One of the worst things about cars is that they depreciate. That is unless you buy one of these. A prime example is the 1962 Ferrari GTO that made its owner a cool $48.4 million. But you don’t need to own an exotic classic to make that kind of money. There are cars that you can buy at affordable prices right now, and in some years, they may earn you serious money.
Dodge Viper SRT – The Most American Any Car Can Get
It’s a good idea to get life insurance (and liability insurance) before you go shopping for a Dodge Viper SRT. It is a machine that is vicious, wild, and evil. What else do you expect from a car named after the most venomous snake in America? However, the flame-spitting V10 is worth dying for.
It has a lot of horses– that’s all that you need to know. Sadly, Dodge discontinued this marvel of American automotive engineering. The reason they gave was that they wanted to “preserve the value of existing units.” Expect to pay more than $50,000 for a reasonable unit. But your investment is likely to pay off as this car is already in high demand.
BMW Z4 – The Only German Car Rivaled by the Japanese
This is a car so good that Toyota based the new Supra on its successor. Yes, the German-made Z4 became a Japanese icon. The new Z4 is priced above $50,000 but that is not the one that you should be shopping for.
It would be wiser to go for a 2000-2007 model Z4 with low mileage and a manual transmission. You can get one for $20,000 and if you do, hold onto it. This is rapidly becoming a collector’s car and will surely return you a good profit on your investment.
BMW M3 – Any Tuner’s Dream Car
This German sports car is one of the most desired project cars for many car enthusiasts. The high-revving inline-6 motor under the hood of this beast makes 343 horses and has a huge tuning potential. Rightfully called the tuners’ dream car, this modern classic is not exactly cheap. It will cost you as much as a modern hatchback.
However, if you can get your hands on a manual transmission variant of this car for anything under $30,000, consider that a steal. These vehicles are already going up in value and it can be safely said that this car will be one of the most sought-after classics in no time.
Land Rover Defender – The Best Off-Road Machine
From the indestructible front bumper to the invincible rear bumper, this SUV is just awesome. The Land Rover Defender is one of the most iconic cars to ever come from England.
The Defender isn’t cheap, to begin with. Expect to pay upwards of $40,000 for a unit in good condition. But what you get for your money is the best off-road machine in the world that can conquer any terrain.
Datsun 240Z – When Japan Proved the Point
To say that the 240Z is the most desired Japanese car of all time will not be an exaggeration. This is the very car that showed the world that Japanese automaking is not only about boring family cars and they can actually make fun cars for the track.
In terms of the value of these things, an exemplary unit was recently sold for $310,000. However, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on one. A reasonable 240Z will cost you in the ballpark of $25,000. Now, that might be a lot of money for a four-decade-old car but you’ll still look cool cruising in it and it will return you serious money.
Ford Mustang 1965 – The Mother of All Muscle Cars
At least one 1965 Ford Mustang was sold for $3.4 million in recent years. This isn’t to say that you can buy a Mustang from the 1960s and become a millionaire by restoring it, no. What’s possible is that you find a unit in nice condition, take good care of it and it can return you some money down the line.
The key is looking for a Mustang with low mileage (considering the age of this thing anything under 200,000 miles is low) and no rust damage. Restore it as best you can and use it strictly as your weekend car. If you get bored of it (which you won’t), you can sell it for a nice amount of money.
Land Rover Discovery – A Tamed Defender
If the Defender is too crude and unrefined for you, Land Rover has another offering that will fit a luxurious lifestyle: The Discovery. It has all the characteristics of the Defender but with somewhat urbanized looks and comforts like an air conditioner and a roof.
This off-road beast of a car can be yours for $15,000. For the money, you’ll get a vehicle that you can take anywhere. Seeing the trend of how this vehicle is increasing in value over the years, you can set yourself up to make a nice sum of money down the line.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV – Where Mitsubishi Got It All Right
The Lancer Evo IV is a rally car that Mitsubishi tuned down to be street legal. This vehicle is the epitome of automotive engineering but with a catch. The steering wheel is on the right side and not the left. That’s because this is a Japan Domestic Market (JDM) car but it was so popular in the states that people imported it regardless.
