Three Classics to invest in and drive

Can you drive a potential classic that’ll grow your money? Try these.

In the last episode of The Grand Tour, Clarkson, Hammond and May bought an Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV6, a Fiat X1/9 and a Lancia Gamma coupe, as potential classic car investments that could be actually be driven.

Okay so the Fiat proved a total loss after the engine died, and at around £2k it probably wasn’t worth the cost of a new motor. But the Alfa and Lancia were £10k and £13k investments, which whilst they cost money to repair in the short term, could potential yield a big profit in the long-term, say 5-10 years from now, being highly desirable and rare respectively.

It got me thinking though, what else could be bought that’s just on the cusp of potentially rocketing in value, and we’ve seen that a lot lately with cars like the Ford Capri and performance Escorts. Here are my three suggestions.

Rover SD1 3500 Vitesse

I saw some Rover SD1s at the London Classic Car Show and was immediately reminded how much I used to love these. The concept and design were way ahead of their time – an executive/luxury five-door hatchback/coupe (Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide anyone?).

The V8 in the 3500 made it very desirable. And the fact that they were popular with the UK Police force made them not only cool, but proved that they would be relatively robust cars. Well apart from when rust got hold of them. Unsurprisingly it appears there are not very many left, which makes them rare.

Prices are already starting to head north of £20k for the best and most desirable versions, but there’s a left hand drive 1984 example for sale in Portugal for £13,500 and closer to home a 1986 Twin Plenum for £18,950. There’s a few lesser examples for sale, and some V8s that need a bit of work and could well be worth a punt.

Volvo 262C

Inspired by the Lincoln Continental Mark IV, this is one of the coolest old Volvos out there. Based on the 240/260 series, the roof has been chopped and lowered (10cm lower) with Bertone restyling and building the bits that weren’t direct carry-overs from the saloons.

Powered by a V6, most of these went to America, but there are a few around and some have been imported in. It’s rare, unique and superbly elegant. Here’s something else it is – built to last forever. These remain tough as tanks and whilst they’re a bit agricultural to drive, they won’t let you down.

Prices are already getting up to £20k for the best cars, but there’s an Australian import available for £10,500 and a 1979 example with MoT for £14,000.

Fiat Ritmo Abarth 125TC

Okay, here’s my oddity in this line-up. Especially as I’m referring to the Series 1 1981 Ritmo Abarth which wasn’t even sold in the UK (it was too complicated to convert it to right-hand drive) and rare – but I chose it because I had a model of it as a kid! And I like the more basic front styling better.

And there was 123bhp, a five-speed manual ZF transmission, ventilated front disc brakes and firmer front suspension on offer in this front-wheel drive hatchback with 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds – plus it had Abarth Scorpion badges!

Extremely rare though (thanks to deadly rust), and hence good ones are bound to go up in value. If you can find any that is. One example sold for 10,900 Euros (about £9,500), and another appears to have sold for 24k Euros (about £21k)! All I could find was a 105 TC and even that’s up for £9,750 though it does look amazingly clean. Sooner or later though another is bound to come for sale.

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