When you’re buying a classic, or something that is hopeful of becoming one, it’s nice to think your purchase will be an investment.
The classic car insurance and valuation experts at Hagerty have identified ten cars that are either classics now and are expected to increase in value, are future classics, or lie somewhere in between.
There’s something here for a range of budgets, whether you’re looking to spend $15,000 or over $2 million. So without further ado, here are Hagerty’s Top 10 Classic Cars to Buy in 2017, along with the average prices at which they’re trading hands in the United States today.
1. 2000-2006 BMW M3 ($20,000)
2. 1997-2004 Chevrolet Corvette ($15,000)
3. 1971-1972 Dodge Challenger ($18,300)
4. 1968-1970 Dodge Charger ($26,100)
5. 2003-2006 Dodge Viper ($50,000)
6. 2003 Ferrari Enzo ($2,300,000)
7. 1966-1977 Ford Bronco ($18,500)
8. 1970 Plymouth Superbird ($233,000)
9. 2007-2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS ($180,000)
10.1993-1998 Toyota Supra Turbo ($40,000)
1) 2000-’06 BMW M3 ($20,000)
Hagerty says earlier M models have been hot on the collector market over the last three years, but the E46 M3 from 2000 to 2006 hits the sweet spot for collectibility, as it is priced at about $20,000. The E46 M3 featured a 333-horsepower 3.2-L inline 6-cylinder engine with the nice 6-speed manual transmission or a truly horrible single-clutch 6-sequential manual transmission (SMT). The 6-speed manual is preferred, because the SMT had a disturbing loss of power between gears that has since been solved by dual-clutch transmissions. Great handling was achieved by excellent engineering and its light balanced weight. The E46 M3 is a great car and now, a decade later, you can get one for a reasonable price and watch it appreciate. The coupe will perform better due to the rigidity of the hard top, but the convertible would be fun too.
2) 1997-’04 Chevrolet Corvette ($15,000)
The C5 generation revived the Corvette in the minds of many enthusiasts. Hagerty says it is an objectively better car than the C4 and that it is fully depreciated, and yet it sells for C4 prices. The Corvette’s 5.7-liter V-8 put out 345 horsepower and that rose to 350 in 2001, when the high-performance Z06 model debuted with 385 horsepower and added 20 ponies the next year. Regular Corvettes were offered as hatchback coupes and convertibles, while the more performance-oriented Z06 was only a fixed-roof coupe for more rigidity. Hagerty says the Z06s, with the extra power and lower production numbers, have the best long-term prospects for collectors. Of course, you can expect to pay more for one of those, roughly double the price of a base model.
3) 1971-’72 Dodge Challenger ($18,300)
Muscle cars have historically been hot collectors’ items. Hagerty says the beautiful 1971-’72 Dodge Challengers are starting to rise to the top in interest and that demand is the highest it has been since 2012. That means value increases are likely to follow. The $18,300 price tag is just a starting point and it’s likely for a car with a 6-cylinder or a small V-8. The Challenger was offered as a coupe or convertible, both with a variety of engines, ranging from 198- and 225-cubic inch slant-6s to 318-, 340-, 360-cubic inch small-block V-8s to the 383-, 426-, and 440-cubic inch big-block V-8s. Of course, the 425-horsepower Hemi V-8 will cost you six or maybe seven figures, but a nice 275-horsepower 340 V-8 could be a wise collector buy.
4) 1968-’70 Dodge Charger ($26,100)
Like the Challenger, Hagerty sees a five-year high in interest in the 1968-’70 Dodge Charger. Unlike the Challenger, however, the pricing for these cars has recently exceeded its previous high, and values should continue to rise. A 225-cubic inch slant-6 was offered, but all of the other engines were V-8s, including the 425-horsepower 426 Hemi and the 375-horse 440. Charger R/Ts had the 440, dual exhaust, heavy duty suspension, and Bumblebee stripes. For 1969, Dodge added the Charger 500 for NASCAR. It came with a flush-mounted front grille and rear window, the Hemi or the 440, and fixed headlights.
5) 2003-’06 Dodge Viper ($50,000)
The Viper can be difficult to drive and so most have very few miles on them. Of course, that’s good for the collector market and now the 2003-’06 models are starting to appreciate. These Vipers, called SRT10, were offered only as roadsters from 2003 to ’05, but then a coupe was built in 2006. The 8.4-liter V-10 put out 510 horsepower and radiated extreme amounts of heat through the transmission tunnel. Add that to the often hot side sills, the rough ride, the unruly power, and the lack of stability control, and driving a Viper can be an uncomfortable experience, but it is also refreshingly basic and raw. Just be ready for a lot of thrills and minimal frills.
