2022 Bull Market List: 10 collector cars primed to take off this year in the US. And, if it happens in the USA, it will mirror, here in the UK and around the world. So here are the SVA Top 4 choices you will find in the UK. To see the full USA list and values, go to Hagerty.
From an original piece by Hagerty Automotive Intelligence team
Without wishing to strain the limits of understatement, this has been quite a year. Far into the future, economists will still be debating this roller-coaster ride, with its supply shortages and price spikes and disappointing employment numbers, despite help-wanted signs seemingly everywhere. And, as with just about everything else you could (and couldn’t) buy in 2021, the prices of classic cars went up.
However, even as your hard-earned dollars shrink in your hands, there are still good buys out there if you’re paying attention and willing to act. In the smoke-filled backroom of the Hagerty Automotive Intelligence department, a long list of potential candidates for this year’s Bull Market roundup was slowly whittled down. There were arguments and there were protests. Stands were taken and slices of day-old pizza may have been thrown. But eventually the group arrived at the list you see here.
As always, some of the vehicles may induce head-scratching. Why has a 246 Dino made a list of up-and-comers when its price up and left the building a decade ago with the general berserking of Ferrari values? Well, it turns out they recently went through a soft spot, and Gen X is showing a lot more interest in the model as they and millennials increasingly take the reins of the collector car market. Also, in this global marketplace, Europe is again calling its children home, with overseas exports of Dinos rising. The Mercedes-Benz 230SL as well falls in that boat—or, we should say, on that boat. Pan-Atlantic demand means rising prices for all, even if shipping cars back to the U.S. this year has meant braving the snarled global supply chain.
Above all, demographics play a huge role as younger buyers express their unique preferences, such as for Land Rover Defenders, sometimes at the bemusement of older collectors. Even so, every car on this list has a positive story, whether, like a late-1960s Cadillac, it has been largely overlooked but is now seen as a cheap path into old-car cool. Or, as with the Pontiac GTO, it’s a veteran collectible finding new momentum among new buyers. Or, as in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it’s seen as the wellspring for an entirely new technology that will change automobiles and society forever. Note that a functioning example of Apple’s first computer sold at auction for $459,000 in 2020.
The only thing we don’t have on the list this year is a motorcycle, as we’ve had in past years. The reason is simple: One was selected, and a willing owner contacted, but at the last second, that person was unable to participate.
As we said, it’s been quite a year. —Aaron Robinson
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1969–74 Ferrari 246 Dino
One of the best Enzo-era Ferraris of all isn’t even a Ferrari. Well, at least it doesn’t say Ferrari anywhere on it, and that was by design. Enzo wanted it that way because the car was such a radical departure from his traditional road cars. To start, the Dino only has six cylinders, not the 12 of the Ferrari GT cars that preceded it. The engine was in the “wrong” place, too, transversely mounted behind the driver in a break from Ferrari tradition. In the end, though, it was this departure from convention that made the Dino special—and a fitting tribute to Enzo’s late son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, who, before his death in 1956, had championed building a V-6–powered mid-engine car. The Dino, although technically its own brand, was Ferrari’s first mid-engine road car, undeniably ushering Ferrari into the modern era.
None of this would matter if the Dino didn’t look so good, but it does. Its lovely Pininfarina curves and surfaces lack even one bad angle. The 65-degree, four-cam, triple-Weber V-6 snarls and barks and revs as if it completely dismisses the fact it was assembled by Fiat. The five-speed transaxle snicks through its gated shifter with addictive precision, the chassis is nearly perfectly balanced, and the steering and brakes make you wonder what everybody else at the time was getting wrong.
All of the Dino’s qualities showed when we hustled around Lime Rock the car on these pages, owned by a knowledgeable collector. No stranger to the world of vintage Ferraris, he long ago decided he’d wait to buy the right one. And that happened five years ago, when this European-spec 1973 246 GTS—a car he had watched being restored on FerrariChat—came up for sale. It was the “almost-impossible-to-replicate combination of drivability and aesthetics” that attracted him to a Dino, and he has not been disappointed. “The whole experience is unique. It is a great road car. I don’t hesitate to take it on a weekend trip or a multi-hour drive. And the car has been exceptionally reliable.”
If they had made just a hundred of these, they would sell for millions of dollars a copy, but they didn’t. In fact, Ferrari made 3761 of them from 1969 to 1974, or 2487 of the fixed-roof Dino GT and 1274 of the targa-topped Dino GTS, which were produced only from 1972 to 1974 during the third, or “E,” series of production. And although the Dino GT cars are regarded as better-looking, the GTS has always commanded a premium in the marketplace for its wind-in-your-hair (or area where your hair used to be) experience.
