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Classic cars aren’t often viewed as good investments. Between depreciation, storage, maintenance, and fuel, chances are you’ll spend more money than you’ll make, even if the car’s value holds steady. These five collector cars are cheap today, but come with a high price ceiling that means they could be great investments

R107/C107 Mercedes SL won’t be a cheap collector car for long

The R107 Mercedes SL is a cheap collector car
R107 Mercedes SL Convertible | Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes SL is one of the more anonymous classic Mercedes models. This small, two-door coupe or convertible isn’t one of the most popular of the old Benzes. But that’s what makes it a perfect choice as an investment classic car. You can get an older SL for less than $15,000, and many cost between $11,000 and $13,000 per recent Bring a Trailer data.

What’s more, the market for cars like this is on the rise. As more iconic nameplates like the M3 and W124 get all the attention, lesser models like the SL get left behind. But that also means many buyers are priced out of the more significant nameplates and start looking elsewhere.

It’s not going to happen in a few months, or even a year. But expect the early 80s SLs to start climbing in value over the next two to five years.

The E28 BMW M5 is an early BMW M car steal

A black 1985 E28 BMW M5 on a snowy mountain
1985 E28 BMW M5 | BMW

Older M cars generally grab absurd prices at auction. But the E28 BMW M5 manages to avoid those high price tags. While the E30 M3 approaches six figures, the first-generation BMW M5 sits around $40,000 on average. That’s still not cheap, per se, but in classic car terms, it’s a cheap option with plenty of heritage behind it.

Much like the SL above, early M5 prices benefit from the popularity of the first-generation M3. As of right now, the E28 M5 hasn’t seen a big price spike…yet. But as drivers seek more analog driving experiences, early luxury cruisers like the M5 are likely to see increased interest, and values will be on the rise.

The Jaguar XK8 is a future classic with big investment potential

2002 Jaguar XK8
2002 Jaguar XK8 | Bring a Trailer

There’s no way around it: the Jaguar XK8 is a cheap future classic car. It sells for around $15,000 on average, but many go for less than $10,000 today. It’s not quite old enough to be a legitimate classic just yet, with early models arriving just 23 years ago. But it’s only two years away from classic car status and offers a driving experience that is well worth the price tag.

There has been a slight increase in the average transaction price for used XK8s, and more cars have entered the market in recent years.

All of that combines to make this Jaguar convertible sports car an incredibly cheap way into an interesting ride. And with a 4.0-liter V8 and very early ‘00s styling, there is big potential for this British sports car. And even if values don’t drastically increase, it’s an affordable and unique driving experience that won’t break your retirement fund.

A C3 Chevrolet Corvette is a surprisingly cheap collector muscle car

American muscle cars have a cult following, and the C3 Corvette is perhaps one of the flashiest examples I can think of. So imagine my surprise to find that C3 Corvettes rarely fetch more than $20,000 at auction these days.

The real move here is to find a cheap classic car that you want to drive, but that you can sell without losing money down the road. The C3 Corvette is a perfect choice. With several examples selling for less than $15,000, it’s a cheap way into the classic car space. And because values have held so steady for so long, it’s likely that you’ll get that money back out if it’s kept in good condition.

The sharp angles and flares make this Corvette one of the most distinguishable silhouettes of all time. And with such a low average price, it won’t take much of a spike to make a little money in the long term.

Investing in cars is risky, but cheap collector cars are safer bets

It’s not easy to predict the classic car market. But if you can buy into an undervalued model, you’ve got a better chance of keeping your accountant happy. These 4 cheap collector cars are affordable today but have big upside potential. You just have to decide if they’re worth the risk.

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