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 of the 1990s and early 2000s continues to grow, here’s our top 10 future collectible cars that have great potential but won’t cost the earth to buy.

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 of the 1990s and early 2000s continues to grow, here’s our top 10 future collectible cars that have great potential but won’t cost the earth to buy.

Daniel Hutson
Motor insurance expert
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Posted 19 AUGUST 2021

1. Audi TT (1998-2006)

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 very desirable to car collectors, and the Quattro 225 version can sprint from 0-62mph 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.

Lowest insurance group: 33

2. Ford Focus (1998-2004) 

As an everyday family car, the Ford Focus was leaps and bounds ahead of the Escort that it replaced. Although hundreds of thousands were sold in the UK, it’s relatively hard to find really good first-generation versions that have been well looked after and show no signs of rust or neglect. 

Such is its potential for future classic status that it was on the 2021 Hagerty Bull Market List. This picks out the best modern classic cars to buy now with the most value appreciation momentum. It highlighted the Mk1 Focus’s reputation for being a great driver’s car, thanks to its sharp handling and a level of engineering quality that makes its low price all the more remarkable.

Lowest insurance group: 11

3. Mazda MX-5 (1990-1998)

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, yet it’s 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 a 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.

Lowest insurance group: 23

4. Lexus LS (1990-1995)

The first Lexus LS was launched in 1989 to much acclaim, and soon became a worthy rival to the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar in the luxury car market.

Superbly engineered in Japan, this upmarket saloon was understated, comfortable, beautifully built and dependable – all the things you want in a car. While it was more popular in the US than over here, there’s still a market for it, and you could bag yourself this modern classic for around £1,500. It is in a high car insurance group though.

Lowest insurance group: 44

5. Peugeot 306 Gti-6 (1997-2001) 

Hot hatches are very much on trend again, and Peugeots from the 1980s and 1990s have begun to soar in value.

While prices for low-mileage Peugeot 205 GTIs regularly exceed the £25,000 mark, its close cousin the 306 GTI is much more affordable at the moment, so get it while you still can before prices rocket. It handles extremely well and has a powerful 2.0-litre engine that makes getting around a breeze.

Lowest insurance group: 30

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 issue 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!

Lowest insurance group: 35

7. Volkswagen New Beetle (1997-2011)

When Volkswagen reintroduced its much-loved Beetle to the car market in 1997, it’s fair to say that not everyone was bowled over by its ‘uninspiring’ design. But there are enough dedicated fans out there to make it a future collectible. When VW discontinued the Beetle in July 2019, interest in the old models was suddenly rekindled.

The one to go for is the 2.3L V5 Sport Edition, which is a fast mover and something of a rarity, but watch out for suspension and electrical issues.

Lowest insurance group: 13

8. Toyota MR2 Roadster (2000-2006)

If you’re looking for a reliable, nimble and affordable sports car, the MR2 Roadster should be right 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 being 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 if you’re going on holiday in it.

Lowest insurance group: 27

9. Fiat Coupe (1993-2000)

Thanks to its similarities in looks to a Ferrari, the Fiat Coupe has long attracted admirers for its dynamic styling. It’s already well on its way to becoming an established modern classic, and prices have been slowly edging up in recent years. So, if you want to get your hands on a bargain, you might have to be quick. 

Demand is highest for low-mileage 20v Turbo models that haven’t been modified. Good-quality examples are hard to find though, because many previous owners hammered the engine. 

Lowest insurance group: 33

10. Land Rover Discovery (1989-1998)

Often overshadowed by the Range Rover, the Land Rover Discovery has the same superb off-road capabilities and charm as its bigger brother, and paved the way for family SUVs.

It also made it on to Hagerty’s list of best classic car investments for 2021 for its effortless handling, ‘pleasingly different’ looks and feeling of being in control.

Models in pristine condition can be expensive, and are already in classic territory, but you can still pick up a good quality Series 1 Discovery for under £10,000. Watch out for rust and signs of neglect.

Lowest insurance group: 23

Frequently asked questions

Why should I buy a future classic car?

Like a fine wine, some cars get better with age. Not all cars depreciate in value over time, 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 Ferrari 250 GTO, for a whopping £52 million. And who would have thought that a Mk2 Ford Escort would fetch nearly £100,000?  

The classic car market has mushroomed 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. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t make you rich, at least you will have had a lot of fun driving it.

How do you spot a future modern classic car?

While we don’t have a crystal ball to predict what’s going to happen in the car market, there is a trick to spotting future classics. 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 styling
  • desirability
  • rarity
  • revolutionary tech or unique design
  • low mileage (ideally under 30,000 miles on the clock)

Of course, you should always do your homework before buying any car. Make sure it’s had a thorough inspection and, if possible, a full service history. Avoid cars with modifications as today’s collectors prefer originals, and alternations 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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