When you think of classic car investors, your mind will likely draw to well-heeled millionaire types splashing seven-figure sums on rare Aston Martins and Ferraris from yesteryear, perhaps with the intention of putting them into a dehumidified display, kicking back and watching their stock rise in the coming months.
But for petrolheads of more modest means, there are affordable collectible motors to put money into that can be enjoyed from behind the wheel and also hopefully make a few quid further down the line.
However, identifying which models at a lower price point are suitable for such investment isn’t easy and requires some market knowledge.
Which is why we’ve asked classic car valuations experts at Hagerty UK to run the numbers for us to recommend classic – and modern-classic – cars costing less than £15,000 today that are, based on recent form, primed to be appreciating assets.
Affordable classic car investments: We’ve teamed up with Hagerty UK to identify ten models that have seen a year-on-year rise in value and are likely to go up in price in the near future. Do any of them take your fancy?
‘The best thing about these sorts of cars at this price point is that they are accessible classics,’ explains John Mayhead, Hagerty UK’s Price Guide editor, making him the man in the know about which motors in particular are on the rise right now.
‘They have the potential to be great fun, really stand out from the other cars on the road and provide a driving experience that is just so different to the ‘norm’, attributes that are the same as more traditional classics that tend to be a lot more expensive.
‘That means, with everyone tightening their belts, these cars could offer a good opportunity for someone who wants a classic but has a more limited budget.’
John says that Hagerty prefers to avoid describing cars as ‘investments’ because ‘it misses out on the freedom, camaraderie and sheer fun that driving an old car can bring’ but says this list of cars ‘shows the potential for increasing in value’ as prices go up.
‘This could mean that running costs are covered; classic motoring is one of the few pastimes where this can happen.’
John’s recommendations are an eclectic mix including British classics, nineties French hot hatches and even modern-era Japanese sports cars.
Here are the ten motors under £15,000 that are showing signs of rising in value.
1. Bentley Brooklands (1992-1998)
Average price now: £14,925
Average price a year ago: £13,450
Year-on-year value increase: 11%
This ’90s luxury Bentley might have cost just under £90,000 new some 30 years ago, but today it’s far more affordable. An average example will set you back just under £15k – but recent sale history shows value is on the rise
Bentley unveiled the Brooklands in 1992 as its entry-level model, replacing both the Bentley Eight and Mulsanne S in the process. With prices starting from just under £90,000, it was a more affordable alternative to the brand’s flagship – and ludicrously expensive – Bentley Turbo R.
While both cars looked similar and featured Bentley’s 6.75-litre V8 powerplant, the less expensive of the two initially did without a turbocharger. Later, a turbo ‘Brooklands R’ was added to the range in 1996, just two years before it was discontinued and succeeded by the Arnage.
The Brooklands was considered a success with some 1,719 sold globally. However, it isn’t a car that earned instant classic status with values plummeting through the noughties. But now there are signs that prices are on the upturn.
‘It remains one of the cheapest ways into V8 Bentley ownership, and although it didn’t have the power of some of its stablemates, it wasn’t lacking any of its style,’ says John.
Hagerty UK says similar 1990s classics are really shooting up in value, and the Brooklands is ‘a lot of car for the money’. You can currently pick one up for a smidgen under £15,000. A year ago, the average value of these were just under £13,500, with prices up 11 per cent in the last 12 months, sale data shows.
2. Triumph TR8 (1978-1980)
Average price now: £14,225
Average price a year ago: £12,125
Year-on-year value increase: 17.3%
The Triumph TR8 was dubbed the ‘British Corvette’, taking the wedge-shaped TR7 sports car and adding a Rover V8 powerplant. Unfortunately, the production run was short, meaning there are few genuine UK examples available
The Triumph TR8 was considered by many the ‘British Corvette’. It was a more powerful V8-engined version of the wedge-shaped TR7, though it was more popular on US soil than it was at home, mostly because very few were ever produced in right-hand drive.
Instead of using British Leyland’s own eight-cylinder engine – which is the same one powering the Stag – Triumph opted for the 3.5-litre Rover V8 unit deployed in the sleek SD1.
Built for less than two years, nearly all were left-hand drive examples sold to the American market and Canada with only handfuls of UK-spec examples manufactured.
