Over the past 5 years, and longer, I have sat back and painfully watched the stellar price rises of European sports cars. The once ‘relatively’ achievable cars of my dreams have since appreciated into oblivion and well out of reach of the average buyer.
A few examples of the once achievable now insanely expensive classics include the BMW E30 M3 now $100,000+, Porsche 964 now $150,000, and the Ferrari 355 now $300,000. Even the humble Datsun 1600, which I have in my garage, appears to have doubled in price in the last couple of years.
No doubt cars like these are destined to become garage queens and been seen less and less on the roads, but it does pose the questions, what’s next? And out of these what can still be afforded by the average enthusiast?
One of the trends I noticed when watching some of the stellar rises is that the bottom comes when the prices become achievable for the enthusiasts, who unlike collectors, drive, modify, and race the cars. This combined with iconic styling for the period and a declining stock pool create a recipe for price rises and collectability.
BMW E30 – All models
With a classic 90’s style that has starred in countless movies from the period and a racing heritage for good measure, the M3 hero model has well and truly started to run but all other body types can still be had for under $10,000. Decent examples have already started to rise and some more desirable models, like the 325, with the more powerful motors, are in the teens.The E30 is popular in motorsport and the modified car scene. The available stock is depleting as models get cannibalised and modified, and good standard examples are becoming harder to find.
My pick out of the bunch would be a well-sorted coupe or convertible. Achievable at under $10,000, and a sure bet for a future modern classic.
VX HSV Clubsport
It’s too early to tell early to tell how the modern classic Holden/HSV market will settle post Commodore manufacturing, but it’s a safe bet that the long-term prospects are looking good.Out of the modern HSV range, the VT Clubsport would be the pick for a collector because of its Australian heritage and for being the last model to be mated with the 5L Aussie made V8, but I couldn’t find any of these under $10,000. The next best is the VX Clubsport fitted with the 5.7 motor and is widely available under $10,000.
The Clubsport was and remains an aspirational model for Aussie car enthusiasts. There doesn’t appear to be an equivalent replacement coming any time soon, so the aspiration is now to own a piece of history. No doubt this will have a positive effect on the price of all models.
The VX Clubsport is the best value option of the bunch and can be had for under $10,000. My pick of the bunch would be a manual with as few km’s as possible (most are 200,000km’s plus). It’s hard to imagine such a desirable piece of Australian automotive history not increasing in value considering the circumstances and significance.
In the 90’s the Subaru WRX defined the Japanese pocket rocket category. Circa $40,000 new cars had previously not had this level of performance, so the legend of the WRX was born. I remember in the late 90’s seeing a WRX on the road every 10 minutes, they were everywhere. Now you are lucky if you see one classic WRX a week.The WRX was the car of choice for modifiers and racers since the 90s, and this didn’t treat the availability well. The stock has well and truly been depleted thanks to the attrition of cars on the street and race track so finding good unmolested examples is now no easy task.
The values of WRX’s in reasonable to good condition have already hit their bottom. I suspect that the premium examples are now wrapped up in collections and waiting for the rise that’s coming. The iconic status of the early models is hard to question.
A decent early model WRX can still be had for under $10,000, but for classic appeal steer clear of modified examples.
The 350Z is a different choice as I don’t think its ready yet to be a ‘classic’ but over time I’m betting it will prove itself. Already prices have dropped below $10,000 and are offering incredible value for the enthusiast, modifier, or racer.Nissan and Datsun have a good history of making classic sports cars. The 80’s and 90’s were a golden age for Nissan with GTR, 180SX, Silvia, 200SX now either in the classic or future classic stages. Despite their abundance when new, time hasn’t treated them well and they are now increasingly rare.
The 350Z is arguably the last of the future classic Nissan’s. The most promising aspects of the 350z are the value and style. For what this car offers for the price it’s hard to believe it can drop any further. It’s already a cult classic amongst Nissan fans and over time as the stock depletes the prices will pick up and future classic potential will be seen.
It’s the most obvious of all future classics, arguably already a proper classic. Prices bottomed out years ago but you can still pick up a good example under $10,000.There is no need to go on about the status of the MX5 as they are one of the most well-known cars in existence and are still getting made today under the same or similar principles, almost 30 years later.
The MX5’s have gone through the motorsport and modified stage and are now appealing to the collectors and weekend cruising enthusiasts. These buyers are willing to pay more for nice examples and they have already driven up the prices. Good examples under $10,000 will not be possible in a couple of years time.