I got quite a bit of my love of cars from my father, but the people his age that I knew never seemed to understand why I loved Toyota Supras, Mazda rotary engines and various examples of how Nissan used to give a damn. But the people who did grow up appreciating these kinds of cars are now after them in a big way, and here’s more proof.
The folks at Black Book, which tracks used car values, are noting an increased interest as of late in older Japanese cars—particularly the “first wave” that came to the U.S. in the 1960s and ‘70s. Enthusiasts have probably known about their rising values for some years now, but now we have some hard data to back it up.
From Black Book, here are the average prices of the cars they’ve noticed have appreciated in recent months, assuming we’re talking about cars in clean condition with low mileage:
- Honda 1964-70 S600/S800 Coupe $30,000, Roadster $35,000
- Honda 1973-78 Civic $15,000
- Honda 1976-78 Accord $5,500
- Mazda 1979-85 RX-7 $12,500
- Datsun/Nissan 1967-70 2000 Convertible $20,000
- Datsun/Nissan 1968-73 510 Sedan $8,500
- Datsun/Nissan 1970-73 240Z Coupe $37,500
- Datsun/Nissan 1975-78 280Z $25,000
- Toyota 1963-78 FJ40 Land Cruiser $70,000
- Toyota 1966-69 Sport 800 Coupe $25,000
- Toyota 1967-75 Corona $18,000
- Toyota 1969-73 Corolla $5,000
- Toyota 1971-78 Celica $11,250
- Toyota 1979-81 Supra Coupe $8,000
(This is, of course, to say nothing of the more recent examples of Japanese performance cars that are commanding eyebrow-raising premiums, like those Honda Civic Si models from the ‘90s that cost as much as new ones, or pristine Supras going for over $80,000. We haven’t even been to the top of the appreciation-mountain of those yet.)
It doesn’t surprise me much that the FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser tops this list. Everyone loves those and everyone knows how expensive they are today. In second place, for similar reasons, is the original Datsun 240Z, for similar reasons. It’s a legendary machine with an interesting story and racing heritage, something that’s almost universally loved and admired by car enthusiasts. Old Zs are great for a reason! But they’re also in short supply these days and have been creeping up in value for years.
What is surprising to me is to see the original Honda S-series sports cars right behind the Z. They may be tiny and relatively underpowered, but they’re cool cars, and exceedingly rare too.
Anyway, if you like any of the cars on this list—and you probably do—now might be the time to try and pull the trigger before they shoot up any higher. Which they will. Happy hunting.