Although a mid-six-figure purchase is not to be taken lightly no matter your tax bracket, in the big picture, buying one of the greatest road Ferraris of all time for what amounts to an auction buyer’s premium on most of the other vintage Ferraris seems, well, almost logical. Thus, for more than one reason, to paraphrase the great philosopher Ferris Bueller, “If you have the means, we highly recommend picking one up.” —Colin Comer
1973 Ferrari 246 Dino GTS
Highs: One of the most beautiful Ferrari road cars of all, and one of the best driving; bang for the bucks (relative to other vintage Ferraris); nobody ever asks why you bought it; easy to live with.
Lows: No longer inexpensive; still fighting the “not a Ferrari” stigma; finding a good one is difficult.
Price when new: $14,500
Hagerty #2 value*: $366,000–$402,500
*What’s a #2 value, anyway? A vehicle in #2 condition is Excellent but not perfect. It has only minor flaws and could win a local show but not a national one.
1992-1995 Porsche 968
For those questioning the reality of evolution, look no further than the Porsche 968. With DNA that can be traced back to the protozoic 924 and up through the excellent 944 and 944 Turbo, the 968 is the ultimate expression of continuous improvement that is deeply encoded in Porsche’s double helix.
The backbone of the genus is a setup that places a water-cooled four-cylinder under the hood and a transaxle at the opposite end. This arrangement makes for an ideal weight distribution that has earned the car numerous “best-handling car” accolades throughout the years. By the time the 968 debuted for 1992, it had been 15 years since the birth of its predecessor, the 924, and 10 years since the arrival of the 944. Porsche claimed that fully 83 percent of the 968’s parts were new compared with the 944. Most obvious was the redesigned front end; gone were the 944’s pop-up headlamps, replaced with exposed pop-ups that bore a family resemblance to those found on the Porsche 928.
Under the hood was the big-bore 3.0-liter four-cylinder from the 944 S2. The first use of Porsche’s VarioCam variable-valve timing produced 236 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 225 lb-ft of torque at 4100 rpm. With a bore of over 4 inches, the engine ranks as one of the largest-displacement fours ever used in a modern production car, as well as the world’s most powerful naturally aspirated four of its time. However, Porsche’s answer to a 1970s oil crisis had outlived its age; by September 1993, when Car and Driver recorded a 0-60-mph time of 5.9 seconds, the 968 managed to rank only fifth out of six cars due to its relative lack of horsepower and slow track times. A six-speed manual transmission and a Tiptronic four-speed automatic were offered, as were coupe and convertible bodies. The interior of the 968 largely carried over from the 944. The exterior incorporates Porsche details such as the aforementioned headlights, the 944’s voluptuous shape, and sideview mirrors from the 911/964 Turbo.
The 968’s pleasing aesthetics are part of what attracted Jamie Sowlakis, the owner of the 968 featured here. Sowlakis, an architect by training and trade, states that the 968 is as pleasing to look at as it is to drive. “The flared fenders, the curves, the proportions—they’re all amazing,” he says. “It’s such a joy to be in that car and be out of that car and just stare at it.”
Though Sowlakis has a fleet of vintage Mercedes-Benzes, he knew eventually a Porsche would join their ranks. “I’ve wanted a 968 since they were new, and when I finally found this car, all it took was a 15-minute test drive to seal the deal,” he recalls. “That 3.0-liter has so much torque, and in third gear, the car just keeps pulling.”
Porsche pulled the plug on the 968 in 1995, after four years on the market and a total of 12,776 models sold. Unsurprisingly, Sowlakis is bullish on the 968. “The car is a real underdog—undervalued and under the radar,” he says. “As a first-time Porsche guy, I feel like I picked a winner.” —Kirk Seaman
Highs: Beautifully balanced handling; hatchback practicality makes it a viable daily driver; great highway fuel economy.
Lows: Low production numbers; pricey Porsche parts; could use more power.
Price when new: $39,850
Hagerty #2 value: $38,000–$51,500
1983–1997 Land Rover Defender
Fashions change—it’s that simple. The makers of sports and luxury cars for the first 80 years of the auto industry could not possibly have imagined how folks today will drop coin for an old Land Rover. In fact, the Brits can’t even imagine it, which is why you can still buy Land Rover Defenders relatively inexpensively in the U.K. as long as you don’t mind right-hand steering and the persistent aroma of wet sheepdog. Once these vehicles cross the Atlantic, however, they become exotic, and there’s an urbane glamour here to driving a rattling, clomping, barely upholstered utility truck that probably spent its first years slaloming around cow patties in Upper Bruntingthorpe.
