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.

MARKET WATCH June 2018 week 3

Biggest market fallers revealed

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Ferraris, a Ford and two Maseratis are the latest to slide. Ten out of the top 16 market fallers are Ferrari this month, with drops ranging from 2.5% for the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona to 14% for the 166 MM Barchetta. Alas, bargain hunters, you'll still pay £320-575k and £2.85-6m respectively.

The cooling of Ferrari prices is following an investor led gold rush, but those more interested in profit than the cars themselves aren't the buying force they were a couple of years ago. That leaves enthusiasts who are still willing to buy the right car at the right price, and all of the Ferraris that have lost value in the Price Guide Movers update in the latest issue of Classic Cars are intrinsically desirable. Like the Lusso, a car that's dropped  7.1% so that you'll pay £850k-1.3m, depending on quality of the restoration, originality and provenance.

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

MGB GTs make their move

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These stylish hatchbacks have come out of the Roadster’s shadow at last. It seems that forever the GT was the bargain route to B ownership, with smart examples of even the chrome bumper cars being buyable for a couple of thousand, if you were in the right place at the right time.

Recently we've seen a 1970 example make £10k at auction, and that was an older restoration,  a plastic bumper 1977 car sold for £4.7k and a lovely, original 1973 car took £20k. To some extent, the MGB GT is reflecting the trend for most of the upward market activity being concentrated at the affordable end of the price guides. But, Aas with Jaguar E-types, it's also clear that coupés are no longer the poor relation to their roadster sisters as they're increasingly appreciated for their own style and added practicality.

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

We want this Ferrari 308GTBi

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Fresh from a body and interior restoration 12 months ago, this 1982 GTBi seems ready to enjoy. It's reassuring that the body was done a while ago because any residual rust or deficiencies in the paintwork would have betrayed themselves by now.

There's a good file of service history that shows this 46,500-mile car has been properly looked after , although it will be due its next cambelt change before too long. If they're well looked after and the bodies are rust-free these cars can be affordable to run by Ferrari standards, and even in modest 214bhp GTBi form, a delight to drive.

The only snag is finding the £99.9k asking price.

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

Buy a Maserati Quattroporte V?

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Good examples of this handsome and indecently rapid saloon will never be any cheaper so now's a good time to make a move while there are still well-maintained and lightly used examples to choose from. While £10k tends to limit your choice to high-mileage (75k+) cars, £15k should net you something will fewer than 50k miles but a 4.7 with similar mileage is more like £25k. Top of the tree is the Sport GT S, with prices in the £28-35k range accordingly.

Of course, fear of expensive repair bills have driven prices down to these tempting levels. Bills like £3km for new timing variators and £1800 for a part of Skyhook dampers are certainly sobering, but you can arm yourself with all of the essential check for deal-breaking problems and either walk away form afflicted cars, or budget accordingly. It's all spelled out in our in depth buying guide in the current issue of Classic Cars.

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

 

MARKET WATCH June 2018 week 1

Ferrari 512TRs shed the pounds

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While one result doesn't make a trend, it can sum up one. The Ferrari 512TR that made just over £92k in the Artcurial Paris sale was a 60,000km example with good service history and as Russ Smith writes in this issue's Chasing Cars section, a similar car would have made £120k not so long ago.

It's part of a current trend for for decline in prices achieved for its more numerous Testarossa predecessor, but the 512TR is falling harder. Seventies and Eighties Ferrari saw some of the steepest growth in the classic car market, so it's unsurprising that they're seeing significant decline. That said, overall prices for 512TRs in various levels of condition and mileage are only down 4.1% since our last update. Other models in the current issue's Price Guide Movers table have dropped up to 14%.

To find more market tips and buying advice you can buy the latest issue here

Latest market winners revealed

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Despite ongoing and steady declines seen at the top of the market, classics in the low to mid range continue to show anything from solidity to galloping gains according to this issue's roundup of Price Guide Movers.

With a jump of 66% since our last update, the Lotus Carlton now starts at £10k for a rough car needing lots of expensive work, with £17k being needed for a good driver and £26-39k for mint examples, depending on levels of perfection. That's not even the biggest of the 66 top climbers this month, with a top ten encompassing models as diverse as the Porsche 924 and Daimler Majestic Major.

To find more market tips and buying advice you can buy the latest issue here

We want this Pontiac Firebird

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Exposure to all of those American cop shows and road race caper films in the Seventies means that cars like this big, brash Firebird always turn my head. It's a colourful alternative to the demure European grand tourers that I normally fall for.

This 1978 example, which we test in the current issue, is packing an earlier engine from a Pontiac GTO, so there's 300bhp to enjoy from its 6.5 litres and it's huge fun to deploy. We were also impressed with its overall condition, but, although the history file is large, it doesn't contain evidence of more recent servicing because it's been maintained by the owner's garage business. However, the way it drives and looks  suggests that it's been well looked-after. This Trans-Am is one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the latest issue.

To find more market tips and buying advice you can buy the latest issue here

MARKET WATCH MAY 2018 part 2

Biggest market fallers revealed

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Nineties BMWs, Mercedes and Porsches take a tumble in the latest round of updates to Classic Cars' Price Guide Quarterly. Models including the E46-generation BMW M3 and MS CSP, Mercedes CLK-GTR and 993-generation Porsche Turbo and Turbo S were among the fastest-growing classics of the recent price boom but we're now seeing falls of between 4 and 17%. Even the 996-generation 911 Carrera has taken a 15% tumble, undoing some of the growth it enjoyed from its status as the most affordable 911 .

It's the BMW CSL that heads the slide though, falling 17% to an entry price of £37k for a rough example, £41k for something smart and £45-50k for mint-concours examples. A regular M3 has only dropped 4%, meaning £6k, £11k, £18k and £24k in equivalent condition.

For the full Price Guide Quarterly update, check out the latest issue.

MG Metro Turbos have their day

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MG Metro Turbos are making a late bid to join the 1980s hot hatch party. Just as the darling of the genre, Peugeot's 205 GTI 1.9, has fallen from its peak, the underdog MG is finding new friends. With just 32 of them road registered, appreciation has come rather late to these pocket rockets, so limited availability has meant buyers have been prepared to spend £5-7k on the right car. So they're still good value compared to a 205 or Golf GTi MkI.

If the price trend continues we can expect to see more dormant cars enjoying refurbishment, though comprehensive restoration is a long way off being cost-effective. For more buying tips and market analysis, buy the latest issue.

We want this Austin-Healey 3000

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An original interior is one of many good reasons to want this 1965 Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII. It was restored in the early 2000s – plenty of time for any shortcomings in the work to betray themselves – but it remains in superb condition and drives very well.

