Versions of the venerable ’50s VW Microbus can bring money that would shock the hippies who ran them into the ground in the 1960s…
Some classics wear their price tags on their sleeves.
Look at a fuel-injected ’57 Chevy Bel Air, and it’s immediately apparent that it’s valuable merchandise.
On the other hand, there are the sleepers of the classic car world, the cars that are worth a lot of money but it’s only obvious to those in-the-know. For example, few would guess that the proceeds from a restored VW microbus could put a kid through college.
Here are five you’d never suspect of being quite pricey:
1. Volkswagen “Samba” Microbus
There’s a simple rule of thumb with VW Microbuses: More windows equals more money.
The 21- and 23-window versions of the venerable ’50s VW Microbus can bring money that would shock the hippies who ran them into the ground in the 1960s – around $70,000 for a nicely restored one.
They’ve even been known to break $100,000 at the right auction.
2. Fiat Jolly
The Jolly was an open-top version of the classic Fiat 500 that was meant to be stowed onboard yachts and used as transport in places like Monaco and Positano.
They have no doors, the seats are made of wicker and the tops are meant only to provide shade.
Appallingly cute, the pint-sized Jolly can sell for upwards of $70,000.
3. Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser
The classic Jeep-like 1960-1984 Toyota Land Cruiser was one tough vehicle – so tough that they invited horrific abuse, which explains the dearth of clean examples.
A nicely restored one sold at an auction in Scottsdale, Arizona last January for $88,000. Some are said to have sold for $100,000-plus.
In response to FJ40s getting so expensive, first-generation 4Runners are also starting to increase in value. Don’t say you weren’t told!
4. Ford Bronco
The humble 1966-77 Ford Bronco was a product of the same team that brought us the classic 1964.5 Mustang.
Unlike the Mustang, which sat on Ford Falcon underpinnings, the first Bronco was a unique platform. The size and shape were just right, and collectors have latched onto them in droves.
Totally stock, un-rusted, Broncos without cut fenders and flares are rare… it takes around $30,000 to get a nice one.
5. BMW Isetta
Prior to becoming known as the ultimate driving machine, BMW sold the super-expensive V-8 507 roadster and the tiny egg-like Isetta microcar out of the same showrooms.
It’s no shock that the gorgeous 507 roadster sells for a ton of money, but the fact that Isettas can pull more than $40,000 is surprising indeed.
Rob Sass is the vice-president of content for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca