Like any marketplace, the classic car market is constantly moving, and collectors are out there looking for cars that may be currently undervalued. Many hope to find that car that delivers not only the experience of owning a dream car, but also one that will perform as an investment.
So here is my list of cars to watch and possibly buy in 2017:
1. 1970-1972 Chevrolet Corvette LT
From the time of the LT1 introduction, Chevrolet built a total of only 4,977 LT-1s, compared to a total of 66,121 Corvettes built during the same period. This is truly the last special-engine-equipped C3 Corvette, and these rare cars have been cheap for much too long.
Prices for the LT1 range anywhere from US $25,000-$45,000, making them look like an extremely good buy. The caveat about buying an LT is that it must be stock, in its original colors and have a matching-numbers engine and gearbox.
2. 1976-1987 Lotus Esprit
This car has been on and off many people’s “buy it now” lists, including mine, but finally, we are seeing some serious movement in the Esprit market. In my opinion, the early cars will always be more valuable long term than the later Peter Stevens cars built from 1988 on.
As for which of the many different models to buy, my personal picks are a S1 car or one of the final fuel-injected Turbo cars. You can still buy one of these bargain exotic cars for as little as US $30,000, but that window looks to be closing quickly.
3. Buick Grand National
The Grand National is an amazing car -- a serious hot rod disguised as a family coupe. The Grand National is fast, rare and easy to own. They are also easy to buy, with many nice examples available in the US $15,000-$25,000 range.
The top model GNX has already seen serious increases in value, and I see the market for the standard Grand National following in its footsteps.
4. 1992-1995 Mazda RX7
This is the only 1990s sports car that has not hit yet as far as price is concerned. These are stunningly beautiful sports cars that are fun to drive, well made and plenty fast. The best examples in the world sell for as little as US $30,000, and I would recommend buying one immediately at that price and beating the oncoming rush.
5. Buick GS 455
It never made sense to me that a Chevelle or a Olds 442 consistently sells for more money than the Buick GS 455 or Stage 1 car. These were the nicest built of all the GM muscle cars, and the Buick had the power to go with the quality, as well as better available options that these cars are known for.
These sleepers had a reported 510-lb.ft. of torque and were capable of quarter-mile times as low as 13.3 seconds. It looks like people are finally catching on as to how awesome these Buicks are. You can still get a GS 455 with a matching-number engine for as little as US $30,000, and like many of the cars mentioned above, I would get yours soon before the prices really start to climb.
I am sure I left off someone’s favorite car, but I hope there is something on my list for everyone to agree with or argue about.
Photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions and RM Sotheby's.