Top 10 future classic cars to invest in now

16th June 2021, 5:47am
12 min read
Top 10 future classic cars to invest in now

It is hard to know which cars will become future classics. Some are much easier to identify than others thanks to their popularity, looks, or combination of both. The once, young teenager population who were drooling over these iconic cars, have come to a point in life where they can afford to relive their younger years by getting behind the wheel of their favourite cars.

We have created a list of the top 10 future classics that you should get your hands on now before they become unavailable. Whether you want one to go back in time or are looking for an investment that will appreciate, the rides listed below are sure to satisfy your needs.

By now, cult-like followings have sprung up for cars like the Toyota MR2 (MK1) and the MX5 Miata. Even the old turbo brick, a.k.a Volvo 850R, is increasing in both price and rarity. Most have been tuned within an inch of their life, wrecked, or are simply not in a salvageable state. Finding a good, clean example could prove to be harder with every passing day.

Mitsubishi 3000 GT

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The mighty Mitsubishi 3000 GT was in production for a total of 10 years. They were sold in both Japan and North America. From 1990 to 1996 a largely similar Mitsubishi 3000GT was sold in The USA and Canada under the Dodge Stealth badge. Besides the slightly different bumper and different badges, the car was virtually identical.

Mitsubishi first unveiled the car in 1989 as a response to Toyota's Supra and Subaru’s SVX, both of which were amazing cars in their own right. The Supra has now reached superstar status. But you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a highly overrated car just to get unlimited “scene” points. A 2+2 grand touring car with all the looks and feels of the 90s can be had for significantly less. Of course, we are talking about the 3000GT. However, just like fresh bread, get it while it’s hot. Prices are increasing with every passing day.

Power-wise, Mitsubishi used a 3L V6 engine that was either naturally aspirated or twin-turbocharged. Of course, the latter was, and always will be, more desirable. Over its glorious 10-year production run, the 3000GT had anywhere from 164 horsepower and went all the way up to a very respectable 300 ponies for the 3000GT VR-4 or Dodge Stealth R/T.

Toyota MR2 MK1 (AW11)

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Often referred to as the “poor man's Ferrari”, this little go-kart on wheels will put a smile on anyone’s face; guaranteed! They are the most fun you can have for anyone on a budget. The first MR2 (AW11) was only around for 5 years before it was replaced by the rounded, modern-looking 2nd gen MR2. A third-generation was built between 1999-2007, but it would never live up to the fame of the original mid-engine sports cars of the mid to late 80s.

The AW11 featured sharp lines and some of the best styling of that decade. On top of that, Toyota sold the MR2 with a choice of 2 engines. The legendary 1.6L DOHC 4AGE, with about 120hp (depending on where it was sold), and the supercharged variant, the 1.6L 4A-GZE which was capable of producing just under 150 ponies. This may not sound much by today’s standards, but when you factor in its low weight and Lotus-tuned suspension, you get a car that accelerates from 0-60 in just 6.5 seconds.

To this day, the MR2 remains one of the most enjoyable, driver-focused cars. Everything is analog. You feel every bump in the road. The Engine is right behind you. It handles like it's on rails and best of all, you can buy it at a fraction of what a Ferrari would cost. It’s a win-win. In recent years, getting a well-sorted, first-generation MR2 has been increasingly harder to find. Therefore, the price for clean AW11s has steadily risen.

Mazda RX-7 (FC3S)

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Mazda has always been known for producing some of the best and most unique sports cars of the 80s and 90s. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the RX7 is certainly the Wankel rotary engine. Comprised of 3 generations and over 24 years in production, the RX7 will go down as one of the most iconic JDM sports cars. That being said, the 3rd and last installment of the RX7 has already become an icon, and currently, prices peak for themselves.

Not far behind is the FC3S. The second RX7 generation is quickly becoming a future classic. As we write this, the prices remain very much within the reach of the average Joe. However, finding a clean, straight example will not be cheap. So, get one while your wallet allows you to as prices are sure to only go up from here.

All second-gen, FC3S’s came with a 1.3L rotary engine that, in their top-spec (S5 Turbo) came with a turbocharger allowing the car to make upwards of 200 horsepower. Additionally, the Wankel rotary engine gives you an increased rev redline and produces a sound unlike any other car engine out there! Its decreased size and front, mid-engine position allows the car to have superb handling while keeping everything light and nimble. If you’ve never experienced the pleasure of driving an RX7, regardless of the year, do it as soon as possible, because they won't be around forever!

Subaru Impreza (22B)

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A boxer engine is unique in that it has its cylinders horizontally opposed, resembling two fighters exchanging punches. On top of that, it produces an engine note that is second to none. While their design has been utilised over the years by other automotive and motorcycle manufacturers, Subaru has been using the iconic sounding engine for the past 45 years.

The Impreza was sold in a variety of configurations from coupes to wagons, and of course, sedans. If you are reading this, chances are that you are looking at getting your hands on a future classic, and there is nothing more likely to reach modern classic status than the Impreza 22B.

Yes, prices are increasing and the 22B’s have a cult-like following, but even the reasonably high entry price of today will almost guarantee a return in the future.

Honda Integra Type R (DC2)

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To many, the DC2 Integra Type R is already a classic. Honda took the already popular Integra platform and turned it up to the max with the Type R. It was available in Japan, and North America. However, in America, it was sold under the Acura badge and had slightly fewer ponies, but was still an amazing driver's car.

