Rich pickings in luxury Cars as repossessions rise on hard times
PRESTIGE auction houses are accepting nearly twice the usual number of repossessed vehicles, raising the prospect that buyers can pick up their dream car for a song.
Insolvency claims are also unearthing a few rare models that may tempt collectors.
Andrew Byrnes, a builder and developer from Camden in Sydney's southwest, has been collecting cars for more than 15 years. His family owns more than 50 vehicles -- many of them classics.
"It's a good time to buy these sorts of vehicles," he said, stroking the bonnet of a 1965 Ford Mustang. "The market is flooded with American imports at the moment because of the high dollar."
Another that caught his eye was a new, left-hand drive Mustang for sale by an insolvency trustee but still bearing dealer plates.
"No private person can import that car into the country -- you have to have a licence," he said. "If that went for a reasonable price I would just buy it to put in my collection."
Fabiano Carvalho, manager of the Pickles Auctions prestige sale due to take place at Sydney's Entertainment Quarter tonight, said there were rare opportunities for buyers.
"The proportion of repossessed cars is up around 60 per cent this time, whereas normally it would be more like 30 to 40 per cent.
"The cars we usually get would be four to five years old, but just now we've got a lot of late models with only a few kilometres on the clock -- you could almost call them demonstrator cars."
Auctioneer Richard Bowen picked the standouts from more than 100 vehicles -- a 2008 Ferrari F430 and a 2011 Aston Martin DB9 with only 786km on the clock.
"The Aston is a more than $400,000 new, and we are expecting it to sell in the $300,000 range," he said.
Most of the inquiries had been about European family cars, which constituted the majority of the sale.
John and Carolyn Oates from Rose Bay in Sydney searched for a new a BMW or Jeep. "I'm looking for a specific car with specific options on it, but I still want the discount," Mr Oates said.
The couple said they planned to buy before Christmas, but would wait for the right car.
Mr Byrnes said times were particularly tough for dealers, as evidenced by the widely publicised failure of the Rick Damelian prestige dealership chain. Ms Oates said she had bought her previous car from Mr Damelian and was sad to see his showroom close.