10 Collector Cars You Should Invest In Now
These cars will either be a good investment or a very fun toy. Either way, buy them now rather than later.
The idea of a “collector car” is an odd one. To possess something designed to be driven, not for the express purpose of driving it, but rather only because it is imbued with perceived value seems… wrong.
Which is not to say that everyone who has a collector car hides them away from the public. Not everyone is out there buying collector cars just to flip them (hopefully).
Sometimes it’s just the idea of having a car that’s rare or interesting or simply a “classic” that provides the fun and sparks the conversations within your community. Most people wouldn’t hold on to a car that’s 20 years old (or older) and that alone is a worthy pursuit.
We’re now in the year 2020, which means more cars are becoming “classics” by the technical definition, and there are more people with disposable income who can now afford to buy their bedroom wall posters.
The question is, what’s relatively cheap now that’s expected to rise in value or at least rarity? And if it doesn’t become more valuable, will it still be an interesting and fun car to own?
The answer is… actually quite a few cars. Here are 10 of the most noteworthy.
1997–2004 Porsche Boxster
The first-generation Porsche Boxster contains model years which have either already earned the technical label of “classic” or are just about to.
Yes, it’s the cheap Porsche. And yes, they built a lot of them. And yes, sometimes Porsches take decades before their value comes up. But you can pick up one of these cars for under $15,000 at the moment.
Meaning for less than $15,000, you can own a “classic” Porsche.
Yes, the first generation of Boxster were known for a few issues, namely a flaw in their IMS (intermediate shaft) bearing—but any survivors will most likely have had that fixed. At least, you’ll know what to ask about when kicking the tires on one.
Even if the market never explodes on them, so what? You’ll still have a fun to drive, a well-balanced sports car with a Porsche badge that you picked up for less than the price of a new Ford Escape.
1984 – 1993 Saleen Mustang
While prices on the first Cobra Mustang (and last fox body) have been steadily rising, the market seems to have stalled on the first run of Saleen Mustangs. You’ll see these cars currently changing hands for around $20,000 – $25,000.
Granted, Saleen has never been as hot a tuning house as Shelby or Roush, particularly after the brand’s glory days of the 80s and 90s.
But these cars are still an important piece of Mustang history—bringing back performance and particularly handling to a product which had been performance starved for over a decade. While early cars kept the stock 225-horsepower 5.0-litre V-8 so as not to void the factory warranty, later cars were able to be fitted with a supercharger, raising the output to 300 muscle ponies. While they’re trading for around the same dollars as the N/A version currently, presumably, these supercharged cars will be worth a little extra coin down the line.
Prices of these cars have been steadily rising since 2015, with a few already going as high as $40,000 to $50,000.
1994 – 1998 Ford Mustang Cobra
While the venerable “Terminator” Cobra never really dipped in value, Cobras from the SN95 generation Mustang have been somewhat forgotten to time (sort of like the SN95 generation itself).
The early SN95 Cobras weren’t much of a performance upgrade—only producing an extra 25 horsepower over the GT models. Indeed, the focus of early Cobras was actually on ride comfort. As a result, it was pretty easy to turn a blind eye to them once a new, more performance-oriented generation came along— particularly in ‘03 when we were introduced to the screaming supercharger whine of The Terminator.
However, as these cars age further into “classic” status, things are steadily beginning to change. Particularly amongst coveted “R” models, which are going for prices north of $30,000. The good news is there are plenty of “base” Cobras from this generation trading around the $15,000 range.
They might not have the power of the newer cars or the retro-cool of the older cars, but they were officially branded with a Cobra badge nonetheless. Meaning they’ll always be worth scooping up for the right price.
2002 – 2004 Subaru WRX STI
Here’s the thing about Subaru WRX STIs; owners beat the ever-loving piss out of them. Why is that good? It means there aren’t a lot of good examples left. This means if you happen to find a Subaru WRX STI from this generation around the $20,000 mark, and it passes a kick of the tires from a certified mechanic, you should seriously consider scooping it up.
Why this car? These are the first North American-legal WRX STIs. As such, they introduced a whole generation of teenagers and video-gamers to the brand. This is the car we remember from Gran Turismo. Not the ones with the weird 3-piece grill that came after. This is the STI with the iconic shape and aesthetic features that enthusiasts want.
