Last week I got so carried away on the Austin-Healey "Bugeye" Sprite making collector-car expert Rick Cole's 1991 "Gold List" that I ran out of space before I could tell you about the other nine.
Cole's list, published every spring, is a compendium of old (but not "antique") cars currently available for less than $25,000 that California-based Rick Cole Auctions believes will appreciate significantly in value over the next five years.It might simply be self-fulfilling prophecy, but since the first Gold List came out in 1984, a number of his "sleepers" have soared in value.
This year's list has some major surprises. For the first time, motorcycles are included, an investment category Cole believes has "hot investment value" in light of the instability that has hit some segments of the collector car industry.
"The super speculation and overheated prices of some collector cars have turned the current situation into a buyer's market," said Cole. For this year, he stresses "fun and affordability" and, rather than dwelling strictly on investment potential, he says the "total collector car experience" must be considered.
In other words, if you don't love the machine for its own sake, don't buy it just to make a killing.
Here's Cole's top 10 list:
1962-72 Volvo P1800 Coupe - Simon Templer's car in "The Saint" is currently available for $5,000-$8,000, Cole's five-year projection is for appreciation to $10,000-$13,000.
1958-61 Austin-Healey "Bugeye" Sprite - Now $5,000-$7,000, in 1996 $10,000-$12,000. Asporty roadster for a fraction of the price of a Mazda Miata.1954 Kaiser-Darrin convertible - Designed by the legendary Howard "Dutch" Darrin, it can be had today for $18,000-$22,000. In five years Cole says $30,000-$35,000.
1956-57 Lincoln Continental Mark II - This styling classic from the "time of flash and fins" goes for $15,000-$20,000 but should bring $35,000-$45,000 by mid-decade.
1959-67 Sunbeam Alpine - This example of '60s British sports cars can be found for $4,000-$6,000 today but should appreciate to $15,000-$18,000 in five years.
1955-62 Nash Metropolitan convertible - The original "cartoon" car is available for $5,000-$7,000 today but should bring $7,500-$10,000 after it is "discovered."
1969-70 Mercury Cougar Eliminator - With its Boss 302 engine, this muscle car is available at a wimpy $6,000-$8,000. Should sell for $10,000-$12,000 in 1996.
1966-67 Triumph T120TT - The factory race version of the Bonneville, this motorcycle currently brings $8,000-$12,000. Cole expects it to rumble to $20,000.
1946-53 Indian Chief - This big, heavy all-American twin-cylinder bike is now worth $10,000-$15,000 but expect to pay $30,000 in a few years.
1969 Honda CB 750 4-cylinder - Considered by many to be the original "superbike," the 750 brings $2,000-$3,000 today. Look for it to appreciate to $8,000 somewhere down the road.