CLASSIC car insurance provider Hagerty has released a list of 10 best classic car investments for 2021.
Hagerty UK’s “Bull Market List” adopts the same format as one released annually by the company’s American counterpart, identifying a variety of classic and modern classic cars that it believes are poised to increase in value over the next 12 months.
The best performers on recent US lists include the Toyota MR2 sports car, which has made the inaugural UK list (just), and the BMW M3, which recorded an average price rise of 20% in the 2018 edition.
In order to compile the list, Hagerty looked through its market valuation data, as well as insurance quotes and policies, to track how in-demand certain models are. The top 10 vary in age, luxuriousness, rarity and value — from relatively modern family hatchbacks worth just over £1,000 to 1980s thoroughbred sports cars that came in runs of hundreds.
Investing in a classic car isn’t an easy task — predicting the future value of a vehicle is difficult, and with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic already manifesting and the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 not far away, this year’s top 10 must have been tougher than usual.
Although the 2030 ban will not prohibit the sale of classic cars, it is symbolic of a rapid move away from internal combustion engines, meaning that refuelling and maintaining an old model will become increasingly difficult — this could decrease confidence in the classic car industry as a whole, which is worth an estimated £5.5bn to the UK economy.
Inversely, it is possible that the ban will make certain models that rely on rarity even more valuable — adding to the sense of unpredictability.
Here are 10 classic cars that Hagerty thinks are worth investing in during 2021. All prices are based on what the company calls “#2 condition”, which is one level below “concours” (pristine), meaning that for the figure quoted, you could expect to get a model in pretty excellent nick.
1. Aston Martin DB7 (1994-2004)
2019 price: £37,680
2020 price: £31,580
Percentage change: -16.2%
Although buying a classic car whose value has decreased by almost a fifth over the last year seems like a bad decision, the Aston Martin DB5’s value has largely held steady in recent years, meaning that its 2020 price drop could be an opportunity to get one for a good price.
Hagerty predicts that, like Aston Martin itself, the DB5 will recover from its tumultuous recent financial history, and that well preserved examples could become more sought after — especially once the new James Bond film releases, which might remind audiences of Aston Martin’s quality (although James Bond never actually drove a DB7).
2. Ferrari 328 (1985-1988)
2019 price: £82,300
2020 price: £80,650
Percentage change: -2%
The stock in Ferrari 328s increased sharply at the beginning of the 2010s before falling into a sharp decline around 2016 — for the three years until 2019, values dropped at approximately 11% per year. However, between 2019 and 2020 this flattened out to just 2%, indicating that the desire for the Pininfarina-designed mid-engined supercar may once again begin to rise.
As one of the last analogue Ferraris, of which only 130 right-hand models were sold, the Ferrari 328 could become a rare collector’s item in coming years.
3. Ford Focus Mk.1 (1998-2004)
2019 price: £1,300
2020 price: £1,400
Percentage change: +7.7%
Seeing an everyday car like an early noughties Ford Focus on this list may seem odd, especially straight after a one-of-130 supercar. But while you would have to fork out a not-inconsiderable £80,000 or so for the Ferrari 328, you can pick up a Mk.1 Ford Focus for just a smidge over £1,000, and values are rising.
Hagerty cited the Mk.1 Focus’ reputation for being a great driver’s car, equipped with precise handling and a level of engineering quality that outstrips it price. It helps that Top Gear’s Chris Harris recently said he’d buy a Mk.1 Focus if he hit hard times.
4. Jaguar Mark II (1959-1967)
2019 price: £21,700
2020 price: £27,700
Percentage change: +27.6%
The Jaguar Mark II is one of the quintessential British classic cars. It seems to encapsulate an entire era of British history in its looks, with Hagerty noting that the interior is so luxurious that you could “take tea with the Queen”: leather and veneered wood abound. Combined with a powerful engine it gained a reputation as car of choice for British gangsters, lending it a desirable bad boy image.
Prices for the Mark II have remained relatively steady over recent years but 2020 has seen their value rocket by more than a quarter.
5. Land Rover Discovery Series 1 (1989-1998)
2019 price: £8,500
2020 price: £9,800
Percentage change: +15,3%
Classic Land Rover Discoveries have perhaps traditionally taken a back seat to classic Range Rovers, with which it shares a number similarities, including its chassis, as well as the Defender. That means you can pick up an excellent Series 1 Disco for under £10,000. It’s only recently reached those levels, with prices rising steadily over recent months. They’re soft, rolly and inefficient by today’s standards, but the interior is legendary and it really did set the family SUV ball rolling.
6. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (2010-2015)
2019 price: £166,000
2020 price: £167,500
Percentage change: +0.2%
At the upper end of the price spectrum is a modern supercar: the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Developed entirely by AMG, this muscular two-seater is powered by a 6.2-litre V8 and comes with suitably dramatic gullwing doors, which hark back to the classic 300 SL.
Most modern supercars tend to decrease in value in the years immediately after they’re made. Now, five years after production was ended, the SLS AMG’s value is beginning to rise: since September, prices for the coupé have risen by 2.5%, meaning that the percentage change between 2020 and 2021 could be a lot more than 0.2%.
And compared to the SLR McLaren that it replaced, the SLS AMG is a bargain — prices for low-mileage editions of the SLR McLaren can reach nearly half a million pounds.
7. Mini Cooper (1961-1971)
2019 price: £24,100
2020 price: £24,100
Percentage change: 0.0%
It’s not exactly surprising that Mk.1 Mini Coopers are worth a lot of money, considering the universal love they attract. Despite their average value not changing at all between 2019 and 2020, Hagerty thinks that this could change in 2021, with the 60th anniversary of its launch.
And although £24,100 can buy you a good amount of car even in 2020, the experts said that the 997cc model is undervalued, considering the prices people pay for its larger-engined siblings.
Mini itself seems to have clocked onto the appetite for the smaller classic Mini, with the company head announcing that the next generation of the Mini Hatch will be smaller in stature.
8. Porsche 944 Series 2 (1988-1992)
2019 price: £16,650
2020 price: £17,550
Percentage change: +5.4%
You can still pick up a Porsche 944 for a very reasonable price, despite the fact that demand for it has been rising steadily since 2016 — a year that saw its value soar in comparison to its previous price tags. Reportedly, people are willing to pay over the odds for the S2, which is a sign that demand, and therefore value, is increasing.
9. Renault 5 GT Turbo (1986-1991)
2019 price: £9,300
2020 price: £12,900
Percentage change: +38.7%
Hot hatches are very much in vogue once more, meaning that classic models have begun to rocket in value. That’s definitely true of the Renault 5 GT Turbo, which has increased by an average of 39% in value over the last year.
But it remains more reasonably priced (and generously powered) than some of its more famous contemporaries. Despite its already-soaring price tag, values are expected to reach even higher.
10. Toyota MR2 Mk.3 (1999-2007)
2019 price: £3,650
2020 price: £4,100
Percentage change: +12.3%
A car that appeared on the 2019 edition of the US Bull Market List rounds out the inaugural UK iteration. The Toyota MR2 seems to lie in the shadow of some of its contemporaries — especially the Mazda MX-5 — meaning that it has slumbered, largely undiscovered, on the classic car market.
That’s why you can get one for peanuts, with an excellent quality version only costing around £4,000. Even with people beginning to cotton onto the bargain, this Japanese sports car is still undervalued.
If you’re interested in classic car investments, you might want to read what classic car experts think makes a car “original”.