Highly driven and entrepreneurial Tom Hartley Jnr has over 25 years of experience in dealing with the most significant classic and performance cars in the luxury automotive industry. Amanda and Darren head over to Tom Hartley Jnr’s private showroom, where he talks about his incredible current stock of cars, some of his most memorable dealings with classic cars, plans to relocate the showroom and being award the highly esteemed Queen’s award for international trade.
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Episode Transcript - FULL TEXT

JBR x THJ Audio Podcast

Amanda Stretton
Hello, and welcome to the next episode of the fund your passion podcast with JBR Capital. And as usual, joining me is my cohost, and founder of JBR. Darren Selig. Hey, Darren,

Darren Selig
welcome again.

Amanda Stretton
Well, this is the man who should be welcoming us. Obviously, fund your passion. I mean, it does not get more passionate than where we are today. We are of course, at Tom Harley Jnr, Tom, thank you for having us.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Thank you for inviting me.

Amanda Stretton
No, it’s your job to welcome us

Tom Hartley Jnr
No, thank you is it is good to be on this. It is good to be on your series. I have seen a lot of them before. So, you do an excellent job. And it is nice to sit here and chat with you both.

Darren Selig
Well, Amanda does an excellent job carries me along very well.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Well, I did not really want to say that. You know, okay, well, we will agree.

Amanda Stretton
Have you seen any of them that we have done?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I have seen a few of them before, I flip through them. So yes, you’re both very talented.

Darren Selig
Thank you so much. I will take that Thank you.

Amanda Stretton
Obviously, the podcast is called Fund your passion. I think it is fair to say your passion started very young. Where did it start? Where did it start?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I do not remember it started. Because it’s just, it was always there. I’ve always loved cars, I was brought up around cars, obviously in my growing up in around my father’s business. So, cars for me, it’s just been a way of my life. You know, it’s just part of my life. So, I am a true petrol head.

Amanda Stretton
You are. Darren this morning, said he saw some of your young, very early petrol head videos.

Darren Selig
I did refer to them when I came

Tom Hartley Jnr
it has been long time since I’ve watched any of those

Amanda Stretton
Would you like to see them?

Tom Hartley Jnr
It is okay.

Darren Selig
It tells a wonderful story, you know, and explains the early beginnings and your interest in cars from extremely unusual age so, you know, maybe want to tell us a bit about that

Tom Hartley Jnr
About where it started? Well, you know, I suppose for me, going into the car business was a bit like a farmer’s son, being a farmer., I did not know anything, any different, you know, I envisage that I would be a car dealer. And, you know, being around my father’s business growing up around cars, it was just a way of life. I would leave school and when I come home from school. I think about this often now actually with my oldest son because he is around the same age. And when dad would say I bought a car today and you know, how much do you think this is worth 1986 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit 22,000 miles. And, you know, he would always assess me on valuations of cars. Because, you know, my son now is obsessed with these computer games, he loves PS5 and playing with all of his friends, which I love. I love for him; you know that he enjoys it. But I would always have an evening time be looking at car magazines, you know, and going through and seeing some fantastic adverts by other dealers, great dealers at the time. And looking at private cars that were for sale. And you know, back in, it was not that long ago. But back in those days in the olden days, we did not have the internet So these days now you’re just clicking through Instagram

Darren Selig
I used to love going through the Sunday Times and looking at the deals

Tom Hartley Jnr
I’ve still got the old Sunday times

Darren Selig
And I remember being fascinated looking at the price of these cars three Sunday

Tom Hartley Jnr
The Sunday Times I missed that, because you rush on Sunday morning to get it and you’d look in the back of the sports section it was in and you know, on the front page was always, you know, Manchester United, or Liverpool. Well, for me, you just turn straight to the back.

Amanda Stretton
So that’s quite interesting. So, the fact that you are actually having to take this information in obviously not digitally, as you say you can’t refer just quickly on your phone or computer and refer back to it. You are having to read this information you were there for having to learn and retain it. That’s the difference. Has that taught you a skill set that maybe some of the younger dealers, you know,

Tom Hartley Jnr
The one thing that I try and teach everybody here in my business, actually some great stuff, but it’s all about retaining the information, retaining the knowledge. It’s okay reading about the history of a car, but if you read about the history of the car, and you don’t actually retain it, then you actually haven’t learned anything and you need to be able to, you know, I could walk around the show room, and we do our YouTube videos. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen any of them but on the Tom talks and I would I like to do it one takes no breaks. And obviously, whenever you do any video footage, it’s so easy to make a bit of a slip up or a little bit of a mistake and you want to do another clip. But I think it’s nice to do one take. So, you can just reel off the information of each individual car. And the only way that can happen is if you retain the knowledge or the information when you’re procuring that car.