Though the design traces its aluminum-bodied lineage right back to the 1948 original, the vehicle we know as the quintessential Land Rover didn’t adopt the Defender name until 1990. That was to distinguish the O.G. Land Rover from the then-new (and rather more luxurious) Discovery. By then, the original Land Rover had reached its zenith, the fourth iteration that introduced a modest mix of interior and mechanical upgrades that were to last it until the truck finally went out of production in 2016. Only a few were brought into the U.S. with V-8 engines and steep price tags (the so-called NAS Defenders, for “North American spec”), and those prices have only gotten steeper in the collector market. It’s not uncommon to see two-door 90s go in the $80,000 range, while the rarer four-door 110 wagons fetch well clear of $100,000. But what good is a house on Martha’s Vineyard without an old Land Rover to adorn the driveway?
That has led some Defender fans to look back in the mother country, where older models that can clear the federal 25-year import hurdle sit begging on used car lots—often with diesel engines and typically hiding at least some rust underneath. Brad Topar of Ridgefield, Connecticut, didn’t want to look that far afield, but enough Euro-spec Defenders have already trickled into the States that he didn’t have to. He found his ex-U.K. diesel ’91 nearby on Facebook Marketplace and at a price substantially less than what NAS models trade for.
The Landie trundles down the road with a sort of force-of-nature presence, the 2.5-liter, 107-hp turbodiesel clattering out a stream of torque at its circa-1800-rpm happy zone. A diesel Defender is not fast, unless your comparison is a Shetland pony, and the 31-inch diggers that Topar has on the truck make a relentless moan. The twin live axles turn every bump into a whole-car shudder. But there’s no denying the cool factor of driving the original British earth-roamer—even if, as Topar readily admits, his tires rarely leave the pavement.
They made about 2 million of these original Land Rovers, but they remain a rarity in the U.S. For those who are beguiled by a Defender, the prices are driven by a micro-economy that places the supply well below the demand. —Aaron Robinson
1991 Land Rover Defender 90
Highs: The truck Marlin Perkins drove while netting giraffes; cool and likely always will be; plenty of parts and club support.
Lows: U.S.-spec versions are expensive; freelance imports have widely varying quality and prices; not for people in a hurry.
Price when new: £14,500 ($27,405)
Hagerty #2 value: $61,500–$77,500
1963–67 Mercedes-Benz 230SL
The year 1963 was a heck of a time to be a car lover. The Corvette Sting Ray burst onto the scene, as did the Mini Cooper S, while Ferruccio Lamborghini and Bruce McLaren both launched their own enterprises. Porsche teased the first 911, and across town in Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz finished work on its latest SL (for Sport Leicht, or “Sport Light”) in time for that year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Known internally by its project number, W113, the new Mercedes had a big job to do: Its raison d’être was to effectively replace both the brilliant but expensive 300SL and the flashy but flawed 190SL. It did so brilliantly, even if it was neither all that sporty nor particularly light. That’s because it drove the SL-class down a new path, incorporating extra luxury and comfort while retaining an essential sportiness. Benz’s technical director at the time, Fritz Nallinger, called it “motoring happiness,” and that ethos has been imbued in every Mercedes SL since.
The first W113 was the 230SL, powered by a Bosch-injected single-cam straight-six. Robust and smooth but not exactly inspiring, the 170-hp, 2308-cc mill (later punched out to 2496 cubic centimeters in the 250SL and 2778 cubic centimeters in the 280SL) can nevertheless push the SL down the autobahn at 120 mph.
The nimble W113 also enjoys light, neutral steering through its lovely ivory-colored, horn-ringed steering wheel. The steel unibody is touted as the first sports car with crumple zones baked in for safety. Arguably designer Paul Bracq’s magnum opus, the design was free of flourishes and skimpy on the brightwork, instead relying on clean, elegant proportions to catch the eye. The optional (but nearly ubiquitous) removable hardtop is as clever as it is pretty. The raised outer sections allowed for easier entry and exit, and its concave shape earned this generation of SL its unofficial appellation of “Pagoda.”
Highs: Looks that stop you in your tracks; oozes class and will never go out of style; bank-vault build quality and ample parts availability; comfy to sit in and easy to drive.
Lows: More cruiser than sports car; stick-shifts hard to find; parts are available but spendy; costly to restore properly.
Price when new: $7500
Hagerty #2 value: $80,500–$108,500
Specialist Vehicle Association says: buying a classic car to keep and drive as an enthusiast, can be a hugely rewarding thing and simply great fun. As an ‘Investorcollector’, it can also be highly lucrative as the values increase and there remains no ‘Capital Gains’ tax when selling. Our choice here from the Hagerty selection should transfer to the UK (But with differing actual values). Anyone planning on using classic cars as an ‘Investment’ should get expert advice and do their research in absolute detail. Ignore ‘For Sale’ values completely and focus on ‘Actual Sale Rates’ of cars sold at Auction. The Hagerty valuation Tool is a fine base to seek out and review values we think, this can be found at Hagert Valuation Tool