Looking for a fun classic, that could make you a tidy profit in a few years time? Here are a few of the most likely suspects
Remember that classic car you were considering buying ten years ago? Chances are it’s now significantly more expensive to buy, perhaps even out of reach. This is a story that haunts countless enthusiasts, and is largely a result of a thriving classic car scene. What is it that makes a classic increase in value? Rarity and history all play a part, as do less tangible aspects such as head turning ability, cultural significance and of course an excellent driving experience – all of which leads to supply vs demand issues.
While a low-volume supercar is more likely to gain value than a family saloon, there are many interesting models that are both attainable and hugely desirable today, that are likely to become more expensive in the medium to long-term future. Many of these modern classics can potentially be picked up for a song today, and unlike paintings or shares, can be used and enjoyed.
Choose wisely, and your classic could be significantly more valuable in a few years – after which you could choose to sell or continue to enjoy. Don’t expect to retire off any profift. When running costs, maintenance and of course storage fees are factored in any increase in value could seem somewhat less impressive. But that’s the thing. You can enjoy something special for five years, and when you’re ready for a change you’ll hopefull end up with more than you started with!
The key to any good investment is to be selective: a car in good condition with few previous owners and no accident damage will be worth a lot more in the future than something that has lead a harder life.
Most importantly – and we can't stress this enough – don’t forget to enjoy your purchase! Cars were built to be driven, seen and enjoyed by all. With that in mind, take a look at some of the modern classics we have earmarked below for inspiration. Many are already on the rise, and if you’ve ever wanted one of these cars, we’d recommend doing so fairly quickly! Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Astons generally take some time to mature before they start to appreciate, but when they go, they really go! Look at earlier models, such as the V8 Vantage, DBS and DB6, and it’s clear that anything wearing the Aston Martin badge is likely to go only one way. The first generation V12 Vanquish was introduced in 2001, and following a dip around £60,000 a couple of years ago, this 200mph GT is already firming up. More than 15 years since it’s launch and the Vanquish looks just as amazing as ever, and now ranges from between £70,000 for an early example to more than £200,000 for a last of the line Manual Vanquish S. The similarly engined DB7 V12 Vantage is a more affordable option, which is also starting to show signs of price increases.
Historically, the ‘entry level’ mid-engined V8 Ferrari has been the affordable entry point into prancing horse ownership. However with clean 308s pushing £100,000 and the F355 already well above this, the affordability mantle falls on the 360M and its sharper-looking F430 replacement. Rare versions such as the Scuderia have held their value well, commanding around £200,000, but it’s the low-mileage standard cars – especially in rare manual guise – that one should look out for. These start at around the £70,000 mark and should be a solid investment as well as a fantastic weekend toy.
The early ‘90s Subaru Impreza’s desirable price/performance mix endeared them to a whole generation of petrol heads, their rugged design and four wheel drive running gear also showed them to be very accomplished rallying machines. Used cars can be real bargains but the ones to look for are the rarer models such as the very collectible 2.2-litre 22B or the Prodrive developed P1. Cheaper alternatives include the Richard Burns RB5 edition, while some of the rarer Japanese models such as the Type RA are likely to attract a lot of attention in the future. With prices ranging from £3000 for a standard STi to £15,000 for a P1 (and beyond £30k for a 22B), the key to an Impreza’s future value lies in finding the most original and well cared for car you can, avoidin overly modified cars and ones with patchy histories.
The days of the naturally aspirated petrol engine are numbered. Emissions regulations and high development costs mean that their high-revving nature and immediate responsiveness are destined for the history books. This makes the S2000 a unique and extremely appealing prospect. Introduced in 1999, its 240bhp 2.0-litre engine had a 9000rpm red line and the highest specific power output of any naturally aspirated engine. Along with a great chassis are and beautifully precise gearshift, it remains a fantastic drive to this day. Post 2005 facelift models had a much-improved chassis, but as long as the mileage and condition is right they are all great buys. The earliest cars start at around £5500.
