Auto leasing hit historic highs in the past couple of years and now finances about 27% of new-car sales.
Leasing is particularly popular with the luxury brands — 75% to 80% of new Mercedes-Benzes and about 50% of new BMWs are leased.
And specialty collector-car leasing companies such as Putnam Leasing and Premier Financial Services have become major players in financing collector-car transactions. J.J. Best Banc & Co., prominent in the field as well, offers traditional financing.
But leases in the collector-car market are quite different from those in the new-car market.
Traditional, new-car leases are called “closed end” leases. You lease the car for a fixed period of time, say three or five years. There may be some up-front consideration, such as a down payment. At the end of the lease term, your lease obligation ends. You can just give the car back and walk away. Or, you can buy it for the pre-determined residual value, which was set at the beginning of the lease term.