Think high-value classic cars and certain names spring to mind – Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti – but in recent years even more mundane models have started to soar in value.
Thanks to “true” classics reaching the prices only billionaires can afford and a bit of nostalgia among drivers of a certain age, everyday badges from the 70s, 80s and 90s have started to attract some serious money.
We’re already in the realms of the £100k Ford Sierra, and people are asking five-figure sums for Peugeot 205 GTIs that a few years ago were selling for a couple of thousand pounds.
But there is still hope for drivers trying to invest in something relatively cheap that’s likely to increase in value.
Graham Eason, director of Great Escape Cars, has helped garage marketplace WhoCanFixMyCar.com compile a list of the classics in waiting. He commented: “There is a real chance that thousands of people could own a future collectible.
“Our fleet covers everything from 1950s Morris Minors to 2006 Aston Martin DB9s and while many people wouldn’t have given those cars a second glance all those years ago, today they’re worth tens of thousands of pounds.”
Among Graham’s tips for cars to watch are:
1. Ford Focus ST170 – £1,000-£2,000
Even standard Focuses are praised for their keen driving nature but the ST170 was a souped-up yet accessible hot hatch that paved the way for later generations of STs and RSs.
Graham says: “Prices have begun to pick up in recent months and will more than likely continue to rise as people rediscover the value of this underdog.”
Look out for: Low-priced examples may have been badly modified or been denied decent maintenance. Electrical issues and hidden rust can affect any model.
2. Jaguar XJS V12 – £9,000+
Many Jaguars are already bona fide classics but the sleek XJS has taken a while to catch collectors’ eyes. Convertible models have already seen a sharp upturn in value and Graham predicts the coupe will soon follow suit thanks to its luxurious GT character and spectacular V12 engine.
Look out for: That V12 can suffer head gasket failure and the bodywork is vulnerable to rot. A poorly maintained car could bring heavy repair bills so find a car with well-documented history.
3. Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo – £1,400+
Possibly Chris Bangle’s finest piece of design, this sharp two-door Fiat has had a cult following for years but can still be picked up for relatively little money. Says Graham: “Its scintillating performance, clever interior detailing and practicality as a four-seater car will see it appreciate over the next three decades.”
Look out for: It’s conforming to a cliche, but rust is an issue for this Italian model so check all around for bodywork corrosion. The engine also needs regular servicing to avoid potential problems so check the paperwork.
4. Aston Martin DB7 V12 – £20,000+
Not cheap compared to others on this list but, from £20,000 it’s a long way from the £92,000 price when new. According to Graham, it’s taken a while for the Aston’s attraction to shine through due but the tide is beginning to turn. V12 GTs are likely to be worth most while the lesser V6 models will take longer to start appreciating.
Look out for: Graham warns: “Poor maintenance is the main issue with Astons as cheap cars tend to mean owners with shallow pockets. Be ready for big bills. An Aston Martin needs a recognised specialist servicing it to maintain its value.”
5. MGF – £1,000-£3,500
One of the last throws of the dice for the doomed British sports car manufacturer. Plenty MGFs were built but not so many have been well looked after, making the increasingly rare examples of interest to collectors. It’s an affordable mid-engine two-seat convertible, so what’s not to like?
Look out for: The MG’s engine has a bit of a reputation for head gasket failure, which can be fixed but won’t be cheap. Like most cars on this list, rust is also an issue that will affect value, and build quality tailed off towards the end of production so try to bag an earlier example that’s been cared for.
Al Preston, co-founder of WhoCanFixMyCar.com, said: “This list goes to show what a fantastic investment cars can be. You never know, you could be sitting on thousands of pounds – if you ensure that your car is kept in good working order, of course.”