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A veteran Bugatti. Right: a two-tone 1958 Ferrari 250. Above right: Austin’s Allegro


Allegro. This car, you may recall, epitomised everything that was rotten about the British car industry in the 1970s. It was a hateful car with a square steering wheel and dire driving characteristics – these were just a fraction of its problems, reliability and build quality made-up the rest. Today, these automotive abominations are fetching up to £5,000. Incredibly, that’s nearly five times more than their original purchase price. And you may very well ask how in all that’s holy did these lumps of venomous metal go from being the spawn of Satan to a shrewd business investment?


On the road To understand why, you have to remember this: there are no real hard and fast rules for a car to become a classic and they will reach this status for a variety of reasons. The ‘All-aggro’ earned its place simply for its infamy. Also, because many of them were thankfully consigned to the scrapheap not a lot of good examples (there’s an oxymoron if ever there was one) remain in existence. For good or for bad, then, a place in history, not age, is just one


of the ways it could enter the league of classic cars, and the fortune it will undoubtedly command when being bought or sold. Just think, 40 years ago anyone predicting the then new BL Mini or VW Beetle would become a collectable would have been burnt at the stake for lunacy. However, just like the football league table, there are different tier-levels, with the likes of the Allegro languishing right at the bottom and leaving the multi-million pound curiosities – such as the 1936 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic – which sold last year at auction for $40 million – looking down on the rest from a very heady height indeed. That’s not to say all of the owners of these scarce and fabulous


cars lock them away behind secure shutters of hermetically sealed garages, or subject them to an eternal life on a museum plinth. Up and down the country enthusiasts and members of owners clubs regularly enjoy showcasing their pride and joy. The biggest of these events is the Goodwood Revival where it isn’t unusual for priceless and unique motors to be ragged around the grounds of


April/May 2011 businesslife.co 49





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