It seems that every month one self appointee classic car pundit or other produces a list of cars that you simply must buy now, before prices skyrocket. Although it’s a useful service it never seems to be based on much more than looking at the classifieds and wondering why Porsche 928s are so cheap.
Running a classic car hire company and parlaying all things related to old motors on a daily basis means I am by nature skeptical of anyone who says a 928 is a cheap and worthwhile investment. But my job does mean I’m always on the look out for the next ‘sure fire hirer.’ I’ve discovered by trial and error that nothing is, in fact, sure fire, it is only ever ‘a bit more likely’. Which perhaps makes the following list redundant. Never mind, here are my current tips for future classics to invest in now – or, to be more realistic, just bloody well enjoy for not much money. Because, after all, if they don’t go up they certainly won’t get cheaper.
1. Alfa GTV or Spider 3 litre V6
Car magazine described it as the best Ferrari that isn’t a Ferrari. The 3 litre 916 series Alfa is brilliant. Never a big seller – particularly as a comvertible – exclusvity is guaranteed and as the last Alfa to have a proper Alfa v6 engine – the Busso unit even has its own wikipedia page – it surely has all the ingredients for a future classic. But buy one to enjoy it – the v6 is one of the best engines ever made and the car looks and handles as well as it goes. 2k bags a reasonable one, 8k gets the best.
2. Jaguar XJ Series 3
Arfur Daley had one (actually a Daimler version) and it’s the car that still says ‘executive smoker’ like no other. But the long, low and lithe Coventry Cat is a properly built car and good ones are getting rare. It does everything a big Jag should – smooth, fast and stylish. Remarkably they’re still being broken in volume, so bag one now and hang onto it. It’s the last ‘proper’ Jag and in V12 form the last twelve pot saloon. Probably ever.
3. Triumph TR7
There is so much, so, so much, to dislike about the TR7. It doesn’t look right, it’s badly built and it has a Marina engine. But. But.. It’s the last proper Triumph sports car designed from scratch and as a classic it’s surprisingly easy to own – simple, fairly modern and with good parts supplier. The TR7 is a distinctive weekend classic that isn’t a MGB. And is a lot better than one. Coupes start at a few hundred pounds.
4. Fiat Coupe 20v
The looks of this Chris Bangle-designed 90s road burner divide opinion but it has future classic written all over it. Back in the late 90s it won every magazine test it appeared in, praised for its distinctive looks, astonishing performance (in Turbo spec) and practicality. Fiats don’t tend to rate well in Britain as classics but the Coupe must surely lay claim to becoming one. They are unreliable but also very cheap. Buy a good one for 2k, enjoy it then garage it.
5. Jaguar XK8
The big two door Jag is proof that future classics almost always have to rise like phoenixes to their pedestal. For most the XK8 is just a big, thirsty, dishevelled old Jag of questionable value. But like the E Type (yes, even the venerable E) and XJS before it, that will change. In a few years we’ll be cursing those who bought good, low mileage and low owner XK8s now, particularly the mental supercharged XKR. It looks good, goes well, handles and is luxurious and practical. It’s also reliable. From £2,000.
6. Mercedes R129 SL
It is the last bulletproof Mercedes, hewn as if from a solid piece on metal, and it is, currently, insanely cheap. Prices of the earlier R107 have gone stratospheric – fuelled by clever specialists – so it seems logical that the equally good, if not better, R129 will do the same. It is, after all, that rare thing – a good, reliable convertible classic car that you could easi