Car collectors care chiefly about one thing regarding a car’s value: it's appreciation. They consider how rapidly an automobile gains value and in how long a time span. These are the criteria they use to measure an automobile's appreciation.
In its heyday, there were likely only a handful—if any—who could predict that a classic like the 1970 Chevelle would be so valuable in years to come. Due to its mechanics, its rarity, and the era it emerged in, that car is worth a lot of money today. Some cars even sell for millions at auction.
In a lesser tier below that, there are plenty of cars that jump in value, but not exactly to the heights of a Chevelle. For example, the 1991 BMW M3, which went for about $40K MSRP, now fetches around $200,000, as U.S. News reports.
Investing in a car that's soon to be—or one day will become—a classic is a wise investment. There’s only one problem— there are no guarantees a car will be a classic or worth as much as predicted. In many ways, it's a venture comparable to playing the lottery or trading stocks. No one expected the DeLorean to find a resurgence—all it took was an homage in Back to the Future to drum up interest.
While no car's future value is set in stone—with the help of some factors, like jumps in interest and price—we're able to assume these cars will go on to not only become classics one day but also ascend in value.
25 Dodge Viper SRT
The Dodge Viper SRT is a special kind of car. Time will tell if it ends up gaining more value, though all signs seem to point in that direction. The 2013 and 2014 model years, as Car and Driver notes, are noteworthy, considering they got a helping hand from Chrysler SRT. The same source points out that the Viper is a cruder performance vehicle, and that's what makes it stand out from others. They believe that in an age where technology is rapidly changing the car market, the Dodge Viper SRT will thrive as one of a kind.
24 Nissan GT-R
Not all of the cars on this list are cheap and affordable. According to CNET, the 2018 model is slightly south of $100,000. For those willing to fork over the cash, they'll acquire a speedy ride capable of 565 hp. That's all possible because of a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6. If someone is able to afford it, is willing to invest a lot up front, and is capable of taking good care of it over time, then there's a hope of reaping the benefits of strong appreciation over time.
23 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
A favorite F-150 today is already deemed a classic by many. Ford's F-150 SVT Raptor takes truck performance to a whole new level.
This is one of those difficult cars to invest in because it begs for off-roading, not being stowed away in a garage for years, though for those who can resist the off-roading temptation, the truck’s value is sure to climb.
According to Car and Driver, there's a 2014 special-edition version that cost less than $30,000 at the time that many chase after today.
22 Acura NSX
The Acura NSX is such a cool-looking ride. It's either a quintessential hot wheels toy or the kind of car you'd control in an old arcade racing game. It would appear that the best time to buy this car has already passed by.
According to Thrillist, with the arrival of the NSX supercar, more interest among car enthusiasts and collectors upped the value.
The car will still seem affordable to some, however, and is sure to only increase in value from here.
21 Ford Mustang Fox Platform
In recent years, the Ford Fox platforms have garnered interest among car auctions and enthusiasts. It's only natural, considering they’re muscle cars, which are highly regarded in the majority of car circles. The Street notes that it's a reversal from how the world initially received the "Fox-body Mustangs." It's uncommon for the car world to backpedal on a car, but these Mustangs have made a huge comeback. Now, the values are increasing. Even Dennis Collins, friend of Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage, auctioned off some.
20 Ford Mustang Boss 302
There are a few reasons to buy into the idea that the Ford Mustang Boss 302 is on track to become a valuable piece of machinery down the line.
For one, as Car and Driver points out, there are only about 8,289 in existence after two years of production.
That makes this a rare and highly sought-after car that'll only go up in value. Add the fact that it's a rip-roaring machine capable of 444 hp, and that's reason enough for most to argue it's a classic in the making.
19 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Not all cars manage to capture the car buyer's interest. Even if they're going to be worth a lot someday, owners still want the experience of actually driving the car, even if it's a collectible. The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon fulfills both longings, making it a rare exception. It's both a car that'll likely be worth more later on while still offering a fun driving experience in the meantime. Part of what makes this car so appealing is the 808 hp Forbes reports on, which makes it a special car on the road today.
18 Ferrari 458 Speciale
The Ferrari 458 Speciale is exactly what it sounds like—at least in terms of its value in the foreseeable future. It's something of an anomaly, which cements an interesting place for it in auto history. According to Executive Style, the 458 Speciale marked the end of an era for Ferrari before they decided to stop putting the V8 engine that wasn’t a turbo in their vehicles. In turn, that makes this 458 Speciale an unintentionally important vehicle because of its place in history.
17 Lotus Esprit
Those familiar with James Bond movies will recognize this car. Although it doesn't go underwater like it did in The Spy Who Loved Me, it may fetch a pretty fortune down the line. According to Thrillist, the Esprit went for about $20,000 in a report they did in 2015. That year saw a 10% increase in the Lotus Esprit's value, Thrillist confirmed at the time of their reporting. While newer models have gone up in price, there's reason to think they'll keep going up.
16 Pontiac Fiero GT
There are lots of benefits to buying a car that's destined to increase in value. With the 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT, not only does the owner make a great investment, but he also gets to own a fun car to drive. Many spin this automobile’s narrative as a misunderstood sportscar back in its day.
According to CNN, the initial models lacked the power people expected from its aesthetic.
That didn't stop GM from improving on the car, however. Eventually, they managed to get the performance right by the time the 1988 model rolled out even though interest had already waned.
15 Nissan 300 Z31
There are certain cars throughout time that modifiers have gravitated to—we're looking at you, Civics and VW GTIs. We can also safely add the Nissan 300 Z31 Twin Turbo to that list. One of its appeals, as Odometer points out, is its affordable price tag, which starts at around $12K on the used market. With the car's cool aesthetic providing the ideal template, it's easy to see why. Odometer reports that as long as these Nissans remain untouched by tuners, their value is only expected to grow.
