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Wondering why a 20-year-old Nissan GT-R can cost up to $200,000? Blame Vin Diesel.
The Holden Commodore and Ford Faclon might be shooting up in value, with some examples asking nearly $100,000, but those aren’t the only popular models with rising prices as demand seemingly increases.
While we’re currently in the midst of a golden era of Japanese performance cars with the likes of the Toyota Supra, Nissan GT-R, Subaru WRX, Nissan Z, Honda Civic Type R and Toyota 86 all available in showrooms now, industry experts are predicting that the previous generations of these cars are positioned to become the next trend in collectable cars.
Trawling through the Autotrader classifieds it’s clear that the prices of particular Japanese cars from the 1990s and early 2000s have increased dramatically, but the experts say this is likely only the beginning.
Two things we should make clear from the start. Firstly, an asking price is merely what someone believes their cars is worth - they still need to find someone willing to pay that sum - so classified prices are not a definitive price guide. Secondly, there is no such thing as a guarantee when you invest in cars, we cannot predict the future, only report on the current trends.
And the trend points to an increasing market for Japanese performance cars that have been made famous by popular culture in the last two decades. The thinking goes that car-loving kids from the ‘90s and ‘00s that enjoyed watching the Fast and Furious movies, played Gran Turismo on PlayStation or loved the Nissan GT-Rs and Mazda RX-7s that raced at Bathurst are now old enough and wealthy enough to splurge on their childhood favourites.
While the current million-dollar sales are centred around Australian classics like the Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase III and a variety of old Holden and HSV models, there’s a belief in the car collecting community that this generation of Japanese car fans will be looking to spend similar money on pristine models from the likes of Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, etc in the not-too-distant future.
Looking through the Autotrader classifieds appears to bear that out. Of the four most expensive Nissan GT-Rs advertised only one is the current ‘R35’ model, the other three are a pair of ‘R34’ models and the fourth is a 1993 ‘R32’.
The high value of the ‘R34’ comes, at least in part, to its scarcity in Australia as the model that ran from 1999 to 2007 was never officially imported by Nissan. That has helped inflate the values of the ‘grey imports’ that did arrive, particularly the V-Spec models that are advertised for nearly $200,000 for a 2000 model and almost $250k for a modified ‘99 version.
A great example of the power of nostalgia for these Japanese cars is the Toyota Supra, with a previous generation ‘A80’ model in some cases asking for more than the current, BMW-based ‘A90’.
Another Toyota that’s seemingly already well on its way to becoming a valuable collectable is the Sprinter or AE86. This compact rear-wheel drive hatch was moderately popular in the ‘80s but became a cult hero when it emerged as a popular model for drifting. It was the star of the Japanese Initial D manga and later animated series, and because it’s so closely associated with drifting it’s a rare example of an older car that can be worth as much or more when modified as opposed to being stock. Because of its combination of rarity and significance, Autotrader was advertising just two at the time of publication with one priced at just under $34k despite more than 250,000km on the odometer and a second example with only 64,000km on the clock for approximately $55k.
The drifting scene also helped increase the popularity of another affordable rear-wheel drive Japanese sports car, the Nissan 200SX (aka Silvia). When it was new in the early 1990s, it was the younger brother to the 300ZX, but because it was a relatively cheap option when drifting took off in Australia many examples have been modified or destroyed on the track.
That means that those in original condition, or even tastefully modified, can ask more than when they were new with one advertised for nearly $48,000.
Mazda’s rotary-powered RX-7 is also in increasing demand, but given its unique powertrain and long history as a hero model both on and off the racetrack it was always likely to be a popular car for collectors so its rising values are less surprising than some. A look at what people are asking on Autotrader indicates you’ll likely need more than $80,000 to secure a relatively low kays and well-maintained example.
Exactly which ones will still be worth a lot of money in a decade or two is obviously impossible to know.