It has become fashionable to view old sports cars as an investment, but they can turn into money pits all too quickly. What should you look out for?

1.     It’s All About Memories

Classic cars are not valuable is due to their their practicality or performance. People love old cars because they bring back good memories, either of a time they lived through or a time they dreamed about. That’s why the most valuable classic cars are those that a teenager or a young adult would dream about. Be it American muscle cars, classic British roadsters, Italian GTs or, lately, Japanese sports cars, the cars that stir up the memories hold the most value.

2.     Forget About Practicality

With everyday cars, we usually tend to focus on their practicality. We look for space, comfort and clever solutions. But in a classic car, these things are worthless. In fact, they have negative value. People buy classic cars as toys and the most valuable are the ones that are most interesting to play with. Which explains why sports cars, roadsters, convertibles or sleek coupes will gain value much faster than boring saloons or estates.

3.     Rarity is Not Equal to Value

Cars can be rare for many reasons. It may be that they were too expensive, or that production was limited – or that no one wanted them. Although it is tempting to consider any rare car valuable, what’s really important is the offer to demand ratio. In other words, if enough people want it, even an ubiquitous car (like a classic Ford Mustang or VW Beetle) can be very valuable, while rare cars that no one knows about have little to no value.

4.     Unreliable Cars Will Cost You Twice

Reliability, robustness and ease of repair are important characteristics for a good choice of a classic car. Not only are simple and well-built cars easier to maintain and restore, but they also tend to gather a stronger “cult following”. Fragile, unreliable cars are not only crazily expensive to keep in top shape, but they also gain value more slowly, as everyone knows that they are money pits.

5.     They Are Only Original Once

If there’s one thing that can make almost any car valuable, it’s originality. It’s so rare for a car to last decades in a well-preserved, unmodified shape, that even the mundane ones are quite valuable in this condition. A restored car is always worth less than a perfect original. Modifications, however cool the owner may think they are, usually decrease the car’s value.