Australia’s Replica Car Market Is Heating Up – But Are They Actually Worth Buying?

"Fugayzi, fugazi. It's a whazy. It's a woozie."

Australia’s Replica Car Market Is Heating Up – But Are They Actually Worth Buying?

A 1952 Ferrari Tipo 500 Formula Two car replica currently for sale on Carsales. This is an example of a replica done right: unlike most other replica cars, which use an existing production car as a starting point, this car was built completely from scratch. The asking price reflects that, too: $260,000.

Anyone who’s tried to buy a car this year Down Under has probably discovered how there’s a shortage of new car stock across the country… As well as silly prices have become for used or second-hand cars. We’ve told this story dozens of times.

Basically, cars are expensive right now. Especially cool ones. Australia also draws the short stick when it comes to exotic or vintage cars, too – the tyranny of distance, our small population as well as our minority status as a right-hand drive country mean we’ve often missed out on some of the world’s best releases. No wonder, then, that many Aussies have decided to build their own versions of rare cars rather than spend big dollars on the real McCoy.

Spend enough time digging around online classifieds and you’ll find many replica cars for sale, from the very poorly done backyard job to highly elaborate fabrications that rival (or are even better than) the real thing. Unsurprisingly, many of these are Ferrari replicas. The world’s most famous sports car brand has never been particularly accessible, so you’ll see plenty of Toyota MR2s, Nissan 300ZX Z32s (like this bad boy we unearthed last year) and even Volkswagen Beetles turned into Prancing Horses.

What’s interesting, though, is that in 2021 we’re seeing more and more of these kinds of cars for sale, and at increasingly high levels of fit and finish… As well as increasingly high prices.

But is buying a replica – even a very, very good one – a worthy investment?

A Ferrari F40 replica currently for sale on Carsales. A more conventional replica car, this Maranello wannabe is really just a Pontiac Fiero underneath.

DMARGE spoke to vintage car expert Car Rave – who knows the lay of the land when it comes to the Australian second-hand car market better than anyone – who’s in two minds about replica cars.

“[It’s a] tough one. Some recreations, such as Pur Sang in Argentina are amazing – super limited cars, recreated exactly to spec. Great things. But theyre massive dollar cars still. There are a few New Zealand companies building Jags and GT40’s that are very worthy of appreciation too.”

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“Other than that, I’m not a huge fan, and most would be a waste of money.”

“I wouldn’t dare turn up to a Cars and Coffee in a fake Cobra or poorly executed GT40. A Pur Sang Alfa recreation on the other hand…”

A Pur Sang Bugatti Type 35 replica. Like the Ferrari Tipo 500 above, these cars are a cut above your normal replica. But despite their incredible craftsmanship, big question marks continue to hang over their resale value.

Ian Davies, director of leading Sydney luxury car dealership Prestige Connex, has a slightly less diplomatic take on the matter:

“Replicas – the word says it all! Why would you, what’s the benefit, it’s a fake, it’s a wannabe, not the real deal… Stay away is the short answer in my opinion!”

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That’s really the crux of the issue. No matter how good a replica might be, at the end of the day, it’s still a replica. You can have a lot of fun driving one (especially one that’s more than just a tacky bodykit), but don’t bet on them being a reliable investment… Or, at least, a less reliable investment than a ‘real’ car.

The other option is just to find a different car rather than potentially embarrass yourself driving around in a fake. Putting a Ferrari badge on your car doesn’t add any horsepower…

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