Buying a classic car can be a sound investment – providing better long-term returns than art, property and even gold, in some cases.
However, financial gain is dependent on picking the right model that’s packed with potential to rise in value.
Fortunately, there’s now a new annual market update to help inform petrol-heads about which cars have plenty of predicted future demand.
It’s called the Bull Market report and is a list compiled by classic car boffins and insurance experts at Hagerty. It has been producing the report for the US market since 2017 but – for the first time this year – has pulled together a list of the four-wheeled future gainers in the UK.
Here is the top 10 cars that Hagerty has identified as ripe for a rise in value from 2021. Value information is based on models in ‘excellent’ condition – examples that are almost entirely original, in great mechanical form, and the paintwork is great.
1. Aston Martin DB7
Sold between: 1994-2004
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £31,580
2019 ‘excellent’ condition value:: £37,680
12-month value change: -£6,100 (-16.2%)
For those wanting the best blend of ability and value, a nice clean Aston Martin DB7 Vantage is probably the best of the range, say Hagerty experts
The average Hagerty Price Guide value of average DB7s in ‘excellent’ condition has dropped from £37,680 in 2019 to £31,580 today
Volante versions on the DB7, while elegant, wobble about more than the coupe.
2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage specs
Engine: V12, 5935cc
Transmission: 5-speed automatic, RWD
Power: 435bhp @6000rpm
The ultimate DB7 (limited-edition Zagatos aside) was the run-out GT model, tweaked in almost all areas from engine output to suspension tune, but they’re rare and expensive.
For those wanting the best blend of ability and value, a nice clean Vantage is probably the best of the lot.
It may seem odd to start with a car that has lost value in the last 12 months: the average Hagerty Price Guide ‘excellent’ value across the DB7 range has dropped from £37,680 in 2019 to £31,580 today.
But it’s an Aston Martin, and as we know, the fortunes of that company rise and fall like waves on a particularly choppy sea. Surely Aston Martin will bounce back and – as has happened so many times in the past – a certain secret agent may help.
As the cars’ age and miles creep up, well-preserved examples should become more sought after. Before this year, values were relatively stable at around the £37,000 mark; now may well be the time to buy while prices are low.
2. Ferrari 328
Sold between: 1985-1988
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £80,650
2019 ‘excellent’ condition value: £82,300
12-month value change: -£1,650 (-2%)
The 328 is considered one of the last true analogue Ferraris. For this reason alone, experts in the field of collectable cars have earmarked it as one that will definitely rise in value
Just 130 examples of the 328 were produced in right-hand-drive, so they are a rare beast in the UK. Prices have been dropping in recent year, though have now started to flat-line
The gorgeous ’80s Ferrari is surprisingly rare in the UK, as a mere 130 right-hand-drive models were sold.
Given the car’s 267bhp at 7000rpm, you may scoff at the thought of a Ferrari with no more power than a modern hot hatch – especially when the 328’s heir, the F8 Tributo, delivers more than 700bhp to its rear wheels.
1988 Ferrari 328 GTS specs
Engine: V8, 3185cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual, RWD
Power: 267bhp @ 7000rpm
But remember, the 328 is a sports car born of the analogue age, before computer modelling, aluminium or carbon structures, carbon-ceramic brakes, anti-lock brakes (other than the last of the production run) and electronic stability braking.
It’s considered one of the last true analogue Ferraris, which will help push future values down the line.
Ferrari 328 values shot up in the first half of the 2010s: Hagerty’s top value for the car was around £30,000 in 2012, but by 2016, ‘excellent’ condition value peaked at just over £100,000.
Since then, it has dropped annually as the feeding frenzy for more modern classic Ferraris has subsided. So why buy now?
Well, from 2016 to 2019, values fell at roughly 11 per cent per annum, but last year, this reduced to just 2 per cent.
It has all the markers of a successful classic: a legendary manufacturer, rarity and that 1980s look that is so attractive to Generation X buyers.
3. Ford Focus (Mk1)
Sold between: 1998-2004
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £1,400
2019 ‘excellent’ condition value: £1,300
12-month value change: +£100 (+7.7%)
Hagerty says collectors shouldn’t be overlooking unexceptional saloons, estates and hatchbacks of the modern era – and that includes the humble first-generation Ford Focus
Values for the Focus are low right now. Even one classed to be in ‘excellent’ condition can be purchased for around the £1,400 mark, fair ones for much less
Hagerty says collectors shouldn’t be overlooking unexceptional saloons, estates and hatchbacks that took people to their offices, dropped kids at school and transported families on holidays – and in some cases in their millions.