The MkIII evolution of the Big Healey was another step towards a more civilised touring character away from the more raw feel of the earlier cars, and this is a Phase II version so benefits from longer suspension travel and less tendency to ground the exhaust. But don't think that any of that dilutes the 'Healey appeal – it's still an invigorating machine to hustle along the road.

This 'Healey is one of four cars for sale tested in the latest issue of Classic Cars. To buy a copy click here.

Buy a Ford Capri MkII/III well

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With prices up it's more important than ever to buy a Capri with care. In my university years and for the subsequent couple of decades, Ford's ageing street warrior was a cheap way to go fast, or at least look fast in style, depending on which model you picked up. So MkII and MkIII examples could be bought and enjoyed with abandon. Now good ones ones demand a proper financial commitment, so the stakes are higher.

Back then, £1500 bought a very smart example; now that's project car money for a four-cylinder car and you'll have to find the same again for a V6. Good four-cylinder cars start at £5k with six-cylinder cars more like £7k and you can add £10k to those figures for pristine cars; rare and desirable 3.0S and 280 models easily top £20k in similar condition.

Our expert buying guide reveals the key gaps in parts availability and essential checks to avoid your Capri Seventies/Eighties dream turning into a 2018 nightmare.

 

MARKET WATCH May 2018 part 1

Latest market winners revealed

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236 classics became more expensive in the latest update of Classic Cars magazine's Price Guide Quarterly. Most of the activity was spread thinly across the full spectrum of makes and models, though there was some clustering within Sixties Aston Martins and Seventies Lamborghinis.

But nothing hugely expensive and exotic is troubling the top of the growth charts at the moment, with the upper 20 being locked out by assorted Vauxhalls, Volkswagens, Volvos, with the odd MG, Rover, Rochdale or Mercedes for variety.

Riding the new wave of interest in Fifties to Seventies saloons is the Volvo 123GT, up 60% overall. So entry level is now £3000 for a rough/project car, rising to £6500 for a tidy example that would benefit from some work. Really sharp examples are more like £13,500 with concours-quality cars making as much as £20,000. These hot Volvos represent an ideal combination of family-friendly accommodation with classic rally-friendly performance, so there's more than one crowd chasing a small resource.

E-type values pass their peak

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Less-than-perfect examples must now be priced to sell as the buyers increasingly reserve their cash for properly restored examples, or much rarer unrestored originals. So far this has manifested itself in more middle-condition E-types failing to sell at auction, but sellers are currently in denial so advertised prices have yet to catch up with the market reality.

With so many free options for advertising classic cars for sale, it's easier for sellers to hold out for months or more in the hope of finding a buyer. But there's always someone who needs the cash sooner than they pretend, so now's the time to make a bold offer.

We want this Aston DB7 V12

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Low mileage and main dealer service history made this 2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante worth a look. The combination of pretty bodywork designed by Ian Callum and that 414bhp V12 (0.60mph in 5 sec and 165mph top end) is a compelling argument, but full Aston dealer service history over its 13,095-mile life makes this one a rare find.

It's one of four cars for sale that we test drive in the latest issue of Classic Cars, and we had to be extra picky during our evaluation to find anything to criticise. Even the little-worn tyres have been replaced with fresh Yokahamas, revealing a fastidious approach to maintenance. And it drove as well as it looked, with impressive heave underpinned with the taut feel of a barely worn car. Perfect to enjoy summer, when it eventually arrives.

MARKET WATCH April 2018 part 3

Not all Porsches have stalled

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Exceptional 911s can still push ahead while average examples are languishing, particularly with vendors who still believe that this year's price is last year plus 10%.

So we recently saw a 1992 Carrera RS – that's the 964 generation – sell for £280k, a 47% premium over our top condition price. But look in more detail and you find a sub-18,000-mile example with the paperwork to back it up.

After only enjoying relatively modest growth in the Porsche price boom of recent years, the first 911 Turbos – the purer 3.0-litre cars built from 1975-77 – have had a fresh surge, up 20%.
That makes entry level £55k for a rough example, £80k for a good car and £120-150k for the superb through to the ultimate in perfection.

The market has been unusually slow in recognizing how special and rare these cars are. I try not to think about when they were stalled at £25k.

For market insight, buying advice and more, buy the latest issue here

Top classics to restore in 2018

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Choose the right classic needing work and the value of the finished car can cover the improvement costs. The trick is to choose the right model with the right sort of work necessary.

For example, pay around £50k for a cosmetically tired but regularly used Ferrari 308 GTB and you'll have headroom to improve the paint, trim and details and end up with a car that could comfortably recoup your costs if you ever want to sell it later. The Ferrari specialist that we spoke to reckoned £5-7k would bring tired suspension, brakes and interior up to scratch, £3-4k should cover a fair amount of bodywork and paint and even a full engine rebuild should be possible within a £7-15k range.

Our Top Ten Cars to Restore in 2018 feature in the current issue of Classic Cars gives expert advice on a broad range of makes, from Triumph to Mercedes-Benz, guiding you through the best models to choose and the condition that makes a cost-effective starting point.

For market insight, buying advice and more, buy the latest issue here

We want this Jensen C-V8

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We like the non-conformist appeal of this 5.9-litre grand tourer. It's one of 500 built and is a 1963 MkII, powered by the 5.9-litre Chrysler V8 coupled to a three-speed Torqueflite automatic gearbox. At nearly £4000 new it was Aston Martin DB4 money. That and its controversial styling made it the preserve of the few, and ensures standout wherever you take one now.

This car spent a big chunk of its life in museums before being returned to the road, but that doesn't mean it's escaped the wear, tear and ageing of a 55-year-old car. It's in what the Americans call 'driver condition', meaning it's presentable but lacks either the timewarp-original or freshly-restored-and-perfect condition that car show enthusiasts pursue. Glassfibre-bodied cars like this can give a false sense of security against rust, but underneath there's a hefty tubular chassis that can rot like any other. Fortunately this one appeared sound, with evidence of welding repairs where needed.

It's also driver condition in the literal sense, everything from the lusty V8 to the suspension feeling fresh and taut on our test drive. Our tester seemed reluctant to bring it back to the dealer.

The Jensen is one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the current issue of Classic Cars. For market insight, buying advice and more, buy the latest issue here

MARKET WATCH April 2018 part 2

The biggest market fallers revealed

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Eighties supercars and homologation specials fell the hardest in a continuing trend of correction after prices became over-hyped. Long-term owners shouldn’t be too distraught, with the latest round of price erosion falling between 5.8% and 6.6%, depending on model.

The top five fallers in the chart of price guide winners and losers in the current issue of Classic Cars is covered by Ferrari Testarossa and 512 TR, Porsche 959 and Peugeot 205 T16. And Alfa 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato. So in the case of that Eighties poster child, the Testarossa, only the best now make £100k, with the rest worth £37.5-75k, depending on condition.

Unsurprisingly, the rest of the fallers chart includes a couple of Porsche 911s and more Ferraris, but Bentleys and an Aston Martin also make an appearance.

Click here to buy this issue

Land Rover Series 2s play catchup

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Increased collectability of Series 1s is dragging Series 2s in their wake. It wasn’t so long ago that £27k was the preserve of Series 1s in top condition, with up to £40k being paid for the earlier 80 inch wheelbase cars built from 1948-53.

Now we’re starting to see some examples of the Series 2  and 2a make £27k as the earlier cars are pushed ever higher.

It’s a pattern we’ve seen elsewhere – when the market decided that the Jaguar E-type was most desirable in its original Series 1 3.8-litre form, all of the money chased those, until they became so expensive that many E-type fanciers had to look at the next best thing – a later model.

But successive model don’t always follow the same pattern. Witness Ford Capri MkIII 280 Brooklands model being worth 30% more than the MkI 3000GT. Sometimes the last of the line, most highly refined and specified model retains its premium long after its departed the secondhand car classifieds and slipped into classic status.

Click here to buy this issue

We want this low-mileage Bentley Turbo R

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When we spotted this ex-Sheik, 32,000-mile Turbo R for sale we had to drive and appraise it. It was sold new to Sheik Maktoum of Dubai for use in London, covering 16,000 miles over 12 years before the next owner took it on, adding a further 16,000 and a lot more receipts to the service history folder.

The largely unmarked condition inside and out matches the low mileage and we’re told that a carburettor rebuild has cured the reluctance to rev smoothly that we experienced on the day of our test. Other than a thump from the suspension it drove as these cars should – with a remarkable combination of refinement, urge and ability to tackle corners. The R stands for roadholding, transforming the handling of the Turbo model that it’s based on.

Its £18k asking price is at the top of our Price Guide, so seems about right given the condition, mileage and service history.

This Turbo R is one of four cars for sale that we test in the current issue of Classic Cars.

Click here to buy this issue

Should you buy a bargain Triumph Herald or Vitesse?

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Usable cars can be found for £3k, but is that a false economy? That buys you tidy Herald, perhaps restored with a mix of parts from various models, so could provide years of inexpensive and stylish classic motoring.

For the more desirable Herald convertible or coupé in good condition you need to find another £2-7k and Vitesse in equivalent condition are more like £6.5-12.5k. If only the best will do, be prepared to spend £10k and £15k on a Herald or Vitesse respectively.

While parts availability is still good for maintaining these cars, and much of it inexpensive, restoration parts such as body panels are becoming hard to find and therefore expensive. Because demand has fallen, the aftermarket can no longer justify making more.

So the tidy and inexpensive Herald or Vitesse still makes sense as a bargain classic to drive and enjoy, but if you want perfection you’re better off spending what it takes to buy a superb car in the first place. To find out how, read the detailed buying guide in the current issue of Classic Cars.

Click here to buy this issue

MARKET WATCH April 2018

Latest market winners revealed

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53 classics became more expensive this month with the top ten locked out by cars of the chrome and curves era. The price guide winners and losers table in the latest issue of Classic Cars is topped by the Sunbeam Harrington GT, up 45%. These pretty, Sunbeam-approved coupé conversions of the Alpine sports car were were only built from 1961-63, totalling 400 examples of both A- and B-series versions.

Those gains move rough/restoration project examples up to £4k, usable ones to £9.5k and the best commanding £18.5-29k.

The convertible Alpine Aeries III and V is also up 32 and 42% respectively, meaning that you'll now pay £2.25-25k, depending on model and condition. Overall, the Alpines come out at half to two-thirds of Harrington prices.

Even with these latest moves, both open and closed versions remain good value at the moment.

Mini Cooper S speeds up

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Badge hierarchy is turning upside down with the latest price moves of these Sixties road burners. The previously favoured 1275S – the ultimate Cooper – is now being overtaken by the prices of the rarer 1071S and 970S, which can top £40k in perfect condition and backed up with convincing provenance. Don't rely on correct spec and matching V5 and chassis number to verify authenticity before handing over your cash.

At the rate values are going, we wouldn't be surprised if their price graphs cross over with those of the declining Ferrari 308 GTB before too long. How times and tastes change.

We want this time-warp Jaguar Mk2

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We loved road-testing this one-owner, unrestored Mk2 that's for sale in our latest issue. Apart from an older repaint in the correct Opalescent Silver Blue (that's light metallic blue in non-Jaguar speak), this 32,000 mile gem appears to be otherwise original.

Inside and out it stood up very well during our evaluation, and it drove as well as it looked, with a feeling of taut togetherness that few dismantled and restored cars manage to achieve. Jaguar fanciers like their Mk2s with the manual overdrive gearbox, which it has, the largest 3.8-litre capacity engine and chrome wire wheels. This one is a 3.4 delivering uncanny refinement and urge and we prefer the understated original steel wheels lifted by chrome hubcaps and rimbellisher wheel trims.

The £59k asking price reflects the scarcity of such low-mileage, original Mk2s. One in similar condition but restored, with multiple former owners and average miles would make just over half this.

This Jaguar Mk2 is one of four Ads on Test in the current issue of Classic Cars, including a Bentley Turbo R, Morgan 4/4 and Jensen CV8.

 

MARKET WATCH March 2018 part 2

BMW 2002 Turbos boosted

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The latest roundup of price guide winners and losers in Classic Cars magazine is topped by BMW’s 1970s road rocket. With prices up by a thumping 54%, entry level is £30k for a rough project car while tidy, usable examples are more like £48k and the best are £70-100k, depending on just how good they really are. One enthusiastic bidder even stumped up £105k for one at the January RM auction in Arizona.

As one of the standout models from a marque that's continuing to gain classic kudos, this isn't surprising, especially when you consider that just 1672 of these turbo pioneers were built. That's not far north of Porsche 911 Carrera RS2.7 built numbers, and we all know what they're worth.

Ferrari 206 GT Dinos lose their shine

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After becoming overheated by the Ferrari investor rush, Dinos have slipped significantly. The latest roundup of price guide winners and losers in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine reveals further downward movement of 4.4%, meaning that rough examples are £240k, for driveable ones add another £60k and the best £395-430k.

