Car Magazine's June 2013 issue picked 17 of the "greatest hot hatches of all time" and included specs. Unfortanely they didn't include any graphs of numbers to see how hot hatches developed through time, so I took it upon myself as a civic duty (my way of giving back to the community) to display the numbers in graphs. I also included weight for each car (in lbs of course) and UK CPI index to find the real value of prices of cars sold when new.
Interestingly, some of the quickest hot hatches were sold in the late 1980's and early 1990's. These included the Lancia Delta Integrale (5.7 sec), Ford Escort Cosworth (6.2 sec), and Nissan Sunny GTI-R (6.1 sec). A plausible reason for the quickness of these cars was that all had AWD and therefore had more traction off the line to accelerate quickly.
Very generally cars go through life stages. When new they look bold and modern. When slightly old (5-10 years) they look dated and their faults are well known. But something interesting happens to cars after about 10 years: they start to look cool again and they are appreciated more. I wanted to see if this U-shaped "lifecycle" is present in the price data. To compare cars and their particular life cycle stage I divided the Real cost when new by the current cost today and plotted those values against time. The resulting figure is shown above. In some sense the U is there: a cars value relative to its initial real price declines for the first 10-15 years and then increases again.
Looking at this graph, I'm thinking maybe I should buy a Puegeot 306 GTi-6. After all even now its performance are up to par with modern cars. In addition, its at the trough of the coolness curve so it might appreciate in value.
I'm kind of puzzled by this. Obviously to get more HP out of a naturally aspirated engine one needs to increase the rev range and should work in principle for Turbos. However, turbocharged engines seem to be taking a different route and are able to get the performance that surpasses that of a naturally aspirated engine but at a much (and continuously lower) rev band.
Data and R Code: