Investing in classic cars isn’t just for millionaires and deep-pocketed enthusiasts – it can also be a savvy financial decision for those on tighter purse strings.
The big problem is identifying which ‘affordable’ collectible cars could become appreciating assets.
Fortunately, Hagerty’s Price Guide can help direct people towards the motors that are accelerating in price.
This is Money exclusively reveals the 10 collectibles that currently cost less than £30,000 that have soaring in value the most in the last 12 months, using data collated by the guide since the end of last year.
There are now over 50,000 years, makes and models of classic cars covered in the Hagerty Price Guide from the Edwardian era to modern classics.
This year was a strange one in the classic car market, with the majority – 75 per cent – of cars in the guide static in value, with 14 per cent falling.
But of those that rose in value, there were some really special cars, especially at the more affordable – sub-£30,000 – end of the market.
Here are the top ten classics in that category that soared in 2023:
10. BMW Z3 M Roadster – up 36%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £20,000
Avg Price Dec 2023: £27,275
The Z3 M roadster is proving popular among millennials, with the average good example rising in value by 36% in the last 12 months. The one pictured was originally owned by former Leeds United striker, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Every one of the six BMW Z Series cars tracked by the Hagerty Price Guide rose in value this year.
Standing for Zukunft, German for ‘future’, the cars had a modernistic look that was miles away from standard BMW styling when the first car, the Z1 was released in 1989.
The most collectable is the very limited edition Z8, but the Z3 M has recently taken off, with millennial buyers flocking back to its 90s styling combined with M variant upgrades.
9. Vauxhall Calibra 2.0 8V – up 37%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £1,750
Avg Price Dec 2023: £2,400
There are now fewer than 500 examples of Vauxhall’s nineties Calibra on the road. The 2.0-litre 8V variants have jumped in value by 37% in 12 months – it’s among the most affordable of the cars here
The Vauxhall Calibra was a surprise riser this year.
This futuristic coupe was Vauxhall’s reply to the invasion of Japanese sports cars that arrived in the early 1990s, and was famously the most aerodynamic production car on its release in 1989. Now, they are extremely rare, with less than 500 of all types left on the road.
That rarity, and a low price point, has led to a big percentage rise (although only a few hundred pounds in real terms).
8. Talbot Sunbeam-Lotus – up 42%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £16,350
Avg Price Dec 2023: £23,275
The performance hatchback – co-developed with Lotus – was Talbots answer to the VW Golf GTI in the 1970s. Values have risen by 42% since December 2022
The Sunbeam Lotus was Talbot’s answer to the fast Fords and European GTi models that were flooding the market at the end of the 1970s.
A superb rally car, it has recently hit the headlines again, appearing in the Forza series of video games and on the TV show Bangers & Cash.
The other mark of a successful hot hatch has also been achieved: Tolman Engineering created a 242bhp ‘reimagined’ version, to acclaim in the motoring press. All that translated into a big price rise.
7. Renault 4CV – up 42%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £6,850
Avg Price Dec 2023: £9,475
The Renault 4CV is one car Hagerty expected to see fall in value, like many of its 1950s saloon counterparts. Yet it has risen on average by 42% since December 2022
The Renault 4CV is exactly the type of car that Hagerty would expect to be going down in value, alongside most of its other 1950s saloon counterparts.
But the 4CV has a couple of strings to its bow: it’s eligible for the ultra-exclusive Mille Miglia retrospective event and it has a very keen following by collectors in France.
Recently, the latter have been spending freely, as a few very unusual (and valuable) versions have come to market including both Découvrable (convertible) and Barquette (open-top sports) models. Those sales have pushed up the average.
6. Ford Escort XR3 – up 43%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £7,700
Avg Price Dec 2023: £10,975
The Ford XR3 is now going in the direction of many other Fast Fords of this era. Average prices have risen by 43% in the last year
Uprated suspension, a unique bodykit and those magical twin Weber cars made the Ford Escort XR3 every young man’s dream in the early 1980s.
Ford was seen as a working class British hero then, much less pretentious than the European hot hatches from Volkswagen and Peugeot.
That reputation, and the attraction of this car, hasn’t waned, and this August’s sale by Iconic Auctioneers of a sub-1,000-mile XR3 for a record £33,750 has helped to propel values upwards.
5. Citroen CX – up 43%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £6,825
Avg Price Dec 2023: £9,750
One of the most iconic shapes of 1970s and ’80s European motors is the CX. Average values in 2023 have increased by 43%
The Citroen CX is a car that has seems to have suddenly regained its place as a motoring icon.
A stunning design that is almost as beautiful and iconic as its DS forebear, prices have started to soar back home in France, especially for the GTi versions.
Here, prices are a little more sensible but have started to rise nevertheless. Rare, especially in good condition, and one to watch.
4. Lancia Beta Berlina – up 44%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £4,000
Avg Price Dec 2023: £5,750
If you can get your hands on a four-door Lancia Beta Berlina saloon, you’ll be paying around 44% more today than you would have done if you sourced one 12 months earlier, Hagerty says
The Lancia Beta is a very rare car on British roads in any form, but the four-door Berlina is especially so.
Its fastback design was in keeping with many other cars of the 1970s, but the blunt front grille gives it an unusual look that would make it stand out at any car show.
A strong £12,938 sale of a 1600 Berlina at Manor Park Classics in October 2023 undoubtedly push its values upwards.
3. Ford Escort XR3i (MkIII) – up 75%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £7,875
Avg Price Dec 2023: £13,750
With the way values of other fast Fords have risen recently, especially the Sierra RS Cosworth, the XR3i’s trajectory is likely to remain upward, experts at Hagerty say
Like its carburettor-fed older sibling, the Escort XR3i has also risen significantly in percentage terms over the course of 2023.
Dealers are pushing the values of this model – and that of the later MkIV – upwards, with great examples reaching nearly £20,000.
With the way values of other fast Fords have risen recently, especially the Sierra RS Cosworth, the XR3i’s trajectory is likely to remain upward.
2. BMW Z3 Roadster – up 131%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £6,000
Avg Price Dec 2023: £13,850
Despite a 131% jump in value in the last 12 months, Hagerty says there could be more room for the BMW Z3 to appreciate in the coming months and years
As is often the case, when the most desirable version of a car rises in value, then the standard equivalent often follows suit.
This is what has happened with the BMW Z3, following its M-badged sibling upward. But, because prices are lower, this has translated into a higher percentage increase – a whopping 131 per cent over the year.
Some very big auction prices paid in Europe for the one-derided coupe haven’t yet translated to big sales of the convertible in the UK, but advertised prices are growing rapidly.
1. Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000 – up 161%
Avg Price Dec 2022: £5,000
Avg Price Dec 2023: £13,050
The sub-£30,000 collectible car to rise most in value in the last 12 months is the Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000. This road-going rally legend has jumped in price by a massive 161%
If one brand were to be judged as the ‘winner’ of the Hagerty Price Guide in 2023, it is Subaru.
Prices have rocketed, and it has all been about one car: the iconic Impreza.
The sale of Colin McRae’s prototype 22B at Silverstone back in August for £480,500 set a world record and all fifteen of the top sale prices for Subarus have been made in the past two years.
The WRX, sold in the UK as the Turbo 2000 from 1994, has followed its illustrious brother, near tripling its average value in the past year.
And at just over £13,000, that’s an average that Hagerty sees as going only in one direction.
*Different submodels of the same car have been removed for clarity. In this instance, the highest riser has been kept in the article
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