Classic Cars to Purchase and Hang Onto in 2017

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
classic cars to purchase and hang onto in 2017

Investing in the classic car market is like investing in the stock market. The biggest difference is that, when you buy a car, you actually have something to enjoy, regardless of whether you accrue wealth. However, negotiating the minefield of vintage automobiles can be treacherous and an investor can use all the help available to them — especially now that Baby Boomers don’t dictate the entirety of the marketplace.

Hagerty, an authority on classic car valuations and insurance, has offered some guidance for the best classic cars to buy next year. The list fixates on cars it believes to be strong investments in terms of value growth while remaining pleasurable to own. So, if you’re planning on placing your retirement on rolling rubber or just want to test the waters without spending a lot of money, these are cars to consider.

Used C5 Corvettes have maintained flat pricing over the last two years, meaning that deprecation has ended and the car is about to start earning you money. While you can still snag a C4 for roughly the same price, 1997-2004 Vettes are inarguably better built machines. Superior performers in every respect, the C5s come with the all-aluminum LS motor that everyone and their grandmother has tried to swap into their project car. An LS1 mated to a Borg-Warner T-56 6-speed transmission will likely appreciate better than the 4-speed automatic variants. However, the torque converter will save you roughly ten percent on the $15,000 average C5 price tag. Expect to lay down much more for higher trims and later model years.

Speaking of American supercars, Dodge Vipers are also becoming quite collectible, and third generation snakes are at the profitability tipping point. 2003 SRT-10s are available at under $40,000, while cars from only a few years earlier can easily set you back another ten to twenty grand.

Hagerty suggests that collectors take a look at some of Mopar’s other famous ilk, too. When the “financial flexibility” of Boomers took a hit in 2008, muscle car prices took one right to the groin. Still unrecovered, you can pick up some of the most sought-after vintage American iron for a lot less than before. Good condition 1971-1972 Dodge Challengers can be had for $18,300 with a mid-range 318-cubic-inch V8. 1968-1970 Dodge Chargers are also on the rise. Modest examples can be found for $26,100, with the expectation that the value should only increase over the coming years. Base models with automatic transmissions should drive that price, and overall desirability, down. Similarly, anything original with an R/T badge or the right paint scheme can dramatically raise a vehicle’s value.

However, if you have gobs of money to spend and are a Mopar loyalist, why not invest $233,000 into a 1970 Plymouth Superbird? While they can be found for less, spending more for a pristine and complete unit will save you from hunting for expensive rare parts and place you in a better position once you decide to auction it off. Classic Chryslers, Dodges, and Plymouths are all appreciating more swiftly than the other domestic badges and this is one example you might be able to flip for a colossal profit in only a few years.

While Hagerty recommended a 2003 Ferrari Enzo as a confident investment worth making, I’m going to wager you don’t have the $2.3 million required for a low-volume European hypercar. Instead, might I suggest the much more reasonable 2000-2006 BMW M3? Bavarian M cars always hold their value with a certain crowd and E46 M3 coupes are at the bottom of their pricing scale. It’s safe to assume they will only increase in value in the years to come.

Thanks to decades of hooning and its resulting fame, twin-turbo MkIV Toyota Supras are set up to become one of the most explosively valuable cars money can buy. For a certain age group, 1993-1998 Supra turbos were car culture royalty during their formative years — guaranteeing the model’s future desirability. However, the Supra’s prominent role as a tuner car also endangers its very existence. Videos featuring 800 to 1000-horsepower over-boosted Supras are common, meaning that good condition cars are not. That rarity indicates the current $40,000 asking price will only shoot upward as more cars are destroyed.

Possibly the smartest buy on Hagerty’s list is the 1966-1977 Ford Bronco. Considering that younger buyers are driving the used market for even mediocre SUVs from the 1980s, snagging a genuine classic that also appeals specifically to Millennials and Generation X isn’t a terrible idea. Bronco values have been creeping up steadily for the last few years but can still be purchased for under $20,000.

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4 of 73 comments
  • Caboose Caboose on Jan 05, 2017

    "Used C5 Corvettes ... deprecation has ended..." Does that mean I am no longer allowed to say that the C5 sucked?

  • Bultaco Bultaco on Feb 14, 2018

    Vettes have been the chariot of the Viagra set since the late C-3 era. I have literally NEVER seen anyone under about 40 driving a Vette. I'm sure younger people drove them all the time before the malaise era turned them into personal luxury cars. When the performance came back with the C4, they had become so expensive that old guys were the only people who both wanted one, and could afford one.

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.