So is it time we started investing in cars? Or is there a treasure lurking beneath a dusty blanket in the corner of your garage?
Experts from the car history registry carVertical have analysed the market and picked out their 10 best tips for cars you could either make a few quid from, or just hang on to and not sell. These are the cars that, for various reasons, are likely to keep on appreciating. For pictures of each car, scroll to the bottom of this story.
Read more: Rare classic cars worth thousands discovered in Derbyshire
1. Alfa Romeo GTV (1993 – 2004)
Drop-dead gorgeous, and a hoot to drive with the right engine, the Alfa Romeo GTV has aged magnificently well, and used prices are reflecting that. Find a mint example of the tuneful six-cylinder version and you could have to cough up £25,000. Let’s just not mention reliability, eh?
2. Audi V8 (1988 – 1993)
As solid as it is imposing, the Audi V8 preceded the technical masterpiece we know as the Audi A8. But while an early A8 with moon miles can be had for the price of a decent bottle of Claret, the Audi V8 has been quietly rising in value.
Happen upon a pristine, low-mileage example in your collection and you could be sitting on £25,000 worth of German automotive history.
3. BMW 540i (1992 – 1996)
The E34 5 Series has reached that sweet spot every decent Bimmer seems to eventually find itself in, the point at which its painful depreciation turns a corner and you’ve got a chance to make a few quid.
Although it’s yet to reach the dizzying £30k heights of E28 money, an elegant E34 with the right spec will comfortably fetch five figures thanks to its rarity. Having said that, it’s still possible to find a nice one below £10,000. But that won’t be the case for very long.
4. Jaguar XK8 (1996 – 2006)
Arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever made, the Jaguar XK8 looks as lovely today as it did in the mid-1990s when it was launched. After a fallow spell in which you could pick up old smokers for a few grand, they’re now starting to hit the high notes. A high-spec late model XK-R with low mileage could fetch a long way north of £20,000 – and it’s rising all the time.
5. Land Rover (Series I, Series II)
The original versions of the “best 4×4 by far” are fetching silly money now, with six-figure sums not unheard of. But if you’ve got even a shabby one lurking away at the bottom of your garden, you could consider it part of your pension.
Since the iconic SUV was discontinued, values have rocketed, and even the more modern examples are holding their value very well. But it’s the early Series One and Two versions that send auction rooms into a frenzy, and that’s where some serious money is being made.
6. Mercedes-Benz E300, E320, E420 (1992 – 1996)
The W124 Mercedes is considered a highlight of the Benz back catalog, and there are still plenty of them on the road today, standing as a testament to their durability. Despite this, if you can find a well-cared-for example of a V8-powered E500 with low miles, you could be sitting on a goldmine in a few years’ time.
7. Saab 9000 CS Aero (1993 – 1997)
Quirky yet dependable, Saabs might have disappeared from the automotive landscape, but there’s still strong demand for the Swedish brand’s best models. The 9000 CS Aero saloon might hail from the mid-1990s, but it still drives like a new car, and has plenty of modern touches, if you can find a high-spec version. Expect its rarity to propel used values to dizzying heights in the coming years.
8. Toyota Land Cruiser (J80, J100)
Rock-solid workhorses with more than their fair share of creature comforts, the Toyota Land Cruiser has a strong following and fans love their sheer capability as much as their endless reliability. Prices can already reach as much as £35,000 for a good J100, and that won’t be dropping any time soon.
9. Volkswagen Corrado VR6 (1991 – 1995)
One of the best cars ever to emerge from the Volkswagen’s stable is sadly now one of the rarest. Agile handling and the addition of VW’s complex but characterful VR6 engine add up to one of the most likeable coupes that emerged from the 1990s boom. Unsurprisingly, you can already expect to pay silly money for these cars today, and they’ll only become more valuable as they comfortably slip into classic status.
10. Volvo 740 Turbo (1986 – 1990)
Stick a big turbo in what many considered to be a mundane wardrobe-on-wheels and you’ve got a fine example of Volvo’s occasional descent into madness. The 740 Turbo blended legendary practicality with exciting performance.
And it’s one of the original fast estate cars, modern interpretations of which are now common in the garages of grown-up petrolheads. As a result, expect values to climb steadily year on year.