20 long gone classic car golden opportunities | By the numbers

Photograph Courtesy Jaguar

[Editor's note: All values have been updated to 2021 prices.]

This one always hurts: checking out old classified ads for investment opportunities that have passed us by. In this case, we grabbed the November 1967 issue of Road & Track. Several of the ads made us sob, especially once we checked Hagerty’s site for the current top values. Cry away.

1960 Arnold Bristol 

“Completely restored”
Advertised price: $2000 OBO
Price adjusted for inflation: $16,381
Value today: $270,000-$418,000

1956 Aston Martin DB2 coupe 

“A high-performance beauty”
Advertised price: $2950
Price adjusted for inflation: $24,162
Value today: $177,000-$270,000

1954 Austin-Healey 100 

“Completely rebuilt”
Advertised price: $1500
Price adjusted for inflation: $12,285
Value today: $38,300-$121,000

1965 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275 

“30,000 miles”
Advertised price: $1600
Price adjusted for inflation: $13,105
Value today: $29,400-$67,300

1951 Bentley Mk VI standard steel saloon 

“Excellent condition”
Advertised price: $1960
Price adjusted for inflation: $16,0453
Value today: $36,400-$61,100

1953 Chevrolet Corvette 

“Excellent condition throughout”
Advertised price: $1350
Price adjusted for inflation: $11,057
Value today: $166,000-$304,000

1957 MGA 

“Restored to new”
Advertised price: Asking $1300
Price adjusted for inflation: $10,647
Value today: $19,400-$51,000

1964 Ferrari 250 GT 2+2 coupe 

“Beautiful condition”
Advertised price: $5000
Price adjusted for inflation: $40,953
Value today: $1.1 million-$1.5 million

Ferrari 250 LM 

“Strike terror into their hearts!”
Advertised price: $11,900
Price adjusted for inflation: $97,468
Value today: $18 million-$21 million

1953 Jaguar XK120M 

“Needs paint”
Advertised price: $1150
Price adjusted for inflation: $9419
Value today: $101,000-$174,000

1954 Jaguar D-type 

“Ex-John Cannon”
Advertised price: $3900
Price adjusted for inflation: $31,943
Value today: $4 million-$9 million

1967 Jaguar XKE Coupe

Advertised price: $4000
Price adjusted for inflation: $32,762
Value today: $100,000-$266,000

1966 Lotus Elan coupe 

“Low mileage”
Advertised price: “Interesting trades considered, $3500”
Price adjusted for inflation: $28,667
Value today: $23,700-$33,800

1963 Maserati 3500 GT coupe 

“Beautiful condition”
Advertised price: $3860
Price adjusted for inflation: $31,615
Value today: $199,000-$282,000

1961 Fiat Abarth Allemeno 750 Spider

“Good shape”
Advertised price: Asking $975
Price adjusted for inflation: $7985
Value today: $71,800-$136,000

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing 

“Beautiful condition”
Advertised price: $5750
Price adjusted for inflation: $7,096
Value today: $1.2 million-$1.65 million

1946 MG TC 

“Immaculate condition”
Advertised price: $2300
Price adjusted for inflation: $18,838
Value today: $23,000-$57,100

1962 Morgan Plus 4 

“Near concours”
Advertised price: $1500
Price adjusted for inflation: $12,285
Value today: $32,400-$65,400

1936 3.5-liter Rolls-Bentley 

“Built for internationally known European millionaire”
Advertised price: $1200
Price adjusted for inflation: $9828
Value today: Not listed on the Hagerty site, but sounds expensive.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California covered-headlight short-wheelbase 

“Very fast”
Advertised price: $5500
Price adjusted for inflation: $45,048
Value today: $13.8 million-$16.4 million

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Comments
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chandler
chandler UltimaDork
10/5/21 9:56 a.m.