Expect to pay something like $14,000 for a Lancer Evo IV in good condition. This is a fun car to have in your arsenal, it has fantastic handling and delivers the power when you need it. If you take care of it, chances are, you’ll earn a handsome profit as this is becoming the most sought-after JDM car in the USA.
Willys Jeep – The Vehicle that Won WWII
First things first: don’t buy one with a machine gun mounted on it, your neighbors will probably not like that idea. If you do not know what this thing is, it is the vehicle that helped the Allies win World War II. It’s not wrong to say that without this SUV, things would’ve been much different today.
You can buy a Willys Jeep similar to this one for around $10,000. However, this vehicle will not earn you a lot of money on its own. Buy one as a project car, restore it and give it a touch of modernity. Once you do that, the battle history of the car and the tech you put in it will bring you respectable profits.
Dodge Demon – The Only Wheelie-Capable Production Car
This is the car no one wants to see in their rearview mirror but everyone secretly wants to have in their driveway. However, with only 3,300 units made, it is impossible for everyone to have one. One of these will set you back under $100,000 but the Dodge Demon is worth every penny.
This 840hp street-legal freak of a car is the fastest 0-60 and the fastest quarter-mile non-electric car in the world. Given the incredible performance stats and a limited production run of this car, this will be worth double what it’s currently worth in just a few years.
Mitsubishi Pajero Evo – King of the Desert
Produced between 1984 and 2007, the Pajero Evo proved that Mitsubishi is every bit as good at making off-road cars as they are with road cars. This car won the legendary Dakar Rally 12 times, including seven consecutive wins.
Rightfully crowned the “King of the Desert,” this 3.5L V6 powered SUV can be yours for just under $30,000. If you want to go for this car, grab one right now because the price of the Pajero Evo is quickly climbing and will soon be out of reach for many.
Honda Integra Type R – The High-Revving Honda
This is another Japanese car that is quickly gaining the status of a modern classic. If you make the purchase you’re sure to fall in love with the sick sound this Honda Integra Type R makes at its 9,000RPM Redline.
Getting one of these is not easy these days. Expect to pay as much as a new Civic for a clean example that has not been heavily modified. If you do find one to buy, this Japanese engineering masterpiece will prove to be a good investment for you.
Toyota Celica Supra – The Legend
The Supra name is one of the most iconic nameplates of all sports cars. The one you are looking at here is not a race car and not exactly a drift-ready beast or a beauty queen but it can prove to be a good investment.
The Toyota Celica Supra, produced in 1985, will set you back north of $30,000. In order to find the most valuable models, you’ll need to look for a unit that has the original engine in it, preferably not modified. Cruising in this, you might not look cool to the untrained eye but to real car enthusiasts, you will have earned massive respect for owning a real legend.
The MR2 is one of the most underrated cars. This small mid-engine sports car was the most affordable option for buyers during the mid to late 1980s. The snap-oversteer issue also contributed to the car having a negative reputation. However, that is not a problem once you learn to control the heavy rear end of this 975kg car.
As of now, you can grab one of these for 15 grand but finding an example that has not been eaten by rust or been in an accident (because of the oversteer) is quite a job. Seeing the spike in its popularity, this can be a worthy investment for you.
Gen 1 Mazda RX7 – The Rotary Legend
There is no arguing that the first-generation RX7 is a modern classic. This generation of the RX7 never achieved the massive popularity that the third generation had but that does not make it lesser-than.
I know what you are thinking, the Wankel Rotary in this thing is a pain but what car enthusiast doesn’t like a bit of a challenge? With the third generation already being out of range, the demand for this generation is on the rise and you need to grab an unmodified unit right now if you aim to make money on it.
VW Beetle – The People’s Car
The Beetle was a car that remained equally popular from the time it first went on the market to the last year it was offered. However, what you need to look for is one from the 1960s. This generation of the Beetle gained exceptional popularity. These cars were being given away for free a few years back but that is, unfortunately, no longer the case.
