Steve Cooper is concerned about a number of problems with old bikes as investments, but does, I feel , overlook a few points.

Firstly, old vehicles in general are not subject to Capital Gains Tax on sale. Sell an old picture or ‘antique’ collectable, and our government takes its slice.

Ok, they are not bothered at most of the sums old bikes go for, but if a Vincent Black Shadow were a picture, its sale would have HMRC knocking at your door if you did not declare its sale in your tax return.

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But this is not the case for old cars or bikes. Sell a Ferrari 250GTO for a few million and it doesn’t, apparently, worry the tax man.

Hence its value as an investment, and which, partly, explains the explosion in this part of the market.

At its worst, as I am told by a friend who supplies equipment for McLaren cars, and who tells me that the majority of their output goes straight into a heated garage and never turn a wheel except to get the dealer stamps in the service logbook…

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Secondly, bikes are just so easy to collect. Even as a penniless student in the early 70s, on a full grant, I salted away a few bikes, almost without effort.

For instance, the M33 article reminded me of an M21 and sidecar I and a mate bought as a runner for £20, in 73, or a job lot of three Sunbeams in boxes – two S7s and an S8, for £60. All you need is a shed.

And it is clear that many of the old bikes featured belong to blokes with sheds that have more than two or three bikes. Cars are much more of a problem, as you do not need to tell me. In my part of London, a secure lock-up garage is often worth considerably more than any car inside.

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Thirdly, talking about the early Seventies, in Bike magazine of that era, Ogri, irritated by a beautiful unused machine, ‘borrowed’ an ‘investment’ bike, I think it was a Triumph, from a neighbour’s shed overnight and gave it a good thrashing , so the idea has clearly been around for a while.

For further example, I worked as a hired hand at the first classic car and bike sales at Alexandra Palace, run by Mike Carter of PennyWise Motoring, in 1973, where tasty machines went for what then seemed silly prices. 

And remember – you can only ever ride/drive one vehicle at a time!

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Michael Powell

Matt: You raise some essential points I feel many overlook, Michael. I still feel that bikes are for enjoying – for riding, for tinkering and for looking at; as an antidote to what you do for a living. Unless you work for a bike magazine…

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