£100k cars then and now
At PaddlUp, we pride ourselves on meticulously curating a selection of unique vehicles to occupy our showroom, all worth in excess of £100,000. This prestigious price point ensures an air of exclusivity resonates through the walls of PaddlUp's aptly named 'Gallery'.
That got us thinking, what levels of performance, aesthetics – both interior and exterior – and badge adorning the bonnet would that figure have bought you in past decades? Naturally, there is an unavoidable performance shift as manufacturers continue to hone mechanical elements and introduce innovative technologies over time.
Turning back the clock to over 100 years ago brings us to a time when a £100,000 price tag for a new car was entirely unheard of, but we thought for the purposes of context and contrast it was important to include it.
1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
With a modest value of just $13,450 when new, the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was one of the most expensive and, indeed, sought-after vehicles of the 1920s. Its 4-speed manual transmission and 40/50bhp six-cylinder engine place the spotlight on a century's worth of performance gains.
At the time, reliability was the name of the game and, with a successful 15,000-mile run at the Scottish Reliability Trial, word of the Silver Ghost spread far and wide.
Rolls-Royce extended the lifespan of this model to more than 20 years, over the course of which myriad improvements were made. As a result of this – and unprecedented levels of popularity in Amercia thanks to its dependability over long distances – there is a surplus of Silver Ghosts on the market to this day but can still happily fetch approximately £200,000 and the limited edition 'London-to-Edinburgh' Sports Tourer can fetch upwards of $1million.
The eighties saw supercars really come into their own, with the automotive industry pushing the boundaries of what was possible on four wheels more so than ever before. During this period, the £100,000 ballpark figure would give you access to the era's pinnacle of automotive performance and some of the most iconic cars in history.
1987 Ferrari F40
We might be slightly biased on this one, but the Ferrari F40 undoubtedly has one of the most iconic and recognisable profiles in the motoring world, and with a £100k price tag – albeit at the upper end of the six-figure increment – it deservingly takes a spot in our list.
With few add-ons available to the F40, the Italian marque placed a focus on a visceral driving experience, in stark contrast to Porsche's flagship supercar at the time. The 959 was the sophisticated and technologically advanced call to which Ferrari answered with a stripped-back, savage performance car that instantly claimed the title of the fastest production car, while winning the hearts and minds of automotive fans around the globe.
Touted as a celebration of the brand's already rich, 40-year history, the F40 epitomised Ferrari. With over five times as many examples – 1,315 to be exact – produced as its predecessor, the 288 GTO, you'd be forgiven for thinking that F40s values were mediocre at best. However, owing to its 'poster car' status, 35 years on F40 examples have been known to sell for upwards of £2million.
1986 Mercedes Benz 300E AMG Hammer
In 1986, when this particular car became available, the AMG brand was still independent of Mercedes-Benz and over a decade away from becoming an official tuner for the Stuttgart manufacturer, but that didn't stop them from producing the fastest production sedan at the time.
Engine swaps to 5.0, 5.6 and 6.0-litre V8s provided suitable options for the more power-hungry individuals among us, the most potent of which produced 375bhp and could reach 60mph in five seconds flat, placing it well within the territory of the era's supercars.
A price tag of £112,000 in 1986 would certainly catch the attention of your peers, and, with around just 20 examples produced you were unlikely to see another one on the road any time soon. As recently as 2019 a 300E AMG Hammer sold for £207,000.
A new millennium had dawned and with it, unprecedented car development was on the horizon. The arrival of the Buggati Veyron and the Koenigsegg CC8S signalled the birth of the modern hypercar and a subsequent shift in what was deemed to be peak automotive performance. Therefore, supercars – namely those around the £100,000 mark – had to up their game and offer more bang for your buck than ever.
2001 Lamborghini Murciélago
Lamborghini's first project to come to fruition following Audi's 1998 takeover was a memorable one. The German standard of quality control and testing methodology was evident in a car that was a seemingly refined evolution of its predecessor, the Diablo.
A 6.2-litre V12 lay at the heart of the Murciélago ensuring the brand retained its innate Italian flair. A total of 11 different road-going iterations were produced and ultimately, that yielded largely static values of the years. The launch price for a base model was £191,000 in 2001, and fluctuations since have been minimal with values in 2022 sitting at approximately £200,000.
2003 Ford GT
A car with as rich and indisputable a history as the Ford GT40 was simply too big to fail when it was reborn from the ashes in 2003. The design, of course, paid homage to the Ferrari-conquering 1960s endurance racer, whilst receiving some welcome updates dragging it into the 21st century.
Since then, the automotive juggernaut has celebrated the 50th anniversary of its 1966 Le Mans triumph with the next generation of the road-going Ford GT which has had a potential influence on current values of the 2003 model.
Prices have more than tripled in the two decades that followed its launch, with an initial price of £119,000 converting into £395,000 in 2022.
2006 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997)
One of the very early 911 GT3 RS' has just scraped through to our list with a price tag of £95,000 because, well, it's a Porsche. Marketed as a racing car for the road, the 911 GT3 RS (997) was that in a nutshell and has remained a consistent focal point through the model's long lineage, all the way up to today's 2022 edition.
The 911 GT3 RS (997) in particular was created to aid in the homologation of the track-only RSR model for GT racing. That translated into Porsche's purest driving machine of the time, both on the track and on the roads. Porsche's reputation for being a driver's car has helped its values to remain competitive. Current prices sit at approximately £165,000.
The twenty twenties
The 2020s bring us up to date and into a world of ultra high-tech, luxurious 'super SUVs' and electric or hybrid-powered machines with mind-bending 0-60 times. In just four decades, the automotive landscape has become unrecognisable from its previous forms, a far cry from the analogue offerings of the F40 and Countach, but this brave new world allows access to these incredible levels of performance to more people than ever before.
2022 Honda NSX Type S
The 2022 Type S will be the modern NSX's swansong, and modern is certainly the operative word. The model name harks back to the 1997 iteration but, buy and large, that is where the similarities between the two end.
A nine-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, sophisticated four-wheel drive system and a triple electric motor-bolstered hybrid engine put the latest supercar offering from Honda at the cutting edge of the automotive industry and with prices starting from around £150,000, there's a lot of technology on offer for the money here. 300 will be produced for the American market with a further 50 being made available to the rest of the world.
2022 Lamborghini Urus
Next up from our modern-day collection is the Lamborghini Urus. At an approximate £165,000 entry price, the Urus enters our list under the 'super SUV' category, a class that is relatively new to the automotive world but one that undoubtedly continues to increase in popularity.
Boasting a unique blend of supercar DNA and everyday practicality on offer from SUV, the Urus, among other premium 4x4s lends itself to a particular lifestyle, one that requires high levels of functionality as well as a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 accelerating from 0 to 62mph in 3.6 seconds and reaches 190 mph. It's not as niche as you'd think.
2022 Bentley Continental GT
The Continental GT is a name that has become synonymous with luxury and a premium driving experience. This latest example is no exception. At £159,000, that experience comes at a cost but one that seems reasonable considering the levels of lavishness and extravagance that come with a Bentley.
At a 'lighter' 2,244kg, weighing 80kg less than its predecessor, the 2022 version remains on the heavier side, but all the extra weight is said to aid the GT in applying its 550bhp in Bentley's distinctive, serene style.
Sources: Glen March, RM Sothebys, DK Engineering, pistonheads, Classic-trader