2003 Ford Focus 1.6i 16v Zetec specs
Engine: 4-cylinder, 1596cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual, FWD
Power: 98bhp @ 6000rpm
That includes the humble Ford Focus.
Although hundreds of thousands were sold in Britain, really nice examples that have been well cared for and show no signs of rust or neglect require noticeably more dedication to find.
But persevere you should – and not just because it is such good value for money.
This is the car from a time when Ford returned to the top of its game. In one of the most competitive industries around, the Focus is a case study in corporate wake-up calls.
Values for the Focus are low: even an ‘excellent’ example can be purchased for around the £1,400 mark, fair ones for much less.
Experts say that this is a very small outlay for a piece of automotive history, and one that could even qualify you for entry to the 2021 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional – also know as the Concours De l’Ordinaire.
4. Jaguar Mark II
Sold between: 1959-1967
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £27,700
2019 ‘excellent’ condition value: £21,700
12-month value change: +£6,000 (+27.6%)
The temptation is to go for the best: an early Jaguar MkII 3.8-litre car with a manual, overdrive gearbox. But the 3.4-litre is the one Hagerty earmarks as the top choice
With the Jaguar E-Type celebrating 60 years in 2021, it will undoubtedly bring extra attention to the marque next year. And the MkII could really benefit from extra demand
The Jaguar Mk II was arguably the car that its predecessor should have been.
1967 Jaguar Mark II specs
Engine: Straight 6-cylinder, 3442cc
Transmission: 3-speed automatic, RWD
Power: 210bhp @5500rpm
Although really only a comprehensive facelift of the Mark I (initially called the Jaguar 2.4 Litre and 3.4 Litre), it sported a larger glass house, new grille and modern interior design, yet somehow unlocked the potential in the design and turned it from a modest success into a sensation.
The temptation is to go for the best: an early 3.8-litre car with a manual, overdrive gearbox – and there is no question that all other things being equal, they are the ones to have. But the 3.4-litre is the one Hagerty earmarks as the top choice if you want ownership enjoyment and competitive value increases.
The Jaguar Mark II undoubtedly has iconic classic status: it has been collected and cherished since the day it was first sold.
That said, in recent years values have been relatively steady and have not fluctuated as wildly as its prettier sibling, the E-Type.
However, values have already risen by nearly a third this year, yet Hagerty reckons the Mark II still has potential for growth. With the E-Type’s 60th birthday in 2021 that will attract attention to the marque. If you want a good Mark II, now may be the time to buy.
5. Land Rover Discovery (Series 1)
Sold between: 1989-1998
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £9,800
2019 ‘excellent’ condition value: £8,500
12-month value change: +£,1300 (+15.3%)
Values of classic Range Rovers in both two- and four-door configurations have rocketed over the past five years, and Hagerty says it’s about time the Series I Land Rover Discovery followed suit
Hagerty’s ‘excellent’ condition guide price stands at £9,800 – but it says this is likely to be revised upwards soon
There’s much more to the original Discovery than being a cheap classic Land Rover.
1991 Land Rover Discovery I specs
Engine: V8, 3532cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4WD
Power: 150bhp @ 4750rpm
The Discovery was a very different offering to the Defender when it arrive at the end of the 1990s – and even the Range Rover with which it shared a chassis, four-wheel-drive system and doors.
It was envisaged to be more affordable and more utilitarian than the Rangie, yet it was leagues ahead of the agricultural Defender for comfort and road manners.
Many see it as the happy medium in the Land Rover lineup. And, if well cared for and showing few signs of rust, they can handle high mileage.
Values of classic Range Rovers in both two- and four-door configurations have rocketed over the past five years, and Hagerty says it’s about time the Series I Land Rover Discovery followed suit.
Until recently, even the best could be bought for a few thousand, but in recent months, exceptional examples have achieved much more: in June, Classic Cart Auctions sold one for £12,320.
Hagerty’s ‘excellent’ condition guide price stands at £9,800 – but it says this is likely to be revised upwards soon.
How Hagerty picks its top choice classic cars
The Hagerty Bull Market List is an annual compilation of classic and modern-classic cars which provide the owner with a pleasurable driving experience while also predicting which makes and models could be bought without fear of them losing money.
However, the list isn’t tailored to investors.
Instead, it’s aimed at people who want to find, buy and drive a vehicle they love.
To compile the report, Hagerty analysed both its market valuation data and insurance quotes and policies, looking for indicators that suggest a car is rising in value and increasingly in demand among drivers.
