Ever wondered which cars are destined to become classic? We take a look at ten of the best future classic candidates
Looking to buy something interesting, which comes with the same kudos as running a well-established classic car, or simply want to put your money into something that won’t depreciate at the same rate as a brand new performance car? Predicting which cars are going to become classics is a very tricky business, but there are a number of reasonably modern cars around that we think are well on the way to becoming tomorrow’s classic cars.
Low-volume exotics are usually (but not always) a sure thing, but there are many more affordable cars that are either so talented to begin with, or become a cult car the minute they leave the production line. Beauty often has a lot to do with how quickly a car becomes accepted into the classic world, but it ultimately boils down to desirability.
With previous 1980s cult cars such as the Peugeot 205 GTI
, BMW E30
and Lancia Integrale
getting on a bit, we find ourselves looking to the next generation of potential classics. Here are a few of our picks:
BMW 1M Coupe
The BMW 1M might not be the best car to start this list with, as they are still changing hands for very strong money. The reason? Many believed at the time that the 1M’s shorter wheelbase, size and weight made it a much more exciting car to drive than the full-fat M3. Very few were produced, (just 450 came to the UK) meaning that it’s highly prized.
Although the 340bhp in-line six-cylinder engine was turbocharged, it was only offered with a six-speed manual gearbox – making it a true drivers’ car. BMW has just launched the new M2 model, which largely recreates the 1M coupe in spirit, but for many the original will always be the best…
Ford Focus RS500
In terms of sure things, a Fast Ford is as close as you can get to a guaranteed classic. Like the hotted up Escorts of the 1960s and ‘70s, as well as the Sierra Cosworths of the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Mk1 and Mk2 RS-badged Focus is a hugely popular performance car. It’s the limited edition RS500 model, with a totally outrageous 345bhp on tap, which torque-steers its way into this list above all others. It left the factory with a matt black wrap. It sold out before it even hit showrooms, and is likely to be highly coveted in years to come.
Porsche Boxster Spyder
The Boxster is a hugely regarded performance machine, even in standard form, but the introduction of the lightweight Spyder model in 2010 unlocked its true potential. Thanks to losing the electronic roof mechanism and a few bits of trim, Porsche dropped 80kg from the Boxster. When combined with the 316bhp engine from the Cayman S, it really did give us a glimpse of what can happen when Porsche puts a bit of effort into a mid-engined sportscar…
The 3200GT represented a huge shift change for Maserati, bringing the Italian manufacturer into the modern age. Gone were the muscular and particularly square-cut lines of the Ghibli and Shamal, replaced by extremely curvaceous and exquisitely detailed Giugiaro panels. The 3200 wasn’t blessed with Porsche level of build quality and reliability, but compared to Maseratis of old, it was in a completely different league. The company’s fantastic twin-turbo V8 engine never had a great reputation for reliability, but it’s relatively well behaved if looked after.
The prices for good 3200 GTs have been low for some time now – so low in fact that people often underestimate the Ferrari-like running costs and skimp of servicing. Many cars have also been broken for spares, making the genuinely cherished examples more desirable. It’s a car that has really aged well in terms of its looks, and prices for the best examples are almost certain to rise in the future. All it takes is one look at those Boomerang rear light, and you’ll be hooked.
The Mini Coupe, and its close relation the Roadster, divided opinion when it was new, but is adored by many. It cost more, gave up quite a lot more space and cost more, while performing very much the same. It was yet another niche to fill out the continually-expanding Mini range, but there was something fun about it. In the end, Mini pulled the plug on the two models when the R56-generation Mini was replaced, and due to poor sales haven’t planned a replacement. The company sold a total of 27,350 Coupes and 28,867 Roadsters wordwide, making them prime collectibles.
Yet another big and quirky French car, this time from Citroen. While Citroen might now be know for producing a range of small economical hatchbacks, the company has a long history of building some of the most comfortable, and capable, executive saloons. When the XM was canned in 2001, it left a void at the top of the range that was finally filled in 2005 with the truly individual C6. Just 23,384 were ever built through to 2012, and Citroen has yet to replace it with anything worthy.
Subaru Impreza Turbo
Group A regulations saw a breed of road-going rally machines, arguably none of them caught the public’s imagination quite like the Subaru Impreza Turbo. While there are many different special editions out there, like the RB5, P1 and 22B, they’re all brilliant to drive. Nice examples of the original Turbo 2000 model are now starting appreciate, simply because numbers have thinned out a lot in recent years. Finding an un-modified example today could be a wise move, as prices are only ever going to continue heading up.
Alfa Romeo 156 GTA
The 156 should be considered a classic in its own right, thanks to its absolutely beautiful styling and hugely improved reliability record, but it’s the 3.2-litre GTA that stands out above the rest. The car itself is great, especially in mildly practical Sportwagon form, but the real reason this car will be treasured for all time is the masterpiece of an engine found under the bonnet. It’s the final and most developed incarnation of the wonderful Busso V6 engine, often sighted as the most musical sounding road engine of all time.
Audi TT Mk1
Words: Matthew Hayward //Images: evo Magazine
The original Audi TT was not a ground-breaking car to drive, nor was it an engineering masterpiece, but it’s revolutionary styling is what made it an instant classic. It was a curvy, and marked a change for Audi, suddenly opening up a new and previously un-tapped market of younger buyers. Not that it wasn't good to drive. Strong engines and capable four-wheel drive chassis inspired confidence, while Audi's commitment to making cars that feel solidly built made the TT's interior an extremely nice place to sit.
Although the regular 1.8 Turbo models make a great buy today, starting from around £1500, the two models that are already well on their way to full classic status are the 3.2-litre V6 TT, as well as the ultra-exclusive Sport model. Front-wheel drive low power models are best avoided however.
Despite the fact that the Racing Puma was never actually raced, the team that built Ford’s rally cars developed it, and it was screwed together by Tickford. Changes over the standard Puma were wide-reaching, from the widened front and rear track and Alcon racing brakes, to the wide arches and OZ Racing alloy wheels.
Critics often argued that the FRP was terribly underpowered for its excellent chassis, and with a mildly tweaked 1.7-litre Zetec engine, producing 153bhp, they were probably right. It was expensive when new too, although just 500 were eventually built, meaning values have never really dipped below £3000. The best are now worth more than £8000.