Nissan 350Z, Toyota Truck, Suzuki Cappuccino are cars to invest in, says Hagerty

Hagerty has published its annual Bull Market list, next year’s “hottest collector vehicles” according to the classic car insurance company. Out of the ten cars (and one motorcycle) three hail from the land of the rising sun. Let’s see which examples of rolling stock they’re predicting will be your next garage queens.

The 1984-88 Toyota Truck is the one we most wholeheartedly agree with. At this point, is there any Toyota 4WD that isn’t skyrocketing in value? Land Cruisers have been shooting upward for years, with 4Runners close behind. In truth, these trucks have been holding their value and trending up for years, especially cherry examples.

Officially called the Toyota Truck, these came in a variety of configurations — regular or Xtra cab, short or long bed, rear- or four-wheel-drive, petrol or diesel. The 4WD N60 served as the basis for the original 4Runner and in XtraCab guise was Marty McFly’s dream car in Back to the Future, but the N50 short-wheelbase and N70 long-wheelbase models have their devotees too.

Toyota made significant changes during the model’s lifespan. For off-roaders, the most desirable are the 1984-85 4WD models, which still came equipped with a solid front axle. In 1986 they changed to an independent front suspension, which sacrificed some rock crawling ability for a more compliant ride. Paired with the legendary 22R, it’s as indestructible a vehicle as you can get.

For those who prefer on-road cruisin’, there’s the turbocharged variants. Forced induction models did make it to the 4WD, but a 22R-TE RWD XtraCab holds a special place for import aficionados, if for nothing else than its uniqueness. A turbo truck was something unheard of in the 1980s, and it pairs perfectly with Toyota’s flared fenders and boxy style.

Finally, in the final year of production, Toyota introduced a 3.0-liter V6 for 4WD models. One-year uniqueness always breeds collectibility, and this was clearly what Aichi believed would be the epitome of the chassis. Not only that, but it set the template for all the Tacomas and 4Runners to come.

Hagerty estimates top-condition models are worth $34,800.

Even in the excess of the Bubble Era, the 1991-98 Suzuki Cappuccino was a somewhat practical model, if a 2-seat convertible could be called that. It was cheap to own because it qualified for kei car status. So, even those who could not afford a Skyline or Supra Turbo were not excluded from the motoring antics that thrived on Japan’s highways and touge roads.

As a kei car, it makes a Miata look like whale by comparison, but it was incredibly light and the driver sits barely a couple of inches above the ground. The RWD roadster is as close to a street-legal go-kart as a car can get, and is just as fun as you think it is.

This pick reflects the fact that all the ABC cars — the Autozam AZ-1, Honda Beat and Suzuki Cappuccino — are climbing skyward. And unlike other microcar oddities, you can actually wring these out and have a blast, all while staying within the bounds of the law. Hagerty estimates a price of $22,000 for a top-condition specimen.

The Nissan 350Z seems perpetually stuck in hooptie status, but it was once heralded as the second-coming of the 240Z. When it was revived for the 2003 model year — after a 7-year interlude at the end of the 300ZX — it won a slew of magazine awards, including Automobile‘s “Automobile of the Year” and one of Car and Driver‘s 10 Best. They have hit their value nadir, and while clapped out examples with 6-digit odo readings and sagging bumpers can be had for peanuts, prices of unscathed examples are on the rise, especially of the Track trims with extra horsepower (300 versus the lesser 287 from 2005-06, 307 from 2007 and up).

Among 350Zs the most advanced US model is the 2008 350Z NISMO. While they kept the same 307-horse VQ found in the aforementioned Track trims, it was a completely different animal. The monocoque body was pulled off the assembly line and seam-welded by hand at Autech. Along with a front shock tower brace and beefier rear brace, the chassis was stiffened up significantly. To counteract its new tooth-jarring ride, Yamaha developed mass dampers located between the left- and right-side frame members.

Add on top of that NISMO-tuned dampers and springs, fatter sway bars, Brembo brakes (4-piston in front, 2-pot rear), and 18-inch Rays wheels in Bridgestone Potenza RE050As, it was faster at the track than the identically-powered 350Z Track. Visually its distinguished by an aero kit and large rear wing. It’s the cream of the Z33 crop, only 1,607 were sold in the US, and Hagerty estimates $55,000 for a top-condition example.

For the hardest core Z33 devotees though, it might be prudent to wait for when one of the JDM models become legal for import. In 2007, for instance, Nissan debuted the NISMO Type 380RS in Japan. The track-tuned Z had 350 horsepower and 283 lb-ft of torque from a stroked 3.8-liter VQ from which it derives its model name. Only 300 were made.

So if you come across any of the above gems, it’s could be worth your while to snag one. Hell, get all three and have a fuel-sipping in-town car, a bug-out apocalypse-mobile, and a track weapon. Rounding out Hagerty’s list are the Hummer H1, AMC AMX, manual Audi R8, C6 Corvette Z06, Lamborghini Murciélago, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Saab 900 Turbo, and Harley-Davidson Knucklehead.

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4 Responses to Nissan 350Z, Toyota Truck, Suzuki Cappuccino are cars to invest in, says Hagerty

  1. speedie says:

    These lists always make me wonder: Are they prescient or is putting out the list a self fulfilling prophecy? The Toyota Truck has been steadily climbing in price over the last five years so that one was a no brainer to pick. Personally I don’t see the Capaccino market expanding much beyond Hagerty’s estimate. The styling has not aged all that well to my eye and not many people outside of Japan really want a Kei car, regardless of how much fun they are to drive. I will say they gave the 350Z a fair amount of video time and I agree the time to buy a nicely maintained one is now. On a personal note I owned a 69 AMX and they gave it all of five minutes on the video. The AMX is another example of a car that everyone keeps talking about the pricing going up but it never seems to happen (I’m looking at you Subaru SVX fans of which I am one).

    • Ben Hsu says:

      The comparison between the SVX and AMX is so apt it hurts a little. The Subie seems perpetually stuck in limbo. On paper it has all the ingredients, but I suspect that the AT only transmission is a big part of what’s holding it back.

      • speedie says:

        I agree on the AT being an issue. The other is that the H6 was not as sturdy a motor as the 2JZ or VG30 and was not easily modified for power.

  2. f31roger says:

    I’d love to get an 80s Toyota Pickup with a 22re… indestructible.

    350z – starting to be come the go to drift missile.

    I think any Autozam should be taken cared of.

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