1954 Volkswagen Beetle
2016 value: £11,675
The big news for the 1954 VW Beetle was a new engine, which was increased to 1.2 liters and 32 hp. Also new for 1954, an ignition switch and key that replaced the dashboard-mounted push-button starter. This coincided with upgrades made to key components including a redesigned crankshaft.
The increase in displacement and power improved the engine’s free revving capability without compromising torque at lower speeds. Concurrently, compression ratios were gradually raised as the octane ratings of fuel was raised during the 1950s and 1960s. The air-cooled engine was installed in the rear, just like in other Beetles, so its weight provided traction to the rear wheels.
According to Volkswagen’s accounts for the ’54 Beetle, the car was offered as Standard and De Luxe Sedan. Design cues of the standard model included a heater and vent wings in the front windows that pivoted so drivers and passengers can control fresh air ventilation.
Volkswagen said both vintage cars were designed for long-distance driving, with ‘finger-tip steering’ and an engine capable of 32 mpg. The De Luxe Sedan added upscale upholstery, chrome plating, and hydraulic brakes. By the early 1950's, the Beetle was being sold in 100 countries across the globe.
Aston Martin DBS Vantage
2016 value: £96,650
The DBS is a grand tourer produced by Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd from 1967 to 1972. The car was prominently featured in the 1969 James Bond flick “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and in the 1970s television show “The Persuaders!” as Lord Brett Sinclair’s ride.
The DBS was meant to be the rightful successor to the Aston Martin DB6, although both vintage cars were produced concurrently for three years. It featured four full sized seats and was a bigger coupé than the DB6, but was powered by the same 4.0-liter mill as the previous car.
Engine output was pegged at 282 hp, although a vantage engine option used Italian-built Weber carburetors, raising output to 325 hp. The DBS was designed and developed to have a more contemporary appeal than the previous series of Aston models.
It also incorporated a squared off front grille and fastback style rear end, which were atypical for Astons at the time, but very much then modish and fashionable in automotive design circles of the late 1960's. Trademark Aston Martin design elements like a hood scoop, side air vents with stainless steel brightwork, and knock off wire wheels were however retained.
2016 value: £4,450
The Mazda MX-5, launched as the Eunos Roadster in Japan and the MX-5 Miata in North America, is a lightweight two-seater with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration. Built by Mazda in Hiroshima, the model was unveiled in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show.
The MX-5 was conceptualized as a small roadster with lightweight and minimal mechanical sophistication that’s only limited by safety and legal requirements, while being reliable and technologically advanced. The car is essentially the evolution of the British sports cars of the 1950's and ’60s, like the Austin-Healey 100, Triumph Spitfire, MG MGA, and specifically the Lotus Elan.
The original MX-5 was powered by a 1.6-liter dual overhead cam inline 4-cylinder engine, generating 115 hp at 6500 rpm and 100 lb·ft of torque at 5500 rpm. The engine used an electronic fuel injection system with a vane-type air flow meter and an electronic ignition system.
Standard transmission was a 5-speed manual, a unit sourced from the one used in the Mazda 929/Luce. In the U.S. and Japan, an optional automatic gearbox was offered but proved to be unpopular. Although it’s still possible to purchase a usable first-gen MX-5, the best of these vintage cars command a heftier price tag.
Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato
2016 value: £23,225
The Fulvia Sport was a fastback two-seater built for Lancia by Zagato. It was designed by Ercole Spada and was based on Coupé mechanicals. Lancia commissioned the Sport to Zagato as a more sporty and aerodynamic iteration of the coupé. It was meant to be used both for the road and for track competitions. Not everyone liked the fastback body, but Zagato certainly turned the Fulvia into a car with a genuine presence.
Austin Mini Cooper 1275S
2016 value: £25,050
The 1275S was the best Cooper, a definitive classic Mini, with a matching price tag. It won three Monte Carlo rallies and was endowed with the uncanny ability to outdo many, more powerful sports cars. It only packed 76 horsepower, but it was enough to propel the car to 100 mph.
2016 value: £21,650
The American headline read, “The Big Healey lives,” as the Datsun 240Z arrived in the United States and barged into a market that was once dominated by European-made sports cars. The trend-setting S30 is considered as one of the most successful sports car lines ever produced and remains one of the finest rides to emerge from Japan. Its sleek styling, modern engineering, impressive performance, and relatively low price, certainly struck a major chord with the public.
Range Rover Classic 2-Door
2016 value: £29,125
The Range Rover Classic is a luxury SUV series produced from 1970 to 1996. It was the first generation of automobiles produced under the Range Rover name. For an entire decade, it was only available in a two-door body style, before a four-door variant was introduced in 1981. But it’s the original that’s the most sought after, with values closing on the £30,000 mark.
BMW 2002 Tii
2016 value: £17,000
The reputation of the BMW 3 Series as the consummate compact executive car can be traced to other vintage cars like the 2002 Tii. Until the official public debut of the 2002 Turbo, this was the world’s fastest normally-aspirated ‘02’ car. Power emanates from an SOHC inline-4, water-cooled engine rated at 140 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque. It is believed that less than 200 copies are left in the UK.
