MARKET WATCH March 20, 2019

Escorts charge ahead, again

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As reported in our Price Guide Movers update in the latest issue of Classic Cars, Ford Escorts have grown by 4.8-54%, depending on model. Enduring favourites, the Mexico MkI and RS2000 MkII, have seen solid growth of 7.2% and 4.8% respectively, placing them either side of the 6% average market growth we’ve seen for the past 12 months and behind the 10% for Fords overall.

Twin Cams and RS1600/1800s aside, these are already among the more expensive Escort variants with rough Mexico MkIs making £10k and buyers paying £16-32k for usable examples depending on how good or perfect their requirements. RS2000 MkIIs start at £5k, with usable-best examples falling in the £8.3-22k range.

That’s left plenty of headroom for the less-fancied models, and MkII Sports have soaked up lots of new attention, growing 25% to £3k, £6k, £11k and £22k for our rough, good, mint and concours ratings. But it’s the basic Escort MkIs that have seen the most spectacular rise, leaping 54% to £2k, £3.5k, £7k and £10k respectively. It’s driven by a renewed market enthusiasm for once-commonplace family saloons, but also by the fact that sporting Escorts have become too expensive for some buyers hit by a rush of Escort nostalgia. But where once, when these cars were 10-20 years old, the basic models were only prized as a starting point for a Mexico or RS2000 look-a-like, they’re now valued as period-perfect examples of the cars that were street furniture in the Seventies and Eighties. For 29 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s annual Smart Buys special feature, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

BMW M3 CSLs go into reverse


When the market got the hots for modern classics, BMW’s third-generation M3 was a prime candidate for strong growth. After the underwhelming E36 generation, the E46 built from 2000-06 was a return to form established by the original Eighties E30. The CSL, built in limited numbers during 2003, went one louder, and as its name suggests, a little lighter. Power for the rev-happy straight six was up from 343bhp to 360bhp and it had 110kg less to push thanks to an aluminium bonnet, carbonfibre roof and lightweight bucket seats, among other things. So not only was it harder, faster and sharper than the already thrilling M3, it was a scarce commodity – just 553 righthand drive/830 lhd CSLs built out of the total of 85k regular E46 M3s. A collector’s darling then, and prices duly rocketed.

But they zoomed too close to the sun and the next wave of buyers isn’t willing to keep fuelling prices, as our latest Price Guide Movers update reveals in the current issue of Classic Cars. A 10% drop pushes rough examples down to £32.5k with tidy, usable cars now £36.5k and the smartest and best maintained cars falling in the £40-45k range. We expect limited-build modern classics like the CSL to be more resilient to the cooling trend than more numerous models, and even some of those appear to have already bottomed out – witness the gentle return to growth of the Eighties Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2. Great cars, but only the most creative vendor would be cheeky enough to put ‘rare’ in their advert. For 29 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s annual Smart Buys special feature, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Austin-Healey 100

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The NUE registration is a clue that this is one of the very early 100s, produced at Longbridge and supplied by the Donald Healey Motor Co. Built on 17 August 1953 and registered three days later, it’s thought to be the 120th down the production line and the Heritage Certificate shows that it was supplied with 5.50 tyres on 16-inch wheels and a low (20amp)-output dynamo plus a different distributor from standard. That might be because it was intended to be raced, like many early ’Healeys.

The current owner has meticulously researched its early history and found competition results starting with the 1954 Ryhdymwyn hillclimb, along with several Klemantaski photographs of the car racing when it was a lighter colour, probably Healey Blue. It overturned at the 1955 Oulton Park International causing the driver, Gerry Corlett, to retire from racing.

It was restored in the mid-Seventies and painted red, then restored again in 1990-91 at a cost of £29k. It’s now in that settled-in state, not patinated but the initial shine has come off, as the owner has toured it extensively and it’s the better for it.

To read the rest of this Ads on test article, part of 29 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s annual Smart Buys special feature, buy the latest issue

MARKET WATCH March 6, 2019

Ferrari 308GTBs slip further

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After five years of spectacular growth, these junior supercars are falling again. Until the recent price corrections, all variants of 308 had seen growth of between 30 and 100% over this timeframe, led by the early, glassfibre-bodied 308GTB and the Bertone-styled 308GT4 2+2. But our most recent Price Guide Movers update, in the April 2019 issue, reveals that all of the Pininfarina-styled 308 variants are now slipping back, with the latest declines ranging from 6.7 to 9.1%.

The 308GTB and targa-topped 308GTS built from 1977-80 have been hardest hit, posting a 9.1% decline. Entry point is now £30k for a rough example, with tidy, usable cars making £42k and the smartest ranging from £56-70k. The rarer and more collectable early glassfibre 308GTBs are experiencing the softest landing, falling just 3.7% to £50k, £75k and £100-130k respectively. For 16 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Aston Martin Virage leaps

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After years in the doldrums, the Heffernan and Greenley-styled Virage is finally being appreciated as one of the most accessible ways to own the last of the fully handbuilt Aston Martins. With controversial styling and unpredictable handling, the Virage wasn’t seen as a great Aston when new, secondhand or as an emerging classic. But as the Seventies/Eighties V8 models soared in value, it was time to reassess the butterdish Aston. First the Vantage, with or without the various fire-breathing upgrades, joined in the charge, but recently the dynamically-improved V8 Coupé and Volante have moved up, followed in some spectacular style by the once-unloved Virage.

In the Price Guide Movers update in our latest issue, these are among the top climbers, up 35%, bringing a project car to £13k, something usable to £20k and the best to £42-54k. The other models have grown by smaller percentages, but against significantly higher baselines. It’s an example of the entry level car being sucked along in the vacuum as buyers priced out of the higher-spec cars are forced to lower their sights. For 16 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Lotus Esprit

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The naturally aspirated X180 is a slightly overlooked model – Esprits were all turbocharged by 1992 – but this one has survived well, with relatively low mileage and just four owners, the last since 2015.

There are 12 service stamps with the last at 38,232 miles in 2015. Some are from Paul Matty Sports Cars, which sold it for £16,250 in Jan 2006, and some from South West Lotus Centre between 2007 and 2011, plus a bill for another oil change in August 2017.

There were new front calipers in 2007 at 28,568 miles, brakes freed in 2011 and a clutch slave cylinder since, plus various bills for exhausts and a note not to hold down the window switches because the over-ride stops weren’t working. The gearbox was rebuilt in 2005 at 20,405 miles, around the time the car was dyno tested at 162bhp at 5896rpm. Old MoTs confirm the mileage, with 11,251 in October 1994 rising to 39,471 in 2017 and 39,817 at the last test in August last year, with 39,866 showing when we drove it.

To read the rest of this appraisal of a car for sale, one of four that we test in the April issue, you can buy the latest issue

Buy a Ferrari 360 Modena?

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Values have dipped again, so it’s worth looking at this millennial rocketship. Prices start around £44k, but you’ll need £60-65k for the sort of well-maintained, sensible-miles cars that should be more painless to own. Manuals add a £5-10k premium over the F1 semi-automatic. If you want the more collectable and hard-focused Challenge Stradale your budget will have to triple at least for a righthand drive example.

While scheduled servicing can be surprisingly affordable with a good, independent specialist, playing maintenance catchup on a neglected example will be a money-burning exercise – a failed timing variator can cost you a £10-20k engine rebuild – so it makes sense to read our buying guide in the latest issue before jumping in. Happy hunting.

MARKET WATCH February 20, 2019

Will Jaguar E-types fall?

