Shift

These 3 cars all inspired songs, but only one really appreciated in value

For years, musicians have written great songs about the open road and the vehicles that follow the white lines around the bend.

And, naturally, sentimental collectors want the cars that remind them of those songs.

On a recent episode of CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage," world-renowned auto appraiser (and trained opera singer) Donald Osborne met with Jay Leno to look at three cars, each of which once functioned as inspiration, to see which one has appreciated best.

1. 1952 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

The first car is a 1952 Lincoln Cosmopolitan. Which might come as a surprise, because Lincolns aren't usually thought of as "cool."

But for a moment, it was: in 1952, at the Carrera Panamericana road race.

The competition was first held in 1950 to celebrate Mexico's completion of its portion of the great multicontinent highway system. Cars sped from the bottom of Mexico to the border of the United States. And, lo and behold, in both 1952 and 1953, the touring class was won by a driver in a Lincoln Capri.

The Cosmopolitan was different than the Capri, but it had the same engine. And in 1955 Charlie Ryan wrote "Hot Rod Lincoln" as a tribute to the brand's mighty racing power. The song was made famous in 1971 with a successful cover version by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

2. 1964 Pontiac GTO convertible

Which of these three music-inspiring cars appreciated most?
Source: CNBC
Which of these three music-inspiring cars appreciated most?

The next car is a 1964 Pontiac GTO convertible, immortalized in the song "G.T.O." by Ronny & the Daytonas.

From the lyrics, many people often (incorrectly) refer to the song's title as "Little G.T.O." But the extra word was only in the lyrics and, oddly enough, there was nothing little about this car. At least in the way we look at things now.

In 1964 this Pontiac was actually considered a smaller car. Today we might mistake it for a yacht.

But this one was special because it broke one of GM's cardinals rules: Builders put a full-size car engine into this smaller "mid-sized" car. Hence "little" G.T.O.

3. 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe

Finally, we have a 1932 Ford Model 18 — a car commonly referred to as a "deuce coupe."

It was a wildly popular car, in part because it was extremely customize-able. The hood, for example, sat directly on the frame rail and could be removed to expose the engine without negatively affecting the performance of the car.

And the engine is also notable for being the first affordable V-8.

Thirty years after this car came off the line, The Beach Boys released "Little Deuce Coupe" as (their highest charting) B-side to the single "Surfer Girl."

So which one of these inspiring classics appreciates best? Watch the video to find out.

CNBC's " Jay Leno's Garage " airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.