Remember that car you wish you’d held onto because miraculously, it’s now worth considerably more than you bought it for? While most of us parted with cars from years gone by that have all since appreciated, there’s still time to look for cars at a reasonable price that will likely become more sought after in the coming years. Here’s carVertical’s top 10 investment cars to buy in 2023 and hold onto.
Mercedes-Benz 190 W201 (1982-1993)
The 190 had a successful 11 year production run so there’s plenty of examples to choose from in varying conditions. Prices for high mileage examples start from under £5,000 but good condition Cosworth editions will set you back around £20,000. It’s worth looking for an early 80s 190, special edition or a 2.6-litre engine as these are likely to be rarer and demand a higher price when the time comes to sell.
Toyota MR2 Mk1 (1984-1989)
Nothing says 80s design quite like pop-up headlights. The MR2 is a lightweight, two-seater, mid-engined sports car that would make a fun investment. It’s quite common for them to get a bit rusty, so make sure to thoroughly inspect the vehicle first, but decent MR2s are available from around £10,000. There’s a mix of UK builds and imports, but a UK example is more likely to have genuine mileage and remain more rust resistant.
Mazda MX-5 NA (1989-1997)
As one of the best selling sports cars in the world, the Mazda MX-5 wouldn’t have achieved this success without its first generation. Still true of new MX-5s today, they offer go-kart-like driving and even though engine options were relatively small, the power is more than enough to shift 960kg. Under £4,000 will get you a well loved example or stretch the budget to £10,000 for low mileage or special edition models.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV (1996-1998)
Given the short production run of the fourth generation Lancer Evolution, these cars are already becoming quite rare. It might take a while to find a good example for sale in the UK but if you’re seriously interested, there are more options around Europe ranging from £10,000 to £20,000. Production of the Lancer Evolution stopped in 2016 so earlier models are becoming more sought after.
BMW M5 E34 (1987-1993)
Most early BMWs are now highly collectible and as time moves on, 90s cars are becoming more popular with younger collectors. The E34 presents a good opportunity to get your hands on a BMW M Sport, for around £15,000. As the top spec E34, apart from Alpina versions which are more scarce, the M5 has a larger engine and is more focussed on performance.
Honda S2000 (1999-2009)
A modern classic in the making, the S2000 gives the Mazda MX-5 a run for its money. Originally released to celebrate Honda’s 50th anniversary, the S2000 is an engaging car to drive with plenty of power and a satisfying six-speed manual gearbox. Very low mileage examples can fetch as much as £25,000 but older models with a few more miles can be snapped up for around £9,000.
Volkswagen Phaeton (2003-2015)
Introduced as Volkswagen’s first luxury vehicle, the Phaeton had some good engine choices and lots of tech but had stiff competition from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It was also quite expensive to buy new so they weren’t very popular in the UK but this is likely to make them more valuable in the future. Early versions are now available for around £5,000 and newer examples can be had for just over £10,000.
Land Rover Discovery Mk1 (1989-1998)
Built to last, these rugged off-roaders are often seen for sale with upwards of 150,000 miles on the clock so they might require a bit of love and attention. If off-roading is your thing, or you’ve got a soft spot for old Land Rovers, the Discovery Mk1 is a great pick. Prices range from £1,000-£7,000 and there’s often donor cars available too if you’re looking to take on a project.
Ford Puma (1997-2002)
In recent years Ford has revived the Puma name but it originally belonged to a compact coupe. Clearly the market just wasn’t ready then for a quirky crossover but the unusual design is anticipated to become popular with collectors looking for something a bit different. Listings start from £2,000 but good condition low mileage examples can sell for up to £15,000.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG V8 (2008-2014)
The end of C63 production was the end of naturally aspirated AMGs. Since the world is moving towards electric alternatives, this is one of the last models that had an old school engine bursting with power and performance. This model is already very sought after, with low mileage rare specification examples asking upwards of £100,000. Newer examples might be the priciest on our list but this is an impressive car that celebrates petrol powered driving.
All investments come with inherent risk, so before you decide to buy, make sure to follow our guide on how to check a used car. Buying cars as an investment is all about playing the long game so assess the market to see when’s the right time to buy and sell. If it’s not going to be your daily driver, consider where to store the vehicle to make sure it stays in great condition.