As someone that walks, talks, and dreams about cars, I get this question a lot: “what cars are going to increase in value?’. While I don’t have a glass sphere to predict the future, I do like to give some predictions about future classic cars. In this post, I’ll list 10 future classic cars that I believe will become in demand over the next few years.
And please don’t see this as financial advice, I handle the same warranty conditions as any fortune teller would… 😉 And if you have any suggestions or believe that I missed a particular car, please let me know in the comment section!
Table of Contents
What to look for in a future classic car?
There are several factors that can contribute to a car’s value appreciating over time, turning it into a classic:
- Brand heritage
- Historical significance
- Aesthetics and design
- Cultural impact
- Condition and background
Each of these factors plays a role in determining whether a car might become a valuable classic, but predicting this is still more art than science. The classic car market can be influenced by many factors and tastes can change over time. I’ve also written a more in-depth article about these factors:
1. Honda S2000
The Honda S2000, a well-crafted testament to Honda’s engineering prowess, was introduced around 1999 to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary. A true driver’s car with an exceptional 9,000 rpm redline, it is endowed with an engine that sings like few others. 240hp from a naturally aspirated 2-liter engine was unheard of. And once you rev into the higher area of 7,000rpm, the VTEC valve system changes the character of the engine into a roaring beast. Pair this with a perfectly balanced chassis and razor-sharp handling and it’s clear why it’s set for a future classic car status.
While the car isn’t really rare with over 110,000 cars produced, you should keep an eye on the 2.0 models, known as the AP1 with the F20C engine. This is that legendary 2-liter engine with that amazing 9,000rpm redline. In 2004 they introduce a more civilized 2.2-liter engine with a lower redline, thus less spectacular. With an increasing appetite for raw, uncompromised driving experiences and the desire for naturally aspirated engines, the Honda S2000 will only become more desirable in the future. Don’t wait too long; the s2000 still is affordable but prices are on the rise already. And stay away from heavily tuned/modified cars! An original s2000 with a full history and reasonable mileage is a safe bet if you’d ask me.
2. Nissan GT-R
The Nissan GT-R, or ‘Godzilla’ as insiders call it, has always pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in a performance car. With a story that goes back to the late 1960s, the GTR or Skyline is a big name in the tuning and aftermarket scene. Especially after the success of the ‘Fast & Furious’-franchise. The GT-R has grown in each iteration, showcasing Japanese precision and groundbreaking technology. Equipped with a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6, the first models produced 485hp while the current model puts out a whopping 565hp (the Nismo version pushes the boundary to 700hp!).
The latest model, the R35, was introduced in 2005 and production started in 2007. With its computer-controlled systems and twin-turbocharged V6 engine, the car embodies a relentless pursuit of performance and control, setting a new standard for the hate/loved Nordschleife. As the world moves towards electric drivetrains, the GT-R’s blend of traditional combustion power and high-tech gadgetry may well make it a highly sought-after classic.
The R34 is already a very, very sought-after creation as many fans see this as the absolute masterpiece. Prices of well-maintained R34s are sky(line)-high. Maybe this is because the R34 is a lot rarer than the R35, which you can still order today. Nevertheless, the impact of the R35 will reflect in its price level once the production stops. Look out for special versions like the SpecV or Nismo, or even the (pretty common) Black Edition to be sure that your money is spent well. And leave the tuned machines where they are!
3. Cayman GT4
Porsche purists always have a difficult relationship with the baby Porsche Cayman. Some will call it a poor men’s Porsche or doubt that it is a real Porsche at all. Let me be clear: most of those nay-sayers have never driven one. Believe me, the Cayman and the Boxster are 100% pure Porsches. As a 911 driver myself I can even say that the handling of a Cayman is in favor of the lighter Cayman. Of course, the 911 remains the brand Icon, but the Cayman is maturing and also becoming more incorporated into the heritage of Porsche. While the first models already appreciate in price slowly, there is one model set to be a future classic, the Cayman GT4.
