Journal: What Attainable Classic Car Should Be Worth More?

What Attainable Classic Car Should Be Worth More?

By Ezekiel Wheeler
October 8, 2013
36 comments

For decades I’ve heard the argument that some cars are worth more than the market generally prices them.

The Datsun 240Z is one of those cars that can be overlooked in the large ocean of classic cars. It has an overhead cam engine, webber-carbs, independent suspension, a racing pedigree, and a design aesthetic derived from the hottest sports cars of its era. Yes, well-restored models can yield top-dollar prices, but daily drivers hover in a price bracket that keep the cars on the roads and in the hands of the next generation. Should this always be the case? After watching our own video—more than once—I found myself scouring craigslist.com, Hemmings, and some classic 240Z forums, eventually convincing myself prices were too good to not consider owning one.

There’s something to be said about these affordable cult cars that take the driving experience to another level. They make their owners feel like they’ve just acquired the steal of the century. With the motor humming, the patinaed body and the smell of sun-burnt vinyl seats, these cars earn the respect of your peers when cruising Main Street, and can demand as much attention as the latest supercar. So why bother blowing your hard-earned cash on a car you’ll keep in the garage to look at? This car begs you to drive it and wring it out like its first owners undoubtedly did.

In my pursuit to join the classic car owners club, I’ve cast a wide net of potential specimens: a BMW 2002, Fiat 124 Spider, Alfa Romeo GTV, Datsun 240Z (series-1), and even a Porsche 911 SC have all fallen into my net. Which one will I finally decide to toss into my garage? Who knows. For now, I’ll continue to devote hours, err…days, of research in hopes of landing the perfect candidate. Whatever I choose, I know I’ll be looking for that emotional tug of the heart strings telling me, “A car like this should be worth more than that!”

Which attainable classic car makes you feel like it should be worth more than it is?

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katahdin
katahdin
4 years ago

SAAB 99 EMS. Innovative. Rally history. Great drivers generally and superb in the snow.

Rhett Redelings
Rhett Redelings
4 years ago

Jaguar XJ-S. Great value for money in terms of performance, refinement and presence, even considering the maintenance costs.

John campbell
John campbell
6 years ago

I’d have to say any Porsche 944, Mercedes chassis w201, w126 or w124 model. Simply some of the best undervalued essential cars of the last 40 years. These cars are all extremely well engineered and assembled and undervalued. I’m confident this will and already has begun to change. I actually remember when u couldn’t give away a 190sl or a 914.

Eddie Williams
Eddie Williams
9 years ago

The photo on your Poster says it all. The BMW 2002 should be worth more. IMHO! Let’s start with mine.

Takudzwa Munyaradzi Maramba
Takudzwa Munyaradzi Maramba
9 years ago

I think the Mercedes-Benz W126 series cars should definitely be worth more than they are now. Yes a good, well-maintained example will set you back upwards of 20k here in Africa but that’s for the top of the range V8 models, the real gems were IMHO the standard wheelbase 2.8/3 liter models. My Dad’s 1990 300SE has served as a great, reliable daily driver for 18 years now and even though the maintenance costs are going up it remains a very usable car that is surprisingly underpriced for the quality and performance it delivers.

Elias Holdenried
Elias Holdenried
9 years ago

the citroen cx is way to cheap nowadays

S Lissner
S Lissner
9 years ago

In 1970 I bought a low-mileage, Euro-spec 1969 BMW 2002ti. I chose the BMW over the Datsun 240Z—I had the chance to buy one of the first 240Zs available in the USA—because I though the BMW was not only cooler, but more practical, too. In 1971 I totaled the BMW, which had been an unreliable car. About five years later I bought a used 1973 Datsun 240Z, fitted it with Mulholland parts and real Minilite wheels, put in English seats, which proved to be poorly made and uncomfortable, and deblinged the body. The Datsun was cheaply made and rusted out, but was such a lovely, enjoyable car. Today I’d buy neither. I’d get a Subaru BRZ.

