The Surprisingly Hottest Collector Cars in 2021

It looks like the collector car hobby, in general, is cranking. Some of the segments slowing down before 2021 are bouncing back to life. The hotter segments of the collector hobby like Japanese cars from the 1980s and 1990s are seeing even higher values as 2021 continues on. At least that’s according to our pals at Hagerty.

Hagerty Insurance tracks the collector car market because they insure those cars. They see what’s hot and what’s not first based on what is being bought, sold, and insured. But even they are surprised at what looks to be one of the hottest groups of cars so far.

Vehicles from the 1980s and 1990s are really starting to take off

Vehicles from the 1980s and 1990s are really starting to take off. And within that group, it is the Japanese products seeing the highest numbers. Everything from sports cars to compact pickups is seeing spikes. 

Some of this increase is due to some of the more niche vehicles that Japanese manufacturers were able to produce.  During a crunch, there is little development money to play with. But when things are good it allows companies the bandwidth to stretch out. They can get into more niche-y segments as a way to highlight certain developments or used them as stalking horses. 

So some of those types of vehicles are seen here in the Top 10 fastest rising values in Japanese products. 

1981-1990 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60/62

Blue 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser
1984 Toyota Land Cruiser | Toyota

No surprise here when SUVs are so popular and Land Cruisers were so good. Slowly beginning to increase in value starting in 2010, they have now seen a 22 percent increase in a year. A Land Cruiser in #2 condition averages out at just above $40,000 right now. Hagerty says that in the last three years requests for insurance quotes have increased a staggering 214 percent. 

1991 Nissan Figaro

1990 Nissan Figaro
1990 Nissan Figaro | Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Nissan’s boutique cars from the late-1980s and 1990s have been poised to leap in value based on the 25-year laws in the US. These were for the Japanese market only so it took the mandatory 25 year wait period to become legal to import. These were limited production vehicles in Japan, though relatively low tech with automatics, front-wheel-drive, and small displacement engines. Prices have increased from $22,000 to $26,800 in 2021 alone. 

1983-1989 Mitsubishi Starion

A red 1987 Mitsubishi Starion on a stone bridge among rolling mossy hills
1987 Mitsubishi Starion | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

In spite of being cheap and rather obscure, the Starion is seeing more mainstream interest. The Chrysler Conquest is almost identical to the Starion. Both are seeing increases in values though they’re still relatively affordable. Figure around $17,500 for one in decent shape right now.

1990-1996 Nissan 300ZX

1990 Nissan 300ZX
1990 Nissan 300ZX | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

You knew this would find its way onto the list. This is just one of several generations of Zs on this list. Without the turbo, prices are around $17,000. With the turbo, the 300ZX is currently valued at a bit over $33,000.

1974 Datsun 260Z

1974 Datsun 260Z
Datsun 260 Z 1974 | Rust/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The same as a 240Z but with bigger bumpers and a stroked engine offset with lower compression, the 260Z values have risen 28 percent. Figure $25,500 for the 2+2 model, while the standard coupe will set you back almost $40,000.

1999-2000 Civic Si

1999 honda civic four door hatchback
1999 Honda Civic four door hatchback

A favorite to hot rod in the 1980s there are few that haven’t been massaged. If you can find one unmolested the price you’ll pay shot up between $19,900 and $28,100. That’s an increase of 41 percent.

1984-1988 Nissan 300ZX

1988 Nissan 300ZX
1988 Nissan 300ZX | Serge DE SAZO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

As with other cars on this list the Z31-generation values took a huge leap no matter what the condition, options, or years. Hagerty says no Z31 variant grew less than 30 percent in the last year. With a #2 value that means you’ll pay more than $20,000 for one.

1982-1986  Toyota Supra

Red 1984 Toyota Supra
1984 Toyota Supra | Toyota

Based on the Celica these have never been the most popular in collector circles. But that is changing. Thanks to four-wheel independent suspension, more power, fender flares, larger wheels, and a rear spoiler the Supra was much more performance-oriented. In the past 10 years values have tripled.

1978-1983 Datsun 280ZX

1981 Datsun 280ZX Targa 2 turbo
1981 Datsun 280ZX Targa 2 turbo | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The 1978 ZX was the first year of the heftier Zs and as such has not been the best-performing collector car. But values of all Zs have spiked including these second-gen models. In #2 condition the average value is now hovering at almost $25,000. 

1995-1998 Nissan Skyline GT-R

1999 Nissan Skyline GTR-34
1999 Nissan Skyline GTR-34 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

By far the most valuable of the 10 cars on this list is the Nissan Skyline. Not imported into the US it has always been a scarce vehicle here. The R32 version was first able to be imported here in 2015. Now the R33 is eligible and values are shooting up quickly. A GT-R has a value of just under $70,000. Moving up to the V-Spec that increases to $71,000. A V-Spec N1 gets pretty pricey at around $125,000 and if you can find a NISMO 400R expect to pay $440,000. As more are imported it is unclear whether that will level out prices or increase them with increased demand. 

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