Classic car insurance specialist Hagerty has produced the fourth UK instalment of its annual “Bull Market” list of classic cars that will likely appreciate in value, and it makes for interesting reading — especially as there’s a pedal car included in the rundown.
Yes, the Austin J40 makes the list of eight classic vehicles that should see their prices increase in the coming year, with examples that have taken part in the world-famous Settrington Cup at the annual Goodwood Revival — and therefore have true race pedigree — garnering a premium over those that have not.
Always a varied bunch of vehicles, Hagerty UK tries to include a spread of classics, from the more modern, affordable and attainable, right up to ultra-rare investment pieces and even pre-war machinery, in its year-ending Bull Market report.
Previous entrants from the 2021-23 lists (there’s been a US version of the Hagerty Bull Market list since 2017, but it only started in the UK in ’21) include vehicles such as the Ford Focus Mk1, original Mini Cooper, Land Rover Discovery Series I, Renault 4L, Citroen BX and Ford Fiesta Mk1, as well as more expensive and rarer luminaries such as the Mercedes SLS AMG, Ferrari 328, Bentley Turbo R and Lamborghini Diablo.
One key consideration of the Bull Market list is that everything on it has to be fun to drive (or pedal, in the case of the J40); Hagerty prefers it if people buy these classics to be used, rather than simply for financial gain. Any added value incurred by the cars featured is merely intended to be the cherry on top of the pleasure derived from ownership.
Here, then, are the eight vehicles Hagerty reckons enthusiastic classic car fans with sound fiscal knowledge should take a look at in 2024.
1932-1940 Alvis Speed 20 and 25
Hagerty values: £52,000-£99,400
Alvis was a Coventry-based car company which went out of business in 1969, only adding to the allure and mystique of its products today. The Speed 20 and Speed 25 represent the pre-war offering this year, with these cars offering rarity — 1,165 of the former and fewer than 200 of the latter were built.
Powered by straight-six engines of between 2.5 and 4.4 litres in capacity, these Alvis models were sophisticated for their time, with synchromesh manual gearboxes and independent suspension; they were even capable of 75-83mph flat out, a remarkable stat for the era from which they hail.
Hagerty says that marque recognition with a younger audience will be the biggest impediment to the Speed 20/25 putting on value but added that average prices rose 32 per cent in the past 12 months — resulting in a car which can cost nearly £100,000 in top-level concours condition nowadays.
1949-1971 Austin J40
Hagerty values: £1,500-£10,800
Astoundingly, the Austin J40 pedal car has been out of production for more than 50 years now, with 32,098 built in a 22-year period commencing not long after World War II. It’s the running of the Settrington Cup at Goodwood, though, which has driven values of the J40, while there’s even a company — Austin Pedal Cars — which specialises in servicing and maintaining them. A new “continuation model” from the engineering firm was unveiled at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Hagerty cites rarity, prestige and the fact that the J40 is considerably easier to store, ship and maintain than a full-sized classic car as a reason for including it on the bull market, noting that “demand still massively outstrips supply”.
(In the interests of full disclosure: The family of Driving.co.uk’s editor Will Dron owns an Austin J40 that took part in the Settrington Cup last year. However, Dron is in no way connected with Hagerty or the Bull Market lists.)
1994-1997 Daimler Six (X300 XJ)
Hagerty values: £1,600-£12,500
If you’re into cars and you recognise the nameplates of Jaguar and Daimler as being both upmarket and aspirational, you might be surprised to learn that this is the best value car on this year’s list, with Hagerty saying running examples can be found for less than £2,000.
But while they’re affordable today, with even the best ones only just scraping into five figures, these Daimlers and Jags were anything but cheap and attainable when new — so classic fans today should search for the most highly specified examples for the best experience.
Hagerty says that both the Daimler Six and the X300 Jaguar XJ make the list because early cars are now bona fide classics, as they’re 30 years old, while a large number of the original production run have been or will be scrapped, increasing the rarity value of the ones which remain.
1985-1991 Ford Escort RS Turbo
Hagerty values: £8,200-£35,800
The market for really clean, original examples of excellent fast Fords from days gone by have been fetching massive prices for years now. To that end, Hagerty this year chooses to include the “S1” and “S2” Escort RS Turbos on the list.