6) 2003 Ferrari Enzo ($2,300,000)
When Ferrari names a car after its founder you know it has to be special. And the Enzo is. This carbon fiber supercar cost $659,430 new, but now it’s worth more than $2 million. A total of 399 were built for sale and a 400th was built and donated to the Vatican to be auctioned off for charity. Power was derived from a 6.0-liter V-12 that produced 650 proud Italian horses, and a Formula 1-style single-clutch electro-hydraulic transmission did the shifting. The car could hit 60 mph from a stop in 3.3 seconds and blast through the quarter mile in 11.2 seconds. Carbon ceramic brakes provided excellent stopping force. Most of this is standard fare on supercars today, but it was groundbreaking stuff 14 years ago. If you can get your hands on one, it’s only going to appreciate.
7) 1966-’77 Ford Bronco ($18,500)
Values for early Broncos have been rising for several years now, and they are popular among younger enthusiasts who never experienced them as kids. Ford introduced the Bronco in 1966 on a short 92-inch wheelbase. It had its own architecture, but both axles came from the F-100 pickup. Wagon, half-cab, and roadster body styles were offered. The initial engines were a 170-cubic-inch straight-6 and a 289-cubic inch V-8, and those eventually gave way to a 200-cubic inch straight-6 and a 302 V-8. Hagerty says the Bronco fills the same role as the Toyota FJ40 for significantly less, but the market should get hotter now that Ford has announced it is bringing back the Bronco.
8) 1970 Plymouth Superbird ($233,000)
Interest in Mopar is increasing, and the cartoonish Plymouth Superbird is one of the rarest and most specialized cars of the muscle car era. Production estimates range from 1,920 to nearly 3,000, but Hagerty says there is never a shortage of them on the market. Plymouth used the wind-cheating Superbird to lure “The King” Richard Petty back into its NASCAR family in 1970. Based on the Road Runner, aero treatments included a nose cone fitted to Dodge Coronet fenders, a 25-inch tall rear spoiler, and a flush rear window. All Superbirds had a vinyl roof due to a weld seam caused by the rear window. Only 135 were sold for street duty with the 425-horsepower, 426-cubic inch Hemi V-8. The other cars had the 440-cubic-inch V-8, either with 375 horsepower, or 390 when equipped with the Six Pack tri-carb setup. The Superbird won eight superspeedway races in 1970, and Petty claimed five of them.
9) 2007-’11 Porsche 911 GT3 RS ($180,000)
The Porsche 911 is a special car. The naturally aspirated, track-focused 911 GT3 is an even more special car. And the 911 GT3 RS? Whoa.. Porsche actually released two GT3 RS models during the 2007-’11 timeframe, both of which were on the 997 generation of the 911. Both featured the wider body from the 4S and Turbo models, as well as lighter weight and shorter gear ratios for its 6-speed manual transmission. The first version, released for 2007, got a 415-horsepower 3.6-liter flat-6, while the 2010 model received a 450-horse 3.8-liter flat-6. The latter version also featured active engine mounts and offered an optional lithium-ion battery to further save weight. Prices were in the $123,000,-$132,000 range then, and now they’re up to $180,000 and climbing. A third 997 GT3 RS was offered for 2012. It was the GT3 RS 4.0 with 500 horsepower. If you can find one, expect to pay a lot more.
10) 1993-’98 Toyota Supra Turbo ($40,000)
The last time Toyota offered a sports car with real power was in the ’90s. It was the Supra Turbo, and it was a great car. Under the hood was a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that put out 320 horsepower and 315 pound-feet of torque. These turbos worked sequentially in order to reduce turbo lag, one coming on at 2,500 rpm, and the other at 4,500 rpm. That was good for a 4.6-second 0 to 60 mph run, and it put the Mark-IV Supras among the fastest production cars of the day. With coil-over shocks and a stiff structure derived from the Lexus SC300, it could handle, too. The Supra Turbo cost about $40,000 in 1993 and that’s what a clean one can sell for today, but expect that to increase as interest for these cars grows in the coming years. Toyota is working to revive the Supra name for 2018.