Darren Selig
I have watched some of those and you come across as very authoritative on those cars, which I think is exactly what you’re saying. And can comes across extremely well. But perhaps, you know, this skill set that you learned in the very manual, old-school way, does that help you in terms of valuations on the million pound plus cars, because every car is even if there’s any 36 made each car, the 36 is different, and potentially valued in different ways.

Tom Hartley Jnr
I don’t think it’s very hard to be able to teach anybody on how to value a car, you know. The type of cars that my business specializes in, that we operate in, so much of it is down to gut feeling and experience. So, you know, you can look around and you can look at Ferrari 275. And, you know, two seven five. We sold the car last year, which was about 1.4 million pounds, which was a short nose three carburettors two cab, and then we’ve got a 275 here that we just sold recently for 3 million pounds. And you know, we would have never been able to have bought that car for the 3 million pounds level, if we would have referred back to the 1.3 million sales. But you have to have enough knowledge in the product to realise and go that actually different cars one’s a right-hand drive forcam, one’s a left-hand drive to camera, three carburettors and you’re a lot of it comes down to knowledge and gut feeling and thinking how much can we potentially sell that car for? Is it excellent value? Is that the true market value?

Darren Selig
Sorry, I was just sorry. But how much of the elements of the price that someone is just willing to pay for the car drives values? Or are they always looking the other way around? You know, the things he talks about that is driving it into good value benchmarking is different in this way? Or is it just sometimes people just want the car, and they will pay a price for it?

Tom Hartley Jnr
You know, I think that I would answer that. I would answer that question two different ways. You know, often I will use the saying something is worth what something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. But what I mean by that is that’s the market value is okay, having all these bedroom brokers, Mickey Mouse car dealers, who will say to you, I think I can get you x y z for your car, that doesn’t mean anything. They think they can get you x y z for it, because they just want to market it, they want the PR the exposure from dealing with that important car. But at the end of the day, there’s no promises. If Ukraine and Russia kick off again and the car goes down in price, you know that that owner of that car is the one who’s going to suffer any possible loss, the dealer hasn’t got any commitment. So, when I say something is worth what someone’s willing to pay for it, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, meaning that this is the true value of the car. Today, this is how much we will pay you for it. But I do not really ever get many clients that will just want to buy something because money’s no object. Every single one of our clients, whether we sell cars for tens of millions of pounds, or whether we’re selling a car for, you know, three, four or 500,000 pounds, people want to feel that that is the right value. And I would go on further to say that the more valuable a car is, the more people want to know it’s the true value. You know, the more astute the buyer is. And, you know, if it’s the most unrepeatable greatest car on the planet, yes, they’ll be prepared to pay a premium because you have to pay a premium to buy something that’s unrepeatable. I pay premiums I set world records every month in cars that we buy, you know. I went to an auction the other day in Paris, and everyone thought that Jesus Christ Tom, how much did you pay for that, 288 GTO? You know, well mate, did you make a mistake there like that? That was insane. You know, did you have too many drinks at the auction? And you know, we’ve sold 288 GTOs for you know, far more than that two and three years ago. We’re prepared to always pay a top figure for a great unrepeatable car. But every one of our clients always want to feel like they’re paying the right value.

Amanda Stretton
Obviously, a lot of cars will come through you and your experience, you obviously have a huge showroom here. But obviously, there’s a lot of cars being bought and sold elsewhere as well. How do you keep abreast of what else is going on in the market as well, because of course, that’s going to have an impact? So, it’s not just you are knowing the history of this car, how much you bought it for, you know, the particular history of that car. And then its particular value, because you’ve got to have a good picture of what’s going on in the market. But you know, I live, and I breathe this business, I wake up at 630, every single morning. I wake up super early. It’s actually not super early compared to a lot of people. But I’m in my office every single evening until 1130 at night. And, you know, if I don’t know what’s going on around the world, in the car business, bearing in mind that my business, I don’t know how much you know about it or not. But it is absolutely unique, where there’s lots of other great car dealers out there, I wouldn’t say lots actually, there’s a few other good car dealers, there’s a few other good brokers.

