January 16th, 2020 at 12:06 pm
It’s hard to imagine groups of school children at the Science Museum in London marvelling at the exhaust emissions from the internal combustion engine with equal measures of fascination and horror, much as now, people look on at post Second World war films where doctors were seen smoking on hospital wards. The risks were not really understood.
With EVs, the government’s vehicle of choice for the general public by 2040, traditional petrol and diesel vehicles will be consigned to the scrap heap but are there any classics worth holding onto and tucking away for the next few decades? What are the classic cars of the future, cars to cherish when the internal combustion engine is nothing but a distant memory?
There is no magic formula unfortunately if you look at what is desirable now and relatively rare whether you are talking cars, furniture, jewellery or paintings. There are probably lots of items on that list which wouldn’t have been given a second glance a few decades ago. It is almost impossible to predict which particular variations will have a value although there are some common principles to work to.
Styling and rarity
Unique styling or limited editions, cars which have become famous on the screen, these are all pointers which can contribute to rarity and scarcity value. A piece of revolutionary tech, successful or unsuccessful is another winner. Take the Sinclair C5, the biggest commercial bomb of the post-war years of the last century although now, its inventor, Sir Clive Sinclair, probably has more than a little respect as someone rather ahead of his time. A C5 is currently worth around £700 and rising. Only 5,000 were sold before Sinclair went bust.
Here are some potential targets for enthusiasts and investors, still available to buy and maybe the collector’s items of the future:-
- Audi TT Roadster- there is something so classic about the design of this Audi that just doesn’t seem to look out of date or old-fashioned. The Audi TT Roadster is still a head-turner in the 21st Produced between 1998 and 2006, they are reasonably easy to manage and run. Prices start at around £2,000 up to around £10,000
- Volkswagen Corrado – this has a cult 1980s look and feel but was actually manufactured from 1995 to 1998, a much smaller timeframe than the Audi and might explain why it never really received the acclaim it should have had at the time. The VR6 model is highly desirable but keep a sharp eye out for the rare G60. A good example will set you back around £8,000-10,000
- Renault Clio 182 Trophy – this specific model was produced for just one year, 2005. A 2.0-litre engine in a tiny supermini made the Clio a legend at the time. Look out for the very limited edition Trophy model with trick Sachs dampers and Speedline wheels. Expect to part with anything from £6,500 to around double that
- Ford Focus RS – based on the figures that now attach themselves to the Sierra and the Escort RS Cosworth, then the Ford Focus must be the next one to watch. Building on the reputation of its illustrious relatives, the Focus has kept a strong value. It’s important that it is as original as possible and these are relatively rare
- VW Beetle V5 Sport – this was the Beetle reborn from its mid 20th century Herbie image but it never really captured the imagination of the motoring public when it reappeared in 1997. Isn’t it always the way that now you can longer buy one, public interest has started to increase. If you can find one, aim for the 2.3 V5 Sport Edition – there are not many of them about however
Industry pundits are speculating that the high end of the classic car market is really struggling, however, the same cannot be said of the lower more affordable end. Cars of the 1990s and early 2000s are now becoming the new ‘retro’ and they are still pretty affordable.
Provenance is really important with an older car. If you can acquire a full history then this is going to increase saleability and value and if there is a connection with the actual vehicle and a famous event or film – think the Ford Granada from the Sweeney – then you will be minted. The cars in The Sweeney were all given false plates for filming which is why they disappeared under the radar so effectively. Enthusiast, Mark Marson bought a Mark 1 Ghia in August 2009 and was totally unaware of its famous Sweeney connections until a chance encounter with an expert on the Ford Granada, Pete Maskell, who put him right.
Think about the notoriety of the classic three wheel van from the iconic television sitcom, ‘Only Fools and Horses’, those cars have all but disappeared other than from the most rural locations around the UK. They would have a collectability and value probably far in excess of their original purchase price and all because of a television comedy.
Anticipating the collector’s items of the future is challenging. Limited editions are one key marker, the loss of a motor manufacturer – think Triumph and Saab – another. These increase scarcity value. Iconic styling is something to hone in on although it is not always a guarantee of popularity or desirability.
Condition is very important as is originality – great condition is less premium if almost everything on the vehicle has been replaced from the original.
Because the 1990s and 2,000s cars are not so old, you won’t have to break the bank to buy one. What effect will the change to electric technology have on the classic car market is really hard to say as these are un-chartered waters for motor enthusiasts.
Perhaps the best and most golden rule is to buy something because you like it; because you remember it as a child or young driver, it is part of your history. The market is still pretty affordable which means anyone can throw their hat in the ring and buy an old vehicle, buying petrol for it, however, could be a whole different thing altogether in twenty years time.