Running a sports car is expensive. Insurance, servicing, tax, fuel and parts can all cost significantly more than a regular car. However, depreciation is one of the largest costs of owning a sports car for several years. You can minimise the depreciation by buying an iconic sports car that’s out of production. Specifically, cars from the 80’s or 90’s make ideal drives because they are fast, reliable and economical compared to older classics. In some cases the value of a carefully selected and maintained car will increase and may even offset the running costs, making ownership free.
Owning and using an older sports car will be much more of an experience and rest assured they will provide more memorable journeys from A to B. I myself own modern sports cars and olders equivalents side by side and I always have more amazing journeys as well as interactions with other enthusiasts when driving the older cars. They have much more character and feel hugely special. Whilst my modern cars are extremely fast and capable, the feedback from an old performance car can’t be rivalled.
Below are some examples of modern versus past equivalents. I list some key attributes of each so you can see just how they compare. Of course the added feel and experience factor is totally subjective. When buying a modern sports car, take a look at some past masters too. You can then make the judgement for yourself.
Lamborghini Countach QV ’88 vs Lamborghini Gallardo ’06
Weight: 1,447kg vs 1,520kg
Engine cyl/cc: 12/5167 vs 10/4961
Bhp/rpm: 455/7000 vs 513/8000
Lb ft/rpm: 369/5200 vs 376/4250
0-60mph: 4.9s vs 4.3s
Bhp/ton: 320 vs 343
Price 2011: £80-120,000 vs £80-100,000
The Countach has unrivalled road presence, every teenage boys dream back in the 80’s. The performance on the road won’t be far off a modern Lamborghini. Get a low mileage, well looked after original and it will appreciate over the next 5 years. Alternatively look at sourcing a Diablo.
Ferrari F355 F1 ’97 vs Ferrari F430 ’04
Weight: 1,332kg vs 1,450kg
Engine cyl/cc: 8/3496 vs 8/4308
Bhp/rpm: 375/8250 vs 483/8500
Lb ft/rpm: 268/6000 vs 343/5250
0-60mph: 4.7s vs 4.0s
Bhp/ton: 286 vs 342
Price 2011: £35-50,000 vs £70-90,000
The sound of the F355 V8 is spine tingling, the body is a modern artwork. Get a manual with carbon seats and you’ll have one of the greatest all round Ferrari drives.
Porsche 911 Turbo 993 ’95 vs Porsche 911 Turbo 997 ’06
Weight: 1,502kg vs 1,585kg
Engine cyl/cc: 6/3600 vs 6/3600
Bhp/rpm: 408/5750 vs 472/6000
Lb ft/rpm: 398/4500 vs 457/1950
0-60mph: 4.3s vs 4.0s
Bhp/ton: 276 vs 303
Price 2011: £40-60,000 vs £50-60,000
Last of the air-cooled Porsches. Best of both modern and classic 911’s, unmistakable air cooled sound with solid modern build quality. Engines are much more reliable and require less regular maintenance than previous generation 911. Values are increasing to levels above modern 911 equivalents, and demand from Middle East for this particular model are boosting prices further
BMW M3 CSL ’03 vs BMW M3 E92 ’07
Weight: 1,385kg vs 1,655kg
Engine cyl/cc: 6/3246 vs 8/3999
Bhp/rpm: 355/7900 vs 414/8300
Lb ft/rpm: 273/4900 vs 295/3900
0-60mph: 5.3s vs 4.3s
Bhp/ton: 255 vs 254
Price 2011: £22-32,000 vs £28-38,000
Low numbers and rock hard setup mean this is a car built for a small audience. However the audience still demand well maintained and original CSL’s. Find a garaged, untracked version with a full BMW service history and low miles.
Audi RS4 ’00 vs Audi RS5 ’11
Weight: 1,620kg vs 1,725kg
Engine cyl/cc: 6/2671 vs 8/4163
Bhp/rpm: 375/6100 vs 444/8250
Lb ft/rpm: 325/2500 vs 317/4000
0-60mph: 4.8s vs 4.3s
Bhp/ton: 236 vs 261
Price 2011: £12-18,000 vs £60-70,000
The RS4 followed on from the ground breaking Porsche fettled RS2. It brought more of the same, super speed, super handling and super space. The estate version was all that was available in this Audi. The original wheels had a tendency to bend so make sure they have been replaced under warranty.
