every car lover has a story about that one that got away, a car that they wish they'd bought when it was still affordable. to avoid having those sorts of regrets in the future, the window shop team challenged themselves to find cars listed online that are right about to jump in value. we set a budget of $30,000, which for the first time in a long time, no one exceeded. now, let's go make some money.
after a few weeks off, senior editor joey capparella returns to serve up a 2003 nissan xterra that makes up for its high mileage with a manual transmission and the optional supercharger. the crew quickly spots what appears to be a sagging front suspension, but the choice is a good one since capparella posits that one the reasons that particular cars increase in value is due to a lack of anything like it in the new-car market. there's certainly nothing like the body-on-frame xterra today, which may drive values skyward.
c/d's newest hire, senior editor elana scherr is back again this week and her 1996 camaro z28 ss offers up 305 horsepower, a ram-air intake, and t-tops. the shoppers ooh and ahh over the pristine condition of her 19,000-mile find while they consider the questionable interior design and the two-spoke steering wheel. scherr's pitch includes a rather flattering comparison of her camaro to the new ferrari sf90 that isn't nearly as crazy as you might think.
still reeling from elana's comparison, road & track senior editor john pearley huffman steps in and shares his 2004 ford mustang mach 1. his grabber blue example wears its 60,000 miles well, but it strikes a few of us as all the money for an sn95 mustang, even if it was only offered for one year and has a shaker hood.
the last two cars come from deputy testing director k.c. colwell and deputy editor tony quiroga. colwell picks a once-common and now-rare first-generation nissan pathfinder that looks like it has the potential to shoot up in value. quiroga presents an unloved mopar machine that could out accelerate a period mustang gt, but he can't escape that at its core, it's a k-car, and k-cars are a tough sell in the collector world. as always, there's plenty of bickering, interrupting each other, and laughs. let us know in the comments what cars you think are on the cusp of increasing in value.