Can cars from the 1990s and early 2000s already be classic cars? You bet they can.
There’s a certain school of thought that only cars with plenty of chrome, bad heaters, no air conditioning and no mod cons can be properly called classics.
But surely some cars are modern classics as soon as they roll off the production line – does anyone doubt that, one day, the Jaguar F-Type will get the nostalgic juices flowing in the same way the E-Type does now?
With prices of classics from the 1990s on the rise, we asked our friends at Modern Classics to pick out 10 of the best modern classic buys.
With beautiful styling, a 370bhp V8 and an interior that just begs to be sat in, the XKR should already be more expensive than it already is.
But this super-GT is available for less than £10,000 (more for the best, though) – an absolute bargain for what you get.
But finding a really superb example is getting difficult, so prices are already firming up.
Yet we foresee a strong future for the XKR, driven up by Jaguar’s new car renaissance.
There are loads of specialists, and wonderful clubs to help. Why haven’t you bought yours?
2017 target price: £12,000; 2022 price: £20,000
The Alfa Romeo 147 and 156 GTA cars have been ramping up in price over the past year, fed by rarity and that glorious 3.2-litre Busso V6.
For some reason the GT, which shares that engine, has been left somewhat behind.
But it won’t be for long – like the GTAs, the V6 GT is already a rare sight on UK roads.
Add in beautiful Bertone looks, that rasping V6, the chromed inlet manifolds and sumptuous leather seats and you’ve got a car on the cusp of ultra desirability.
2017 target price: £8,000; 2022 price: £14,000.
We’ve already seen how the 205 GTI has shocked the classic car elite after a mint one sold for £30,000 last year.
The 306 GTi-6 has some way to go before that happens, but with so few low-mileage, unmodified examples left, we see that gap closing sooner than you might imagine.
With communicative steering, incisive turn-in and plenty of grip this is an absolute B-road hero, and it’s much better built than a 205.
It’s also lovely to look at, too. Prices for these are on the floor right now, but it won’t take long for that situation to change.
2017 target price: £3,000; 2022 price: £8,000.
Think four-wheel drive, turbocharged, rally history and Escort Cosworths, and you’re looking at £20,000 to £50,000.
But the Impreza will leave it standing, and in competition form actually won the WRC.
Simply put, the Subaru Impreza is more than overdue a renaissance and with prices unlikely to get lower, now’s the time to invest.
Nineties nostalgia is coming into its own, and who can’t remember Colin McRae winning the RAC Rally in 1994 and the drivers’ title a year later? That feelgood feeling will see mint, unmodified early examples start to follow the same rise in values as the Escort Cossie.
2017 target price: £5,000; 2022 price: £10,000.
Yes, the Vanquish is already expensive, especially when you consider the other cars in this list.
But think of where Ferrari 550 and 575s are now – the Vanquish should be pushing them too.
There’s precedent, of course – all Astons increase in value eventually – but this one is currently the cheapest it will ever be, especially for one with a starring James Bond role.
As we move into the next five to 10 years we can see spectacular growth in values as this perfectly aged slab of British beef becomes the next supercar must-have.
2017 target price: £70,000; 2022 price £150,000+
Here’s our wildcard of the bunch, the Audi S8.
It’s a technological tour de force, with an aluminium monocoque, four-wheel drive and 335-355bhp from its 4.2-litre V8.
It can waft you around in supreme comfort, yet it can accelerate faster than most sports cars of the era (60mph is a memory after 6.5 seconds). But for all this, the reason for its likely rise in value comes from its scene-stealing performance in the Robert de Niro film Ronin.
Not many cars of the modern classic era manage to be so cool, yet so attainable.
You only have to look at the other big saloon from that film – the mighty Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 – to see how desirable super saloons can become.
Target price: £8-10,000; 2022 price £13,000.
By this time the Golf GTi was looking seriously undercooked, even if tuners loved the easy power from its turbocharged lump.
However, it’s the R32 that’s the star attraction from this era.
It’s no stripped-out hot hatchback – think of this as a top-of-the-range Passat crammed into a Golf.
That means you get all the toys and lots of leather, plus Haldex four-wheel drive, independent rear suspension and the party piece, a 3.2-litre V6 engine kicking out 237bhp.
Prices are already strong for the R32, but with low-miles, unmessed-with cars getting rarer, we see solid growth.
2017 target price: £8,000; 2022 price £15,000
Prices for R34 Skylines have already started advancing, fuelled by The Fast and the Furious and the knowledge that the US will be able to import them in a few years’ time.
However, the R33 is about as rare and currently running at a third to half the price.
Okay, so the R33 may not have the chiselled good looks of the R34, but it’s very nearly as quick and just as much fun to drive.
We’re at the tipping point where we’re about to see mint, low-mileage and – most importantly – standard cars start to become prized.
Tuck one away now and at the very least you’ll have depreciation-proof motoring.
2017 target price: £20,000; 2022 price: £25,000
Here’s another car with cult Fast and the Furious appeal, and so far it’s been adored by the modifying masses.
However, much like the Skyline, we’ll soon see standard cars start to become yearned for.
Disagree? Think of the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth – that was a tuner’s favourite, but look how the market for those favours standard examples. While there is nothing wrong with modifying cars, if you’re seeing these as an investment, choose one with the least amount of visual modifications.
2017 target price: £10,000; 2022 price: £18,000
Few cars make you tingle like an M3 E46 surging towards 7900rpm in third.
It’s one of my favourite automotive happy places. But this is a car that should make your finances happy in future.
Yes, BMW sold a lot of them but most you see have been neglected and abused, or have done starship mileages.
While there is nothing wrong with the SMG system (despite the internet horror stories), the market is already favouring manual cars and will continue to do so.
We see further growth over the next year, drawn up by rampaging CS and CSL prices. Fast, fun and practical, it ticks all the boxes.
2017 target price: £20,000; 2022 price: £25,000