A three-owner 1969 example recent sold for £305k, making us wonder whether there's further downward movement to come from these alloy-bodied, short-chassis darlings of the investor-collector market. But one sale doesn't make a trend – we'll need to see that number repeated a few more times before we can confirm that price as the new reality.

For those lucky enough to own one already, a sunny day out on some particularly twisted roads should be enough to drive any price loss worries out of mind.

We want this Riley special

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We were smitten by this Riley Kestrel 12/6-based Grebe replica when we tested it. It's one of four cars for sale that we evaluate in the latest issue of the magazine. It was built in the Seventies to plug a Riley Grebe-sized gap in motoring history – none of the originals survive – and has seen regular competitive action since, so it's a well-honed car, which explains why our tester had such fun driving it.

This sporting Riley has had £25k spent on it over the past couple of years, so everything from the engine to the suspension seems fit and ready to be enjoyed. At £76,500 it represents good value.

Should you buy a Porsche 928?

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Buyers are chasing these previously unloved super grand tourers, so prices are climbing. All of the old clichés about the big, comfortable and sophisticated 928 not being a proper enthusiast's Porsche are being swept aside by a new type of owner who appreciates their effortless mile-munching ability and near-timeless style.

So the £4k that would have bought a 928 to drive a few years ago now merely lands you a project car. Double that and you should be able to find an S2 that's on the road, albeit with a list of potentially expensive jobs. You're better off paying around £15k for a good pre-S4 example, and decent examples of S4s are £25-30k, more if you want full service history or modest mileage.

Tempted? Our price guide in the current issue of the magazine will help you avoid the pitfalls inherent in buying any exotic, once expensive car that has suffered decades of low values. Buy well and the experience will be hugely satisfying.

MARKET WATCH March 2018

Aston V8 projects in vogue

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After decades festering in barns and garages, deemed uneconomical to repair, restoration project Aston Martin V8s are being dragged blinking into the daylight and snapped up by hungry buyers. Even though they're still uneconomical to repair.

With top examples selling for £80-120k, and specialist restorations costing £100-200k, sometimes more, a £30k barn find makes no financial sense. The fact that buyers are prepared to pay more – the most recent examples went for £48k and £66k – show how these commanding Seventies and Eighties grand tourers are stirring passions previously reserved for their six-cylinder ancestors.

The latest Price Guide Movers update in the current issue of the magazine reveals numbers up 20%, so if one remains at the top of your classic dreams, now's the time to find one. But unless you relish the challenge of saving a derelict one, your money will go a lot further buying a really good one in the first place.

Porsche 356 slips back

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Few makes saw such rapid price gains as Porsche and Ferrari in the general classic car market boom of recent years, but 356s, particularly the more numerous B- and C-generation models, have recently dropped 10%, which on top of the general price slide of rear-engined Porsches has taken values back to 2015 levels.

That means that rough B roadsters can now be found from £46k, with good examples anywhere from £67-105k, depending on condition, and the best for £135k. Even the coveted pre-A cars built from 1951-55 are down 5% as the Porsche market accepts the new realism.

So far we'd call it a healthy readjustment.

We want this Jaguar E-type

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This 1969 Jaguar E-type roadster is one of four classics for sale that we evaluate in the latest issue of Classic Cars, and it stood up to scrutiny very well. It's an ex-Florida car, converted to righthand drive and restored after coming back to the UK. Most E-types here are ex-USA because most went there new, and the climate in many, but not all, States was more car-friendly than our damp and seasonally salty island.

Reassuringly, the restoration was completed four years ago – plenty of time for any shortcomings to reveal themselves – but this example still looks excellent and drives with the supple and purposeful stride that an E-type should.

Although the heat has gone out of the E-type market for now, prices don't appear to have suffered much either, based on the data we track for our quarterly price guide, so this example seems good value, particularly compared to an equivalent roadster in 3.8-litre covered-headlight Series 1 guise. Those may be prettier, but the Series 2 drives better and was still one of the best-looking cars of its age.

 

MARKET WATCH February 2018

Lotus Elise S1s on the turn

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When Lotus launched the Elise back in 1995 it was an instant classic – pure, distilled driving joy wrapped up in a cheekily attractive bodyshell and built with a then-radical construction technique for a road car.

Well now the market is starting to see the Series 1 as a classic, with values for the best up 20%. That means you'll pay £15k for a low-mileage, properly-maintained example. So they're still less than they cost new, and great value compared to almost anything. Entry level is £6k for something rough, with good and superb cars costing £8 and £11k respectively. Just beware that lots had hard lives as track day toys and snappy handling at the limit means you should look beneath any smart-looking glassfibre outer bodywork for signs of damage to the riveted and bonded aluminium structure.

Family classics values

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The most dynamic area of the classic car market used to be dominated by sports and performance cars, and most things exotic and rare, but demand is heating up for the sort of family saloons that we grew up with as kids then dismissed as teenagers and young motorists because they seemed too dull.

Nostalgia and affordability was the strongest driver of need, but the proliferation of glossy events to take them to and increasing scarcity of survivors is pushing values. Take the Austin A40 Devon for example, up 25% in the past 12 months to £7500 for the best – a significant narrowing of the gap to, say, an MGB MkIII chrome-bumper Roadster in equivalent condition. That old favourite is sitting at £12.5k, and that's after a recent 4% increase.

Latest market winners and losers

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The Price Guide Quarterly update in the latest issue of Classic Cars reveals 394 movers – mostly up, but a fair few down since the last installment. Of the climbers, 65 have grown in value by more than 4%, and those in the top ten gave seen gains of up to 90%.

TVR M-series cars of Seventies, ranging from the Ford Kent-engined 1600M to the hatchback Taimar and convertible 3000S are top of that pile. But even at £27.5k for a top condition 3000S, these are still an attractive buy. The more numerous coupés, regardless of engine size, top out at around £20k and can be found in good, usable condition for half that.

These cars are attractive and fun to drive, and, thanks to production engines and gearboxes from Ford or Triumph, are inexpensive to run, but they've always had niche status compared to more popular sports cars wearing Triumph and MG badges. The rebirth of TVR in 2017 with the new Gordon Murray-designed Griffith is now raising the marque's profile. It looks like a great time to get own an M-series car – just ask someone who used to have one, a 1980 Taimar to be precise.

Buy an Alfa Spider well

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Despite recent gains in value, the Alfa Spider 105 series is one of the few examples of a classic convertible being worth less than its coupé sisters. Splendid – it means that the round-tail Series 1 ranges from £5-50k depending on condition, with superb examples occupying £20-30k territory. The square-tailed S2 is cheaper still, with £8-12k buying something presentable and usable and £15-20k buying the best. Series 3s and 4s are even cheaper.

They're also easy to own – the sophisticated twin-cam engines and suspension (compared to an MGB) don't translate into poor reliability or expensive ownership costs – as long as you start off with a good one. The buying guide in the latest issue will help there.

We want this Chevrolet Corvette

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This 1964 Chevrolet Corvette is one of four cars for sale that we evaluate in the latest issue, and it looks hugely appealing for a fraction of the price of a Jaguar E-type roadster in equivalent condition. It's priced at a little under £60k to reflect the fact that it's lost its original fuel injection in favour of an easier-to-maintain four-choke carburettor. Otherwise this manual 5.3-litre V8 car is hard to fault.

Imagine firing this up one summer morning and aiming that sculpted nose at Prescott, Silverstone, Goodwood, Le Mans…

MARKET WATCH, January 2018

Bristol 400-403s tipped

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While investor-loved Ferraris and Porsches have seen huge gains followed by a slide back to 2014 prices, early Bristols have continued to grow – up 33% over the same period and 10% since our last Price Guide Quarterly update. That means rough projects are now £20k, usable cars circa £30k and the best are £50-70k.

If that seems expensive, compare it with the £85k-240k you'd have to find for an equivalent Aston Martin DB2. With the appeal of Bristols running outside the more fashion-driven sectors of the classic car market, we expect these finely engineered and individual saloons to continue their gentle trajectory.

Jaguar XKs on the slide

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Oversupply of Jaguar XKs coming to auction is dragging prices back to 2014 values. The Price Guide Movers update in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine reveals recent falls of 3-10% depending on model.

It's the previously strongest growers, such as the various XK150 S models, that have seen the largest percentage declines. So entry level into the vintage-feeling charms of XK ownership is now £22.5k, which buys you a 150 fixed-head coupé project, but you'll still need just over £200k for the best XK150S 3.8 Roadster, despite its near 7% slide.

So faced with choice, buyers are holding out for sensible value. But given ongoing appeal of these handsome and effective sports cars, it's hard to see the market deserting them.

Market winners and losers

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Some of the humblest classics are making the biggest gains at the moment, with the top ten climbers in the latest Classic Cars magazine Price Guide Movers chart including the early ripple bonnet Citroën 2CVs, pre-1979 VW Beetles and post-1973 Ford Capri 3.0s.

Those pre-1961 2CVs have climber 26% since our last update meaning entry level for  a prokject car is £2.5k, usable cars now commanding £5k and best being £10-14k, depending on how perfect they are. The hatchback V6 Capris now range from £3-18.5k and the Beetles anywhere from £1.2-25k, depending on condition and crucially, whether they're early enough to have the appeal-defining split windscreen.

Our list of biggest fallers is peppered with previous winners, including the Ferrari F355 Spider, Dino 206 GT and Porsche 911 GTs of the air-cooled 996 generation. With drops as great as 20% now being seen, buyer's resistance to previous hype could be gaining strength. Sadly, nothing has yet dropped enough to warrant bargain status.

You'll find the full table of the latest Price Guide Movers in the current issue of Classic Cars.

Should you buy a Morgan Plus 8?

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Our detailed buying guide in the latest issue reveals that good but higher mileage later models can be bought for £25k but you'd need to find another £10k for equivalent condition pre-1977 examples and more than £50k for the best of these early cars.

So the prices of such rugged charm hasn't moved in pace with the rest of the market. But there are no other classic sports cars the remained in production, fundamentally unchanged, for so long. It means that if you simply want the overall looks, grunt and vintage driving experience, a newer example needing less work will always be a better proposition than an older car needing money spent in it.

Of course, when faced with with the conflicting merits of period early cosmetic changes and more user-friendly or higher-performance later evolutions, the most cost-effective option is rarely our priority when considering which classic to buy. So our buying guide helps you weigh up what you're letting yourself in for if you find the right car but with some faults, like a rotten chassis costing £1200 plus 500 hours to fit.

We want this Bristol Fighter

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Why do we want this 2004 example that we evaluate in the latest issue? Well, 525bhp, a claimed 210mph top speed and a sprint to 60mph in four seconds is a fair chunk of the answer. Then there's the dramatic gullwing-door looks and the when-did-I-last-see-one scarcity.

It helps that this ex-showroom demonstrator has had just one owner since and it has a little under 18,000 on the odometer. We just need to find the £200k asking price.

MARKET WATCH, December 2017

TVR Tuscans racing ahead of the market

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The TVR Tuscan V6 of the generation built from 1969-71 has leapt 82% since the last price guide update in Classic Cars magazine. Why? Because these light, agile and powerful sports cars can be made even more so in the quest for devastating effectiveness in historic sports car racing. Factor in the scarcity and it's a surprise the gains didn't come sooner.

Fortunately the recent moves have come off a relatively low base, so you're looking at £10-30k depending on condition. Alongside the charming but less able Triumph TRs they still don't look expensive.

Porsche 944 Turbos cool off

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Porsche 944, particularly Turbo, prices took a long time to be swept along by the rush to buy air-cooled 911s, but when the market realised what an appealing package they offer there was quite a jump. Well, 911 values have slumped and 944 Turbos are following them down, 5.1% for the coupés and 6.7% for the cabriolets. So we're talking £3.2-18.5k and £7-30k respectively, depending on condition.

Given the modest values across the range I wouldn't expect losses on the same scale of the more over-hyped 911 models, but while those continue to become more affordable it seems likely that they will suppress 944 values accordingly.

Top 73 market climbers and fallers revealed

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Our latest price tracking data in the current issue of Classic Cars reveals that there's still a voracious appetite for the right cars, with gains of anywhere between 4% and 82% for the 58 climbers tabulated in the latest issue of Classic Cars. The top ten underlines the ongoing trend for strong growth in the lower and middel sector of the market, with Lancia Montecarlos up 45% to £2-16k depending on condition and Mercedes 220 SEb Cabrios up 24% to £25-90k.

There has been much talk in recent months about a slowdown further up the food chain, particularly for all of those Ferrari and Porsches that achieved spectacular growth three-four years ago then suffered substantial declines. While there's much evidence that this is generally the case, Ferrari F50s are up 25% to £1-1.75m.

Our table of top 15 fallers is heavily populated with Porsches and Ferraris, with the Porsche 911 Turbo S of the 993 generation dropping a hefty 14%. But bargain it is not – you'll still have to find £150-300k if you want one, for now. But maybe they'll come closer to earth next month, and the one after that.