That said, many TR8 creations have been built by enthusiasts by taking the TR7 and bolting in the Rover V8 motor. Some of these cars have been converted by professional outfits, while others are DIY jobs that might be best avoided.
According to the latest HowManyLeft records – based on vehicle licensing statistics published by the Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency – there are 57 TR8s still on our roads, two of them automatics.
This rarity has driven up average values, says Hagerty UK. The company’s Price Guide shows that values have risen a huge 17.3 per cent in the past year – the most of any car on this list. John says it’s an ‘instantly recognisable car that surely has potential to increase’.
3. Peugeot 205 Rallye (1988-1992)
Average price now: £14,350
Average price a year ago: £13,625
Year-on-year value increase: 5.3%
If you can manage to track down a Peugeot 205 Rallye (there aren’t many still on the road) the chances are it is going to rise in value as demand for sporty small 1990s machines soars
When you hear the words Peugeot 205, the three-letters that commonly follow in the sequence is ‘GTi’. However, there is another sporty 205 that’s starting to get recognition.
As well as the CTI hot cabriolet, there was the smaller-capacity ‘Rallye’. Only around 30,000 were built between 1988 and 1992 and most were sold on the continent’s mainland.
While the GTi was given 1.6 and 1.9-litre units, the Rallye’s engine was the modest 1.1-litre powertrain from the 205 XR bored out to a 1,293cc capacity to produce 102 horsepower, which was only a shade less than the 1.6 GTi. This was in order to comply with the Group N and Group A rallying requirements of sub-1.3-litre engines. It also borrowed suspension and braking components from its iconic hot-hatch sibling.
The tiny motor and stripped-back interior (it had zero soundproofing, no stereo, manual windows and basic dashboard) saw the 205 Rallye tip the scale at a flyweight 794kg. With skinny tyres wrapped around steel wheels, its driving dynamics are something of legend among enthusiasts.
While all the focus over recent years has been on the 205 GTi, with prices rising to as much as £70,000, and the Group B-spec T16 Turbos – one of which sold at auction in 2021 for a massive £876,300 – the Rallye has gone under the radar. However, Hagerty says the market loves these rare 1990s cars at the moment, and with just 42 believed to be registered in the UK today it would make a smart investment granted you can find one.
Last year, prices increased by 5.3 per cent, with average examples available today for a shade under £14,500.
4. Fiesta XR2 Mk2 (1984-1989)
Average price now: £11,125
Average price a year ago: £9,750
Year-on-year value increase: 14.1%
While the Mk1 Fiesta XR2 (left) was a tad disappointing due to its 1.3-litre engine, the Mk2 model (right) with the 1.6-litre unit from the Escort XR3 was an instant UK hit. There’s a growing appreciation for these as classics and prices are increasing
While the Mk1 Fiesta emerged back in 1976, it wasn’t for another five years that a fully-fledged ‘hot hatch’ version was offered to the public in the shape of the XR2. It was unleashed in 1981 in a bid to rival the Peugeot 205 GTi and Volkswagen Golf GTI, but failed to match their huge acclaim, mostly due to its underpowered 1.3-litre engine.
However, when the Mk2 Fiesta arrived in 1984 the brand also launched an XR2 with a bigger 1.6-litre motor lifted from the Escort XR3 – and it made all the difference. It went on to be a huge success in the UK and was said – at times – to be responsible for almost half of all Fiesta sales.
While prices for similar Fast Fords of this era – notably Sierra RS Cosworths – have boomed in recent years, XR2 values have remained relatively low… until now.
There are signs that the market is shifting and starting to appreciate these cars, which is why they’ve gone up in value on average by more than 14 per cent in the last year. Ford’s decision to end production of the Fiesta for good in June is also likely to spark a new wave of interest and demand in quality XR2s.
A good example today will set drivers back closer to £15,000, though the average price according to the Hagerty Price Guide is £11,125.
‘It’s the car your very cool mate owned, and Gen X buyers are snapping them up,’ says John.
5. Land Rover 90 petrol (1984-1989)
Average price now: £13,025
Average price a year ago: £12,325
Year-on-year value increase: 5.7%
Early examples of the Land Rover 90 are gradually going up in value, says Hagerty. Models with petrol engines produced from 1984-1990 (before it became the Defender 90) are up almost 6% in the last 12 months
The three-door 90 was launched in 1984 – one year after the five-door 110 – but didn’t become the ‘Defender 90’ until a naming restructure was introduced in 1990. And these models between the Series vehicles and Defenders are the ones we’re focussing on here.