Tom Hartley Jnr
But nobody actually buys their inventory. You know, if we can walk around the showroom today, and you’ll see cars that range from prewar cars to classic 1950s and 60s, GT sports racing cars, to modern supercars, which is, you know, very much our bread and butter. And then to Grand Prix cars, and all of those cars, you know, we based on what little or a lot of knowledge that I might have, and my gut feeling is that we will invest in our product, we will buy the cars for stock, and then we will look at reselling them and nobody else anywhere in the world does that.

Amanda Stretton
That seems like a very cash inefficient way of going about it unless, of course, you have a wonderful finance company.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Yeah, all I’ve ever done actually, we don’t work on any fight. Sorry, Darren, but we don’t work on any finance, I’ve always wanted to go to sleep have an evening time, it was the way I was brought up. But I’ve always wanted to go to sleep knowing that whatever happens in the world, you know, I’m not ever going to be an under any pressure. So, all I’ve ever done all of my life is just reinvest my profits from my business, and just suddenly bought more and more stock and more and more stock. And why do I do it, I like to be, you know, it’s hard enough to satisfy one party in a transaction. But when you’re, if you take a car on consignment or brokerage, and you’re satisfying the seller, you’re satisfying the buyer and you’re trying to make a profit. And then on a lot of occasions, the way we do so many deals is that we will take part exchanges in you know, somebody will buy a car for 5 million pounds, and they might want to consolidate and say, actually, you know, I’ve got Tom, I’ve got a modern LaFerrari that I don’t like anymore, I don’t want these hybrid technology around me or I’ve got a prewar Bentley, and I’ve never really used that anymore. And when you take both those cars in part exchange, and I’ll give you some, some. You know, that happens often. And if you don’t own the car, it’s much harder to be that flexible to do the deal.

Amanda Stretton
And as you’re saying as well, I mean, looking around the showroom. I mean, there is a pretty broad spectrum of cars here. There’s no single specialty or mark specialty.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Ferrari, for us is our preferred brand. And we probably do better with Ferrari than any other brand. If you actually look around, you probably will see more Ferraris than anything else.

Amanda Stretton
But I’m looking at the prewar Bentley over there. And then you’ve got the Grand Prix cars over there. And my point is, I mean, it’s quite a diverse, yes, very diverse.

Darren Selig
There may be diverse, but there is a commonality I think in what you have, in that you look for the best the best.

Tom Hartley Jnr
No excuse cars, we don’t get involved. Never had a replica through the door. We have clients call us up all the time and say, hey, I don’t even want you to buy it. Tom, will you just sell it for me? You can charge a 10% commission or how much commission Do you want? And I never want my brand to be associated with selling replicas. I don’t believe in replicas don’t like them. Don’t want them around here. And you know, we like cars that are either super original or perfectly restored. So, we don’t really like we don’t like I purist Yeah, you know, I don’t like to get involved in cars that have too many excuses. You know, it’s lost its original engine. Okay, it’s had a lot the chassis replaced, and the body once was original three bodies ago like those cars at that point, it’s just phone down let’s concentrate on the car

Darren Selig
So, you’re literally down to the chassis plates and basically reconstruction in its entirety and then passed off as the original car. Its bit like triggers broom, isn’t it? It’s had four new heads. I’ve never understood that market. It’s almost like the chassis plate. There was really but the rest is a reconstruction.

Amanda Stretton
So, what is your favourite?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I like 1950s and 60s, Ferraris. So, for me, Ferrari 275 is a car, a model that we know, probably better than most cars. I counted up the other day, and I think we’ve had now 47 different 275s in the last 12 years. So, some of those cars we’ve sold three and four times. So that’s quite a lot of transactions. 250 Ferraris. 1950s. I love the sports racing era. A Jaguar X KSS is like the greatest car. The Steve McQueen effect. But, you know, if they had a Ferrari badge on the front, it’d be $100 million without a shadow of a doubt.

Amanda Stretton
Why? Gosh, okay. I’m curious why? Well, Ferraris attracts such a premium. They are the litmus paper of the classic car world. You know, a classic Ferrari will appeal to, you know, we sell them to very young collectors who basically want the latest and greatest Ferrari supercar. And it will appeal to them to feel that they have a serious collection of Ferraris. And it will help them with their stance with Ferrari and trying to achieve and trying to obtain one of the next new generations. And then we’ll sell some great Ferraris to the old school hierarchy collector, they appeal to absolutely anybody that collects cars. you can be driving around in a 275 or a 250. And you are an extremely knowledgeable lady, when it comes to cars you know more than most other people anyway, full stop. But you know, you might pass ladies in the street who know nothing at all about cars and they appreciate it. Yeah, you know, they’ll look at it and say that they’ll come up and say that is a beautiful car, you know, what is this? What, what, what, what year is it? And what model is it and you know. Ferraris appeal to the world. It’s one of the strongest, it’s the strongest brand, car brand. Now, obviously, you started, as you mentioned at the beginning, working with your dad, and this being very much a family business, what prompted you what inspired you to branch off and set up on your own. Because of course, the family business is still with your dad and your younger brother,