With Alfa Romeo back on form with the latest Giulia and 4C, it’s worth looking back a few years to another desirable Alfa, the 247bhp 156 GTA. A great drive, the sonorous 3.2-litre V6 engine and well-proportioned lines add to its desirability, but with that much power channelled through the front wheels, handling can get tricky – although Q2 diff does help significantly. They never sold in great numbers, so finding a good one may take a while but it is the key to a happy ownership experience so don’t settle for the first one you find. Sportwagons are rarer still and add a dash of practicality into the mix. Prices for good GTAs are still reasonable at around the £8000 mark, but these special machines have a lot of fans and are likely to continue rising.
While TVR is seemingly on track to begin production in the next few years, its new car remains a relative unknown. What is obvious though, is that it will be a significantly different beast to the TVR of old. The cars built in Blackpool, such as the last of the line Sagaris, are still seriously adored by fans of the marque and offer a unique experience. 380bhp, no ABS and a chassis that demands respect is pure TVR, the decent build quality and reliability were a welcome change however. Prices are already above the 2006 asking price of £50,000, a sure sign that the Sagaris is heading into the classic investment category. For quite a bit less outlay the T350 and Tuscan are also very desirable alternatives and still provide proper supercar performance.
Following on from the iconic E-type is no easy task and the XJS, with its GT inspired design and laid back driving experience took a while to gain acceptance. Questionable build quality early on didn’t help things but with a 20 year production run it had plenty of time to get things right. That it did, with the post ‘92 face lifted models in both six and 12-cylinder versions being the pick of the bunch. Well looked after earlier cars can be a real steal with prices ranging between £2000 and £20,000, but watch out for unloved examples as they can be a money pit.
Renault has been building class leading hot hatchbacks for decades now and the Clio 182 is one of the very best. The recipe of potent 2 litre naturally aspirated engine, manual gearbox and wieldy chassis combine to provide the sort of driving excitement generally reserved for rare exotics. Values for tatty examples could not get any lower, and even showroom condition cars are rarely above £5000. The rarer Cup cars do command more, and the limited-run Trophy model is the one to have if you can afford the significant premium. Values may take a while to see any significant rises, but this is arguably the 205 GTI of the last decade.
Turbochargers across the range, two types of SUVs and the slow demise of the manual gearbox: it seems as if Porsche’s move to water cooled engines in the ‘90s was the least of our worries! Nonetheless the firm’s products remain at the cutting edge of technological innovation and now that people have embraced the need for change, values of the first water cooled 996s are on the up. Early engine issues are mostly a thing of the past and while most variants are destined to rise in value, a manual shifting face lifted 3.6-litre Coupe may well be the pick of the bunch. It is also worth noting that older 993 and 964 models have already risen in value sharply so the £14,000 you need for a decent 996 seems like a massive bargain today.
How about something a bit older?
A quintessentially Italian sports car, the Fulvia is a fantastic classic that was made available in a variety of body styles and engine sizes to suit all tastes. While sedans are practical and less pricey, the collectable ones are the pretty coupes and rare Zagato models. With a lightweight chassis, front wheel drive and revvy V4 engines the Fulvia proved a great success in rallying and values are greatly affected by a sporting history. Useable cars start from £10,000 right up to £45,000 for concours condition Zagatos.
Here are some that you missed earlier…
Investors have traditionally put their millions into shares and stocks to realise the best returns, but get it right and the investment car market can outperform even the most successful hedge fund. Just take a look at the increase in value that some of these well know classics have enjoyed over the past 5 years.
Aston Martin DB5 – Standard cars have risen in value from £540,000 to £1,100,000, while Vantage models now command up to £2,200,000 in today’s market.
Lamborghini Countach LP400 – The original 1974 model has seen 400% growth in half a decade with concours condition cars now commanding over £1,500,000.
Porsche 911 2.7 RS – One of Zuffenhausen’s finest driver’s cars, the original 2.7RS has seen prices almost triple from £ 266 000 to £730 000 since 2011.
Ferrari 288 GTO – The precursor to the comparatively more common F40, the 288 GTO has shot up in value from a comparably bargain price of £540,000 to £2,200,000 in a short five years.
Words: John Tallodi