In this Market Trends we look at three missed marks, where cars weren’t quite as good or as successful as its creators had intended. Despite this, the Ford Sierra, Morris Marina and Bentley Arnage are great buys today.
The Ford Sierra was Ford’s brave attempt at replacing the Cortina. Knowing that the fleet markets would rebel from anything too avant-garde, it kept the same front engine rear drive formula as the outgoing Cortina. The new aerodynamic body had been previewed in the Probe III concept car of 1981, but proved unpopular on the market. It took a conservative facelift and the launch of the Sapphire for the Sierra to earn a place in the hearts of fleet managers.
Most people buying today want big engines, and the XR4, XR4x4 and Cosworth are unsurprisingly going to have skewed the results. But even the humble 1.3, 1.6 and 2.0 models are starting to appreciate in value now, as part of the modern classic boom. The qualities which appealed to fleet managers for ease of maintenance make them very sensible family classics today.
Ford Sierra values are harder to track than most because of the inclusion in any statistics of the Cosworth version, but instead of tracking the mean value we will track the lowest average value sold to give a more accurate picture of the Sierra market as a whole. Values for the standard Sierra have stayed fairly flat, where MoT’d and usable examples have routinely sold for between £2000-£2500. It is to be noted that Cosworth values have increased, and this draws the average statistics further northwards.
The Morris Marina has earned itself a poor reputation for a second time courtesy of BBC Top Gear. A new generation have learned to revile the car on the basis of some ill thought-out family entertainment, and while the early models had handling issues it’s fair to say that the Marina was BL’s mainstay during the 1970s.
With a range spanning three body styles and two commercial derivatives, it was popular with fleets and families alike, and its simple MG, Minor and Triumph derived mechanicals make it a very sensibly choice of 1970s classic. It’ll be a guaranteed conversation-starter, too.
By the time production ceased in 1984, over 1.3 million Marinas and Itals had been produced. Most desirable are the 1.8TC, 1.8HL, 1.8GT and Ital 2.0 models, with the rare Mumford convertible also earning a mention. More attainable models will typically be Mk2 and Mk3 1.3s.
The last few years have seen Marinas valued all over the place, with no steady progression visible from one month to the next. Price increases and subsequent decreases come in fits and starts, and we would hesitate to recommend a Marina as an investment classic as a result.
The best cars haven’t moved much, ranging between £6000 and £10,000 whether we look at today’s figures or those from three years ago. But if you want a decent example with history, expect to pay around £4000-£5000 now. Had you been buying back in 2014, that figure would have been nearer the £3000 mark.
Bentley Arnage Green Label
The Bentley Arnage was a contentious car when it was launched. The first new Bentley saloon in 18 years, it had a lot to live up to. And the loss of the pushrod Rolls Royce L-series V8 was taken rather badly by the enthusiast community, despite the fact that its replacement was technically superior.
That engine was a twin-turbocharged BMW V8, hooked up to a five-speed autobox. After two years, Bentley brought the 6.75-litre lump back, and Green Label sales dried up almost overnight.
Sadly, the Bentley community has not taken the Green Label to its heart – it’s worth considerably less than its Red Label brother, and those that do come up for sale seem to take forever to sell. But there’s nothing wrong with them if tradition doesn’t matter to you – they’re still quick, they’re quieter, and they’re more economical than the Red Label which succeeded them.
With a five speed automatic in place of the Red Label’s four-speed, it’s also no less flexible despite considerably less torque. While values will never be as strong as the Red Label, it makes an excellent starter Bentley for those looking for an interesting modern classic alternative to a used 5-series.
Arnage Green Label values have stayed fairly level and low for Arnage standards – an average in 2014 of £21000 had become an average here in 2018 of £25,000 at auction, though it’s possible to buy them on classified websites for as little as half that figure if you’re prepared to buy a higher mileage example.
It should be noted that this is significantly lower than the overall average for the Arnage (which sits today at £30,000 courtesy of strong Red Label values). We wouldn’t buy one to sell on, but it would be a very nice car to buy and enjoy on a long-term basis.