Everything you need to know about classic car investing

Investing in a classic car could result in significant long-term returns.

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Classic car investments are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to high, long-term gains. In fact, a 2016 ABC news article revealed some investors saw increases of up to 500% over ten years. So are classic cars a solid investment? And what should you know when picking an investment vehicle?

Are classic and vintage cars sound investments?

In short, yes, they can be! For example, a four-door Holden Torana A9X recently sold at auction for $365,000. The previous record for a similar vehicle was $275,000 and prior to that $165,000.

Granted, the record-breaking A9X was the first ever produced, had highly unusual historical photographic documentation and lived a life as a factory press vehicle. But if you select the right car as an investment, you too could make a packet.

What do classic car investors look for?

First things first – investors want a car that is desirable and increasing in demand. Even choosing the right colour and trim can dramatically alter the value. Investors will look through auction listings to find actual sales figures and gauge the possible demand. They also want a car that is somehow unique or rare. For example, it had a limited production run like the A9X, of which only 100 hatches were made.

Classic car experts recommend you should look for a vehicle in the best possible condition that you can afford. That means little or no rust, original factory paint, an interior in excellent condition and mechanically complete (preferably running). The better state a car is in, the more it’ll be worth. Also, look for examples that haven’t been modified or hacked around, staying true to their original factory specification.

Documentation adds significant extra value to a car. It helps an investor see how well the owner maintained the vehicle but also makes the car more desirable to future buyers. Under your ownership, continue to maintain and add to the car’s paperwork.

What additional costs or risk factors should I be aware of?

Just like any investment, purchasing a classic car as a long-term speculation can be risky. The bottom can fall out of the market and the vehicle is always at risk of damage, fire and theft. Make sure you have the vehicle insured while it’s in storage. You can compare classic car insurance on finder to get an idea of what that will cost you so you can calculate how much it will affect your possible returns. You might also look into laid up insurance.

To preserve a car’s condition, it’s imperative you have a dry storage place. Some owners use humidity tents that reduce corrosion, prolonging the car’s metalwork. It’s best to keep rubber and plastic components out of direct sunlight too, as these can degrade and devalue your investment.

Engines and other mechanical parts still require attention while in storage and should be prepared in a specific way for mothballing. There are experts who charge to care for such vehicles.

One other avenue to explore is whether to restore or preserve a vehicle. Restoring classic vehicles is a time consuming and costly process, but could add value to the car. However, it could ultimately eat into your profit. Owners may choose to retain a car’s “patina” (age- and use-related marks and scuffs).

Cars with possible investment potential

Series Land Rovers

It’s hard to believe but these ancient farm trucks have shot up in price recently and demand is high, especially in the UK. If you were willing to deal with the hassle and rigmarole of exporting these trucks from Australia to the UK, you could double the initial purchase price.

It seems that almost all classic Land Rovers have risen in value thanks to the attention generated when Defender production ended. In particular, Series One Land Rovers, made from 1948-1958 are attracting high amounts, as are Defenders.

According to Redbook, there are 1961 Series II Land Rovers available for less than $3,000, and Series I models can sell for upwards of $30,000. Selling to a North American or European buyer could land you even more as 25-year-old models are in demand.

Honda NSX

It may be too late to find a sensibly priced NSX, as according to exotic car valuers, they rose from around $75,000 in September 2016 to $220,000 a year later. Showing the importance of choosing the right spec and body style, experts recommend a fixed roof model with a manual gearbox. An early model red manual coupe is on sale with 43,000km for $148,888 at the time of writing in April, 2018.

Ford Escort

Mk1 and Mk2 Ford Escorts are commanding high resale prices around the world. Here, it’s still possible to purchase a Mk1 for sensible money. An Escort in good condition could make for a savvy long-term investment. Last year, a 1970 MK1 twin-cam in excellent condition sold for $52,000.

