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Old 01-28-2011, 08:32 AM   #1
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Default Pink Floyd'ds Mason Getting In Car Business

Nick Mason has always been good at banging on the skins, but now he wants to drum up some business through an unusual investment fund betting on the prospects of classic cars.

The drummer for the rock band Pink Floyd, Mason has signed onto the advisory board of IGA Automobile, which intends to invest $150 million on the world’s finest automobiles. The group believes that it can yield annual returns of 15%, a figure not entirely off-the-wall considering what has happened in the collector car market, over the years.

Indeed, with the economy recovering there are signs that high-value auto collectors are looking to upgrade their garages. Though it fell short of an all-time record, the annual Barrett-Jackson Auction, held in Scottsdale, AZ, last week, generated $70 million in sales, well ahead of 2010’s weak performance.

The IGA Automobile fund, which went into operation this month, is being described by director Nick Lancaster as “the first classic car fund that’s purely for financial returns, rather than passion.”

Perhaps, but while many collectors are motivated by financial factors, emotions are still critical to moving up the value of rare vehicles like those IGA will line up in its collection. Just ask Mason, who races in between his recording and concert duties. He has done five turns during the grueling 24-hour race in Le Mans. And exotic sports cars from Aston Martin, Bugatti and Ferrari make up much of his personal collection.

As with any investment, classic cars have their ups and their downs. A bit more than a decade ago, a saturated market, hit with an economic downturn, saw prices plunge for what had been million-dollar Ferraris. But in recent years, those Italian exotics have more than recouped their losses.

The Historic Automobile Group International reports a 12% annual growth rate for top-collectible automobiles from 2003 through 2008 – though the figure slipped to 6.6% last year. The Hagerty Cars That Matter “Blue Chip” Index, meanwhile, reports a 67% increase in value, over the last four years, for what it lists as the 25 most collectible postwar automobiles.
The IGA Automobile fund, a closed-end partnership based on the Channel Island of Guernsey, plans to operate for seven years. During the first three, it will seek to add to its collection, and models like a Ferrari 250 GTO, a Porsche 917 and Ford GT40 have been listed among potential acquisitions.

Investors will be asked to drive in with a minimum of $500,000.
Paul Eisenstein
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