The air bag: Birthday bumps for many classic-car prices

Nowadays, many classic cars make far wiser investments than bricks, mortar or FTSE 100 company shares. And an email I received last week brought this back to me with a jolt. Not that this year’s 75th anniversary of Jeep is going to send values of old Cherokees into the stratosphere, but how certain milestones in […]

Nowadays, many classic cars make far wiser investments than bricks, mortar or FTSE 100 company shares. And an email I received last week brought this back to me with a jolt. Not that this year’s 75th anniversary of Jeep is going to send values of old Cherokees into the stratosphere, but how certain milestones in a car or brand’s life cause a resurgence of media and public interest, which then inevitably fuels a market hungry for the next big thing.

So looking at this year, apart from the aforementioned Jeep, what other significant anniversaries should we be aware of? In alphabetical order, here are the cars that will be celebrating a half-century this year: Alfa Romeo Spider, Audi 80, Ferrari 365, Fiat Dino, Jaguar 420 (and Daimler Sovereign), Jaguar XJ13, Jensen Interceptor (and FF), Lamborghini ­Miura, ­Lamborghini 400GT, Lotus ­Europa, Maserati Ghibli, Porsche 911S and, err, the Toyota Corolla.

Celebrating 25th birthdays this year are the Audi S4, Bentley Continental R, Ferrari 512TR, Lexus GS, Mazda RX-7 (third gen), Volvo 850 and VW Golf Mk3.

Now, Toyota’s humble ­Corolla or Lexus’s GS are never going to be sought-after collectors’ items, and you can forget about buying a Jaguar XJ13 as well (there’s only one), but as for some of the others, I’m quietly predicting increased values during the course of this year.

It isn’t just a car’s age that affects its market value, obviously. It takes a degree of importance, too, and that’s where cars like the Miura and FF score higher than most. They were bona fide trailblazers – the Lamborghini recognised as the first proper mid-engined production supercar; and the big Jensen introducing the motoring world to full-time four-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes. They’re justifiably held in high esteem, but values have been lower than they should have been until very recently, and they’re only going to go one way from here: up.

Consider the example of my friend who a couple of years ago realised his childhood dream of owning a ­Jaguar XJ220. Having unexpectedly come into some money, he didn’t fully appreciate how good his timing was until a few months after he bought the best example he could find. The XJ220 was, for a while, the world’s fastest production car (that number is its top speed in mph), and was made in limited numbers, so it was always going to be of interest to collectors. But thanks to it celebrating its 25th anniversary the year in which he bought it, after six months, his car had appreciated in value by 50 per cent.

A similar thing happened with the relatively mass-produced Ferrari 308 and 328. The first 308, a mid-engined V8 sports car of unparalleled beauty, was launched in 1975. It celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, and values skyrocketed by more than 100 per cent.

Should you plough some of your “hard-earned” into an old car? It’s wise to buy one that’s iconic, and buy the best example you can find. An early Volkswagen Golf GTI on sale last week in the United Kingdom for about Dh200,000 is proof that some cars are worth more than the sum of their parts, but the effect of a major anniversary cannot be overstated.

motoring@thenational.ae

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Source: art & life

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