Most car buyers do not consider buying a new car an investment. In fact, most of us expect our cherished cars to depreciate over time. However, there are some classic cars that can actually earn you a lot of money!
Cars that have proven to be excellent investments come in many shapes and sizes, from classic Ferraris of the 1960s to less obvious possibilities like the German minibus. Some of the vehicles on this list are sure to be appreciated more!
1. Ferrari 250 GTO: $70 Million
What could be faster than the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO? Its value is rising and it seems to be increasing. What was once a grand tourer is now famous for its incredible price history. Ferrari made only 36 of these pieces in total, and collectors are willing to pay top dollar for one of the rarer pieces.
The 250 GTO cost $18,000 in 1962, or $153,000 today adjusted for inflation. The car itself is now worth tens of millions of dollars. This 250 GTO sold at auction for $70 million in 2018!
2. Porsche 930 Turbo: $100,000
The Porsche 930, which was produced between 1975 and 1989, is one of the most recognizable forms of the Porsche 911. Initially, the car was equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six engine. Of course, both are air-cooled and rear-mounted.
The German automaker only produced 2,819 cars of the 3.0-liter powered 930 before switching to the 3.3-liter engine in 1978. Then there are the limited editions like the Slantnose and Speedster, which are sought after by collectors the most. Buyers should expect to pay at least $100,000 for a unit in good condition, well over the $37,000 retail price.
3. Ford Mustang: $70,000
Whether you like it or not, Ford’s Mustang has been ingrained in American society. Few cars are as well-known as the first pony car. We’ve all seen the legendary car pursuit in Bullitt, in which Steve McQueen drives a green GT390 Fastback.
Back in 1966, the Mustang cost $3,500, which is almost $28,000 now. Buyers can readily expect to spend at least $70,000 for a well-preserved unit over five decades later. Not to mention the limited editions, like the Shelby GT350, which are much more valuable.
4. Shelby Cobra: $5.1 Million
Cobra represents the best in engineering in the US and UK. In the 1960s, Carroll Shelby approached AC intending to build a small, enhanced sports car powered by a V8 under the hood. Ford supplied the engine, while AC supplied the chassis.
Of the various versions, the unit powered by the 427 V8 remains the most valuable. Today, you have to spend at least a million dollars to own one. The 427 Super Snake is probably the rarest of all cobras, as there is only one unit left in the world. The car was auctioned off in early 2015 for a whopping $5.1 million!
5. Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing: $4.2 Million
The 300SL is the legendary sports car built by the German automaker in the 1950s. The car was based on the W194 race car and immediately became known for its impressive performance. The distinctive gullwing doors are probably the 300SL’s most distinctive feature. In 1999, the Gullwing was named the “Sports Car of the Century”.
In the mid-1950s, the Gullwing sold for $7,300. Today, the same car is worth over a million dollars. One of them sold at auction in 2012 for $4.2 million.
6. BMW M3 (E30): $60,000
The first BMW M3 was introduced in 1986 for the next model year. The German automaker wanted to build a performance-oriented sports car based on the 3 Series Coupe. Since then, the legendary M3 has been with us.
The value of the E30 M3 has skyrocketed over the past decade. In the 2000s, the car’s original price dropped from $35,000. However, in the early 2010s, prices started to rise. Today, you’re going to have to spend at least $60,000 on a high-mileage device in good condition.
7. Chevrolet Corvette C1: $70,000
Believe it or not, the original Chevrolet Corvette wasn’t an instant hit. While Chevrolet had high expectations after unveiling the spectacular Corvette concept, the production version didn’t live up to the hype. Sales plummeted, and Chevrolet sold just 700 in 1955. Automakers must improve their vehicles or they must stop production.
The C1 retails for around $3,500, or just over $33,000 when adjusted for inflation. Today, you can buy one for at least $70,000. Rare variants are easily sold for over $150,000.
8. Ford Thunderbird: $85,000
The original Ford Thunderbird was a dynamic convertible that debuted in the 1955 model year. The car is intended to replace the Corvette that went on sale just two years ago. Interestingly, the Thunderbird was initially more successful than Chevrolet’s convertible. Ford managed to sell more than 50,000 of the first-generation Thunderbirds before discontinuing production in 1957.
In 1955, you could own a shiny Thunderbird for as little as $3,400 or $33,200 (adjusted for inflation). Today, however, you have to spend at least $85,000 to buy a first-generation Thunderbird in good condition.
9. Dodge Charger R/T: $140,000
The mighty Dodge Charger remains one of the most iconic American muscle cars of all time. In 1967, buyers could buy a charger for $4,000, or about $30,000 if adjusted for inflation. It was a great proposition at the time!
Today, a high-performance variant of the Charger can easily exceed $140,000. If you’re looking for a classic charger, choose the one that comes with the 440 V8 under the hood. Cars with matching numbers are the most valuable to collectors.
10. Pontiac Bonneville: $175,000
The original first-generation Bonneville was a rare car by American standards. The car debuted in 1958 and was replaced by the second generation just a year later! With only 3,096 units produced by Pontiac, the car’s short production run has collectors salivating.
In 1958, a brand new Bonneville sold for about $3,000, or $27,100 today. If you’re looking to buy a 58 Bonneville in 2021, expect to pay more than $175,000. Prices are expected to continue to rise in the coming years.
