You never know which cars are going to be classics; the vehicles that turn up at car shows usually have a mix of sentiment and rarity.
Here are 10 future collector cars we think have potential to gather crowds at car shows of the future. The best part is that they aren’t terribly expensive right now.
Acura NSX (1st-gen)
It was known as “the Japanese Ferrari” — a phrase that still makes us throw up in our mouths a little — but the truth is that these cars really could go toe-to-toe with the best from Europe, and their baked-in Honda reliability gave them an distinct advantage. Drive a first-generation Acura NSX today and you’ll be amazed at how well this quarter-century-old design stacks up, even by modern day standards. The coming of the new NSX has stirred interest in the first-generation cars, but prices are still reasonable: Plenty are still trading in the mid-20s to low-40s, which is a bargain, considering what these cars can do.
The CTS-V will be remembered as car that turned the phrase “performance-oriented Cadillac” from a bad joke into a serious threat. The first-generation (2004-2007) had naturally aspirated V8 engines from the Corvette Z06 (5.7 then 6.0 liters, both 400 hp) and came exclusively with a six-speed stick. These BMW-beating road warriors are the best bargains, with some nice ones changing hands under $15k and a few under $10K. 2009-2015 cars gained a supercharger and 556 horsepower, with drop-dead gorgeous coupes and wagons joining the lineup. These cars are quite a bit more expensive, but you can still nab a sedan for around $30k and coupes and wagons under $40k — not bad considering the all-new 2016 version sells for $83,995.
Shop for affordable Cadillac CTS-Vs here.
Chrysler TC by Maserati
Not all cars are collectible because they were great; look at the Edsel. Much the same will probably be said of the 1989-1991 TC by Maserati, an Italian-built convertible that was supposed to bring exotic prestige to Chrysler showrooms. Unfortunately, the TC was nearly identical to the LeBaron convertible, which sold for less than half of the TC’s $33,000 (later $37,000) price tag, and Chrysler only managed to move 7,300 TCs before throwing in the towel. These cars are rare but very cheap: We’ve seen plenty sell between $3,000 and $5,000, and even the nicest low-mileage examples don’t go for much more than $8,000. Despite the exotic roots, the mechanical bits are all Chrysler, which means parts are plentiful. Just remember to correct people at car shows: It’s not a TC, it’s a TC by Maserati.
Shop for your Chrysler TC by Maserati on sale here.
What possessed Dodge to start making a wagon in the early 2000s? We have no idea, but we’re glad they did. With its deep-wedge roofline, the Magnum isn’t very practical, but it sure looks badass — the perfect companion to the closely related Charger. (One of our writers remembers getting pulled over by the California Highway Patrol in a Magnum press car simply because the cops wanted a closer look.) The Magnum is memorable and with a production run of just four years, it’s bound to be a regular at car shows of the future. For now, though, it’s a great buy: We’ve seen high-mileage V6 cars going for less than $2,000, and even the most desirable version — the 425-hp SRT8 — can be yours for less than $20k.
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
The SVT Cobra has always been one of the highlights of the Ford Mustang lineup: With so much Mustang marketing based on tape-stripe special editions, it’s good to see one designed for serious performance. We love to drive, so our pick of the snakes is the 1999-2004 series, which had a 320-hp version of the 4.6-liter “modular” V8 and — most importantly — an independent rear suspension that gave it significantly better handling and response than live-axle Mustangs. We’re surprised that prices for these cars haven’t yet taken off: There are still plenty of good examples selling for $10,000 or less, and bunches more (including convertibles) going for less than $25k.
Shop for your Ford Mustang SVT Cobra for sale here.
To the uninitiated, the Honda S2000 is just a Miata competitor, but those who have driven one know there’s a lot more to these cars, particularly the engine, which on earlier models revs to an ear-popping 9,000 rpm. (On later cars this was reduced to 8,200 rpm, which is still pretty lofty.) These little convertibles are an absolute delight to drive, and it makes sense that they will be valued in future generations. Asking prices are frequently north of $15,000, but hang tight and keep a close eye on the auctions — a lot of these cars wind up selling for $12,000 or less.
Shop for your Honda S2000 for sale here.
Mazda Mazdaspeed MX-5
Serviceable Miatas are a dime a dozen; if you just want a reliable MX-5 for top-down cruising, you’ll have no problem picking one up for less than $5,000. But the Mazdaspeed MX-5 is the Holy Grail of Miatas, the only one to be factory-fitted with a turbocharger.
With 180 horsepower on tap, this little Mazda proved that the Miata’s lovely chassis could handle more power — but Mazda only made it for two years. In the future, we predict this will be the Miata to have. Mazdaspeed MX-5s don’t appear on eBay as frequently as some of the other cars on this list, but when they do, the prices are surprisingly reasonable: The last batch we saw sold for between $8,800 and $9,500.
Shop for your Mazdaspeed Miata for sale here.
The G8 is significant in that it was the last new model introduced to the Pontiac brand, and it was a great note on which to leave: A big rear-wheel-drive sedan that tied a bow on Pontiac’s legacy as the brand that built excitement. (We’ll ignore the fact that the last car from this quintessentially American marque was designed in Autralia.) No question, the most collectible G8 will be the 415 hp GXP, but not surprisingly, they are also the most expensive; the last one we saw up for sale had an asking price of $29,500. If you can do with second best, look for the G8 GT, which had a 6.0-liter V8 tuned for 361 hp. We’ve seen them consistently selling between $7,500 and $20,000, depending on age and mileage.
Shop for your Pontiac G8 for sale here.
Toyota Celica GT-S
The 2000-2005 Celica GT-S was Toyota’s last hurrah before deciding that they were all but done in the sporty car business. But what a note to leave on: The Celica’s straight lines and sharp angles were a nice contrast to the blobbymobiles so many automakers were pumping out in Y2K, and with a 180-hp engine under the hood and a cadre of TRD parts to improve performance, the GT-S had go to accompany its show. These cars mark the end of an era at Toyota, and they are bound to generate collector interest. And now is a good time to buy: These cars are selling in the $4,000 to $5,000 range. And while you’re looking at Celicas, keep an eye out for the 1970s and ’80s-vintage Celica GT and GTS, more very cool Toyotas.
Shop for your Toyota Celica GTS for sale here.
Volvo 850 R/T5-R and V70 R
Wagons are cool, and one of the cars we can thank for that is the Volvo 850 (later known as the V70) – specifically the R models. These wagons packed nifty-sounding five-cylinder engines delivering in the neighborhood of 250 horsepower, and most could make it to 60 mph in around six seconds — pretty quick for the time. They were offered in bright colors and looked cool as all get-out. As with any aging European car, maintenance can be tricky, and prices are all over the place: We’ve seen them go from $1,500 up to $11,000. Do your homework and shop carefully, and you’ll have a future car show head-turner.
Shop for your Volvo V70 R for sale here.
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