BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A E-Type Jaguar is pictured on the first day of the Lancaster Classic Motor Show at the NEC Birmingham on November 10, 2017 in Birmingham, England. According to a recent survey by the Federation of British Historic Vehicles Clubs, the historic vehicle industry currently generates revenues in excess of £5.5 billion per year for the UK economy and while current government policy is to promote self-driving and low carbon cars, according to Transport Minister Chris Grayling his party is also committed to supporting owners of classic cars and those that want to continue to use them on the road in the future. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
E-Type Jaguar: JLR has struggled in its core UK and European markets © Getty

Ease off the throttle and shift down. Owners of classic cars are happy to abide by the maxim when approaching a tight bend.

Applying it to the value of their machines is proving harder to swallow.

Tangibles in vogue after the financial crisis are losing their appeal. When the stock market fell and interest rates were low, prices for classic cars, along with those of gold and fine wine, began a climb that would outpace paper-based investments.

Double-digit annual returns for vintage vehicles were common up until 2016.

This year the wheels finally came off the classic car rally. Historic Automobile Group International, a consultancy that tracks prices, recorded a 4.6 per cent annual decline in its headline index for February — the first fall since prices began rising in 2010.

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Prices for Jaguar Series 1 E-Types, which peaked in 2015 at $230,000, are now changing hands for $180,000. One year ago, the price for a 1973 Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS was $800,000. Now it is $690,000.

Dealers say the hot money has evaporated, due in no small part to the popularity of cryptocurrencies. Sales volumes are about half what they were at the peak in 2015. Buyers are reported to be far more selective in the marques and models they choose to buy.

Speed freaks may be able to pick up something racy for less this year. Investors looking for a fast ride can do better than the four-wheeled variety.

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