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Recent American sales suggest that demand is weaker now than it was a year ago. All four of the E-type roadsters offered at the Scottsdale, Arizona auctions sold for below their realistic estimates, by as much as 31%, suggesting the beginning of a price correction.

We’re already seeing the most collectable flat floor E-types, built up to January 1962, down 4.5% from their heights. That takes rough examples down to £72.5k, usable cars to £108k and the best falling into the £155-200k range, depending on levels of perfection.

It’s too early to tell whether the UK market will follow, but we’ll be watching closely to see what happens next. For 16 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Austin A99s and A110s surge ahead

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The latest family classic to enjoy the heat is the Farina-styled Austin Westminster, in A99 and longer wheelbase A110 form. Without the sporting image or ability of their Jaguar rivals, these stately saloons have long been overlooked by the market, but that’s changing. There’s a new breed of buyer who wants something stylish and period to whisk friends or family along to classic car events, but they don’t feel the need to emulate their racing heroes along the way.

The result is a near-40% jump in prices for either the 1959-1961 A99, or the roomier, more powerful and better-equipped 1961-68 A110. Although the later, 120bhp car is more appealing, it pays to prioritise condition over spec when even the best is only £10k, with mint examples making £7k, tidy usable cars £3k and rough examples £1.25k – you couldn’t restore a bad one for the price of all four condition levels added together. There’s lots more buying advice and market insight in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Gordon Keeble

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With only 100 built, this is a rare chance to buy one of these handsome and devilishly quick, Giugiaro-styled grand tourers. Even the post-period conversion to a TH350 three-speed automatic gearbox fails to blunt the performance of the original 5.3-litre Chevrolet Corvette engine, good for £280bhp.

Apart from that, and flared rear wheelarches, this example is in standard condition and stood up to scrutiny well on our test, both in terms of how it looked and drove. And there’s plenty of paperwork to support the work done over the years, which is always reassuring. It’s one of four cars for sale that we evaluate in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

MARKET WATCH February 6, 2019

Aston DB5 prices jump 007%


Despite a cautious market, the ‘James Bond’ Aston has grown by 7.7% since our last update. Yes, I know, 7.7 rounds up to 8%, but that would have ruined my headline. It’s significant because the DB5 comes belongs to a sector of the market that has faced reduced interest in recent months as the cars boosted by the investor boom flattened out and started to slide backwards. These are the £500k-£1.5m cars that crop up in most high-end auctions and are regularly offered by the trade, despite relatively low production numbers of 1000-2000. Thins Ferrari Daytonas, Mercedes 300SL Gullwings or Roadsters and Daytonas, Lamborghini Miuras and the like.

Of course, even when they stop looking like short-term investments, they remain highly appealing and iconic classics to enjoy driving or just looking at. So the latest movement takes rough DB5s to £285k, good ones to £375k and the best to £550-700k. For anyone playing a waiting game in the hope of a pre-boom bargain, it underlines the difficulty in predicting when the bottom of a market will come. But just because DB5 prices are perking up right now, doesn’t mean that the trend will continue. For 16 pages of market insight and buying advice, you can buy the latest issue here.

Fiesta RS Turbo plays catch up

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Ford’s junior hot hatch is chasing prices of the hottest Escorts, after years of lagging behind. Our latest price guide movers update in the March issue reveals a 40% leap over last year’s prices, even nosing ahead of Escort RS Turbos. It illustrates how market forces don’t always pull and push in the same direction. The greater desirability of the higher profile Escort drove interest and values tot he extent that good cars were better looked after and bad cars enjoyed more restoration expenditure. The result has been a higher survival rate. Which means anyone experiencing a rush of nostalgia for a Fiesta RS Turbo has been in stiffer competition for the smaller number of surviving good cars.

Now those buyers will have to find £2k for a rough example and £5k for something tidy and usable. The best cars are now £11-14k. It’s this sector of the market that’s remained strong, even while investor cars have been wobbling. For 16 pages of market insight and buying advice, you can buy the latest issue here.

We want this Porsche Targa


This low-mileage 1990 911 has comprehensive main dealer and specialist service history, backing up the attractively-low 44,576 miles on the odometer. Time was when the 964 generation, four-wheel drive and Targa would have each put buyers off a 911 compared to the previous G-series or subsequent 993 generation, but now these cars have a following of their own. And any air-cooled 911 with such low mileage, extensive service history and exceptional condition is desirable. Porsches are so usable and tough that long after rivals have been consigned to weekend plaything status because using them daily is too high-maintenance, the Stuttgart wonders are still racking up miles and anything with fewer than 100k miles on the odometer is considered low mileage.

This Porsche 911 is one of four cars for sale tested and evaluated in the current issue. For 16 pages of market insight and buying advice, you can buy the latest issue here.

Buy a Chevrolet Camaro?


Old US muscle cars used to be a cheap way of going fast and looking cool, on either side of the Atlantic, but despite vast build numbers compared to European alternatives, good examples demand proper money now.

Even in project condition, first-generation (1967-69) Chevrolet Camaros are £4-12k, with usable cars costing £20k. Really smart examples are more like £30k with the best around £50k, and that’s before you ad the premium for desirable RS and SS option packs, or the highly collectable COPO dealer option cars and 427ci big-block variants.

Improving an imperfect car can be easy and inexpensive thanks to good availability of parts, from interior trim kits to complete bodyshells. Because upgrades, from mild to wild have been part of American muscle car culture since they were new, finding a standard car could be your biggest challenge, aside from the need to target America for a good choice of cars for sale, especially while the pound is so weak against the dollar. Our detailed buying guide in the latest issue explains how to inspect a car properly and assess how much work and cost it needs to bring it up to your standards. You can buy the issue here.

MARKET WATCH January 23, 2019

Morgans on the move…


…but not all in the same direction. Most classic Morgans from the Thirties through to the Eighties have grown by around 30% since our last price guide update, though the early Fifties Plus Fours have seen the least of that action, moving just 4.5%. That brings rough examples up to £11k, with usable examples at £18k and the best £26-38.5k. That price spread covers most of the other models, though the scruffiest 4/4 of 1968-88 represents the entry level at £7k and a perfect 1973-86 Plus 8 tops things out at £45k.

The early Plus 8 (1968-72) is the exception, with prices have fallen 12%, meaning £14k for a rough one, £20k for something tidy and £32-50.5k for an excellent one. So the early 8 is still clinging to its position at the top of the pile, a position that’s unlikely to change. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Porsche 996 falls back


Porsche’s first water-cooled 911 has had a bumpy ride ever since it was introduced back in 1997. It was more user-friendly, bigger, faster and more sophisticated that its much-loved predecessors, making it a better everyday proposition for most buyers, but it represented another step on from the pure original that made the 911 experience so addictive. Then we heard tales of horror about catastrophic intermediate shaft bearing failures and cylinder wall chunking. The indestructible supercar was no longer, well, indestructible.

So depreciation welcomed the 996 with open arms and hung on well after the boom in a classic 911 prices made all of its predecessors – even the once less-fancied 964 – more expensive. So the 996 became not only the last bargain 911, but also the last affordable one, helping buyers overcome their fear of engine bills that could outstrip the value of the car. So we watched as prices for regular Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 models started to creep up – the Mezge-engined and therefore more robust Turbo and RS models had already climbed – and we shouldn’t have been too surprised. The 996 still offered a good blend of usability and excitement for the money, and any ageing and once-expensive car comes with an element of financial Russian roulette built in.

