Their seats smell leathery-familiar, the staccato clicking sound of the turn signal spreads a nostalgic charm, and then that acceleration roar! Vintage and modern classic cars are the trend, mainly due to the timeless sensory impressions, the old, respectable flair and the authentic driving sensation. Or simply because of the history.
In times of low interest rates, complicating capital growth by traditional investment strategies, vintage cars and modern classic cars are now a tempting alternative for investment. By choosing a real classic car as an investment object, you can count on yearly value growth of sometimes more than ten percent. However, choosing the wrong vehicle will soon shatter your dream of high revenue.
1. Porsche 911: a classic car with integrated added value
You cannot ignore the Porsche cars when you consider buying or using a classic car as an investment object. The noble racing cars by the car manufacturer from Zuffenhausen count as very stable in value in both their younger and more advanced years. Particularly Porsche models from the 1960ies and 1970ies have dramatically increased their value. Automatic added value is virtually integrated in the Porsche 911. A well-maintained 1973 Porsche 911 Targa, for example, is nowadays valued at 50.000 euro.
Being in adequate condition, with no reported accidents and its history traceable, a Porsche 911 is a solid investment, its added value quasi integrated when it was built. Porsche 911 is added to the list of classics like the Jaguar E-type or the legendary XK 120, renowned in the industry for their steady increase in value.
2. Mercedes 300 SL: The highest increase in value due to originality and authenticity
The highest increase in value of recent years was attained by the Mercedes 300 SL. Already in its production period, this model with its innovative space-frame was considered an exclusive top sports car, in that period at ca. 3000 DM already classified in the higher price and market segment. Due to its absolute vehicle values, the historical significance in racing history, its technical sophistication as well as its limited edition of 1400 units, the Mercedes 300 SL was able to steadily increase its value over the years. Even an ill-kept, scratched gull-wing door Mercedes with minor defects, in production between 1954 and 1957 nowadays is still valued at 500.000 US dollar. If it drives properly and has an impeccable history, the value of the sports car from Stuttgart can be estimated even higher. Astoundingly, the 300 SL was available very cheaply in the 1970ies. Those who bought this car in that era can enjoy a solid added value now. The gull-wing Mercedes-Benz 300 SL stands at the top of the Deutsche Oldtimer Index, issued by The German Automotive Industry Association VDA, who calculates the increase in value of all cars.
3. Opel GT: Increase in value of around 40 percent
You don’t always have to dig into your pockets that deep. Affordable classic cars – such as the Opel GT – are the trend. It is mainly the emotional element and the history of the sports car, in production between 1968 and 1973, increasing its value. The “German Corvette” with its legendary bottle-shape design was able to post a 40 percent increase in value since 2011. Presently, the Opel GT has an average market price of 14.000 euro and the trend is upward. Those who bought this model before 2011 can now enjoy a solid profit of several thousands of euros. The cult catch Opel Manta, on the contrary, lags behind when it comes to value development, it being merely an item for fans.
4. BMW Isetta: Popular favourite as profitable investment
The BMW Isetta too has grown into a lucrative investment. In production between 1955 and 1962, the car has worked its way up to the front row of the Deutsche Oldtimer Index. A value increase of more than 100 percent applies here. The German organisation for car inspection TÜV Nord, which executes an explicit value assessment of classic cars, estimates the actual sales price of the bubble car at ca. 30.000 euro provided it is well-maintained. Only 5 years ago the “Easter egg on wheels” was sold for 15.000 euro. The added value is based on the Isetta’s status as historically relevant piece of automotive history. Furthermore the legendary mini-car is a popular figure of the BMW brand as well as a general audience darling.
Internal and external colour as well as equipment has an impact on value development
When comparing the present values and the value development of the past years, the focus points almost automatically at the 1980ies and 1990ies. Several of the cars produced in that period are now outstanding modern classics offered as explicit investment object. For example, a Lancia Delta or a Porsche 924 or 944 from the 1990ies were sold for 10.000 euro at most until recently. Now these classic cars are worth twice and often thrice as much. Especially the exclusive and limited series promise an exclusively high profit margin. The contrary applies to vintage and modern classic cars in wrong colours. You will hardly find a buyer interested in a shocking yellow Fiat Uno Turbo or a magenta Porsche 964. Generally it is hardly possible to attain value increase of any significance with the wrong internal or external colour or poor equipment. Chances on making profit increase only, when many people take interest in a specific model.
Consider the fixed costs when purchasing a classic car
With the proper care and maintenance, the risk of losing money on a vintage or modern classic car is rather small. On the contrary: accident-free cars of the right colour with both well-kept exterior and interior and only a few previous owners – these are the conditions you can regard as almost automatic increase in value over times. Things turn even better, when your classic car is fully restored or even in its original state. The age of a car counts only as the first indicator for price classification. Do not forget, however, that the possession of a classic car always implies costs as well. The accommodation, maintenance and of course the insurance most certainly must be taken into account.
Basically, the following rule of thumb applies hereto: the higher the value and the more expensive a classic car is, the fewer fixed costs are proportionally accrued. This can be considered in the positive sense with respect to increase of value in absolute numbers as well.
Foto: Luisa Fumi, Sergey Kohl, Art Konovalov, Fingerhut, MABO, andrea lehmkuhl / shutterstock.com