Future classic cars are those that are currently affordable but may shoot up in price in the next few years (or decades). Some example prices of past future classic cars over the past few years include:
- Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera (1984-89)
- Prices in 2010 (£10 – £20,000) vs Prices now (£40 – £60,000+)
- Mercedes 190E Cosworth
- Prices in 2010 (£1,000 – £5,000) vs Prices now (£8,000 – £30,000+)
- Ford Escort MK2 RS2000
- Prices in 2010 (£5,000 – £10,000) vs Prices now (£30,000 – £60,000+)
- Citroen 2CV
- Prices in 2010 (£500 – £1,000) vs Prices now (£3,000 – £15,000+)
- BMW M3 (E30)
- Prices in 2010 (£5,000 – £10,000) vs Prices now (£30,000 – £50,000+)
These are just five of a huge list of previous future classic cars that have shot up in price and put a smile on their owners face. If you want to get in on the action, keep reading below for our top 14 future classic car recommendations.
What Makes a Future Classic?
Spotting certain characteristics that are desirable, rare in numbers or simply won’t be seen again is key to spotting a future classic car. From large capacity engines to quirky designs, these are certain features that are simply not found in today’s cars. Ask yourself, when was the last time you saw a modern pillarless coupe on the road?
Other features that can contribute to a car reaching a future classic status include:
- Large capacity engines – (modern engines are much smaller)
- Manual transmissions
- Limited production numbers
- A story behind the car
- Strong following/community – (clubs or forums)
What Affordable Future Classic Cars Do We Recommend?
1. Mercedes SL R129 – (1989 – 2001)
The R129 Mercedes SL is the last of the hand built Mercedes where no expense was spared. Each of the predecessors prior to this particular SL are classed as classics and the R129 is 100% going to follow. There are a handful of engines to choose from but we were strongly recommend the V8 or V12 variants (SL500 & SL600).
2. Porsche 996 – (1997 – 2004)
The last affordable 911 is the 996 and with a flat six engine along with the great handling, it’s a great car to drive. Depending upon your budget, you may wish to go for a 4S or an even more powerful turbo variant, which is almost certainly going to be a classic in the future.
3. BMW M5 E39 – (1995 – 2004)
The E39 BMW M5 was the main competitor to the W210 E55 at the time and had the benefit of having a manual transmission option. The V8 engine produced 394 BHP and could easily power past many so called “supercars” at the time. The E34 M5 shot up in price and the E39 will certainly follow as it features the same great recipe.
4. Renault Clio 182 – (1998 – 2005)
Renault Clio’s aren’t the first cars that you look at and think it will be a classic but the rare V6 model and the more affordable 182 Sport look very promising. They are an affordable hot hatch that will keep up with most modern alternatives and those that haven’t been modified or converted to track cars are very thin on the ground!
5. Mercedes E Class W124 – (1988 – 1996)
The W124 Mercedes E Class is a legendary car and one that’s known for its reliability and build quality. They are available as a saloon, estate, coupe or cabriolet and features a wide selection of both petrol and diesel engines.
The ones to look out for are the cabriolets or coupes with the six cylinder engines. In today’s market, they are absolute bargains but prices are certainly on the up.
6. Mazda RX7 – (1992 – 2002)
The original RX7 with the unique rotary engine provides excellent performance and is certainly one to lookout for. There are only a few relatively affordable ones left on the market (or ones that need a bit of TLC) but they are certainly heading towards the future classic car status.
7. Volkswagen Golf MK5 R32 – (2004 – 2009)
Both the MK4 and MK5 R32’s both have 3.2 litre V6’s and they are outstanding all-round cars. What makes them future classics is the fact that you will never see such a large engine within a hot hatch ever again. Whether you choose a manual or DSG transmission, the V6 power plant provides plenty of performance and they sound great too. The MK5 is the better of the two primarily due to the modern features and practicality.
8. BMW M3 E36 – (1986 – 1991)
The E36 M3 was the ultimate sports car of its time and nothing from its German rivals could match it. Due to the drop in price, many people turned them into track cars but the ones that are left are certain to become future classics. If you are lucky enough to find a good condition EVO model, they are the best of the bunch.
9. Honda S2000 – (1999 – 2009)
Apart from the early Honda NSX’s that have already hit classic car status, the next future classic from Honda has to be the S2000. It’s a two seater with the desirable naturally aspirated, two litre, VTEC engine that revs all the way up to 9,000 RPM. Although prices are on the up, there are plenty of bargains to get your hands on before the huge boom.
10. Toyota Supra Mk4 (A80) Turbo – (1993 – 2002)
The Toyota Supra MK4 was the standout car from the Fast and Furious movie but they are also very popular among tuners. The twin turbo engine is highly tuneable and there are plenty of Supra’s running crazy power figures. Due to the strong following, prices are relatively high but they are certain to carry on increasing as there becomes less on the road.
11. Audi RS4 B7 – (2005 – 2008)
The Audi RS4 B7 is by far one of the most popular RS4 models ever produced and is powered by the ultra-reliable and high performance V8. Along with the excellent engine was the wide body arches that really stood out from the crowd.
In terms of the engine, its high revving (8,500 RPM) all aluminium natural aspirated setup produced 414 BHP and was able to hit 60 in just 4.2 seconds. It truly was one of the all time great RS4’s that can be bought for as little as £15,000.
12. Mercedes E55 AMG w210 – (1996 – 2002)
It’s crazy to think that you can get a 5.5 litre, 5.4 second 0-60 and 354 BHP Mercedes AMG for just £5,000 but that’s exactly what the W210 E55 is. Whether you want a saloon or estate, both are a wolf in sheep’s clothing and provide impressive performance. It’s for this reason why they are going to be future classics and something that you can enjoy to drive. Apart from the usual rust, they are also very reliable cars that are perfect to use as a daily driver if you so wish.
13. Mazda MX5 MK1 – (1989 – 1999)
The MK5 MK1 (often referred to as the Miata) is lightweight, front engined and rear wheel drive, which is the perfect recipe for fun. There are hundreds of bargains on the market right now and if you are able to hold onto them, they will certainly hold their value and be a blast to drive.
14. Audi R8 MK1 – (2006 – 2015)
When initially released, the Audi R8 was a budget supercar and shared many characteristics with the Lamborghini Gallardo. As depreciation has made prices drop, you can now pick up early V8 models from around £30,000 and V10 models from around £40,000. What makes it a potential future classic is the fact that the design has aged well and they are available with manual transmissions, which are slowly becoming non existent in modern cars.
Considering that modern cars are going to have to be plugged in with an electric car charger, holding onto some of the collectible internal combustion cars are going to be a great investment.
Everyone has their own thoughts on what they deem to be a future classic but the 14 recommendations above are a solid list. If you have any suggestions, we would love to know!