Mortality Realization Is What Makes Cars Collectible

Most intelligent financial advisors will tell you that vehicles are a very poor investment. The featured image is of a 3rd generation Toyota 4 runner. Clean examples have been auctioning off recently for more than the original MSRP sticker price of $30,000. Why? The answer is a lot simpler than you might think. All collectable mass produced cars have one thing in common, they were thoroughly enjoyed by individuals in formative years, namely high school and college. They made a lot of very fond memories in those vehicles and at a certain point in their lives they start feeling their mortality and they seek out things that bring back those memories. There are a few examples that fall outside these criteria namely cars that they “wish” they could have been having fun in back then but couldn’t afford. This is that “mid-life” crisis people often refer to, and it leads to impulsive and sometimes irrational purchases.

Source: 1989 Honda CRX Si

Let’s look at another example. A 1989 Honda CRX Si, a commuter car produced for high schoolers in the 1980’s.. Recently one sold for over 17k on They retailed for just over 10k including taxes.

Source: 1982 Porsche 911 SC Targa

Another example that fits into the “I wish I had bought” during formative years is the Porsche 911 SC. If you had been paying attention these hit rock bottom pricing around 2000, where you could have picked one up for under 10k. Today they are auctioning for 50k+Traditionally all of these used cars reach a low market price where they bottom out, that is the time to buy them. Of course make sure you actually like the car as you will need to hold onto it for a decent amount of time before the irrational mid-life crowd will gladly pay you an unreasonable amount of money to take it off your hands. What current vehicles might fall into this category? Let’s rank the top 7.

Image Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

#1) Toyota Prius 2023:

From an investment advisors viewpoint this is most likely the best candidate. It checks all the boxes necessary to become a collectible many years in the future and it also is the most economical choice from an operating cost stand point.


#2) Volkswagen Golf
This comes in second as it also sips fuel and likely is fostering a lot of fond memories in those adolescents.


#3) Porsche Boxster
While not an economical daily driver choice this will likely follow suit of the older 911 SC. You can pick these up right now for the under 10k. There is some debate about whether the Boxster will follow suit as it is Porches first assembly line product rather than the traditional team building concept they used in the past and it doesn’t have the same classic lines of the 911, but still a desirable and fun to drive car. If you haven’t rented an S model I highly recommend you take one for a spin.

Source: Bringatrailer

#4) Ford Focus
You are probably gasping at this point, a Ford Focus? Yes this car has very nice lines and is a very popular high school car; the same gasps would have been said about the Honda CRX Si. Same logic applies here in another 20 years these will be sought out, you will have to keep it in immaculate condition as those midlife crisis people like things pristine. They want exactly what they had.


#5) Chevrolet Camaro
Not the most fuel efficient choice but the newer model Camaros have finally gone back to mirror the classic lines of the older and much sought after 1967 era Camaros. They should, in time, appreciate like their brethren.


#6) Dodge Charger
For the exact same reasons as the Camaro, the Dodge charger will also likely appreciate if kept in top condition and driven sparingly. Neither of these are the best choice for a daily commuter but they are likely to appreciate when they hit rock bottom used car prices.


#7) Any Dodge Diesel Ram pickup 2004-2008

The Dodge diesels have a long track record of holding resale value even without collectible status. This is largely because they can last well over 350k miles without issue and they are a utility vehicle. They also get phenomenal fuel mileage for a pickup even under load. They have fallen into the price range where high schoolers can afford them so they get bonus points for that as well.