Peugeot 205 GTis not as expensive as you think

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We've reported on some loopy auction prices for Peugeot 205 GTis in Classic Cars recently – £38k for a 1.9 – but, like that example, the headline prices are for time-warp examples with barely any miles on the odometer. There will always be enthusiasts with deep pockets happy to empty them when they get the rare chance to buy the best of the best, but that's not where the rest of us are. most of us drive smart examples of classics with average or high mileage.

So the 205 GTi buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars explores what you have to pay for real-world examples. Here we reveal that perfectly acceptable 1.6-litre cars can be found for £3k and 1.9s for £4k, as long as you're not put off by high mileage. Thereafter the prices climb according to how much perfection, and low-mileage you're prepared to pay for, so our pre-purchase inspection guide explains the sort of faults that you're likely to find and how to spot them before agreeing a deal, or walking away. These cars have survived in sufficient numbers that the last option is your best defence.

I'm amazed at the number of buyers who feel obliged to do a deal just because they've gone to the trouble of reaching the inspection and test drive stage. Compared to the endless hassle and cost of putting right a bad car, a few wasted trips up the motorway and 'thanks but no thanks' conversations is trivial.

Happy hunting

We want this Ford Mustang

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Of the four cars for sale that we test in the latest issue of the magazine, it's the 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback that keeps drawing me back for one more look. I must declare an interest – not a financial one, but a strong and happy prejudice in favour of these handsome pony cars that's been with me since I was a kid.

In my dreams there's a dusty 1970 Boss 302, 1968 390GT or 1965 Shelby GT350 waiting for me to discover it in an isolated Nebraska barn, but something like this 289ci V8 example is closer to reality. Our tester finds it to be in excellent condition and it drives just as it should. I particularly like the standard, period presentation and discrete dark metallic green colour scheme.

I had hoped that UK fuel prices and a market that chases ultimate models of everything would have suppressed values of these mainstream Mustangs, but £30k+ seems the going rate for sharp examples and this cars £39k tag means I'm out of the running, except in my dreams.

MARKET WATCH, November 2017

GORDON KEEBLE GK1

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Gordon Keebles have jumped 25% since our last update, with top condition cars joining the six-figure club at £100k. Prices start at £30k, which will buy you a project car, while £50k buys something tidy that you can use and £75k netting you a sharp example. That's if you can find one for sale – with just 100 built, and most in the hands of dedicated owners, they don't come up for sale often.

It's easy to see why. The combination of handsome GT styling by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro and a 5.4-litre Chevrolet Corvette engine would be hard to tire of.

ALFA SPIDER

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Alfa Spiders have also moved smartly, with S2 (Kamm tail) models up 20% and even the relatively unloved S3 (black aerodynamic add-ons) is up 26% and the smooth body kitted S4 up further still at 27%. That means £21k for the best S2, with sharp examples £14k and tidy drivers £7k. S3s and S4s run at approximately 57% and 67% of those prices respectively.

Even with these recent moves, the Alfa Spider still looks a good buy compared to rival British Sports cars like the Triumph TR4, especially when you remember that they were not far short of double the price when new.

PRICE GUIDE WINNERS AND LOSERS

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The 56 climbers in the current issue price guide update range from the Mercedes 230 SL, up a modest 2.5%, to the Jaguar MkX and 420G, up a thumping 67%, meaning £57.5k and £14k for sharp examples of each.

The top ten contains an eclectic mix including BMW E30 3 Series convertible (up 25%), Volvo PV544 (up 38%) and Mazda Cosmo (up 50%). The others are split between Jaguar, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Gordon Keeble and Ford.

Despite talk of a classic car market downturn, which largely applies of a few over-hyped makes, models on the up still outnumbers fallers by nearly three to one in this update. The biggest casualties make the point, with the Ferrari 365 GTC/4 down 11% and 993 generation Porsche 911 Turbo Ss down 10%. In fact, Porsche and Ferrari models make up nearly half of the top 19 fallers this month, though none has lost a catastrophic sum.

BUY A JAGUAR XJR

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When you discover that £3000 buys a good 370bhp Jaguar XJR, it's time to take notice. Note I said 'good', this isn't an entry level price for some worn-out, rusty and neglected car. And for double that you can expect the best. So much power, such good looks, so little money. I'd be surprised if the good examples don't become more expensive in the future, especially because Jaguar's image is on the up with a properly modern and exciting range.

There are some faults that can quickly make your bargain performance Jaguar into a bad deal, but the six-point guide in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine will help you steer around those.

WE WANT THIS ASTON MARTIN

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The 1968 Aston Martin DB6 manual that we test in the current issue of Classic Cars is in the sorted and ready-to-drive condition that can take an age and a fortune to achieve if you start off with a bad example and try to make it right.

Compared to the DB5 that it replaced, the DB6 is roomer, more stable at speed and just over half the price in equivalent condition. The 1996 restoration has stood up well and the car still looks smart, but there are a few signs of use and ageing since then.

The Aston is one of four cars for sale that we evaluate in the current issue.

MARKET WATCH, October 2017

Jaguar E-type sales unpredictable

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The recent round of auction sales that included several Jaguar E-types underlined why one sale doesn't establish a trend. Whenever there's a notably high or low result for a particular model, in relation to its condition, we always look for further evidence of a shift in values before rewriting the Classic Cars price guide.

The sale of four E-types at Silverstone Auctions' Salon Privé sale in August might have suggested a drastic fall off in interest in Jaguar's ever-popular sports GT, but when Bonhams sold all four of its E-types at the Goodwood Revival sale in September we knew that the normal balance was maintained. As well as buyers being picky about condition (barn-find projects and perfect preservations or restorations sell easiest) and model variant, there's always the factor of the auction dynamic on the day. With the right ambience and enough competitive buyers, cars can do better than they deserve; without, good cars can struggle.

The results of those two sales, and much more data beyond shows that the most desirable Series 1 (covered headlamp) cars have grown between 4% (Series 1 4.2 coupé) and 10% (Series 1 3.8 roadster), but the biggest gains have been seen by the Series 1.5 and Series 2 roadsters, up 11%. They're still a long way behind the covered headlamp cars, but as those become more expensive, buyers have been inevitably looking at the next best thing.

For details of all the latest growers and fallers, check out the expanded Price Guide Quarterly in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine.

Ford Anglias in vogue

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After spending much of its life tracking the values of Morris Minors, the Ford Anglia has started attracting much larger figures. Until recently, figures ranging from sub £1000 project cars to £6k concours examples have been typical for the 105E, despite the hype surrounding its appearance in the first Harry Potter film.

Recent auction results of £8.6k and 15k reflect how hard it is to find low-mileage or nicely restored examples. Only future sales will tell us if these represent a blip or a real trend.

