Most people think of cars as depreciating assets that lose value the moment they’re driven off the lot. While it’s generally true for the vast majority of vehicles, there are exceptions to this rule. Some cars, often due to factors like rarity, historical significance, or high performance, actually appreciate in value over time.
Here is a list of cars that have appreciated in value:
- Acura NSX
- Bentley Arnage
- BMW E46 M3
- Dodge Viper GTS
- Ferrari F355
- Ford Mustang Boss 302
- Jaguar E-Type
- Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione
- Nissan GT-R
- Porsche 911
This guide will explain depreciation and appreciation of car value, and which cars appreciate the most in value.
What Is Car Depreciation?
Car depreciation refers to the decline in the value of a car over time. When you buy a new car and drive it off the dealer’s lot, its value often drops immediately, sometimes by as much as 20%. The value continues to decrease as the car ages, racks up mileage, and undergoes wear and tear. Generally, most cars lose about 50-60% of their initial value within the first three years.
Factors Influencing Depreciation
Several variables impact how quickly a car loses value.
- Brand: Some brands are known for holding their value better than others. For example, luxury cars like Lexus and German engineering like BMW typically depreciate slower than mass-market brands.
- Model: Specific car models with high demand and low supply often depreciate at a slower pace. In contrast, models that are abundant and less popular tend to lose value faster.
- Condition: A car that’s been well-maintained, has low mileage, and is free of accidents will hold its value longer than a neglected vehicle.
Why Some Cars Appreciate
While most cars depreciate over time, a select few appreciate, becoming more valuable as the years go by. This increase in value isn’t random; it’s usually influenced by a variety of factors that make the car more desirable to collectors, enthusiasts, and even investors.
1. Limited Production Numbers
Automakers often release special editions with a limited number of units. These cars are not just vehicles but become collectible items. Limited production creates a sense of exclusivity, making these cars more appealing to buyers who are willing to pay a premium for them.
2. Historical Importance
These could be cars that introduced groundbreaking technology or designs. Cars with a racing heritage or those that have been featured in films can also see an increase in their worth over time.
3. Cult Following
Vehicles like the VW Beetle have fans worldwide who cherish them, not just for their performance but also for the lifestyle or sentiment they represent. This dedicated fanbase can drive up demand and, in turn, increase the vehicle’s value.
4. Performance and Unique Features
Features like powerful engines, superior handling, and advanced aerodynamics make these cars desirable. Unique or customizable features like special paint jobs, interior trims, or advanced tech can also add to a car’s appeal and contribute to its long-term value.
Types of Cars That Often Appreciate
To round it up, here are some common types of cars that have a higher likelihood of appreciating:
- Classic Cars: Vintage cars that are well-maintained can appreciate substantially. The older the car, generally, the more valuable it becomes if it’s kept in good condition.
- Luxury Cars: High-end brands like Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and certain models from Mercedes-Benz and BMW are known to hold their value well.
- Exotic Cars: These are cars that are not just high-performing but are also rare and expensive right off the production line. Think Lamborghini, Bugatti, and certain Ferrari models.
Cars That Appreciate in Value
If you’re looking to invest in a car that will not only provide driving pleasure but also potential financial gains, here’s a list of cars known for appreciating in value.
1. Acura NSX
The first-generation Acura NSX, launched in the early ‘90s, was a game-changer in the supercar world. It featured a sleek body without the hefty price tag often associated with luxury cars. The new NSX models have sparked renewed interest in these classics, driving up their market value.
Originally priced at around $60,000, well-kept vintage NSXs now sell for similar or even higher amounts. With an aluminum V6 engine that redlines at 8,000 RPM, this resilient machine set the standard for durability. Modified minimally throughout its production until 2005, the first-gen NSX remains a valuable asset, showing continued appreciation in value.
2. Bentley Arnage
Constructed from 1998 to 2009, the Bentley Arnage was a twin to the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph and boasted a BMW V8 engine enhanced by Cosworth. This lavish sedan was initially priced between approximately $190,000 to $253,000 and can now be found for as low as around $28,000 on the resale market.
However, premium models in top condition can still fetch close to $65,000. Acquiring a Bentley always comes with its set of considerations; hence, you should only choose one with a comprehensive service record and expert verification.