But once-superheated 911 prices have cooled since then, so the 996 is an inevitable casualty, dropping 8.3% since our last price guide update. You can now gamble £8k on a rough one, £12k on a decent example and pay £20-27k for the best. Those figures still represent a lot of 911 for the money, and I can appreciate the argument that those cars that were going to break have probably done so by now, making the survivors seem a more robust proposition. I’m encouraged to believe that every time I drive my wife’s 165k-mile Boxster – same engine, same weaknesses – that still feels as fit as the day she bought it with 47k miles on the odometer. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Range Rover

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It’s easy to see why these early, two-door Range Rovers are so coveted now and when I look at this 1978 example, harder to understand why it took so long for its groundbreaking design to be warmly welcomed into the classic car community. It’s early enough to remain faithful to the Range Rover’s special blend of clean-cut utility with understated luxury.

And it’s been maintained and restored to retain most of the original features that define these cars, right down to the cloth seats and finish of the windscreen wipers. Overall, the work has been done to a good standard, but to get the details right you might want to fit correct Zenith carburettors in place of the current SUs, refix the headlining and track down a rear parcel shelf. Or you could just enjoy the pure experience of driving an automotive icon from a time before it was hijacked as a luxury urban status symbol. The Range Rover is one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the latest issue

MARKET WATCH January week 3

Jaguar XJS convertibles leap

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Late 4-litre cars are among the top 50 climbers in the latest Classic Cars magazine Price Guide Update, and the coupés have also moved up. Under Ford ownership, quality improved and the new facelifted XJS for 1991 could be ordered with a 4-litre version of the AJ6 engine. The convertible arrived a year later and both would survive until 1996 when they were replaced by the XK8.

Convertibles have jumped 36% since our last update, bringing prices for rough examples to £3.75k, usable examples to £6.25k and excellent cars are now £11-19k. Coupés have followed, but more slowly, rising 11% to £1.6k, £3.5k and £7-11k in equivalent condition. For a long time, these late models were the most-prized XJSs for their superior build and level of development, until the collectability of the increasingly rare pre-HE models of the late Seventies usurped them. Now they’re fighting back. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Porsche 911 flatnoses lose their shine

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The flatnose premium is starting to wear off 911 Turbos. For the Eighties customer who found the standard 911 Turbo too sober, and the new breed of 911 collector who found them too numerous, the special order flatnose held a significant premium – up to 60%. The plunging front winglines, bespoilered bumper and vented rear wings emulated the fearsome 935 race cars but lost some of the classic 911 character.

Recent auction no-sales reveal a standoff between vendors’ now outdated sense of flatnose premium and buyers’ willingness to pay it. We’re waiting for more sales, or no-sales before we judge the long-term influence on values. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Alfa GTV

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Alfetta-based coupés have gone some way to narrowing the gap to their 105-series predecessors but they’re still great value. This 1981 two-litre example is showing just 31,000 miles and is up for £13.5k, fresh from a specialist full service. On our test the condition inside and out, and the way it drove seemed consistent with the indicated mileage and the detailed maintenance (with bills for £3700 since 2015) that it’s had over recent years. Lefthand drive might limit its UK appeal, but it’s perfect for cantering across Europe. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Buy a Mercedes SEC?

The days of fine examples at bargain prices may be gone, but it’s still possible to find good value with some expert guidance. A combination of Mercedes durability and well-funded early maintenance meant that good, inexpensive examples of these handsome power cruisers didn’t see hard to find. But as the C126 fell down the food chain shoestring ownership took its toll, leaving the market awash with moneypit examples to trap the unwary.

That said, good examples of the smaller-engined models, particularly those built before the 1985 facelift, can be found for less than £10k, though £9-12k is safer hunting ground. As you’ll read in the Mercedes SEC buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars, the price ceiling for superb 420s and 500s rises to £20k, with the best pushing on towards £30k, particularly for the top of the line 560SEC. Our buying guide will help you check whether that SEC in your sights is as good as it looks. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

MARKET WATCH January, week 1

Mercedes SLC loved at last

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After years in the shadow of its more glamorous convertible sister, the longer wheelbase SLC coupé has developed a following of its own. In our latest price update, these slick grand tourers are among the top 45 classic growers this month, up 28% since our last update. That’s narrowed the gap to the R107-generation SL roadster but still leaves them better value at £2k for a rough example, £5k for a tidy one and £10-16k for the really sharp stuff.

Like the roadsters, the coupés can be enthusiastic rotters and parts prices are commensurate with the luxury status of these cars when new, so the difference between the cheapest and the best looks very good value indeed. The SLC could be ordered with a twin-cam 2746cc six, or single overhead cam V8s in either 3499c or 4520cc. All take their grand touring duties seriously, so condition is more important than engine capacity. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Ford Capri 280 oversupply

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Too many vendors have tried to cash in the the rising values of these last of the line, top spec Capris and the resulting oversupply is harming sales and prices achieved.

To mark the end of Capri production, Ford created the 280, a 2.8 Injection Special with Brooklands green paintwork, Raven Black full leather interior and 15 inch versions of the normal ‘starfish’ seven-spoke alloy wheels. And it became instantly collectable, with legions of buyers storing them carefully and trying to keep the mileage as low as possible.

The result is that cherished, low-mileage examples are not particularly rare, which doesn’t hold back advancing values when they come on to the market infrequently, but a recent rush of vendors trying to cash in on buoyant Capri prices has dampened buyer enthusiasm for paying bullish prices. It’s a phenomenon that can strike at any level of the market where the cars were built in some volume, and by that I mean any more than double figures – if buyers feel that there’s no urgency to snap up a particular car because another with similar or better mileage, service history and condition will come along next month, it’s no longer a sellers’ market and prices start to go backwards.

So if you’re in the market for one, or any other car where auction cars are selling on the low side or not at all, ignore advertisers’ ambitious prices and bargain hard. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Rolls Silver Cloud

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This rare 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Series 2 drophead is back in its correct Shell grey paint scheme with red interior after and expensive restoration. It’s one of 107 converted new from saloons by HJ Mulliner and apart for a faulty fuel gauge and slightly blowing exhaust, our tester found it hard to fault during his evaluation. The vendor says that it will attend to the exhaust before sale

The work appears to have been done to a high standard so it looks right and drives as serenely as these cars should, but it’s also surprisingly responsive for a car that puts luxury at the top of its priority list.

It would look equally good on next summer’s Continental touring trips or the concours circuit. I’d be tempted to drive it rather than park it. This Rolls-Royce is one of four cars for sale evaluated in the latest issue. To buy a copy click here

MARKET WATCH, December week 3

Jaguar E-type Series 1s start to slide

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The Jaguar E-types that have hitherto seen the biggest growth in values have belatedly joined all of those Porsches and Ferraris in the price correction trend.

Prices for Series 1 coupés in both 3.8-litre and later 4.2-litre form are down 12% and 3.8% respectively, and the Series 1.5 (a Series 1 with some S2 crossover parts, most notably the exposed headlights)/Series 2 roadster (pictured) is also down, by 8.3%.

So rough Series 1 coupés suitable for restoration are now £40k, tidy cars to drive are £60k and the best are now £100-140k. Project S1/5/2 roadsters are now £29k with smart examples at £45k and the best making £75-110k.