You’re not going to get road-ripping performance from either of them, and they’re not even the greatest-handling things Ford has ever put out, but in terms of rarity value and desirability, RS Turbos are in big demand and values are only going one way.
Hagerty’s pricing looks reasonable at the bottom end, although if your eyes are widening at the concours value of nearly £36,000, then bear in mind that a particularly minty RS Turbo sold for £60,000 at auction way back in 2015… a figure which was then eclipsed by an example formerly owned by the late Princess Diana, which realised a whopping £722,500 in 2022.
1999-2010 Honda S2000
Hagerty values: £11,500-£22,000
The default Japanese roadster has, for years, been the Mazda MX-5, which in turn mimicked the great two-seat open-tops that British carmakers created in the 1950s and ‘60s, such as the original Lotus Elan. But if you want a bit more performance — and a more lively handling experience — from your Asian, rear-drive convertible, then Honda’s S2000 is it.
Built as a 50th anniversary present to itself from 1999 onwards, the S2000 has a screaming 237bhp, 2-litre, four-cylinder engine up front that revs to a giddy 9,000rpm. The driving experience is not for all — the torque levels are low, so the Honda needs work to be on the boil — but, if you gel with it, you’ll adore it.
Hagerty put it on the bull market for 2024 because S2000 values have risen by up to 20 per cent in the past two years.
(Further full disclosure: the author of this piece has a 2004 S2000 GT in his household.)
1969-1975 Maserati Indy
Hagerty values: £39,000-£69,000
An unusual and oft-overlooked 2+2 grand tourer, the Maserati Indy — named in honour of the Italian marque’s back-to-back victories with an 8CTF in 1939 and 1940 at the 500-mile “Brickyard” event — makes Hagerty’s Bull Market list on the basis it’s a much cheaper alternative to a Ferrari Daytona.
Powered by a V8 engine which rose from 4.2 litres to 4.7 and then, finally, 4.9 litres in capacity, the Indy is a rare-groove alternative to its contemporary stablemate, the Ghibli, with supercar looks and an aura that only Maseratis can bring.
Hagerty states that prices have actually softened in the past 12 months but adds that this only makes it an even greater value Italian exotic than ever.
2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 (997)
Hagerty values: £290,000-£560,000
This 911 is the big hitter on this year’s list and one of the finest-driving cars of all time. The 997-generation Porsche 911 GT3 was a pretty decent thing anyway, but when the end-of-the-run 4.0 came out, it set new standards for handling — Evo magazine even claimed it was the greatest car it had ever driven in its 200th edition, which is pretty much the ultimate praise.
Later GT3 and RS models, of the 991 and 992 editions of the 911, are faster and more powerful than the 493bhp RS 4.0, but the appeal here is that it was the last model of Porsche’s legendary model to use the revered “Mezger” flat-six engine.
Hagerty says that even 997.1 3.6-litre and 997.2 3.8-litre GT3s are commanding higher and higher prices, so the 4.0 — which was only built in a run of 600 units in 2011 alone — is therefore worth anything from upwards of a quarter of a million quid to getting on for £600,000… if you can find one for sale, that is.
1996-2003 TVR Cerbera
Hagerty values: £27,100-£41,200
Neatly bookending the list is another British manufacturer that, like Alvis, is no longer in business — or, at least, it isn’t officially; a long-running and baffling saga around attempts to revive it is currently rumbling on, however. Nonetheless, sports-car maker TVR still has huge appeal, thanks to its combination of installing shouty V8 engines into lightweight fibreglass bodies in most of its 1990s and early 2000s models.
The chosen car from Hagerty is the Cerbera, its name derived from the three-headed hell beast which guarded the gates of Hades in Greek mythology. With up to 440bhp available from its mighty engines, it will certainly fulfil Hagerty’s requirement that cars on the bull market list are fun to drive — even if TVR’s reputation for reliability is less than peachy.
The insurance company reports average values of Cerberas have risen around three per cent in the past 18 months, although the best examples of later “Red Rose” cars have now broken through the £40,000 barrier.
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