When a DeLorean DMC-12 blasted across screens in the movie Back to the Future, it struck a chord with a public who years before had stood by as DeLoreans were consigned to scrapheaps.
The result of this new awareness, with a little help from the movie and star Michael J Fox, was the rebirth of a previously scorned car and the emergence of a desirable classic.
Of course, the facts that it was no longer made and was relatively rare added to the attraction. But it was undoubtedly a hit movie that brought the DeLorean back to life.
And that, as the experts will admit, shows how fickle the classic car market is.
Your old car could be a future classic, if:
There is no way of knowing whether your ageing mom’s taxi is ever going to set price records at an international auction.
However, the collective wisdom of industry pundits suggests that your old car could be a future classic if:
Limited numbers were made, and not many were sold
Examples here are the Mazda RX8 with its rotary engine, the Alfa Romeo GTV and the Honda S2000, which was the first and only roadster to be built by the company. If you have one, hold on to it.
What makes a difference can also be the “special editions” within widely sold model ranges that are manufactured in smaller numbers.
History and pedigree play their part
If a car was renowned for its speed or was the first to come with new technology, the chances of it being an attractive future buy increase.
If your car is a current model but is beginning to feature in posters, there is a chance that in later years the boy who admired the vehicle will be struck by the need to own one. Instant classic status ensues, and prices rise.
Track or rally record
If your model had a successful track or rally record or one was owned by someone famous, you could be on to something good. What comes to mind instantly is the Aston Martin DB5 that was driven into history by 007 and is still the iconic “Bond car”.
Your car is in pristine condition
Your car is in pristine condition, has a low mileage and full-service history it could help make the vehicle more valuable as time passes. However, it is unlikely that basic models sold in their thousands will ever attain classic status.
The car is in original condition
The car is in original condition. A car with added features, upgraded brakes or a transplanted engine may still be attractive to buyers but will not be as valuable as an original. It is common for instance for Triumph Herald owners to fit a Nissan 1400 motor, so the car does not frustrate other users as it dawdles along a highway. If the original engine is stored correctly and sold with the vehicle, that is okay.
If you have ever laughed at somebody who says they are driving a future classic, think twice. Jay Leno, the US TV host and one of the most highly-regarded car collectors in the world, says that the earliest version of the Toyota Prius will become a classic.
The question is whether you are prepared to wait and see what happens to the collectability of your car or want to invest in a certainty.
Ferrari 250 GTO
If you have the money and can find one, the car to buy is a ’60s Ferrari 250 GTO, a racing example of which sold in 2018 to a private buyer for a record-breaking $80 million (about R1.3 billion).
A Ferrari expert believes that the buyer got a bargain as he will be able to ask about $100 million (about R1.7 billion) for the vehicle in about five years. The trick is, of course, being able to buy the car in the first place.
For most of us who love our cars, it is enough to drive everywhere, enjoy the old vehicle and its peculiarities and dream about the prestige of owning a potential classic that could sell for a reasonable price in the future.