- First slow-moving, then everyone’s favorite
- Love at second sight
- Lightweight Opel Speedster
- Diffuser instead of windshield
- Architect car Avantime
- Revolutionary aluminum body of the A2
First slow-moving, then everyone’s favorite
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At first glance, it looks like a rolling trainer. This is how the BMW Z3 Coupe is also commonly known. With its shooting brake profile, the car was built without rear seats…skommt, 1998 ahead of its time.
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Rattle box. The Opel Speedster was based on the Lotus Elise and was poorly processed. Sporty driving was an experience with this car.
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Cut open? Do-it-yourself? No, there really was a convertible of the legendary Citroen DS, albeit without success. Today such a classic car brings in more than 300,000 euros.
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Rally racing machine. The Lancia Stratos won the World Rally Championship three times in the 1970s, but never won the hearts of customers.
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Enigmatic. Who convinced Renault that you could make a van with only two doors? The Avantime wanted to be a coupe and large-capacity vehicle in one, but customers took that away from it …not off.
There are cars that start out as ugly ducklings, as bad designs or as ideas that are too far ahead of their time – later on, these models in particular turn out to be coveted collector’s items.
W.If only one had known that earlier. Nobody wanted it back then, this wedge-shaped exotic with its purist equipment, the hard bucket seats and the Ferrari six-cylinder behind the seats. The Lancia Stratos HF was one of the mid-1970s to either love or hate.
And few loved it, even though it was designed as a racing car and won the World Rally Championship three times in a row from 1974 to 1976. Lancia sold just under 500 of the hip flask with Bertone design.
Exactly the amount that was necessary for the approval procedure. “The dealers in Germany knocked on them at the end for 15,000 marks,” one learns from the Lancia Club Germany. The Stratos was in the price list for almost 50,000 marks.
And today? "Are the prices already approaching the 300,000 euro limit," says Udo Sparwald, Stratos expert in Ensdorf in the Saarland. Anyone who would have bought a Stratos back then and mothballed it could be proud of a full credit and an average interest rate of almost ten percent today. In theory, of course.
Love at second sight
The Stratos is an extreme example of cars that were unpopular in normal life, but then experienced a second spring as young or old-timers. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it has a special logic. Slow-moving goods produce only small numbers of items and are often equipped with a design that is difficult to communicate or other character traits that take getting used to.
This later turns them into objects of desire. Because in classic circles, originality is required. When the old exotics, like the Stratos, were designed by the noble designer, are equipped with Ferrari technology and have a top-class motorsport career, that makes them interesting for collectors.
Love at second glance is also available in reasonably bourgeois price ranges. One decimal place closer to normal life is a sports car that is loved by insiders and given very special nicknames by fans. The average car enthusiast may not know what to do with terms like three-liter sneakers or MQP.
Ambitious fans of the BMW brand get a glow in their eyes, because the coupe version of the Z3 roadster is a coveted collector’s item today. While almost 280,000 cars were built from the Roadster up to 2002, BMW only sold around 17,000 coupes, 7,000 of them in Germany.
Lightweight Opel Speedster
Because of its unusual design, the coupe quickly got the nickname “ sneaker ” and in the BMW forums they are only circulating as 2.8 QP, 3.0 QP or MQP, depending on the engine. In addition to the 2.8 and three liter six-cylinder engines, the M variant with 321 hp is particularly popular. Such a racer can cost between 15,000 and 25,000 euros, even if it is twelve years old.
Normal Z3 Coupes range between 10,000 and 20,000 euros in well-maintained condition. The days of bargain prices are over, complains a certain "Fidelio" in the Roadster Forum. And "Dennis" now wants to sacrifice his private pension insurance and finally fulfill his dream of the Z3 QP.
Sometimes it also happens that the second spring is triggered by hapless successors. That was the case with the Opel Speedster, an uncompromising two-seater. From 2000 to mid-2005, Opel had the dynamic lightweight based on the Lotus Elise in two versions: with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder and 147 hp and with a 200-hp 2.0-l turbo.
The original from Lotus sold well, while the Opel was struggling to leave the dealers’ showrooms. Perhaps it was because of the brand image that the Speedster only found 8,000 fans in five years?