Price guide winners and losers

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We've added 159 new entries to our expanded Price Guide Quarterly and the latest update is in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine. Most of the recent additions are at the more modern end of the classic car spectrum, models that have turned from old car depreciation into classic appreciation.

The top 54 climbers range from a modest 1.3% growth for the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 346, where good examples make £9500 and the best are £12,500, to the Volvo T5-R and 850R which have grown 50% to £5k and £7.5k in equivalent condition. Those cars hint at the overall picture for the classic market, where the more valuable and collectible cars are static or have fallen back to 2014 levels, while affordable and middle-market cars are continuing to trade keenly, bringing inevitable upward pressure on prices for good examples of the right models.

But there are always exceptions, like the BMW 507, up 20% to £1.5m in concours condition, and the alloy Ferrari 275 GTB up 13% to £2.25m.

The list of biggest fallers is dominated by models that have enjoyed vivid gains until recently, particularly Ferraris, like the Testarossa, down 7%. Hardly cause for despair among owners then.

Buy an Austin-Healey the expert way

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Austin-Healeys rarely feature in our monthly roundup of the biggest climbers and fallers in the classic market – their modus operandi seems to be an alternating pattern of falling behind the general market growth, followed by period of gentle catch up. They're never particularly in or out of fashion, but their handsome curves and rugged driving characteristics give them evergreen appeal. But professional restoration costs can top £100k, twice what you'd pay for a superb 100, 3000 MkII BN7 or 3000 MkIII, the three most desirable mainstream 'Healeys (the 100M and particularly the 100S are in a league of their own). So the buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine could save you from sleepwalking into a disproportionately expensive project.

We want this

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I've yet to own a TVR powered by one of its own engines, and for less than £15k this 1999 Cerbera Speed Six that we test in the latest issue of Classic Cars is looking mighty tempting. The history file suggests that this one has been well maintained over its 33k miles, and reassuringly there's a bill for replacement of the rust-prone chassis outriggers – a job that's pretty much inevitable on TVRs of any era unless they've been regularly wax-protected from new or rarely seen a wet road. For anyone jaded by how bloated modern performance cars have sacrificed pure feel for technological intervention, this generation of TVRs is the perfect antidote.

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.

MARKET WATCH, August 2017

JAGUAR E-TYPE 2+2S HOTTING UP

Demand for good Jaguar E-type 2+2s has pushed prices up 45% over the past two years, despite them being the least coveted variants. Until recently, high values and high-quality restorations have been largely reserved for the better-proportioned two-seater coupés and roadsters, but the child-friendly 2+2s are playing catchup.

Excellent examples of Series 1s are more than £37k and the very best can make £55k, though that's still a fraction of the professional rebuild cost. Series 3 V12s are a little cheaper at £33 and 50k respectively, while the Series 1.5 and Series 2s are £32-47k in equivalent condition.

Beware that these have been entry level E-types for so long that few have enjoyed comprehensive maintenance or restoration, so their recent jump in values is bound to attract superficial makeovers in pursuit of a quick profit.

ROVER P5B VALUES SURGE

With prices up by more than 30% this year, the Rover P5B Coupé has shrugged off its old 'poor man's Rolls-Royce' epithet – you can buy a Silver Shadow for less. Top condition examples can now make £20k or more, with usable examples starting around £9k.

Despite the thrust of that ex-Buick, all-aluminium V8, performance is ample rather than sporting, but these have always been cars in which to make dignified progress. If you want saloon racer heroics, the Jaguar Mk2 3.8 is the weapon of choice.

Of course, modern four door coupés are all the rage now, but anyone seeking the classic alternative has little choice. If you're not set on the rakish lower roofline of the coupé, the V8 saloon is much better value, with usable examples starting at around £5k, rising to £13k for the best. Because of the propensity of these cars to demand hideously expensive restoration costs, your money is much better spent up front on an excellent example

PRICE WINNERS AND LOSERS

The Honda S800 is one of ten models to have jumped in value by more than 30%, with convertibles up 37% and the coupés up 50%. For the 66 models highlighted for growth in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine, figures ranged from 5% for the VW Beetle Cabriolet to a chart-topping 54% for the Pininfarina Spider, the model built by the coachbuilder after production of the 124 Spiders transferred from Fiat.

Fortunately for buyers, what goes up, occasionally comes down again. After a surge in prices, Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9s have slipped 7.5%, and models as diverse as the MGF, Porsche 911 Carrera RS (993 generation) and Ferrari 250 Tour de France have all dropped by more than 4%.

For a full list of this month's winners and losers, with price details, see the current issue of Classic Cars magazine.

BUY A FIAT 124 SPIDER

Values of the desirable slim-bumpered Fiat 124 Spiders, built from 1966-75, are up 45%, meaning the very best can command £24k, with excellent examples following up at £18k and usable cars at £10k. Even project cars are £3.5k. All of the publicity around the new Mazda MX-5-based Fiat 124 Spider seems to have created more demand for the classic original.

The impact bumper cars built from 1975 have seen slighter greater gains of 48%, but inevitable trail in absolute terms. Prices in equivalent condition range from £2.5-18.5k.

The price moves have encouraged a flow of imports, artfully smartened up to deceive the unwary buyer, especially those who assume that the Fiat badge guarantees cheap restoration costs. As the detailed buying guide reveals in the current issue of Classic Cars, you need to go in armed with essential knowledge of what the expensive problems are, and how to spot them. With that covered, these are rewarding cars to own and drive. See you on the road this summer!

WE WANT THIS

With their grunty four-cylinder engines and light weight, the sidescreen Triumph TRs are huge fun to drive. This TR3A has the optional 2138cc engine and can pull 100mph, but with those cut-down doors and the buzz of the exhaust, even 70mph feels like 100. This 1960 example, which we test in the current issue of Classic Cars, has been skillfully restored from a US import but retains the lefthand drive steering – handy if you fancy weekend jaunts or touring holidays in Europe, or if you ever wish to sell it there.

Despite the superb condition – it's little used since the restoration – this TR3A is priced keenly at £26k. It's one of four car for sale that we test in the current issue, including an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante, Mini Cooper S and Triumph TR5. Tempting.

MARKET WATCH, July 2017

Early ’Healeys jump

The trend for buyers to prize the earliest and purest version of a model line has struck the Austin-Healey, with four-cylinder 100 models gaining four per cent to overtake all six-cylinder models for the first time.

Until now the 3000 MkIII has been most prized of the regular road cars, particularly for its more powerful engine and more luxurious trim, but buyers are increasingly happy to sacrifice ultimate spec and comfort for purer dynamics and aesthetics.

