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1980s hot hatch values set to continue rising

As interest and demand continues to grow for classic hot hatches, prices are expected to rise


The last five years have been a financially rewarding time for any owners of classic hot hatches.

Values have risen rapidly from the time they bottomed out around 2010, and the market only looks likely to continue in the same direction. An industry expert told Classic & Performance Car that prices for clean, low mileage examples are set to 'reach the 15k mark within a couple of years time.' 

'The people who dreamed of owning hot hatches when they were a teenager are now in a position to afford to buy them, so I can’t see them getting any cheaper!' says our source from Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, based in Herefordshire, who have a pristine example of a Renault 5 GT Turbo due to go under the hammer on September 23.

The 5 is undoubtedly one of the hot hatches of the era which has seen its popularity rise the most. Partly due to the trend towards downsized turbocharged engines in modern performance cars, its force-fed 1.4-litre unit has meant that the Renault’s talents are more appreciated than ever. Brightwells has set a guide price of £8500-£10,000 for its example – completely plausible, especially considering a similar model recently sold for £9000 at auction.

Contrast those figures to two examples Brightwells sold in 2013, which went for £3000 and £3200. Admittedly, both had slightly higher mileages than the 24,000 of its current lot, but even in a relatively short space of time, the increase in values is clear.

It isn’t just the Renault 5 which has seen rising values, though – the iconic Peugeot 205 GTI is seeing similar gains. Barely four years ago, it was possible to find a 1.9 Phase 1.5 in good condition, finished in Cherry Red for around £2000 – I know, because I bought one myself. It wouldn't be ambitious to expect three times that for a GTI today, and much more for a mint example – now £2000 barely bags a tidy 1.1 GL.

It isn’t just the thrilling French examples which are changing hands for big money, either – if anything, the British love for Fast Fords has seen the values of Fiestas rise most of all. A source showed us his Mk1 XR2, which in near-immaculate condition cost him a little over £1000 in 2012. Today, it isn't surprising to see similar models change hands for over £10,000. The very best are advertised at close to £20,000.

For those still hunting for investment opportunities, there is still time to get involved in the hot hatch craze, especially if you’re willing to choose left-hand drive examples. Due to the current slump in the value of the Euro, demand from buyers on the continent has tailed off, keeping values a little lower in comparison to right-hand drive models.

Any tips for finding the best investment opportunities? Search for cars with fewer than 70,000 miles on the clock, as that tends to be the point where buyers experience a psychological barrier beyond which cars become less sought after. For the time being at least, there isn’t likely to be a let up in values though, regardless of the mileage.

Words: Alex Ingram

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