Find here a pick-out of old cars whose value is currently sky-high despite their relative unpopularity in times when they were new.
Among the old cars that buyers are striving to purchase today and are ready to pay much, there are ten sport cars, as reported by Carscoops.
The list includes such models as the BMW Z8, the Chevrolet Corvette from the early 50s, McLaren F1, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Jaguar D-Type, Lexus LFA, 1970 Plymouth Superbird, Tucker 48, and the BMW M1 from the 70s.
Now a few words about each.
The early Z8 was in essence a retro-worked BMW 507 roadster from the 1950s with a 395-hp M5 V8 engine and a 6-speed manual gearbox. It drove like a sedan and sounded rather quiet. The car was in production in 2000-2003 and cost over $134K. Its today’s price is over $350,000. The BMW Z8’s exterior design, by the way, was developed by Henrik Fisker.
1953-55 Chevrolet Corvette
The first-year C1 Corvette came with a six-cylinder engine without a manual transmission option (it appeared later), and in Polo white color only. At that time it cost like a Cadillac coupe, that is, was quite expensive.
The 1953 Corvette is a rarity now and you’ll have to pay $166,000 and up for it, while a ‘younger’ 1955 model powered by a V8 engine will cost about $100K and more. After 1956, the Corvette came into its own. The current price of a base 1956 Corvette with its standard V8 engine might be near $51,000 – twice cheaper than its predecessor.
The McLaren F1 is a modern classic. When the automaker launched it in 1992, the car was a breakthrough, though with its own weak points: lousy acceleration time and inadequately high price.
When McLaren ceased the production in 1998, it made 106 units, including only 64 road cars, of the 300 vehicles planned to build. It is because of such a small production run that the car is now worth a fortune – $17 million.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 road car got the brand’s first all-aluminum V8 engine with a displacement of 427 cubic inches (7.0 liters) producing over 430 hp. The engine alone costs $4,160—more expensive than the Camaro itself.
So, people basically didn’t see the point in paying so much when there were more affordable alternatives, like the faster and cheaper Camaro SS 396, or an L72 iron-block 427 engine just at $490.
Chevrolet made 69 ZL1 examples. 50 ZL1s were delivered to customers, but at least 30 of them went unsold and redistributed through dealers. At present, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s price is 10 times higher than that of a SS 396 variant and runs from $600K for a decent car to $1 million for a show winner.
Toyota launched the front-mid-engined Lexus LFA supercar in 2010 when it was a bad period of economic recession. Despite an incredible carbon-fiber naturally aspirated 552-hp engine and other ‘goodies’, the LFA could not compete with a capable and much cheaper Nissan GT-R. Only 500 vehicles were sold in almost 10 years.
Nevertheless, if in 2011 it cost $375,000, its current price is between $700,000 and $1 million, and even more with the Nürburgring package.
Jaguar D Type
At one time, the model was not in demand, and its production ended in late 1956. Under an effect of the three consecutive Le Mans 24 Hours wins starting in 1955, the car’s value skyrocketed to $5 million, and even more: that is the D Type actual price now.
Jaguar converted the leftover D-Type racer to a road car and named it the XKSS. 9 of 25 built cars were destroyed in 1957 due to a fire, but the company produced 9 XKSS continuation models in 2016 based on the original chassis.
Initially promised to have AWD and a V12 engine, the supercar in its final version got a turbocharged V6 and rear-wheel drive. This fact, plus a global recession and a price hike disappointed customers, and the model production ceased in 1994. Jaguar made 281 XJ220 cars of a planned 350, but could not sell even that small amount.
Today the car is desirable and costs as much as $650,000.
The 1970 Plymouth Superbird was a sibling to the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona. The Superbird’s controversial appearance scared off buyers, and the car was left on dealer lots into the middle of the 1970s.
The world is changing, and today Superbirds are in fashion: sellers ask from $175,000 to $338,000 for a car.
BMW wanted to have a mid-engine sports car but had no production capacity to build it and asked Lamborghini to make an M1. Lamborghini missed a deadline for the first batch delivery, so BMW terminated the deal and contracted Bauer instead.
Before the BMW M1 could race in Groups 5 at Le Mans, 400 M1 cars were to be built. The M1 race was allowed in a one-make Procar series at each F1 event.
The BMW M1 got some top-level publicity, but it didn’t help sales, partly because the M1 with a 3.5-liter straight-six engine cost too much, more than the Ferrari 512 BB powered by a 12-cylinder 355-hp engine. After 454 cars rolled off the assembly line, BMW wound up the production in 1981.
Despite unsuccessful sales in the past, the current price of an original M1 reaches $440,000 (quoted by Hagerty).
The Tucker 48 looked like something out of science fiction. It featured a fully independent suspension, disc brakes, a flat-six engine designed for a Bell helicopter, an integral roll hoop, a padded dashboard, and swiveling center headlight.
The car suffered an unsuccessful launch in the press and Preston Tucker’s reckless decisions. Only 50 Tucker 48s were made before Tucker’s assets liquidation.
Those to want to purchase one of the first 50 cars will have to pay $1.25-1.8 million in 2022. The original car’s price was around $4,000: this was the level of a mid-spec Lincoln or Cadillac.