In contrast to Eighties Porsches and Ferraris that benefited from an investor-led goldrush, then slumped when the easy return evaporated, E-types have grown steadily over a longer period that began in the run up to the 50th anniversary in 2011. We’re keeping an eye on whether this is a barometer of the wider market. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Rover Mini Coopers are hot to buy

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A 26% surge in values underlines how attitudes have changed to Minis from the Rover era. Once they were seen as a corruption of the original design, but time has been kind to them and good examples for sale are eagerly snapped up.

While projects can be found for £1500, the usable examples are nearly twice that and the best range from £5750 to £8500. That’s still a fifth of what you’d pay for an original Sixties Cooper so it still represents a good value route to enjoying one of these iconic little buzz bombs. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Citroën DS19

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It’s seven years since this 1965 Citroën ID19 was imported into he UK, by which time it had already been restored – plenty of time for any shortcomings in the workmanship to betray themselves – but it still feels and looks fresh, and glides with that addictively surreal ride unique to these cars.

Being the basic ID model, it does without some of the hydraulically-assisted controls that the DS is prized for, but by the time this car was built, such wizardry had trickled down to the ID’s brakes and steering. All of it seemed to be working perfectly when we took this one out for a test drive, and the whole car felt properly restored and well maintained.

It’s for sale at a fiver under £40k and the only sizeable disappointment with it is the lack of documentary evidence to support the previous work done, you you’ll have to assess what you can see. The Mercedes 280SL is one of four cars for sale tested in the latest issue

Buy a Maserati Ghibili II?

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Prices have been growing for this rare and eccentric Nineties power coupé, gradually taking it out of bargain exotica territory. Those tempting sub-£10k cars are likely to spoil the dream as soon as you discover the price and availability gaps with parts, but another £5-10k buys something smart, with the best regular Ghiblis £25-30k. For the desirable Ghibli Cup you can pay an extra £10-30k, depending on how good you want it to be.

If that seems like a lot of money, bear in mind that replacing a pair of tired turbos can cost £3k, nearly four times that on the Cup. Worth saving up for good one then. There’s quite a list of expensive parts on these cars, so it’s worth having a read of our detailed buying guide in the latest issue, so that you know which problems to run away from, or at least bargain hard against before you hand over your money. The reward for getting it right is a thrilling and distinctive car. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness was clearly not a car enthusiast. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

MARKET WATCH, December, week 1

Sporting Ford Escorts fly

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Hot Ford Escort MkIs are among the top climbers this month, led by the GT and Sport models up 32% since our last update. That brings rough project cars up to £3250, good, usable cars to £6k and the best to £12-16.5k, depending on how perfect they are.

The Twin Cam and its RS1600 have risen less in percentage terms, but the absolute numbers are bigger. The Lotus-powered originals are up 10%, to £22.5k, £30k and £42.5-55k respectively, while its Belt-Driven A-series-powered successor is up 11% to £25k, £32.5k and £47.5-62k respectively.

It’s a market-defying performance from these hot Escorts, but values didn’t move a great deal during the boom of recent years that saw cars like Porsche 911s and Ferrari 308/328s zoom. Now they’re playing catch up. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Alfetta GTVs join the party

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Four- and six-cylinder Alfa GTVs have surged in price, with the cheaper GTV2000s up a hefty 28%, bringing the entry point for rough examples to £1750, good usable cars to £4000 and the best sitting between £9k and £12.5k.

The 2.5-litre V6 engine was late to the GTV party, arriving in 1981, so couldn’t be had with the earlier, purer styling, but that alloy V6 engine was certainly worth the wait. Prices for these are up 18%, starting at £2250 for rough ones, £5750 for somethign tidy that you’d actually want to drive and £13-20k for really good cars.

So they’ve both moved plenty, but remain good value compared to many of the alternatives. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Mercedes 280SL

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This rare manual 280SL is hard to fault, but then it should be at £142.5k. It’s had a comprehensive restoration back in 2014, evidenced by more than 500 photos. Storage since then has allowed some fittings to lose some of their restoration-fresh lustre, but we could only find minor imperfections when we completed our road test and evaluation for the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Most of the restoration work, including the the Silver Grey paint, has been done to factory-correct specification, though the original MB-Tex trim has been upgraded to leather. Received wisdom says that the more common Mercedes automatic transmissions are much nicer devices that the manuals, but this one shifted well enough on our test and gives the car a desirable edge of rarity. The Mercedes 280SL is one of four cars for sale tested in the latest issue

MARKET WATCH, November week 3

Ferrari 275GTB among the fallers


More than a third of the fallers in our latest Price Guide Movers update (Classic Cars, latest issue) are Ferraris, with declines ranging from 4.3-17% since our last update. Although two of them belong in the troubled modern classic sector, the rest are of the highly collectable variety, including 250 Europa, 250 Pinin Farina – in Coupé and Cabriolet forms – and the 275GTB. The four-cam 275 GTB/4 has suffered slightly more, dropping 8.3% to between £1.65m and £2.2m, depending on condition and history. The two-cam, steel-bodied cars have fared slightly better, slipping 5.6% to £0.95-1.7m in equivalent condition.

Our observations are consistent with the general softening of the £100k+ market, particularly for models that are easy to find via the dealers or auctions. Exceptional cars with significant histories – the sort that might come up for sale rarely or maybe once in a generation – still have heavyweight collectors fighting for them.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Modified Morris Minors are hot


Recent sales of Morris Minors reveal that the right blend of modifications can increase values, rather than diminish them in the way that they would with so many classics.

The problem with most modifications applied to classic cars is that they are a highly personal choice. The priorities and taste of one owner around upgrades to performance, suspension, comfort/luxuries and cosmetic appearance are unlikely to coincide with anyone else’s, making the car hard to sell on in the future. And buyers who are receptive to the idea of improvements tend to prefer to start with a standard, original car and make their own choices about what to change, and importantly, what not to. Then there’s the increasing army of buyers who will only consider a car that fits their ideal of period perfection, even if that does make it less user-friendly.

But for some cars, the Minor included, there’s such a strong culture of usability around them that a well-chosen package of upgrades, focused on sensible performance, braking, cooling, suspension and transmission improvements, will make them an easier sell. Most recently we’ve seen a Convertible make nearly £9000 and a Traveller take a shade over £11k, both with 1.3-litre engines among a short list of popular changes. Significantly, they both looked largely standard, and where they didn’t – seats and wheels – the changes could be easily reversed. Of course the smart modifier always keeps the original parts so that they can be sold with the car if needed.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Chevrolet Corvette


The fact that this Corvette has been in long-term ownership is a good start - while it doesn’t guarantee careful use and maintenance, they often go together. And the way this econd-generation 1966 Roadster looks and drives seems to back that up. It’s had only light use over the 20 years that the dealer has owned it, and it’s been maintained in his workshop.

So the Tuxedo Black bodywork and contrasting red interior are smart, as is the under-bonnet area, and it drives well, the two-spped automatic shifting smoothly and the 327 cubic inch V8 pulling strongly throughout. It’s hard not to fall for this car, as our road tester found when he went to check it over. You can read the rest of his report, and three other cars for sale that we test, in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Mercedes G-Wagen


Given how expensive classic Range Rovers have become, the possibility of a Mercedes G-Wagen for less than £10k looks tempting, but as we found out when we spoke to the various specialists, the wrong car can be anything but a bargain.

