The Fast and the Forty: Which 1980s classic cars are now the most valuable?

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Classic car insurance specialist Footman James turns 40 this year – meaning that cars that hit the road the same year it was founded are now officially considered classics according to the taxman. But if we could jump in a DeLorean DMC-12 and head back to the future, which cars would be the embryonic classics to snap up? Let’s charge up the flux capacitor, set the date for 1983 and find out which cars are now worth more than their original sticker price.

DeLorean DMC-12

delorean dmc-12

Image: DeLorean Motor Company

Starting with the DeLorean, which has become an iconic movie star in its own right, it would have cost its keen new owner £22,100 in 1983. Adjust that to today’s prices (allowing for inflation) and the stainless steel-bodied DMC-12 would ring the till at £92,891. According to the experts at The Classic Valuer, however, the average price paid for a DeLorean today as a classic car is £38,643, which means if you bought one new in 1983, used it lightly and still owned it today, your car would be worth 58 per cent less than if you’d just sat on the money.

Of course, owning and enjoying a car is priceless, and you also have to factor in servicing and maintenance costs. What this shows is that the DeLorean really represents great value in today’s classic car market compared to what you might spend on an equivalent new mid-engined sports car with a showroom price of around £92,000. For less than half that, you get a car with an intriguing company back story, easy-to-look-after mechanical parts, and looks that still stop people in their tracks. It certainly catches several eyes when it visits one of Footman James’ Coffee & Chrome Collective Sunday morning breakfast meets…

Lamborghini Countach 5000 S

lamborghini countach

Image: Lamborghini

There can be no better car than the Lamborghini Countach, which had evolved into the 5000 S by 1983. If you were lucky enough to put your name down for this most super of supercars, you would have handed over £65,934 in 1983. This equates to £277,135 in today’s money, which is eerily close to the £277,000 base price of a Lamborghini Aventador just before it ended production, so it’s fair to say Lamborghini has not been ramping up its prices over the years.

You’ll need £452,000 to park a good Countach 5000 S in your dream garage today. Compare that to the price-adjusted new cost and the Lamborghini has increased in value by a substantial 63 per cent. For anyone shrewd enough to buy a Countach new in 1983 and keep it to the present day, it makes for a welcome windfall, and you would still own one of the most sensational cars ever to be crafted.

Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole

Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole

Image: Ferrari

For sports car fans on a slightly more modest budget in 1983, the Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole was impossible to ignore. Helped along by prime time television series Magnum PI, this Ferrari was the object of many drivers’ affections. Who wouldn’t want a mid-engined, V8-powered Ferrari that offered open-air thrills as well as being a good deal more practical than many of its predecessors? If that described you in 1983, you’d be handing over £30,000 to your friendly Ferrari dealer.

Jump forward to the present day and that £30,000 translates to £126,096 in modern prices. It makes the 308 GTS QV look like superb value when it was new given the latest 296 GTS will set you back more than double that – and it’s not even been driven around Hawaii by Tom Selleck. The cost of a 308 GTS QV today comes out at an average of £112,089. This figure is very close to the original list price, so the lucky new owner of this Ferrari would have lost a mere 11 per cent in value over 40 very happy years of ownership.

Porsche 928

porsche 928

Image: Porsche

Where the Ferrari was a star of the small screen, the Porsche 928 made it big in cinemas in 1983 when it played a key role alongside Tom Cruise in Risky Business. It’s easy to see why Cruise’s character was desperate to prevent the V8-engined German coupe from ending up in a river when it had a list price of £25,025 at the time. Put that into today’s money and a brand new 928 would come in at £105,185, or not much more than you’ll pay for a new 911 Carrera with no options now.

With an average price of £14,946, the Porsche 928 would not have been the car to buy and keep in 1983 if you wanted it to hang on to its value 40 years down the line. On the other hand, the 928 is noted for its all-round brilliance and superb quality, so you could easily have spent those four decades racking up plenty of miles and memories that are worth far more than just money. Looking at the average policyholder age at Footman James for these last two models featured, it’s clear to see that both these cars made big impressions on youngsters from this era – with ownership increasing in over 40.

Ferrari 512 BBi

ferrari 512 bbi

Image: Silverstone Auctions

Another car you’d have fond recollections of if you bought one new in 1983 is the Ferrari 512 BBi. This was the pinnacle of Ferrari’s roadgoing range 40 years ago and it’s still one of the most sought-after cars from the Italian company. Like the Lamborghini Countach, the 512 BBi was a car that seemed impossibly glamorous and fast, mostly because it was, and it is now just as desired as a classic mid-engined supercar.

In 1983, you would have been writing a cheque for £40,000 to own a Ferrari 512 BBi, which becomes £168,128 in today’s money. Even more than the 308 GTS QV, this makes the 512 BBi seem like a bit of a bargain compared to the £418,000 now required to put a new SF90 in your garage. Should you want to own a 512 BBi now, the average price of this sleek 1980s Ferrari is at an average of £190,000. A bit of arithmetic shows the 512 has increased in value by 13 per cent over the four decades since it was new. It’s a modest rise in value compared to the Countach but also points to the Ferrari potentially being a car with more room to increase in value in the coming years.

One thing that has not changed in the 40 years since Footman James began offering unrivalled insurance for classic car owners is you should always buy a car because you love it. If it increases in value, so much the better, but regardless of this you’ll always have a car you cherish and enjoy driving.

If you’re lucky enough to own one of the vehicles listed, why not consider giving Footman James a call? Its experienced Private Clients team currently arranges insurance of over £1.3 billion worth of asset value, with a portfolio of policies able to provide cover for prestigious vehicle collections, yachts and marine vessels, plus high-value homes and contents – including overseas homes (location exclusions apply).

Footman James Private Clients also gain access to its Chrome Collective club: an exclusive community that allows members access to highly sought-after events and experiences. So far this year, members of the Chrome Collective have enjoyed a Champagne Concorde Experience at Brooklands, a JLR Classic factory tour and a North Yorkshire Rally with an overnight stay at a luxury hotel.

To find out more about a Private Clients policy, visit (where you can also request a call back), call 0330 1627 178 or email

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