The Low Mileage Tyrants

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on The Tyranny of Low Mileage which discussed several different types of car collector/enthusiasts, their mindsets, and the impact this has on the supercar market.  The summary of that article is:

 

While I personally believe the fixation on mileage is a horrible thing and leads to both a distortion of the market and in many cases, owner’s (Value Sensitive Supercar Enthusiasts) usage decisions that detract from the overall enjoyment of a supercar, it is a free market, and everyone is entitled to their own opinions.  A car locked up in a private collection that never sees the light of day to me is no different from the caged lion in a zoo. Neither is where it should be and longer term it’s not good for either’s health.  While I do appreciate beautifully designed cars, it’s hard to enjoy, as EVO Magazine puts it so well, “the thrill of driving” while sitting in a garage.

 

This very much reflects my personal opinion and approach to supercar ownership.  As much as I like to drive our cars and tend to buy cars that urge you to drive them, there seems to be a select group of cars that are what I would call the Low Mileage Tyrants.  These models have the unique combination of being highly desirable, high value and yet at the same time the vast majority of their owners rarely, if ever, drive them as they believe mileage will devalue their asset.

Looking at auction results, the classifieds, and talking to fellow enthusiasts, there are a few low mileage “Tyrant” cars that repeatedly come up.  They are the latest Ford GT, Koenigseggs, Paganis, McLaren P1& Senna, Porsche Carrera GT & 918, and the Ferrari LaFerrari & Enzo.  While there are some owners of these cars that drive them regularly, the vast majority of the cars that come onto the market have probably spent more time on the inside of a transporter than they have on the road.  One thing all these cars have in common is they can be quite challenging to drive if you do not have a lot of experience with very high-powered supercars.  Looking at each one in a bit more detail:

 

Ford GT (2017-2022)

If there is a poster child for the low to no mileage Tyrant, it’s the latest Ford GT.  Production of the Ford GT started in 2017 and will end in 2022 after a total production run of 1,350 cars.  Ford indicated as part of the application process, that they were looking for buyers who would drive their Ford GTs.  As part of the buyer’s contract, Ford GT owners are required to hold the car for at least 2 years before they are allowed to sell.  As a result, it was only last year that Ford GTs really started coming onto the secondary market.  Looking first at the Ford GTs that have come up for auction in 2019 & 2020 (HammerPrice is a great resource), 14 GTs have come up for auction, the highest mileage Ford GT had 2,832 miles on the odometer (it was a no sale) and the lowest mileage Ford GT had 15 miles with another at 30 miles. Of the 14 GTs, seven had been driven less than 500 miles.  In addition, there are 9 Ford GTs currently for sale on autotrader in the US with the highest mileage car at 4,000 miles and all the rest are under 1000 miles.  In fact, 4 of the 9 have 100 or less miles on them. Pistonheads in the UK lists 3 Ford GTs for sale all with 600 or less miles on the clock.  Moving on to the broader European market at autoscout24, it’s the same story again.  Five Ford GTs for sale and all have 300 or less miles under their tires.  This leads directly to the question of why aren’t they being driven, especially given Ford’s stated goal of only selling to owners who would drive their cars?  Per Steve Sutcliffe’s review for EVO Magazine: “Bottom line; the Ford GT is an epic car to drive – on a track – because fundamentally it’s a racing car at heart. No question about that. But on the road, it’s only so-so.” It would seem that the GT is just not that great a car to drive on the road and with a tiny gas tank, you are lucky to get 200 miles in between petrol stops.  It would seem that the racetrack would be where you would find Ford GTs regularly.  However, talking to friends who are track rats, a Ford GT is a rare sighting.  I was also a bit shocked when I looked at the Ford GTs basic performance stats that a 2015 McLaren 675LT would leave it in its rear-view mirror.  For those Ford GT owners/speculators that managed to get a build slot hoping for a major pay day, the last two cars to sell at auction went for $780k and $760k.  Back out a fairly standard 10% auction house commission and the sellers net is roughly $700k.  Base price on the Ford GT is $500k but with a few options, a sticker of $550k or more is more likely.  Add in sales tax of around $35-40k and speculators are walking away with a $100k payday for letting a Ford GT sit in their garage for two years.  With production continuing for several more years, I doubt any premium will hold long term as there will just be far too many Ford GTs on the market.

The Koenigseggs & Paganis

Values on Koenigseggs and Paganis have risen dramatically in the last decade and as values have gone up, mileage seems to have gone in exactly the other direction. Koenigseggs are not frequently sighted on the auction block with only 6 having made the trip across in the last five years.  Paganis are a bit more extroverted with 16 showing up over the same time period.  Of the 16 Paganis, three had more than 4000 miles on the odometer with the vast majority of the rest at under 1000 miles, including 4 that had traveled less than 200 miles. Koenigessgs follow the same general pattern with a single outlier with 12,000 miles on the odometer and four of the six at less than 2000 miles. Cars.com in the US has a single Koenigsegg listed which has done around 1000 miles. Pistonheads in the UK has five Paganis & four Koenigseggs listed, including our old CCR.  Mileage on all the cars listed is very much in line with those that have come up for auction.  Looking at the ad for our old CCR, it has traveled only 400 miles in the last eight years and it now has an asking price that’s £1.1 million higher than what I parted with it for. Why this CCR is now worth that much more escapes me as its no better to drive today as it was back then, and back then it wasn’t exactly polished (recent vlog on the CCR – MrJWW). 

