When buying a new or used car, many people overlook one key aspect of a car’s appeal: its potential for being a future classic. The most obvious benefit of gaining the title of ‘classic’ is that a car will hold its value excellently, and may in some cases even increase in value. So, what makes a car a classic? There’s no solid definition, but the general consensus is that a classic car is an older vehicle with enough of a history that it is considered worth collecting and restoring as it ages. A car that is over a hundred years old will typically be considered an antique, and will be incredibly desirable to collectors.
Another important factor in determining a car’s likelihood to become a future classic is the amount of acclaim the car has received in classic car magazines. While there is no single authority able to dictate what a classic car is, these magazines are trusted voices on the issue, and any car they throw their weight behind will usually find its selling price staying extremely strong.
Many people in the UK spend time purchasing cars that are currently unpopular albeit unique, in the hopes that as the years roll by, the price tag will roll up. For example, a well looked after, high-end trim of a car with a value impacted by high running costs would be a likely candidate for eventual classic status. In these situations, it’s best to purchase the car while it is new and affordable, then to wait until they become older, rarer, and more collectible. In many respects, it’s a well-informed venture: buying the right car and playing the waiting game.
So which cars should you be looking at? Across various classic car publications, there is some shared agreement on cars which are likely to hold/increase in value in the not-so-distant future. Here are a handful of examples to give you an idea of the kind of cars you should be looking into.
The MX5 should by rights be a classic already, owing to its sterling reputation and its rave reviews from critics and fans alike. However, high production numbers means that the price does not yet reflect the car’s high status. Over the next few years, as more models are retired, it’s highly possible we will see the price rise as classic status creeps in.
If you see one of these going for a good price, don’t hesitate to snap it up. The endlessly cool Capri was all the rage throughout the 70’s, but production had petered out by 1986 due to a change in the style of the time. There are only several hundred left on the UK’s roads today, and, while still comparatively wallet-friendly, their value has almost doubled in the past 18 months alone. Is it any surprise when they just look so awesome?
Peugeot 205 GTi
Well maintained 205 GTi’s are already seeing their value slowly creep higher, making it a strong contender for future classic car status. The 205 has been showered with critical acclaim since its initial production, having been declared ‘Car of the Decade’ by CAR Magazine in 1990. The GTi version was arguably Peugeot’s most successful GTi of all time and they’re still reasonably affordable.
Renaultsport Clio 182 ‘Trophy’
The 182 Trophy may look like your average Clio at a glance, but don’t be fooled: only 500 were ever produced for the UK, and it is widely considered one of the greatest hot hatches of all time. These are two reasons why the 182 Trophy seems destined for a place on the classic car podium.
Alfa Romeo 156 GTA
The 3.2-litre Busso V6 engine and the stunning exteriors of the 156 meant that it was snapped up by car enthusiasts as soon as it went on sale. This typically means low mileage units are fairly easy to find, which can work wonders in helping a car become a future classic.