Now, I’m not knocking your parents but remember when they said work hard at school, go to university and get a good job in somewhere secure like a bank, a big company or the government?
Well, you could have taken that advice and today you’d be living a life of quiet desperation on $150,000 a year, realising that all large organisations are ultimately degrading, or you could have followed Hamo, Seb and The Iceman and realised that formal education wouldn’t make you go faster, started racing karts when you were eight and now earn $70 million a year for 60 days on the tools with attractive men, women and others throwing themselves at you (nothing wrong with being a banker or public servant, but having persons throw themselves at you except in anger is not a normal perk of the job).
Despite being a five-time world champion and probably the greatest F1 driver of all time, Mercedes pay Hamo a lousy $68m a year. Hard to make ends meet on that sort of money. But the Italians really know how to look after people, and the Fezzer Factory puts $1.6m a week into Seb’s weekly pay packet (after deducting super, Medicare, union dues and tea money). The men (there are no women on the top team) at No 4, Via Abetone Inferiore also shell out a handy $55m to The Iceman (Kimi R) even though he has won just one race out of 99 starts.
Ferrari is a Dutch company with its core operations in Italy. Sales this year should be $6 billion and margins are normally 20 per cent. The shares suffered on the death of previous CEO Sergio Marchionne in July. Lou is seen as a more conservative leader than Marchionne. Keep in mind that 10 of the 20 most valuable cars ever sold at auction are Ferraris.
Now let’s get to the really nasty underbelly of the sport that 350 million petrol heads around the world watch on Fox Sports. Our very own Honey Badger, the Duncraig Demon, Daniel Ricciardo is being ripped off! Yes, patriotic comrades, Dan the man is paid $4m a year less than his bitter rival (in the same team) Mad Max Verstappen, who is putting $13.7m annually into his sky rocket.
No wonder Dan’s moving to Renault next year. But he’s not the worst off. Down the back of the field, quite a few drivers actually pay to race. They are either in the rich father business, have help from connections in corrupt governments or some other form of financial freedom. Others get by on $200,000 a year.
Talking of classic cars, there is a feeling in the market that, except at the very top end, prices are starting to flatten and stock is harder to move.
The Historic Automobile Group International Top 50 Benchmark Index lost 10.08 points, or 2.82 per cent, month-on-month in October. Year-to-date (end of October) the index declined 1.21 per cent, and year-on-year it’s down 0.76 per cent. The best performer was the classic Mercedes-Benz index, which gained 0.97 per cent month-on-month. In most markets, for example, Jaguar E-Type, prices have come back. The revenue from many auction sales this year has been boosted by a higher number of cars offered but sell-through rates seem to have dropped.
Some standouts this past quarter were RM Sotheby’s London auction, where a 2003 Ferrari Enzo brought $2.5m, which I think was a bit less than they hoped for, and a 1953 Fezzer 212 Europa went for $1.3m. Again, I think the owner was looking for more. In the same auction were three cars with Aussie connections: a 1993 Porker 911 Carrera RS 3.8 (one of three) that was first sold in Australia and ended up in England three years ago ($1.5m); a 1962 Maser 5000 GT coupe once owned by The Eagles’ Joe Walsh and up until the auction in an Australian collection (not sold at $1.04m but sold after for about $1m); and a 1970 Maser Ghibli 4.9 SS from the same collector ($385,000).
At last week’s Artcurial Paris auction an old Merc was the star. Delivered new to the future King Hassan II of Morocco and “commander of the believers”, this 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster needs a lot of work but that didn’t stop a winning bid of $1.7m. A 1937 BMW 328 Roadster in really good nick went for $1m.
Talking of strong sales, Unique Cars knocked off the competition on the car magazine GP with readership up 35 per cent to 200,000, besting Motormagazine, which was up 8 per cent to 149,000. One thing to be aware of in some traditional car mags is that reviews feature only the car brands that advertise with the magazine. And our usual new car buyers’ warning: if you are going to add accessories to your new metal, buy them from a reputable supplier, not the dealer. For instance, regular margins on dealer-supplied tinted windows are 600 per cent.
Talking of the Adelaide Festival of Motorsport, your WART crew is looking forward to seeing you for the start of the Adelaide Rally on Wednesday, November 28 (and if we finish, on Saturday December 1). To celebrate, Dr Cooper and his family have developed a special, sophisticated ale for you. Dr Tim says: “Forget Paris and London, say farewell to Milan John and Michael. This season’s most fashion-forward ale is laid back and ready for summer. Deep amber in the glass, the cool fabric of this beer sees spice and passionfruit aromas woven with a bold palate of toffee, sweet malt and slight roastiness to match. And it’s all teamed up with a firm bitterness and the satisfying warmth of your favourite, uber-trendy trackie dacks”. Yes friends, it’s Dr Coopers own Trendy Trousers Amber Ale. We are working on a tasting for you in the Kensi after we finish each day’s work on the back roads of the Milan of South Australia, Adelaide.