3. BMW E46 M3
The BMW E46 M3 is a high-performance variant of the brand’s 3 Series and is an embodiment of versatility and power. Initially facing rapid depreciation, it now offers an increasing value proposition, making it a budget-friendly yet potent supercar. This model, which emerged as the third iteration following the E30 and E36, presented a fresh design with unique components.
Highly customizable from the factory, it served both as a racing champion and a reliable daily driver. Prices for used E46 M3s have been rising; they averaged around $26,000 recently, up from $19,000 in 2016. Exceptional models, like the E46 M3 CSL, have fetched over $100,000.
4. Dodge Viper GTS
The ‘96 Dodge Viper GTS is an American marvel in automotive performance. With a V10 engine that delivers 450 horsepower and a lightweight frame of just 3,400 lbs, it’s a track monster that also boasts pickup-truck durability. Originally priced at $66,000, its value is climbing back to that range, making it a sought-after collector’s item.
While it offers an experience close to driving a Ford GT, the second-gen Viper (1996-2002) is particularly recommended for its enhanced aesthetics and performance. A pristine ‘96 Viper GTS recently sold for $160,000.
5. Ferrari F355
The Ferrari F355 was introduced between 1995 and 1999 and stood out as a significant upgrade over its predecessor, the 348. Equipped with Ferrari’s first quad-cam, five-valve engine, it cranked out 375 horsepower at a high 8,500 RPM, aided by cutting-edge elements like titanium rods and dry-sump oiling.
It offered supercar-level performance (capable of hitting 60 MPH in just 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 185 MPH) at a less astronomical price. In 1997, it became the first Ferrari road car to feature F1 paddle shifters, a game-changer in its time. Today, you can pick one up for a modest price of $60,000. With care, its value can increase as time goes on.
6. Ford Mustang Boss 302
The 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is the epitome of American muscle, delivering a perfect blend of raw power and refinement. This limited-run model, with only about 8,000 units made, offers a robust 444-horsepower V8 engine, accelerating from 0-60 in a swift 4.3 seconds.
Handling rivals that of a BMW, offering precision and balance in every maneuver. While practical for daily driving, a simple push of the pedal unleashes its ferocious potential. If you find a fully restored model, expect to pay anywhere from $150,000 to nearly $400,000, and that price is only going up.
7. Jaguar E-Type
The Jaguar E-Type, known as the XK-E in North America, stands as a pinnacle of automotive design and performance. Introduced in 1961, it came with engines ranging from a 3.8L straight-six to a beefy 5.3L V12 in its later Series 3 models.
Its value has been steadily climbing; a Series 1 E-Type sold for over $200,000 by the end of 2020, doubling its value since 2018. While later models are more affordable, they offer great potential for restoration, making them a collector’s dream.
8. Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione
The Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione, commonly known as the Evo, is an iconic piece of rally history. Produced from 1979 to 1994, the Delta line earned six consecutive World Rally Championships, solidifying its reputation as possibly the greatest rally car ever.
The high-performance Evo models debuted in 1991, intended as the ultimate rally-bred Deltas. Their market value has recently skyrocketed, with some models more than quadrupling in price. Sales have ranged from $159,000 to a staggering $360,000.
9. Nissan GT-R
The 2018 Nissan GT-R isn’t just another high-priced sports car; it’s an investment on wheels. Priced just shy of $100,000, it offers an exhilarating experience with its 3.8L twin-turbocharged V6 engine that delivers a robust 565 horsepower.
The GT-R has a reputation for strong long-term value retention, making it an enticing pick for those willing to invest significantly. As older GT-R models continue to appreciate, the 2018 version is also expected to follow this lucrative trend.
10. Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 is a hit with car lovers and its older models are increasing in value. Newer versions, like the 996, are also becoming more valuable. Known as the perfect sports car for Porsche fans, the 911 is great for everyday use and fits various lifestyles. It offers different models, such as the Carrera and Turbo, to suit all kinds of buyers. The 996 is a great starting point for new Porsche owners, and the 997 model seems to have stopped losing value. These cars are often priced over $100,000.