- There is no better time than to invest in a piece of history from the 80s or 90s
- Classic Cars are now often seen as a great future investment – buying an iconic car from your childhood to buy now has the potential to be worth much more in years to come
- Here we investigate our top ten contenders for classic cars in the future
Many cars from the 1980s and 1990s can be credited with introducing cutting edge features that we now expect on all modern cars, and therefore making them potential collectors’ items.
Our list of 10 potential future classics includes some of the most iconic and innovative cars of that era.
Fun & affordable
Ford Fiesta XR2 (Mk 1)
"Affordable and lots of 'doer-uppers' out there"
The Ford Fiesta XR2 is the sports version of Ford's successful compact hatchback range and was manufactured from 1981-1983. This sporty hatchback gained cult status throughout the 1980s and the car also played a major role in the development of the "hot hatch".
The XR2 is powered by a sporty 1.6 litre engine, capable of 0 – 60 mph in 9.3 seconds and a top speed of 105 mph. Ford added sports suspension and 13" alloy wheels to improve handling, and uprated breaks ensured great stopping power.
Both the exterior and interior also received additional styling improvements such as aerodynamic front and rear black spoilers and black wheel arch extensions, XR2 decals and sporty reclining bucket seats amongst other features.
The Mk1 Ford Fiesta XR2 has been steadily increasing in price over recent years and today a good condition example can be found for around £3,500 - £5,000. Making the XR2 an ideal and affordable way to relive your youth whilst providing many happy years of fun filled motoring.
Mazda MX5 (Mk1)
"A classic renowned for its great handling"
The first generation Mazda MX5 was released in Europe in 1990 and produced until 1997. Up until 1993 it was powered by a 1.6 litre engine, after 1993 the 1.6 litre engine was replaced by a larger and more powerful 1.8 litre engine.
The MX5 has a front mounted engine, rear wheel drive and nearly 50:50 weight distribution, making it light and responsive to drive. Some models also featured traction control, limited slip differentials and ABS – worth looking out for. The compact roadster’s body styling is instantly recognisable, especially with its pop-up headlights.
These compact roadsters have gained a dedicated following over recent years and have increased in value. Many have been modified and a lot of Japanese models have been imported, yet a good condition untouched/ standard UK model can still be found today for around £1,000 - £4,000 depending on year, features and overall condition.
MG F / MG TF
"Fabulous handling and a popular track day car, making parts more readily available"
The MG F is a rear wheel drive, mid-mounted engine roadster, theMk1 was produced from 1995 – 1999 when it received a facelift. Then in 2002 MG released the new redesigned and re-engineered MG TF which remained in production up until 2011 (with a production break between 2005 and 2007).
The release of the MG F was a milestone in British motor manufacturing history as the all new roadster was the first car to have been fully designed and developed and have the MG badge on it since the classic MGB ceased production in 1980. Although the Rover Group had been taken over by BMW, many still considered the new MG sports car to be a descendent of the British sports car manufacturing company.
The MG F was powered by the highly tuneable 1.8 litre 16-valve DOHC Rover K-Series engine, also used in the Lotus Elise and Ariel Atom. The basic model accelerates from 0 – 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and has a top speed of 120mph. The more powerful VVC (variable valve control) models can reach a very impressive 130mph, and cover 0 – 60mph in 7.0 seconds.
Being a mid-engined roadster with excellent weight distribution, even as standard the suspension gives the car outstanding agility and ride comfort. It The suspension system can also easily be modified or adjusted to alter the car’s handling characteristics for different types of driving.
The MG F has a large and dedicated group of enthusiasts, with regional and national owner’s clubs and even its own race series. Today a good condition example can be purchased for around £1,000 - £3,000 depending on year of manufacture, mileage and the usual other factors.
Toyota Celica GT – Four
"Quite rare, but there are many affordable examples are out there in need of some TLC"
The Toyota Celica GT – Four was Toyota's flagship road going rally car that was developed to compete in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and was the first Japanese manufactured AWD turbocharged car to compete in the championship.
