Nevermind price points. To open our updated series of investment car lists for 2024, we’re going money no object for cars that deliver bang for the buck and strong potential to keep your money safe in what is an increasingly volatile market. Let's get into them.
1. Aston Martin V12 Vantage
Yours for: £55,000 and up
The V8 Vantage was lovely but the naughtiness, the mischief of the V12 was just that much more special special. Pop the bonnet and the engine pretty much burst out of the bodywork, like a Christmas paunch released from hipster jeans. There’s nothing flabby about the way it goes, though. The first batch of V12 Vantages from 2009 are cheaper to buy and appeal for their rawness but, with prices of the first few more powerful S models from 2013 equalising with the earlier cars, it's possible to go quicker for less.
The investment head says stick-shifted ones will be more coveted in years hence but the Speedshift automated manual does have a novelty appeal, the lightweight single-clutch transmission requiring deft timing and greater application than the boring dual-clutch gearboxes of more modern machinery. If you’re looking to celebrate all that was mad and bad about the ICE age, a compact Aston Martin shrink-wrapped around an enormous V12 looks a good way to do it. With V12s – turbocharged or otherwise – disappearing from the series production Aston orderbook, now's a good time to buy in...
2. Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
Yours for: £200,000 and up
Sure, snobs will tell you it’s a Maserati Gran Turismo indulging in some Alfa Romeo cosplay. But given the foundations comprise a revvy and very noisy V8 and the natural balance of the traditional transaxle layout used by generations of Italian GTs from back in the day this is no bad thing. And the 8C has additional things in its favour – even more gorgeous looks, rarity and that kind of need-to-know appreciation that means it is sought after by the right people. Over the least couple of years the price of entry has clambered well above £200,000. When we first entered it on this list, you could get one for £180,000...
As outright performance becomes an increasingly abstract and irrelevant quality those looking to the recent past for their thrills may well come to agree style, fabulous noise and an arch celebration of Alfa Romeo’s traditional values are a desirable combination. Get in there before everyone wakes up to the fact.
3. Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997.2)
Yours for: £200,000 and up
Values for 911 GT3 models follow a fairly predictable trajectory, with a bubble of excitement where those on the exalted dealer list quickly flip them for six-figure overs (much to the annoyance of everyone else), the market becomes saturated before settling down in anticipation of the next one. 997 GT3 RSs aren’t exactly cheap at around £100,000 and around £180,000 for the 3.8-litre second-gen ones. But the latter is arguably peak modern 911, at least for those who like to apply themselves to the driving process.
Usefully smaller than more recent 991 and 992 versions, way more interactive and seemingly built to take proper hard miles, the 997 GT3 RS is a car that makes demands of its driver. But, if you’re up to the job, rewards with one of the richest driving experiences anywhere. The bubble might show signs of volatility but a manual Mezger GT car will always look after you and the 3.8 RS is the best of them.Keep the miles down (but make the ones you do count) and it should see you right one day.
4. Lamborghini Diablo
Yours for: £200,000 and up
The missing link between Lamborghini’s traditional era of the Miura and Countach and its modern one under Audi, the Diablo seemed left behind by the likes of the Bugatti EB110, McLaren F1 and Jaguar XJ220 that elevated the mere supercar into the ‘hyper’ era we now know. But appreciation of the Diablo’s rawness, and its dramatic looks, is increasing, likewise the soulful nature of its performance.
Those with an eye to a return on investment would be wise to look at coveted special editions like the later SV, while real collectors will be chasing the likes of the SE30 (iconic for its appearance in Jamiroquai’s Cosmic Girl video) and the GT, the Diablo’s outrageous last hurrah. The latter is already in the realms of seven-figure collectors’ car, meaning good examples of the rest will soon be playing catch-up. The cleanest-looking and arguably most competent Diablo – the one revised under Audi stewardship – is the rare and valuable 6.0 VT but they're serious money. Any Diablo we think, is a safe place for your coffers.
5. Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Yours for: £300,000 and up
The relationship between Mercedes and McLaren wasn’t quite as harmonious on the road as it was through the hugely successful Häkkinen and Coulthard era in F1, but the SLR McLaren remains a fine legacy and one that time is being increasingly kind to. It’s far from perfect, the twitchy steering and rear-set driving position an odd combination while the five-speed auto seems more SL than supercar.
But the looks totally hold up, and you’d cause just as big a stir turning up in one now and sliding out from under its giant dihedral door as you would have done back when it was new. And the supercharged V8, bellowing out of stubby side exhausts, remains utterly fearsome, and actually a better combination with the transmission than you might think. Get the McLaren Special Operations retrofit steering linkage mod and it even drives way better.
We've been shouting about them for years and indeed, its hypercar peers are already in the stratosphere. It should come as no surprise then that the days of the under £200,000 SLR are long gone. Nowadays, you'll pay £300,000 or more and that is sure to rise.
6. Ferrari 458 Speciale
Yours for: £300,000 and up
As we reach the end of the ICE age and people consider a final, petrol-fuelled blowout before going electric the idea of a Ferrari looks ever more attractive. There aren’t really any bad choices but, if you want to look after your money in the process, you need to try and predict which will be on those reflective ‘best internal combustion powered cars ever’ lists we’ll be compiling in the not too distant future. And you can bet the 458 Speciale will be top of many of those compilations.
A screaming V8 revving to 9,000rpm, tech that enhances the experience and the perfect balance of power, agility and raw speed make the Speciale, well, special. They’ve never been cheap and you’ll do well to find a coupe for less than £300,000. But given the Aperta spider versions double that with ease suggests there is still room for values to go up. And we’d rather the Berlinetta anyway.
7. Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Yours for: £140,000
What turns a car from being merely interesting into something you could consider an investment? A 600PS (441kW) V8, fat tyres squeezed into widened arches and the credibility of a blistering Nürburgring laptime will all impress your petrolhead mates. But not necessarily your accountant, who will be asking harder questions.
Given there are plenty of high-powered saloons out there, why is the Project 8 the one to put your money into? Well, there’s an argument the 300-car production run was a little too much, the oddly muted reception was perhaps surprising and there are plenty in the market for less than the original £150,000 asking price. But that leaves room for growth, and as people look for a spectacular final blowout with something noisy and uncouth this quirky, factory-built hot-rod may yet have its moment.
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I'm an automotive enthusiast with a deep understanding of the investment potential in the classic and modern car market. I've been closely following trends, values, and the performance of various car models over the years. Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article and provide insights:
Aston Martin V12 Vantage (£55,000 and up):
- Highlights the allure of the V12 engine and the rawness of the early models.
- Mentions the potential investment value, especially for stick-shifted versions.
Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (£200,000 and up):
- Recognizes the car's foundation on a revvy and noisy V8 with a traditional transaxle layout.
- Emphasizes the increasing value due to looks, rarity, and appreciation among enthusiasts.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997.2) (£200,000 and up):
- Describes the predictable trajectory of 911 GT3 values and the unique characteristics of the 997.2 version.
- Highlights its smaller size, interactivity, and driving experience, making it desirable for enthusiasts.
Lamborghini Diablo (£200,000 and up):
- Positions the Diablo as a bridge between traditional and modern Lamborghinis.
- Suggests considering special editions like the SV for potential investment returns.
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (£300,000 and up):
- Acknowledges the mixed road performance but emphasizes the enduring looks and powerful supercharged V8.
- Predicts a rise in value, given the increasing rarity and legacy of the SLR McLaren.
Ferrari 458 Speciale (£300,000 and up):
- Discusses the attractiveness of owning a Ferrari as the ICE age concludes.
- Identifies the 458 Speciale as a likely candidate for future 'best internal combustion powered cars' lists.
Jaguar XE SV Project 8 (£140,000):
- Questions the investment potential, considering the larger production run and a somewhat muted initial reception.
- Suggests that as people seek a final blowout with noisy and unique cars, the Project 8 might have a moment.
These insights reflect the author's perspective on the investment potential of specific car models, taking into account performance, rarity, and historical context. It's a fascinating look into the world of automotive investments, where the value goes beyond mere price points.