News, Culture & Society

Race-bred cars from the ’80s and ’90 that have sky-rocketed in value

Some race-bred modern classic cars have sky-rocketed in value in the last year, according to a new report.

Even the restrictions of the coronavirus has failed to stall demand for performance models from the 1980s and 1990s, according to classic vehicle valuations experts at Hagerty.

It claims that some retro motors – like the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth – have increased in value by more than 70 per cent in the last 12 months as examples of these limited-edition vehicles changed hands for staggering fees during the pandemic.

Here are five cars from the days of big hair with highlights and even bigger mobile phones that have soared in value in the last year.

Homologation specials in big demand: Road cars based on their racing counterparts from the 1980s and 1990s have been selling for huge fees in the last 12 months, despite the impact of the pandemic. This includes the Audi Quattro Sport from 1983-1984 (pictured)

The cars experiencing the recent boom are from an era of motorsport when manufacturers spared little expense to compete on the track – and the dirt – in a bid to tempt drivers to buy their cars.

The emergence – and subsequent termination – of the turbocharged Group B rally era of the ’80s as well as fiercely duelled touring car championships across Europe spawned the arrival of various ‘homologation’ specials.

These are the high-performance road cars that were loosely based on the racers that were required to be produced as part of regulations to make them eligible to go head-to-head in competition.

This mostly resulted in small production runs of road-legal cars – sometimes as small as 200 units – that had number plates as well as plenty of racing pedigree.

Many of the cars that survived to tell their tale some 30 to 40 years later are now worth more than a pretty penny, as John Mayhead, head of automotive intelligence for Hagerty UK tells This is Money.

‘The 1980s and ’90s were decades that divided opinion. Were they absolutely fabulous, or do we look back at our youthful years with a sense of misguided nostalgia? For petrolheads though, one thing is beyond doubt: this was the era of some of the best motorsport ever seen,’ John explains.

‘This spawned some of the most stripped-out, turbo-charged, box-arched cars ever to hit Britain’s roads. 

‘These cars are cooler than ever, and the most recent update of the Hagerty Price Guide shows their attraction has translated into rising prices.’

John has lifted the lid on recent sales activity of five models in particular that have had a meteoric value rise in the last 12 months.

1. Ford Sierra RS Cosworth (1986-1992)

Average value in Dec ’19: £28,350

Average value in Mar ’21: £48,550

Increase: £20,200, 71% rise

The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth has been in massive demand in the last five years, with examples of the '500' model achieving over £100k at auction. In the last 12 months, there have been high-value sales of less-special examples

The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth has been in massive demand in the last five years, with examples of the ‘500’ model achieving over £100k at auction. In the last 12 months, there have been high-value sales of less-special examples

The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth one of the major rising stars from this era, adding an average of £20,200 to its value over the year, according to Hagerty’s Price Guide. 

Homologated to allow for its use in touring car series, it has gone on to become a cult classic. 

Only handfuls of the 1,653 cars built remain in unmodified form – and if you have one, you could seriously cash in right now.

The very best are currently commanding significant prices with both Bonhams and Silverstone Auctions recently valuing examples for £75,000.

Interestingly, it’s the achieved values of less-special Cosworth examples that has moved the goalposts and pushed the Sierra RS to new heights. 

In February, ACA sold one rated as being in a ‘good’ condition (this is the second lowest of four valuation ratings Hagerty uses, with the highest being ‘concours ready’) for £59,400. Another example, which was significantly modified and unoriginal, sold in the last month for £49,500.

It’s fair to say that demand is incredibly high for these Fast Fords right now.

2. Audi Quattro Sport (1983-1984)

Average value in Dec ’19: £253,500

Average value in Mar ’21: £267,500

Increase: £14,000, 6% rise

The Audi Quattro Sport's value has been inflated by the sale of a race-ready car in February, which became the biggest-value rally car of all time to sell at auction for £1.8million

The Audi Quattro Sport’s value has been inflated by the sale of a race-ready car in February, which became the biggest-value rally car of all time to sell at auction for £1.8million

The Audi Quattro Sport is another significant riser in the Hagerty Price Guide. 

Some 12 months ago, an ‘excellent’ example of this shortened, box-arched Group-B homologation special had a value of £265,000. Today, Hagerty’s value is £284,000 and the very top, concours examples are valued at up to £404,000. That’s if you can find one of the 224 built.

The rise has mainly been due to high value achieved prices, but the recent auction of the final race-ready Quattro Sport S1 gives a good example of the fervour that there is for these cars. 

This 1988 Audi Sport Quattro S1 is the last of the legendary Quattro rally cars to ever be produced. It sold for almost £1.8million - a record highest fee paid for a rally car at auction in February

This 1988 Audi Sport Quattro S1 is the last of the legendary Quattro rally cars to ever be produced. It sold for almost £1.8million – a record highest fee paid for a rally car at auction in February

This car was commissioned by the German manufacturer to compete in the Race of Champions, which took place two years after the end of the Group B rallying era in tribute to driver Henri Toivonen

This car was commissioned by the German manufacturer to compete in the Race of Champions, which took place two years after the end of the Group B rallying era in tribute to driver Henri Toivonen

In early February, Artcurial sold a motorsport-prepared, ex-Race of Champions Sport Quattro S1 for a staggering €2.016m (1.8m), more than twice its pre-sale low estimate.