Diffuser instead of windshield
The driving performance could hardly have been the reason. With a GRP body and aluminum chassis, the Speedster only weighed around 900 kilograms and, as a turbo, accelerated to 100 km / h in 4.9 seconds. But he was only loved after his successor appeared. The Opel GT was much heavier and more comfortable – and only then did the Speedster community realize what the light speedster was worth to them.
The turbo versions in particular are now trading close to the original price of 32,000 euros at the time. And there is no trace of the GT, which had nothing in common with the classic from the 1960s except the name: Opel had it on sale for only two years, and there is no second-hand market worth mentioning – the modern GT is the exception, the Rule confirmed.
Another open two-seater that caused head shakes when it premiered was the 1995 Renault Spider. Developed for motorsport, it was also offered in a street version. The plastic body doors open upwards. Instead of a windshield, there was initially only an air diffuser, and wearing helmets was not compulsory, but strongly recommended.
Recaro bucket seats and adjustable pedals also exuded a racing atmosphere. In terms of drive technology, however, the Spider got quite bourgeois with a two-liter four-cylinder from the Megane. However, the 150 hp engine has an easy time with the spider, which weighs barely 1000 kilograms.
Only 1,600 copies were sold, the prices for well-kept copies are now between 20,000 and 35,000 euros and thus in some cases above the original price of the equivalent of 28,000 euros at the time.
Architect car Avantime
The short life of Avantime was downright tragic. At least in terms of its name, it was ahead of its time and presented itself as a futuristic van coupe with two doors in XXL format. The interior with sofa seats as if from a furniture store, digital mouse cinema, panorama windows, unusually rounded rear end – nothing about Avantime was as you would imagine a car to be.
The 1.40 meter long doors were given a sophisticated mechanism with which they could be opened to save space. After only one year of construction and 8500 cars, the last Avantime rolled off the production line at Matra in 2003, whereupon the factory went bankrupt and was taken over by Pininfarina.
After a few years, prices suddenly rose, says Oliver Hartlieb, a salesman at a Renault dealer in Esslingen, Swabia. Today the Avantime, then expensive up to 40,000 euros, is a popular individualist model, a typical architect’s car. There was the Avantime with gasoline and diesel engines from 150 to 207 hp.
The prices, especially for the opulent Privilège version, are not climbing lavishly, but are steadily rising and sometimes exceed the 20,000 euro mark. Not bad for a twelve year old slow seller. Cheap versions with high mileage can be found from 4000 euros.
Revolutionary aluminum body of the A2
The Audi A2 also had to experience that life is not always easy when you reject the mainstream. The petite four-door model was launched in 1999 as a kind of high-tech compact car for thrifty aesthetes. The flagship model was the three-liter TDI, which perfected the misfortune of the A2. Because the car didn’t look nearly as expensive as it actually was with its aluminum body, which was revolutionary for small cars.
After 176,000 copies, 2005 was over. In contrast to other flops in car history, there were indeed many cars – but not enough to develop a successor (which again could be used today). The A2 fared like many an artist who only experiences affection post mortem. Today the A2 is in great demand thanks to its low fuel consumption, its high reliability, according to ADAC, and its unconventional design.
A reasonably well-kept A2 is hardly available for less than 6000 euros. Really good examples with low mileage reach prices between 10,000 and 12,000 euros. For a small car up to 14 years old that cost 16,500 euros new, that’s not a bad result.
There have been resurrections of this kind before. The career of the Citroën DS Cabriolet is impressive. From the 1950s to 1975, only a few more than 1,300 copies were built, while the sedan brought it to 1.45 million units. Today the original convertibles and the official conversions from Chapron are traded at six-figure prices, Bonhams recently achieved 337,000 euros for such a car.
And it can be even more extreme. As a new car, the BMW 507 was not very successful against the 300 SL from Mercedes in the 1950s. Although Alain Delon and Elvis Presley had one, the open two-seater was only built 252 times, at the time it cost 26,000 marks. Today 507 models range between 800,000 and one million euros and have overtaken the then more successful competitor from Stuttgart. If only you had known earlier.
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