part quality and understanding market dynamics, the event underscored the collaborative spirit driving innovation and progress in this beloved sector. We look forward to seeing the positive impact of these discussions and initiatives unfold in the coming years.

To find out more about Clayton Classics, you can get in touch with the team through our contact page.

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