Iconic V8 petrol power and good value?

Jonathan Brown

24 Sep 2019, Blog Post

There are many articles written in the car press about buying a modern classic and how you should get one now before they become too expensive. What happens if you buy the wrong one, never really to blossom into a real classic?

There are two schools of thought here. One, if all you want to do is make money, then playing safe is the way to go and invest in something where the demand of today will remain into the future. Remember too, that even a classic nameplate, such as the Porsche 911 can have versions and engines that dictate demand and therefore price, a lemon will always be a lemon.

The second school of thought is buy what you like. For a short time at least, it will never be the wrong choice. If you do not follow the crowd, chances are what you go for will be better value for money. The problem here is that short-term demand may not turn into a long-term investment that increases in value. Today’s favourite Silver Cloud may not be the silver lining you are looking for.

There are many bargains out there especially if you want a large petrol engine and there is nothing like the sound of a V8 roar. Amazingly, without resorting to cars with previous recorded accident damage, there are V8 engine cars available for under £1,500 in the current used car market. These include examples from prestige marques such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Jaguar and Lexus.

The mileages of many advertised vehicles are not particularly high either. Buying one certainly is affordable and running costs, while higher than ‘run of the mill’ cars can be reasonable with fuel consumption up to 28 to the gallon achievable with a light foot.

If stepping up a gear or two into a BMW M5 is your thing then Glass’s retail values suggest paying upwards of £8,000 unless it has some dubious history or prior damage recorded.  The comparable RS6 model from Audi will also cost around £8,000. If that is too much to pay, for around half the price, the Audi S6 is available. The S6 is slightly down on power compared to the M5 and the RS6 but still benefits from the brilliant road hugging Quattro system. The S6 has the same 4.2 V8 engine as the RS, just minus the twin Turbos, so at least in the wet it is a whole lot more manageable.

Perhaps getting a little old now but a Porsche 928 with its awesome 5.0 V8 power unit is definitely getting collectable now with prices starting at £14,000 for something that does not need too much work. If it does need work, it is going to cost dearly. However, if a value for money Porsche is required, the Cayenne 4.5 V8 is unbeatable from around £3,000. This is a massively powerful SUV for Fiat Panda money!

Moving into perhaps the most capable of all-rounders, Audi’s R8 with that useful Quattro grip, a car that is as happy going to the shops as it is on the race circuit, used prices start at a hefty £30,000 for an eleven-year-old model with 75,000 miles on the clock. Some would say not much money for a car with such capabilities, still regarded twelve years from launch in 2007 as a fantastic car and way ahead of its time.

For classic car buyers, a V8 is more about a muscle car and the Mustang from Ford probably best sums this up. Prior to 2016, Mustangs were only available in left hand drive. Today the Mustang is available in right hand drive with a choice of 2.3 four cylinder Turbo, with 290bhp or 5.0 litre V8 with 450bhp. There is also the option of convertible or a fixed head coupe body styles.

Prices for Mustangs start at around £3,000 for a 1995 convertible with 101,000 miles with a 5.0 litre V8 444bhp. For a right hand drive car prices come in at a loftier £19,995, for a 2.3 Turbo fixed head coupe on a 16 plate and 56,000 miles, that is a lot of car for a shade under £20k. Still it is not a V8, which in todays used market start at £26,000 to buy a convertible with 15,000 miles or fixed head with 26,000 miles.

Yes, they are iconic and good value, whether you have £1,500 or £30,000, your options for a fantastic V8 engine car are there. They might be a throwback to a more carefree, less environmentally friendly time, but for power without the need for revs, they are almost unrivalled, just look out for the dangers of nikasil cylinder linings adding to your maintenance costs.

About the author

Jonathan Brown

Jonathan BrownUK Car Editor

Originating from Farnham in Surrey, Jonathan was educated at the Guildford and Farnborough Tech Colleges before he acquired his expertise in manufacturer and dealer network liaison. Jonathan is one of many who has built a colourful and lengthy career with Glass’s having joined the company back in 1989.