Cheers! Classic cars and wine top the latest luxury list

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Classic cars and wine have jointly taken the chequered flag in the latest Knight Frank Luxury Index released Thursday.

The index tracks the performance of the ten "investments of passion". Although both categories managed 8 percent returns over the twelve months to the end of the first half of 2016,current trends suggest they are headed in different directions.

While wine investments are staging a buoyant recovery, helped by a recent turnaround from a profound slump in buyers' enthusiasm for Bordeaux in the last few years, growth in classic cars is now hitting more potholes than experienced over the most recent five-year period.

Indeed, auction house Sotheby's on Wednesday evening achieved a 98 percent sell rate by lots (99.5 percent by value) for its London wine sale, which saw the auction's high-end estimate trounced as £1.47 million ($1.79 million) of bidder funds were exchanged for the high-end bottles.

Stephen Mould, head of Sotheby's Wine, Europe told CNBC Thursday that the focus was very much on top quality French wines from the most prestigious cellars. He emphasized that success was a function both of current macro dynamics and a hankering for superlative products.

"With the pound being where it is and if you have good quality stock, buyers will come, flocking from around the world," he affirmed on Thursday's show.

The pursuit of the highest quality offerings is a theme that is also recognizable in the classic car market where participants are seeing buyers gravitate towards the most exclusive, niche and impeccably maintained vehicles while eschewing products perceived as common or imperfect.

While the market has seen a sharp deceleration from the cumulative 458 percent growth rate achieved in the past decade, according to Knight Frank referencing the HAGI "Top Index", four of the most expensive cars to ever be put on the auction block were sold in the past year.

This includes the 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport sold last year for over €32 million ($35.3 million), narrowly pipped by the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta sold at Bonham's Quail Lodge sale in 2014 for around $38 million.

In addition to the most prestigious models faring well, the influx of younger aficionados as investors in recent years has also supported the much lower end of the classic car market of late, in a trend seen persisting.

According to Dietrich Hatlapa, founder of the Historical Automobile Group International, "We expect that the trend towards younger models in the lower price brackets below $1 million and even below $100,000 will continue."

Aside from buyer predilections, macro influences are having a profound effect on market dynamics, in Hatlapa's view, with central bank actions pointed to as having a distorting effect on yet another asset class.

"The market has among other aspects reacted to a decline in global liquidity. It is therefore key to observe what central banks are doing and if interest rates will rise going forward," he noted.

And for those who have not yet managed to translate dreams from childhood into a real set of wheels today, now might be the moment to consider taking the plunge.

"Transaction volumes are low and buyers have the choice to negotiate and select the best examples," Hatlapa added.

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