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Bradley James Classics specialises in everyday working classics mostly from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, explains founder and MD Danny O’Keeffe. Based in the Hampshire countryside, it sells, restores and stores classic cars and has built up a wide spectrum of clients.
‘We want to sell cars that you can use every day, rather than a show queen that’s kept in a bubble and taken out to go to car shows – we’re not so much into that,’ says O’Keeffe. Among sports cars, the British makes such as Austin-Healey, MG and Triumph are popular, while Jaguar and Rover are the in-demand saloons.
O’Keeffe set up the business in 2006, becoming full-time MD three years ago, after giving up his job as an exotic trader at Goldman Sachs, where he dealt in cars, among other alternative assets.
The market is buoyant, he says. ‘We see young people who, rather than putting £30,000 into an uninteresting investment when interest rates are so low, decide to buy a classic car instead,’ he says, ‘because they have the benefit of owning it, plus a better return than 2 per cent a year.’
Inspired as a boy by the James Bond films, his dream car has always been the Aston Martin DB5, which he now owns. True to his mantra that beautiful cars ought to be driven, O’Keeffe’s DB5 does around 6,000 miles a year, taking him to Le Mans and his home in the South of France, among other destinations.