Paul Steel
Paul Steel
9 years ago

The Alfa GT and Junior 105’s (except GTA) still look like good value, but prices are on the up.
My own classic, Triumph GT6, can still be picked up for a song, as can the MG B, the V8 is tempting me.
Volvo P1800 seem to have stuck at a level or reduced over the last 12 months.

Lee Putman
Lee Putman
9 years ago

The Fiat 124 Spider is a true classic. Lampredi twin cam, Pininfarina body, and full-on Italian sense of road handling. Wouldn’t trade either of mine for the world!

Ryan Hoyle
Ryan Hoyle
9 years ago
Reply to  Lee Putman

I agree, but don’t think they’ll ever really get all that high priced. I think the really early ones might be worth(someday) closer to the 20k mark, but not all of them. At least we’ll be able to hold on to them easily, and find parts easily and cheaply!
I have a Fiat Spider also(1979), and it’s awesome.

Ray Houghton
Ray Houghton
9 years ago
Reply to  Lee Putman

I have to agree. I have a beautiful example of a 1973 spider that I picked up for $2000 and after about $1300 in bushings, bearings and carb rebuild I ended up with a great, reliable daily driver.

Tom Schmidt
Tom Schmidt
4 years ago
Reply to  Lee Putman

My best friend had a new one in 69’. Driving through the countryside on a warm summer night with those Veglia gauges glowing. One of my fondest memories.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams
9 years ago

I’d have to say the 240Z. With the effort that went into styling it, it’s functionality of being a Japanese hatchback, it’s incredible performance and tenability, and it’s reasonable cost when it came out, it is a masterpiece and nothing short of one of the best cars to ever come out of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Tim Scott
Tim Scott
9 years ago

Peugeot 205GTi – never to be repeated, as hard as Peugeot have continued to try and replicate the magic.

Thomas
Thomas
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim Scott

Had two and loved them in their time, had a 1,6 and a 1,8 both were a dream, but eventually moved up to 928s also icons wich I should have kept 😞thomas@doeling.atgqai5

Rj Louro
Rj Louro
9 years ago

That depends on the market. In Portugal a 240Z is rare, and thus very expensive, a 260Z is more common and it still goes over 20k Eur for an unit in good condition. Saab’s are cheap here, so I’d probably add the 900’s to the list, but than again this is for Portugal.

pjrebordao
pjrebordao
9 years ago
Reply to  Rj Louro

Here in Portugal, nothing is cheap compared to elsewhere…

Gijs Kirkels
Gijs Kirkels
9 years ago

I’m almost 25 now and i’ve been driving my 1969 Volvo Amazon B20 for a living, while studying and working, for four years now and it’s still going strong. It’s not a very powerfull car but it keeps up with modern traffic more than enough. I don’t have to pay road tax here in Holland because it’s +40 years old, and all the parts are still available for reasonable prices.
Thanks to the technical simplicity it’s extremely reliable and easy to repair if needed. Not to speak about how rust isn’t getting a grip on it, witch is one of the reasons you spot them frequently on the roads arround here. In my opinion this is a very usable car, if you have any technical background, and for it’s quality’s it’s very underpriced when there is only little work it needs.

Any interrest for an article here?

JanMichael Franklin
JanMichael Franklin
9 years ago

The 240Z would probably be the first car to come to my mind even without the latest video. I can only assume that the sheer numbers that it sold in are keeping it affordable. Next would have to be the first gen RX-7. Both cars set the car world on fire much like the 911 did in 64, only to a broader base.