They told us that the more rewarding examples start around £15k, with prices driven by condition rather than specification, of which there’s been a bewildering choice over the G-Wagen’s never-ending lifespan. The best examples of beautifully preserved or properly restored cars top out around £40k, which still represents a bargain compared to the cost of making a bad car good. If you’re tempted by these rugged Tonka toys, have a look at the detailed buyer’s guide in the current issue, it could well save you from an expensive mistake.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

MARKET WATCH, November week 1

Ford Capri MkI prices soar


Prices for the V6 versions are chasing Triumph TR4 money, particularly the well-appointed 3000E, like the eye-popping Le Mans Green example above that Brightwells sold recently. It’s all down to two simple factors – scarcity of good examples that avoided being crashed, scrapped by corrosion or modified, and a new generation of well-funded enthusiasts who lusted after fast Fords rather than tweed-cap sports cars back in their youth.

We’ve seen the 3000E jump 25% since our last update, placing those rough project cars at nearly £4k, tidy, usable cars at double that and the best at £17-25k. Following in its wake is the 3000GT, up 11% to just over £3k, £6.5k and £14-20k in equivalent condition.

As ever when a single car beats is auction estimates, owners of 3000Es will be trying to tell us and the world that theirs must now be worth the same £29,920 as that exceptional Le Mans Green example above. But a single high sale merely contributes to our ongoing pricing knowledge, it doesn’t redefine it in one go. To find out how much it contributes we’ll have to wait for a few more sales, and we may not have to wait too long – stellar results tend to tease cars onto the market as more owners are tempted to try their luck. For the latest price updates on more that 1200 classics, you can buy the latest issue of Classic Cars.

The Porsche 911 Turbo to buy now


Prices of the 996-generation Turbos are slipping, so you have a choice of waiting for them to become better value still, or moving as soon as you can afford one because trying to predict the bottom of the market is a risky game. Even the professional share dealers don’t attempt to buy at the trough and sell at the peak, because it’s almost impossible to get right. Same with cars, so the question with the 430bhp Porsche 911 Turbo of the 996 generation shouldn’t be how much cheaper will they get, but do I think the current prices make them affordable and good value to me.

The rough stuff is circa £24k, with good cars around £35k and £45-55k buying the best. Their decline has more to do with how over-heated the market for modern classic 911s became than any deficiency of the Turbo 996, because it’s a spectacular car to drive and not as scary to own as the regular 996 models. Its engine is effectively a water-cooled version of the old air-cooled flat six, rather than the fragile all-new water-cooled design created for the 996 and Boxster. For the latest price updates on more that 1200 classics, produced in collaboration with Hagerty classic car insurance, you can buy the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Land Rover Series 1


This 1951 Series 1 is an attractive blend of patina and restoration. On our test drive in the current issue it felt mechanically fresh, one of the best we’ve tried, but there are no receipts to confirm what restoration work has been done.

Straight panels with good, consistent gaps appear to have had a recent repaint in a satin finish and there is some evidence of older paint beneath the new coating. Apart from the engine and its ancillaries, most of the major mechanical components have been cosmetically restored and most of the underside is protected with black underbody seal. As the rest of our test and evaluation shows, this one is well worth a look if you’re in the market for a smart early Land Rover to drive. It’s one of four classics for sale tested in the latest issue. To buy a copy, click here.

MARKET WATCH, October week 3

BMW M635 CSi takes a dip

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The overheated modern classic sector is showing more signs of cooling off in the £20-50k range, once you discount those auction-headline results for cars with tiny mileage, perfect originality and service history from new. Because that’s not what most of us buys – there just aren’t enough to go round – so we shop for cars that have worn their substantial mileages well, and/or have enjoyed well-executed remedial works along the way.

So the sort of M635 CSi you’re likely to find for sale out there has taken a 14% tumble since our last update, with prices now starting at £7500 for something in rough condition and the good stuff beginning around £14k. The best is now in the £20-27.5k range and I expect the gap between the best and worst to widen significantly as it becomes more of a buyer’s market. Why buy a money pit when for a fraction of the restoration cost you can buy something near-perfect?

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Citroën BX GTi hots up

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Despite increased prices, these Marcello Gandini-styled, growing family-sized hot hatches are still a good buy. Although survivors are much rarer than the iconic Peugeot 205 GTI they’re unlikely to ever challenge them for value supremacy, but as buyers choose to pluck them from obscurity they’re likely to keep on moving.

So we’ve seen prices up by 40% since our last Price Guide update, making those project cars £550 and usable examples more like £1000. That still makes the best examples make a lot of sense at £2.25-3.5k, depending on how perfect, though scarcity of the best on the market may make a viable fixer-upper your only option if you’re in a hurry to buy. It’s easy to see the best making £5k before too long.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Alvis RD21 drophead coupé

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This drophead coupé has had lots spent on it, drives well and wears a flattering colour combination to suit its elegant good looks. So we had to take a closer look. It’s up for £75k, which fell into perspective when we discovered that it has benefitted from £41k of work, including body and paint, wiring, new chrome and more.

On our test drive it performed faultlessly with slick changes through the three-speed automatic gearbox, and the work appeared to have been done to a good standard, though there’s more to be done for the perfectionist owner.

You’ll find more details in the latest issue, where the Alvis is one of four cars for sale tested and evaluated.

Citroën 2CVs are moving up

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Prices are up, problems can be well hidden, so paying the right sum for the right car is vital.

Yes, there’s more at stake these days when buying a 2CV. Time was when they were cheap enough to take a punt on, but even tatty drivers can cost £3-6k and the best restored examples can be £15k.

It’s easy to be charmed into buying a scruffy patina car in the belief that all it needs is new and easy-to-replace exterior panels. The real challenges lie much deeper, particularly in areas like the bulkhead and chassis. Those easily replaced wings and doors also allow vendors to dress up project car as one already restored.

The buying guide in our latest issue will take the gamble out of buying one of these French charmers. You can buy a copy here.

MARKET WATCH, October week 1

Jaguar XJ-S manuals leap

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It’s one of four Jaguars to make a move in the latest issue’s roundup of the biggest 73 market winners and losers. While there’s always a ready market for superb, low-mileage and historied XJ-Ss, it’s the pre-HE models built before 1981 that are catching the eye of collectors for their earlier purity – yes, you read that correctly, the car that was controversial at launch in 1975 – and particularly the 352 manual versions.

Most XJ-S enthusiasts will argue that these cosseting grand tourers suit the more popular automatic gearbox, and there’s so much power and torque from that 5.3-litre V12 that they do have a point. But that ignores the age-old market prejudice in favour of a manual transmission on any car with performance claims.

So it’s no surprise to see these models up 92% since our last update, making project cars £4k, tidy, usable examples £8.5k and the smartest cars anywhere from £17.5k to £25k depending on condition. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

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As we predicted in our Aston Martins to Buy Now feature in the September 2015 issue, these twin-supercharged Nineties bruisers have hotted up. Since our last price update, prices have jumped 56% for the 550bhp Vantage models, making £125k the entry price for something usable but needing – inevitably expensive – work. The best cars are now £185k to £250k.

The 600bhp V600 has moved even faster, up 63% to a £165k entry price, with the best now costing £240k to £325k. The reason? Apart from the fact that their Seventies/Eighties predecessors have soared is the fact that these were the last Astons that were completely hand built and in small numbers. And their once-controversial styling no longer looks too modern thanks to what came afterwards. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue.

We want this Lamborghini Countach

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This 1987 5000QV has had lots of money spent on it – £30k since it was imported into the UK from America in 2016. Some of that involved replacing US-spec items like the side marker lights with European equivalents. A combination of the workmanship and its near-35,000 miles means that it drove just as it should on our test drive and stood up well to scrutiny, aside from some minor evidence of wear.

