Just like Wall Street, the classic car trade has its ups and downs, with investment vehicles coming in and out of favor over the years.
There are some blue chips that are in it for the long haul, like ultra-rare Ferraris and Le Mans-winning Fords, but the values of most fluctuate quite a bit with the demographics of the buying pool. A recent survey found that Gen Z is now the most interested in buying a collectible ahead of Millennials, Gen X and the Boomers that started this whole craze.
The one big difference is that unlike a share of Tesla, you can drive a classic car to get some money’s worth out of it, regardless of what the resale value ends up being.
That said, no one wants to lose anything on a major purchase, so the folks at Hagerty Insurance have analyzed the trends to create its Bull Market list of cars, trucks and a motorcycle to watch for in 2021. Factors like recent price changes, web traffic, quote values and the total number of quotes were all considered.
Hagerty isn’t making any hard performance predictions — so buyer beware — but has chosen a mix of under the radar vehicles, former hits seeing a resurgence in interest and relatively new models that have turned the corner on depreciation and are ready to appreciate while you appreciate them.
2011–12 Lexus LFA
The $350,000 LFA was an oddball for the value-oriented luxury brand, but it’s 553 hp V10 engine and supercar speed made it an instant classic. Only 500 were built and Hagerty pegs the current value of a well-driven example at about $550,000.
2006–10 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
With its 420 hp HEMI V8, wide tires and very low stance, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 definitely wasn’t built to go off-road, unless you’re talking about a race track. The SUV cost around $40,000 when new and its value was up 8.3 percent last year to nearly that amount.
1984–91 Ferrari Testarossa
Even ignoring its starring role in “Miami Vice,” the Testarossa is so 80s it almost hurts, so it’s no surprise that Boomers and Gen Xers are the most interested in it today. Priced at $165,000 when new, they sell in the $100,000 range, but values increased 8.7 percent last year with the highest price paid at auction 37.5 percent more than the previous year.
2005-17 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
The V8 Vantage was designed by Henrik Fisker, who’s latest car company startup is worth $4 billion, so he’d probably have no problem picking one up for the $50,000 Hagerty figures they’re worth today. Prices have held steady the past few years, however, with lots of interest coming from younger buyers.
1964–70 Honda S600/S800
When you think Japanese two-seat sports car, the 52 hp Honda S600 or its S800 successor probably doesn’t come to mind, but you can buy one for under $20,000, which is less than a new Mazda MX-5 Miata. Don’t wait too long, though, as it increased in value 18.5 percent last year.
1980–91 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia
The 1960s VW Microbus gets all the attention, but the Vanagon shares its quirky rear-engine layout and has plenty of charm, especially in Wetsfalia camper van form. Prices for a decent one range from $27,000 to $36,000 and are up 27.7 percent over the past three years.
2005–06 Ford GT
The original Ford GT40 from “Ford v. Ferrari” fame is a multi-million collectible these days, but the fortieth-anniversary tribute is slightly more accessible at just under $400,000. That’s nearly triple what they sold for new, but while prices haven’t grown much lately, Hagerty says interest in the 205 mph coupe across all age groups is.
2000–06 Audi TT Quattro Coupe
The retro-modern TT helped drive a design trend that thrived during the aughts, but unlike the VW New Beetle and rebooted Ford Thunderbird, you can still buy a new TT today. The original is a lot cheaper, however, and can be found for $10-$16,000.
1948–54 Jaguar XK 120
There’s no shortage of beautiful Jaguars out there, but the XK 120 is an all-time great. It was the fastest production car in the world for a time, with a then-blistering top speed of 132 mph, and served as both a racing and road car. Values have dropped 8.6 percent over the past year, but the going rate of $140,000 is still quite a bit more than its original price of $3945. Gen X likes the XK, though, with quote rates up 33 percent this year.
1969 Honda CB750 (Sandcast)
While many consider the XK 120 the first supercar, the Honda CB750 was the first superbike, and the initial 1969 edition was particularly special. Its transversely-mounted four-cylinder engine’s block was sand-cast, rather than die-cast, making it unique. Values increased 11.5 percent in 2020 to upward of $37,500 for a daily rider.
1993–97 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80
The Land Cruiser name has been in use across eight decades and there are plenty of cool ones for collectors to pick from, but Hagerty says the 1993-1997 model is special because it was the last with a solid front axle and inline-six-cylinder engine, but also the first that was good on the road, thanks in part to a set of coil springs and four-wheel disc brakes.