The UK Hagerty Price Guide also tracks auction sale results and private sales to ensure drivers can be fully informed about the value of a classic or modern-classic car.
One fundamental difference of the Hagerty Bull Market is that Hagerty experts look back at the previous year’s selection and compare the cars’ predicted values with the actual values a year later.
These values are based on cars that are in ‘excellent’ condition – which represents well looked after cars that are in original order – though not necessarily those that are in concours condition, which are ultra-low mileage, pristine examples.
Previously, in the US, the humble Toyota MR2 – one of the most affordable cars identified – was the strongest performer, rising in value by an average of 30 per cent. From the 2018 list, it was the BMW M3, which recorded an average rise of 20 per cent.
For the inaugural 2021 Hagerty UK Bull Market List, the selection of cars highlighted by Hagerty is wide and diverse, meaning there should be a car to suit most tastes.
John Mayhead, head of Hagerty UK Valuations, said: ‘The Hagerty valuation team tracks many thousands of cars every year, but these really stood out.
‘It’s a wonderfully diverse list that offers cars that are accessibly to many enthusiasts.
‘Although changes in the value of a classic car may be far from an enthusiast’s mind, these cars may offer the chance for some of their ownership costs to be offset if they rise in value as predicted.’
6. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Sold between: 2010-2015
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £166,500
2010 ‘excellent’ condition value: £167,000
12-month value change: -£500 (-0.2%)
Hagerty says the SLS AMG is a strikingly beautiful vessel for an extraordinary 6.2-litre V8 engine with one of the best motor soundtracks you’ll ever set ears on
As of September, asking prices have risen: the convertible by 2.3 per cent and the coupe by 2.5 per cent
The SLS marked the start of AMG’s evolution from a specification to a Mercedes sub-brand in its own right.
2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series specs
Engine: V8, 6208cc
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, RWD
Power: 622bhp @ 8000rpm
Developed entirely by Mercedes’ performance arm, the front-mid mounted 563bhp 6.2-litre V8 was claimed to be the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in production at the time.
Hagerty says the SLS AMG is a ‘strikingly beautiful vessel for that extraordinary V8 motor’.
When battery power takes over and we look back to the finest moments of internal combustion, this will be one of them. Especially when we move to near-silent cars, which is a stark contrast to the SLS’s epic soundtrack.
As with most modern performance cars, values tend to dip at first and until very recently, according to statistics provided by Auto Trader, advertised prices of both body styles were dropping each month compared with 12 months previously.
However, from September 2020, asking prices have risen: the convertible by 2.3 per cent and the coupe by 2.5 per cent.
Values range from around the £100,000 mark to about £600,000 for the rare Black Series. As Mercedes gears up for the era of electrification, the SLS could be a ‘high-tide mark from the petrol era’, the expert panel said.
7. Mini Cooper
Sold between: 1961-1971
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £24,100
2010 ‘excellent’ condition value: £24,100
12-month value change: No change
The Mini Cooper will celebrate its 60th year in 2021, which is likely to impact values of this much-loved classic
Values of all variants of the Mark I Austin/Morris Mini Cooper have been increasing over the past few years but stabilised in the previous 12 months, according to the new Hagerty Bull Market report
John Cooper would have had many thoughts on his mind when he tried to convince a deeply sceptical Alec Issigonis that the latter’s still-new Mini could be as successful on the rally stage and racetrack as it was at bringing customers to showrooms.
But starting a relationship that would remain key to the Mini proposition nearly 60 years later was probably not among them.
Issigonis resisted, but his bosses at BMC could see that a warmed-over Mini bearing the name of the current Formula 1 World Champions would be a potent force in the showroom.
And so in 1961 started the decade-long story of the original Mini Cooper, progressing through three generations of Mini, five different engines, standard and ‘S’ versions until the car had been made a film star, a fashion accessory and a competition whizz-kid with three Monte Carlo rally wins the highlights of its success in motorsport.
Values of all variants of the Mark I Austin/Morris Mini Cooper have been increasing over the past few years, but Hagerty believes they have the potential to rise again in 2021, thanks to the car celebrating its 60th birthday.
The first 997cc model now seems somewhat undervalued, given the prices asked for its later, larger-engined brethren.
Plus, with just 1,000 examples made, the early Mark I Mini Cooper 997 is a very collectable classic.
