How to Spot a Future Classic Car
Whether it’s to enjoy today or to collect tomorrow, buying a perceived future classic is an exciting proposition. But just because it’s “cool,” doesn’t exactly mean that one day it will be a classic. To earn classic status, a car must take a stand and assert itself, in one of many different ways. Before taking the plunge and spending your hard earned cash on a potential collector’s item, take a moment to understand the DNA of the classic cars we know and love. Iconography
PHOTOS: See more of the 2013 Ford Mustang from Need for Speed
Talk to any old-timer at a car show and they’ll likely tell you the same thing: their car reminds them of a special moment in each of their lives. Classics have that unmistakable iconography about them – their ability to freeze time. So while cars that owned their decades (like the original Ford Mustang, Fiat 500 and Mk2 Volkswagen Golf) might get you going, imagine where the current Chevrolet SS will take you in 25 years.
PHOTOS: See more of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe
Almost by default, the more rare the car – the more likely it will become a classic (sorry Prius owners). People value what they can’t have, and although older American sedans can be hard to find, more often than not it’s European luxury that people covet. Famous shapes like the Series I Jaguar XJ12, Mercedes 280SL roadster and BMW 2002 represent a goldmine for classic car collectors. Start your exclusive collection today with a current BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, or Jaguar F-Type. Or stay continental with a 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker Edition.
PHOTOS: See more of the 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
On the flip-side, sometimes it pays to ditch the masses and find what doesn’t sell. Much like being born in the wrong decade, some good cars just never fit in. Cars like the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback have sold terribly, but hearken to the weird yet awesome Japanese hatchbacks of the ’80s. The Lancer cashes in on unique styling and a functional layout, which should make it a funky take on a daily-driver someday. However, don’t mistake a terrible car for being niche. We don’t expect many Cadillac Cimarron fan clubs to start up anytime soon.
Fewer Doors Equal More Value
PHOTOS: See more of the Mazda Miata
Vintage performance and styling is paramount to classic car collectors. Nothing quite delivers that mantra like a roadster. The late-model Mazda Miata continues to prove why it’s the best all-round car in the segment. Plus, 25 years down the line, there’s a good chance that it will continue its current reliability. Classic cars shouldn’t just be gazed at anyways.
PHOTOS: See more of the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS
If the intense culture that surrounds the first few years of the Mustang and Camaro is any hint, relatively low-volume muscle cars will always be collectible. These cars embrace the beating heart of blue-collar America, and the upcoming Ford GT350 and Camaro Z/28 should fill those large shoes quite nicely. But if the patriotic V8 coupes aren’t your cup of gasoline, there’s certainly enough oddball Americana to go around. Collectors are still kicking themselves for not picking up a GMC Syclone or a Ford SVT Lightning.
At the end of the day, determining a future classic is entirely subjective. Nobody goes to classic car shows to rebuke the status of the cars on display. As long your car makes a stand on some sort of issue – and it isn’t a beige mix of paper maché attitude and styling – it should fit the bill. Just buy what makes you happy, and hope for the best.