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.