8. Porsche 944 S2
Sold between: 1988-1992
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £17,550
2010 ‘excellent’ condition value: £16,650
12-month value change: +£900 (+5.4%)
Like all the best sports cars, the Porsche 944 was forged in motorsport. However, it has taken a while for collectors to appreciate a non-911 Porsche. Until now…
Hagerty’s pick of the bunch is the naturally aspirated S2. More drivable than the Turbo but with just 10 horsepower less, the 3.0-litre S2 briefly shot up in value in 2016
Like all the best sports cars, the Porsche 944 was forged in motorsport.
1991 Porsche 944 S2 specs
Engine: 4-cylinder, 2990cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual, RWD
Power: 208bhp @ 5800rpm
It’s an evolution of the 924, though with a more potent 2.5-litre inline four-cylinder engine that frst competed at the 1981 Le Mans 24 Hours in the shape of the 924 GTP LM endurance racer. It came seventh overall and won its class.
By 1982, the road-going version seen here was launched with a toned-down version of that same engine.
There are currently examples around for just a few thousand and they’re often seen as the new people’s classic.
Hagerty’s pick of the bunch is the naturally aspirated S2. More drivable than the Turbo but with just 10 horsepower less, the 3.0-litre S2 briefly shot up in value in 2016, and after a quick correction has been gaining steadily in value ever since.
Now, enthusiasts are seeing the best examples selling for in excess of the top Hagerty Price Guide figure: always a sure sign values are moving. The classic car insurer says its average value estimation of £17,550 will rise.
9. Renault 5 GT Turbo
Sold between: 1984-1991
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £12,900
2010 ‘excellent’ condition value: £9,300
12-month value change: +£3,600 (+38.7%)
With hot hatches from the 1980s rapidly becoming the modern classic cars to have at the moment, there’s a lot of choice on offer. But the Renault 5 GT Turbo is the one that’s often overlooked
With the Renault 5’s looks, flared arches, and 115bhp on tap, its current value of £12,900. It has appreciated in the last 12 months
This Renault 5’s story began in 1980 at the height of the most exhilarating – and dangerous – rally era.
1990 Renault 5 GT Turbo specs
Engine: 4-cyclinder, 1397cc, turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual, FWD
Power: 120bhp @ 5750rpm
A boxy-hipped, vented monster, the original 5 Turbo had its 1.4-litre engine mounted behind the driver, where it sent 158bhp to the rear wheels. Rally-spec cars such as the one that Jean Ragnotti won the 1981 Monte Carlo Rally in produced more than double that.
As rallying changed forever with the arrival of Group B in 1982, Renault took the more conventional approach of attaching a Garrett turbocharger to its front-engined, front-wheel drive Renault 5 road car.
With hot hatches of this generation now becoming the modern classic cars to have at the moment, there’s a lot of choices.
Values of popular models—the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk I, Peugeot 205 GTI and Ford Escort XR3i in particular —have soared, but the Renault 5 GT Turbo remains relatively obtainable.
With the Renault 5’s looks, flared arches, and 115bhp on tap, its current value of £12,900, although appreciably up from 12 months ago, still looks as if it has significant potential to climb.
10, Toyota MR2 (Mk3)
Sold between: 1999-2007
2020 ‘excellent’ condition value: £4,100
2010 ‘excellent’ condition value: £3,650
12-month value change: +£450 (12.3%)
Hagerty says the third-generation Toyota MR2 is a better budget weekend toy than a Mazda MX-5 or Porsche Boxster, in just about every way
The Hagerty Price Guide ‘excellent’ condition value us just £4,100. The classic car boffins say the roadster from Japan seems undervalued at those prices
Hagerty experts are puzzled to why the most recent Toyota MR2 has not gained more respect with the car enthusiast community.
2006 Toyota MR2 specs
Engine: 4-cylinder, 1794cc
Transmission: 6-speed manual, RWD
Power: 138bhp @ 5750rpm
Also known by the code-name W30, it is mid-engined, high-revving, rear-wheel drive, lightweight, and cheap to buy and run.
In short, it’s a better budget weekend toy than a Mazda MX-5 or Porsche Boxster, in just about every way.
Perhaps the only thing that the third-generation MR2 struggles to deliver is a useful amount of storage. Provided you can stuff enough of your belongings in the cubbies behind the slim but supportive seats for a happy weekend away, it delivers one of the most rewarding chassis for remarkably little cash.
Even a rare unmolested example with the six-speed gearbox will only set you back a few thousand pounds.
Not only does it have Toyota’s robust mechanicals, it boasts leather or Alcantara options that make the interior not a bad place to be.
The Hagerty Price Guide ‘excellent’ condition value us just £4,100. The classic car boffins say the roadster from Japan seems undervalued at those prices.