- E30 M3. Image credit: BMWPOWER2010 on Flickr.

The WCS challenge: spotting a future classic for under £30,000

The automotive market can be a goldmine if you know what to buy and when to sell, so what's the best you can come up with? 250 TC's await the winner!

7w ago

The E30 BMW M3 is a car that has seen its stock rise considerably over the past few years, and it's no wonder: the shape is timeless, the performance is still credible to this day, and you can be damn certain that heads will turn when one passes by. The last few examples rolled off the production line in 1991, which means that the king of super saloons will be ticking over to 30 this year. It's also the reason why they are now edging closer and closer to a value of £100,000.

The E30 is just one of a massive fleet of twentieth century vehicles that are worth way, way more than they did when they left their factories. Take the Jaguar E-Type, or one of the JDM monsters that arose during the 90s, such as the R34 Nissan Skyline. Some of these cars aren't even special editions, or didn't even have a ridiculously suppressed production count: they are just exceptional cars that have aged as well as Idris Elba (who really should become the next 007, if you ask me).

Lotus Esprit V8. Image credit: Stu.G on Flickr.

Lotus Esprit V8. Image credit: Stu.G on Flickr.

But what exactly are the criteria's that need to be fulfilled for a car to increase in value over time? You could argue that that's a pretty vague question: what solidifies a vehicle's standing amongst the power elite varies from vehicle to vehicle, so there really is no sure-fire way of saying. A car can have bucket load's of power, and irresistible looks, but still be worth less than it did when it first went up for sale. Take the Vauxhall VX220 for instance.

It strikes the perfect balance between cutesy and volatile, despite the shoddy badge it sports. Its bias towards lightweight simplicity is a recipe that will continue to be a blueprint for any carmakers that want to have a crack at creating a car that will echo into the ages. And yet, AND YET, you can pick one up for under £15,000. You could probably knock it down a few grand with a bit of negotiating too, such is the lack of demand for VX220's. But come on, just look at it:

Image credit: Classic Driver.

Image credit: Classic Driver.

Investing in a car that you think will become a future classic will either be a tactical masterstroke, or pure blind luck - there's no in-between. It's not even like you can consult a professional who can give you an assurance bet to place your chips on, the instability of the automotive market means that you cannot say for sure which cars will go up. It's a little bit like investing in stocks, but the change won't happen overnight. Rather, you could see your investment starting to grow in value over time.

It's a game of chance, and one that any true petrolhead will probably pursue someday, in the early years of their retirement. Backlash from your spouse is expected, but that will quieten down .. eventually (or end in divorce). Having said that, investing in a future classic doesn't always mean you'll even end up selling it: if it's increasing in value, it's happening for a reason. There are plenty of stories regarding people who've purchased two tonnes of metal, and had no intentions of selling it.

Image taken by myself.

Image taken by myself.

Take this BMW 3.0L CS (E9) that's owned by my uncle, for instance. He purchased it back in the 90s, in conjunction with a vintage Jensen Interceptor from the late 60s, for the purpose of selling them on during his retirement years. There's no doubt they'll now be worth tenfold what he paid for them all those years ago, so it's a winning bet.

But like I said, things change, and his retirement plan has now gone from selling the E9 and the Interceptor, to now getting his hands on a Jaguar XJ6 - thus, completing his dream classic car trio. It's a classic case of falling in love with something you thought you wouldn't, and that pretty much sets the cast for what this weeks challenge will be.

BMW's fleet of iconic V10's are increasing in demand at an alarming rate. Image credit: __Dreamer__ on Flickr.

BMW's fleet of iconic V10's are increasing in demand at an alarming rate. Image credit: __Dreamer__ on Flickr.

But first, I need to pick a winner from last week. The task was to build a car that can compete in the Acropolis Rally of Greece, on a shoestring budget of £20,000. Whilst it would be impossible to get close to the actual monsters the pro's use, you'd be expected to put on a valiant showing.

In that regard, I believe Sam Barker's low-mileage Peugeot 206 GTI fits the bill perfectly. Not only is this a thorough description of the modifications that will be applied, but it's also well priced, has the pedigree, and not as flimsy as you'd expect. Well done to Sam Barker for winning last weeks challenge!

I realise that the Weekly Car Sale Challenge has only just been reintroduced, so for any new readers who have no idea what these are, please click here to be forward to the first iteration so you can catch up to speed. Here's this week's task:

You've got a budget of £30,000

Pick any vehicle that you think will *at least* double in value

No limitations on what the car has to be, all entrants considered

Must be in pristine condition to start with, no future works will be allowed

Image credit: Mercedes-Benz press release.

Image credit: Mercedes-Benz press release.

This might just be the toughest challenge so far that I'll have the task of officiating: how exactly am I supposed to pick a winner? I'm sure some people will feel hard done by, but I will try my best to pick what I truly believe will be the safest possible purchase for the price paid. Best of luck to all entrants, 250 Tribe Coins will be awarded to the winner.

Comment your choice down below!

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