GRR

Five investment cars you could buy at Bonhams' Autoworld sale

02nd May 2023
Bob Murray

Some cars start expensive and only get dearer as time goes by. Others are born in the price stratosphere and then plummet like a stone. And yet more start pricey, fall out of favour but then roar back with a vengeance when people realise they were pretty good after all. This latter category throws up plenty of interesting machinery – along with lots of “I wish I’d bought one of those when I had the chance” moments…

So here’s our selection of a few unsung heroes you couldn’t give away in the past, but which are now on the up. All are potential star buys from the next big collector-car auction coming up, Bonhams Autoworld sale in Brussels on 13th May.

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1. 1971 Porsche 914/6

Priced at €80,000-120,000

The 914 should have been more successful as Porsche’s entry-level sportscar than it was. Here after all was a mid-engined two-seater with targa top, modern styling, all-independent suspension and all-around disc brakes. Promising then…apart from the small matter of an underpowered VW four-pot engine. Porsche’s affordable sportscar was just too slow. 

The 914 might have lurked unloved in the used car shadows forever, but for the 914/6 like the car you see here. Stung by the performance criticism, Porsche slotted in the 2.0-litre flat-six from the 911T and suddenly it went like a Porsche should. 

It still never set the world on fire – only 3,360 were built between 1970 and ’72 – but find a good one like this original condition and well-preserved example and, as Bonhams says, you could find yourself having to write a cheque with six numbers for it.

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2. 1995 Aston Martin Vantage

Priced at €80,000-120,000

The Virage a classic Aston Martin? Many would say not. The model that took over from the long-serving V8 never quite struck the design and performance high notes that Aston aficionados expected. Not, anyway, until the Vantage version arrived in 1993. It might look like a standard Virage, but few of the panels were shared while the underneath was re-engineered to accommodate the Vantage’s saving grace: a monster engine.

Aston’s 5.3-litre V8 gained twin superchargers to develop 558PS (416kW) backed up by 746Nm (550lb ft) of torque. By the standards of the early 1990s, performance was off the clock: 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, 0-100 in around ten and a top speed some claimed to be 190mph. 

Only 240 Vantages were built and when new each cost an eye-watering £177,000. These days a hundred grand might be a lot for a Virage but surely not for a car that was acclaimed in period as a real Aston Martin as well as a true powerhouse. 

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3. 1968 Fiat Dino Spider

Priced at €85,000-115,000

The Fiat Dino might never have been unloved by those in the know, but it has always had a reputation as one of those secret bargains of the classic car world, with affordability to reflect that. 

Such things don’t last forever and nor should they, when, as here, you have a gorgeous Pininfarina design and a classic Ferrari engine to propel you. Now, a Dino convertible like the one in the Bonhams sale comes with a guide price of up to €115,000 or over £100,000. That’s still a third of what this car’s more famous namesake from Maranello will set you back. 

Fiat built its version of the Dino to help Ferrari homologate its new 2.0-litre V6 Formula 1 race engine. And it’s precisely that four-cam, all-alloy 160PS (119kW) jewel of an engine that sits in the Fiat Dino’s nose. 

In complete contrast to the mid-engined Ferrari Dino, the V6 drives a live rear axle via a five-speed gearbox and limited-slip diff. Top speed? 135mph. Just 1,163 Dino Spiders were made so it’s a rarity by Fiat standards, if not Ferrari’s, with prices moving to reflect that. 

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4. 1968 Porsche 912 Targa

Priced at €60,000-90,000

Like the 914, the 912 is something of a refugee in Porsche’s back catalogue, a less powerful four-cylinder car destined to live its life in the shadow of the 911. As a consequence, it’s inevitably taken on the role of the “cheap Porsche”. With far fewer 912s than 911s and a belated but growing appreciation of the model in its own right, that’s changing.

Bonhams reckons this pretty early Targa in Irish Green (with the plastic rear window that collectors crave) will fetch up to €90,000. The 912 is virtually indistinguishable from the 911 but thanks to its lighter 1.6-litre motor from the 356, is said to have better-balanced handling. It was never as fast but the deficit over the six-cylinder car is only 40PS (30kW) and the 912 will still get close to 120mph. 

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5. 1995 Alfa Romeo 164 Q4

Priced at €25,000-35,000

Loved by some, hated by others and overall not the catalyst for a marque rebirth that was hoped for, the 164 was Alfa’s late 1980s attempt to muscle in on BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class executive saloon territory. There can’t be many 164s still on our roads, and it’s likely those that do exist come with an assortment of reasons why you should give them a wide berth. 

But not this one. This is the ultimate 164, a rare Q4 version that successfully married the 164’s signature handsome Pininfarina looks and charismatic 3.0-litre V6 with all-wheel drive to finally silence those who would not shut up about the regular front-drive model’s tiresome torque steer. 

Clever “Viscomatic” four-wheel drive, lowered sports suspension, wider track, six-speed Getrag manual gearbox, limited slip diff, anti-lock brakes and a charismatic 230PS (172kW) of power all added up to a convincing sports saloon, Italian style. 

Only 1,200 Q4s were ever built, there won’t be many left and this red one sounds like a good ‘un: 86,000km from new with its sole private owner and said to be completely original and unrestored. Alfa fanatics queue here! 

  • Bonhams

  • Porsche

  • 914

  • Aston Martin

  • Vantage

  • Fiat

  • Dino Spider

  • 912

  • Targa

  • Alfa Romeo

  • 164/Q4

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