The dealer is asking £289k and its lefthand drive layout either makes it perfect for that dream road trip over the Alps and down to Italy, or to sell into Europe when you’re done having your fun with that 5.2-litre quad cam V12 and show-stopping scissor doors. But would you ever tire of it? To see our full report on this and three other cars for sale tested, check out the latest issue

MARKET WATCH September 2018, week 5

We asked six market experts to tip the cars that are behind the market, but are likely to move up so are best bought now. The current issue features the top 30 of their choices, from £5k-10m. Here are six more.

BMW is undervalued

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Emanuele Collo, Kidston SA
‘It’s such great fun…entertaining, thrilling, engaging, a handful. And no longer easy to find. Fast even by modern standards but with this combination of old and new in the driving experience that gives it a lot more character than a brand-new M-car.’

‘Roadsters are a lot easier to find, but the coupé might be the better investment. It came from an era when BMW’s sports-roadster, the Z1, was just an oddity, so this made a huge splash. The replacement, the Z4, was less so - it could never repeat the surprise of the Z3M, which was quite similar to the first Audi RS4 in the impact it made. And I think the Z3M is already ageing better than the Z4M.’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

Lancia Aurelia is sure to move

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Maarten ten Holder, RM Sotheby’s
‘Yes, you might need to spend a bit more for a good one, but they are still out there for less. Beware, though - they were cheap for quite a long time and they’re pretty much hand-made cars that need skillfull restoration. Something like £75k to £140k covers most of them but you could end up spending a lot on a bad one.’

‘Those with most investment potential - Mille Miglia-eligible but with the later De Dion rear end, so that’s fourth series cars of 1954 and ’55. Earlier ones are lighter, purer with less power; later fifth and sixth series are a little more luxurious and flashy.’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

The Porsche 962 is behind the market

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Edward Bridger-Stille, Historics at Brooklands
‘I've always wanted to drive a Group C Le Mans car. I'm quite sure I would kill myself by the first corner however, but to drive one of these magnificent beasts, designed purely to go as fast as possible for 24 hours only with no allowances made for driver comforts or indeed anything else apart from a massive engine strapped to some wheels, would be the biggest thrill. I would obviously also require a full team of mechanics and a co-driver. I'm thinking Derek Bell...

Edward pushed this a bit, claiming that a few 962s built by the likes of Kremer, Dauer and Vern Schuppan escaped onto the road and therefore made it a valid choice. It seems quite a few privateer versions were built, sometimes with Porsche factory-supplied bits attached to a DIY tub. Schuppan certainly got Reynard to produce 5 or 6 rather ugly road versions with 935-type engines. I’d be quite surprised if you could buy one for £250k. To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

This Jaguar is a steal

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Stephen Halstead, JBR Capital
‘Posters of the XJ220 may not have been on as many bedroom walls as the Ferrari F40, but this is a serious supercar that appears heavily undervalued and has been for some years. The car’s story is interesting – originally 350 were to be produced but the decline of the market in the early 90s, an increase in asking price from £360k to £410k (about £880k in today’s money) and the loss of a promised V12 powerplant in favour of a V6 turned a lot of buyers off, leading to just 281 hitting the road.

In spite of its poor initial reception, the XJ220 was in a class of its own. Let’s not forget, this was the fastest production car in the world, with the potential to reach 217mph (compared to the F40s 199mph). Yes, it’s a big beast (7 feet 3 inches wide and 16 feet long!) and this isn’t a car for knocking around London’s restricted roads but it’s a very useable, driveable car on road and on the racetrack.

Only now are values starting to match its original 1992 asking price of £420k but for many years it could barely knock the £150k barrier, only starting its rise in 2015 as it topped £320k. Surviving cars are in the hands of true enthusiasts and collectors, so very few appear on the market. Comparing it to its direct competitors, there were 337 Porsche 959s and a whopping 1,311 Ferrari F40s produced, and these are both cars that have skyrocketed in recent years, so the XJ220 is a car I’d love to see in my garage.’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

The Aston to chase

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Maarten ten Holder, RM Sotheby’s
‘What’s the difference between this and a 250SWB? They’re both very famous competition GTs, shortened versions of existing road cars and an important part of one of motorsport’s golden ages. But a genuine 250SWB is now beyond £10m because of its association with the 250GTO, while the Aston is a £3m car. It will never catch the 250SWB but it has the potential to go up, especially if there’s good period competition history, or celebrity ownership.’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

Only two wheels, but…

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Edward Bridger-Stille, Historics at Brooklands
‘Got to have a bike in there somewhere, something meaty with an exhaust note to die for. The Vincent Rapide will blow those cobwebs away like nothing else on earth!’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

MARKET WATCH, September 2018, week 3

Lancia Flaminia drops hard

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The Lancia Flaminia Zagato Sport looks better value every day and examples are now nearly 20% cheaper than our last price guide update. That puts entry level at around £145k for a restoration project, with tidy cars more like £180k and the best now in £260-340k territory.

But according to Emanuele Collo who works for collector car specialist dealer Kidston SA, there are many good reasons why he sees them heading up, drawing similarities with a Ferrari 250 GT short wheelbase and other low-production numbers exotic GTs. It's one of several exciting cars that he tips to buy in our Hot 30 feature, in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Great Ferraris get cheaper

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Some model have recovered from the slide, but not all. Most of the people we speak to in the market agree that investors have largely stepped away from buying classic cars, sensing that the days of easy wins are over. That left a lots of Ferraris looking overpriced after their turbocharged gains of recent years, and the remaining buyers, those who want the cars for what they are, have a more grounded view of what they're prepared to pay.

So we see the handsome and understated 365GTC sliding 8.3% since our last price guide update. Now you'll pay £325-550k, depending on the usual factors of condition, history and originality. Those may be the same old words that have long driven desirability, but in a buyers' market they become ever more important.

The price guide update is part of 43 pages of market analysis, tips and buying advice in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Porsche 911 Turbo

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Full service history, modest mileage and great condition stand out with this 1987 Turbo, so it looks attractive at £75k, and that's before you consider the tough black on black colour scheme. On chrome-era classics we'd consider pretty much any car with 100k miles on the odometer to be tired and ready for substantial refurbishment, but this is a 911, and one that has plenty of evidence of being properly looked after. So it's as taut and fresh as a 45k-miler and will continue to feel the same with a further 50k under the wheels.

It's the very durability, user-friendliness and excitement of air-cooled 911s that encouraged owners to keep on using them as daily drivers, long after rival performance cars were consigned to weekend plaything status, comprehensive rebuilds or broken-and-won't-sped-the-money-fixing-it limbo. So they tend to end up with huge mileages and scruffy cosmetics. This one appears to have led a charmed life, and looks as smart as it drives.

If you're tempted by one of these Eighties icons, or any of its period rivals, this car has to be worth a look. It's one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Buy a Triumph TR4-6 well

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With prices on the move, now is the time to strike. But move carefully, because a history of low values has meant that lots of the cars out there have only ever had amateurish restorations, or deceitfully cosmetic makeovers in the past. It's tempting to think that the inherent simplicity and excellent parts supply for the TR4-6 series means that restoration holds no fears, but a comprehensive rebuild will easily burn far more money than the price of a genuinely good example. Fine if you enjoy the restoration journey; not if you just want a great TR to drive. And that's despite the current upward price trend.

Research for the buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars shows that the best TR5s are £75k and decent examples command £35-50k. A combination of early styling inherited from the TR4 and the sweet, fuel-injected straight six destined for the TR6 and low build numbers keeps the TR5 at the top of the tree.

