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Home » Ten Affordable Convertibles That A Classic Car Expert Says Are Sound Investments

Ten Affordable Convertibles That A Classic Car Expert Says Are Sound Investments

The winter months appear to be behind us and we’re now heading for the – hopefully – warmer seasons.

And for petrolheads there’s nothing quite like a hot summer enjoyed from the seat of a convertible car.

The only problem with cabriolets and roadsters in Britain is that their values can be impacted by the time you’re wanting to buy and sell – with prices generally lower in the colder parts of the year when open-top driving is strictly out of the question.

But invest in the right classic convertible and you have a good chance of never losing money on it – as well as getting to enjoy the wind-in-the-hair experience.

We’ve teamed up with classic car valuations guru John Mayhead, the man who pulls together Hagerty UK’s Price Guide for collectible motors, to recommend 10 ageing convertibles with investment appeal.

The cars he’s chosen shouldn’t break the bank if you buy one today, And we can reveal how the values of each has changed in the last three years to give an indication of which direction prices are moving for the future.

1. Caterham SevenHagerty Price Guide range: £10,000 – £33,800

Average price change, last 3 years: +1.2%

The Caterham Seven has been around since the 1970s, so there is plenty of choice available. If you like no-frills, tech-free driving, this is one for you

Forget the Ariel Atom, the Caterham Seven (or specifically its Lotus ancestor) is the original pared-down road car. 

Added lightness, lots of power and not much else provides a phenomenal analogue driving experience that is unlike much else out there. 

Values have been relatively static over the past few years, suggesting that they’re unlikely to change much, and with prices starting at around £10,000 there are options for many enthusiasts.

2. Peugeot 205 CTi 1.9Hagerty Price Guide range: £3,100 – £13,500

Average price change, last 3 years: +0.1%

While Peugeot 205 GTi values have been skyrocketing for some years, the CTi convertible is starting from a much lower base. If you can find a good one, it will be a sound investment

The drop-top version of Peugeot’s classic 205 GTi matches its hot hatch sibling in many ways, but values have lagged way behind. 

Average prices of the CTi have hardly changed over the last few years, with a Hagerty average now of £7,675 which is nearly £8,000 less than the GTi. 

The 1.9 has more grunt; buy a really good one and prices seem likely to increase.

3. Panther Kallista 2.8Hagerty Price Guide range: £7,100 – £18,900

Average price change, last 3 years: -9.1%

Panther values have been on the downward trend, so you can get a good deal if you buy today. The interior in these cars are a sight to behold

Panther values in general have dropped a little over the past few years to a level which seems to offer great value for money. 

Their styling isn’t for everyone, but the combination of powerful engines, lightweight bodies and extraordinary interiors make them pretty unique, and ownership grants you access to a thriving and passionate club scene. 

Good fun, if a bit unorthodox.

4. Volkswagen Beetle 1303S CabrioletHagerty Price Guide range: £4,500 – £40,500

Average price change, last 3 years: +27.1%

The classic Beetle is a sure-fire winner if you’re looking for a convertible investment. Values in the last 3 years have gone through the roof (if it’s up, that is)

The VW Beetle 1303S Cabriolet has one of the biggest percentage price ranges of nearly any car in the Hagerty Price Guide. 

That means that the very best ones sell for a lot of money, but you can still pick up a ‘driver’ for an affordable price. 

It also means that any money you spend improving a car may well be reflected in the asking price when you come to sell on. 

Great fun, and the sound of the aircooled engine buzzing away behind you will make summer motoring all the more enjoyable.

5. Toyota MR2 Mk I TargaHagerty Price Guide range: £4,500 – £12,000

Average price change, last 3 years: +27.5%

The targa-top Mk1 Toyota MR2 might be a little more difficult to track down today, but values of these cars have increased by a quarter since 2021

The first generation of the Toyota MR2 is a cracker and is now rightly considered to be a true modern classic. 

With performance that matched cars much bigger (and more expensive) than itself, the little Targa always held its own. 

Prices have been rising, a lot – it’s shown the biggest average Hagerty Price Guide growth in our list over the past three years – but still seems cheap. 

Loads of fun for the enjoyment, and if you want more power, there’s always the supercharged version…

6. MGC RoadsterHagerty Price Guide range: £9,900 – £31,900

Average price change, last 3 years: +1.2%

The lesser known sibling to the MGB, values are now starting to grow gradually as more people appreciate them. Now might be a good time to jump on the MG bandwagon 

The MGC’s younger brother the MGB may have hogged the limelight, but the larger engine of the C now has an attraction all of its own. 

Rarer than the MGB, the car wasn’t a complete hit with the motoring press at launch, with handling not up to their expectations, but time (and numerous tuning options) have been kind to the MGC and it has now probably reached the potential it had hidden all along.

Another slow riser in value, the MGC is likely to continue that trajectory.

7. BMW 318Ci (E46) CabrioletHagerty Price Guide range: £1,000 – £8,800

Average price change, last 3 years: +4.8%

We’ve fast-forwarded to something a little more recent. The 318Ci E46 BMW 3 Series Convertible can be bought for less than £10k today and is going up in value

The top Hagerty values for the 318Ci (E46) soft top have started to increase over the last few months. 

It’s a great-looking car, powerful and very practical, a real emerging classic. 

Low-mileage, well-maintained examples are rare, which is why they demand a premium, but with great ones still well under £10,000, it offers great value and prices are likely to continue to go up.

8. Alfa Romeo S3 Spider GraduateHagerty Price Guide range: £6,400 – £17,100

Average price change, last 3 years: +20.1%

The S3 Alfa Spider isn’t always considered the Italian marque’s most elegant output, but the market is showing a lot of appreciation for this car today

We know, the S3 Alfa Spider may be the ugly duckling when you compare it to the other 105/115 series Spiders. 

Nobody really liked the big black bumper, the lack of right-hand drive cars or the shoddy build quality that plagued these vehicles, but it shares about 90 per cent of its DNA with its glorious Duetto predecessor and it’s still an Alfa Spider. 

So, ignore the clunky plastic switches and embrace the wonderful noise of the twin-cam engine and the superb handling, and get out there on the road.

9. Triumph Vitesse 2-litreHagerty Price Guide range: £5,100 – £17,400

Average price change, last 3 years: +23.5%

Very rare today, a Triumph Vitesse is a proper classic convertible that a petrolhead with mechanical knowhow should be able to maintain

The Triumph Vitesse and its Herald predecessor are almost perfect classics. 

Very simple to maintain, with great access to the engine and cheap, plentiful parts on offer, they are also fun to drive, especially in top, 2-litre spec. 

Average prices have risen by nearly a quarter over the last three years, but they are still affordable cars and values are likely to remain stable or increase further.

10. Lotus Elise S1 The Lotus Elise S1 is now very much a modern classic. Values have surprisingly fallen for this ULEZ-compliant nineties sports car. We can’t imagine that will be the case for too long

Hagerty Price Guide range: £8,700 – £33,100

Average price change, last 3 years: -8.6%

The credentials of the Lotus Elise S1 as a modern classic are indisputable. 

At launch, the car was unlike anything else on the road and blew away everyone who test drove them.  

Numerous special editions have followed. 

In value terms, the car came of age after the Covid 19 lockdown, rising significantly in value in 2021 before dropping back down a little, hence the overall dip in average value according to Hagerty’s guide. That said, good ones are still in demand.

And despite being produced between 1996 and 2001, its petrol engine is so green that it’s exempt from London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone charge – so it could save classic car fans in the capital £12.50 each day they use one. 

Who is John Mayhead?  John Mayhead is a guest classic car guru

John Mayhead is one of the UK’s foremost classic car writers, authors and commentators. 

As Editor of the UK Hagerty Price Guide and European Bureau Chief for Hagerty Insider, he tracks the global classic and collector car market, writes features and analysis for national newspapers and magazines, and provides market commentary on TV, radio and podcast. 

He is the author of Goldie, the biography of Goldie Gardner, the world’s most prolific speed-record driver.

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