What: Three picks for investment cars
Who: Anyone with the money
We’ve all done it, we’ve all said it. If I had bought that car when I was looking I would have tripled my money by now. I’m sure I’ve said it multiple times a week for a long time. I bought my 1978 Lotus Esprit Series 2 for a song a couple of decades ago; it was low mileage and in pristine condition. When I was ready to sell it I took it to Barrett-Jackson when they were at West World and after commission I made $9k in profit. The sale earned a Sports Car Marketplace magazine comment “well sold” and they said that it set the Esprit price going forward. Well, the prices have gone up, but I think my buyer was someone wondering why they got such a cheap Ferrari and not any great insight of mine. But, please don’t repeat that because I use that example every time I want a new ride.
So with this post and the following two I will choose three cars using my “special investment intuition”. In this post I’ll pick my three car, one $5k or under, one $10k or under, and one $20k or under. I’ll give you my thoughts on why I like them without additional research. My next post will be what I have found out from researching these cars as actual investments. Then my third post on the subject will be where I decide to head to the bank and make a withdrawal for the big buy or where I eat my words and stick with my ’78 Lotus story.
Okay, my first car will be a sound 1973 SAAB Sonett III. First, there are not a lot of sports cars under my $5k limit, but I think I can pick up a Sonett in that range,
I could be wrong and I’ll find that out in the research. Swedish cars are an acquired taste, not everyone will go for a front wheel drive fiberglass car, but don’t they look cool. This pick may be a little biased in that I owned one and taught my wife to drive in it. They have a little 1.7 liter Ford V4 engine in them and there are over 200 specialty tools to work on them. The headlights are manual, so they always work, the car always runs, it’s fun to drive, and you can always count on it being fairly unique outside of a SAAB rally. Five thousand dollars is almost pocket change for a car these days, so how could you go wrong?
Other cars I considered: an early Mazda Miata, a later MG Midget,
For $10k there are a lot more cars to pick from and since I’m not using any outside resources yet I hope I stay within budget. I’m going to go out on another limb with this pick as well… a presentable 1969 Datsun Fairlady 1600.
The Datsun 1600 has dual Hitachi carburetors and a 1595cc engine from what I remember. The top flops back with a single hand, much like a British MG, but when you turn the key it usually starts, not necessarily like a British MG. This is a more proper sports car than my SAAB Sonett pick for under $5k with a front engine and rear wheel drive. They drive nice on the curves and can keep up with traffic on the freeways. They turn my head every time I see them, at first you think British then you see there are no oil leaks under it. They are solid, well-engineered cars. Other cars I considered: a nice Austin Healey Sprite MKIII, a presentable Triumph GT6, Porsche 914 1.7 liter, Fiat 850 Spider.
For under $20k the field really opens up, so let me say up front my pick will be 75% emotion and 25% everything else. I’ll turn those numbers around in the next post when I do the real research. My under $20k pick is 1969 BMW 2002 roundie. This is the car that turned BMW around and gave them the real image of the ultimate driving machine, the 3 series before there was a 3 series. Don’t be tricked into buying an automatic, a real classic sports car is a manual. These cars have clean lines, the engines are bullet proof, and great performance for the era of the car and a 2.0 liter engine. The round tail lights and the all chrome bumpers give it such a classic look. The later 2002 Tii has much better performance, but not the classic look. Other cars I considered are: Porsche 914 2.0 liter, Lotus Europa, early MG B, Lancia Fulvia, BMW Z3 M
This post reminds me that I am a bit short on my scaled car collection as well…. no BMW 2002.