It's hard to make money off automotive. Even new car dealers struggle to make a buck most of the time. The only ones who flourish tend to be after sales professionals and even then there is only a select number of professionals who are actually doing well, with a ridiculously over saturated service market.
Today I thought I'd give you a next generation guide on collectibles that could make you some money in the near future, but are currently well within affordability. Cars that if stored correctly and maintained at low KM will bring extremely strong future value gains.
It's worth noting though that this article is not to be considered financial advice nor gospel in automotive investment. They are simply vehicles that dealers in industry are finding hold much more value than many of their competitors. Or are currently making small value gains, enough to tell us that the car will be a good long term investment opportunity.
The Land Rover Defender
A new Land Rover Defender release is imminent. But that's not the vehicle I'm referring too. Oh no, I'm talking about the original shape Defender. Normally old vehicle values drop with the release of a new vehicle. But no matter the year, this previous shape Defender is still gaining large chunks of value. You'll be able to pick one up in Australia at under $20,000 with high KM. But if you're able to restore and store that car, it is most definitely going to gain even more value over the long term. If possible, any Defender with a green body and white contrast roof is guaranteed to be a future classic and most likely case a unicorn in the long term.
Buyer's price range: $20,000 - $50,000AUD
KM range: any (must check body and engine authenticity prior to purchase)
Investment length: 10 years
Sale value: $40,000 - $250,000AUD (dependent on model, year and edition)
Sale type: auction
The BMW M3 (E46)
The engine in these cars isn't really anything special. A similar straight-six engine to the previous iteration. What we are finding though is that the bad examples of these cars are dying out quick. That means that the examples that are left are not just going to be fairly rare, but they're also going to be a semi-modern example of speed. This M3 also had the first half capable iteration of a dual clutch gearbox produced by BMW and made the car famous for its odd and bright colour choices.
Buyer's price range: $30,000 - $60,000AUD
KM range: 60,000km or below (check interior and leather quality)
Investment length: 15 - 20 years (short gains and value strength prior)
Sale value: $90,000AUD and above
Sales type: car show (particular popularity with car clubs and enthusiasts)
Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (2002)
Featured in the 007 film, Die Another Day, this Aston Martin was the first iteration of vehicles after the Ford takeover. It also shared a designer with the Jaguar XK which was featured in the same film. This car, though, experienced average sales throughout it's quite short lifetime. That means that the car will be rare in the long run, not just that but an example kept at low KM and in decent, original condition is going to be a near unicorn. It's still an expensive purchase to start with but I can see this car having a cult DB5 like status down the track.
Buyer's price range: $150,000AUD or below
KM range: 40,000km or below
Investment length: 10 - 15 years (expect to experience an initial short drop in value)
Sale value: $350,000AUD and above
Sale type: auction
Jaguar XKR (X150)
Driven by the Stig in Spain during one of the final seasons of Top Gear which featured Hammond, May and Clarkson, this Jaguar XKR heralded a change in the classic JLR attitude. It was a car which was aggressive, noisy and basically set the tone for the F-Type we know today. This XKR also featured a supercharged 5.0l V8 engine. An engine which is expected to die out in the next 10 years extremely quick. With that in mind though, there are near no recent examples of sports cars which actually use a brilliant and working iteration of the supercharged 5.0l V8 alike to the way that the XKR did. The car is already holding at the very least half of its original value.
Buyer's price range: $100,000 - $140,000AUD
KM range: under 40,000KM (make sure it is the supercharged V8 version and try to pick an example with the gloss black wheels)
Investment length: 10 years
Sale value: $190,000AUD and above
Sale type: private or advertised
The Ford F100 and F250 (1980 or prior, 4X4)
Americans, you might want to ignore this one. Because it isn't for you. I say that because these cars in America are like lamp posts. Everywhere else though, they are money makers. Not because of their original status as well. Tuners are loving them, they're like blank canvasses. This makes it a vehicle that you can quite literally pick up at any KM and not really have to massively worry about maintenance for it. What you want to do is grab an original with no rust on the body work and no modifications made to it. Store it, and sell it when the original examples start to become rare.
Buyer's price range: Anywhere under $30,000AUD
KM range: doesn't matter, someone is going to rip the engine out and replace it with something ridiculous. Just make sure the engine actually functions.
Investment length: 5 - 10 years (or when non-modified examples start to become rare)
Sale value: $30,000 - $90,000AUD
Sale type: private or event
The Nissan Skyline GTR (KPGC10)
These cars are stupidly rare anywhere but Japan. Because of that though, the current examples are expensive. There's a big caveat though to that comment. I can see this car achieving auction results similar to that of classic European vehicles in the near future. Thing is, up until very recently these JDM vehicles were relatively unknown. It was only after it's brief appearance in Fast Five that people started paying attention. You'll find that there are just enough enthusiasts of this car with money to create a bidding war at any classic car auction. Best bet to actually get your hands on one is to import it from an auction in Japan.
Buyer's price range: max $130,000AUD (there are higher asking prices in Japan) plus freight and importation
KM range: under 60,000
Investment length: 20 years
Sale value: well over $1,000,000AUD (based on current gains in value, I estimate it to be somewhere in the mid $1.4 - $1.6 million AUD)
Sale type: classic car auction (Motorclassica or an international motor show)
With any investment opportunity there comes risks, and cars are no different. You always need to completely check authenticity of any vehicle you're purchasing and its full history, but this is especially prevalent with classic vehicles. It's a lesson that amateur buyers sometimes learn the hard way. You need to do this because in order to sell a classic vehicle in a higher end showroom, classic car auction or at an event you need to be able to prove that all statements you've made about the vehicle are totally true.
Another thing to watch for is damaged leather. We all talk about rust with classic vehicles, and yes you need to check for rust. But if you can find a classic vehicle with the undamaged original leather you're really onto something. It's like finding two collectibles in one, a classic fashion item and a classic vehicle. They are ridiculously hard to come by though and leather never needs to be authentic.
It's worth mentioning that with classic vehicles in general that, in a way, they need to be treated like shares. Once you're in the market you should be attending vehicle auctions, recording results and figuring out caveats in types of sales and value changes. It also means that in the extremely unlikely event that your investment starts to go south; you know when to sell. Complacency is a collectors biggest enemy, and it should be treated as such.