Located in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Creative Rides has been trading classic cars for the past five years. We pay their impressive showroom a visit to see what's on their floor and to find out how they got this business off the ground.
Words: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
Shane Kirby sits opposite me, and we are surrounded by numerous classic cars being attended to. It is only a couple of days before Creative Rides has a large classic car auction and the team is clearly busy.
There is a wide variety of cars on the floor, including a Saleen Ford Mustang, British icons, long and chrome-laden American classics and even a few notable BMWs, such as our local E30 325iS and a 333i recreation. Also catching the eye are an Audi RS2 Estate, a beautiful Mercedes-Benz 190SL as well as some curvy Alfa Romeos.
Creative Rides have been on the block for a number of years, and recently joined hands with another dealer in Cape Town to set up a branch in Tokai. As is often the case, this didn’t happen overnight.
“Kevin Derrick founded Creative Rides in Johannesburg in 2017 and we have been based in this building from the start. We started with basically nothing. Kevin has been involved with cars his whole live and had his private collection of cars. He then put some of his cars on the floor and phoned a few collectors he knew and offered his services to them. That escalated and more clients started consigning their cars to us, and that is what you see here today.
“It is not an easy business, but the move into auctions has worked really well for us. Instead of having loads of tyre kickers coming to have a look at a car, you have a set number of registered bidders who are interested in a car and who are fighting for that car. In the end you only need two individuals who want the same car.”
Creative Rides grabbed the headlines at two previous auctions with examples of the uniquely South African Alfa Romeo GTV6 3.0. In each instance the winning bid was over R1 million – much more than what a lot of bidders and enthusiasts had expected.
“For us the late-50s, '60s and now even '70s classic cars always move quickly, especially if it is a two-door and pillarless car, such as the Chevrolet Impala for example. Our game is mainly the American muscle cars, although we also sell European cars. Here up north the market tends to lean towards the American cars. Mustangs are easy to sell and so are Camaros. The latter is not as popular, but there is still a healthy pool of enthusiasts who are interested in them.
“In terms of the European cars, Mercedes are always good sellers as well as the MGs. Also, we just don’t have enough trucks to sell. The Chevy trucks from 1956 to 1959 sell really well. Funnily enough however, the Ford F100 doesn’t fetch that much money and it is harder to sell them compared to the Chevys. We can also help clients with insurance values, but we stay away from servicing cars or restoring cars.”
Creative Rides can also source a car for a client, but he admits that usually when an enthusiast comes through the door with such a request, it is a rather special or rare car that is requested and collectors rarely want to let go of the really special cars.
“It is a great environment to work in. Every day is enjoyable. Most days a number of enthusiasts will turn up to see what we have on offer, or to show us their car. Something new happens every day, or something new comes through the door which we haven’t seen before. Ideally, we would love to have a larger building, as we have just too many cars for this room.
“Our branch in Cape Town is fantastic. I think they will change the game with what they have on offer there. We are also able to send stock to them or vice versa. We also connect with some of the other specialists here in Gauteng. If we can do a deal together, then why not?”
It is fantastic to see the classic car market being healthy and with a company such as Creative Rides being able to keep the market going and offering enthusiasts the cars they want or being able to point them in the right direction.
Click here for a list of the cars that will be auctioned on the 3rd of December.