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6 of the best cars to invest in under $30k in 2018

When you buy a new car, it loses over 30% of its value on average within the first year and will continue to depreciate for 15-20 years. However, particularly if it is rare or has an iconic design, some cars will eventually begin to increase in value again. For example, even the humble VW Beetle can now cost up to $35,000 if it has low mileage and is in mint condition.

A clever investor tries to spot vehicles which are close to the end of the depreciation cycle and resell them a few years later at a profit. Here are 6 vehicles under $30,000 which could be about to increase in value according to industry insiders.    

The conspicuous classiness of the Jaguar XJ is back in style (pictured here: the XJ X308)
The conspicuous classiness of the Jaguar XJ is back in style (pictured here: the XJ X308)

Jaguar XJR (X350)

The Jaguar XJR X350 was not very popular when it was first released because the brand was suffering from a bit of an image problem: it was regarded as an old man’s car. For this reason, many younger drivers opted for the more modern aesthetics of Mercedes and BMW.

Ironically, this is exactly what makes this model a great car for collectors now. The low demand meant that not many vehicles were produced, whereas the postmodern tastes of millennial consumers mean that the conspicuous classiness of the XJR is back in fashion. Even better, despite the car’s regal exterior, it is actually quite fast and fun to drive: The supercharged version of the 4.2-liter V8 engine produces acceleration from 0-100 km in about 5.3 seconds. In Britain, the X350 costs $6,000-$12,000, and is tipped to increase in value soon.     

Carefree urban chic: the Fiat 500
Carefree urban chic: the Fiat 500

Fiat 500 – Original Model

The Fiat 500 is a perfect example of a simple, utilitarian vehicle with an iconic design that captured the Italian public’s hearts and defined a lifestyle. The 500 was the original city car and oozed charm and carefree urban chic. It must be said that it was not exactly quick and the engine has been compared unfavorably to that of a washing machine, but this vehicle is all about nostalgia and character rather than performance. You can buy a really good example for $12,000, whereas a pristine original can cost up to $25,000.

The legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R
The legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R

Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32)

Nicknamed “Godzilla”, the Nissan Skyline GT-R 32 conquered the world of motor sport in the 1990s. The 2.6-liter twin-turbo engine fitted to the road-going version of the vehicle produced 320 hp in stock configuration, increasing to a jaw-dropping 600 hp in race trim. In addition to the power, however, the R32 distinguished itself with an advanced all-wheel-drive system which dynamically split torque between the front and rear axle.

The car proceeded to dominate the FIA’s Group A class throughout the world. It was so dominant, in fact, that the Australian Touring Car Championship ended up changing its rules to make the races less predictable. The R32 has remained largely off the radar of Skyline collectors until recently and you can still acquire one for about $30,000. There is now an expectation that values will begin to markedly increase, however, particularly as the 30-year anniversary is coming up.

Elegant rounded styling and graceful handling: the Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider
Elegant rounded styling and graceful handling: the Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider

Alfa Romeo Spider

The Alfa Romeo Duetto was the first generation of the Spider, which was produced from 1966-1970. The Duetto is famed for its elegant rounded styling, twin-cam engine and graceful handling. The US version of the the 1.7-liter engine produced 130 hp when it was new, whereas its European counterpart generated 116 hp. While prime examples can cost upwards of $50,000, it can still be found for as little as $29,000. However, be aware that this is an old-fashioned, temperamental Italian vehicle which needs regular, careful maintenance.

Quick, agile and fun to drive: the Lotus Elan +2
Quick, agile and fun to drive: the Lotus Elan +2

Lotus Elan +2

Lotus was one of the first manufacturers to bring high performance driving to the masses in Britain. For tax reasons, the car was often sold in kit form, meaning that new owners needed to install certain components such as the engine, gearbox, wheels and exhaust at home after delivery.

However, this inconvenience led to a very competitive price: In 1963, you could purchase a new Elan 1500 for £1317, which amounts to around £26,200 ($33,200) in today’s money when adjusted for inflation. For comparison, this compared to £1,900 (£37,800 / $47,000) for an entry-level Porsche 1600 of similar vintage.

Although it only had a 1.5-liter Ford engine, the minimal weight and fiberglass body made the Elan quick, agile and fun to drive. While for many years, its reputation and value suffered from the stigma of its kit-car origins, it has now become something of a cult classic and is growing in popularity among collectors.  You can still pick up an Elan +2 these days for as little as $15,000, although a really good early example would cost $30,000-$40,000.

The Ferrari F12tdf, which doubled in value in 8 months.
The Ferrari F12tdf, which doubled in value in 8 months.

Ferrari F12tdf

Ok, ok. So the eagle-eyed readers among you probably realize that you cannot actually buy a Ferrari F12tdf for $30k. However, this article is about investment and you can actually invest in an F12tdf on Curio Invest for as little as $500. Just 799 of these exquisite masterpieces were produced and they rapidly became the subject of intense intrigue and speculation online. When the first examples finally became available for sale on the private market some 8 months later, the value had already doubled. Curio is using crowdfunding to let you and other car enthusiasts buy an F12tdf together and share in the profits when it is sold. Find out more here.