If you want to buy one at the best price, consider importing it from Mexico or some South American country. If you do that, you can get a clean unit for as low as $15,000 and these are already going for over $20,000 grand in the US.
Ford Focus RS – The Hot Hatch
When Ford Focus first arrived in 1998, it was an instant hit. Then they released the hot hatch in 2002 which was an even bigger hit, for all the right reasons. It produced a respectable 212 hp from a 4 banger and had 310Nm of torque at the crank. The numbers might not seem astronomical but it is a 1278kg car so that means it is fast and fun to throw into the corners.
What you need to look for is a 2000-2002 model priced between $10,000 – $15,000. Your money will get you a car that is fun to drive and may even earn you a few thousand dollars down the line if you decide to trade it.
Alfa Romeo 4C – The Cute Alfa
Even though it was produced for just six years before the last unit rolled off the assembly line in 2019, this cute Alfa Romeo 4C won over a lot of hearts. Blessed with a turbocharged 1.75-liter engine, this car is capable of a top speed of 155mph with a 0-60 time of under 5 seconds.
It has a sticker price of $50,000 new but you can get your hands on a clean example for under $30,000. In addition to being a good investment, the 4C will also give you a fun driving experience and a head-turning vehicle.
Mini Cooper – England’s Beetle
When it came out, the Mini Cooper revolutionized the way people looked at cars. The transverse-mounted engine created more room for passengers and the front-wheel-drive configuration eliminated the hump on the floor that accommodated the drive shaft. The result was a car that provided cheap and comfortable means of family travel.
As of now, this car is one of the most desired classics and there are entire museums dedicated to Mini Coopers. If you can get your hands on one with the original paint and unmodified engine, you can make some money a few years down the line.
Audi A2 – Too Modern For Its Own Good
With a lightweight aluminum body, an aerodynamic design, and a practical nature, the A2 was years ahead of its time when it came out in 1999. That was probably why this car did not get the appreciation that it deserved and Audi finally had to say goodbye to this cute little hatchback in 2005.
This car is a great opportunity for drivers looking for an affordable car that will appreciate. While you can get one for as low as $3,000, look for one that is priced around $5,000 for the best chances of price hike.
Rover SD1 – Another of BL’s Failed Cars
Produced between 1976 and 1986, the SD1 was named the European Car of the Year in 1977. With a front engine inspired by the Ferrari Daytona and a radical 5-door hatchback design, this Rover was one of the most desired cars of its time. However, like all other British Leyland cars, it was plagued by reliability issues.
Not many of the 303,345 units produced are currently on the road but the ones that are running have the status of a classic. Look for a late V8 Vanden Plas and Vitess unit for an initial investment of $10,000.
Jaguar XJ – The Cheapest Ticket to the Jag Club
The XJ was the car that kept Jaguar profitable for many years after it came out in 1968. It was the best-selling sedan of the company and was very well received by consumers. The best XJ was the last model that came out from 2003 to 2007.
It had an aluminum body and a choice of different engines including the legendary 2.7L V6 diesel. You can buy a high mileage unit for $4,000 but it’s best to look for a well-maintained example with low miles, which are typically priced for under $10,000. This is a good investment, less the cost of fuel because these things are thirsty.
Audi TT – A Cute Little Audi
Introduced in 1998, the TT is the smallest sports car being made by the German automaker Audi. Under the hood of this car is a turbocharged (no, the TT does not mean twin-turbo) 2.0L inline-4 engine that produces 300hp. The third generation of this car is currently in production.
The new TT will cost you something like $50,000 but that is not the one you want to go for. As a collector or investor, it’s best to look at a first-gen TT with a clean title that costs under $15,000. Buying the convertible model is a plus.
Volkswagen Phaeton – VW’s Trash Is Our Treasure
Launched to rival the likes of Mercedes and BMW in the executive car section, the Phaeton was the flagship car of Volkswagen between 2002 and 2016. You could equip this car with a range of different gas and diesel engines with the range-topping motor being a W12 straight out of the Bentley Continental.
