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Motoring Top Stories

Top 5 most unlikely cars guaranteed to become collectable

CarsGuide logo CarsGuide 10/06/2018 Iain Kelly

You don’t need to be a chronic car enthusiast to know just about any exotic car will eventually become a collector’s item, but there are plenty of other ordinary cars out there that will find a passionate following through the passage of time.

The reality is that the cars which become viewed as highly sought-after “classics” 30 years on from their release are the ones that a majority of the population have a connection with. Maybe a family member owned one, or the cool guy up the street did, or you always wanted one when they were new.

These are the cars which pull at the heartstrings and, if you can find a mint example before prices rise, offer you an opportunity to make some sensible long-term investments as you wait for them to come back into fashion.

1. Toyota Land Cruiser J60-series

a red and black truck parked in front of a car © CarsGuide.com.au

Built from 1980 to 1989 this was the model that cemented the Toyota Land Cruiser as the SUV to have if you wanted to drive around the suburbs in comfort as well as traversing impossible terrain on the weekend, without having to spend megabucks on a Range Rover. Thousands of Aussies were introduced to four-wheel-driving through this dependable workhorse and, thanks to good examples being scarce, prices have already started to rise. Who can resist an all-brown interior? Not me!

2. Datsun Bluebird 910

a car parked on the side of a road © CarsGuide.com.au

While the values of the sporty Datsun/Nissan 240Z and 1600 have exploded in price, there are tens of thousands of Aussies who have owned some of their less glamorous models. While many fondly remember the 200B and Stanza models they’re now so hard to find in good condition the collector market is far more likely to latch onto the later 910-series Bluebird from the early 1980s, which was a regular family car for middle-class Aussies right into the 1990s thanks to their rugged reliability. The odds are, if you grew up in Aussie suburbia in the 1980s, then one of the cars in your street was a Bluebird (probably in that awesome beige colour they sold!).

3. Toyota Corolla E80

a car parked in a parking lot © CarsGuide.com.au

Built in Australia between 1985 and ’88 Toyota’s fifth-generation Corolla was a reliable, fun and versatile machine. The E80-series Corollas were almost owned by every second family and introduced several generations to the freedom of driving as they were common P-plate cars for almost 30 years. The 86kW Twin Cam version was also a rocket ship for its time.  Just about everyone from 25 years of age to 45 will have a story about this series of Corolla, meaning that as Gen X and Gen Y get older their rose-tinted glasses will make them misty-eyed for the shenanigans they got up to in one of these boxy little nuggets.

4. Ford Telstar/Mazda 626

a car parked in front of a mountain © CarsGuide.com.au

The sister cars of Ford’s Telstar and Mazda’s 626 were part of a range of jointly-developed models that included the smaller Laser and 323. The family-sized Ford Telstar took over from the beloved but very old Ford Cortina, but was more spacious, reliable, safe and cheaper to run, and a whole generation of Aussies grew up going on road trips in the back of a Telstar or 626. Middle class street cred in the mid-80s was a white Telstar TX5 Turbo with the racy red graphics and a sweet digital dash – cooler than Commander Keen!

5. X3 Hyundai Excel Sprint

a yellow car parked in a parking lot © CarsGuide.com.au

It was impossible to get away from two things in Australia in the mid-90s: the Spice Girls and Hyundai Excels. First introduced in ’95 the third-generation Excel proved massively popular thanks to its bargain-basement price and spritely performance. When the twin-cam Sprint appeared at the end of ’97 it tapped straight into Australia’s burgeoning late-model tuning scene and became a staple of eyebrow ring-sporting, bass-thumping pizza-delivering hoons everywhere. While many young guys dreamed of a 200SX or WRX, the Excel Sprint was attainable and, with one of the litany of aftermarket bodykits available and lurid colours (remember the yellow and purple?), it proved popular at attracting the ladies… sort of.

Anything is possible in the collector's market. What are your tips for future prosperity? Tell us in the comments.

Pictures: Forgotten supercars

“Cars are an emotional purchase rather than a purely rational one, and nowhere is this more true than in the upper echelons. When you’re spending serious money, you expect heritage, style, incredible engineering and jaw-dropping styling, along with stellar performance too. All of these cars promised at least some of those things, but without the full house, they were doomed to fail. But despite their lack of sales success, all of these cars have left a legacy—and most of them are still very collectable too.” David Bennett, Amari Supercars Forgotten supercars

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