Classic Driver Dealer: Oakfields
Click on the Oakfields website and two startlingly different feature cars stare back at you from the home page. First, an MG SV – in fact, a whole group of SV 4.6 Coupes and SV R 5.0 Coupes, including the very last SV ever to have been built at the MG Sport and Racing facility. These high-performance, track-bred rarities with V8 power are described by Oakfields as a heavenly means of getting to deathly dull business meetings.
But the second feature vehicle offers an alternative way to spice up meetings: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AMG VIP provides accommodation for the meeting itself. With a luxurious cabin containing four, electrically-operated leather seats facing into the central area and such essentials as Hi-Fi and sound system, video and TV – plus an integral bar – you get all the best aspects of a VIP office inside a high-performance, diesel-powered AMG Sprinter.
“The AMG is one of three built for the Sultan of Brunei,” explains Oakfields supremo Ian Donaldson. “He ordered them to watch camel racing in air-conditioned luxury. New, the vehicles cost over £300,000 from AMG.”
As for the MG SV collection, Oakfields bought the last seven cars from Price Waterhouse, having already bought 11 lots from the MG auction. “Think of all that MG heritage,” says Donaldson. “The company ran for 85 years and then died that day at the auction. Later, we were offered the seven SVs; we’ve already sold two. MG didn’t do a very good job on PR-ing the SV: they cost around £140,000 each to build and were being retailed in two derivatives – at £79,000 and £89,000. Ours are on sale for very much less and they’re still new cars.”
I was soon to learn that this diversity in Oakfields’ stock is typical of the business. “We offer a whole mix of cars, from race and historic sports cars to modern classics, plus a small number of new cars. Buyers appreciate the fact that we’re not afraid of owning an ‘extreme’ selection,” Donaldson continues. “Anything which is special in its age group. For example, we have a Rolls-Royce Shadow II coming up for its 30th birthday, with only two lady owners from new and just 30,000 miles. And there’s a 1975 BMW 2002ti, perceived as a low-value model, but this one has had a £40,000 restoration. Then we have modern cars, from DBR9 to CLK DTM. Nor are we afraid of unusual scenarios: if a car is special but it’s in Japan, we’ll go there and buy it.”
Donaldson says that the typical Oakfields customer is ‘someone who actually knows what they want’. “As a business we’re not stereotyped; buyers can find something ‘a bit different’. It helps that I’m not just a dealer in classic cars, I also work as a consultant for car manufacturers and collectors.” This means Donaldson is well-placed to spot trends in the market: “Everyone remembers the goldrush of ’88 and ’89, and how it all went down the tubes in July 1989.
"The crash was because there was too much money chasing too few things: cars were overloaded by speculators. It took till 1995 before the feeling started to come back into the marketplace. From ’95 to today, there has been nice, steady, solid growth but things are definitely on the up. At the end of last year, for example, we sold a beautiful, fully-restored Gullwing for the highest price ever achieved for the model – getting on for 550,000 Euros. Within a few weeks, that has become the norm. But today’s buyers are not speculators; they’re not buying to sell.”
Ian Donaldson himself is a genuine enthusiast. He’s been personally involved in motorsport since he was 15 years old, from bikes to rallying to racing – and in 2004 he raced with Gregor Fisken at the modern Le Mans 24 Hours, coming 18th overall. “I’ve been a motoring fruit-and-nutcase all my life,” he concludes. “My enthusiasm is shown by the diversity of cars we have.”
Please click HERE to see all Oakfield's cars for sale in the Classic Driver car database.
For further information on Oakfields, please visit www.oakfields.com.
Tel: +44 (0)1256 760256
Fax: +44 (0)1256 762415
Email: [email protected]
Text: Charis Whitcombe
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