Get 5 of these performance cars while some of them are still under RM 100k
Dinesh · Jan 30, 2023 06:57 AM
We’re all huge fans of Hagerty’s YouTube content and they wrapped up 2022 with an accurately topical one hosted by the affable Jason Cammisa that was grown from the same grain as his other works in it being absorbingly fun, relatable and nuancedly informative if you knew what to latch onto.
Their bull market video shone the spotlight on 9 cars and a motorcycle for enthusiasts in the USA that’re expected to significantly grow in value during the course of 2023 or within the next couple of years.
For those that don’t dabble in the cesspool that’s the stock market, a “bull market” is financial market that’s experiencing rising prices or are expected to rise. While commonly referencing the stock market, the term can be applied anything that’s traded, such as bonds, real estate, currencies and commodities.
Simply put, a bull market refers to a period in the financial markets that sees prices of assets continuously rise for months or even years.
On a surface level, the video seems to be playing up with recent automotive market trends that’s seen an exponential rise in prices of sports cars or simply anything that’s deemed to be appealing to the enthusiasts.
The nuanced part of the video here is something that’s increasingly becoming an expensive problem in the automotive market; the lack of affordable fun cars due to everything becoming pricier.
Now, they’re not simply shooting in the dark as well. Hagerty is the world’s largest provider of specialty insurance for classic vehicles and possess decades of information on the constantly fluctuating prices of speciality cars… or what might soon be deemed specialty in the future.
First it was the Japanese sports cars from their 90s golden era. We hate to say it but you’re probably really old if you remember the time when the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R dropped under RM 100,000 as it crossed the decade mark and didn’t qualify for a loan anymore.
All its peers have seen their values skyrocket over the last few years and for those that bought them at bargain basement prices, well done.
The flipside is that cars being the latest commodity with surging values has attracted a whole new demographic of buyers that aren’t purely out to enjoy these machines on the open road but prioritise expanding their bank balance in a few years by counting on the cars appreciating in value.
With the primary players all priced well beyond the average enthusiasts’ pocket, this has shifted the focus to performance-oriented models as well as; more importantly, grassroots level cars that offer good and cheap fun.
Anything with a hint of performance or potential for spirited driving is undergoing a stately rise in prices and the trickledown effect will see grassroots models suffer the same fate, being priced well beyond the means of petrolheads looking to wrap their greasy fingers around the worn out steering of a hot hatch or sports sedan from the 90s.
With that in mind, WapCar aims to take a swing at the local bull market by attempting to identify a handful of cars that should offer good, cheap fun while they’re still very much the latter… cheap.
Bear in mind that the list here is varied and a general indication with varying models to cater for plethora of tastes petrolheads share.
Welcome to the WapCar full-of-bull market.
The most criminally underrated sports sedan from Toyota, the Altezza’s probably the most well-rounded luxury sports sedan from the 90s. Built to take on the Germans of its era, it won the battle but never the war.
It had a lot going for it. Double wishbones front and rear gave it an advantage in handling, a rev-happy 3S-GE engine produced in conjunction with Yamaha that punched out 210 PS without forced induction, a 6-speed manual box driving the rear and a generally roomy cabin. All that made for a pretty serious performance sedan.
Many agree that it was ahead of the BMW 3 Series E36 of its time but lacked the finishing touch in the form of a propeller emblem.
Aim for a factory manual RS200 trim that had the 3S-GE BEAMS engine as compared to the 5-speed auto, the manual engine’s output was higher and had some minor advantages on the inside as well.
Market prices range quite a fair bit and the current couple of automatic RS200 units are in the RM 35k-39k range. If a manual does pop up, expect to pay in the high RM 40k range or more depending on the condition.
BMW 3 Series (E46)
Its predecessor, the E36, was the affordable sports sedan but is now experiencing a renaissance as the well-maintained units with a manual and straight-6 engine is knocking on the door of RM 30k. Some have already gotten in and made themselves at home. Let’s not even delve into the E36 coupes unless you’ve recently had an electrocardiogram recently.
As the de facto sports sedan nameplate, the BMW 3 Series represents budget performance… once you’ve flashed a Stage 3 depreciation tune.
Sedans from the E46 generation are still very much dirt cheap and you’ll be able to get a 325i or 328i for around the RM 15k mark. There were even a few units of the 330i going for RM 17k-18k though we suspect the annual road tax might be behind it.
Maintenance is reasonable, parts are aplenty and tuning options are limitless. If you’re looking at going sideways for small money, there are plenty of wedgelock conversion kits to bring the differential closer to a LSD and rightly so, we’re starting to see more E46 drifters in the local grassroots scene.
Suzuki Swift Sport ZC32S
Before you whip out the pitchforks, remember that the humble hot hatch is the cornerstone of budget performance. They offer the best bang for the buck mostly due to being based on existing econo-hatches forced to snort a line of cocaine. The Suzuki Swift Sport definitely got some of that good grade street stuff up its nose.
You should be eyeing the ZC32S model that was launched here in mid-2013, making it still eligible for a loan.
It carried some major upgrades in the form of more power and torque from the M16A engine, courtesy of a new variable intake and enhanced VVT. Fortunately, the minimum fuel requirement was revised as well, meaning it’ll take RON 95, though Suzuki at the time “strongly recommended” RON 97 for longevity. Still, better than the RON 98 demanded by the ZC31S.
There’s even an extra cog for the manual. What’s not to love, right?
Again, we implore you hold off the pitchforks one more time. Yes, we know the annual road tax of over RM 4,300 is ridiculous but for all intents and purposes, the 350Z is a bona fide Japanese sports car that can be had for under RM 60k.
Some might argue that the ship has already sailed with prices dipping under RM 30k just a couple of years ago. Nonetheless, much in the same light as the E36, expect mint condition manuals of the 350Z to distance itself from the clapped-out examples… of which there are plenty.
On the bright side, the manual units are usually enthusiast-owned and hence, have a higher chance of being better maintained. Some of the automatics were run into the ground by MLM bros or those just seeking something flashy.
A proper manual driving that 3.5-litre V6 is a lot of fun and although it’s more grand tourer than circuit slayer, the 350Z can hold its own against contemporary peers.
The second coming of affordable sports coupes, that pretty much sums up the Toyobaru twins. What they lacked in a usable power band, they more than made up for with razor sharp handling. It was a true driver’s car and as they say, if you can’t go fast with 200 PS… you aren’t going to be much quicker with 1,000. The twins were the acid test.
Also, all that jazz about “it’s better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.”
The 86 / BRZ was rewarding to drive. Executing a perfect stroke between the flat-forward steering, shifter and pedals will see the coupe reciprocating in unison on the asphalt.
Of course, the aftermarket went apeshit as well. Tuning options are unlimited and development by tuners continues to this day. If you feel the twins aren’t quick enough for you, there’s everything from forced induction to suspension bits to fix that.
Having debuted in 2013 means you can find a pre-facelift model just under RM 100k although more realistically you'll be looking at RM 120k or so while still eligible for a loan. And for the love of god, don’t even think about the automatic.
“Better late than never.” Some despise it, others begrudgingly agree with it but he swears by it… much to the chagrin of everyone around him. That unfortunately stems from all of his project cars not running most of the time, which in turn is testament to his questionable decision-making skills in life. A culmination of many wrongs fortunately making a right; much like his project cars on the rare occasions they run, he’s still trying to figure out if another project car is the way to go.