25th November 2021

Sharing a classic car: Does it work?

As part of a recent Footman James survey, we asked whether you’d consider shared ownership of a classic vehicle in the future. The result was rather resounding – with only 22% of respondents being open to the idea.

Despite the landslide verdict, there are still a number of people practicing the shared ownership model successfully. We spoke to Ian, FJ Customer and one half of a successful classic syndicate, to establish the pros and cons - with a helpful bit of advice for anyone considering taking the plunge.

Father and son team Ian and John have shared ownership of several classic vehicles over the years, with the latest project arriving in the form of a pre-war Austin 7 Ulster replica. As a car they’d both wanted for years, it made sense to go fifty-fifty.

“As long as you have a certain level of trust, sharing a classic can work just fine,” says Ian, who managed to secure the car from a friend a couple of years ago. “I know of a few people who’ve shared classics with family members and friends alike and I’ve heard far more successes than sob stories.”

Ian’s advice is to find someone who’s likeminded in their approach towards maintenance, driving and vehicle use. If one member of the syndicate isn’t as sympathetic or mechanically minded, disagreements are never too far away. For Ian and John, though, the shared Austin has been conducive to family bonding.

“We rarely have to consider who’s going to use the car when – we tend to use the car together. Classic cars often act as tickets to events, and shared ownership can be a great way of having experiences you might not otherwise get the opportunity for.”

It pays to set some ground rules, such as always gently warming the engine temperature, and agreeing a rigid maintenance schedule. It’s also wise to write down your agreement, including the ownership split, who’s name you’ll use for the vehicle registration documents, and who’ll be responsible for the repair or running costs in different scenarios. Will you split everything down the middle, or will it depend who was using the vehicle at the time?

“We used to joke that whoever breaks it replaces the broken bits – but as long as you have that level of trust, you can agree whether certain issues arose during the course of ‘normal motoring’,” says Ian.

“The only disagreements we have are on the appearance of the car. My dad usually wants it polished up like a mirror, whereas I prefer it looking a little rattier!”

If you’ve found a car you love but can’t afford, shared ownership can present the perfect proposition. It’s vital that owners make their insurance company aware to prevent issues in the event of a claim. Insurance can sometimes be tricky, dependant on your provider, but FJ do offer a joint policyholder option which keeps things simple.

We’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this? Let us know in the comments below.