Here at SCM, we take some space in every issue to look at affordable classics — great cars that you can get into without emptying your wallet. Affordable classics are great because they’re far more engaging than the average new grocery-getter, and you can drive them without worrying yourself to death about miles, damage and insane repair bills.

But here’s one true fact: Affordable classics don’t always stay affordable. Whether this is a good or bad thing mainly depends on if and when you bought that classic. For most of us, it either means we are enjoying a big run-up in value — or we’re watching a model we’ve always wanted to own slip out of reach. At a minimum, that car you’ve been dreaming about has gotten a lot more expensive.

We decided to take a closer look at five models that have had big gains in value over the past decade. Each comes from a different manufacturer and each appeals to different sensibilities. What these cars all share is the fact that the collector market has woken up to their value. Meritocracy sometimes works.

1969–74 Ferrari 246 GT Dino

Just 10 years ago, a very good Ferrari Dino 246 GT went for about $70,000 to $80,000. During the heady years of 2006–07, prices spiked to about $150,000, and then held steady through the Great Recession. Typical prices soared starting in 2013, going from $148,000 in 2012 straight up to $318,000 in 2013 and to $440,000 for 2014 (SCM# 245132).

Perhaps the best example of the current craze for the 6-cylinder Ferraris is the basket case that sold for $222,718 at the Silverstone auction in Britain in May of this year. (SCM# 244266) The car looks like it was fished out of a river, and it still brought more than a solid #2 car in 2012.

The reason for the run-up is not hard to spot — the Dinos are among the last of the pre-308 era Ferraris, and with many 365 models of the same age heading for the million-dollar mark — and some going well past that amount — it’s only natural that the Dinos would follow.

1953–56 Austin Healey 100-4


Austin-Healey built 14,634 cars in the BN1 and BN2 100-4 line, including 640 factory 100M models that offered bigger carbs, high-compression pistons, a lumpy cam and a factory cold-air intake. Buyers of more prosaic Healeys could order the parts in a special kit, but a real factory-built 100M is a rare bird. In 2004, you could lay hands on a basic 100-4 for an average of $28,000, or you could get one of those 100M cars for an average of about $70,000, but those days have disappeared like Stirling Moss down the Mulsanne Straight. Today, a bona fide Austin-Healey 100M will run you about $220,000 (SCM# 244881), and the basic 100-4 sells for about $70,000 at auction (SCM# 244887).

The reasons why are simple — Aston Martin prices are in low Earth orbit, and the big Healeys (and Jaguars) are just a step below those on the ladder of exclusivity. For the near future, look to similar-sized cars such as the MGA and Triumph TR3 to follow the big Healeys and Jags upward.

1960–63 Porsche 356B coupe


While the 356 Speedster has commanded high prices for well over a generation, and the cabriolet versions were not far behind, the price of a basic 356 coupe has risen dramatically in recent years. The 356B years of 1960–63 were an era of transition for Porsche in body style and running gear, and these cars have generally not been as well regarded as the earlier 356A or the later 356C.

If we strip out the Carreras and the ragtops, the 356B coupe sold for an average of about $27,000 in 2004, and the average price was still about $35,000–$40,000 as late as 2011. But since that year, prices have floated steadily up to a new average of about $84,000 this year. Some cars have exceeded $100,000, while some bargains have still been found at around $50,000 (SCM# 243196).

The least-loved of the 356 line have always been the notchback coupes, and they continue to lag slightly, but they are the same under the skin. Yet many notchbacks were converted to ersatz cabriolets courtesy of the chop saw, and the best estimate is fewer than 100 of these cars have survived intact. It’s possible that novelty and scarcity could soon turn the tide in favor of the notchback (SCM# 213742).

1957–58 Studebaker Golden Hawk


If you want a sporty Studebaker — filled to the brim with style and sporting a supercharged 289-ci V8 at 275 horsepower, you are looking for a Golden Hawk. Produced for only two years, slightly more than 5,000 of these were built.

Out in the market, you have to discount the outliers on this model. Barrett-Jackson has a penchant for getting well over $100,000 for these cars as far back as 2011, when most good examples were trading in the mid-$30k range. There are also several Golden Hawks that have crossed the block in unrestored condition, and those drag down average prices drastically. Yet, if you track the #2-or-better cars since 2010, average prices have moved from about $40,000 up to $80,000 or more, with the top cars now selling well over $100,000. One Golden Hawk (SCM# 232170) sold for $88,000 in late 2013, and then again for $107,000 in early 2014, offering an idea of the price trajectory of these cars.

In a domestic market dominated by the Tri-Five Chevys and the rest of the usual suspects, the Golden Hawk is truly special. Buyers seeking something unusual are coming around to this model, and time has been kind to the Raymond Loewy design.

1967–70 Toyota 2000GT


First made famous in the United States by James Bond, the Toyota 2000GT has the distinction of being by far the highest-priced Japanese car on the market. The 2000GT features a 150-hp DOHC engine, styling to rival the E-type Jaguar, and the most precious commodity of extreme scarcity, with just 354 built.

In the late 1990s, these cars sold in the range of $60,000 to $80,000 — already an eyebrow-raising sum for the day. The first auction sale to break $100,000 was in 2000. By 2010, the few that sold were trading around $300,000, and that’s when the lightning struck. In 2012, prices shot up to $600,000, and prices have ranged from $968,000 to over $1,000,000 in the past two years (SCM# 245055).

Unless you’re ready to spend truly astonishing amounts of cash, you’re better off admiring the 2000GT in the capable hands of Agent 007. But the heads-up in the market comes from the recent chart-topping sales of the 1967 Mazda Cosmo (SCM# 245010) and 1972 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (SCM# 247736) this summer. Both sold in the mid-$200,000 range, setting new high-water marks. It seems likely that other rare Japanese models will shortly follow. ♦


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