Last updated May 18, 2023
A classic car can make an excellent investment. Whilst modern new and used cars depreciate in value - and usually depreciate significantly by year 3, a well-maintained classic car can grow in value over time, much like property, jewellery or art!
Many classic car enthusiasts aspire to buy a collectable model at a favourable price, enjoy it for a few years – and then sell the car privately at a profit.
It’s worth mentioning that not all classic car valuations will grow over time, but even those that don’t will typically hold their value far better than their modern counterparts.
As a classic car owner, you’ll benefit from owning something with a distinctive style, character and driving experience. Many models are even eligible for classic car tax exemption – a Government initiative designed to help keep iconic older cars in circulation. Of course, if you happen to make a profit along the way, that's another welcome bonus!
So, if you’re in the market for a stylish classic, but want to protect your investment and sell your car at a great price in the future, which models are worthy of your consideration?
To help you narrow your search, we’ve curated a list of 10 distinctive classic cars that could increase in value over the coming years.
Today’s prices: £10,000-£20,000
The Lancer Evolution IV had a fairly short production run and so is already on its way to becoming a rarity (despite being somewhat younger than most of the cars on our list).
With the Evolution series, Mitsubishi aimed to humble its rivals – and had some success with this. Using data from the track to spawn new ideas and constantly updating technology to upgrade performance worked well for Mitsubishi’s engineers. The Lancer Evolution IV boasts 36.0kg-m torque when new.
The Lancer’s body is rigid and packs a punch aesthetically, looking like a rally car on the outside with the bones of a road-going sports car.
After production of the Lancer Evolution ceased completely in 2016, earlier models such as the IV are becoming increasingly sought after. This means, now is a great time to snag an Evolution IV if you want to get the best price for your car when you eventually decide to sell.
Today’s price: £4,100-£21,700
When the 99 Turbo joined the Saab family, word began to spread about the wonders of turbocharging. Whilst BMW and Porsche had experimented with forced induction before Saab, it was the Swedish manufacturer who truly brought it to the mass market.
The teardrop shape of the 99 was distinctly alternative at the time and continues to turn heads to this day. The 99 also set new standards in crash safety, with features like the seatbelt assemblies and wraparound windscreen reinforcing this impression.
Although new Saab models are no longer in production, the iconic brand has a dedicated fanbase and classic models such as the 99 Turbo are highly sought after among collectors.
Today’s price: £2,800-£28,100
This roadster took Britain and the US by storm when it appeared in the 60s - and is certainly an attractive classic car today. In 2023, they’re still in good supply, so you should be able to add one to your collection without breaking the bank.
What’s more, much like with the Ford Fiesta, Spitfire parts are reasonably easy to find. So, if you’re looking for your next DIY project, restoring a vintage Spitfire could provide an enjoyable challenge – and perhaps help you achieve a tidy profit.
The appeal of the Spitfire is easy to see, with its small cabin, wind-up windows and fancy instrument panel. Models made in the 1970s introduced superior suspension to improve road handling.
When driving a Spitfire, you will notice its age by the noises it makes, whether this is due to the road itself or the mechanical components within the vehicle. However, for many classic car enthusiasts this is a big part of the charm.
Today’s price: £106,000 to £229,000
This stunning supercar can be yours for a fraction of the cost of some of its old rivals (with models such as the Jaguar XJ220 and Porsche 959 commanding much higher prices).
The Diablo has no shortage of kerb appeal. The scissor doors, pop-up headlights and gold-tinted cam covers are sure to turn heads wherever it goes. This is a loud car - and the sound of the engine revving will surely resonate with fellow petrolheads. However, the clutch is surprisingly manageable and the brake pedal reassuringly firm.
The Diablo is a shining example of why 90s sports cars are so beloved by many enthusiasts. It offers up the perfect blend of luxury, performance and usability – together with excellent value for money for a car within this market.
Today’s price: £800-£8,100
This geometrically-shaped car shares a platform with more conventional models, like the Peugeot 405 (and even features a Peugeot-sourced engine). However, make no mistake, this is a proper Citroen at its core.
The BX is less susceptible to corrosion (unlike the GS) - and the engine range is hardy in both the petrol and diesel versions. As such, BXs are still used on the roads as workhorses - decades after they were built. They’re easy to drive, much like a modern car, yet full of character.
The BX still ticks many of the boxes on buyers’ lists in 2023: it offers modern utility, characterful design – and a favourable price tag!
As of April 2023, there were 263 Citroen BXs on the roads in the UK (including 262 of the ‘BX’ model – and just 1 ‘BX 16 TRS’).
Today’s price: £2,700-£10,000
With iconic design features, such as pop-up headlights, the Toyota MR2 MK1 is a two-seater, mid-engined, lightweight sports car that represents all the fun of the 1980s.
