by Raj Hunjan
Prindiville PLC are a high end performance car specialist based in central London. They have an investment opportunity that is ground breaking in the industry. It will allow car enthusiasts to directly invest in the company, and not just see a return for their investment but also get involved in the company with the level of involvement is dependent on the amount invested. In order to understand how this offering came to fruition, I arranged to meet with Alex Prindiville at his London showroom. Prindiville’s showroom is very close to Limehouse DLR station which makes it extremely convenient for both Canary Wharf and London City clients to pop in for a coffee, a chat and to eye up the latest stock Alex has assembled in the impeccably finished showroom. City airport is also very conveniently located for those traveling from further afar. There was a hidden agenda to my last minute visit, I noticed that Alex had in stock not one, but all three hypercars which collectively are dubbed the ‘Holy Trinity’. They are the McLaren P1 (limited to 375 examples), the Ferrari LaFerrari (limited to 499 examples) and the Porsche 918 Spyder (limited to 918 examples). Religious or not, this is a sight worth seeing, especially the three delivery mile examples in the tiled room. These aren’t the first examples of the three cars that Alex has bought and sold, he has sold many of each but having all three positioned perfectly side by side takes your breath away, even if you only have a slight interest in four wheeled propulsion. Sharing floor space are three iconic classic cars, a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL, Lamborghini Countach and Jaguar E-Type.
I was keen to find out where Prindiville originated from, as it could provide those that dream in dealing with supercars and the wealthiest collectors in the world, insights into how to get to where Alex is now, at the forefront of the trade with the prime London City showroom. Alex doesn’t mince his words, he is very approachable and happy to talk to anyone about where the company came from, what stock they currently have and give advice on what cars are choice buys right now. The roots of the business were established far away in an engineering workshop, where Alex worked on a lathe, machining metal engine components, this gives him a grounded appreciation of car construction. Alex’s next move was into the car body repair industry, he bought a bodyshop and got involved with repairing high end cars including many Ferrari’s. Having met Alex I imagine that the work his operation completed was of the highest quality. As car construction evolved, to make cars lighter, faster and safer, steel was replaced with aluminium and then later carbon fibre entered the mix. Alex took on each of these materials and all the techniques involved with working them on high end cars gave him the inside knowledge and experience that is unrivaled.
This repair work led on to designing and fabricating bespoke body parts for cars, partnering with some of the most renowned aftermarket companies which projected Alex onto the World stage, working with renowned original and aftermarket car manufacturers. The contacts he built up were invaluable and then quite naturally he started linking people up with one another globally when they were seeking out the rarest and most coveted cars – the type that don’t get driven and are secretly stored by fastidious collectors. This side of the business snowballed to a point where it was dwarfing the manufacturing projects, so Alex made the conscious decision to focus purely on the high end car brokering and sales. This was in 2009, during the credit crisis. Despite the market turmoil, people were trading cars more than ever.
“I don’t sell cars, I advise clients based on lifestyle what cars would suit them, which is a key difference. If I don’t have the perfect car in stock then I will be able to find it very quickly.”
The first Prindiville showroom opened in 2011, it was centrally located at Old Street, London, with business booming the company fast outgrew it. Instead of just upgrading to a larger place in the same location, Alex decided to relocate to somewhere much better suited to both Canary Wharf and the City, which is where a large number of his clients work, this led to Alex setting up the Limehouse showroom they occupy today. The showroom can accommodate ten to twelve cars, and that together with a storage facility close-by has been enough. However, business has been steadily increasing to a point where even this larger space is not enough so there are plans afoot for a one hundred car showroom, close-by which will be largest supercar showroom in London, the UK and possibly in Europe. The stock will include iconic classic cars to hypercars and everything in between that would appeal to Prindiville’s client base of wealthy individuals and collectors. Alex wants the business to be the one stop shop for all your high end car needs, so choice stock in Ferrari, Porsche as well as Range Rover will also earn showroom space.
So how is this expansion going to be funded? Partly from the roaring success of the existing business and partly from the collectors and investors that have been knocking on Alex’s door asking to get involved in the business, seeing from the outside how well Prindiville is doing. A £12m funding target has been set to secure the new showroom and purchase the additional stock. The investment offering is in the form of bonds, which is a structure that is relatively safe and secure. More details of the investment offering are available from Prindiville and the product will launch on 1 November 2016.
Alex was happy to share his views of the high-end car market with me, in summary he believes the classic car market has well and truly boomed, the ‘right’ cars are still selling at the top estimates. What defines the ‘right’ car? Impeccable history, provenance, condition throughout, colour and specification. If a car is missing one or several of these then it won’t achieve close to the top tier prices that are being agreed on the open market and behind closed doors. Alex believes the age of buying cars as part of a portfolio of assets is an accepted practice for wealthy individuals, and it is easy to see why when over the last five years their values have been safe, rocketed in many cases. The absence of government control and taxation on value gains also is a big draw to some. Last year was the best time to sell a car which may have been missing something that makes a car an exceptional collectors proposition. This year buyers are slightly more hesitant and insist on finding only the best or expect big discounts to do a deal, so in summary this year does not mark a new dawn, rather a correction in perception.
I asked Alex what get’s his heart racing on the road, and I was slightly taken aback by his answer. As we were sitting with the three most valuable hypercars in the planet, he explained his love for electric vehicles, especially the Tesla. His reasoning? What other car can drive 250 miles for pennies, is smoother than a Bentley and can out accelerate anything on the road today… I am starting to see his point. I was also surprised to find out that Prindiville are the largest dealer of used Tesla vehicles in the UK. The love for electric doesn’t end there either, Alex mentions that he built several all electric Hummers, another day I’ll get more details as that sounds like a very interesting concept. If you have any interest in sportscars, classic or modern I highly recommend popping in to see Alex and his colleagues or giving them a call.