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Following our introductory article, we now start our series of articles discussing the top ten affordable future classic cars from the 80’s and 90’s, and the rationale behind our choices. As many of you may have noticed, a couple of the cars on the list are from just outside of the 80's/90's era, but have been chosen due to their design stemming from that era, and we felt they really needed to be included in this list.

Given the high levels of awareness in the classic car market, it has become increasingly difficult to affordably invest in vehicles which have future potential.  Although rare and desirable collector cars have always demanded a price premium, in previous decades it was relatively easy to find affordable and original classics at prices which nowhere near reflected their future value growth. I refer for example to the price of cars in the 1970’s such as the GT Falcon, Mini Cooper S and the E39 Valiant Charger, amongst many others.

For the purposes of this series of articles, I want to identify only the ‘affordable’ future classics.  By that, we mean those which are still within the reach of the average person, without requiring you to pay a price equivalent to a new luxury car. In our opinion, if you can spend under $20,000 (AUD) ($16,500 USD) on a car that has high potential for future value growth, then it’s not a bad buy, particularly if you can use the car as a daily drive or weekend cruiser.

Classic cars are now big business, and even form part of individuals’ investment portfolios. Collectors are often attempting to predict the next ‘big thing’, and pay prices accordingly, leaving limited options for those who want to enter the market with limited capital.  Thankfully, the size of the vehicle market during the 80’s and 90’s means that there is a large pool of talent to choose from, leaving a number of vehicles which have not yet commanded significant attention from collectors.

Many of the future classics which would otherwise be on this list, have been left off due to their current prices.  I refer for example to the E30 “M” BMW, Mercedes Benz 190E Evolution, Ford Escort RS Cosworth, Ford Sierra Cosworth and the Lancia Delta Evoluzione (just to name a few).  These cars of the 80’s and 90’s era already demand a substantial premium, in the good knowledge that their pedigree, motorsport history and limited production numbers will serve their value well in future.  For many of us, investment in these cars is a distant dream, with prices holding well above $50,000AUD ($42,000 USD). 

Rationale for our top 10 selection:

There are many factors which need to be considered when determining a cars potential for future collector status. The factors which we have considered most influential in deciding the positions are listed below:

  • Motorsport history and success
  • Low production numbers (or special edition versions with low production numbers)
  • Generational cult status or association
  • Aesthetics / design significance
  • Engineering progress / significance

History suggests that the most important element on this list is motorsport success.  Combine this with limited production numbers, and you are well on your way to collector status. Engineering significance and the establishment of a cult status with a particular generation often go hand-in-hand with motorsport success, whilst aesthetic design can have a remarkable influence on value alone.  The most desirable classic cars combine multiple elements.  For example, the Ferrari GTO 1965 is not only beautiful, but housed advanced engineering for its era, and dominated the race track with a very limited number of vehicles produced. At over $50 million (AUD) ($42,000,000 USD), however, it’s a little out of reach for the purposes of our top ten.

Now that we have explained the method by which we determine a future collector car, here is our list of the top ten affordable future classics from the 80’s and 90’s, in order of our preference. Of course, we don’t expect everyone to agree on all of the vehicles chosen, nor their order, but as any list of this type, the content is bound to be somewhat subjective.

Top 10 Affordable Future Classic Cars from the 1980's and 1990's:

  1. Nissan Skyline R32 GTR (Special editions or low mileage unmodified originals) (Click here to see the article on this car)
  2. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6.5 (Tommi Makinen edition)  (Click here to see the article on this car)
  3. Subaru WRX STI Version 5 and Version 6 (Click here to see the article on this car)
  4. Toyota Celica GT-Four (ST165 (Group A), ST185 (Carlos Sainz limited edition) and ST205 (Group A delivered cars)) (Click here to see the article on these cars)
  5. Mercedes Benz 500E W124 (Click here to see the article on this car)
  6. Audi UR Quattro (Click here to see the article on this car)
  7. Mazda FD RX7 (Click here to see the article on this car)
  8. Mercedes Benz 190E 2.5 16 valve and 2.3 16 valve (Not the Evo) (Click here to see the article on these cars)
  9. Mercedes Benz 560SEC W126 (Click here to see the article on this car)
  10. Jaguar XJS V12 Coupe & Convertible (Click to see the article on this car)

Following this article, we will be publishing follow up articles on each of the vehicles listed above from position 10 to 1, and providing a detailed rationale for their choice and position in the top 10 list of affordable future classic cars.

I hope you have found this article interesting, and would appreciate it if you shared the article via our social media links above should you know anyone who might be interested. Please stay tuned for our follow up articles, or browse all of our articles by clicking here.

The Classic Register Team.