Todd Cox
Todd Cox
9 years ago

I drive a Miata which has been retro-modded. While some might not think it is a classic, the truth is that it is now 17 years old, and largely revolutionized the way America looked at our cars in the midst of boxy K-cars and a great lack of anything with soul. It is worth so much more to me than a true exotic that I’d never drive, and certainly couldn’t drive daily. And, like most of the cars mentioned here, it isn’t so ‘try hard’; its attainability and the nostalgia it inspires generate a very warm reception anywhere it goes.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman
9 years ago

none of them !
this sort of article only serves to drive prices up
:p

Bertram Wooster
Bertram Wooster
9 years ago
Reply to  Ae Neuman

That’s right! I can sure think of a lot of cars which are head-bangingly overpriced right now, OTOH.

massimo amodeo
massimo amodeo
9 years ago

fiat 128 coupè was a delicious little car, and germany’s ford taunus can be driven like there’s no tomorrow.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
9 years ago

Hmm the Lancia Scorpion (or Monte Carlo if you live on the east side of the pond) is a Pininfarina bodied mid-engined sportscar for little money. For me though it has to be another vote for the Fiat Dino coupe. The later 2400 version with the IRS is my favourite, they were even assembled at the Ferrari factory in Maranello.

Steve Jain
Steve Jain
9 years ago

I loved my VW Corrado.

JB21
JB21
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve Jain

I was just going to say Corrado. I mean, I agree with the article, but it kind of overlooks a minor point, that all the cars listed (and commented) are already collectible and demanding quite a bit of stupid dough already – affordable?, among collectible classic maybe, but affordable for what they are?, I don’t think so. On the other hand, Corrado is cheap now for what it is, and bet will demand stupid money in not so far in the future.

Eddie Relvas
Eddie Relvas
9 years ago

Fiat 124 Spider is an awesome all-rounder. You must get a good one, though, as a rough one will only make you miserable in more ways than one. Same goes for the Fiat Dino Coupé. The Spider is already soaring in value, but the gorgeous (and more expensive when new) Coupé has that awesome Bertone line and it’s still dirt cheap for something that looks like that and sounds even better with the quad-cam V6 of Ferrari provenance.

enzosghost
enzosghost
9 years ago

Datsun 240Z has a single overhead cam.

Witawas Srisaan
Witawas Srisaan
9 years ago

After hearing the sound of that Datsun last night, I drove my GTV6 to work today. I took the long route that went around the country-side and gave the car a nice Italian tune up. I always felt that a GTV6 is such a bargain considering the driving enjoyment it can provide.

BiTurbo228
BiTurbo228
9 years ago

The Alfa GTV6 and the Triumph Dolomite sprint spring to mind for me, and cars like the 924 and X1/9 don’t deserve the rock-bottom prices they’re currently experiencing.

There are plenty of others that should be valued higher too, but I really hope they don’t. There are enough mid-level classics that have experienced a stratospheric price hike, beyond the reach of many dedicated enthusiasts (especially when parts are taken into account). That’s not something I’m particularly happy with, although it does bring its own benefits like a strong aftermarket for parts and a higher likelihood of rust-buckets recieving a sympathetic restoration.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari
9 years ago
Reply to  BiTurbo228

Second the GTV6! Also the Saab 900 SPG will come into it’s own before too long, Mk1 GTIs (once the stance crowd moves on) will be a very nice weekend driver in slightly upgraded shape.

BiTurbo228
BiTurbo228
9 years ago
Reply to  Xander Cesari

Good shout with the 900 SPG.

The 99 Turbo is undervalued as well. You can pick them up for a couple of thousand over here, if you can find one.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari
9 years ago
Reply to  BiTurbo228

Actually as long as we’re going back in Swedish history you can still get a Saab 92 or 96 for good money as well. As far as vintage rally cars go I think they’re at least as good a deal as a Mini Cooper from the same era, probably better.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason
9 years ago
Reply to  BiTurbo228

I agree with you on the X1/9. On more than one occasion I have thought a little too long about owning one. Maybe it is the MR2 side in me coming out but I feel like the X1/9 has to be a blast to drive.

BiTurbo228
BiTurbo228
9 years ago
Reply to  Josh Clason

I’ll let you know once mine is one the road 🙂 I’ve tracked my friend’s Mk2 MR2 at Brands Hatch so I should have a pretty good benchmark, although the Mk1 would probably be closer.