Tom Hartley Jnr
My Dad and my brother it’s still a very successful business. What prompted me was several things really. Number one, for about the last 15 years my father’s business always focused on nearly new luxury and performance cars. And, you know, I focus for the last say 15 years from about 2007 onwards on very collectable cars. And I found that we were getting to a stage around about I remember it happened on one particular car actually, we bought a 250 short wheelbase from New York. And if I remember the chassis number now, but it will come to me. And anyway, we bought this we bought this car from New York, from a doctor actually. And if you went on our website, we saw like Porsche 911, Ferrari 458, the modern cars or Rolls Royce, whatever it was. And then a Ferrari 250 short wheelbase and the 250 short wheelbase at the time was about 12 and a half million dollars and it just sat out place. I felt that those were the cars that I wanted to focus my life on, dedicate my life to and say the most collectible cars you know, I grew up since I was 11 years old buying and selling you know Range Rovers and Porsche nine elevens and whatever they were and it’s a fantastic way to make a living , what a way to live. But after so long the cars just don’t stimulate or didn’t stimulate me the way if I go and buy a Daytona, like you just spoke about, before we went before we before we went live and you buy Daytona and you read through the history file 40 years of its life and where it’s been the people it’s seen. And, to me, that is so much more interesting than buying and selling the same value of car but might be a modern car, you know, in SF 90, for example, in SF 90 or a Daytona, you know, for me, I’d get much more pleasure out of southern Daytona. So, I felt that was number one. Because I wanted to focus on, and I wanted a business that was modelled around focusing purely on those cars. And number two, you know, the way I operate my business is quite different to everybody else, it’s not just different to the way my father does business, or the way my brother does business, you know. I do, the way I operate my business is very different. If you have two partners in the business that basically are working in a different direction, you take time to consider and go well, where what’s going to happen in five years’ time or 10 years’ time. And then you just make a great big leap.

Amanda Stretton
I’m just musing in my head as you’re speaking about what family mealtimes and get togethers must be like, having?

Tom Hartley Jnr
We don’t have that many- my brother and I are still pretty close. But you know, we’re all busy. And, you know, we all have families. So, we don’t, you know, we don’t get together that often

Darren Selig
Completely different businesses now, for the reasons that you state. So, I don’t think it’s any surprise that you made that leap. But you’re obviously very confident to go and do that.

Amanda Stretton
It was still quite scary.

Darren Selig
How much did you feel it was a leap for you?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I feltlike that it was inevitable. So, if it didn’t happen, you know, that year, it might have happened in two years later, or five years later, there’s never a good time. And, you know, you just have to believe in yourself. And you have to just do what’s right for you.

Darren Selig
Well, if it’s in you, Will, you just won’t, you need to get on with it for yourself, don’t you and I had a very similar experience when I had a finance brokerage business. And my partners were getting very different directions. And it was inevitable, that you’d get to a point where I wanted to try and start building a finance company and do something different.

Tom Hartley Jnr
And look at your businesses, you know, blossomed,

Darren Selig
we’re doing okay, I think that’s fantastic. I love to see the growth of it has been fantastic. But you know, also, I would say that I owe my father a huge amount of credit. Not necessarily because what he taught me about cars, because my dad, you know, isn’t super knowledgeable on old cars, which he’ll be I’m not criticizing the way be the first person to probably tell you that, but the work ethic that he instilled in me from being a very young age. You know, I left school when I was 11 years old. And that farmer’s son analogy. You know, my dad’s always been a super hard worker, and then also the ability to close deals. And, you know, that’s very hard to be able to teach anybody how to close a deal. And obviously, that’s evolved over the years. And I do that in a very different style today than what I say my dad will do it in. But, you know, he’s still taught me that from a very young age. So, although our businesses have nothing to do with each other, and our businesses are completely different, yes. You know, I owe him a huge amount of credit for the belief. I remember, when I was 16 years old. On my birthday, my dad called me up. And he said he was with my Mum, and he said, do you know we’ve just been talking and from this day on, you don’t ever ask me my opinion on the value of a car. So, on that point, so he instilled that independence from being you know, at that age from 16 years old. I don’t really do anything different today than what I did what

Amanda Stretton
That’s nice as well, that displays a heavy level of confidence in you. As you said, you’re hugely busy and work incredibly hard, but you found time to take part in a little bit of racing.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Yes, following your footsteps. Well, you inspire me.