Although it is common to see people slap on a “Type R” badge on any car nowadays, Honda reserved the prestigious badge for only the highest performing vehicles in their lineup. The Integra Type R produces no less than 195hp (197 for the JDM market) from a 1.8L DOHC V-TEC engine. On top of the 8,400 RPM-redline honda, the JDM automaker equipped the Type R with exclusive goodies such as a close-ratio 5-speed manual transmission and red cloth sports interior.

For Honda fanatics, it doesn’t get any better than the Integra Type-R. It is the quintessential 1990s/2000s tuner car, but yet subtle enough to pass off as a regular car. For those who know, however, they will be able to recognize the Type-R from a mile away. It is one of the reasons we think the Honda Integra Type-R is sure to become a future classic.

Mazda Miata/MX5 (NA)

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A two-seater, RWD, lightweight, and simple vehicle. Ask most people and they will agree that this is the correct formula for a proper sports car. Mazda hit the nail on the head with the MX5 Miata. It has been in production from 1989 until now, which is longer than some have been alive, and has undergone a total of four generational changes.

However, the one we are here to talk about is the classic. It is also known as the NA and in our opinion, the best MX5 Miata ever made. It was released at a time where cars could be made simple and without the need for “nannies” that modern cars come with. Was it slow? Sure! But it was a car that was quick in the corners. It was designed for the journey, and not necessarily the destination.

The mighty Miata was available with several engines ranging from a naturally aspirated 1.6L and went all the way up to a 2L petrol-powered inline-four on the MazdaSpeed version. Couple that with a 960kg curb weight and you got a roadster that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Even the front end on the NA looks fun and approachable. Maybe that's why Automobile magazine named it car of the year in 1990 and made Car and Driver’s 10 best lists from 1990 to 1992.

Volkswagen Corrado VR6

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Although not nearly as popular as the MK2 Golf’s and Jetta’s it was originally based on, the VR6 will always have a special place in every Euro car lover’s heart. It was small, packed with technology (for the time), and came with engines ranging from a 1.8L to a 2.8L or 2.9L VR6, which is known for being one of the best sounding, non-V8 engines ever.

The German automaker introduced game-changing stylings such as flush-mounted windows and leading-edge technology such as an automatic rear spoiler that automatically raises once a certain speed is achieved.

Corrado’s (especially VR6 versions) were produced in relatively low numbers. So that only means one thing. They are slowly becoming a future classic. Get your hands on one now before the price skyrockets. We all want to relive our younger days, and one of the best ways is to get behind the wheel of such a nostalgic car.

Volvo 850R

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Volvo has always been known for making some of the safest cars in the world. But the Swedish automaker puts out a vehicle that is also incredibly fun to drive from time to time. That is certainly the case for the 850R. Affectionately known as the “Turbo Brick”, the 850R made an otherwise boring wagon intro a proper sleeper.

Introduced in 1995, the 850R was capable of reaching 60mph in as little as 5.8 seconds, despite its boxy shape. Even though it may not look like it, the largely rectangular wagon had a drag coefficient of just 0.29. Power-wise, the 2.3L inline-five was able to produce a respectable 250hp (when equipped with manual transmission), which is enough to put a smile on any soccer mom or errand-running dad’s face.

Safety doesn’t have to be boring, and the Volvo 850R was one of the best examples of it. As far as modern classics go, the post-1996 850R is sure to appreciate much quicker as it came with many more improvements over the initial version released in 1995. And as usual, get the manual version if you want to see the best return.

Nissan 300ZX

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Nissan’s “Z” lineup has always been nothing short of amazing. The Japanese automaker produced the 300ZX for a total of 17 years (1983-2000). Over that period it underwent a total of 2 transformational changes. They were better known as the Z31 and Z32.

The Z31 was available in both a 2L and 3L that came as a naturally aspirated or turbocharged version. By the time Nissan introduced the Z32, only a VG30DE(N/A) or a VG30DETT(Turbo) was available. While the 300ZX was intended to be a luxury version of its predecessor, the 280ZX, it was never meant to be a purpose-built track car. The car was designed to be a luxury grand tourer and it did its job very well.

If you are looking for an investment opportunity, you want to get a highly specced car as the 300ZX was produced in abundant numbers. Unfortunately, a clean unmodified car can be harder to find as over the years most people have extensively modified them. That’s not to say that a nice, stock example is not out there. All it means is that you have to sort through the weeds to get at the nice ones.

Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X

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Last, but certainly not least on our list is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. Although it is fairly new compared to the rest on this list, the Evo X has great potential of being a modern classic. Believe it or not, there have been a total of 10 EVO versions since its creation back in 1992. The company announced that it will cease to build what is arguably one of the most well-known rally-inspired sedans back in 2011. That is next to the Impreza STI, of course.

The final Lancer EVO was in production for over 9 years, which is significantly longer than any previous versions. Over that time, the EVO X managed to squeeze out almost 300hp from the 2L four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Couple that with a 6-speed auto or a 5-speed manual and you got a midsize sedan that will go over virtually any terrain, regardless of weather conditions. That can be attributed thanks to its pure-bred rally heritage.

As the Evo is no longer produced, it is bound to go up in value. Compared to the STI, the EVO X was produced in much smaller numbers. In the long run, Mitsubishi EVO X’s with high-end options such as leather and a sunroof will appreciate. It’s definitely a car that will not only put a smile on your face every time you drive it but will continue to increase in price.

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Written by Robert M.

“If It has 4 wheels and an engine, I’m in!” That’s always been his motto. From track-ready JDM monsters to lifted 4X4s, they have probably passed through Robert’s hands at one time at another. Being fortunate enough to do what you love is a gift, and every article put out truly encompasses the passion he has for cars.

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