11. Jaguar E Type
It’s hard to find a British sports car as iconic as the E-Type. Its shape has gone down in history. When the car debuted in 1961, Enzo Ferrari called the E-Type the most beautiful car he had ever seen. While earlier units were powered by a six-cylinder engine, units built after 1971 featured a mighty V12 under the massive bonnet.
Back when it first came out, the E-Type sold for about $5,200, or $45,000 inflation-adjusted. Today, E-Type costs at least twice as much as you. Rare variants sell for more.
12. Chevrolet Camaro Z/28: $90,000
The original Camaro was released for the 1967 model year. It was only produced for two years before being replaced by the second generation in 1969. The base model has a 140-horsepower flat-six under the hood, while the enhanced Z/28 is powered by a 4.9-liter V8.
In the ’60s, the Camaro was listed at $3,200, or about $25,000 when adjusted for inflation. Today, a first-gen Z/28 Camaro can easily sell for over $90,000. Let’s not even start with a rare COPO 427 worth over $500,000.
13. Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz: $250,000
The fourth-generation Cadillac Eldorado debuted for the 1959 model year and quickly became an icon of the 1950s. With a massive body length of over 220 inches, the car’s exterior design is spectacular. Despite its popularity, it was replaced by the fifth generation less than two years after its introduction.
The Biarritz trim level is the rarest version, with just 1400 units made in total. In 1959, the Eldorado Biarritz started at $7,400, the equivalent of over $66,000 today. In 2021, A fourth-gen Eldorado Biarritz is worth over $250,000!
14. BMW M3 CSL (E46): $100,000
Based on the E46 3-Series, the M3 is the latest model on our list. A special CSL variant of the M3 E46 was sold in 2004. BMW limited total production to 1,383 units, all in either Silver Grey Metallic or Black Sapphire Metallic. If you come across an M3 CSL in a different color, it’s either a replica or a repaint.
In 2004, you could buy an M3 CSL for $75,000. Today, the same car costs at least $100,000.
15. Corvette C4 ZR1: $40,000
Many diehard Corvette fans aren’t big fans of the mighty C4. After all, the fourth-generation American sports car is a direct successor to the iconic C3, so expectations are correspondingly high. The C4 has improved in performance and design, but not everyone seems to like it.
The fourth-generation Corvette, including its beefed-up ZR1 variant, has been underrated for decades. Their prices have dropped significantly from their original suggested retail price of $66,000 in the early 2000s, but they’re starting to soar again. Today, expect to spend over $40,000 on a ZR1 in good condition.
16. Honda NSX: $100,000
After a nearly 20-year absence, Honda has brought back the NSX nameplate. The original NSX dates back to the 1990s and truly revolutionized the performance car industry! The sports car entered the US market in the 1991 model year.
It’s one of the coolest cars in its price range, but its value has fallen quickly from its original $60,000 retail price. Fast forward to 2021, and prices are skyrocketing. Buyers should expect to spend at least $100,000 on equipment in good condition.
17. Volkswagen Golf GTI
Any avid fan should have heard of the original Golf GTi from the late 1970s. The car is considered the first performance-oriented hatchback, thus establishing the hot hatch segment. Its 130-horsepower engine can propel the tiny vehicle to 60 mph in nine seconds. The Golf GTi is known for its excellent handling never seen before in a hatchback.
In the 1970s, you had to pay around $6,000 to own a brand-new Golf GTi. Expect to pay more than $20,000 for the first-generation Golf GTI in 2021. Keeping a low-mileage unit in brand-new condition will set you back even more.
18. Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible: $200,000
Good luck finding this. Compared to other muscle cars of its time, the regular GTO Judge is already relatively rare. However, the 1970 Judge Convertible 455 was a different story. Pontiac only built 17 in total!
Under the hood, the convertible features GM’s massive 7.4-liter V8 rated at 335 horsepower. In 1970, one of the cars sold for just $4,000, or $27,000 adjusted for inflation. That’s a lot of money, especially considering the same car would be worth over $200,000 today.
19. Plymouth Cuda: $4.1 Million
The rarest variant of the Cuda, the 1970-71 Plymouth Cuda Hemi Convertible is the holy grail of the muscle car world. Similar to the previously mentioned Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible, this Cuda variant is produced in very limited numbers. Plymouth only built 17 of them before the assembly line closed!
Any 1970-71 Cuda with a factory Hemi V8 is already rare, as Plymouth dropped the engine in just 600 coupes and 17 convertibles. In 1971, a Cuda convertible with a Hemi under the hood sold for $4,700 ($31,600 adjusted for inflation). The same car sold for a whopping $4.1 million at auction.
20. Chevrolet Corvette C2 (L88): $2.5 Million
While almost any C2 is a good investment, the example powered by the massive L88 V8 engine is quite different. This is considered the ultimate pinnacle of classic Corvettes, and it doesn’t get any better. The American automaker built just 20 second-generation Corvettes with the L88 engine, all of which were sold in 1967.
In the late 60’s you had to pay $6,000 for a brand-new L88-powered C2. Today, the same car is worth millions of dollars! One was auctioned for a whopping $2.5 million in January.