The Toyota GT – Four paved the way for other Japanese car manufacturers to enter their own developed cars in the following years such as Subaru with the Impreza and Mitsubishi with Lancer Evolution, both of which have since become very successful road going rally cars!
Regulations state that car manufacturers wishing to compete in the World Rally Championship have to produce a certain quantity of road going versions of their competition car. As a result, three generations of this iconic high performance, turbocharged AWD car were produced from 1986 through 1999: the ST165 (1986 – 1989), the ST185 (Super Round Shape - 1989 – 1993) and the ST205 (1994 – 1999)
Many examples of the GT – Four have been modified, yet there are still a significant number of standard and unmolested examples around, along with some very good Japanese imports. Prices vary but you can purchase a good condition example for around £4,000 - £10,000 depending on model, specification, age and condition etc…
"Affordable and iconic design"
The Porsche 944 was produced from 1982 – 1991. Although based on the older 924, the 944 is far more refined; it is faster, better equipped and has improved handling and braking, thus making for a far more comfortable drive. It is also the first car to have both driver and passenger airbags.
The distinctively wide arches and aerodynamic body give the car the instantly recognisable, timeless and iconic shape, something that helps a car become a classic. Unlike many other front engined sports cars, the Porsche 944 is extremely well balanced thanks to improved suspension and near perfect weight distribution which improves the traction and handling .
Several different models of the 944 were released. The original 944 came with a naturally aspirated 2.5 litre engine. In 1985 the 944 received an overhaul which included an extensive list of improvements, both cosmetic and performance based. In the same year the 944 Turbo was released, due to the increased power it was fitted with the superior breaks fitted in the 911.
1987 saw the release of the 944 S which benefited from an improved engine and several other modifications. In 1989 Porsche introduced a redeveloped 2.7 litre engine. Later in the same year the 944 S2 was released with a 3.0 litre, 16-valve engine. In 1991 Porsche released the 944 Turbo cabriolet, this model is extremely rare - only 100 right hand drive vehicles were made for the UK.
Today a good example can be purchased for around £2,500 - £6,000 depending on year, model and mileage etc…
Audi Ur Quattro
"Already considered a classic by Audi & Rally enthusiasts"
The original version of the Quattro was released in the UK in March 1981. A total of 163 were shipped from Germany, however, they were all left hand drive. It was not until the end of October 1982 that Audi announced that they would produce the Quattro as a right hand drive vehicle.
The legendary Audi Ur - Quattro is a road going rally car with an exceptional pedigree, it was the first rally car to utilise a four wheel drive system and also the first car to incorporate both four wheel drive and a turbocharger. This engineering marvel made the Audi Quattro untouchable on the world rally scene for several years, it just kept winning rally after rally!
The Audi Quattro had three different engines over the years; the original model had a turbocharged 2.1 litre 10 valve engine, enabling it to accelerate from 0 – 62 mph in 7.1 second and giving it a top speed of around 137 mph.
This was then uprated to a 2.2 litre 10 valve and later a 20 valve version of the engine which gave the Quattro a higher top speed of 143 mph.
Many Quattro aficionados refer to the specific car model by using the engine codes: WR Quattro for the 2.1 litre 10 valve, MB Quattro for the 2.2 litre 10 valve and RR Quattro for the 2.2 litre 20 valve. Knowing this can be helpful when considering the purchase of one of these pieces of motorsport history.
The price of a new Audi Quattro in 1989 was c. £32,000 (DM96,200).
Today a good condition Quattro can be acquired for around £7,000 - £30,000 depending on the model, year and mileage. Occasionally ex rally cars do come up for sale, the prices can vary significantly depending on the history of the individual car.
"Classic TVR – a real sports car at an affordable price"
Designed and created to replace the TVR S Series, the prototype TVR Griffith was an instant success when unveiled to the public at the 1990 Motor Show at the Birmingham NEC. It featured a new light weight chassis, based on the racing chassis of the Tuscan and was available with two engine options: the entry level 4.0 litre V8 and the more powerful 4.3 litre V8 which achieved 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
The combination was a success and provided the Griffith with exceptional acceleration and handling, proving that a British car manufacturer could realistically compete with the like of Porsche and Ferrari. You don’t need in car entertainment, the highly tuned V8 engine provides its own unique soundtrack that is guaranteed to put a smile on any car enthusiast’s face!