VW Kombi

These VW campervans are proving ever popular, and values vary from $5,000 for a project vehicle up to $150,000 for a fully restored, split screen model. These campers are interesting because it’s still possible to find them in barns and decaying in farmyards, ready for you to make an offer and bring back to life.

Mazda RX7

Many experts are touting original condition, early Mazda RX7s to increase in price, in line with other RX models that have risen in value over the last few years.

Other models to look out for

According to experts, air-cooled Porsches always make a sensible investment. Experts suggest GTHO Falcons are popular too, as are the usual suspects like AC Cobras, Mercedes 300SL Gullwings, Shelby GT350s and vintage Ferraris. But we’re talking big money. The highest price classic Ferrari was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for a staggering US$38,560,000 in August 2014!

Whether you’re looking for a vintage car to drive daily or earn some money, you can check out the finder comparison of classic car loans to help you finance your purchase.

Compare a range of car loan options

$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
Loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From
4.67%
(fixed)
5.22%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
Plenti Car Loan
From
4.89%
(fixed)
5.44%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From
3.35%
(fixed)
4.41%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.35% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.41% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.35% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.41% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From
4.74%
(fixed)
5.01%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

⭐Special Offer: Wisr's standard establishment fee $605 will be reduced to $195 for applications submitted through Finder. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

⭐Special Offer: Wisr's standard establishment fee $605 will be reduced to $195 for applications submitted through Finder. T&Cs apply.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From
5.35%
(fixed)
5.65%
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From
6.24%
(fixed)
6.94%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.24% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.24% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
MoneyForJam Car Loan
From
2.85%
(fixed)
4.85%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 2.85% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow between $4,500 and $120,000 with loan terms up to 7 years to finance a new or used car. Get access to more than 40 providers. You could get up to $250 cash back if you get insurance or warranty too by 31 July 2021. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 2.85% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow between $4,500 and $120,000 with loan terms up to 7 years to finance a new or used car. Get access to more than 40 providers. You could get up to $250 cash back if you get insurance or warranty too by 31 July 2021. T&Cs apply.
Heritage Bank Car Loan
4.89%
(fixed)
5.53%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Finance a new or used car up to 5 years old. Large maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000 and terms up to 7 years.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Finance a new or used car up to 5 years old. Large maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000 and terms up to 7 years.
CarClarity Car Loan
From
3.35%
(fixed)
4.95%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.35% p.a.
Get access to more than 30 lenders to finance a new or used car for personal or corporate use. Borrow up to $250,000 with terms from 1 to 7 years.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.35% p.a.
Get access to more than 30 lenders to finance a new or used car for personal or corporate use. Borrow up to $250,000 with terms from 1 to 7 years.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Compare car insurance side-by-side and get quotes

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If your car is damaged, you could benefit from a one-week turnaround on repairs.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to manage their policy online 24/7.
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct's claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics. You don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
Huddle Black Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Huddle's black comprehensive is its cover with highest limits and exclusive benefits. It includes roadside assistance. You can also get up to $2,000 for emergency travel and accommodation and up to $30 million legal liability cover.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a 24/7 claims processing.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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More guides on Finder

Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for IMB New Car Loan
IMB New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.

Logo for Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.69% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.

Logo for RACV New Car Loans
RACV New Car Loans

You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.

Logo for NRMA New Car Loan
NRMA New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    VeraSeptember 22, 2018

    Hello,

    Thank you for such an interesting article.

    We own Land Rover Discovery 2 from 1999, green colour, diesel. It’s in a good condition and we do not know if we should sell it now as we do not use it or keep it and sell in a few years. Will the value be higher?

    Thank you for your advice.

    Best regards,
    Vera

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaSeptember 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Vera,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Determining the value of a car can be highly speculative and risky thus, it is important to weigh your options. Our page mentioned above that “the bottom can fall out of the market and the vehicle is always at risk of damage, fire, and theft”. Please consider as well to get your car insured. Try to calculate your cost of keeping the car and see how it will affect your possible returns.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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