There are no set criteria for what constitutes a classic, but that makes the debate as to which car might be a future classic all the more interesting. Most organisations generally refer to a classic car as being more than 20 years old but after that the definition becomes rather blurry. Classic cars may be rare, limited-edition cars. They may be powerful or pretty or just have that special something that defines a moment in motor history or sums up a genre. Here are some models that might just make it to classic status.
Fiat’s revival of the 500 has been an unmitigated success. It combines the quirky styling of the old model with the solid underpinnings of a Panda. It is a bit of a style icon already and might just make it to classic status. Are there too many examples around, though?
This was a joint project with Subaru, who market an almost identical car as the BRZ. The GT86 is a back-to-basics, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle. It is not particularly fast, but its fun handling and simple engineering are proving a magnet for enthusiasts and tweakers alike. Will the BRZ, its close cousin, stop it being a classic?
This striking 2+2 coupe was born in 1993 and stayed in production until 2004. Only 40,000 or so were sold worldwide and possibly due to Alfa’s questionable record on reliability, only 500 or so remain on the road in the UK, according to the DVLA. The GTV sums up Alfa’s excitement and beauty and the rarity factor here could lead to classic status.
As with Fiat’s revised 500, the new MINI has been a runaway success. It has spawned a whole family of derivatives and is now a marque in itself. It combines funky, retro styling with rock-solid engineering, this time from BMW. The Cooper S is probably the most iconic model and could make it to classic status.
When it launched in 1998, the Audi TT almost immediately redefined what a prestige coupe was all about. It was and is achingly pretty, almost too good-looking. It left all competitors in its wake. That it still remains in production and hardly looks changed at all says a lot about its classic potential. Only sheer numbers can hold it back.
In many ways, the Mazda MX5 is already a classic. Just as the TT did for the coupe sector, the little MX5 redefined low-cost, basic sports car motoring. It is well made, fun to drive and good-looking. It defines the modern soft top.
The Golf GTI MK4 launched in 1997 and continued through the early noughties. As with its predecessors, it is the epitome of the quality hot hatch. Only volume will deflate its classic status.
Mazda is never afraid to buck convention and that makes their cars stand out from the crowd. The Mazda RX8 is no exception. It is a great little coupe but defies the traditional layout by having two rear-hinged back doors to improve access to the back. It also has the famous rotary engine to increase its oddball status. It’s a practical car that is usable every day but sold in small enough numbers to have rarity value.
Honda built the S2000 in 1999 to celebrate its 50th birthday and the car remained in production for the next decade. Its great engine and handling gives it fantastic bang-for-your-buck appeal.
The striking looks divide critics but its blistering pace and superb handling are roundly applauded. Only 450 sold in Britain, so it already has that scarcity factor which could contribute to classic status.
Thank you to Louis Rix over at Carfinance 247 for contributing this article. Feel free to ask their resident expert Edwin Miles for any Classic Car Finance related advice in their Q&A section.