Buying the right classic car can be a sound investment indeed, with appreciating motors offering better long-term financial returns than art, property and even gold, in some cases.
The problem is, how do you know which models are ripe for a boom, meaning you can buy at low prices today with the understanding that they will become more valuable in the next few years?
Fortunately, there’s an annual market report to help inform petrol-heads about which cars have plenty of predicted future demand.
The 10 classics earmarked to provide a return from 2022. Pictured from left to right: Porsche Boxster, Ferrari 458 Italia, MG TB, Renault Clio Williams, Renault 4L, Rolls-Royce Camargue, Triumph TR6, Mini Cooper, Maserati 3200, VW T3/T25 Camper
Now in its second year, the Bull Market review for the UK is a list of classic cars that are at the bottom of their appreciation curves, according to boffins at Hagerty.
Here is the top 10 cars it has identified as ripe for a rise from 2022 onwards.
Value information is based on models from a ‘fair’ to ‘concours’ condition, with the lowest price being cars that need some work and the highest based on examples good enough to be put on display.
Ferrari 458 Italia (2010–2015)
Average values today: from £104,000 to £200,000
The 458 is the last of the naturally-aspirated V8 Ferraris, with the Italian brand forced to introduce turbocharging beyond this supercar due to emissions restrictions. This guarantees this as a real future classic
The Ferrari 458 is undoubtedly a car that’s extremely likely to rise in value in the coming years, given that it is the last naturally-aspirated V8 mid-engined supercar made at the Maranello factory.
2013 Ferrari 458 Italia specs
Engine: V8, 4497cc
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, RWD
Power: 562bhp at 9000rpm
Arguably one of the Prancing Horse’s best-looking modern-era motors – again penned by Pininfarina – it goes just as good as it looks, with a 562bhp 4.5-litre eight-cylinder powerplant and rear-wheel drive guaranteeing the closest thing to driving perfection.
If you have the funds to buy one today, your driving licence might as well be added to the extinction list.
The 458 can reach 124mph in 10.4 seconds, go on beyond 200mph and be a short jab of the throttle pedal away from a six-month disqualification.
Collectors are already snapping them up where they can, Hagerty says. It says the value of the cars it insures worldwide increase by 3.7 per cent in 2021 compared with the previous year and there has been an increase of a third in the number of younger owners – born between 1964 and 1981 (so ‘Generation X’) – who have got their hands on them in that period.
Maserati 3200 (1998-2002)
Average values today: from £8.900 to £26,650
The Maserati 3200 was relatively overlooked in favour of the Porsche 911 of the era. But values have dropped to a point where this is an affordable model that’s worth considering
While this wasn’t the strongest era for Maserati as a road car maker, the 3200 is one model that appears to be gaining interest from collectors.
1999 Maserati 3200 GT specs
Engine: twin-turbo V8, 3217cc
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, RWD
Power: 370bhp @ 6000rpm
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the sports car was a more elegant alternative to the Porsche 911 and Jaguar XKR of the same generation.
Signature details such as the boomerang-shaped rear light cluster and the distinctive Maserati trident badge set into the C-pillar made it stand out from the crowd.
The 3200 GT is becoming more common at UK auctions with about a dozen consigned each year, compared with around five a year in 2016, says Hagerty. Of the models offered at auction, 75 per cent have sold successfully in the last 18 months.
Experts believe the combination of its evocative badge, striking design and high performance should make the 3200 GT a great-value package if bought now.
Mini Cooper R50 (2001-2006)
Average values today: from £900 to £6,650
Not everyone was happy to see BMW relaunching the Mini name in 2001. Yet, Hagerty believes good examples of Cooper versions could be in demand soon
When BMW relaunched the Mini name in 2001 many were unconvinced – and that remains the case today. No longer ‘Mini’ in size or priced as a budget-friendly option for all, the original car’s fanbase has largely not been won over by the modern-era car.
2001 Mini Cooper specs
Engine: 4-cyl, 1598cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual, FWD
Power: 113bhp @ 6000rpm
That said, the one trait the new Mini retained was the fact it’s fun to drive and offers similarly sharp handling.
Whether you opted for the entry-level One or the warm Cooper version it was – and still is – a hoot to drive.
The R50 Mini is now instantly recognisable and one that Hagerty believes will be increasingly collectable.
The data suggests this is already happening: more are coming to auction, with over 40 each year since 2019, with Hagerty tracking a sell-through rate of a huge 92 per cent.
