Classic hot hatches become hot property as old boy racers buy them up


Ageing boy racers have moved from the McDonalds car parks of their heyday to auction houses to get their hands on hot hatches that take them back to their youth.

That’s the suggestion from classic car insurer Hagerty, which says nostalgic collectors are scrambling to get their hands on unmolested performance cars they drove or lusted for in their past – and some models are just a decade old.

The news comes following the sale of a limited-edition 2010 Ford Focus RS500 last month. 

It went under the hammer alongside more traditional classics including pre-war Bentleys and collectible Jaguars, with the winning bidder paying £56,560 for the Fast Ford – a startling 60 per cent more than powerful family hatchback cost new. 

Hot hatch boom: Classic car experts say valuations of performance hatchbacks such as this Ford Focus RS500 have gone through the roof in recent years

Hot hatch boom: Classic car experts say valuations of performance hatchbacks such as this Ford Focus RS500 have gone through the roof in recent years

Historics’  Windsorview Lakes classic car auction offered the ten-year-old Ford Focus, which had a mere 22,000 miles on the clock.

It was one of just 101 UK-delivered Focus RS500s, and the model – with a blistering 345bhp, 2.5-litre engine, 19-inch alloys and moody black matt wrap as standard – was a phenomenal success at launch in 2010, when the entire worldwide production of 500 cars sold out within 12 hours of its launch.

The stratospheric rise in value of this fast Ford isn’t an isolated case though: car valuation experts Hagerty have tracked the prices of hot hatchbacks as they soared in recent years. 

This 2010 Ford Focus RS500 sold last month at Historics' Windsorview Lakes classic car auction for £56,560

This 2010 Ford Focus RS500 sold last month at Historics’ Windsorview Lakes classic car auction for £56,560

Despite being a small run of just 101 UK cars, the rise in value of a Ford Focus is still pretty remarkable.

Despite being a small run of just 101 UK cars, the rise in value of a Ford Focus is still pretty remarkable.

And it seems British drivers just can’t get enough of their small performance cars, even back to the original: the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk I.

The VW Golf GTI was a phenomenon when it was unveiled in the autumn of 1976, with a 1.6-litre, 108hp engine pushing the car to 60mph in a then-blistering nine seconds.  

Have acquired legendary status since its launch some 44 years ago, values in the last five years have shot up, the insurer says.

Hagerty’s Price Guide says prices have almost doubled from £14,200 in July 2015 to £28,100 today. 

Demand for hot hatches dates back to the original - the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1, which launched in 1976

Demand for hot hatches dates back to the original – the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1, which launched in 1976

Clean and very low mileage examples of the first iteration of the Golf GTI are selling at auction for prices around £30,000

Clean and very low mileage examples of the first iteration of the Golf GTI are selling at auction for prices around £30,000 

Hagerty has been tracking the values of hot hatches, including the VW, Peugeot and Renault trio that are the most coveted

Hagerty has been tracking the values of hot hatches, including the VW, Peugeot and Renault trio that are the most coveted

And it’s not just the Golf that’s generating huge interest. 

By the mid-1980s, there was one pocket rocket that everyone wanted: the Peugeot 205 GTI, launched in 1984.

Compact, lightweight and featuring a rally-ready 1.6-litre motor with 104bhp, it was the cars petrolheads from the ’80s and ’90s craved. 

A more powerful 1.6 litre engine and a top-of-the-pile 130bhp 1.9 litre version followed the initial models – fans remain divided over whether the 1.6 or 1.9 is best to this day.

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Hagerty values of the best examples have nearly tripled from £10,400 in 2015 to £27,000 today, and in recent years two in mint condition have sold in France, each a shade under €50,000. 

The Renault 5 GT Turbo – from the same era – has had a similar trajectory, moving from £11,000 to £24,600 in the past three years.

By the 1990s, the Renault Clio Williams was the hot hatch of the moment, and with its 2.0-litre engine pushing it to a top speed of 134mph, there wasn’t much that could catch it for its £13,275 on-the-road price. 

Now, Hagerty says you’d need over £25,000 to buy a top example.

Other, smaller-engine sports hatchbacks have also started to take the buyer’s fancy – some of which you might not have expected to see garner so much interest.

For instance, a 1989 Vauxhall Nova SR was sold online for £11,000 just last month, and in 2017 an example of its souped-up homologation sibling the Nova Sport was shown to be sold on eBay for a staggering £65,900.

The Peugeot 205 GTi is another hot hatch that's in big demand from nostalgic petrol heads

The Peugeot 205 GTi is another hot hatch that’s in big demand from nostalgic petrol heads

Concours-condition Renault 5 GT Turbos are becoming very collectible

Concours-condition Renault 5 GT Turbos are becoming very collectible

Some cars you might not expect to see garner so much interest are now selling for incredible fees, including Vauxhall Novas

Some cars you might not expect to see garner so much interest are now selling for incredible fees, including Vauxhall Novas

So, why are these high-power hatchbacks selling so well? 

Hagerty thinks it’s a combination of factors and according to their head of valuations, Brian Rabold, this is the emergence of another generation of classic cars with more appeal for children of the 1980s than a 1960s convertible sportscar holds.

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He said: ‘The car-mad teenagers who lusted after them back in the ’80s and ’90s now have the money to buy up the heroes of their youth. 

‘They’re also really practical classics: there’s space for passengers, they’re much easier to drive than some older cars and they still offer a really exciting drive. 

‘We’re now insuring them on classic policies, which tend to be much lower priced than standard car cover, too. What’s not to love?’

If you can’t afford £25,000 for one of these mighty machines, Hagerty says there are other cars that could be just as much fun for less of an outlay: an ‘excellent’ example of the Mk 1 Ford Fiesta XR2 is currently valued in their guide at £9,900.

‘It’s a great car,’ says Rabold. ‘Plus, we tend to see values of the first generation of models rise quicker than later ones, so prices have the potential to increase.’ 

Hagerty says fans from the Max Power and original Fast and Furious generation – spanning from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s – should consider getting their hands on motoring icons of your youth, as these are the models that are ripe to appreciate in value.

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