A Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing from 1954 is displayed at the World Show for Vintage, Classic and Prestige Automobiles Techno-Classica in Essen, Germany, Friday, April 12, 2019. The old-timer was found 2018 in a garage in Florida, USA. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing from 1954 © AP

Classic car owners should never attempt a J-turn. The high-speed reversing manoeuvre would risk damaging prized investments. The J-curve should be studied by all. That is the shape prices for second-hand cars typically take: depreciation to a trough followed by a rise. For a lucky few, that can be many multiples of the original price paid.

Certain models coming out of the bend of the J-curve bear particular scrutiny. Cars built by Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin have the necessary brand appeal.

The days of general price inflation are over, though. Prices fell almost 6 per cent in the first quarter, says consultancy Historic Automobile Group. Investors interested in this niche asset class should be focusing on vehicles that have just beaten their original price when adjusted for inflation. These could go on to be the pricey classics of the future.

G0744_19X Lex for 200419 (Classic cars)

A few vehicles from the 1980s have passed this checkered flag. Models now climbing up the handle of the hockey stick include the 1982 Porsche 911 Turbo, a quintessential City boy’s motor. Others still linger below classic status, their future undecided. Jaguar XJ220’s currently change hands for just $450,000, a multiple of 0.4 times the adjusted original price.

The weirdly beautiful Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupe from the mid-1950s sets the standard for investors. These cars were a bargain shortly after release, remaining below their original price for over a decade. Now they sell for a multiple several hundred times their original inflation-adjusted price.

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Letter in response to this column:

You need a share of naked luck to pick that one black swan / From Dr Richard Grimmel, Zurich, Switzerland

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