It was one of a number of former rally-bred road cars sold to the highest bidder in the same sale, where 1985 versions of fellow Group B rally icons the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2 and Renault 5 Maxi Turbo hit record figures of €997,440 (around approx £876,300) and €667,520 (approx £486,400) respectively.

3. Lancia Delta HF Integrale (1986-1994)

Average value in Dec ’19: £49,375

Average value in Mar ’21: £60,575

Increase: £11,200, 23% rise

When you think of road-going homologation specials of fire-spitting Group B rally cars, the Delta Integrale should definitely pop into your mind. Values have been rising astronomically in the last five years or so

When you think of road-going homologation specials of fire-spitting Group B rally cars, the Delta Integrale should definitely pop into your mind. Values have been rising astronomically in the last five years or so

If you’re looking for a sharp riser in recent years on the modern classic car scene, the Lancia Delta HF Integrale is a prime example.

Fifteen years ago, end-of-the-line Evo II specification cars had a top guide price of £7,500. By 2015 this was up to £40,300 for ‘excellent’ examples and by 2019 it had jumped again to £50,200.

Incredibly, values have risen sharply again in the last 12 months, with the Guide now listing that model at £64,500 and top examples as high as £85,400. 

That valuation is now under review with the potential for yet another increase, says Hagerty. This is because a number of sales have occurred at the top level, including an Evo II selling at an extraordinary $131,600 (£95,800) in Scottsdale during January.

The sale of an ex-Martini Racing 1986 Delta S4 in the same Articurial event where the Audi hit the record high figure paid for any rally car in history has also ushered values higher. It changed hands for a monumental €810,560 (around £712,100).

With some 44,296 examples produced across varying specifications, plenty of owners are sitting on solid investments in 2021. 

4. BMW E30 M3 Evo II (1986-1991)

Average value in Dec ’19: £57,575

Average value in Mar ’21: £64,025

Increase: £6,450, 11% rise

If you want a sparkling example of the most desirable BMW E30 M3 Evolution cars, you might have to pay over £60,000 today, based on recent sales

If you want a sparkling example of the most desirable BMW E30 M3 Evolution cars, you might have to pay over £60,000 today, based on recent sales 

Stepping away from the world of rally-bred homologation specials to an icon with touring car credentials.

Values of the standard BMW E30 M3 coupe have risen significantly over the last few years, but it is the special editions that attract high sales prices.  

The raciest Sport Evolution models are the most sought after, with just 600 made in total.

Average values of the Evo II have risen from £57,575 to £64,025 in the past year, says Hagerty.

5. Renault Clio Williams (1993-1995)

Average value in Dec ’19: £11,038

Average value in Mar ’21: £16,350

Increase: £5,312, 48% rise

The Renault Clio Williams - developed by the F1 team with which it shares its name - is at the more attainable end of the market. However, that won't be the case for long if values continue to rise at the rate they did in the last 12 months

The Renault Clio Williams – developed by the F1 team with which it shares its name – is at the more attainable end of the market. However, that won’t be the case for long if values continue to rise at the rate they did in the last 12 months

One example that’s still towards the more affordable end of the market is the Renault Clio Williams, especially first generation ‘1’ cars of which 4,400 were built.

For years, as other hot hatch values rose, prices of the Clio Williams remained relatively static. However, in the last year there has been a surge of interest in the original batch of homologation cars. 

Although you can still buy a rough Williams for under £10,000, values of the very best are on the up. 

Hagerty Price Guide now shows an ‘excellent’ example of the later Clio Williams ‘2’ as worth £18,100, and values across the board have risen by an average of £5,700 in the year.

Covid has boosted demand – and values – for some classic cars, says specialist motor auctioneer

Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions told Hagerty UK that – even during a year-long pandemic – cars of the 1980s, 90s and noughties are very much in demand in the market place – and, encouragingly, that demand is being driven by the car enthusiast community.

‘The Covid influence has been, in a way, quite positive,’ says Whale. ‘What it’s meant is that the audience of real enthusiasts have been at home, by and large, and looking online and looking at what’s out there, and the people who bought the cars who weren’t real enthusiasts and have been gradually trying to get rid of them because they paid too much for them has led to plenty of transactions at realistic market values. 

‘If you’re a real enthusiast and you love your car for what it is, it’s great news because you don’t want artificial influence on the market because it destabilises it.’ 

John Mayhead from Hagerty adds: ‘ ‘Hagerty Price Guide Values of many high-performance 1980s and ’90s modern classics have been rising quickly. We spotted a trend: that homologated cars seem to be very attractive to buyers at present. 

‘Hagerty believes that the combination of low production numbers, high performance and solid motorsport credentials gives these cars exactly what the market wants.’

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk