Many people look at their cars as just a means to move around more freely. For others, cars are more than just a means to go from point A to point B; they are an investment. There have been many critically-acclaimed cars in the past that have gone on to become exclusive collector’s cars or have achieved classic car status.
If you’re a new car enthusiast who is on a budget and is not looking for a Mercedes SLS AMG supercar, you might be wondering which of the modern cars are most likely to start appreciating in value. Keeping that in mind and the fact that you do not have the deep pockets to purchase a classic car, the following are a few cars that are appreciating in value and will be worth a lot more than the purchase price in the coming years.
1. Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IV
Production August 1996 – January 1998
Engine: 2.0 L 4G63T I4 Turbocharged
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV was the muscle car of the 90s for those on a budget. An adaptation of the much-appreciated rally car, the EVO IV had a lot going for it. The 4G63 Inline 4 engine came complete with a turbocharger and EFI and delivered up to 280 bhp @6500 rpm. The car won the hearts of many Mitsubishi fans who loved the rugged look and large fog lights, but more importantly, the reasonable price tag.
This car offers you the best of both worlds, as in a rally car that doesn’t look out of place (or out of control) on the road. Now, while you might want to tear down the street with the EVO IV, don’t. It will only ruin its resale value.
Engine: 1.8-liter DOHC VTEC in-line 4-cylinder (B18C)
Transmission: Close-ratio 5-speed manual
Moving on, another car with fins that are hard to miss is the Honda Integra Type R. This car certainly had the grin factor going with its slick exterior, but the front-drive hero had quite a few surprises under the hood as well. The Type R was powered by a 1.8 liter VTEC engine which delivered 8,700 rpm, which pretty much set the standard for Honda’s fast cars that were to follow.
The fact that this car is considered as one of the legends of the 90s auto market, despite being available in a limited color palette and unpopular quad lights, is testament to the fact that Honda got many things right. At least, the stuff that mattered!
Engine: 1.3 L (79 cu in) twin-turbocharged 13B-REW twin-rotor
Transmission: 5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic
At a slightly higher price point than the previous two sits the Mazda RX7, a marvel of modern-day automobile engineering ingenuity. To be considered the sharpest coupe of the 90s, that too with many other car manufacturers rolling out coupes was quite a feat. While the RX7 had a body that would either make you groan or moan with delight, its main selling point was undoubtedly the twin-turbocharged twin-rotor 13B-REW engine that really gave other more dominant automakers a run for their money. Untouched by greasy fingers, this is a no-brainer when it comes to cars that are appreciating in value.
Engine: 2.2 L 5S-FE I4 (SW21)
Transmission: 5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic
If you’re one of those folks who mistook this for a classic Ferrari, no need to be embarrassed (just don’t admit it ever again!). To be fair, the MR2 flew under the radar when it was first introduced despite being the car manufacturer’s first take on mid-engine sports vehicles – and they did a great job at it, too.
The Toyota MR2 has watched its fan base grow steadily through the years, especially in the US and Japan, and the spike in its value is an indicator of good things to come for the Toyota MR2.
Production August 1967–1973
Engine: 1.6L L16 I4; 1.8L L18 I4
Transmission: 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic
The Datsun 510 may be remembered for being a reliable car at a time when not many major car manufacturers’ offerings were reliable. However, what many people don’t know that it also won many major rallies across the world and was extremely popular as a track racing car in the USA. The 510 was fitted with a Hitachi downdraft-carbureted 1.6L L-series I4 engine with 96 horsepower. Although being one of the older cars on this list, the Datsun 510 was much-loved for its smooth driving experience and zero vibration periods which made cruising miserable.
While there were many Datsun’s that made it across the Atlantic to the US market before, it was the 510 that turned out to be a real star on the road and on the rally course. It was cheap, fuel-efficient, and easy to drive; in short, it was a game-changer.
Production March 1964 – June 1973
Engine: 170 cu in (2.8 L) Thriftpower I6
Transmission: 3-speed manual; 4-speed manual; 3-speed automatic
No list of cars that are appreciating in value would be complete with including the 1965 Ford Mustang. This car has the distinction of being a true classic while still being affordable. Although there are some with a V8 engine that can fetch upwards of $15,000 a pop, others fetch up to $40,000, depending on the model. Keeping that in mind, the original inline 6 feels like a smart investment for car enthusiasts.
Engine: 2.0 L 170 PS (125 kW; 168 hp) at 5,800 rpm, with 240 N⋅m (177 lbf⋅ft) of torque
Transmission: ZF 3HP12 3 speed automatic
It’s easy to see why the BMW 2002 is considered to be a classic car. The 02 Series was a range of compact cars by the German automaker that was introduced between 1966 and 1977. These were more compact and more affordable versions by the automaker and were considered entry-level sedans; however, they had the distinction of being BMW’s first turbocharged offering.
The car had a top speed of 211 km per hour and had many new features, which helped it stand out from the rest, one of the reasons why its value is appreciating over the years. This also means finding one in good running condition and close to the original specs is becoming more and more difficult for car enthusiasts.
Production September 1982 – April 1993
Engine: 2.5-16V 202 hp (151 kW; 205 PS)
Transmission: 4-speed manual; 5-speed manual; 4-speed 4G-Tronic automatic
For those car enthusiasts who have slightly deeper pockets, the Mercedes Benz 190e is a great option if you’re looking for a car that is definitely appreciating in value. For starters, you can’t really go wrong with a Mercedes Benz, and secondly, this is one of the super saloons from the German automaker, which is widely considered to be one of the most complete cars the automaker has made. This is also one of the reasons why the 190e has been sneaking onto classic car lists for some time now.
Seeing the options given above, it’s clear that one need not overlook the unsightly estates or unexceptional looking hatchbacks and saloons of the past few decades because many of them offered great value for money and deserve their place on this list of cars that are appreciating in value.
The good news for car enthusiasts is that you no longer have to buy a car that fits the classic or vintage labels that often cost an arm and a leg. As long as there are no signs of rust or neglect, that Ford Focus or that Aston Martin DB7 will do just fine if you’re in the market for cars that are appreciating in value.