RAC Cars News


Old cars in modern money

By raccars Published


What would some of the old cars of yesteryear cost if you bought them new today?

The classic car market has a pricing structure all of its own, and it's a very complex process dependent very much upon changing trends. Some old cars which were fairly ordinary back in the day can be worth a fortune now, whereas some of the past's more expensive, luxury motors are worth nothing now. But what if you look at how the price of old cars when they were brand new compares with what they would cost to buy new today?

Did you buy any of these old cars new?

Ford Anglia: 1950

The Ford Anglia was the Fifties' equivalent of the modern Ford Focus, a small family car. In 1948 it was also the cheapest passenger car available brand new. To buy a brand new Ford Anglia in 1950 you would have spent £310, which is the equivalent, inflation adjusted, of £9,888 today. Cheaper than its modern counterpart the Focus but certainly not the cheapest car on the market anymore.

Mini: 1959

The Mini burst onto the market in 1959, before roaring through the Sixties and becoming a genuine automotive game-changer and cultural icon. Not only was it achingly fashionable, it was mechanically revolutionary. Brand new it cost from £497 to £537, depending upon model and options. Inflation adjusted, today it would cost £10,502 to £11,348. The modern Mini is considerably more sophisticated, and more expensive.

Lotus Cortina: 1964

This was the original super saloon, cramming ballistic performance into a usually rather staid car. In 1964 it cost £1,100 so it was expensive even then, about a third of the price of an average house at the time. Inflation adjusted it's a far more affordable £20,799. But you have very little chance of finding a good quality, classic Mk1 Lotus Cortina today.

Porsche 911: 1966

1966 was a great year for Britain as our football team won the world cup. The young Porsche 911 cost £3,438 at the time, or the equivalent of £60,042 in modern money. That's somewhat less than you'd actually need today, with prices for a 911 starting at £76,412 in 2016.

Ford Capri: 1969

The Capri was designed to take Ford into the Seventies in style, with the tagline 'the car you always promised yourself'. It started off pretty cool, before becoming a symbol of naffness by the late Eighties. These days the Capri is enjoying a revival in its fortunes as a popular modern classic and prices are rising. In 1969 you could buy the 'European Mustang' for a bargainous £890, or £13,939 inflation adjusted for 2016.

Fiat Panda: 1982

In 1982 the Fiat Panda had been on the market for a year, and to celebrate the occasion Fiat arranged a special offer price of £2,995. Translate that to today's money and it would cost £10,372, which is less than you would pay for the modern version of the same car. Nonetheless, the modern day Panda retains much of the earlier car's cheap and cheerful character.

Rover 800 Vitesse: 1988

A sad reminder of the well-documented demise of a once great British brand. In 1988 the 800 Vitesse showed just how good Rover could still be and was the brand's fastest road car. It cost a pretty hefty £19,944 at the time, which is the equivalent of £50,656 today. Unfortunately there is no modern Rover with which to compare it.

Jaguar XJS 4.0 Convertible: 1992

Still looking fresh today, the XJS cost a little under £40,000 in 1992, or about two thirds of the price of the average house at the time. If that seems expensive, it is - in today's money that would be £77,284, which is more than you would have to pay for an F-Type S AWD.

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