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Top 10 old cars for profitable investments

The most liquid 30-40 year old cars for investment. Photo: Serhii Sukhovskii

The most liquid 30-40 year old cars for investment. Photo: Serhii Sukhovskii

"Buy low, sell high"—this is the motto of any secondhand dealer, regardless of what they sell. It is particularly relevant for domestic profiteers ready for any deception and forgery to make profit—from the mileage rollback to the VIN code changing. Because in our country, a car is not only a means of transportation and a status symbol, but also an investment that helps protect funds from devaluation. They don't go to the antique car market in Ukraine. On the one hand, the world of "oldtimers" is a closed world where there is no place for random people. On the other hand, now it is barely alive, as we already wrote about a year ago. On the third, even buying "youngtimers" (models of the 60s—70s of the XX century) requires colossal investments both in the purchase itself and in expertise, logistics, insurance, service, etc. Old is gold.

But there is a layer of cars that I call the "midlife crisis." These are 30-40-year-old models of respected European "brands with history"—Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Lancia, Maserati, Saab, Volvo plus, and, of course, the inseparable German trio Audi-BMW-Mercedes. According to the standards of the secondary market, all of them are already outright junk, and by the age qualification they still do not reach the status of "youngtimers". But if the prices for their team-mates decrease with each new year, then for the "crisis models"—they stand still or grow.

Investing in cars is not so much a risky process as it is a delicate process that requires deep knowledge. But it will provide decent returns in a relatively short time. Just like investing in vintage wines, yachts, and works of art.

Experts from the website carVertical generating information about used cars analyzed the secondary market and identified a dozen models from it that are already an excellent investment. With relatively small (on average 10,000-30,000 euros) spending, the price of these models will at least double in 10 years.


Alfa Romeo GTV (1993-2004)

Audi V8 (1988-1993)

BMW 540i (1992-1996)

Jaguar XK8 (1996-2006)

Land Rover Defender (1983-2016)

Mercedes-Benz E300/320/420 (1992-1996)

Saab 9000 CS Aero (1993-1997)

Toyota Land Cruiser (J80/J100, 1990-2008)

Volkswagen Corrado VR6 (1991-1995)

Volvo 740 Turbo (1986-1990)

Congratulations if you own one of the above-mentioned—you are potentially rich. The main thing is to wait for a decent offer.

Alfa Romeo GTV (1993-2004)

Ukrainians avoid messing with the over-aged Italian "second-hand" in general and with Alfa Romeo in particular. There are a lot of reasons—from low quality rolled metal products to capricious electronics. And this is mostly true—corrosion resistance and build quality have never been the trump cards of the Milan brand. It succeeded due to other reasons—avant-garde technical solutions, emotional design, and temperamental engines. The GTV coupe proves this. Like most of its competitors, it was produced not only with 4-, but also with 6-cylinder gasoline engines. It is the latest version, called Busso, that is appreciated more than others. Today, well-cared-for specimens are estimated at 25,000-30,000 euros. But when buying, you need to be on the lookout—29% (hereinafter—data from carVertical) of these cars have serious breakdowns.

Audi V8 (1988-1993)

The immediate predecessor of the A8 family that has been the brand's flagship line for a quarter of a century. The executive sedans of this model were available exclusively with 8-cylinder engines, which is reflected both in the official name and in the nickname—"Ingolstadt Express".

Yes, they never became as fashionable as the BMW 7 Series, or as prestigious as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class—the A8 did that for it. But from a technical point of view, the Audi V8 was not much inferior to competitors, and sometimes even outperformed them. For obvious reasons, the "eights" were produced in a much smaller circulation, which is only a plus for collectible models. The "Expresses" have never had any particular problems with reliability—only 9% of tested cars were found to be faulty. There is only a relatively high percentage of "twisting"—18%.


BMW 540i (1992-1996)

During three decades, the "five" has been the vanguard among the business sedans. Nevertheless, it is the E34 generation that is considered the benchmark for a number of indicators. In the table of ranks, the 8-cylinder version of the 540i was one step below the iconic and ultra-expensive BMW M5. And, despite the comparable power characteristics, it was doomed to be in the shadow of the "M"—this model was on sale only for a few years, and therefore it is found much less often. Hence there is the nicest aspect—the relative accessibility. If the cost of even those vehicles that remind the trash and at the same time "DIY" BMW M5 simply runs high (20,000-30,000 euros), then for 540i the price is about 3,000-10,000 euros. But this period will not last long.


Jaguar XK8 (1996-2006)

One of the brand's best sports cars in the last half century. Elegant, fast-paced, comfortable, and charismatic—the classic Jaguar’s combo Grace-Space-Pace.

The XK8 was produced not only as a coupe, but also as a convertible with an automatically retractable roof. Plus, it had several power units at once for all occasions. So be prepared to spend at least 15,000-20,000 euros for a well-kept specimen. A separate story is the XK-R modification that is even more costly.

But here you need to be on the lookout as well: the history checking data of the XK8 offered for sale indicate that 29% of them had serious shortcomings, and 18% had falsified mileage.


Land Rover Defender (I-II, 1983-2016)

Defender stands out quite strongly from this group that includes exclusively premium models with a pronounced sports component. While Land Rover was created for a very specific contingent of farmers and travelers. Literally everything was subordinated to functionality and passing ability in this model: from layout to appearance. Comfort in it is a relative concept, but in terms of passing ability and maintainability, there is almost no equivalent to "Def". That is why many specimens have never known a corporate service. Today, SUVs of the first two series can be purchased for a very modest 1,000-5,000 euros, but their condition will be far from "grandmother went to Mass on Sundays", and the configuration—far from the original.

According to the check of the available specimen history, 15% of Defenders had problems with the units, and 2% were found to have a fake mileage.


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