10 Undervalued Retro Cars Suddenly Skyrocketing in Value

Every car that gets old becomes new again, and these gorgeous cars of the 70s, 80s, and 90s that fell out of fashion are suddenly retro cool, and exceedingly expensive.

The cars on this list are automotive icons. Yet though they've always inspired love in hardcore fans, many of these legendary machines have been ignored by industry experts, car collectors, and auction houses, who turned their attention to trendier and more valuable machines. That's coming to an end. Here are ten cars and trucks that could once be bought for bargain money and are now big bucks.

Lamborghini Countach (1974-1990)

A Lamborghini, affordable and undervalued? Follow me here.

The Countach is supercar icon. When it arrived in the early 1970 its angular bodywork looked completely alien. Every supercar made since then can trace its design back to the lines of this V12 Lambo. The car was immortalized on posters and hung on every kid's bedroom wall in the 1980s. Yet as long-lived as the Countach was (in production for 16 years) there was a

time in the late 90s and early 2000s when they were considered a little cheesy. A Countach with a big wing on the back would cost less than $100,000. Talk about a bargain—that's crazy-cheap for a rare Italian supercar.

Today the Countach, in all its angular 80s glory, has been rediscovered. Cars from the 1980s sell for more than $300,000. The earliest ones, the LP400 (of which less than 200 were made) sell for more than $1 million. You could have had one in the mid-2000s for about $150,000. Talk about nostalgia-driven inflation.

Pontiac Trans Am (1977-1979)

Thanks in part to the incredible success of Smokey and the Bandit, Pontiac sold hundreds of thousands of Firebirds in just a few years. The black-and-gold special edition Trans Ams from the late 1970s were wildly popular. But in the '80s and '90s, their giant "screaming chicken" hood sticker and bold lettering fell out of fashion.

Well, eventually everything that's out of style comes back around again as retro cool, and these awesome machines were rediscovered about five years ago. Soon, prices jumped. In the early 2000s a descent Trans-Am with the highest output W72 Pontiac 400 cid (6.6-liter) V8 could be had for less $10,000. Today, cars with relatively high mileage that are descent drivers are $15,000. Want a pristine car with low miles? That could cost $30,000 to $60,000 at an auction.

1988 BMW M5

The original BMW M5 (E28) was imported to the US for only one year, and came in only one color combination—black with a tan interior. Our first taste of BMW sport sedan goodness was tantalizing. The big 3.5-liter straight six, directly related to the engine in the M1 supercar, could hustle this sedan to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Back in the 1980s, nothing with four-doors could touch it.

Despite its rarity, the black beauty stayed relatively cheap for a long time. It was possible to get a very nice low mileage M5 for less than $20,000. But in the past few years it has been rediscovered—and coveted. Today, it's the high mileage cars that go for that kind of money. The retro M5 is so hot we've heard reports of dealers asking close to $100,0000 for cars with less than 40,000 miles.

Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser 1960-1983

The FJ40 was Toyota's answer to the Jeep CJ. The stout machine with the inline six-cylinder engine is known for its reliability and rugged drivetrain, with a transfer case and axles strong enough to handle American V8 power.

Not long ago, these trucks were just fun, affordable 4WD rigs. They traded hands for about the same price as Jeeps did, and even the best had trouble cresting $20,000. Over the last five years these SUVs have surged. It's possible to still find a solid FJ for a handyman on a budget. But the really good ones seem to be selling on eBay for $20,000-$40,000. The most pristine original or professionally restored FJ40s cross the block for up to $100,000 at the big car auctions.

Porsche 911 (1965-1998)

Porsche 911s have always been collectible, and the rarest and most potent models sell for simply ridiculous amount; recently, a 1973 2.7 RS sold at auction for an eye-watering $891,000, and some top 911s have neared (and cleared) $1 million. These days, however, just about every air-cooled (pre-1998) Porsche 911 has seen its stock rise.

According to the Sports Car Market Pocket Price Guide, back in 2008 a mid-70s "big bumper" 911 was valued between $8,000 and $13,000. Today those same cars are worth $20,000 to $25,000. The 911s from the 1980s that were relatively inexpensive a few years ago are now $30,000 today.

Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS (1975-1985)

One look at the gorgeous Ferrari 308 and readers of a certain age will no doubt think of Magnum P.I., or perhaps Christie Brinkley driving one in National Lampoon's Vacation. It's an iconic sports car. But it is also one that Ferrari made a lot of. No matter. Ferraris of nearly any vintage are becoming collectible, rare or not.

In 2011, a Ferrari 308 in excellent condition would bring just under $40,000. Merely good ones could be bought for around $30,000. That's right: For the price of a fully loaded minivan you could have a Ferrari with sexy bodywork, smooth V8 power and deft handling. Now, according to Sports Car Market, an excellent car ranges from $45,000 for early 1980s models on up to $120,000 for the rare fiberglass bodied examples. The early steel-bodied cars (1975-1979) are valued in the $80,000 range for an excellent model.

Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (1968-1971)

The stupidly gorgeous 300 SL Gullwing coupe and roadsters of the late 50s and early 60s have pulled up the value of every other SL that has come since. The hottest movers today are the pretty little 280 SL roadsters. According to Sports Car Market's Pocket Price guide, in 2011 the value of these machines ranged from $40,000 to $85,000. Today, you're looking at $80,000 to $150,000, and some have topped 200 large.

Why the big uptick over four years? These dainty SLs not only feature timeless styling but also feel relatively modern to drive. This is one 1960s classic you could drive every day. And the removable "Pagoda" hardtop, with large upright panes of glass and thin supports, makes this sporty Benz look hip with its roof on.

Ford Bronco (1966-1977)

The Ford Bronco has been a hero to 4WD enthusiasts since it hit the market in the mid-sixties. It followed the launch of the Mustang by about a year, and some of the same Ford engineers worked on both vehicles. No surprise, then, that the Bronco was the only small 4WD at the time with a V8. These early Broncos are so beloved that entire companies were born specifically to serve their aftermarket needs.

Until recently, the Bronco was just a cool 4X4. No more. Now Broncos are embraced by collectors of every age. The rugged good looks and 302-cid V8 power on many models make them capable of keeping up with modern traffic. A handful of years ago, prices hung around $15,000 for the good ones. Today, as with the similarly rugged FJ40, prices have climbed significantly. Visit an automotive auction and you'll see some the best examples climb beyond 40 grand.

Porsche 928 (1978-1995)

Porsche's loyal 911 owners have always regarded the 928 with an eye roll. To them, the front-engine, V8-powered 928 wasn't a real Porsche. But anyone that's driven one of these fantastic GT cars knows they are not only excellent long distance cruisers but also wonderful handling machines. And those pop-up headlamps, which arc forward proudly from the hood, couldn't be cooler.

These were remarkably advanced machines—and that made them a pain to repair. So as the decades wore on, and 928s fell into the hands of third and fourth owners, it wasn't uncommon to find descent cars for well under $10,000. That's cheap for what once was Porsche's flagship sports car.

Today, the 928's radical design has aged incredibly well, even if some of the parts haven't. Pver the past three years or so, higher-powered 928s have shot up in value. The most desirable ones are also the newest and rarest ones—the 1993 to 1995 928 GTS models that wore flared rear fenders, a robust 345 hp 5.4-liter V8, and wide 17-inch wheels. They look tough, and low mileage ones (especially with the uncommon 5-speed manual) have been advertised for six figures.

Acura NSX (1991-2005)

Back in the 90s, the NSX offered Ferrari performance with Honda reliability. These were dream cars back in the 1990s. Yet even though fewer than 9,000 of the mid-engine sports cars were made, just four years ago anyone could snap up an NSX with low miles for $30,000 or less.

The news of an all-new NSX heading to Acura dealers in 2016 has stirred up interest in the original. Search Ebay and nice low-mileage cars are going for $40,000 to $60,000 or more. That's a lot of money for a used Japanese car. It appears that these well-built, easy-driving sports cars are finally getting the love they deserve.

Original Article: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/g2170/10-suddenly-collectible-retro-cars/

September 14, 2015

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