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Future classics that will rise in value (and some that won’t)

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This week, I get an email about future classics, and the cars that should be “saved”.

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Question

Hey Mike (hey – Mike), I saw a post from Doug DeMuro about future classics of cars made in the 2010s, and I’m wondering if you agree with him? What are your future classics? Gotta be a few BMWs in there somewhere.

– Terry

Answer

Terry asks an interesting question. For the record, Doug picked a WRX STi, a Blackwing CT-5 V, an NSX, Mitsubishi Evo 8, and the Toyota Land Cruiser. I can’t argue with those (actually, I can), but if we’re picking the top five, I think I can come up with a few better.

How do you determine a future classic? Production run. Manual transmission. An overall feeling of “special-ness”. Hard to pin down. Before I get to the good ones, here’s a few I think won’t be preserved and buried in the time capsule.

The NISMO 370Z

370Z
How most Zs turn out anyway.

I’m not a huge fan of the new Z. The ingredients don’t mesh well together. And the prior 370Z had such a long production run that it’s hard to ever classify it as special.

Is the NISMO edition different, with its body kit and angry-fish look? Not really – prices currently hover around the low $30s, and it’s a sports car that wasn’t fast, nor excelled on the track. Skip this one.

The BMW F80 M3 CS and F82 M4 CS

M3 CS
Maybe it speaks to how good the regular one is.

Cheap Sport? The CS took an already cheap-looking car inside and made it worse. 10 more horses didn’t matter (its a big 0.1 faster to 60). Right now I can find them for under $60k – some regular M4s are more expensive, depending on how it’s optioned. Remember, this car was well over $100,000 when new.

Oh, and no manual. Skip this one too.

Honda Civic Type R

2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition
The front wheels are actually larger than the rear. Photo: Honda

“The Type R is not only the quickest Honda Civic, it’s one of the quickest sport compacts”, so said Car & Driver.

Congratulations. You’re the best of the worst.

The Type R is not a bad car, until you start to look at the price for used ones, which are in the mid-$40s. That’s decent E9X money, or about a hundred other cars that have the proper wheels juiced.

Acura NSX

NSX
This gen isn’t aging nearly as well as the first.

In order for a car to be nostalgic, it must evoke a sort of “remember when” feeling. Original Nintendo is nostalgic, even though the technology is far outdated.

But what about this second gen NSX? It’s fast, but not really fast. Its hybrid powertrain is already outdated. Electric cars or ICE cars are both better at being…well, cars.

And for an average price over $120,000 used for a decent example? Surely we can do better. Like a V-10 R8! Or, if price is no object, a Lexus LF-A – truly an example of a Japanese car company taking their homework seriously.

Toyota Supra

Toyota Supra
Hardtop Z4.

“He wouldn’t..”

Yes. I would. I’m going to prove to you that the Supra is a mediocre car. Just delete the name.

How hot would a BMW Z4 Coupe be? Not very – BMW tried that. Like the NSX, Toyota trades on a name and hopes you won’t notice. Is the Supra better than a Nissan Z? Yes. Is it very good with a manual? Of course.

But is it one you want to save? Meh. Buy one of these in ten years for $80,000, and you’ve bought a very expensive badge.

Porsche 911 Carrera

911 T
At least the T can be had with a manual.

Lastly, the 911. Not the GT3 or the Dakar, not even the T.

Just plain old 911.

What a great car. Or at least, it used to be great. Now it’s just sort of there. With Porsche saving the manuals and better engines for their more expensive versions, you’re left with a 911 that’s still expensive, still fast, but not special.

You will never, ever go to a car show with other Porsches on display and think “I’m good”. But you will always pay a premium for any 911.

The future classics: #5 – Jaguar F-TYPE R

F-TYPE R
A car this good-looking with a V-8, that’s not a Corvette.

Perhaps the most important things a car can provide is in the form of looks – it shouldn’t look dated within five years. Needs to be timeless.

This F-TYPE is, especially the refreshed version. It’s just plain good-looking, and it always will be.

It shouldn’t be this good – inside it is dated, definitely not timeless. But the V-8, the “I’mma bust out a slide now” handling, the uncomfortableness of it all – it’s got soul. Needless to say, it’ll be worth a look in a decade. Won’t be seeing many at Cars & Batteries, or whatever it’ll be by then.

The future classics: #4 – The G80 M3 with a manual

G80 M3
The chrome badges tell you it’s plebeian spec.

“Haha Mike, very funny.”

Whatever. It ain’t perfect, but it’s got it where it matters.

The S58 is gold – BMW M’s best inline-six, and probably their last without electric assist.

Sure, the steering needs to ask permission before it answers you, and the manual is lifeless, but it’s still a manual, and it’s still an M3. Plus it has all the modern comforts of a BMW.

These won’t depreciate as much as Competition versions will. King of wishful thinking.

The future classics #3 – Chevrolet SS

2015-Chevrolet-SS
Subtle, but still Chevy. Photo: GM

I could put something else here, like an F10 M5 with a manual. But there’s only 600 or so of those around. You expect it to be special.

Audi RS6? Sure, same thing. Expectations.

What isn’t burdened with a badge? The Chevrolet SS.

V-8? Check. Six-speed? Yes. Under-the radar looks? Uh-huh. Cheap? For now!

Look, this is an unpretentious Chevy that happens to have the beating heart of a Corvette. But it’s also got moves. Like, E39 M5 moves. Parts are plentiful. What’s not to like?

Maybe the interior (still Chevy cheap), but if it’s all too much for you, slap on a Holden badge and no one will even know what it is.

The future classics: #2 – M2 CS

M2 CS
The best CS…ever?

Why do you think an M4 CS isn’t cool, and an M2 CS is?

After all, they are made of the same bits. But isn’t the M2 just special? The gold wheels. The carbon fiber roof not available on any other M2. The S55 with more juice.

The M2 is about 100 pounds lighter, its wheelbase shorter for a more nimble feel. Still, it’s difficult to explain.

Course, we can just look at pricing. An M2 CS is already past $100,000. The M4? Subtract $35,000.

Watch the discrepancy grow. And finally – this obsession with the 1M can end. Do not pay $90,000 for that car. Save up for this one.

The future classics: #1 – Cadillac CT-5 V Blackwing

blackwing-small
The Blackwing will be missed.

You know what makes this so special? It provides a modern experience wrapped in a classic car.

Nothing here is an afterthought. The stick. The supercharged V-8. If you offered me the keys to this or an M5 CS, I’d cry. Like an arranged marriage, I’d be obligated to pick the M5 (it’s wonderful). But at night, I’d be dreaming of the Blackwing. Is it cheating if it’s just an emotional connection? Nothing physical.

The one thing that might hold this car’s value down is its badge. Look past it, and you have every ingredient needed to make this an all-time great.

Check back in ten years Terry. 2033. You heard it here first.

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