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Affordable classic cars of 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 are 10 surprisingly collectible classic cars of 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 are 10 surprisingly collectible classic cars of the future.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rory Reid
Car and technology expert
Last Updated
22 AUGUST 2023
5 min read
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1. Audi TT quattro Sport (2005-2006)

Arguably a step up from the classic Audi TT, the limited edition Audi TT quattro Sport is powerful, eye-catching and full of character.
With its sporty chassis and a responsive, turbocharged engine, it’s weathered the years well. And its sharp looks and low production numbers are starting to make it eminently collectable.

Audi TT quattro Sport prices start from around £5,000, making it a potential investment that doesn’t need to break the bank.

Expect to pay: £5,000-£14,800.

2. Ford Puma Mk1 (1997-2002)

Compact and stylish, the Ford Puma Mk1 is a favourite for fans of the cool city car. Blessed with brilliant steering and super fun to drive, the coupe comes in with a 1.7 litre engine at the top of the performance scale.

Everyone’s favourite big cat-inspired Ford delivers big value too. It can be snapped up at a wallet-friendly £1,000.

Expect to pay: £1,000-£6,000.

3. Mazda RX-8 Mk1 (2003-2012)

While not known for its reliability, the RX-8 continues to win hearts for its sheer charm. With a rotary engine much praised for its smoothness, a coupe-style body and a comfortable interior, this manual sports car is a pleasure on the road.

And with a price tag starting at around £3,000, it’s no wonder this car’s becoming a favourite with collectors.

Expect to pay: £3,000-£10,000.

4. Volkswagen Phaeton Mk1 (2002-2010)

Comfortable, well-made and a pleasure to drive, the Volkswagen Phaeton has good credentials as it’s built on the same platform as the Bentley Continental.

Although it found favour with chauffeur companies and airport hire firms, this refined saloon never really found its audience when it came on the scene in 2002. But it does have the potential to become a classic. As cheap luxury cars go, there are few better examples than the Phaeton.

Expect to pay: £2,000-£7,000.

5. Saab 900 Turbo (1985-1993)

The Saab’s sleek and unique looks have helped win the affections of generations of car fans, and the Saab 900 Turbo is no exception. Longer than its predecessor the Saab 99, and available in three and five-door versions, the Turbo is a powerful, stylish, effortless drive.

And with its practicality and durability, it’s not surprising it features in the 2023 Hagerty Bull Market UK list, the who’s who of future classic cars that defy the rules of depreciation.

Expect to pay: Around £4,000-£7,000.

6. Lotus Elise S1 (1996-2001)

If you have slightly deeper pockets, the Lotus Elise has true future classic status. Brilliant to drive and thrillingly stylish, this sports car is genuinely iconic.

The two-seater car is lightweight but strong, and extremely responsive, making it a superbly agile drive. And although several variations came after it, the Series 1 is considered by many to be the most desirable.

Expect to pay: £20,500-£30,000.

7. Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup (2009-2013)

The Renault Clio is fast becoming an icon of the motoring world, and its high-performance, sporty offerings are coveted for their superb handling on and off the track.

Launched in 2009, the 200 Cup hot-hatch built on the success of the 182 and 197 models, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. While it only produces 3bhp more than the 197, this 2.0-litre mean machine is an outstanding performer. It could be well worth investing in.

Expect to pay: £5,000-£9,000.

8. Toyota MR2 Mk3 (1999-2007)

If you’re looking for a reliable, nimble, affordable sports car, the MR2 Mk3 should be at the top of your shopping list. Built on Japanese engineering, it still stands the test of time and is a fun car to drive – as well as being great for track days.

With its rear-wheel drive and sharp handling, the third-generation MR2 is already steering towards modern classic status.

While it may have shed its ‘Baby Ferrari’ tag thanks to this version’s soft-top roof, it’s won a whole new audience of potential future investors.

Expect to pay: £1,500-£9,000.

9. Mercedes-Benz SL500 (R129) (1989-2001)

Boasting the qualities you’d expect from the luxury German car brand, the Mercedes-Benz SL500 offers a seamless drive unmatched by most of its contemporaries.

As it occupies a slot on Hagerty’s 2023 UK Bull Market list, it’s a good indication that prices are set to rise over the next few years.

This refined roadster ticks many of the boxes that collectors look for, from engineering excellence to top-down style. If you fancy investing, look for an SL with low mileage, a decent engine and a complete service history.

Expect to pay: £7,800-£32,100.

10. Honda S2000 Mk1 (1999-2009)

As one of the best cars to invest in, the S2000 is a fun two-seater roadster that’s worth keeping your eye on. It’s a proper driver’s car, with a powerful high-rev engine and rear-wheel drive.

During its 10 years on sale only 110,000 models were sold, but the S2000 has enough devoted fans to turn it into a modern-day classic.

Prices are steadily on the rise again after bottoming out a few years ago, and experts predict they haven’t reached a peak yet. So now could be a good time to invest.

Expect to pay: up to £6,000-£27,000.

Did you know?

The most expensive car ever sold was a 1995 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, for a whopping £114.4 million. But even the most unassuming models can reach eye-watering prices. Who’d have thought that a 1980 Ford Escort Mk2 could fetch nearly £100,000?

Frequently asked questions

Why should I buy a future classic car?

Some cars get better with age, and even a cheap classic car could turn out to be a fantastic investment. But as with any investment, there’s a level of risk involved. That’s why it’s important to buy a classic car you’ll enjoy, not just for its value potential.

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.

The best cars for investment typically include these key features:

  • 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.

At what age is a car a classic?

According to HRMC, a classic car is defined as one that’s over 15 years old and has a market value of £15,000 or more. To qualify for tax and MOT exemption, vehicles must be more than 40 years old.

Insurance providers tend to follow HRMC’s definition of a classic car. However, this can vary among providers, so check before buying a policy.

How can I compare car insurance quotes for future classics?

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 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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