During its production life, from 1992 – 2001 a few other variations of the Griffith were produced, some in very limited quantities such as the 4.5 which saw a total of only 10 or 12 cars produced. In 2001 a limited edition of 100 were produced to celebrate the end of an era. The price of a new 4.3 Griffith in 1992 was £26,000 - £29,000.
Second hand prices have been steadily increasing over recent years and today good examples of this iconic piece of British motoring history are available from £15,000 - £25,000 depending on condition and model.
BMW M3 E46 CSL
"E46 M3's are still common-place on today’s roads, but the CSL is rare, really rare!"
All BMW M models are awesome machines, be it the M3, M5, M6 or the new compact M1.They are an unparalleled combination of luxury, comfort, style and raw, yet refined power. Unfortunately, from a collector's point of view, the majority of the models have been mass produced.
However, some limited editions have been released, which due to their rarity make them very desirable and also excellent investment opportunities. The E46 M3 CLS only came in two colours; silver or black, and only 1,400 were produced, but it is definitely one of the highly desirable future classics.
CSL is an abbreviation of Coupe Sport Leichtbau, which is German for Lightweight Sport Coupé. The car is 110 kg lighter than the standard M3 of the series, weighing in at just 1,385kg. To achieve this weight loss, many “Creature Comforts” that you might expect in a BMW, have been removed. The air conditioning, sat-nav, stereo, electric seats etc...
The body panels are made from carbon fibre and even some of the windows are thinner than usual, all to aid with the weight reduction. Purposely developed suspension significantly improves handling, and the engine received several upgrades to increase power output. The CSL also came with a Formula One like transmission, allowing for gear changes in 0.08 seconds.
The BMW M3 E46 CSL are extremely rare due to the limited number of cars produced. However, good examples do come on the market and can be purchased from around £13,000+
"Lots of good examples available for less than £5k! A lot of car for the money"
The Jaguar XK8 is a rear wheel drive Grand Tourer (GT) and is the replacement for the older Jaguar XJS range. Released in 1996, the XK8 remained in production up until 2006, it is the first generation of the Jaguar XK series and is built on the same platform as the Aston Martin DB7. The XK8 is available in two body styles, either as a two door coupé or as a two door convertible.
From 1996 until 1998 the XK8 was powered by a naturally aspirated 4.0 litre – V8 DOHC petrol engine. The Jaguar XKR was introduced in 1998, using the same engine as the XK8 but benefiting from being supercharged. In 2003 both the XK8 and the XKR received a new 4.2-litre V8 engine and a 6 speed gearbox.
As with all Jaguar motor cars, quality comes as standard, the interior on both the XK8 and the XKR is all leather with burl walnut trim. These luxury cars came fully loaded with the latest technology and features. With the stylishly sleek and classic body styling, they are instantly recognisable and a real head turner, some enthusiasts draw comparisons between the early XK models and the classic E – Type.
Both the naturally aspirated version and the supercharged models have more than enough power for an excitable drive on country lanes and track days, whilst still being refined for the longer and more relaxed journey and they return an acceptable mpg. Space, grace and pace!
Good examples of the XK8 and XKR can be purchased today for around £3,500 - £10,000
BMW 8 Series (E31)
"A true Supercar for reasonable money"
The 8 Series was designed as a supercar to compete with the likes of the Porsche 928, Mercedes CL600 and other similar vehicles. All 8 Series models came with either a V8 or V12 engine.
Throughout production (1990 – 1999) four standard models were released; the 840ci, 850i, 850ci and the 850csi. All models were limited to a top speed of 155 mph and came fully loaded with the latest technology. Other limited edition models were produced and Alpina also released two highly tuned versions; the 5.0 litre B12 5.0 and the awesome 5.7 litre B12.
Today the awesome BMW 8 Series still looks incredible and has the power to match most cars on the road. A good example of this genuine piece of motoring history can be purchased for around £6,000- £27,000 depending on the model, mileage, specification and overall general condition.