Fortunately, TR4s come in at £15-32k and TR6s at £14-35k, while the carburettor-fed TR250 for the American market can be bought for £12-25k. To put those price ranges into perspective, our detailed buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars reveals that a high-quality body restoration alone can cost £25k on these cars. It also explains how to check the condition and authenticity of a TR before you part with your cash.

MARKET WATCH, September 2018 week 1

Ferrari F40s on the rebound

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The F40 is one of 13 Ferraris in the top 66 market winners tabulated in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine.

After riding the investor-driven wave of classic price inflation it suffered when the belief system in never-ending market growth with profits for all evaporated, leaving over-priced cars with seasoned and cynical enthusiasts unwilling to keep them afloat.

Once vendors faced up to the new reality and adjusted prices accordingly, hugely desirable Ferraris like the F40 had no trouble finding buyers again, ironically leading to another push on prices. So we see the F40 up a hefty 18% in our latest Price Guide update, placing entry-level condition, mileage and service history cars at £750k, usable examples at £800k and the really good ones between £900k and £1m.

Most of the rest of the Ferrari growth is concentrated on those with the Colombo-designed 3-litre V12, from the 250GTE to the 250GTO, though examples from the Seventies and Eighties do sneak onto our chart. Otherwise, more numerous modern classic-era Ferraris that enjoyed so much growth when their predecessors became prohibitively valuable are conspicuous by their absence.

Mercedes SLs see new interest

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An overall wave of buying interest in Mercedes SLs is lifting values of all classic generations, right up to the hitherto bargain R129 models built from 1989 to 2001.

Inevitably it’s the ultimate iteration that’s being chased hardest by the money, with the V12-engined 600SL/SL600 jumping 33% in our latest Price Guide update. But don’t be put off, even these are £3.5k to £20k depending on condition and the highly-satisfying 500SL/SL500 tracking at 3/5 of those prices.

They’re effectively being pulled along by the growth of their predecessors, the square-rigged R107 generation built from 1974 to 1989. Despite their time-marked Seventies styling they struggled to be seen as classics for a surprisingly long time and prices were locked in bargain secondhand territory. Well that’s changed and buyers are keen to get into any variant, from the Seventies originals to the improved and more rust-resistant late Eighties examples, and powered by any engine size from 3-litre straight six to 5.6-litre V8.

Whichever generation best suits your taste and budget, the caveat is the same – arm yourself with buying knowledge, or the phone number of an expert inspector, as protection from inadvertently bankrolling a financially suicidal restoration project.

We want this Alpine A110

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These pretty and hugely-fun French sports cars don’t come up for sale often in the UK, so we couldn’t resist taking this one for a bit of a blast.

It’s strong money for one of these, but this is an exceptionally well-sorted example with an unusual amount of service history to back up the quality of maintenance and restoration that it’s had.

The paper trail also backs up the well-chosen upgrades that the car’s seen throughout its life, which was born in 1964 with the 66bhp 1108cc Renault straight four before gaining a 115bhp 1300S-spec engine and a package of works competition car improvements.

So it drives like a demented go-kart and looks great wherever you peer. It’s one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the the latest issue of the magazine.

MARKET WATCH August 2018, week 3

Jaguars take a tumble

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Selected XK140 and 150 models fall from favour, according to the Price Guide update in our latest issue.

Of the 21 biggest fallers since our last update, four of them are Jaguars and they're all XK models that have previously enjoyed consistent market appeal and growth, with occasional surges. What's surprising is the sight of price regression in the midst of a much-celebrated anniversary year – it's 70 years since the XK120 was launched – because the 60th anniversary led to strong growth as enthusiasts snapped up cars to take part in the various events that made a fuss of them.

The models that have slipped are all what have considered to be ultimates in terms of performance and driving/touring usability, such as the XK140 drophead coupé – a happy combination of reasonably early styling with more interior space than the original XK120 and a more civilised hood than the bare-bones roadster. And it's the XK140 dhc that has lost the most, down a thumping 20%. By comparison the big-engined 3.8-litre versions of the final XK150 model in S and SE spec have fared better, losing just 6-7% since our last update.

It's further evidence of a shift in appeal from best-developed is best to earliest and purest is best that has driven XK120 price growth. More details on the latest issue here.

Classic Cars Price Guide Quarterly is created in collaboration with classic car insurance specialist Hagerty.

Aston becomes a canny buy

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But is it too early to buy a DB7 Vantage? They're part of a group of modern classics that sit a little uncomfortably in the gulf between nostalgia-driven appeal, the most recent era for which is the Eighties, and depreciating secondhand desirables. After appearing to bottom out as secondhand exotics, DB7s have seen some growth, only to have their trajectory deflected by the downward pressure of DB9 prices.

The best-historied and lowest-mileage DB7s have suffered least, but with so many  on the market (our market guru Quentin Willson mentioned 200 for sale in his Hot Buys section in the latest issue) buyers can afford to be picky with what they chase and cheeky with their offers. More details on the latest issue here.

We want this Lancia Flaminia

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The older restoration of this Zagato-bodied Sport still looks great, despite being completed in the early Nineties. There are a few minor paint crack and swirl marks but the overall presence of of an extremely sharp car.

Zagato only bodied 344 Flaminia Sports and this is an early enough example to have the desirable covered headlamps. Our tester found that its handling, ride, brakes and steering all felt consistent with a well-restored and properly maintained car, while the V6, three-carburettor engine seemed in fine health.

Its £335k asking price sits just under the top condition/dealer figure in the latest issue's Price Guide Quarterly. If you're in the market for something unusual and thoroughly rewarding to own, this has to be worth a look. More details on the latest issue here.

Buy a Lancia Delta well

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Despite strong price growth for the most collectable editions, there's still good value to be found in the Integrale model sequence.

The Integrale buying guide in our latest issue shows that you need to budget at least £40/45k for an excellent Evo 1/Evo 2, the ultimate developments of one of the most tactile and exciting hot hatches built. For the best you're looking at £65/90-130k respectively.

But don't despair, entry level for a usable 8-valve car is £15k with £25k buying a properly sharp example. And good 16-valve cars are £20-30k.

So, you can afford on, but what about running it? There are some gaps in parts availability, particularly panels, which can make life challenging if you buy a car needing any, and there are some weaknesses, such as gearboxes that aren't nearly as robust as those punchy twin-cam engines. Armed with our buying guide you should be able to avoid the troubled cars out there and end up with something that makes you grin every time you twirl the steering wheel at a challenging bend. More details on the latest issue here.

MARKET WATCH August 2018, week 1

Porsches stage a comeback

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After some years on the slip, selected Porsches are moving up again, according to the Price Guide update in our latest issue. Of the top 66 growers this month, 10 of them are Porsches, mainly 911s but with one front-engined model for good measure.

The fastest movers are the 993-generation (last of the air-cooled) RS and Clubsport, 924S and 925 Le Mans edition, each up 18%. It's a familiar pattern that the most hardcore and/or rare editions of a model grow earliest and fastest, but these trailblazers are closely followed by the more numerous 930-generation 3.3 Turbo (Eighties), up 14%, and mainstream Carrera 3.2, also from the impact-bumper Eighties generation, which is up 15%.

