MARKET WATCH, September 2017

Lotus Elan prices sprint

The prices of Lotus Elan Sprints are pulling away from lower-powered Elans, with convertibles up 13% and coupés up 10%. That means the very best examples will cost £45k and £38.5k respectively, with defect-free cars commanding £35k and £30k and smart examples £22k and £18.5k.

The findings are in contrast to the recent trend for the earliest examples of a model to become the most valuable as collectors value original purity over ultimate specification and suggests that these cars are being bought to be driven. Well, 126bhp in a car weighing just 745kg is pretty hard to resist.

Even with recent price moves, the Elan is still well less than quarter the price of a Jaguar E-type 3.8 roadster. Tempting.

You’ll find 14 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s hot tips, Russ Smith’s market analysis, in-depth buying guides and cars for sale tested.

Ferrari 308s cool off

After showing spectacular price gains in recent years in line with the classic Ferrari market, 308 GTB and its targa-roofed GTS sibling has stalled and appears to be slipping back. It's too early to hail it as a bargain to be snapped up in a hurry, more one to watch in the hope that it becomes more affordable still.

In previous rounds of ebb and flow in classic car values, lesser models that are dragged up in the wake of rarer, more collectable siblings usually fall hardest when the top end of the market softens or goes backwards. But while the 308 GTB/GTS will always live in the shadow of the 365/512BB supercar, it's as lovely to drive as it is to look at, with ample if not awesome performance. And bought well, these can be robust and relatively affordable cars to own, considering the exotic badge that they wear.

So, while further softening of prices looks likely, heavy falls seem less so.

You’ll find 14 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s hot tips, Russ Smith’s market analysis, in-depth buying guides and cars for sale tested.

Price winners and losers

The top 78 market movers highlighted in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine is led by cars as diverse the Matra Murena, Jaguar XJ6 Series 2 and Jaguar XJ220, with gains of 91%, 50% and 50% respectively.

While that means the very best Murena is still an affordable is £11k, top examples of the Jaguar hypercar are now £300k, with entry level at half that. If that sounds like a lot of money, to buyers of late Eighties/early Nineties supercars it remains a bargain compared to the similarly rare Ferrari 288 GTO and much more numerous Ferrari F40.

Controversy around its specification not matching the promises of the prototype, and the challenges of trying to sell it into the post-supercar boom recession of the early Nineties have always held it back. Its performance and looks haven't, and with 25th anniversary celebrations raising its profile in 2017 this looks like a wise time to buy one.

You’ll find 14 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s hot tips, Russ Smith’s market analysis, in-depth buying guides and cars for sale tested.

Buy a Scimitar GTE

Because Scimitar buyers generally prefer the better developed Middlebridge-built examples, with top examples costing £15-20k and decent ones £8-12k, the earliest and prettiest SE5 and SE5a models built from 1968-1975 with clean styling and slim chrome bumpers are still great value. Expect to pay £5k or less for a really good example, though the very best can match Middlebridge prices.

But bargain Scimitar prices isn't news, right? Certainly, these attractive and innovate sports estates have long been overlooked by the classic market, but now they're on the move, so it's a good time to pick one up while you can. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that glassfibre bodywork means no rust worries – that tough shell is strengthened by plenty of steel which requires careful inspection. And when it rots, repairs are complicated by access problems

The comprehensive buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine gives more detail, and talks you through the other pre-purchase checks vital to ensure that your Scimitar experience is as smooth as it should be.

You’ll find 14 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s hot tips, Russ Smith’s market analysis, in-depth buying guides and cars for sale tested.

We want this

All the money is chasing the top of the range 450 SEL 6.9 version of the W116 S-Class Mercedes-Benz, so why are we so excited about this lowly six-cylinder car? Because it's such an exceptional example. The eye-catching gold bodywork is free of defects, the interior looks barely used and this 1974 car has evidence of full service history over its 43-year-life covering just 49k miles.

Its 185bhp twin-cam straight six is capable of hauling the short wheelbase saloon up to 60mph in under 10 seconds and it's good for 120mph flat out – ample performance for effortless touring and feeling good about life.

You’ll find 14 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s hot tips, Russ Smith’s market analysis, in-depth buying guides and cars for sale tested.