If similar Japanese nameplates that have inspired the same kind of adolescent lust such as Supra and Skyline are an indication, any of these cars which have been unmodified and unabused should fetch a pretty penny in just a few years down the line. You’ll just have to resist beating them up yourself until then.
2004 – 2006 Dodge Ram SRT10
Admit it. You completely forgot this truck existed. Which is really a testament to how cool the Hellcat engine is—that it can wash away the memory of a 500-horsepower, 8.3-litre V-10 from the Viper of all things.
The Dodge Ram SRT10 is a complete oddity, the likes of which will most likely never happen again. Which means it will probably go on to capture the imagination of muscle car enthusiasts in years to come. And right now you might even be able to get one for less than $20,000.
Hey, remember when we were all excited at the idea of a Challenger SRT10? That would have been neat.
2008 Pontiac G8 GXP
Speaking of things you forgot existed that will excite muscle car fans in the coming years, how about a sedan with a Corvette engine?
It should be said that the Pontiac G8 GXP is much more interesting than its 6.2-litre 415-horsepower LS engine. It’s sort of a time capsule — a driving piece of history that stands as a solemn reminder of the 2008 financial collapse. It died with Pontiac. Which is sad and romantic at the same time.
Even though this car wears the badge of a defunct brand, don’t expect it to be cheap. You’ll find some examples now which are basically what you would have paid retail. That may be all the more reason to scoop one up before the prices go through the roof.
1996 – 2002 Dodge Viper GTS
If you’d like your Viper engine in a Viper, not a truck, well, here you go. The first Viper with a roof is remarkable in just how well its looks have aged. While it may have been outrageous in its day (and it still kind of is), it’s amazing just how contemporary it looks. At least, from the outside.
If you’re a late 80s to early 90s baby like me, you probably had a model or bedroom poster of the Dodge Viper GTS growing up. This means now that you could get one for around $35,000, you might be very, very tempted.
With even the latest models on the very edge of becoming a “classic” and so much nostalgia around the Viper nameplate, it might not be such a bad idea to pick up one of these V-10 monsters.
1989 – 1999 Nissan Skyline
Because the import laws are different in Canada than they are in the U.S., we’ve had R32, R33 and even R34 generation Skylines for some time now. Plenty of specialty dealerships out west regularly stock coveted Nissan Skylines.
They’re not all GT-Rs. And rest assured a true GT-R will still cost you—less if it’s an R32. Much, much more if it’s an R34.
That being said, there are still plenty of fun and cool, rear-wheel-drive GT-T models out there. A good one will cost you around $25,000 for an R34 model.
The R34 models might be a very good idea to get a jump on before the U.S. market opens up and demand becomes even more scarce. A GT-R of any generation is a good investment if you can afford one. It doesn’t look like demand or prices for those will stop rising any time soon.
1990 – 1995 Volkswagen Corrado
For a whole generation who grew up putting rims and lowering springs on their Jetta, this was their Hemi ‘Cuda. Yeah, I don’t really get it either. Nonetheless, the Corrado has spurred something of a cult following, and because it never sold all that well, they’re pretty rare too.
The base model packed a modest 1.8-lire engine producing 158 hp. But the really sought after model is home to a VR6—a compact V-6 engine which produced 188 horsepower at its height.
For some reason, Volkswagen guys love it. Maybe you can squeeze some money out of them as prices are coming up on the coveted VR6 models.
1999 – 2005 Ferrari 360
Okay, granted, most of us don’t have a spare $85,000 kicking around to gamble on yesterday’s Ferrari. But if you do, this might not be a bad investment. The cars are edging into classic territory, which means a boom in demand might be around the corner, the same way the 308 or Testarossa suddenly and sharply rose in price. Also the words, “I own a classic Ferrari” might sound pretty good coming out of your mouth.
However, there’s one extra thing to consider with the 360 that makes it a particularly special Ferrari. This is the last Ferrari offered with a manual transmission.
Some examples have traded for as low as $50,000—although I wouldn’t bank on finding one that low. If you can get one for around $80,000, you’re probably in the sweet spot to make some profit if the market picks up.
And if it doesn’t, then enjoy the last Ferrari with a gated shifter for the rest of us.