Even the relatively humble Seventies 911 2.7 is up 5.3%, thanks to the rush of interest in the model following a starring role in Scandinavian TV drama The Bridge and the publicity around the sale of that car at the Bonhams Festival of Speed auction. The £141.5k result hardly sets a precedent for regular examples that haven't benefited from small screen stardom, but it's bound to have a halo effect. Witness the premium attracted by any 1967/8 Mustang Fastback, Ford Capri 3.0S or Jaguar Mk2.

It all means that my hope of 911 prices continuing their slide back to that irresistible £10-18k price bracket seem dashed. More details on the latest issue here.

The Classic Cars Price Guide Quarterly is created in collaboration with classic car insurance specialist Hagerty.

Consul Capri moves out of the shadows

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Could a strong auction result signal a change in appeal for this overlooked Ford? When one makes £22.5k at auction, it certainly had the attention of our auction scourer, Russ Smith. As he points out in this issue's Market Analysis, this was a failure by Ford standards, with just 19,000 of them finding buyers, and like most affordable classics, the market hasn't shown much excitement for them.

But this is a rare GT model with one-family ownership and verifiable 21.6k miles. A few minor and reversible modifications aside, this car ticked all the right boxes for an exceptional sale result, especially against the current trend for buyers of everyday classics being happy to spend over the odds on the best examples. So that's the counter argument.

On balance, we see this as the new price for the best of the best, with less-perfect examples remaining in proportion to that. More details on the latest issue here.

We want this MG Magnette

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Well, here's another family classic advertised at a price once reserved for dashing sports cars. We like its combination of fine condition and useful upgrades that improve its driver appeal. That condition is testament to the quality of the restoration, completed 18 years ago and is reassurance that there's unlikely to be any hidden rot.

The modifications were done to to make it a more effective and user-friendly machine for historic road rallying without detracting much from its period charm. You couldn't buy, restore and upgrade one of these for anything like the near £20k asking price, and you get something ready for action from day one.

The Magnette is one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the latest issue. More details on the latest issue here.

MARKET WATCH July, week 3

Biggest market fallers revealed

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The latest round of cars to slip in value sees a continuation of the Ferrari downward trend with a mixture of chrome era models – Daytona and Dino – down 4.3% and 3.8%, and modern classics – F355, 456GT and 550 Maranello – down 6.3, 4.8 and 4.5%.

The biggest drop comes from the Porsche 996 Turbo at 20%, but you're still looking at £24-55k for these, depending on condition. There have been casualties away from the typically volatile makes, with the evergreen Mercedes 220SEb coupé and cabrio losing 4.8 and 11% respectively. That brings rough examples of these elegant cabrios down to £25k, with usable cars at £40k and the best territory being £60-80k. These lower-powered models have previously been swept along in the wake of the more collectable 300SE versions, but more buyers are now holding out for the ultimate versions of models rather than accept the next best thing.

For more market advice and buying tips, have a look at the latest issue.

Triumph Heralds and Vitesses surge

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We've already seen Triumph Herald and Vitesse convertibles pick up in value, and now it's the turn of the saloons – more evidence in the growing appreciation for Fifties and Sixties family classics. So, apart from the Herald 13/60 convertible, up 7.1%, the rest of the models have moved by a hefty 20-26%.

With only a small premium for the Vitesse MkII and 2-litre MkI over the 1600, the value differences are all about condition. Project cars are around £1k and usable cars needing work are £2-2.4k. The really smart cars are £4.5-5k and the best are £7-7.5, so they're still accessible by current standards.

For more market advice and buying tips, have a look at the latest issue.

We want this Aston Martin DB4




This Series V DB4 was restored as far back as 2005, but its was done by one of the best specialists – RS Williams – and it still looks excellent. RSW has made a name for itself adding effective upgrades and this car has the 320bhp 4.7-litre Vantage-specification engine, up from 3.7 litres and 240bhp. There's also a Harvey-Bailey handling kit and the colour was changed from the original Fiesta red.

When we tested it for the latest issue of Classic Cars it was as impressive to drive as it was to look at, with enough ability to embarrass modern performance machinery. Imagine blatting down to the Goodwood Revival in it.

For more market advice and buying tips, have a look at the latest issue.

Time to buy a BMW E34

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It doesn't seem long since the E34 (1988-96) generation of BMW 5 Series was still a regular sight a a daily driver – they were so well made that 300,000 miles without major work was easy – but abruptly most of the well-use examples have gone beyond economic repair, leaving more cossetted examples as a precious commodity.

That the M5 (pictured) has long since bounced back from depreciation is no surprise, but enthusiasm for everything from a mint, low mileage 518i, via the 520/525/535i sixes to the 530 or 540 V8 has outstripped supply. So you can pay up to £6k for the four cylinder cars and £10k for the best six cylinder ones, with the 540i manual being the most desirable of the non Msport cars at up top £25k.

Project examples of those car be £6-7k with the best now £40-50k. They're all fine handling, beautifully refined and well made, but there are some weaknesses and gaps in spares availability that could puncture the E34 experience – from hidden corrosion to the scarcity of the electronic dampers on top models – so we've put together a buying guide in the latest issue. Happy hunting!

For more market advice and buying tips, have a look at the latest issue.

MARKET WATCH, July 2018, week 1

Latest market winners revealed

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Biggest gains are seen from Alfa, BMW, Porsche and Triumph in the latest issue's Price Guide Movers update. Of the 53 models that have shown growth, Alfas make regular appearances, with the GTV 2000 up 5.4%, SZ-1 up 7.1%, 1750/2000 Berlina up 9.1% and Giulia Ti/Super up 25%. But it's the Alfasud that comes out top, with the Sprint up 29% and saloon/Ti models gaining 43%. But fear not, they're still relatively affordable, with usable cars starting at £2000 and excellent examples costsing £4250-6950, depending on just how good they are.

The smaller-engined models of BMW's '02 range 1600/1602/1502 are a close second, up 38% to £3000 and £6500-9000 in equivalent condition.

Despite a general cooling off of what was generally accepted as an overheated Porsche 911 market, the early 2.0 litre cars are on the move again, upwards. With a 33% gain you're looking at £65k for a rough car needing a lot of work, £100k for something usable and £150-200k for the real sharp stuff.

Triumph's winners have been the Herald convertible and Vitesse range, up 23 and 21% respectively. So Vitesse 1600 and 2000s start at aaround £1k for a project car, doubling for something usable and £4.5-7k for the smartest cars. It's a similar story for Herald 1200 convertibles, but the nicest examples are more expensive, at £5-8k.

For more buying and market advice, including Quentin Willson's Hot Tips, try the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Citroën SMs on the slide?

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Recent sales suggest that prices are slipping after several years of growth. It's too early to see a price reduction in our price guide, but there are signs that Citroën SMs are selling for less than they have been recently. It's exemplified by Historics at Brooklands selling a particularly good example for £34k against a market-realistic £38-44k estimate.

If you've seen your dream of owning one of these beguiling French GTs power out of reach, a little patience may just see them slip back into budget.

For more buying and market advice, including Quentin Willson's Hot Tips, try the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Lotus Elite

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These Seventies throwbacks are rare in this condition. This 1978 Lotus Elite Series 1 is in smart shape inside and out, with only minor blemishes to detract, and drove well on our test drive with its twin-cam 16-valve engine pulling strongly and independent suspension offering sophisticated ride.

It has just 44,600 on the odometer and there are plenty of receipts in the service history folder to suggest that it's been well looked after by its four owners.

For a whiff under £8k there can't be many cooler ways to relive the wild and wedgy Seventies. It's one of four cars for sale that we test drive in the current issue of Classic Cars.