Alfa Romeo Spider
2016 value: £25,925
The Alfa Romeo Spider is a roadster produced from 1966 to 1993. It replaced the Giulia Spider and for nearly three decades it remained in production with only minor cosmetic and mechanical updates. Pininfarina assembled the first three series in Grugliasco, while the fourth series were produced in San Giorgio Canavese. The last Spider was built in April 1993 – it was the last rear wheel drive Alfa Romeo before the 8C Competizione of 2007.
Ford Escort Mexico
2016 value: £26,975
The Ford Escort Mexico made its debut in November 1970 and was so named because of Ford’s victory in the grueling 16,000-mile London to Mexico World Cup Rally of 1970. The Mexico was the most successful of the ‘Rally Sport Escorts’ from the newly formed A.V.O (Advancd Vehicles Operations) and it became one of the most coveted vintage cars of the 1970's.
Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC
2016 value: £10,200
The 450 SLC was developed to enable Mercedes-Benz to compete in the 1978 World Rally Championship. It is powered by a front mounted 5.0-liter, 8 Cylinder M 117 rated at 225 hp and 278.5 ft-lb of torque. Among the vintage cars featured in this list, this one offers the best bang for your hard-earned buck. Just over £10,000 to drive away with what is undoubtedly a lot more interesting than anything offered by Mercedes today.
2016 value: £34,125
The SM is a high-performance coupé manufactured and marketed by Citroën from 1970 to 1975. It ranked third in the 1971 European Car of the Year contest, behind its stablemate Citroën GS. It also bagged the 1972 Motor Trend Car of the Year award in the United States. Values of the SM continue to rise, as the market realizes that this was one of the coolest vintage cars of the 1970's.
2016 value: £13,950
The Capri is a fastback coupé produced by Ford Motor from 1969 to 1986. It was designed by Philip T. Clark, one of the main designers of the Mustang. There was a time when folks just couldn’t give a Capri away. Nowadays, even the 4-cylinder vintage cars command a substantial premium, but its the 6-cylinder Capris that are attracting the most interest. In March 2016, a Capri 280 ‘Brooklands’ sold for £54,000 at an auction.
Porsche 944 Turbo
2016 value: £21,875
The 944 Turbo was the first car to use a ceramic port liner, new forged pistons and was also the first car with identical power output with or without a catalytic converter. As values of 911's continue to skyrocket, it’s logical that some good tidings will trickle down to other Porsche models. Not too long ago, you could buy a 944 for a nominal amount. Today, it has breached the £20,000 mark.
Jensen Interceptor III
2016 value: £51,250
The Jensen Interceptor III reached the peak of its development between 1974 and 1976. Convertible and coupé body styles were introduced and progressively updated versions of the Chrysler 440ci motor were fitted throughout the range. By the end of 1976, a total of 6407 Interceptors had been produced, of which 4255 were Interceptor III's. This grand tourer has enjoyed a phenomenal 2016, with values increasing by 36.9%.
Porsche 928 GTS
2016 value: £33,850
The Porsche 928 lived a long life, it remained in production from 1977 to 1995, but the car was often misunderstood. Porsche decided to kill the 928 in the restructuring that spawned the water-cooled 911 and the Boxster, but not before it built the ultimate version of the 928, the GTS. Its 5.4-liter V8 blasted out 345 hp, enough to propel the car from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.
BMW 3.0 CSL
The 3.0 CSL was introduced in May 1972 as a homologation special so the car can compete in the European Touring Car Championship. The following year it received an aerodynamic package including a huge air dam, short fins along the front fenders, tall rear wing, and a spoiler above and behind the trailing edge of the roof. The complete aero package earned the racing version of the CSL the moniker “Batmobile”.
Aston Martin Lagonda S1
2016 value: £62,725
Introduced at the 1974 London Motor Show, the Aston Martin Lagonda S1 was a long-wheelbased, 4-door version of the Aston Martin V8. The car was based on the DBS and holds the distinction as the first car to bear the Lagonda name since the 1961 Rapide. Only seven of these vintage cars were ever built and all were powered by a 5.3-liter DOHC V8 rated at 280 hp and 301 lb·ft of torque.
Peugeot 205 GTI
2016 value: £11,275
The 1.6 liter GTI made its official debut in 1984 and came with a XU5J engine, generating 104 hp. The 1.9 liter version came with an XU9JA engine that was good for 126 hp. The 205 is still often regarded as a benchmark in group car tests of the latest GTI models or equivalent. According to Hagerty, Peugeot 205 GTIs increased in value over the summer of 2016, with pristine copies achieving over £30,000.
Audi Quatrro RR
2016 value: £47,925
Audi launched the Quattro in the European market in 1980. It featured Audi’s quattro permanent 4-wheel drive system, and the first to combine 4WD with a turbocharged engine. Audi Quattro's are referred to by their engine codes: the later 20v being the “RR” engine, hence, RR or “20v” Quattro. With the car’s growing cult status and world rally winning pedigree, the demand will surely increase for many years to come.