It’s fitted with a revvy twin-cam engine and a close-ratio five-speed transmission. The T-Bar roof option added a removable glass panel above each seat, making it a particularly fun drive in the summer months. (Tip: When buying or selling, remember that seasonality can affect a car’s value at different times of year.)
The MR2 has always offered a lot of fun for little money, but nowadays, these cars are surprisingly rare - and prices have climbed in recent years.
If you are planning to buy one, just be sure to check for signs of corrosion and too much rust. This was a common issue among vehicles produced in this era. You should pay special attention to the rear wheel arches, as this area is particularly prone to rusting.
Today’s price: £7,700-£23,400
Launched in 1985, the powerful Bentley Turbo R produced an estimated 328bhp. It was a great performer, due to the Bosch electronic fuel injection and sporty chassis. Despite weighing almost twice as much as most family cars from its time, the Turbo R is surprisingly nimble.
Everything is weighty apart from the controls; the throttle needs to be pressed deep for anything more than everyday performance – and when you do this, the result doesn’t feel as profound as it once might have.
The driving pleasure here is in the refinement - and the smooth ride. Many owners also enjoy the prestige status associated with these luxury cars. Each time you get behind the wheel of a Turbo R, you’ll get the feeling that you're piloting something really special.
If you’re considering adding a Bentley Turbo R to your collection, we would advise buying a model with a full service history, as any significant faults may be tricky and expensive to rectify.
Today’s price: £1,400-£19,100
In October 2022, Ford announced that it will stop producing new Fiesta cars in summer 2023. After 12 years topping the sales charts, the Fiesta fell short of the top 10 in 2021.
Despite this steep drop in sales, the Fiesta remains a popular car and it is expected that its discontinuation will increase used values – particularly for the first-generation MK1 model.
Ford has re-invented this car many times over the years - and the original is a genuine classic car these days. You could feasibly use a Fiesta MK1 every day; it’s a light car and easy to drive as a result. Parts are relatively easy to come by too, so your Fiesta can remain as dependable as it was when new.
Although the days when you could find a quality original Fiesta for a few hundred pounds are long gone, you can still pick one up at a reasonable price. If you do have your heart set on a Fiesta, we advise buying one before the impending discontinuation drives up prices, so that you can maximise your chances of turning a profit.
Today’s price: £7,800-£32,100
This convertible is the pinnacle of late 80s and early 90s design - a modern car that isn’t too modern. The SL500’s headlights need to be manually switched on and the wiper stalk must be twisted to clear the screen. The ergonomics are logical and the seats comfortable.
Like the brand’s more recent vehicles, the SL500 is well built, with heavy doors and four seats (albeit with limited legroom and lap belts that might rule them out for children). However, these seats can fold down to create a flatter storage space in the back.
There are plenty of SL500s to choose from on the used market – and you may also occasionally find them at auctions. This is a car that ticks many of the boxes on collectors’ lists, which is why its value is likely to grow further over the coming years.
With a convertible such as this one, it’s important to know how the time of year can impact your car’s value.
Today’s price: £8,700 - £21,100
The Austin Seven is as about classic as it gets! In 1923, when production began, many homes in Britain did not have a telephone – or even electricity! Yet nowadays, the Austin Seven appeals to a wide spectrum of car collectors thanks to its humble simplicity.
The Austin was created to be a small, cheap car, to offset the issue of vehicle excise duty (VED) (or car tax). The result was a seven-horsepower car that could seat four and provide escapism without having to board a train.
Austin strived to make the Seven as light and affordable as possible – and did a commendable job. It originally cost £165 (which is around £7,200 in today’s money). The Seven features charming details such as a sticker on the back reading: ‘Hand signals only’. The gearbox, which has three speeds is equally appealing - and on the flat, it’s capable of 50mph.
Cars are usually a depreciating asset. However, many collectors spend money on classics with a view to making a profit in the longer term.
Collectors’ cars are now more discoverable and accessible than ever. They are highly appealing to anyone who wants to own something that’s distinct from the ordinary and captures the spirit of a bygone motoring era.
Whenever a specific model is discontinued, older versions may start to increase in value, particularly if they were already in high demand. If you are lucky enough to own a rare vehicle – or even the very last of a particular model, you should be able to command a high price, if it is in a reasonable condition.
Thinking about swapping your current runabout for a classic? Use our free car valuation tool to find out how much your car may be worth in an instant.
It’s important to make sure that you have a sound understanding of the classic car market before committing to a purchase. Any investment comes with an element of risk and the data used to create this guide is not our own. Please make sure that you research the market thoroughly and inspect any prospective purchases carefully before committing.