Collectible and classic cars are big business today.
If you’re fortunate enough to own a rare Ferrari, a limited edition Lamborghini or an Aston Martin used in a Bond film you’re guaranteed to be quids in.
But there are some cars that many of us have owned in the past that have now become unlikely collectibles worth a small fortune on today’s market.
To highlight which cars these are, we’ve drafted in the hosts of the biggest car restoration show on TV right now – Mike Brewer and Ant Anstead from Wheeler Dealers – to identify four-wheeled treasure troves wheels.
Wheeler Dealer recommendations: These are the five types of car Mike Brewer (left) and Ant Anstead (right) reckon you should be looking for if you want to invest in four wheels
The new series of Wheeler Dealers will be on our screens from New Year’s Day, featuring an array of restorations to bring potentially valuable cars back to their best.
But what type of vehicles do the pair look out for when trying to identify the cash cow cars worth investing their time in?
We caught up with Mike and Ant to let us in on a secret or two on finding profitable classic cars. Here are their five expert recommendations for 2018.
Ford Sierra Cosworths are now selling for six figures – this one pictured achieved more than £100,000 when it went under the hammer last month
1. Fast Fords are seriously fast money
The Wheeler Dealers: ‘Capris, Escorts, Cosworths – you name it, all of them are making good money right now.
‘Mainstream cars like the Mk1 Ford Escorts (at one time the biggest selling car in the UK) are now making big money in the classic car world.
‘Even the humble 70’s Ford Fiesta – one of the most popular cars on the road in its heyday – is now worth more than a new one.’
This is Money: They’re right, too. This is Money has covered various Fast Ford auctions in the last 12 months or so, including a 1987 Sierra RS Cosworth that sold for £115,000 in July and a 1996 Escort RS Cosworth achieved an incredible £91,000 just last month.
Series 1 Land Rovers (pictured) are big money these days, and now that production has ceased the value of all Defenders is on the rise
2. Cash in on the death of the Defender
The Wheeler Dealers: ‘Series 1 Land Rovers are sought after as the factory wants to buy them back and restore them Wheeler Dealers style.
‘It has now become a much sought-after classic as the company won’t be making any more Land Rover Defenders, so naturally the earliest model will become a collector’s piece and as they are 60 years of age, they are real vintage.
‘Land Rover will buy them back and using a modern production line completely rebuild the car like new. They call it a rebirth and then sell them for nearly £100,000!’
TiM: The Defender isn’t the only old model Jaguar Land Rover will purchase back to fully restore.
Series 1 Range Rovers and Jaguar E-Types are also in demand by the firm’s new Classics department that now has new headquarters in Coventry.
Want a good condition Peugeot 205 GTI? Expect to pay in the region of £30,000 today
3. Hot hatches are on fire right now
The Wheeler Dealers: ‘Think Mk1 VW Golf GTIs, Renault 5 GT Turbos and Peugeot 205 GTIs.
‘If you’re a child of the 80s and you lusted after a hot hatch, you’ve probably thought about buying one. The problem is, good examples are now worth a pretty penny.
‘Back in the 80s they weren’t seen as luxurious cars, they weren’t lusted after, so they were used and abused meaning the numbers for a nice low miles one are very small.
‘You’ve now got this big customer base of people that can afford to buy what they wanted as a child and not many of them out there.
‘Mk 1 Golf GTIs and the right 205 GTIs are making really, really, big money.’
TiM: How collectible are these once fairly mainstream cars today? If you want a best-of-the-best Peugeot 205 GTI then expect to pay in excess of £30,000. That’s right, a small French hatchback for the price of a new BMW 3 Series today.
Find a red Quattro that looks like Gene Hunt’s and you’re onto a winner. But that’s the case with any car that made it big on the big screen
4.’It looks like that one off the telly…’
The Wheeler Dealers: ‘[Ant] I did a show called ‘For the Love of Cars‘ with the actor, Philip Glenister who plays Gene Hunt in Life on Mars, and his character drove an Audi Quattro. Now the Audi Quattro is just an average car in anyone’s mind, but if you’ve got one and it’s the same colour as Gene Hunt’s off the TV it becomes more desirable because people love the show.
‘That applies to everything else – let’s face it, the reason why people want to buy an Aston Martin DB5 is because they want to be like James Bond.’
TiM: We’ve seen plenty of cars being sold that have genuine links to celebrities, TV shows and even music videos.
Most recently, a pair of cars – an Aston Martin DB5 and Mini Cooper S – owned by Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr sold for huge sums, and we’ve seen one of The Only Fools and Horses Reliant Regal three-wheel vans go under the hammer too.
From the world of music, the Lamborghini Diablo used for half the filming (because the first car was written off on location) of Jamiroquai’s Cosmic Girl video has been up for grabs, along with Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour’s Ferrari and Elton John’s Bentley from the ‘Nikita‘ video going to auction.
Does this Toyota Celica Supra look familiar to you? Probably not. But it was formerly driven by two-time 500cc GP motorcycle racer Barry Sheene. It went under the hammer earlier this year
5. If it has racing background it has value potential
The Wheeler Dealers: ‘The value of cars is determined by their pedigree so if you have two of the exact same cars, for example two BMW M5s – one’s a road car owned by a bank manager and one was a race car that has race history – the race car is going to be worth more because people are buying cars now because of the provenance.
‘They’re buying the story, who owned the car, what did that car do before. The dents and the scratches on the car become acceptable then.
‘If you’ve got a car that has an interesting history, it’s going to be way more valuable than just a normal road going car.
‘And there will be hundreds of cars hidden in garages up and down the country that have this interesting race history that people just don’t know about.’
TiM: You’re unlikely to find a car raced by a driving legend in their heyday, but in order to make it to the elite classes they would have had to drive in a variety of lower level series, which is where bargains can be found.
Alternatively, if you’ve got a bursting bank account, you could consider this 1964 Ferrari 275 P – the last works Ferrari to win at Le Mans that’s being predicted to sell for a world record fee in February.
Catch Wheeler Dealers’ new series from New Year’s Day
Wheeler Dealers is back with a new series from January 1 2018 – and a new line-up. Left (sitting) Ant Anstead. Right (standing) Mike Brewer
The popular car restoration program is back on TV screen on January 1, though with a different presenter line-up.
Edd China quit the show earlier this year, leaving a gap for mechanic and fabricator Ant Anstead to fill his boots.
Teamed up with regular host Mike Brewer, the format remains the same – finding, fixing and flipping a wide variety of unique used cars from manufacturers in Germany, Sweden, Italy, Japan, the US and the UK.
The first episode even features a car we’ve talked about earlier in this article. Mike buys a 1995 Ford Escort RS Cosworth in the US – one of just 25 imported there of which only 12 are legal to drive on the road.
The pair set about restoring the Fast Ford to its former glory before working their magic on a variety of other vehicles to feature n the series, including a 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio, 1965 Austin Healey 3000 and 1982 Toyota Supra, to name just a few.
The brand new season of Wheeler Dealers premieres exclusively in the UK on Discovery Channel, 9pm, Monday 1st January (Sky 520, Virgin 250, BT TV 322).
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