Ha, in 2001 I sold my triple blue 944s2 cabrio on eBay for a decent amount of money and decided to reinvest it in a FERRARI. I figured I'd spend a max of $9900 so searched for a few weeks and two were in my wheel house; a 308 gtv6/4 "race car" in bright yellow on gottis for 9400 and a 400 in dark blue for 9100. I ended up buying the 400 which I drove for a summer then resold on eBay in the fall for 9300 and washed my hands. Recently I saw one trade for 105000 which was a little painful. My buddy at pinnacle motors in Barrignton advised a rebuild at $22000 of the engine which is the main reason I offed it. I should add that most 911 would fall in this same 20 year shift, not even needing to go back 50 years.
 

Hindsight is 20/20

Jpsbgt
Jpsbgt New Reader
10/5/21 3:42 p.m.

Around 71/72 I was offered Maserati 200Si 2423 for $5000.00. Not once but numerous times. What do you do with a car not suitable for the street ? It was a no sale at Pebble Beach this past September for 3.3 M.

JHantelman
JHantelman New Reader
10/5/21 8:52 p.m.

I will always remember my third year at San Jose State, when I would scroung for nickles and dimes to add a few gallons of gas to my wifes '64 VW Beetle.  I happened to drive by a USED car lot in Sunnyvale and spotted a Mercedes 300SL coupe with big numbers on the windshield stating $4,500.00.  I ultimately received my B.S. in Financial Management in 1971.  THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A GREAT INVESTMENT!

 

bgkast
bgkast PowerDork
10/5/21 8:54 p.m.

Oof, that Gullwing!

PetervonA2
PetervonA2 New Reader
5/15/22 1:53 p.m.

There were antiques, classics, and milestone cars, and their owners were various shades of eccentric. That was in the early 1970s, a generation before investors notice us, also when I said goodby to various UAW jobs and got paid restoring high classics on a flexible schedule and closer to university. Yup, it was actually possible to work, live, and pay for school back then. There was a has-been 1962 GTO at the shop. It had its track rash and cob webs removed, made pretty and recommissioned when I arrived. I could have bought it for $12k. My parents paid that much for their house a decade ago. Instead I bought an abandoned and dismembered MGTC from that shop for $800 three years later, and our first house. That Ferrari is now worth more than ten times our dual income carreers with four degrees earned. Now I read that one of two 300SLRs sold for three GTOs. Obviously, there is too much money going into some pockets. Enthusiasts and experts are going extinct. Only consumers and investors are catered to now.  Here is our home made website, started twenty years ago, about some of that: www.enjoyclassiccars.com

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
5/15/22 2:01 p.m.
JHantelman said:

I will always remember my third year at San Jose State, when I would scroung for nickles and dimes to add a few gallons of gas to my wifes '64 VW Beetle.  I happened to drive by a USED car lot in Sunnyvale and spotted a Mercedes 300SL coupe with big numbers on the windshield stating $4,500.00.  I ultimately received my B.S. in Financial Management in 1971.  THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A GREAT INVESTMENT!

 

The issue with using what they sold for in 197o, is you're not realizing it's the equivalent of $36k today. Not that it wouldn't still be a nice return, but if you are looking for loose change, $4500 seems like a "should have gotten a loan" where $36k was never even a possibility. 

BirkinGeorge
BirkinGeorge New Reader
5/16/22 10:31 a.m.

When I was 13 my Dad was stationed in France, he took me to the 1963 Le Mans race. I was hooked! The Lola GT was the stand out. Been a Ford man ever since. I graduated from high school in '66 so you either liked Corvettes or a Cobras. Never could afford a Coba but 44 yeasr ago I bought a '66 Shelby GT 350H. I had to scrimp and save to get one for $3000, still have it and drive it all the time. Some day my daughter will get it and then her son. They're no fun in the garage!  

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
5/16/22 11:09 a.m.

That would be 'Arnolt' Bristol, not Arnold - unless they had named that particular car Arnold.

 yes

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