Appreciating assets needn’t be the preserve of the super-rich. Jimi Beckwith brings the investment car budget down a peg or two

Investing in a future classic is usually an expensive experience, but spotting what's likely to bring you value in the future means you can get in quickly, and cheaply. Here are our recommendations.

1 - Honda S2000 (1999-2009)

Cars such as the Honda S2000 are few and far between. Its formidable combination of looking, feeling and, most important, actually being fast meant the S2000 garnered its fair share of fans throughout its 10-year production run.

Honda’s ‘will they, won’t they?’ approach to replacing it means the used market for S2000s is currently on fire. Prospective buyers will need to get in quick to grab a decent one, as prices are already on the rise.

Avoid souped-up S2000s no matter what, as unmolested examples are where the real value lies. Early models can be found for between £7000 and £9000, but aim for the higher figure and go for 
a car with service history.

2 - Smart Roadster Coupé (2003-2007)

Unlike the Honda S2000, Smart’s dinky Roadster faced a lukewarm public reception. But time has been kind to the charming Roadster Coupé, and values are starting to climb. Early water leak issues crippled the Smart, so ensure these have been resolved to avoid a £4500 replacement CPU. Taking a gamble on a Roadster Coupé without 
a full history is likely to end in tears.

Models fitted with the paddle-shift transmission are naturally more sought after than the lacklustre automatic ’box, while there’s around a £2000 premium on racier Brabus examples. Aim for a £4500 Coupé with the glass hatch rather than its slightly gawky (and less sought after) Roadster-only sister.

3 - Saab 900 (1978-1993)

The car industry is a lesser place without Saab, and enthusiasts still celebrate the Swedish manufacturer while lamenting its demise. One legacy is the 900, whose shape marks it out as one of the more distinctive cars of a decidedly boxy era.

Saab’s steadfast collection of fans means the few 900s left are often well cared for, although low-mileage examples are rare and expensive. Turbo models are hard on gearboxes (particularly autos) but are more sought after than their non-turbo stablemates. Convertibles carry a premium, as do turbocharged 900s, but these are the ones to go for if you can, at £3k-£5k.

4 - Jaguar XK (1996-2006)

Ever since the demise of the E-Type, Jaguar has been desperate to recapture the magic of its iconic hero car, with varying results. The XK was one such example of this, but it wasn’t deemed to have succeeded in rekindling the E-Type’s spark. Nevertheless, the XK is another car to which the passage of time has been surprisingly kind, and it stands only to appreciate as time goes on.

The XK’s daily drive appeal means low-priced, high-mileage examples are numerous and tempting, but don’t be fooled. Reliability issues and the likelihood of it gaining value mean that investing in a cared-for, low-mileage example for £8k-£9k is advisable and meticulous research is essential.

5 - Toyota MR2 (1984-1989)

The 1980s are back, which means it’s once again hip to be square. The Mk1 Toyota MR2 is a near-forgotten 31-year-old hero that’s bound to appreciate as demand grows and the dwindling supply shrinks. As a Toyota, reliability comes as standard, even on a car of this age, although owners report warped brake discs on older models. Rust is also an increasingly common issue.

A keen eye is essential when shopping for a Mk1 MR2. There are currently only around 4000 remaining in the UK, so the few unmolested examples that arrive on the used market seldom stay there for long. Aim to spend between £3k and £4k.

Our Verdict

Jaguar XK

A smooth, svelte all-rounder which can equally cosset and thrill

Join the debate

Comments
6

1 December 2015
I just hope these cars continue to be used rather thank become garage queens...

1 December 2015
The smart advice, if you are considering a car as a serious investment, is forget anything under US$50k. This is because on cheaper cars, ongoing costs (registration, parts, servicing) are simply too great, proportionally, of the total value. They'll eat into any 'appreciation' too much. The even smarter advice says forget about investing in cars. It's already a bubble. You should have bought 5-10 years ago, and be selling now. The values of most cars, in real terms, only have one way to go now. And it isn't up.

1 December 2015
jason_recliner wrote:

The smart advice, if you are considering a car as a serious investment, is forget anything under US$50k. This is because on cheaper cars, ongoing costs (registration, parts, servicing) are simply too great, proportionally, of the total value. They'll eat into any 'appreciation' too much. The even smarter advice says forget about investing in cars. It's already a bubble. You should have bought 5-10 years ago, and be selling now. The values of most cars, in real terms, only have one way to go now. And it isn't up.

Totally agree with the first bit.
Dont agree with the last bit. As long as QE and low interest rates continue, cash will continue to flow to hard assets in search of returns. Cars, art, wine. Anything rare and uncopyable that people desire. I would only start worrying if the Bank of England start raising interest rates, or gilts yields go up.

1 December 2015
Agree with Jason, the only cars worth investing are things like Ferraris, Aston Martins, Porsches

1 December 2015
Cars as investments :) Sorry, this is an expression used by an enthusiast to justify throwing away thousands of pounds on there hearts desire. Granted those very limited edition vehicles from Ferrari and Porsche are the exception to the rule, but any mass produced vehicle is just not likely to reach the same status, nor return any money, after running costs, tax, repairs and garaging is accounted for. However, I am thinking that a Lotus Elise is a great investment, and i think you are right about the Honda as I have also come to the same theory to justify my next purchase. My MX5 has not been a great investment even though I assured myself that it was, but I got one and I don't care. The investment that has cost me a few quid now has repaid itself many times over with enjoyment :)

1 December 2015
Not perhaps quite hitting £10k across the board yet, but check out the '01-'06 Civic Type R. Have been seeing their values increase quite a lot over the last few months or so. A good car and great fun but genuinely was surprised to see them creeping up in price! It is better than its successor though which might explain it....one to watch certainly anyway.

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