Best prediction of a sports car's value? The dorm room poster

Lamborghini Countach poster

One of the most visible signs of the generational shift in car collecting is the fact that the cars that were the subjects of the most popular dorm room wall posters of the 1980s are rapidly rising in value. For example, in 2012, Gooding and Company auctioned at its Pebble Beach sale, a beautifully restored 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 for the then unheard of price of $600,000. In 2014 at the same sale, Gooding sold another early Countach (in need of a full restoration) for a cool $1.6 million. Here are five of our favorite dorm room poster cars that are surging in value now:

1. 1974- 89 Lamborghini Countach
2010 Price: $409,000
2015 Price: $1,250,000

Perhaps the most iconic automotive dorm room wall poster — the red Lamborghini Countach poster that reads: “Body by Lamborghini. High fidelity by Alpine.” — recently turned 30, which means that the 18-year-old punks who Scotch-Taped it to their dorm room walls freshman year are now closing in on 50 and flush with disposable income. This could explain the recent vertical rise in Countach prices; they’ve roughly tripled in value over the last three years. The earliest carsare the priciest.

2.1978-83 Porsche 911SC
2010 Price: $23,000
2015 Price: $37,000

One of my personal favorites (and one that I own) was a photographed by Steve Steigman, whose best-known previous work was titled “Blown Away.” It depicts a guy who looks like one of The Eagles in sunglasses, sitting in a stylish chair while being buffeted by Category Five-level sound waves from his giant 1980s-era stereo speakers. His next work showed the same guy in his Porsche 911SC Targa with an angelic light — emanating presumably from the killer 4.5 Watts per channelcar stereo — levitating the Targa roof off of the car. Maxell, the high-end cassette tape-maker, incorporated both images in its advertising. Good examples of the 911SC are up over 50% in value over the last five years.

3. 1984-91 Ferrari Testarossa
2010 Price: $48,500
2015 Price: $76,500

The Testarossa was the supercar for the Miami Vice generation. But when Crockett and Tubbs faded off into USA network syndication, TRs became about as fashionable as white unconstructed blazers and Beltrami slacks. Today, these cars are enjoying a resurgence in popularity with collectors who value them as Ferrari’s last mid-engine 12-cylinder car until the F50. So, the days of nice sub-$50 grand TRs are over. Even at today’s higher prices, these cars will seem like bargains ten years from now. We loved the iconic poster of the Testarossa by itself on a black background and as part of thegarage collection for the famous “Justification for Higher Education” poster (earlier versions of the iconic car poster featured a Ferrari 512 BB).

4. 1978-95 Porsche 928
2010 Price: $11,600
2015 Price: $15,400

Eighties films were chock full of 928s, the car that was supposed to replace the 911. In “Risky Business,” North Shore preppy pimp Joel Goodson (Tom Cruise) put his dad’s car into Lake Michigan, prompting the classic line from the Porsche service manager asking, “Which one of you is the U-boat commander?” Al Pacino as psychopath Tony Montana in Brian De Palma’s “Scarface” moved up to a 928 after assassinating his mentor Frank Lopez. The 928 is also featured in the fantasy garage in the above-referenced “Justification” poster. Late high-horsepower 928 GTS models are hot commodities nowin the Porsche world, bringing upwards of $70,000. Early production cars with distinctive “phone dial” wheels and op-art checked “Pasha” interiors are also becoming sought after as well.

5. 1971-91 DeTomaso Pantera
2010 Price: $42,900
2015 Price: $70,400

Panteras are a car that collectors often point to as one that should have been appreciated long ago but seemed to fall through the cracks. What could be better than a Ford 351 V8 powering a mid-engine Ghia-bodied sports car? With a slick ZF 5-speed transaxle (that is likely the most expensive component in the car) some have likened it to an Italian Ford GT40. The days of cheap Panteras are officially over. Finding an unmodified car is tough but worth the hunt. Original magnesium wheels and stock steering wheels are getting scarce. The US market only got the car from 1971-74 but there are plenty of Euro imports around like the post-1980 GT5 that wound up on the poster. Production actually continued until 1991.