Trends may come and go but style lasts forever. When it comes to classic cars, this statement is more relevant than ever. But what really makes a car classic to collectors? Some argue that it’s styling, others say it’s the specs and exclusivity, and even more believe it’s the impact they make on pop culture. Getting a modern car to join the exclusive ranks of “classic” is somewhere between an art and a science to nail down. Not only does a classic car make any onlookers dream of having their own, but they are one of the few assets that can outperform an index fund if a collector chooses wisely. Here are our top predictions for the modern cars that we believe have what it takes to become an instant classic.
10. 2014 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Edition 507
The three-point star is synonymous with both luxury and performance, especially when it gets a beefy V8 engine to accompany it. This base model’s power was barely legal in Europe and immediately won over the US market with its ability to go 0-60 in roughly 4.5 seconds. This vehicle marked the end of Mercedes’ run in the performance market with a vehicle that didn’t demand a six-figure price tag for it, making a number of collectors nostalgic for the rare model.
9. 2012 Porsche Cayman R
When you think of Porsche, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a 911 Turbo. That’s for good reason, but the brand is far from a one trick pony. This Cayman R is designed for one thing and one thing only, performance. Gaining an extra 10hp on the Cayman S, this model also sheds off an extra 121 pounds from its predecessors, making it one of the lightest cars to date. With only roughly 3,500 made worldwide and an engine that can challenge the 911 itself, this car has major collector potential.
8. 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
Bad timing killed the 2009 Pontiac Solstice before it even got a chance to run out of the gate, but perhaps it was really a blessing in disguise all along. The brand’s swan song proved to be one of its best models in decades, with the GPX being able to hit 5.2 seconds from 0 to 60. The Solstice was famously a pet project of legendary automotive executive, Bob Lutz during his tenure as Vice Chairman, Product Development at GM. With only around 1,200 that made it into production, its low supply and high demand makes it a likely collector candidate for the long haul.
7. 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
When you put a name so closely associated with the iconic Steve McQueen on a new Mustang, you know expectations are going to soar. However, this vehicle has a lot more than name recognition to back it up. Its special “voodoo” engine can get 526hp and give a Ferrari a run for its money. Its modern tech and Wi-Fi capability also gives it some added functionality in day-to-day life. With Ford recently retiring the model in favor of the GT500, now is a prime opportunity to get in early on this hotrod’s classic potential.
6. 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible
Ever since the 1950s, the Corvette has been a household name in the car market. This 60-year anniversary model was a special project that improved upon the Z06 variant with a carbon fiber enchanted body. The re-enforced drop-top also makes it a unique offering compared to its peers, helping cement its status as a Corvette superfan must-have.
5. 2017 Dodge Viper SRT
The Viper model transformed from an edgy muscle car into a full-fledged hotrod that could take a Corvette head-on with its rebranding. Its formidable V-10 Engine can reach 646 horsepower, making it an absolute monster to handle. It’s estimated that only around 485 of these vehicles still exist, meaning it won’t be easy to get ahold of one of these.
4. 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
While the Cadillacs of today are more synonymous with luxury than performance, many forget that this prestigious brand can really turn up the volume when it feels like it. Being able to hit 0 to 60 in four seconds flat, and possessing an extremely athletic frame, this Caddy could hold its own against the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and McLarens of its cohort (while being much more approachable in the process). With no immediate plans for a coupe to return in Cadillac’s arsenal, enthusiasts are sure to be checking their local listings for one of these gems for a long time coming.
3. 2012 Audi TT RS
High-performance and Audi were a combo sorely missing from the US market until this model brought all the best elements of European design back to the American forefront. Its ability to hit 0 to 60 in 4 seconds while still being an automatic made it an approachable supercar. The 2012 model only had a short run on the production line, with less than an estimated 1,400 in circulation, but it left a lasting impression that should keep it sought after for years to come.
2. 2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
Classic design and a catchy name? Check. Awe-inspiring performance with 707 hp under the hood? Check. Limited production with a prestigious pedigree? Check. The Hellcat already has all the ingredients in place to age wonderfully, now it just needs some time to simmer into perfection.
1. 2006 Lotus Exige
Lotus isn’t a brand that’s on most Americans’ radar, but anyone can appreciate what this unique model brings to the table. Its next-level handling and involved transmission make it a perfect treat for motorheads to bring onto a track. The niche status and exotic styling also help it to stand out amongst the usual suspects in the limelight. While there were approximately 3,300 of these brought into the US, it’s barely depreciated and become a hipster favorite for being an under-the-radar performer, hinting that a goldmine might be buried in its hood. Keep a close eye on this one as the mainstream starts to pick up on what the Exige is all about.
Today’s standouts are tomorrow’s classics. Let us know in the comments what modern cars you think will be collectible one day. And if you’re looking to park a future classic car in your garage, we can help you find it.