The Cayman GT4 is the embodiment of Porsche’s sports car expertise. Its mid-engine layout provides perfect balance and its flat-six naturally aspirated 4-litre engine sings a tune that is increasingly rare in the modern era of turbocharging. The flat 6-cylinder (boxer) puts 420hp on the wheels and it is a track-focussed weapon. As the industry moves more into hybrid and electric technology, the GT4’s undiluted driving experience will likely be increasingly recognized and valued by purist enthusiasts. GT4s are rare and therefore very popular among collectors. Keep in mind that the PDK versions are good, but probably the manual transmission would become more special over time.
The extreme GT4 RS was an instant hit, and already a sought-after investment. But also, if a ‘normal’ GT4 is one step too high, I suggest also considering the more civilized GTS 4.0. This slightly detuned engine still delivers an awesome 400hp and is less track-oriented (read: less hardcore). As this is a car that is likely to be driven a lot, well-maintained items will become harder to obtain which will reflect in the prices eventually.
4. Lotus Elise
“Simplify, then add lightness”, is what Lotus’ founder Colin Chapman always preached. This is exactly what the Lotus Elise is all about. This little car is known for its purity of design and focus on lightweight performance, could potentially become a classic. First launched in 1996, the Elise is characterized by its minimalist approach and dedication to driving enjoyment. It’s a really fun car!
Equipped with a variety of four-cylinder engines throughout its production years, it might not have the power of supercars but its sub-1000kg weight gives it an impressive power-to-weight ratio. This, coupled with a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, delivers an engaging driving experience that makes the Elise a favorite among driving enthusiasts.
The Elise’s compact, sleek design, featuring a fiberglass body and a unique extruded aluminum chassis, is also a point of appeal. Its production approach, focusing on weight saving and efficiency, has had a lasting impact on the automotive industry.
Since Lotus cars are rare on their own, prices are stable. But as a lot of Elises are used as track tools, original, unmodified cars become rarer. It’s also worth noting that Lotus announced the end of Elise production in 2021, which could further elevate its status among collectors.
While a matter of taste, I think the Series 1 could become a future classic. This model still looks very ‘friendy’ and gives the purest feeling. With the Series 2, Lotus changed the design drastically into a more aggressive-looking sports car. I believe that car enthusiasts will prefer the S1 over the S2.
5. Ferrari F12
The F12 stands as one of the last front-engined, naturally aspirated V12 Ferraris. The massive 6.3-liter V12 produces 730 (!) horsepower and the F12 represents the end of an era for Ferrari’s grand touring pedigree. As Ferrari moves towards smaller, turbocharged engines and hybrid systems, the F12, with its raw power and unfiltered emotion, will stand out as a classic reminder of a golden era.
At the time of writing, the regular F12 is still ‘affordable’ in terms of Ferrari pricing. But this car being one of the last NA V12s in a beautiful body, I expect prices to rise in the (near) future. I don’t even bother you with the few specials that Ferrari made of the F12, these are considered to be priceless. But I think the plain F12 is set to become a future classic.
PS. For those who are fortunate enough to get hold of one: buy the new Purosangue. This will be an instant hit with insane price levels.
6. BMW M3 E92
The E92 M3 holds a special place in the M3 history since it’s the only M3 powered by a naturally aspirated 4-liter V8, an engine that delivers a thrilling 420 horsepower. Coupled with a well-tuned chassis and BMW’s precision engineering, the E92 M3 strikes a balance between daily usability and track-ready performance. As this is one of the last spectacular NA V8s, the E92 M3 sure will become a car that will get the status of a real classic.
Especially look at the Competition editions; a more hardcore version built for the track. They have an edge over the regular M3 and tend to be a lot rarer. Also, the 4-door version (E90) is becoming rare. Also for this one: try to find one with a manual transmission. If not a good investment, the prices are extremely solid and you still have a crazy wild machine to enjoy!