Amanda Stretton
You were racing in the Janetta GT?

Tom Hartley Jnr
Glad you weren’t in the series, by the way.

Amanda Stretton
Did you enjoy it?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I loved it. I actually really loved it. I was my first taste in race racing. I find it hard to be able to get the time to go racing. I’ve given up golf basically. And I love golf

Amanda Stretton
what an awful sacrifice

Tom Hartley Jnr
But I love golf, you know, I play golf all my life. And I don’t ever play anymore, I’ve had to give it up. And it’s just so hard because we operate in so many different markets internationally. That that’s the reason why I stay in my office until super late at night. You know, today, for example, I saw an email and a guy said, can you call me at 10 o’clock, Pacific time, so you know, eight hours. And you’ll get requests like that all of the time. And so, for those reasons, it’s hard to be able to go I’m going to go and take a day off. And yeah, go and play golf or go racing. And with racing, you know, you need so much seat time to be any good at it.

Amanda Stretton
So, does that answer my next question?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I’m not very good?

Amanda Stretton
Okay, one season, cut yourself some slack. You need the time and that comes over time, are you going to do more?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I was going to do the Porsche Cup this year. And then I decided to do another season in Ginetta. So, I’m going to go back to Ginetta for another year. It’s a really good series, actually, they’re good people. Lawrence, Jamie, Steph, or there’s a real family there. And they do they do a great job. And they do a great job for juniors actually not that I’m a junior and I couldn’t get into that series. But, you know, they’ve done so much for young talent

Amanda Stretton
It’s hard. It’s really hard for young people to find a way into motorsport these days.

Darren Selig
What are you like on a go-kart?

Tom Hartley Jnr
Do you know you say it’s about your standard, a client of mine contacted me a couple of weeks ago, and he said, Tom, I can’t remember the name of the circuit is a great karting track just north of Northampton? What’s it called? And anyway, these carts 75 miles an hour.

Darren Selig
Oh, my gosh, okay. Not my standard at all. And bumpy circuit,

Tom Hartley Jnr
And I didn’t wear, I didn’t realize that you’re supposed to wear a rib protector. Anyway actually, I think I fractured. I mean, for weeks, my ribs have been in a terrible state. So, I’m not actually looking forward down to go anywhere near a car. I’m going to stick to the Janetta.

Amanda Stretton
Right. We’re doing a thing called Race drive and collect. Pretty obvious I think we’re going to ask you, what’s your favourite car to race? I mean, obviously, you’ve only raced one.

Tom Hartley Jnr
So yeah, I’ve been I’ve been around the circuit in some really cool things. Like I’ve had a McLaren f1 round circuit. You know, I’ve taken some my Grand Prix cars. Yeah. So. Oh, wow. So, I’d probably say a formula one car. If you’ve ever driven a Formula One car around the circuit, it’d be very then it’d be hard to say I like my Ginetta best.

Amanda Stretton
I mean, the answer is always a prototype because it is the best

Tom Hartley Jnr
Have you ever been in a formula one car?

Amanda Stretton
I’ve never driven a Formula One car.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Next time I take my Williams out, you can have a go in it.

Amanda Stretton
Do you promise.

Tom Hartley Jnr
It’s a deal.

Darren Selig
That’s, that’s recorded.

Tom Hartley Jnr
A Formula One car is an amazing sensation. You know, the exhilaration the braking, everything is so dramatic. You know everything is to the extreme.

Amanda Stretton
I’m still excited.

Tom Hartley Jnr
So, yeah Formula One car for me. I would probably say one by Williams. That would be my favourite car to take around the racetrack.

Amanda Stretton
I’m looking forward to seeing them in a little bit. Okay, favourite car to drive on the road.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Oh, as a daily smoker or start with that? Daily smoker. I’ve got an Audi RS6 No, I don’t I don’t like electric cars. But Tesla is not something you’re going to see here for a long time. Audi RS six. That’s my daily smoker.

Amanda Stretton
You’re trying to sell me that won’t you.

Tom Hartley Jnr
I just said that. That that’s a perfect car for me. You said you needed a big car for your dogs.

