Classic Driver Dealer: The Car Finders International
Independent Sourcing Agents
Chris Murphy was travelling in America when he first came up with the idea for The Car Finders International. "I kept noticing the prices over there – for both new and classic cars. It made me realise how much more we pay in the UK."
On his return to the UK, Murphy set up The Car Finders International – an independent searching agent which hunts worldwide to find the exact car a customer desires. Car Finders International will negotiate the price, arrange shipping, taxes, registration and delivery. They will even set up a test drive, if requested. Customers are then charged a fee of 2% of the purchase price of a UK-sourced car, or 5% on a car from overseas. In practice, the fee is frequently offset by the agent's ability – as a 'trade' buyer – to negotiate the best price.
Since setting up the business in Manchester about 12 months ago, Chris Murphy has established a customer base among individuals who don't have the time or expertise to devote to a search. "Businessmen find it cost-effective to commission us to source the car and arrange every aspect of the deal. It can be as easy as deciding the car they want, the model, the age, the colour and so on: anything, from a 1967 Shelby GT 500 or one-off Lamborghini to a Bugatti Veyron or Pagani Zonda F Roadster. I email pictures of the car and, if the customer gives the go-ahead, the next thing they know is that the car is at their front door."
The other aspect of the business is its links with specialist design companies. "Car collectors look for rarity and don't always want to buy off the shelf," explains Murphy. "We therefore have dealings with coachbuilding companies, such as Genaddi Design, which develops all sorts of prestige cars to personal specifications. For example, they make the convertible Ford GTX1, Phantom and Maybach, plus a two-door Phantom. One of our customers expressed interest in a Ferrari 599 convertible, so Genaddi is building one.
"And lastly, we're very excited about the Fisker Tramonto, from California-based Fisker Coachbuild, which we're responsible for bringing into Britain. The Tramonto, based on the Mercedes SL chassis, has been designed by Henrik Fisker who designed the Aston Martin DB9. Fisker has turned the SL into a more opulent, much rarer car than the production Mercedes, with outstanding performance: as much as 710bhp. It's considerably cheaper to maintain, however, than other rare cars as it can be serviced at your local Mercedes dealer. The interior is all-leather, hand-stitched, or you can specify your own design. One car recently came out of Fisker with a pin-striped interior!"
If you already have the base SL, the Fisker transformation will cost around £75,000. Otherwise, it's priced from £150,000 depending on the modifications required. Only 150 will be made of which perhaps only five or so will be right-hand drive. The Car Finders International is the sole UK importer.
Please click HERE to see all The Car Finders International's cars for sale in the Classic Driver car database.
For further information on The Car Finders International, please visit www.thecarfinders.co.uk.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: The Car Finders
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