What defines a classic car? Some will argue age alone is enough, with a minimum of 25 years being the qualifying criteria. In human terms, that would be barely out of college. Maybe we need to rethink this idea?
Looking back a bit further, there are dozens of arguably great classic cars that come with huge price tags today. Price tags that would buy an average person a regular home and perhaps a small holiday home also. Are these classics worth the money? Not for your average performance fa, some of these collector cars are seriously slow.
10 Ford Mustang Boss 429
The working man’s performance car, Ford’s Mustang has long been held in high regard for its affordable performance, at least that is the official claim from Ford’s marketing executives. In reality, prices have been on the up for a long time with no end in sight, Boss 429 models hovering around the $300,000 mark.
So just how fast is this all-American hero? Actually not as quick as the figures suggest. The Ford 7-liter V8 engine delivered 375 hp on the dyno, but in the Mustang, something wasn’t quite right, with a disappointing top speed of 117mph.
9 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider
Wearing a famous name and being extremely rare is a sure-fire way to increase resale prices. One of just 12 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo spider known to have been built recently fetched an eye-watering bid of $19.8 million.
So for a sum of money that would normally be associated with prestigious Hollywood real estate, the Alfa Romeo 8C doesn’t seem like a bargain, but then exclusivity never comes cheaply. Which is probably just as well. Alfa would have gearheads believe this is a Le Mans race for the road, except it isn’t, with a top speed of 109mph it won’t be bothering even the slowest of everyday compacts.
8 Bentley Blower 4.5
Not every sports car was a combination of a powerful engine and sleek bodywork, Bentley’s famous “Blower” did things rather differently, with its impossibly big and heavy body leading to a less than glamorous nickname of the “fastest barn” ever.
Brute force comes to mind when we consider the Bentley Blower, in effect a standard road car with the addition of a Roots supercharger, boosting output to 240 HP. With over double the power available, the Blower still battled against its huge weight and size, and with a little coaxing might see 130mph. In total, Bentley produced 740 of the 4.5-liter models with only 55 factory-built blower editions, rare as they are auction prices start around $7 million.
7 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Fresh off the assembly line, few cars can match Cadillac’s Eldorado Biarritz for its sheer size and pretentious styling. Launched in the late 1950s, an era commonly associated with the arrival of little green men and a surge in jet aviation, there is little other reason for the enormous rear wings.
Over the top? Sure, there is no denying Cadillac went to town with the later models dripping in chrome and leather, these were luxury convertibles despite what the marketing team would have us believe. Under the hood, a hearty 6-liter V8 pushed out 345 horses making the Eldorado the most powerful Cadillac on sale with an optimistic top speed of 130mph. How much will a slice of 50s nostalgia cost now? Easily around $350,000 for a good example.
6 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 GS Cabriolet
Scoring a huge early success for Porsche, the 356, with over 76,000 cars built, remains highly sought after among enthusiasts, with the rarer examples commanding silly prices. This rare 1963 Carrera 2 GS Cabriolet is one of just 64 cars built between 1963-64 recently set a new record for the 356, fetching $1 million at auction.
We often forget the humble Volkswagen Beetle origins, the same chassis, and layout with the now ubiquitous air-cooled flat-four engine, albeit one with some fine fettling from Porsche engineers to deliver 130 HP. Stripped of weight and boasting more power, the 356B should be quite a performer, but even the Carrera 2 GS struggled to get to 126mph.
5 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
The Corvette is a legend among gearheads, the famous 2-seater sports car has been with us since the 1950s and is arguably the most successful US-built sports car ever. Officially produced since 1953, the C1 Corvette suffered several production setbacks, in all just 300 cars were built in the first year.
These rare and slightly imperfect first-year models fetch serious money, with auction guides starting around $450,000 for a mint example. Condition and originality count for everything. And so the American sports car dream legend had begun, although these 3.9-liter cars are not especially fast, with a recorded top speed of 108mph.
4 Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder
Only those with deep pockets need to read any further, this rare Maserati Spyder went to auction with an expected sale price of $4 million, which considering there are only three known examples ever built is a steal.
Maserati had previously used the A6G to develop a range of sports coupes and track specials with considerable success with privateers and factory entrants alike. However, this is not an indication of the car’s performance and more the handling, with just 110 HP under the hood Maserati claimed an optimistic top speed of 115mph.
3 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible
American muscle cars go through phases in collectability affecting their values, as recently as 2014 a decent 71 spec Plymouth Hemi Cuda reached $3.4 million, thankfully for gearheads prices start at a more reasonable $500,000.
Arriving amid a flurry of concerns over pollution and rising gas prices dented the muscle car scene in the early 70s, Plymouth like every other US carmaker effectively dumbed down their performance models. One of the fastest muscle cars available at the time, with a top speed of 117mph proving just how bad things had gotten, big engines lived on but were handicapped by federal regulations.
2 Ferrari 166 Inter Coupe
The legendary prancing horse emblem of Ferrari almost guarantees performance, a mythical badge that only the fastest production cars are ever adorned with. There are some exceptions though. Don’t forget Ferrari road cars only existed to fund the factory racing team.
First making its appearance in 1948, Ferrari’s 166 Inter series is one that is immediately forgettable for its performance. Despite packing a V12 engine under the hood, albeit a tiny 2-liter that produced a modest 140 HP the Inter 16 wasn’t the thoroughbred its name suggests barely reaching 105mph. Undeniably a desirable Italian classic this rare coupe will set you back $750,000.
1 Toyota 2000GT
We admit to having a bit of a soft sport for Toyota’s 2000GT, the Japanese automaker’s first serious attempt to break into the US domestic market caused a bit of a stir in 1967. Previously most Japanese cars had been small compact sedans with economy and size in mind, the 2000GT changed all of that with one of the most beautiful cars ever to come out of Japan.
In possibly one of the smartest marketing moves of the 1960s, Toyota restricted production of their new junior supercar to 337 examples. Hugely successful with many reviewers claiming the 2000GT was the best sports car available, aesthetically yes, but performance could have been better with a top speed of 126mph. However, the importance and rarity cannot be ignored forcing values up to over $1 million.
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