Amanda Stretton
And funnily enough, an RS6 was what was being suggested.

Darren Selig
That’s a decent shout

Amanda Stretton
Okay, and then collect.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Collect would have to be Ferrari, you know, something like, you know, the ultimate car to collect. What your only allowed one car? what’s the budget? How many cars? Are you allowed? Five cars. Okay,

Darren Selig
Let’s split it. Okay. Under 5 million, 5 to 10 and over 10

Amanda Stretton
Okay, I was going to do it in ages,

Tom Hartley Jnr
How many cars under five? Three. See, the problem is if all of our clients only bought one car, our business number one wouldn’t be very successful. Our turnover would be tiny. So, we always try and promote multiple sales. So, I would have So I would buy 288 GTO, I would buy a McLaren f1

Darren Selig
You’re starting out.

Tom Hartley Jnr
So, these are road ones. Yeah, yes. Yeah. I would buy silver McLaren F1. I would then buy a Ferrari 275 GTB4 Yeah. I would buy a California Spyder.

Darren Selig
This is quite a shopping. This is like the who’s who list.

Tom Hartley Jnr
I thought it was really good business. I sold it to Silicon Valley. It was. So anyway. And I would buy a Jaguar XKSS. I’d have to have a war and I’d have an alpha eight C

Darren Selig
Do you like prewar cars?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I love prewar cars really love them. And you know growing up, I knew nothing about a prewar car, was never even near one. And I remember a client once saying to me said Tom, you’ll make your way older. And I said what do you mean? He said you’ll get into the 70s cars and then you’ll get into the 60s cars and then you’ll get into the sports racing cars. And then pre one, prewar, they drive terrible. But I’ve got a prewar Bentley, a four and a half litre and I probably enjoyed driving that car more than any other car that I’ve got. Because it’s like when you first learn to drive. You’re 17 years old. You know, I learned to drive when I was a lot younger. But when you know when you first learn to drive.

Darren Selig
Normal people 17

Tom Hartley Jnr
I always remember driving but you want to learn how to change gear, you know your foot on the clutch and it’s that sensation of oh, I’m driving now and what do I do? Or there’s the accelerator, there’s the brake. And it’s a little bit like that with a pre war car, you’ve got a Centre throttle. Yeah, you know, if you’ve never driven a car with center throttle, it’s quite intimidating. You’ve driven center throttle.

Amanda Stretton
My dad taught me to drive in his Monza around Guilford.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Yeah, that’s pretty cool. not too many people can boast they learn to drive at Monza.

Darren Selig
No, we didn’t have any of those in Newcastle, they’d be stolen.

Tom Hartley Jnr
So that would probably be you’ve got to have a little bit of a variety of pre war, modern supercars.

Darren Selig
I’m a little bit excited about this topic. Because I don’t know anything at all about pre war cars, and we do fund them. But I know nothing about them, we’d have to go to third party value and get someone else to look at it, because we have no internal knowledge. But always thought, what’s going to happen to all these prewar cars of younger generations interested in them? So, it’s really interesting to hear your excitement about it. And I mean, is it is there still a future in those cars?

Tom Hartley Jnr
Do you feel the same about old master paintings? Do you think that Monet, Picasso?

Amanda Stretton
I agree with you.

Tom Hartley Jnr
So, you know, a Picasso will always be a Picasso. So, you know, the greatest prewar cars will always be coveted by the, you know, any important collection in the world will we’ll have to include them, because it’s just part of the cycle of the evolution.

Amanda Stretton
Also, and just picking up on a point you made earlier about the type of thing you like. It’s that exclusivity, obviously, when you’re looking at prewar original, you know, really good histories, you’re looking at a Far fewer number than you are on 50s cars on 80s car,

Tom Hartley Jnr
They built less cars. But if you look at the ones that still survive today and the cars that survive in their full matching number status or in the full originality, its minuscule.

Amanda Stretton
Talking about restorations, as we sort of are moving along in this conversation you’ve just recently restored. You’ve we’ve had a lot of big restoration projects, haven’t you?

