I realise that this article's title may be somewhat misleading. Am I talking about an appreciation of the 182 Trophy in terms of what it means to owners and enthusiasts? Or am I talking appreciation in terms of the increasing value of this fantastic little car? As you are kindly taking the time to read this I will unashamedly assume that you already have an appreciation for the humble 182 Trophy and what it's about. So let's talk money. Maybe.
There's no denying it, the last 6-8 months or so have seen an increase in both the sale prices of Trophys going to market and in the numbers of buyers who are looking to own one. And - regardless of price or condition - those that have been put up for sale have generally been purchased soon after, often within a matter of hours. What's perhaps more surprising than the increase in selling price is the number of potential buyers who want a piece of the action. Even more interesting is that fact that potential buyers are prepared to pay very strong money for the right example. Are we getting to a point where affluent collectors are taking interest and looking to add a little bit of Capsicum Red RenaultSport heritage to their collections? Is the 182 Trophy becoming a viable investment opportunity? Look what has happened with the V6 Clio.
Perhaps it's a little foolish to be comparing the appreciation of the 182 Trophy to that of the Clio V6. The Clio V6 was, sorry, IS a mental car. Having been fortunate enough to enjoy a MkII V6 for a year I would dearly love to have one again. It's not the quickest, it's not the most agile, but it's pure drama that's hard to beat. Consequently it's easy to understand why good, clean V6's are commanding strong prices in the £20k+ range (with mint, rare coloured editions another good £10k on top of that). But I digress, what is it that has sparked the increased interest in the 182 Trophy and why now?
To those of us who have been in and around the French hot-hatch market for a while the 182 Trophy is nothing new. It's been around for many years now and largely recognised for the engaging drive that it is, even if - arguably - it hasn't received the same level of recognition from the wider performance car community. Or has it? There have been many reviews and test drives by a plethora of magazines and automotive related entities over the years and none have been quite so vocal as the likes of the highly respected EVO magazine and it's founder / former editor, Harry Metcalfe. Not only has the Trophy received favourable reviews and precious column inches in the magazine itself but it also fared exceptionally well in EVO's Car of the Year back in 2005 (where it earned a well-deserved 3rd place behind the mighty Ford GT and Ferrari F430). Even Harry himself still owns a 182 Trophy amongst the many prestigious cars he holds in his collection. More importantly he still enjoys driving it and is as enthusiastic about it now as when he took ownership of it all those years ago. (Don't believe me? Then go check out EVO's "evo diaries" YouTube channel and see for yourself!)
So, I ask again, why the sudden interest? I think it's difficult to say with any certainty what the reasons are right now. Maybe it is due to the exposure provided by EVO et al. Or maybe car-savvy buyers have been waiting for the 'right moment' to buy - that time being now. Whatever the reasons, the 182 Trophy isn't doing itself any harm in terms of its position in the hot-hatch market. Despite technology advancing at a rapid rate the Trophy still continues to shine. As fresh reviews appeared recently in celebration of its 10th birthday the message is still abundantly clear; it offers a driving experience that can rival the best of the new hot-hatches on the market today. And, encouragingly, this is attracting buyers who are as keen to experience the drive as they are to see it as a potential investment opportunity. Who knows where it will end? I think it's a good time to be an owner right now.
Do you have any views or opinions as to why the sudden interest in the 182 Trophy? Are you looking to buy one, or sell one, soon? And why? Feel free to add your voice in the comments.