If you’re looking at a collector car, one thing to keep in mind is that rarity doesn’t always translate to value.
Some cars are rare because nobody wants them. Like a Chevrolet Chevette. The little hatchback from the ’80s was prone to rust and mechanical failures (I had to push start my brother’s ’Vette many times). There are still a few around in pristine condition, but there aren’t many who really care.
Some cars are valued because they’re great cars, even if a bunch of them were produced. Most modern Porsches fall into that category. Aside from a few special editions, your average 911s and Boxsters are just used cars, unless you lock them away and keep the mileage spectacularly low.
Basically, if a car wasn’t popular when it was new, it probably won’t be all that popular in the future. On the flip side, people collect some weird stuff, so if you’re really into the Mustang II, then there’s likely a tribe for you out there somewhere.
Here’s a look at some potential future classics that could be fun – and lucrative – to own.
1934 Cadillac Custom Convertible “restomod”
This custom Cadillac sold at auction for $440,000, but not because it’s stone cold original. Instead, it’s a “restomod,” a car that’s been restored (resto) and modified (mod) with modern-day bodywork, technology, engine, drivetrain and interiors, but still retains its classic look. You get the best of both worlds – a classic car with the latest technology and performance. It features a professionally-built Cadillac Northstar engine, 16-inch chrome wire wheels with wide whitewall tires and a new wiring harness, and independent short- and long-arm rear suspension, and Nova IFS front suspension.
Restomods are popular builds for Mustangs, Camaros, ’55-’57 Chevys and other popular cars that cost a bundle to restore to mint condition. You don’t have to sweat the details like finding the right hose clamps or trunk fabric.
2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6 convertible
This Firebird reflects the trend of newer, limited-edition models starting to gain value. It’s one of the only 549 power top convertibles produced in 2002 and shows a mere 930 miles on the odometer. It’s powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission with a Hurst shifter. Unfortunately, the ultra-low mileage means actually driving the car will reduce its value over the long term.
2012 Lexus LFA
The LFA is powered by a hand-built 4.8-liter V10 naturally aspirated engine that revs from 600 to 9,000 rpm in less than one second. It hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-100 in 7.5 seconds and hits a top speed in excess of 200 mph. The LFA features a carbon-fiber/aluminum/titanium hand-assembled body and frame. Only 500 LFAs were produced in Japan; this is No. 444 and one of only 170 allocated and sold in the U.S. market.
1994 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo
This 1994 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo is bone stock and powered by a 3.0-liter turbo engine with automatic transmission. Limited-edition Japanese cars are starting to gain notice in the collector market as the demographics shift from muscle car lovers to import tuners. This one sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2018 for $50,600.00.
Known as Japan’s sophisticated sports car, the Acura NSX sported an aluminum 3.0-liter V-6 engine when it came out in 1991. It produces 270 horsepower and regularly beat Ferraris and Porsches in trackside comparisons. With its Honda heritage, the NSX is unique among supercars for its reliability. Super-clean low-mileage examples are fetching well over six figures, but there are still good deals available.
Photos courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.