Subura Impreza 22B ’98 vs Subaru WRX STI ’11
Weight: 1,270kg vs 1,505kg
Engine cyl/cc: 4/2212 vs 4/2457
Bhp/rpm: 276/6000 vs 296/6000
Lb ft/rpm: 265/3200 vs 300/4000
0-60mph: 5.0s vs 5.1s
Bhp/ton: 220 vs 200
Price 2011: £25-35,000 vs £25-30,0000
The new Subaru is dulled down and charmless when compared to the Impreza greats such as the 22B, RB5 and P1. 22B prices have been rock solid since release, whilst journalists marked it down for being too extreme and harsh for the road, this has not impacted its following. A 22B is the same proposition as a BMW M3 CSL. Both are track orientated 3 door hyper cars produced in extremely low numbers. Find a standard UK version of the 22B and it will appreciate in value.
VW Golf GTI mk2 16 Valve ’90 vs VW Golf GTI mk6 ’10
Weight: 1,111kg vs 1,318kg
Engine cyl/cc: 4/1781 vs 4/1984
Bhp/rpm: 139/6100 vs 207/5300
Lb ft/rpm: 124/4600 vs 207/1700
0-60mph: 8.0s vs 6.4s
Bhp/ton: 127 vs 160
Price 2011: £2-5,000 vs £25-30,000
The undiluted Golf GTI experience, faster, lighter and bags more character. Find a good one and this will be more fun on a B Road, cheaper to insure and hold it’s value over the next 3 years.
Honda Integra Type R DC2 vs Honda Civic Type R ’11
Weight: 1,101kg vs 1,267kg
Engine cyl/cc: 4/1797 vs 4/1998
Bhp/rpm: 187/8000 vs 198/7800
Lb ft/rpm: 131/7300 vs 142/5600
0-60mph: 6.2s vs 6.8s
Bhp/ton: 173 vs 158
Price 2011: £4-8,000 vs £16-20,000
The handbuilt high revving 4 cylinder rasp is totally unique and addictive. The experience has been dulled down since the Integra DC2. Too hardcore for most with it’s lack of sound proofing and race setup suspension. Find a standard one and it will appreciate over 5 years.
Ford Escort RS Cosworth ’92 vs Ford Focus RS ’11
Weight: 1,304kg vs 1,467kg
Engine cyl/cc: 4/1993 vs 5/2522
Bhp/rpm: 227/6250 vs 300/6500
Lb ft/rpm: 224/3500 vs 324/2300
0-60mph: 5.8s vs 5.9s
Bhp/ton: 176 vs 208
Price 2011: £12-16,000 vs £23-26,000
The Ford Escort was a real shock car, the unmistakeable rear wing and flared arches made this car an icon. The turbo lag is huge, but allowing for it in your driving style and preparing in advance can make this an extremely rewarding drive. This car, like a lot of the greats from the era, require skill behind the wheel. You need to learn the car, not just turn the key and drive at full tilt. Low numbers of unmodified cars means that they hold their value and will always be a solid buy.
Renault Clio Williams ’93 vs Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup
Weight: 981kg vs 1,204kg
Engine cyl/cc: 4/1988 vs 4/1998
Bhp/rpm: 150/6100 vs 197/7100
Lb ft/rpm: 126/4500 vs 159/5400
0-60mph: 7.6s vs 6.6s
Bhp/ton: 155 vs 166
Price 2011: £2-4,000 vs £12-16,000
Extremely capable hot hatch. The Renault Clio Williams is all about maintaining momentum. Judging the balance of understeer and lift-off oversteer is a delicate art. Once mastered it is highly addictive. Low numbers will keep the Williams a collectible for years to come. Price is already comparable (and in some cases higher) to newer Renaultsport Clio’s.