Tom Hartley Jnr
I mean, we have about a dozen cars in restoration at any one time. So, at the moment in Italy, we’ve got we’ve got two Ferrari 275s, we’ve got a Murer, we always have lots of cars in restoration. I love restoration. Love it, like absolutely fine. It’s probably financially not that clever. not that clever of a deal when you procure a car when you buy it. And then you decide to take two years of your life and spend half a million pounds or 400,000 pounds restoring it. And then you get to the end of it and go right okay, what profits left in it. But you know, we always somehow make a profit and your money’s tied up your money, your money is tied up for a long time, you have to put value

Darren Selig
So that’s an interesting question, though. But it sounds like a business line of passion and interest rather than potentially profit

Tom Hartley Jnr
We have to protect our bottom line. So, you I only want to buy a car for think if I have the vision to be able to go that car, we are going to invest a couple of years and a lot of money in it. And then what will it potentially be worth when it’s finished. But you know that again, that takes a lot of experience a lot of knowledge, a lot of contacts, you can’t just buy a car tomorrow and send it to one of the greatest restoration shops on the planet. Because these people are busy. They have two and three- and four-year waiting lists. But we’ve always got cars with them. We’ve always got cars being restored. And I absolutely know that I am a Project man. Like I love seeing the transformation of anything, I love to buy something and then invest into it, and you know, add value.

Darren Selig
Okay, so that becomes emotional input into the transaction. So, when you get to the end, and the restoration is finished, so you’re not thinking quite fancy keeping this for myself now.

Tom Hartley Jnr
I quite fancy keeping every single ca. I tried to stay so disciplined where I say if I buy a car personally, then it’s just you know, I don’t ever sell any of my personal cars. But if I buy a car, if the business buys the car or buy the car through the business, then they’re always for sale. They’ve got to be because if not, we just ended up stop trading. Yeah. And going back to what we spoke about earlier, where my business is unique is that we buy our inventory. If we started to keep all of our inventory would run out of money very quickly. Yes. We wouldn’t have to buy anything else.

Darren Selig
Need finance.

Amanda Stretton
We recently had the opportunity to sell to Wolf’s Ferrari collection.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Toto’s was last year. Yes.

Amanda Stretton
How did that all come about?

Tom Hartley Jnr
We sold Sebastian’s as well last year Sebastian Vessels. A lot of people think that both of those gentlemen sold their full collections. You know, they still have overflow. Well, Toto sold his toto decided that he wanted to sell his Ferraris, so we spoke about it for a while. And you know, I am not sure that Mr. Mercedes Benz which he is yes, should really be seen driving a LaFerrari Yeah. And that is where the decision was made. And yes, it was fantastic that Toto put his trust in my business of everybody else that he knows in the world, and he chose that our business to manage the sale of his cars. Our business we received a one of the most fantastic achievements so far of my business life was receiving a Queen’s award for our international trade a few years ago. And on totos cars none of them came here we you know, we sold them all remote remotely, you know, so Toto based where he is in mainland Europe and these cars were in mainland Europe, but he chose a UK based business to manage the sale for him.

Amanda Stretton
Had it been a conversation that had been going on over time?

Tom Hartley Jnr
You know, Toto is a highly intelligent businessperson and he you know, he would have taken the time to digest and too, to make the right decision, identity makes the wrong decisions. And, you know, he once we spoke about it, he was incredibly happy and very committed that he wanted us to deal with the sale. But at the same time, I am sure he gave it plenty of consideration before even contacting

Amanda Stretton
And as a business you are also diversifying. Aren’t you into hospitality?

Tom Hartley Jnr
Hospitality oh the pub?

Amanda Stretton
Yeah. I am excited

Tom Hartley Jnr
We are looking for good management. Yes. We will move into the Cotswold’s. I know exactly where that is There is a great brewery there. Yes. Although I have never been. But like every single person that I mentioned, Hook Norton into in the world tells me about the brewery. So that must be attached to the beer. But we are building a what I hope will be the destination to buy and sell the world’s greatest cars. It is going to be a 50,000 square feet facility. And it’s, you know, probably means that we’re going to have no money forever, because we just want to keep looking at these construction costs it is insane. And then we’ve also we are moving our family home down there; we bought a farm nearby.

Amanda Stretton
And what inspired this? Because this is quite a big consolidation. And quite a big move

Tom Hartley Jnr
It is a very big move. It’s something that we were thinking of doing for several years. We liked that part of the world; we think it’d be a great part of the world to live in. We’ve got to actually our farm already we’ve got everyone around us is just fantastic neighbours. We’ve got to know them, even though we haven’t put a shovel in the ground yet. But we’re completely being the project man that I am. We’ve completely flattened everything. And we are redeveloping the whole site. And then what happened is about three or four miles down the road, there was a pub that came up for sale, the Greedy goose and which is about a mile and a half away from Daylesford. So, it’s a great part of the world. And, you know, about three or four miles from the house and from the showroom. And we just thought that’d be a really good idea to buy the pub. But we thought at the time, it would be a good idea. And I think I just want it as it will be a trophy. You know, we will I want it to be a very high-end gastropub. And we’ll be able to complement the business. And that may complement the business. You know, we’ll have plenty of clients that come to visit us and go oh, you know, for lunch? Let’s go to our pub.

