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MARKET TRENDS – 80S UK LUXURY CARS

MARKET TRENDS – 80S UK LUXURY CARS

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 22nd January 2018

The mid to late Eighties saw a British barge revival from Ford, Jaguar, Rover and Vauxhall. With many Granada Scorpios, XJ6s, 800s and Senator Bs driven to destruction in the Noughties, collectors (and the market) are beginning to repent. Recognition isn’t far away – so grab a bargain while you can!

FORD GRANADA SCORPIO (1985-1994)
Perceived as British, the bulk of the development work on the Scorpio – a plush Granada MkIII with more equipment than a Ghia – was carried out in Germany by Ford Europe Offered initially as a hatchback or traditional four door from 1989 (and as an estate from 1992) the new car was prefixed with the Granada name throughout its career so as not to offend Blue Oval saloon loyalists. It was deemed best to keep a well-established nameplate on the boot lid to stave off the poor market reaction which plagued early versions of Uwe Bahnsen’s Sierra, of which the Granada MkIII closely resembled.

As a flagship trim level, top Granada Scorpios soldiered on with Ford’s venerable Cologne V6 until 1990; at that point, a heavily reworked version of the 2.9-litre engine, complete with a 24 valve head, became available.

Asking prices for Granada Scorpios haven’t yet approached the strong sums demanded for other rear-wheel drive Ford, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. We found six Granada Scorpios on Car and Classic, ranging from £895 for a 2.0-litre saloon to a concours £6500 saloon Cosworth-engined saloon for sale in Germany. 24 valve estates remain the most desirable model in the UK; several were listed ‘POA’ on Car and Classic. Good versions of these cars may well drive prices upward.

Rover 800 XX

ROVER 800 (‘XX’ AND ‘R17’, 1986-1998)
Of great national pride when released, the Rover 800 inherited the mantle of the SD1 with hopes that a technical partnership with Honda would end years of potential stymied by poor build quality.

Time has softened attitudes to the 800; with their numbers decimated by rust, low resale values and scrappage schemes, its long distance touring abilities and sharp Gordon Sked styling endeared it to a new generation of fans, with the rare diesel model still sought after today for its frugality and towing ability.

The majority of 800s – in fastback hatch, saloon or coupe guise – are obviously the later face lifted cars, known as ‘R17’ within Rover, introduced in 1991. Another minor nip and tuck came in 1996, seeing the 800 out until the 75 replaced it two years later. Tired but roadworthy examples of these 800s can still be bagged for a high three figure sum; decent R17s start at £1500. Online asking price aggregator The Market tracked the prices of 211 800s from September 2014 to December last year; the most expensive car had a £4000 sticker price on its windscreen.

Early low-mileage 800s, designated ‘XX’, can easily exceed this price range, however. Last February, a concours, 9990 mile 1989 827 SI fastback was bid up to £9989 on eBay.

Jaguar XJ40

JAGUAR XJ ‘XJ40’ (1986-1994)
A world away from the Series III, the XJ ‘XJ40’ was clear proof that Jaguar had a future as a privatised firm. Having gone it alone in 1984, internal strife nearly closed the company at the start of the decade; the XJ40 continued the historic XJ nameplate with dignity.

As production continued, quality improved; beyond the basic XJ6 and plusher Sovereign models, later performance oriented variants – the rare 1988 XJR and 1993 Sport – arrived. That year, the long wheelbase Majestic and 6.0-litre V12 engined XJ12 (XJ81) debuted, further extending the XJ40’s repertoire. 1994’s Gold acted as the XJ40’s swansong; available with a 3.2 and 4.0-litre engines, they were offered at an attractive price to clear the decks for its successor, the XJ ‘X300’.

Determined by condition, rarity and specification, XJ40 asking prices vary massively. Like the Rover 800, road going project XJ6s, Sovereigns and Golds can be had for a high three figure sum; tidy cars, according to The Market’s data, start at £3275 and rise to £10,000. Exceptional XJRs, XJ12s and Majestics may well be advertised for more.

Vauxhall Senator

VAUXHALL SENATOR ‘B’ (1987-1993)
A long wheelbase Opel Omega A with a British badge, our nation’s finest nevertheless took the Senator to their heart; the police bought them in droves as motorway patrol cars.

Offered in 12 and 24 valve form, the cheese-grater grilled Senator was a serious BMW 5 Series competitor for the executive with – digital instrument pack aside –m a streak of conservatism; a saloon was all that was offered. Scarce in any condition in the UK, project Senators start at around £800 if you can find one. There was one example on Car and Classic at time of writing – a 3.0-litre 24 valve ex Police car, complete with analogue gauges and a manual gearbox for £2200.

Lacking the cachet of a Jaguar or the badge recognition of a Ford, Senators remain seriously under-rated and undervalued cars.