Despite all the nice things this German car had to offer, it never turned out to be a commercial success. However, VW’s trash is our treasure as you can get your hands on one of these for well under $5,000. If you want a unit that will go up in value, look for one with complete service history and a clean title. The initial investment will cost around $10,000.
Ferrari F355 – Not Cheap Though
If you are looking for a cheap option, pass over this one because the Ferrari F355 will cost you between $150,000 and $200,000 for a valuable piece. Produced between 1994 1999, this is one of the best contemporary Ferrari Models according to many.
If you can invest that kind of money for two decades, this car can make you a millionaire. You need to find one with original paint, low miles, and a manual transmission. If you get one, don’t make it a decoration piece. Drive it, take good care of it, and make plans of how to spend the $1 million dollars or more that this vehicle may earn you down the line.
Honda S2000 – The Convertible Honda
The S2000 got a lot of acclaim when it came out in 1999 to celebrate Honda’s 50th anniversary. Honda made 110,000 of these over the 10-year production run. When new, it was considered the most affordable, fun, and reliable convertible on the market.
The car is now getting the status of a modern classic and collectors are already paying handsome amounts for them. You can find an abused example of this cute little car for $10,000 but if you are buying it as an investment, you do not want to go for anything priced under $20,000.
Bentley Arnage – Ultimate Luxury
With a Cosworth-Tuned V8 under the hood and the styling inspired by the legendary Rolls Royce Silver Seraph, the Arnage was the most desired luxury sedan of its time. The production of this car lasted between 1998 and 2009. It was priced at just under $200,000 at that time.
However, right now these things are trading hands for $20,000 on online auction sites. You need to look for a unit that has a complete service history because Bentleys are notoriously unreliable. A nice example will set you back $50,000 but the prices are already going up and the investment will pay you back. As an added benefit, you can cruise around in unparalleled luxury for the time you hold on to this car.
Mercedes-Benz 560SL – The Coolest Classic Merc
The prices of 560SL from the years 1986-89 are going up by 22% a year, according to a report by Cision PR Newswire. That price hike is caused mainly by private collectors and is more than any bank will pay you on your investment for a year.
Even if you don’t sell the 560SL for a profit, it makes for a nice car to drive if you have any affection for cars. Under the hood is a big honking 5.6L V8 and this thing drives like a dream. If you can get your hands on a convertible, you’ll just love it. Expect to pay $30,000 for a well-kept example.
Lotus Esprit – Does no Swim Though
If you are a fan of James Bond movies, you’ll know this car. The only thing that’s different is that it is not an amphibious vehicle as some of the movies might have portrayed, sorry for disappointing you there. However, the Lotus Esprit is going up in value at an estimated 10% a year.
You can grab one of these for between $40,000 and $70,000 and if you do get one, be sure to hold onto it for a few years. Judging from the way new Lotus models are increasing in value, the Lotus Esprit can bring you a small fortune in some years.
First-Gen Accua NSX – The Car That Challenged Ferrari
When Honda designed this car back in the mid to late 1980s, they did it in a way that no one had imagined. They set up a camp in Germany near the Nurburgring and asked the Legend Ayrton Senna to help them. Senna would drive the car and tell them how it was responding and they then stiffened the chassis in the required places.
The result was a car that was better than any contemporary supercar priced thrice as much, including the NSX. Right now, you can grab one of these for $70,000 but your investment will be worth it as more and more people are looking to collect this epitome of automotive perfection.
Mercedes E63 AMG – Luxury and Performance in one Package
The Mercedes E63 AMG, with its naturally aspirated V8, is still among the quickest executive cars in the world. As it is a Mercedes, the interior is as delightful for passengers as the drivetrain is for the driver behind the wheel.
What you need to find is an E63 AMG with no modifications. As the V8 in this car made 541 hp without forced induction, most of the owners ended up strapping turbos to it. As collector cars are the most desirable in their stock condition, an unmodified one with a complete service record is the best option. It will cost you under $20,000.
Mazda RX8 – Style With Grace
The RX8 is another investment option if you have a low budget and don’t mind frequent breakdowns. This car came out in 2003 and with 192,000 being produced before it was discontinued in 2012. It has a 1.3L Wankel Rotary Engine under the hood which is notorious for dying without any warning.
You can buy one of these for under $15,000 and make some money if you hold onto it for a while. During those years, you can enjoy drifting this car as it is very good at that. However, watch out for apex seals and make sure you have deep pockets to satisfy the thirst of this rotary engine.
Nissan GT-R – The Epitome of Japanese Automotive Engineering
With the latest Nissan GT-R NISMO coming with a price tag of $200,000, you cannot expect this vehicle to be cheap. The best GT-R for investment purposes right now is the 2018 model that can be obtained for just over $100,000.
If you can invest that much upfront and succeed in not crashing this 565hp beast, the value will only go up. When shopping for one of these, settle for the one that has a clean title and has not been modified.
Nissan Skyline GT-R – When Things Got Serious
You can trace the Skyline name back to the 1950s but things really got serious in 1989 when the R32 GT-R came out. This car was way ahead of the competition at that time. The highlights of its tech include a four-wheel steering system and an AWD system that sampled the speed of every wheel 100 times a second.
You can get this car for something like $30,000. The 2.6L twin-cam straight-six under the hood of this car produces 270ish horsepower but there are numerous examples of people making 1000+ hp from this motor. You can buy one of these as an investment or as your next project car.
Porsche 968 – The Underrated Porsche
While the 968 might not be the best Porsche out there, it is better than most of the competition. It was the neglected middle child of the Porsche family for a long time but has recently seen a spike in popularity and consequently in the market value.
If you can get your hands on the Club Sport variant of this car, that can prove to be the best investment. Otherwise, any 968 in good condition that you can get for less than $20,000 will bring you a nice return in some years.
Alfa Romeo Spider – The Undisputed Road King
Produced between 1966 and 1994, the Alfa Romeo Spider was one of the best roadster options of its time. The 2-seater car has a range of different engines and is RWD. The best investment is a Spider with the 1.8L I4 engine from the 1960s or 1970s.
You’ll surely look cool cruising in one of these with the top down. If you can spare $15,000, and wait for a few years, your investment in this car will pay off. While shopping for one, look for Spiders that are not rust-damaged and have not been in an accident of serious nature.
Jaguar XJS – The Underrated Jag
No, it was not a replacement of the E-Type and should not be compared to that. It was the number one Jag between 1975 and 1996 but people always made the mistake to consider it second to the E-Type. Now, after the 40th anniversary, this car has become one of the most desired Jags.
If you want to invest in this car, both the convertible and coupe are nice options. Try to get your hands on a V12 version but the straight-six is also a good option. Expect to pay $15,000 for a nice unit and it will give you an acceptable return in some years.
BMW Z3M – The Good Version of a Disappointing Car
Let’s get this straight, the Z3 was a disappointment but when BMW gave it the M badge, they had it right. It received a suspension overhaul and a straight-six motor from the legendary E36 M3. This car was offered as a coupe and a roadster and both delighted its owners.
If you are looking for a BMW Z3M for investment purposes, you need to go for the roadster (the one NOT shown here). However, the coupe is also a good car in itself. As the M-badged Z3s were produced in (an undisclosed) limited number, it’s just a matter of time that the prices go up.
Fiat Spider – You Might Need To Wait
It can never be said with 100% certainty if a car will see a rise in price or not. However, industry analysts are of the view that the Fiat Spider will see a major bump in value in a decade or two. Yes, you will need to wait a good long time but the investment is not very much.
You can get a fine example for under $10,000. All you need to do is take good care of it and keep using it at least twice a month and it will make you quite a bit of money.
Porsche 911 996-Series – The Ugly Duckling?
This model of the 911 was probably the most hated one by the fans of Porsche. The main reason, according to them, was that it looked like “an ugly duckling,” and did not have an air-cooled engine like a true 911 should have. However, all the hate aside, it is one of the most fun cars of its era to drive.
If you want to buy a 911 for investment, look for a 996 with rear-wheel-drive and low miles. A good unit will cost under $15,000. Grab one now before it gets out of reach like its air-cooled siblings.