Invest in an auto future past

by Andy Bryenton

The single best thing you can invest in to guarantee a return on your automotive investment, even if you only buy the most prosaic of commuter machines, is a shed. The cars of yesterday, found in good condition in today’s sheds, are commanding eye-popping prices.

We’re not talking Bugatti Royales and Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts here. Cars you once chuckled at with mild derision are now massive earners, thanks to a trip through the shed time machine. Did you own a Nissan, Datsun, Toyota, Mitsubishi or Triumph in the 1970s or 1980s? Did you scrap it when something newer, with a nice CD player and 18-inch alloys came into style? Then don’t look at Trade Me, or you might need a box of tissues.

Looking back, life is a litany of potential classics gone too early to their grave. From a 1981 Mitsubishi Lancer reversed through a garage door by a close relative, now worth $7,000, to a Triumph 2500 picked up free of charge from a farm, which would be worth $5,000 if it was not condemned to rust outdoors, to a 1980 Nissan Skyline turbo unpurchased for $1,000 and now worth ten times that figure; we all have the same tales. What separates those who bemoan not keeping that old Valiant or Beetle and those cashing in is one thing. Shed space.

If you are still in possession of a classic, or even just something you consider to be old, think about the practicality of creating a do-it-yourself ‘barn find’ for the future. When your 1994 Celica or your first edition CR-X give up due to some minor parts failure, don’t consign them to be crushed up into a little cube and made into airline cutlery. 

Build an extension to the garage, drain out the fluids, wrap them in tarps and wait. If anyone complains, point them to those figures listed before. In a few years, what you now swear at as a heap of antiquated junk may well pay for a nice holiday abroad or even a new car, which, by then, will likely be electric.