McLaren P1 & Senna, Porsche Carrera GT & 918, the Ferrari LaFerrari & Enzo

All of these cars are intimidating but in experienced hands they are highly rewarding.  All are frequent visitors to the auction block with auction examples carrying mileages in similar ranges to the Paganis and Koenigseggs.  Where you do see a bit of a departure is when you look at the classifieds on both sides of the Atlantic.  Higher mileage examples start to appear, and I get the feeling that these cars end up either with enthusiasts that buy to drive or speculators that acquire and hope for appreciation.  In the past, it’s been the hope of appreciation that’s kept many of these parked, but now, with all except the Senna, Carrera GT, and Enzo dropping in value recently, that may start to change as more speculators look to exit ownership and these cars pass into the hands of enthusiasts who are buying to drive.  As an example of this several P1s and Sennas that are regular track day participants along with a number of owners who use their P1s frequently.  I also suspect that there are as many Carrera GTs with 25,000 or more miles on them as there are with 2,000 miles displayed on the odometer.  The LaFerrari & Enzo are both completely enveloped by the low mileage Ferrari mindset while being great cars to drive.  Like the Carrera GT, the Enzo takes time to learn how to drive well but is very useable in general.  There also seems to be a trend that as the Limited Edition supercars from Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche age, they fall into hands of owners who drive them more frequently.  I see more Ferrari F50s out and about today, then I did a decade ago. 

Summary

While I don’t believe I will ever truly appreciate the car as collectable art mindset, nor buy into the auto speculators philosophy, these buyers do represent key and significant parts of the supercar market.  Of the cars referenced in this article, I can see many of the Ferraris, McLarens, and Porsches leaving the bonds of tyranny behind and eventually being used as their creators intended.  Declining values should help accelerate this shift.  I doubt this will happen with either Koenigsegg or Pagani.  They tend to be bought for very different reasons and by a different type of collector.  The latest Ford GT is much harder to call.  The Ford GT is still rolling off the production line, auction prices have dropped over the last 12 months, and the final production numbers will not exactly make it rare.  If the potential profits on flipping the GT after 2 years disappear, this may just coax more GTs out onto the road.

Thoughts and comments? Please see the comments section below.

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October 2020

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4 Thoughts on The Low Mileage Tyrants
    a_christoofar
    25 Oct 2020
    6:11pm

    I could afford to buy a new 812 Superfast. However, I’m not particularly keen on the idea of losing £200k if I drive it further than 500 miles. The solution? I own a 550 Maranello that gives me somewhere between 95% and 100% of the experience enjoyment (I could even go all “Britain’s Got Talent” and say 120%, given the engagement through the gear box and that I am a road not track driver). Even if I drive it 5000 miles or more a year for the next ten years, I cannot lose more than the 75k I paid for it (plus running costs), which is a price I am prepared to pay to experience a V12 while it is still permitted….

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    Charles Perry
    21 Oct 2020
    10:08pm

    I think you don’t see them on the track due to the crazy valuation on most of these. If you ding one up, they are difficult/impossible/time-consuming to fix. They are replaceable in the sense that there are more on Earth, but there is no guarantee of one in your condition and configuration that someone wants to sell at what your insurance will pay. If you ding up the nose of your P1 in a tire wall, you’re likely shipping the car back to England for repairs, with a repair-time estimate of “it’s done when it’s done.” I don’t know what track insurance costs for one of these, but I know what it costs for something pedestrian like my C7Z06 or my wife’s M3 and so I doubt it’s practical for hypercars. There is the logic that if you can afford to buy it you can afford to fix it, but this often only rings true for the Jay Leno’s and Jerry Seinfeld’s of our world.

    There’s also the weird resale logic in mileage. 0-1500 miles seems to retain a large percentage of possible resale value. 1500-9900 is the next step. After 10k you’d assume that many exotic cars, particularly McLarens, are totaled based on the dive in resale. Like you, I think it’s stupid, and it’s sad that so few of these cars ever get to do what they’re “born” to do. Many of them never even get their birth defects sorted because they’re never seen in 3-digit mileage. But if you aren’t Jay or Jerry and you do have to think about what the car’s worth if you had to sell it, then the behavior seems justified, if not reasonable.

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    Chris Cogan
    22 Oct 2020
    1:52pm

    Thanks for yet another great article. I believe, as you suggest, there is a shifting paradigm currently underway in the supercar / Hypercar market. That is, factors such as computer aided design and materials such as carbon fiber becoming more accessible, is enabling such cars to be designed and built more quickly and somewhat more economically. Glickenhaus is one of the first manufacturers created specifically to exploit the niche that has been created as a result. While SCG has and will build expensive, low production (bespoke) models that cost well over $1mm, their targeted sweet spot is well below that range. As you are aware, their new 004 will have McLaren Senna-like performance stats (maybe superior) at about half the cost. At that price range, a hypercar with that caliber of performance, durability and great looks will be much more tempting to drive with much less “mileage guilt“. Let’s hope!

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