The automotive world is filled with cars that would have cost you pennies to buy a decade or two ago, but have since become so desirable that they sell for big money today.
With the value of air-cooled Porsches, bubble-era JDM imports and iconic early hot hatchbacks skyrocketing in recent years, buyers are now hunting for models that will follow suit in the future.
We can’t be sure that the following 10 cars will go up in value, but prices are currently holding steady, and the experts at HPI predict they could be a sensible purchase for anyone looking to invest.
“We’ve identified 10 models that not only perform well but also represent excellent value for money,” senior valuations editor Jeremy Yea told us. That makes them “a hot prospect for motorists looking to gain a healthy return on their investment”.
The cars from every segment most likely to rise in value
Ford Fiesta ST-200
The run-out version of Ford’s ever-popular Fiesta ST was only ever sold in limited numbers here in the UK, despite the regular ST proving so popular across Europe that more than 30,000 were sold. It commanded a £5000 premium over the entry-level ST, but that didn’t stop Ford from selling its entire allocation.
The ST200 boosted the stock car’s 180bhp up to 197bhp, with overboost temporarily pushing that figure up even further to 212bhp when called upon. It also recieved suspension upgrades and shorter gearing, which made it all the more engaging to drive.
Prices start from £13,000, but the fact that second-hand models are changing hands for as much as £17,000, not a million miles off the retail price of a brand new third-generation Fiesta ST, gives an indication of how popular the ST200 is.
Read more: Ford Fiesta ST – used buying advice
BMW Alpina 5 Series
Seeing how it sells far fewer cars than the brand it specialises in, any Alpina-badged BMW will already carry a collector’s premium – but it’s the latest 5 Series-based models that are predicted to become a big hit in the future.
With 600bhp from a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, capable of 0-62mph in just 3.5 seconds, the B5 BiTurbo begins life as an M550i but gets treated to Alpina’s legendary suspension tweaks that make it such a relaxed Bahnstormer.
Fewer than 100 are expected to ever be produced, so finding one on the second-hand market will be challenging enough, and with barely a year since it first went into production prices are still likely to be close to retail, but if you can find one for between £65,000 and £80,000 it could still be worth the investment.
Read more: Bargain BMWs from £5000 – buying guide
Audi TT Quattro 3.2 V6
It’s a testament to Audi’s timeless design that the first-generation TT looks as fresh as it does today, 20 years after it first went on sale. There are hundreds available in the classifieds, but it’s the 3.2-litre V6 engine that stands to become most desirable in the future – limited-run Quattro Sport model withstanding.
Surprisingly practical for a sports car, with ample performance and Audi’s signature Quattro all-wheel drive, the TT was at its most potent with a V6 under the bonnet.
Prices have remained stable for the past few years, so examples kept in good condition are likely to start rising in value. Expect to pay from £3000, with the best cared for models reaching as high as £16,000.
Read more: Audi TT mk1 – used buying guide
It might never command the attention of the Aston Martin-badged Cygnet with which it shared a platform, but Toyota’s IQ city car is still worth a mention on this list.
The curious city car sold in far fewer numbers than the comparatively-sized Smart FourTwo, making it something of a rarity on our roads. Models powered by the 1.33 Dual-VVT-i engine are the ones worth your attention, with 96bhp and the choice of a manual or CVT automatic gearbox.
Prices range from £1500 to £7000 for the very best examples, but one owner, low-mileage models can be had for around £5000.
Read more: Toyota IQ 2009-2014 review
Volkswagen Phaeton W12
Volkswagen’s luxury saloon struggled to make an impact when it first arrived in the UK, despite considerable success abroad (most notably in China). The Phaeton weighed as much as a Range Rover and cost a whopping £70,000, which meant it found few homes in right-hand-drive form.
Of the ones that do still exist, there’s a clear favourite among collectors: the W12, effectively a Bentley engine with a VW badge on the front. The 6.0-litre engine struggles to achieve fuel economy in the double digits, so you’ll need to set aside a significant amount for fuel, but second-hand prices are about as low as we’ve seen them right now.
The highest mileage models can be found at auction for as little as £2000, while the latest-plate models command a £7000 premium.
Read more: Should you buy a VW Phaeton?
Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
You’ll hear Land Rover’s supercharged Range Rover Sport SVR coming long before you see it, courtesy of a rip-snorting exhaust note that few rivals can hope to match.
The 524bhp super SUV stands out from the standard Range Rover Sport with unique styling and a luxury interior, but it’s the 5.8-litre V8 engine that justifies high premiums on the second-hand market, propelling the two-tonne luxury car to 60mph in under five seconds.
Prices typically start at £50,000, but with JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations division happy to help customers get creative when ordering their cars, particularly bespoke examples have been known to change hands for more than £150,000.
Read more: The 10 best sports SUVs in the world
BMW 1M Coupe
A true modern classic, the 1M Coupé is already something of a rare sight on Britain’s roads, with only 377 cars registered (including SORNed models most likely stored away in heated garages and liberated only on special occasions).
It might have looked expensive for a 1 Series, with BMW charging £40,000 at dealerships eight years ago, but that price bought you a 335bhp twin-turbo straight-six engine that drove the 1495kg Coupé through its rear wheels and managed 60mph in less than five seconds. That electric combination arguably made it a bargain compared to the M3 of the day.
Right now, sub-30,000-mile examples are being sold for up to £55,000, with no sign of that figure going down any time soon.
Read more: BMW 1M Coupé (2011) review
The only hybrid to make our list, the CR-Z was Honda’s attempt to make the petrol-electric powertrain desirable in a way the Toyota Prius could never hope to achieve.
It is small and nippy, despite a relatively mild 122bhp combined output, and with Honda’s renowned reliability the car has revealed few issues as it ages. Owners report a fuel economy that regularly returns more than 50mpg, and while the CR-Z was never as agile as a Mazda MX-5, with looks that were somewhat polarising at launch, it has aged well and has earned its fair share of fans.
Prices begin from as little as £4000 for high-mileage examples and go as high as £9000 for later registration models, but look hard enough and there are still clean cars out there in the £5000 bracket.
Read more: Honda CR-Z – used buying guide
Ferrari exists almost in isolation when it comes to depreciation these days, but there was a time when cars like the 348 weren’t exactly collector’s items. The F430 proved far more popular, but that hasn’t stopped prices from stabilising in recent years.
When it first launched in 2004 the F430 had up to a three-year waiting list and a £150,000 asking price. Ferrari quickly followed it with a convertible and the Scuderia, a more focused version that now commands a high buyer’s premium on the second-hand market.
That means you can now buy examples of the original Coupé from £80,000 – a major investment, but comparatively small change for a car with the prancing horse logo. Considering what a leap forward it was from its Ferrari 360 predecessor, it’s amazing the F430 doesn’t cost more than it does right now.
Read more: The greatest Ferraris ever tested by Autocar
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Speciale
One of the most recent cars on this list, the Stelvio represents something of a resurgence for the Alfa Romeo brand. It uses a modified version of the platform that underpins the Giulia saloon, which has helped deliver the kind of dynamic performance seen in few other SUVs.
Originally launched in 2017, the Speciale uses a 280bhp turbocharged petrol engine to deliver ample performance, at a considerably more affordable price than the extreme Quadrifoglio.
Volumes remain relatively low, making it somewhat exclusive in an increasingly crowded market. Prices currently range from £25,000-£35,000 for one-owner cars with less than 10,000 miles.
Read more: Alfa Romeo Stelvio vs Porsche Macan – hot SUV showdown