Affordable future classic cars

You don’t have to splash out on an Aston Martin or Lamborghini to get your hands on the wheel of a collectible car. As the market for cult classics from the 1990s and early 2000s grows, here’s 10 surprisingly collectible cars for today and the future.

You don’t have to splash out on an Aston Martin or Lamborghini to get your hands on the wheel of a collectible car. As the market for cult classics from the 1990s and early 2000s grows, here’s 10 surprisingly collectible cars for today and the future.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rory Reid
Car and technology expert
Last Updated
22 AUGUST 2022
5 min read
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1. Audi TT (1995-2005)

A true modern classic car. The original TT blew motorists’ minds when it burst on to the scene in the late 1990s.

Its super-sleek design and smooth handling make it desirable to car collectors, and the Quattro 225 version can sprint from 0 to 62mph in 6.6 seconds. You can find a first-generation TT for under £1,000, but might see a bigger return on your investment if you go for one in good condition with low mileage on the clock.

Expect to pay: £1,000-16,000

2. Ford Puma (1997-2002) 

With its distinctive silhouette and turn of the century styling, the Puma is sure to turn heads when cruising the streets. At the top end of the performance scale, the racy coupe comes in with a 1.7 litre engine.

Everyone’s favourite big cat-inspired Ford delivers big value too and can be snapped up at a wallet-friendly £2,000, a steady investment indeed. Keep an eye out for the special Millennium edition - only 1,000 units were ever made.

Expect to pay: £2,000-£15,000

3. Mazda MX-5 (1990-2015) 

Although an obvious choice, the MX-5 remains a solid investment. Despite having had several style changes over the years, the original is still the one that sets hearts racing. This speedy, agile two-seater is sporty and fun to drive, but also durable and easy to look after. No wonder it’s so desirable among car collectors getting nostalgic for those halcyon days of driving.

If you can find an Mk1 Mazda MX-5 in good condition for around £3,000, you’re doing well, because prices are already rising fast. Just watch out for rust, damage and roof issues.

Expect to pay: £1,700-£17,000

4. Volkswagen Golf GTI (2005-2008)

Praised for being a nippy, enjoyable drive and stylish both inside and out, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is something of a modern classic.  There’s a choice of manual and semi-automatic gearboxes, and if you’ve got some cash to splash, you can go for one of the special editions – The Edition 30 or Pirelli – which have more powerful engines as well as unique styling touches. 

Expect to pay: £2,200 - £7,500

5. Renault Clio Williams (1993-1995) 

A true race car with retro appeal. All of Renault’s specially adapted rally cars were painted a metallic sports blue, but there is one key difference to look out for. A numbered plaque takes centre stage on the dashboard of the first 390 models made for the UK. Unsurprisingly, the limited edition is more sought after and demands a higher purchase price. An obvious choice for the 2022 Hagerty Bull Market list, the who’s who of classic and modern cars that defy the rules of depreciation.

Expect to pay: Around £8,000-£25,000

6. Alfa Romeo 156 GTA (2002-2005) 

Billed as “the car to save Alfa”, the 156 delivered an exciting saloon for the first time. But the real thrill came when Alfa launched the 156 GTA, with 250bhp, lowered suspension and six gears, followed by the Sportwagon estate.

Rust is a big problem with the 156, so make sure you do your research thoroughly if you’re thinking of buying one. Some would say that you’re not a real car buff until you’ve owned at least one Alfa Romeo.

Expect to pay: Around £10,000


7. MINI Cooper (2001-2006) 

Is it any surprise that the MINI for the new millennium made the Hagerty Bull Market list? Charming retro styling and endless personalisation options cemented its place in the hearts of classic car fans everywhere and it seems the BMW revamp hasn’t lost its appeal to this day.

The first-generation new MINI will set you back at least £900, but don’t be surprised if you end up paying a lot more for an extra collectible Y plate.

Expect to pay: £900-£6,650

8. Toyota MR2 Roadster (2000-2006) 

If you’re looking for a reliable, nimble, affordable sports car, the MR2 Roadster should be at the top of your shopping list. Built on Japanese engineering, it still stands the test of time and is such a fun car to drive – also great for track days.

With its rear-wheel drive and sharp handling, the third-generation MR2 is already steering towards classic status, although the lack of luggage space can be a problem.

Expect to pay: £1,000-11,0000

9. Porsche Boxster (1996-2004) 

‘Porsche’ and ‘affordable’ are two words that don’t often go together but with models available around the £3,000 mark, picking up a luxury sports car is cheaper than you might think. 

The Boxster earned cult status not just for its unmistakable design but for its all-important part in the Porsche Challenge computer game. Kids who spent hours driving Boxsters on a PlayStation 1 can make their retro dreams come true by owning a piece of gaming and motoring memorabilia in real life.

Expect to pay: £3,000-£24,000

10. Honda Accord Type-R (1998-2003) 

Accord Type R is a fun-to-drive saloon that’s worth keeping your eye on. Well-maintained examples are becoming increasingly difficult to find and have led to a rise in costs. Despite problems with rust and proving less popular than the Civic Type-R, the Accord is likely to hold on to its value for years to come.

Expect to pay: Around £5,000

Frequently asked questions

Why should I buy a future classic car?

Like a fine wine, some cars get better with age, so if you find the right one, it can be a fantastic investment. Just look at the eye-watering prices they can sell for. The most expensive car ever sold was a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, for a whopping $142 million (£116 million). And who would have thought that a Mk2 Ford Escort could fetch nearly £100,000?  

The classic car market has developed rapidly in the past few years, so now is a good time to see what’s out there. If you do find a potential gem, hold on to it for a few years, give it lots of care and attention and don’t pile too many miles on the clock. And if it doesn’t make you rich, at least you’ll have had fun driving it.

How do you spot a future modern classic car?

Cars that are relatively young but have a growing cult following stand a good chance of rising in value.

Key features to look out for include:

  • Attractive or unique design
  • Rarity
  • Revolutionary tech 
  • Low mileage (ideally under 30,000 miles on the clock).

You should always do your homework before buying any car. Make sure it’s had a thorough inspection and, if possible, has a full service history

Avoid cars with modifications as today’s collectors prefer originals. Alterations may also affect the cost of your car insurance.

How can I compare car insurance quotes?

Once you’ve found your modern classic, we can help you compare quotes to find great-value car insurance. It won’t take more than a few minutes of your time. Give us some details about you and your car, and we’ll provide you with a list of available quotes. Please note - we don’t compare car insurance quotes on vehicles manufactured before 1970.

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Julie Daniels - Motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our Meerkat Movies and Meerkat Meals rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Rory Reid - Car and technology expert

Rory Reid is a car and technology expert. He serves as the main presenter on Auto Trader’s YouTube channel and was previously a host on BBC Top Gear and its sister show Extra Gear. He is also a presenter on Fifth Gear. Previously, he hosted Sky TV’s Gadget Geeks, CNET’s Car Tech channel, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition and on the YouTube channel Fast, Furious & Funny.

Learn more about Rory

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