Making money in life rests largely on being able to predict the future — at least, it does if you're picking stocks.
The same can be said for motor companies, whose concepts are not always a reflection of the present, but of what's to come. In the long term, appreciation is one we can gauge the ideas and successes of yesteryear.
So which of these once forward-thinking vehicles is the best choice?
The 1916 Owen Magnetic was what we now consider a "hybrid" vehicle. Though advancements in technology now allows automakers to make better versions of those cars, the Magnetic operated on the same concept. Its gas motor gave energy to a generator, which powered the back wheels. It was incredibly innovative, and you paid for that innovation. Whereas a Ford might have sold for a couple hundred dollars, the Owen Magnetic originally went for a whopping $9,000.
Efficiency has always been important, and the 1938 Tatra T87 was one of the first truly aerodynamic cars. It could go 60 miles an hour and promised 20 miles to the gallon, at a time when most cars got less than half that range. It originally sold for about $1,530.
Finally, there was the 1966 NSU Wankel Spider. NSU was the first carmaker to put the forward-thinking Wankel engine under the hood, which allowed for smooth movement of the pistons. But despite the price tag and size of the engine, the car wasn't very efficient, and, frankly, didn't have that much torque. It originally sold for $3,000.
So which of these formerly futuristic cars is now, today, the best investment? Automotive valuation expert Donald Osborne went back to the future with Jay Leno. Watch the video to find out which one is appreciating best.
Each week, Jay Leno shares his thoughts about hot topics in the auto industry. Tune in to "Jay Leno's Garage" Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.