Ja­panese clas­sics are on an up­ward price curve

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

‘En­thu­si­asts just didn’t like them’

It took a long time for Ja­panese cars to be ac­cepted by the clas­sic move­ment: other than the ul­tra-rare Toy­ota 2000GT and the more pop­u­lar Dat­sun 240Z, en­thu­si­asts just didn’t like them, in much the same way that, once upon a time, Bri­tish bike en­thu­si­asts would al­ways give those up­start Ja­panese ma­chines the cold shoul­der.

Things have clearly changed, and Ja­panese cars en­joy an in­creas­ingly strong fol­low­ing with en­thu­si­asts of all ages. Whether it’s a 1970s/1980s sa­loon, an ’80s sports car or even an early 1990s hot hatch­back, there’s a fan­base for it, and those driv­ing it are from all age groups.

A look at this year’s sales so far shows that older Ja­panese mo­tors did come to mar­ket, and most were sold – re­flect­ing the fact that de­mand is catch­ing up with sup­ply.

The Ja­panese clas­sic auc­tion year be­gan at ACA with a 1993 Nis­san 300ZX that was sold for £2415. The same sale also saw a 1991 Nis­san Fi­garo sell for £5040, the Mi­cra-based retro two-seater seem­ingly shak­ing off its metropoli­tan runaround im­age and be­com­ing some­thing more wor­thy of col­lec­tion. Very good ex­am­ples are be­com­ing more dif­fi­cult to find but plenty of av­er­age-or­der ones keep most own­ers happy.

Scrolling back more than 20 years and go­ing for some­thing with much more of a per­for­mance edge, Bon­hams’ sale at the Good­wood Mem­bers’ Meet­ing saw a stun­ning-or­der 1971 Dat­sun 240Z make £31,050.

There was also con­fir­ma­tion that en­thu­si­asts are pre­pared to dig deep into their pock­ets for big 4x4s that tick all the boxes: A 1982 Toy­ota Land Cruiser LX was ham­mered down at H&H for a healthy £23,062.

The Subaru Im­preza has long en­joyed a cult fol­low­ing among mo­tor­sport fans; and now ex­am­ples of the breed are ap­pear­ing at clas­sic sales in in­creas­ing num­bers. Prices vary wildly, de­ter­mined not only on con­di­tion but scarcity of model and whether it has his­tory. A 1997 22B made £113,500 at Bon­hams’ Mem­bers’ Meet­ing sale, while those with more lim­ited funds might have found ACA’s 2007 WRX model more af­ford­able at £7000.

Other Subaru mod­els put in the odd ap­pear­ance too: ACA sold a 1987 pick-up for £4620 and at Brightwells’ June Mod­ern Clas­sics sale, an SVX went for a bar­gain-base­ment £1100.

Away from sport­ing mod­els Ja­panese sa­loons of­fer re­li­a­bil­ity and they’re usu­ally pleas­ant to drive. DVCA’s tidy three-owner 1989 Camry GXi was a steal at £600 and ACA’s 1991 Nis­san Max­ima equally good at a set-of-tyres-sized £525.

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