MG TB (1939-1940)
Average values today: from £25,200 to £59,900
While the MG TB might seem like a costly vintage motor to keep running, a good parts supply and simple mechanics makes it a pretty solid classic opportunity
The TB Midget is the rarest of all MG T-series. Launched in May 1939, just 379 were built.
1939 MG TB specs
Engine: 4-cyl, 1250cc
Transmission: 4-speed manual, RWD
Power: 55bhp @ 5250rpm
Visually it was little different from the two-seater TA roadster of 1936, save for new wire wheels and cooling vents in the bonnet. But the TB enjoyed the introduction of the XPAG engine – smaller than the one it replaced, but a good ten per cent more powerful.
The oldest car in this year’s Bull Market list for 2021, the MG TB has been chosen because it potentially offers entry into a host of historic motorsport events.
Added to its rarity, this makes it a popular model: 84 per cent of the T Series cars that Hagerty tracked at auction in the last two years sold: that’s above the 75 per cent average.
With good parts supply and simple mechanics, this is a ‘terrific’ entry into the older classic car scene.
Porsche Boxster (1996-2004)
Average values today: from £4,875 to £12,650
The original Boxster, launched some 25 years ago, is now in high demand. Buy one today before the values go through the roof (if you have it up, that is)
If you’re a regular reader of classic car stories on This is Money you will know that we have recommended the original Porsche Boxster as a solid investment before – namely our first ‘classic cars better than cash in the bank’ feature this year.
1999 Porsche Boxster 2.5 specs
Engine: 6-cyl boxer, 2480cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual, RWD
Power: 204bhp @ 6000rpm
The Boxster, by sharing its componentry with the 996-generation 911 and debuting far more efficient production methods at the company, helped save Porsche.
Today, the 986 Boxster is seen as one of the most affordable ways to own a Porsche, with many early reviews claiming it to be a better driver’s car than the 911 of the day.
The two-seat roadster is becoming an increasingly familiar sight at auction in the UK. In 2017, fewer than 50 were sold that way, but in 2021 Hagerty reports that number has trebled, to nearly 150 sales.
The successful sale rate sits at 89 per cent, too. This indicates that the original Boxster has found its place with the modern-classic crowd, and a rise in average values of nearly five per cent in the last year is further reflection of this.
1961 – 1994 Renault 4L
Average values today: from £2,800 to £8,400
Renault confirmed earlier this year that the ‘4’ nameplate will return before 2025 as an electric crossover. This could see demand for the original creeping higher
The Renault 4 is very much a newsworthy car to have in this list, with the confirmed return of the French icon before 2025.
1987 Renault 4 GTL specs
Engine: 4-cyl, 1108cc
Transmission: 4-speed manual, FWD
Power: 34bhp @ 4000rpm
The original 4L went on to become one of Renault’s greatest sales successes, with the affordable family car offering space, reliability, safety, and performance – though its utilitarian style was a matter of taste.
The use of fully independent suspension, much like its 2CV rival, gave the 4L another of its unique characteristics, a wheelbase 45mm longer on the right than on the left. Fortunately the 4L never had the performance to trouble its uneven wheelbase.
The Renault 4 was produced in vast quantities, but not all that many were sold in Britain. It means it’s a rare find for sale in the UK.
Over the past two years, values have been driven up by the few that have sold at auction here, climbing an impressive 39 per cent with demand predicted to continue rising.
Renault Clio Williams (1993-1995)
Average values today: from £8,400 to £24,267
The Renault Clio Williams is a 2000s era hot hatch with rally car credentials that is starting to become incredibly collectable in modern classic circles
In an era when hot hatchbacks were extremely hot property, the Renault Clio Williams was another fine example of a ‘rally car for the road’.
1993 Renault Clio Williams specs
Engine: 4-cyl, 1988cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual, FWD
Power: 148bhp @ 6100rpm
It was wholly developed by Renault Sport and gained the reinforced front subframe from Renault’s Clio Cup race cars, together with revised suspension to include uprated springs and dampers, rear torsion arms and meatier anti-roll bars.
The track was widened and those glorious gold Speedline alloy wheels were squeezed under the 16v’s blistered arches. A hot hatch legend was born.
The Clio Williams’ limited production numbers and motorsport heritage make it very collectable indeed. Plus, it’s of the right era: Hagerty has tracked a rise in the values of 1990s homologation cars. It has the potential to follow the trajectory of the 1980s hot hatches such as the Renault 5 Turbo and the 205 GTI.