Amanda Stretton
It’s going to get expensive. This is going to eat into all your profits if you just keep inviting people to our pub.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Yeah, no, no, you’ve got to buy a certain number of cars. You know, you guys will be you can be our first guest.

Amanda Stretton
This is brilliant. Okay, so we’re getting a free lunch, and I’m going to have a go in the race car.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Yeah, but we’ve got bigger plans for both of you.

Darren Selig
Okay, okay.

Amanda Stretton
This is a family business. As you say, you know, you have learned from your father, you’re now running this. What about your children? What do you see for them?

Tom Hartley Jnr
My kids? You know, I would love you always hear people say that. I just want my kids to be happy. And I just want my kids to do whatever they want to do, which is obviously true. You know, I would not want my kids because they would never be any good at it, if they didn’t love it. Yes. If you do not love this business, you know, I see people come into this business all the time. I say to my own staff behind closed doors, I say there will be an estate agent in two years. You know, they are not they have not got the car business inside of them. They are not built for the car business. And, you know, I would love my kids, my daughter, who, you know, she is fantastic with people. She is super intelligent. I’d love her to somehow come into the business. My sons, you know, they are the farmer’s sons. I hope that one day that they grow up and they come into the car business, I find the only thing that is difficult is that they can, it can be so easy to get blasé about the cars, My oldest son, for example, he was a couple of years ago, he was watching the film rush, and he was watching every night rush and he just loved it. And, and I thought this is good. Like he gets him into the cars, but he didn’t realize that every single day you walked past Nicky Louders Ferrari the championship winning six-time winner. And we had at that time the James Hunt 1976 championship winner

Darren Selig
You do become very climatized if you are just around it the whole time

Tom Hartley Jnr
Yes. You must be stimulated by these cars. You know I am stimulated by that McLaren P1. Because I think oh well that is a one owner car. It is UK supplied. It has loads of MSO options and I love that guy and then I can switch very easily, and I love the Nicky Louder 312. This car behind us, this is known as the cafe racer is the only one which is PF Series One Cabriolet but was built new for a Belgium racing driver 13 Time Lemond Entrant. So, my kids, I want them to be involved. But I also somehow, they need to always be stimulated by the business.

Amanda Stretton
But I guess actually now just thinking back, I mean, where you started it was with and I don’t mean to be disparaging about any of it, because it’s still lovely. But you know, Range Rovers and Porsche I mean, It was all mainstream, So you know, you’ve developed and learnt through the years that you’ve been involved, obviously, it’s as you say, it’s hard that it’s hard to keep your children not being blasé because they’re already coming in at the top if you’d like

Tom Hartley Jnr
But I’m doing my best. And if, at the end of the day, my kids don’t want to come into the car business, then I do ultimately want them to be happy. Yes, because they’ll never be any good in the car business, if they don’t love it anyway. And we just have to do the best we can to try and make sure they don’t become blasé.

Darren Selig
But in any career path you’ve got to be. And I say that to all our own stuff, and to young people, is you got to find something you’re absolutely passionate about and obsessed about. And just wake up every day wanting raring to go.

Tom Hartley Jnr
But if you love it, you will never do a day’s work again.

Darren Selig
So, I think it is a blessing if you can find that. So

Amanda Stretton
I am certainly looking forward to having a good look around the showroom now.

Tom Hartley Jnr
We should be there by the end of 2023 the opening party, you can both come look at this. You’ve got a free meal, you get to the opening party, and you somehow get to drive the Formula One car.

Darren Selig
Freebies from Hartley.

Amanda Stretton
Thank you so much. Thank you. Absolute pleasure.

Tom Hartley Jnr
Thank you for having me.

Amanda Stretton
I hope you have enjoyed it. And you can join us next time. We’ll see you then.

The Fund Your Passion podcast is brought to you by JBR Capital. JBR Capital Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm reference number is 682493.
FUND YOUR PASSION PODCAST
In our new Podcast, Amanda Stretton and Darren Selig reflect on the trends in the high-end car finance world, discuss new cars, and talk with industry experts...

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