Entry level for rough, project cars has moved to £20k, with good cars at £32k, mint at £47.5k and concours examples up to £65k. Just as we’ve seen with other Fifties and Sixties cars, we expect the gap to widen as these cars are taken increasingly seriously by collectors.

Triumph saloons leap


Values of Triumph 2000 and 2500 saloons have jumped by 35-44 per cent, depending on model. For decades their advanced design and sharp Michelotti styling wasn’t enough to lift them out of the backwater occupied by so many family and executive saloons, which made them great value.

The good news for buyers is that they’re still good value, with £1000-1400 buying something rough and even the best topping out at £6.5-7.5k, depending on model. A combination of usability and scarcity of good survivors is driving the value growth.

For now the highest spec and latest versions (2.5PI, 2500TC and 2500S) are at the top of that scale, but the MkI models with the beak nose and futuristic dashboard have seen the most growth.

Top climbers and fallers

More than a fifth of the classic cars tracked by Classic Cars magazine’s Price Guide Quarterly have changed in value, and the majority of those have grown, despite anecdotal evidence of a cooling off of prices.

The top ten growers have increased by between 20 and 44 per cent, with Triumph 2000/2500 MkI/IIs outperforming Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupés at the top of the list, at least in percentage terms (up 44 vs 40 per cent). That top ten includes various Triumph 2000/2500 models, Porsche 944s, the Austin Mini Copper 1275S, Bugatti Type 57 Atalante and Humber Super Snipe S1-VA. It underlines the fact that growth isn’t always confined to the cars that are predicted to attract serious investors.

The list of cars showing a decline contains a few surprises, particularly Aston Martins – DB2 convertibles and DB MkIIIs are down, but the two-three per cent drop is unlikely to trouble recent buyers or anyone deep into an expensive restoration.

The price futurism

With project lefthand drive D Specials starting at £5k and the best DS23 EPI Pallas examples costing £25-40k, it’s more important than ever to know how to check out your dream Citroën ID or DS thoroughly before you commit with cash.

Bought well, and a good example of any of these beguiling machines can be rewarding to own, but cars that have suffered neglect or inexpert restoration and maintenance will lead you on a frustrating an expensive journey.

Good, usable IDs are more like £12k, rising, along with the clever oleopneumatic suspension, to £20k for something excellent. At this point you’re still £3k shy of a decent DS21 Pallas and £15k from the best.

The detailed buying guide in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine walks you through the key steps to finding the sort of structural and technical problems that will deflate your ID/DS experience, arming you with the expertise to find a satisfying example that will live up to the futuristic dream.

Countach drop

After a spectacular ramping up of values that has seen the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary leap nearly four-fold since 2012, this most extrovert symbol of Eighties excess has taken a £100k dip since its 2014/15 peak.

That still means circa £350k, so it’s not as if the appetite for them has disappeared, but it does represent another investor favourite where some moderation has replaced reckless acquisition. It’s too early to tell whether the dip of recent years is part of a longer decline, or whether it signifies a brief market correction before these cars and their rivals return to growth.

We want this Trans-Am

I blame my Seventies childhood and the rash of American road movies that transfixed me as a car-crazy youngster, but the Pontiac Firebird Tans-Am had a hold on me because it was everything that our discreet British GT cars were not. Rumbling, big-capacity V8s, exaggerated, muscular proportions and lurid decor inside and out.

This 1979 example is one of four classic cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine, and although its 4.9-litre V8 can only muster 135bhp, this one, unusually, is connected to a manual gearbox. Our road tester was impressed by its condition, and felt that the power was sufficient for doing what the car is best at, rumbling along, grabbing attention wherever it goes. Tempting. I wonder how hard it would be to fit it with the optional 6.6-litre motor?

MARKET WATCH, June 2017

Lamborghini Miuras buck the market

While prices for period rival Ferraris such as the Daytona have fallen back from their market peak, the Miura continues to grow with the original P400 and its P400S successor up 13% and 11% respectively.

That means you’ll pay £460-850k for a P400, and £550-£1m for the P400S, depending on condition. It helps that only 765 of all three types of Miura were built – collectors prize scarcity – compared to a little over 1400 365 GTB/4 Daytonas, but it helps that the Miura was a real game changer, defining the basic layout of every supercar since. They also appeal to buyers who see the Daytona, or any Ferrari, as too obvious.

Lancia Beta tipped

We should celebrate the stigma of old reputations if they mean that the value of an appealing classic car remains suppressed. Take the Lancia Beta Coupé, a sharp-looking machine with fine handling and a choice of peppy twin-cam engines – yours for less than £5k.

Two-litre is the one to go for, but even the 1.3 can muster 82bhp. Supercharged Volumex is the ultimate. The only snag is finding one for sale, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Price guide movers

Even in a market that’s cooled off since its heady peak we can still find cars that have jumped by up to 33%.

And the head of the league table in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine? The Austin Mini Moke, which now commands between £4500 and £20,000 depending how rough or perfect it is. If there’s a pattern to the cars in the top ten, I can’t see it – Rover P3 up 32%, Ferrari 166 Inter, Jaguar E-type V12 Roadster and split-screen VW Beetle all up £25%. What’s clear is that there are still eager buyers out there for cars that seem to be good value compared to similar alternatives.

The rest of the 78 top market movers are revealed in the July issue of Classic Cars magazine, on sale now.

Buy an Aston V8 wisely

You can pay anywhere from £50k to £500k for an Aston Martin V8 now, so I can’t help but wish I’d taken out a meaty loan to buy the smart £40k V8 Vantage that I borrowed for the day a few years ago. Not because I have any interest in playing the classic car investment game, but because, as it turns out, that was my last chance to own one.

Then, as now, repair and restoration costs for these cars were very much in the league of those who can afford to buy a brand new Aston Martin, and that fearful knowledge kept me from making a begging phone call to my bank’s loan department. That £50k starting point only really buys a project car now, something that you could easily spend £100-200k on, while usable V8s start at more like £80k, with tidy Vantages at £150k.

So, as with so many cars, your money goes a lot further if you buy a decent example in the first place. The detailed buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine takes you through six essential steps to avoid buying a bad one, and help you navigate the subtleties of the different variants on the market.

We want this

When the pictures of this 1963 Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint came into the office I just had to have a second look, and a third… It’s in good, rather than pristine condition, but the black paintwork and appealingly worn deep red interior really suit the car. These big coupés don’t really fit with the compact and agile sporting image that we tend to hold for Alfas, but with its twin-cam, six cylinder engine and roomy interior it’s best considered as an affordable alternative to more exotic Sixties grand tourers. It’s one of four cars for sale that we road test in the July issue of Classic Cars, on sale now.