7. Audi RS5 Cabriolet
The RS5 Cabriolet is an exhilarating combination of performance and open-top driving pleasure. Just like the M3 above it has a NA V8 engine (4.2 liter) that produces a symphony that turbocharging simply can’t replicate. With its mix of all-weather usability, courtesy of Audi’s Quattro system, and high-performance driving, the RS5 Cabriolet is a standout model that’s likely to gain classic status in the future.
Most RS5s are coupés, which makes the cabriolet a lot rarer. Factor in the high-performance layout of a 4-wheel drive, 450hp V8 four-seater with the possibility to lower the top and you know that this is something special. And special is way ups the price!
8. Alfa Romeo 4C
The Alfa Romeo 4C is a perfect embodiment of the Italian carmaker’s flair for passionate design and spirited driving dynamics. It’s built around a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque chassis, just like its big brother, the 8C. Usually, this is the kind of technology you’ll find in super exclusive supercars. It has an extremely light setup and the engine is pretty small measuring only 1742cc. Due to a turbocharger, it produces around 240hp. The mid-engine layout, rear-wheel drive, and lack of power steering contribute to a direct, exhilarating, raw driving experience. Despite mixed reviews on its launch due to the harsh ride and manual steering, it is precisely these characteristics that have made the 4C a little icon.
Another factor of importance is that because of its complex monocoque chassis, the 4C never was produced in large numbers. The total worldwide production of the 4C was just about 9,000 cars (both coupe and cabrio). This was way less than Alfa Romeo hoped for since they aimed at 20,000 cars.
9. Alpine A110
The modern Alpine A110 picks up where its historic namesake left off in the 1970s. Its lightweight, and rear-wheel-drive layout combined with a peppy turbocharged engine, revive the ethos of the original A110. With its focus on lightness and agility over outright power, the Alpine A110 stands apart from many modern sports cars. The car weighs around 1100kg and the (tiny) 1.8 liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 252 horsepower, ensuring excellent handling and agility.
As the industry continues to prioritize power and technology over driving purity, the A110’s unique focus could cement its future classic status. Its predecessor already is. In terms of rarity, you should look at the S and R models. With the R being the rarest. They also have 300hp instead of 252hp, which makes them extra attractive.
10. Lotus Esprit V8
The Lotus Esprit V8, produced from 1996 to 2004, could also be a real future classic. Under the hood, the Esprit houses a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8, outputting 350 horsepower. The car’s fiberglass body, weighing around 1,338 kg, paired with its rear-wheel-drive layout, delivers a dynamic, exhilarating driving experience.
The Esprit’s rarity can be considered a value-increasing factor as only around 1,500 V8 models were ever produced. Its sleek, low-profile design, which turned heads in the 90s, still holds a unique charm today. As the last of the line of the long-lived Esprit series, this particular model holds a significant place in Lotus’s history.
Bonus: BMW i8
The BMW i8, in production from 2014 to 2020, could become a classic due to its unique position as one of the pioneers in the hybrid sports car segment. The i8 is powered by a combination of a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine and an electric motor, delivering a combined output of 369 horsepower in later models. Its 0-60 mph time of around 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph (250km/h) demonstrate its strong performance credentials.
The i8’s distinctive, futuristic design, featuring upward-opening doors and a low-slung profile, makes it a standout on the road even today. Additionally, its innovative use of a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic passenger cell contributed to a relatively light curb weight for a hybrid, around 1,500 kg, which aids in its sporty performance.
The BMW i8, being one of the first truly sporty plug-in hybrids, holds a significant place in automotive history. Its blend of performance, efficiency, and standout design could increase its desirability in the future.
10 Future Classic Cars: Which One Would You Choose?
I hope that I’ve inspired you with some future classics. Of course, I can’t guarantee that any car would go up in value. The cars above have a good chance of becoming valuable, sought-after cars over the years.
And don’t forget the factors I’ve listed in the introduction. Wrong information can cost you a lot of money. And while a car can be an interesting investment, you should never forget why the car is built in the first place: to drive it and to enjoy it!
Suggestions? Drop them below!