Since the ‘proper’ Defender went out of production in 2015, values of the box-shaped British 4X4 have been on the rise in a big way.
The ones earmarked for rising in value of late are the early examples of the three-door variant with petrol engines. Hagerty believes these are up 5.7 per cent in the last year, with average prices now costing just over £13,000 – if you can get your hands on one.
With these vehicles now within touching distance of their 40th anniversary, it means the first examples off the production line will soon qualify for ‘historic vehicle status’ in the eyes of the Government, meaning exemption from annual MOT tests, vehicle excise duty and low-emission zones, like London’s ULEZ and the Birmingham CAZ.
‘Later Defender values have soared in recent years, as have the earlier ‘Series’ Land Rovers, but we think it’s time for the middle kids to have their day,’ John tells us.
6. VW Golf GLi (1979-1985)
Average price now: £11,025
Average price a year ago: £10,450
Year-on-year value increase: 5.5%
If you’ve been priced out of early Volkswagen Golf GTI ownership, why not consider the convertible Mk1 GLi, which used the same powerplant as the legendary hatchback? Hagerty UK says it is starting to appreciate
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is among the greatest of all hot hatchbacks through generations, which is why prices for examples across all eras dating back to its inception are now incredibly high. But that doesn’t mean you should overlook other potent Golfs from a previous era – as this recommendation highlights.
The Mk1 Golf GLi convertible represents wind-through-the-hair classic motoring with plenty of power involved. Yet appreciation of this classy cabriolet has been slow to pick up. Experts say this is changing and prices are starting to accelerate as the GTI market continues to go to new heights and prices some collectors out of ownership.
The open-top Golf made its debut in 1979 at the Geneva Motor Show, with the GLi’s 1.6-litre unit the same engine as featured in the Mk1 GTI. It also carried over the stiffer suspension setup, meaning it handled better than many give it credit for. By 1982, the GLi was upgraded to the 1.8 GTI engine before VW bosses changed the car’s name to the GTI Cabriolet in 1985.
Some 101 are said to still be registered in the UK, and twice as many are declared off the road as SORN. That means there should be ample availability if you go on the hunt for one. And that wouldn’t be a bad move, with average sale prices growing by 5.5 per cent in the last 12 months.
‘OK, so the GLi won’t trouble a GTI off the line, but they have a lot of the style and the soft top makes this a great summer car. Most now qualify to be historic vehicles,’ John told us.
7. Honda S2000 (1999-2009)
Average price now: £13,675
Average price a year ago: £13,100
Year-on-year value increase: 4.4%
Can a car on sale between 1999 and 2009 be considered a classic? No. But there’s little doubting the Honda S2000’s credentials as a future classic, which is why Hagerty UK says petrolhead investors should be considering them now
If you’re searching for a modern classic Japanese sports car with plenty of potential to rise in value in the coming years, look no further than the Honda S2000. On sale for the best part of the noughties decade, this is a fast and capable roadster from a golden age of old-school engineering that should be relatively dependable.
It’s been a few years since S2000s hit the bottom of their depreciation curve, with average values now creeping close to £14,000, according to the Hagerty Price Guide.
There has been a huge rise over the last year, but John says this could all change soon: ‘These really have the potential to increase in value as a relatively affordable modern performance classic.’
Popularised by an automotive era engulfed by Gran Turismo and the Fast And Furious franchises, this high-revving four-cylinder sports car garnered plenty of admiration that only until recently has started to be reflected by a rise in value.
The S2000’s naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine produced between 237bhp and 247bhp depending on pre or post-facelift, though both hit their maximum power output at a wailing 8,300rpm. Despite this, reported engine failures are as rare as locating a needle in a haystack, meaning you can get your hands on an appreciating future classic that won’t cost an arm and a leg in maintenance costs.
