Why special cars from the ’80s and ’90s are appreciating in value
JOHANNESBURG: The 1980s and 1990s were decades that divided opinion. Were they absolutely fabulous, or do we look back at our youthful years with a sense of misguided nostalgia?
For petrolheads though, one thing is beyond doubt: this was the era of some of the best motorsport.
While the regulations might have changed, one thing remained constant: proposed competition cars required a road-going version for homologation purposes. This spawned some of the most stripped-out, turbo-charged, box-arched cars to hit the roads. The cars are reportedly in great demand amongst the 45- to 65-year-old audience across the world, and the most recent update of the Hagerty Price Guide shows their attraction has translated into rising prices.
HOT HATCHES AND THEN SOME
The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth is one such rising star, adding an average of R405 450 to its value over the year. Rare in unmodified form, the very best are demanding significant prices, with both Bonhams and Silverstone Auctions recently valuing examples for R1 505 386.
The Audi Quattro Sport is another significant riser in the Hagerty Price Guide. Twelve months ago, an “excellent” example of this shortened, box-arched Group-B homologation special had a value of R5 319 032. Today, Hagerty’s value is R5 700 396 and the very top, concours examples are valued at up to R8 109 015.
The rise has mainly been due to high-value achieved prices, but the recent auction of the final model Quattro Sport S1 gives a good example of the fervour that there is for these cars. In early February this year, Artcurial sold a motorsport-prepared, ex-Race of Champions Sport Quattro S1 for a staggering R40 143 640, which was more than twice its pre-sale low estimate.
Fifteen years ago, the Lancia Delta HF Integrale, especially in end-of-the-line Evo II spec, had a top guide price of R150 538. Values then shot up over the next decade, with Hagerty valuing an “excellent” example at R808 894 by 2015. By late 2019, this had risen, but not by the same rate, to R1 007 605.
In the past year, values have risen sharply again, with the Guide listing the model at R1 294 632 and top examples as high as R1 714 133. That valuation is under review as many sales have occurred at Hagerty’s top level, including an Evo II selling at an extraordinary R1 922 880 in Scottsdale Arizona during the pandemic in January 2021.
Values of the standard BMW M3 (E30) coupé have risen significantly over the past few years too, but it is the special editions that attract high sales prices. Average values of the Evo II have risen from R1 155 635 to R1 285 098 in the past year.
For years, as other hot hatch values rose, prices of the Clio Williams remained relatively static. However, in the past year there has been a surge of interest in the original batch of homologation cars. Although you can buy a rough Williams for less than R200 000, values of the very best are on the up: the Hagerty Price Guide shows an ‘Excellent’ example as worth R363 299, and values across the board have risen by an average of R114 409 in the past year.
John Mayhead, the head of Automotive Intelligence UK, explains: “Hagerty Price Guide values of many high-performance 1980s and ’90s modern classics have been rising quickly. We spotted a trend: that homologated cars seem to be very attractive to buyers at present. We believe that the combination of low production numbers, high performance and solid motorsport credentials gives these cars exactly what the market wants.”
If you have one of these original import-only cars in your possession, perhaps it’s best you hold onto it. Alternatively, the market seems worthwhile if you would like to make a small fortune by parting with your retro pride and joy now.