Over the last few years’ values in the collector car market have gone up and down more times then Oprah’s scale. Cars that were once in the six-figures are now in the five-figures with more market flux to come. Buyers who are new to the market can easily become confused and it is very easy to get taken advantage of by sellers who are less than honest.
I get emails constantly inquiring as to what cars to pick up as future collectibles. I also get asked my opinion on what the best bang for the buck is amongst these automobiles. After doing a bit of research, I’ve put together a list of automobiles that I would classify as having “Future Collect-ability”. These are cars that can be purchased right now and are priced between: $8,000 – $20,000.
1. 1983-1984: VW Rabbit GTI
90 hp / 106 ft-lbs tq. 1.8-liter 4 cylinder, Top Speed: 114 mph
What you are looking at here is the first real hot hatch to be brought into the United States. Even though it only had 90 hp, the high-revving GTI was a total blast to drive. It was quick, handled great and looked the business with its signature grill and wheels. Good examples can be had for between: $8,000 – $10,000.
2. 1985-1993: Mustang LX Notchback
205-225 hp / 240-300 lb-ft tq. 5.0L V8. Top Speed: 125 mph
I’ll never forget my high school Social Studies teacher Mr. Warmuth, I had his class just before school let out at 2:30 pm. Inevitably; right around 2:15 pm the burnouts of cars leaving the school parking lot would start and after each one, good ole’ Mr. Warmuth would say, “Aaaaah, it’s the mating call of the Asshole!” Most of these mating calls were caused by late 80’s 5.0L Mustangs shredding their tires upon departure. GT’s were everywhere, but those in the know knew the LX Notchback was the one to have. It was lighter, faster and a total sleeper. Good examples can be had for between: $10,000 – $14,000.
3. 1986-87: Buick Grand National
245 hp / 355 ft-lbs tq. 3.8-liter Turbo V6, Top Speed: 121 mph
If you grew up in the 1980’s then you no doubt remember the Buick Grand National. Some purists don’t consider the GN a true muscle car because of its Turbo V6. They should however, because this black bastard put many an unaware big block in their place. Good examples can be had for between: $13,000 – $18,000.
4. 1986-1991: BMW E30 M3
196 hp / 170 ft-lbs tq. 2.3-liter Inline-4, Top Speed: 143 mph
Today when we think of quick imports we envision small Japanese pocket rockets like the Subaru STI or Mitsubishi EVO. Sure those are great automobiles, but let me introduce you to the one that started it all – The BMW E30 M3. I remember being in school back in the late 80’s, and seeing this thing roll through the parking lot. It was white, with flared fenders, a wicked little front spoiler and a rear wing. My first thought was, WTF WAS THAT? Like the GTI before it, this little Bavarian bad boy was the catalyst, at least in my opinion, to the whole import craze. The styling was a huge leap of faith for BMW back then as wings and spoilers were seldom seen. By taking a chance on this M3, BMW not only created and icon but a car that is still unbelievably capable to this day. Good examples can be had for between: $18,000 – $20,000.
5. 1985-1989: Chevrolet Camaro IROC -Z
190 – 230 hp / 320-330 ft-lbs tq. 5.7L V8, Top Speed: 140 mph
The third generation Camaro came out of the gate in 1982 without much grunt. The base engine was a 2.8L V6, with 112 hp that didn’t have enough power to pull a drunken college kid off a toilet. Fast-forward 2 years, when Chevy decided to drop the 305 cu in engine under the hood. It was the same body, but with a whole new attitude. So many of these cars have been bastardized over the years, but clean examples are still out there. Good ones can be had for between: $9,000 – $12,000.
6. 1991: GMC Syclone
280 hp / 350 ft-lbs tq. 4.3L Turbo V6, Top Speed: 126 mph
Ok, picture yourself cruising the streets back in 1991 in your brand new $120,000 Ferrari 348ts. Then up next to you at the light, some punk shows up in his brand new all black GMC pick-up truck. You dismiss it… that is, until the light turns green and he dismisses you. This truck is still one of the best “sleepers” of all time. Click the link to read about the above confrontation. Good examples, if you can them, can be had for between: $9,000 – $13,000.
7. 1994-1996: Chevrolet Impala SS
260 hp & 330 ft-lbs tq. 5.7L LT1 V-8, Top Speed: 140 mph
You’ve got to love GM for being creative back in the day. In the mid-1990’s GM didn’t really have anything to wet the appetites of the performance enthusiast aside from the Camaro & Corvette. Enter the ’94 Impala SS: What GM engineers did was simple. They took a standard Caprice Classic, dropped in the Corvettes LT1, dipped it in black paint and shod it with 16 inch 5-spoke wheels. Oh… and then there was the sales ad: “Lord Vader, your car is ready” – simply Badass! Good examples can be had for between: $8,000 – $18,000.
8. 1993-1998: Toyota Supra
220 – 320 hp / 210 – 315 ft-lbs tq. NA or Turbo I-6, Top Speed: 155 mph
I remember when this car came out in 1993; it was sleek, fast and REALLY EXPENSIVE. In fact I think it was one of the most expensive Japanese imports for a non-luxury brand with well-optioned turbo models coming in at over $40,000. It was the release of 2001’s “The Fast & the Furious” that really put this 3rd generation Supra on the map. The final race between the 1970 Dodge Charger and the orange Supra Turbo sent this car into movie icon history. Good examples can be had for between: $18,000 & up…
9. 2001-2004: Chevrolet Corvette Z06
405 hp / 400 ft-lbs tq. 7.0L V8, Top Speed: 186 mph
The 2001 Z06 was the first real Corvette that the world took notice of. Based on the C5, it boasted 405 hp and a top end of almost 190 mph. This meant it was a major threat to anything with that wore an Italian or German badge. With the release of the new C6 Z06, the ones from 2001-2004 sort of got lost in the shuffle, but take heed… these hammers from the Bow Tie Boys will make great future investments due to their performance and race bred pedigree. Prices are just starting to drop on these with good examples for between: $17,000 & up…
10. 2006-2007: Dodge Magnum SRT-8
425 HP / 420 ft-lbs tq. 6.1L V8, Top Speed: 170 mph
Every now and again the guys from Chrysler release something that is truly ridiculous. In 1994 it was the Viper, in 1997; the Plymouth Prowler and in 2006 they release the Dodge Magnum SRT8. In comparison to the other SRT8 models, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, the Magnum SRT8 was produced in very small numbers. It boasts a 6.1L, 425 hp HEMI V8, that runs this grocery getter from 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and onto a top speed of 170 mph. Not bad for the ole’ family truckster eh… Prices are just starting to drop on these with good examples for between: $18,000 & up…