And mileage doesn’t appear to be much of an issue. Recently, examples with over 100,000 miles have been advertised for prices exceeding average values – a bona fide sign that the market for the car is moving up.
Rolls-Royce Camargue (1977-1986)
Average values today: from £25,000 to £70,000
Production volumes of the often overlooked Camargue were small, meaning there are few around. While it went through a period of low values, they are starting to sell at auction for bigger numbers
The Camargue, the world’s most expensive production car at the time, was controversial in its day, and because of this it was far from a roaring success.
1977 Rolls-Royce Camargue specs
Engine: V8, 6750cc
Transmission: 3-speed automatic, RWD
Power: 190bhp @ 4000rpm
Some 531 cars were built between 1975 and 1986, and when launched it cost £29,250 – equivalent to almost £291,000 in today’s money.
To drive, it is wonderfully wafty. The steering is agreeably light, the power brakes quite sharp and the transmission’s focus is purely on providing seamless shifts, not instant response.
Slowly but surely this bold car has been attracting attention all over again. While just 46 to 50 per cent of Camargue examples in 2015 to 2016 sold, fewer cars and better examples have resulted in an 83 per cent sell-through rate in 2021.
In Europe this year, two examples of the Camargue have sold for more than €100,000 and cars advertised for private sale in the UK are priced above the average values, an indication that prices may be on the rise.
Triumph TR6 (1969-1976)
Average values today: from £6,200 to £31,000
A roaring success when on sale, there is a continual supply of Triumph’s TR6 for sale. In the last year, 82% that have gone to the block have met their reserve and sold – a sign that demand is growing
The curves that gave a finishing flourish to the earlier TR4 and TR5, styled by Italy’s Michelotti design house, were chiseled off by Karmann, the German company that had the job of shaping the 1969 TR6.
1972 Triumph TR6 specs
Engine: straight-six, 2498cc
Transmission: 4-speed overdrive manual, RWD
Power: 150bhp @ 5500rpm
It’s simple, with a relatively big engine upfront, two seats in the middle, a roof you may as well leave down and rear wheels that do the driving.
There’s a TR6 to suit most budgets and buyers can afford to be picky, perhaps considering a rust-free car from America.
The TR6 was hugely popular there, accounting for the great majority of its 94,000 sales, and cars that have lived in dry states could be a smart buy.
A roaring success when on sale, there is a continual supply of Triumph’s TR6 for sale, yet despite this Hagerty says values increased by an average of nearly 13 per cent over the last two years and 82 per cent sent to auction have met their reserve – suggestive that these are being bought up as investments.
Volkswagen T3/T25 Camper (1979-2002)
Average values today: from £5,600 to £23,750
A rise in Covid-enforced staycations for the last two summers is likely having a positive impact on values of retro campervans – and now is the time to jump on this example
One motor that has started to see a rise in popularity in classic vehicle auctions is the T3/T25 Camper, with enthusiasts buying them up during the pandemic as retro staycation mobiles.
1989 Volkswagen Transporter (T3/T25) specs
Engine: 4-cyl boxer, 1994cc (Subaru engine)
Transmission: 4-speed manual, RWD
Power: 115bhp @ 5600rpm
Weight: 2000kg (est.)
Hagerty has tracked values of the earlier ‘bay window’ and ‘split screen’ campers, recording a significant increase over the past few years.
Experts believe that, compared with the earlier versions of the VW camper, the T25 presently offers a great deal: whilst not as pretty, it has improved handling and crash protection and the earlier versions even maintain the air-cooled charm.
Marketed under numerous names, but known as the Transporter in Europe, the T25 was the third generation of Volkswagen’s practical rear-engined working vehicle and was introduced in 1979.
Family lineage to the ‘bay window’ Type 2 was clear to see, but its squared-off detailing brought the new van more in line with Volkswagen’s contemporary passenger car range.
How Hagerty picks its top choice classic cars
The Hagerty Bull Market List is an annual compilation of classic and modern-classic cars which provide the owner with a pleasurable driving experience while also predicting which makes and models could be bought without fear of them losing money.
However, the list isn’t tailored to investors.
Instead, it’s aimed at people who want to find, buy and drive a vehicle they love.
To compile the report, Hagerty analysed both its market valuation data and insurance quotes and policies, looking for indicators that suggest a car is rising in value and increasingly in demand among drivers.
The UK Hagerty Price Guide also tracks auction sale results and private sales to ensure drivers can be fully informed about the value of a classic or modern-classic car.