8. Rolls-Royce Silver Spur (1980-2000)
Average price now: £14,050
Average price a year ago: £12,875
Year-on-year value increase: 9.1%
The Silver Spirit is among the most overlooked of all Rollers from the recent past, despite being wonderfully cossetting, beautifully appointed and generally very solid
Inside the extended wheelbase Silver Spur is a truly wonderful place to be, as you can see from this stunning cabin shot
Debuted at the British Motor Show in 1980, Rolls-Royce took the wraps off the Silver Spirit at the same event the Austin Metro was unveiled and Ford revealed the Mk3 Escort – though most people will likely only recall the latter cars.
In fact, the Silver Spirit is among the most overlooked of all Rollers, despite being wonderfully cossetting, beautifully appointed and generally very solid.
The Silver Spur is the long-wheelbase derivative of that car, and production actually outlasted the Spirit on which its extended body was based.
All examples were powered by Rolls-Royce’s tried-and-tested 6.75-litre V8 petrol, though fewer than 120 are believed to exist on UK roads today.
Recent auction and private sale data points to them appreciating by more than 9 per cent in the last 12 months, with an average example costing £14,000 today, having been below £13,000 a year earlier.
‘Wow… what an imposing vehicle for the money,’ John tells us. ‘Pure luxury, masses of space, and there’s the potential of a second income as a wedding car. Or, just drive around town looking like a member of the 1990s Brit Pack.’
9. MG Maestro Turbo (1989-1991)
Average price now: £7,500
Average price a year ago: £6,500
Year-on-year value increase: 15.4%
Despite Tickford’s best efforts to disguise the Turbo with an aggressive bodykit, it failed to hide the face there is a Maestro underneath. Performance wise, there were few hot hatches that could keep up with this underappreciated performance car
Launched some 40 years ago, the Maestro was British Leyland’s answer to a state-of-the-art five-door family hatchback at the time. It was produced from 1982 to 1987 by British Leyland, and from 1988 until 1994 by Rover Group.
In 1988, bosses decided to soup it up in a bid to break the hot hatch market with an MG Maestro Turbo of which just 500 cars – plus five press cars – were built.
It used the standard Maestro’s 2.0-litre petrol but added a turbocharger to boost power to 150bhp. This shaved the 0-to-60mph time to 6.7 seconds and increased top speed to 128mph. Tickford also designed a special bodykit and alloys that – it hoped – would appease boy racers of the era. Unfortunately, it failed to disguise the fact a Maestro lay underneath.
Despite being faster than most of its rivals, customers were more drawn to cars like Ford’s Escort XR3i before production was ceased in 1991 as to not steal sales from Rover’s 200 and 400 GTis.
Given the incredibly low production output, examples are hard to come by today. Records shows there are just 25 registered on the road. However, despite their rarity they hadn’t seen the huge price jump similar-era cars have enjoyed… until last year, gaining a whopping 15.4 per cent in average value.
‘A big rise in Hagerty Price Guide value last year is likely to continue, especially for pristine examples,’ John explains.
10. Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign (1986-1994)
Average price now: £9,850
Average price a year ago: £9,750
Year-on-year value increase: 1%
While Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign values are up only £100 year-on-year, its 40th anniversary is coming up and will make it a bona fide classic car. This could have an impact on sale prices
Okay, of all the cars to feature in our list, this is the one with the lowest increase in value in the last 12 months, recording a modest price rise of just 1 per cent. However, that doesn’t tell the full story about why Hagerty thinks the Jaguar Sovereign will become an appreciating four-wheeled asset in the near future.
Based on the V12-engined Jaguar XJ6, the Sovereign represents the pinnacle of the model’s trim levels at the time.
All examples came equipped with air conditioning, headlamp washers, a six-speaker sound system, rear self-levelling suspension and anti-lock brakes. That’s a comprehensive spec sheet for a car on sale almost four decade ago. Pre-1991 models also had inlaid burl walnut wood trim for the quintessential British motoring look. John Prescott famously owned one (not that this fact with increase value).
And all this mid-eighties opulence can be had today for less than £10,000 on average today, based on recent auction and sales prices tracked by Hagerty UK.
While values are up only £100 year-on-year, there is a landmark event coming up that could put the Sovereign in the spotlight.
Because the XJ6 debuted in 1986, its 40th anniversary is just around the corner. This will also see the car earn automatic classic car status, with earliest examples qualifying for VED, MOT and emission zone exemptions. ‘With a roaring V12, this is another car that will reach its 40-year milestone in 2023, says John. ‘That will move it into the true classic zone.’