If only you had a nickel for every time you heard “I’m saving that. It’s going to be worth something someday.” You’d probably be rich. The person saving? Well, they’d likely be stuck with junk. Everything might be worth something to someone, but more often than not, it’s rarely as valuable as it is when it’s brand new. Talk to anyone who paid full price for a plasma TV, or a Microsoft Zune, or an Apple Newton; some things are just duds, and there’s no way around it.
It’s pretty much the same in the automotive world. If you paid top dollar for a Hummer H2 or Cadillac XLR 10 years ago, you’re never, ever going to get what you put into it. But at least here, there’s a glimmer of hope because with each passing year, a new group of models unofficially passes over from used car to collectible status, and overnight, an embarrassing older car can become the darling of the modern classics set.
We looked at the phenomenon as it was in 2015, when the Ferrari Testarossa doubled in value, and vintage Porsche 911s sold in December for an average 154% more than they had been in January. Now that a new year is upon us, classic car insurance powerhouse Hagerty has picked a new 10 for 2017, and it’s one interesting list. Ranging from common sporty cars to vintage iron to the already unobtainable, these 10 are a virtual lock to make their owners money should they decide to sell this year.
1. 1997–2004 Chevrolet Corvette
The C5 Corvette is an odd duck. On the one hand, it offered 50/50 weight distribution, the then-new LS1 V8, and a 175 mile per hour top speed. On the other hand, its styling has always been … polarizing, its interior is about as nice as a Chevy Cavalier of similar vintage, and fit-and-finish is almost laughably bad. As a result, most C5s have languished at around the $10K mark for the better part of a decade, confounding that weird old guy on your block who keeps his under a cover and swears that it’s going to be worth something someday.
Well, 2017 could be the C5’s breakout year. It’s likely at the bottom of its depreciation curve, and it’s becoming too much of a performance car bargain to ignore anymore. Go for a clean, well-documented Z06 with its distinctive fixed-roof coupe body style. We doubt you’ll be disappointed should you decide to sell it in another five years.
2. 1966–1977 Ford Bronco
Even if you’re remotely interested in classics, you’ve probably noticed that the first-generation Ford Bronco is having a major moment right now. Ford’s compact 4×4 has always had a major cult following, but in 2017, you can expect prices to break out and go from steep to near-unobtainable. If you’re looking for a winter project, snap up that rusty Bronco on Craigslist now and restore it over the next few months. You’re likely to make a tidy profit come springtime.
3. 1971–1972 Dodge Challenger
In 2015, Dodge refreshed it modern-day Challenger to look more like its 1971 ancestor. We can’t say for sure that this had everything to do with a renewed interest in Dodge’s E-Body muscle car, but it probably didn’t hurt. Thanks to its relative scarcity compared to Ford and GM’s contemporary models, Challengers have always been pricey. In 2017, they’ll only get more so.
4. 1968–1970 Dodge Charger
The ’68-’70 Charger is the most sinister-looking of all ’60s-era muscle cars, and best remembered as the ride of the baddies in Bullitt. Before the 2008 crash, Charger values were through the roof. Today, they’re back at a five-year high, and it looks like that trend is going to continue for a while.
5. 1993–1998 Toyota Supra Turbo
Unlike the C5 Corvette, the Mark IV Toyota Supra Turbo hit the bottom of its depreciation curve when nobody was looking and has been on the rebound ever since. Too many non-turbo models (and even a few turbos) have fallen victim to the tuner fad of the early 2000s, so clean examples (especially with a manual transmission) have consistently fetched around $40K for a while now. Look to the original Acura NSX as precedent: After years of hovering just out of reach for most fans, the Supra Turbo is ready to skyrocket in value, regardless of condition.
6. 2003–2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
The GT3 RS was Porsche’s lightweight, track-focused 911 that blended modern racing technology with Porsche competition heritage. Just a few hundred were made, and none were sold in North America. These 911s have never really depreciated, but for the Porschephile who has everything, they’ll be willing to pay whatever it takes to land one of these in 2017.
7. 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird
Back in 1970, Plymouth’s NASCAR 200 mile per hour homologation special was so unpopular that unsold models sat unsold for years before frustrated dealers hacked off their noses and wings and sold them as ordinary Road Runners. Today, the average Superbird sells for around a quarter million dollars. That’s only going to increase in 2017.
8. 2000–2006 BMW M3
For those in the know, the E46 M3 has always ranked as one of the best M-cars of all time. While the previous E36 car was considered sacrilegious for its criminally detuned engine (compared to European market cars), available sedan body, and automatic transmission, the E46 was seen as BMW’s return to form. Available as either a coupe or convertible, the E46 offered a 333 horse 3.2 liter straight six, a fantastic chassis, and some of the best driving dynamics of its era. While most have languished at used-car prices for the past few years, that’s likely to change very quickly. If you’re in the market for one, snap it up now while you can still afford it. It might be a very different story in a year.
9. 2003–2006 Dodge Viper
We just don’t know what we have until its gone. The Viper is sadly no more, which means the ones that already exist (and the ones that haven’t spun headlong into oblivion) will only increase in value. The 1992–’02 first-generation cars have already begun their ascension to collector status, but so far, the angular second-generation car has been largely overlooked. It may not have the almost elegant simplicity of the original, but for a no-frills, brutally fast V10-powered American car, it’s hard to ignore any Viper. Starting in 2017, expect collectors to begin noticing them in a big way.
10. 2003 Ferrari Enzo
How does a one-of-400 hypercar that sold out before it entered production, had a sticker price of nearly $700K, and represented the pinnacle of automotive technology age? Very gracefully, it turns out. Back in 2003, you could’ve bought stock, or you could have found a way to get a Ferrari Enzo. Today, they change hands for around $2.3 million. In 2017, they’re primed to sell for even more.