14 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
The biggest part that stands out about this BMW is the model’s availability. It doesn't even have to be the best car in order to get collectors' attention. Sometimes, it's just a matter of owning that one thing only a few can claim they have. Only 800 ever reached U.S. shores, as Thrillist reports, which makes this a highly sought-after commodity. The reason behind there being so few is that the car was only in production for a year. Car collectors are anxious to get their hands on these ahead of the value going up.
13 Mercedes-Benz 560SL
As long as someone has the space to store it, there's major appeal to having a beautiful car around like the Mercedes-Benz 560SL. This happens to be one of those cars collectors ought to keep a close eye on.
According to Cision PR Newswire, the '86-'89 560SL models have seen a boost in price by 22% from private sellers.
This report came out in 2016 and detailed a jump that started in June 2015. That's a significant increase in value for such a small window of time.
12 Porsche 928 S4
Not all Porsches are perfect, yet the name alone carries a reputation other automakers can only dream of achieving. The good news for car collectors—or simply smart investors—is that not all Porsches are outside the realm of ownership. According to Odometer, the Porsche 928 S4 can be had for around $25,000 used. In a report via ClassicCars.com, Odometer passes on some hopeful intel that these could gain traction in value. Odometer believes it’s the 911's diminished availability that led to greater demand.
11 Fiat Spider
It's hard to know whether a car will really see an increase in value over time. Some may see a sudden jump in value in a matter of years. Others may require decades. While nothing is for certain, the folks over at Odometer have faith the Fiat Spider will see some major appreciation in 20-30 years. For those turned off by the wait, consider the price tag, which Odometer reports goes for around $10K today. It's appealing for those who are willing to take a risk.
10 Mercedes 190E
It's no surprise that another German car made it on the list. Car collectors ought to consider adding a Mercedes 190E to their collection, which Thrillist notes is just starting to increase in value. The performance is nothing to phone home about, though what's appealing is the driving experience. It's the kind of car that made drivers feel classy in the '80s; it makes owners feel classy today and will remind future owners of the fond memories they had when it first arrived on the scene.
9 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Addressed in the description for the Porsche 928 above, the 911 is another addition from the prestigious automaker. According to Road and Track, the special-edition models that came earlier are the ones to look for. In the internet age today, it's never been easier to look for cars. Forbes advises sites like Car Gurus, which not only shows car listings but also helps narrow down available pre-owned cars. It's one way of getting a Porsche 911 for the cheapest price possible.
8 Alfa Romeo 164
Another important factor to consider when buying classics is the parts. If they're not as easily accessible, that could raise the profile of the vehicle; it might even raise the value, adding that much more significance to its rarity. When parts are more accessible, it makes maintenance a lot easier. The Street reports that parts are still available for the Alfa Romeo 164. Even if there's no guarantee the price will go up much more down the line, it’s one of the cheaper cars on this list to buy for under $10,000.
7 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
There are plenty of legendary Corvette models to choose from when it comes to value. With the list dedicated to what's most affordable now, we turn to the Corvette Grand Sport.
Thrillist points out that 1996 was the only year Chevrolet produced this rad ride, making it a highly sought-after and valuable rarity.
They believe the price is going to increase based on how valuable the ones suited for display are, as collectors should snatch up what's available before they all follow suit.
6 Jaguar XJ6
The XJ6 may be the only Jaguar on this list, but it's worth consideration. The Street reports that for less than $10,000, buyers can pick one up. The same outlet even emphasizes the need to properly maintain the XJ6 over time. That also means the XJ6 has to be in good shape, to begin with. If someone has to put a lot of money into repairing the car on the front end, it may not be worth it in the long run.
5 Land Rover Defender
Many argue the Land Rover Defender is already a classic car. Part of its appeal lies in its design and shape. It's also a hardy vehicle, which is a quality that's all the rage these days. Regardless of one's opinion and where the Defender stands in history, it hasn't yet commanded a value high enough to rival classic cars. However, there are many out there who think the Defender is already on the right track. Executive Style notes two Defenders worth investing in: the Adventure and Heritage editions.
4 BMW M3
For car collectors, when it comes to the BMW M3, it's now or never. According to Road and Track, this agile performer is still affordable and at a reasonable price. Back in December 2016, they reported that it was worth about $20,000. Some listings go up to as high as $34,000 today when it comes to the 2006 models. Prices only look to be going up, and it's in collectors' best interest to jump on it now while the price is still logical.
3 Lexus LS400
There's a limit to how much people are willing to pay for a collectible car. They know that it's not just the cost to buy it but upkeep and storage as well. When it comes to the Lexus LS400, the cost is within reason. The Street believes that the 1990-1994 models are headed for the car classics' hall of fame. For less than $10,000, the Lexus LS400 is available on the used car market. Once car collectors scoop it up, it’s just a waiting game after that.
2 Volvo 240
Volvo is known for making reliable cars. Many car enthusiasts aren’t the biggest fans of Volvos, although there's something more to like about the 240. According to Hemmings, older Volvos like this one are seeing an increase at auctions. Is it a sign of things to come? The Street seems to think so, adding the Volvo 240 on their recommended cars to invest in now. For those who are willing, the Volvo is a cheap investment that could pay off big in the future.
1 Ford Falcon GTHO
Coming from the Land Down Under, the Ford Falcon GTHO isn't the cheapest car on the list. According to News.com.au, it's been able to go for as much as $1 million at auctions. That's mind-boggling. The outlet goes on to report that it's the most money paid for a car produced in Australia. Despite an expensive value already, this car's value seems to continue to be on the upswing. There are GTHOs that run for much less, though, at around the $80K-$120K range.
Sources: Car and Driver, CNET, Forbes, Road and Track