19 June 2023

The future of classic cars

By Road Runner

Classic car collecting has always been a bit of a tricky hobby, as enthusiasts ponder exactly which of today’s and the recent past’s models will be the much-sought-after investment of tomorrow. Brand, design, and road handling may be up there the holy trinity of deliberations (leaving price and heritage aside), but for future collectors, there’s something further to consider – sustainability.

The cost of conversion

When we raise sustainability as a factor, we’re referring to the 2030 ban on the production and release of both petrol and diesel cars. This will leave the often colourful but not-often-environmentally-friendly future classics in a somewhat grey area. The good news is that existing cars can still be used as standard so conversion won’t generally be an issue, BUT… the beauties of yesteryear when stacked up against the greener classics of tomorrow will look like very different beasts.

The attractive aesthetic of a classic car is regularly paired with a less-than-efficient combustion engine. When we fast-forward forty years, there will of course be a much more efficient engine, but the stand-out good looks may fade a bit in comparison – unless you’re all about appearance, in which case you may need to work harder on making the inside smarter and sturdier.

The forecast for collectables

A further approach to the classic car market of the future is to be an informed fortune-teller so you can start investing wisely, sooner rather than later. That means doing research, keeping a close eye on what’s going on at auction, and reading the vintage car press now. Rather than simply putting on a blindfold and pinning the metaphoric tale on the donkey, learning the ropes of the trade and how it moves means you’re more likely to make a smarter investment when purchasing a classic car. It also means that you can start taking good care of your future classic, so it’s in mint condition and a true asset, as opposed to taking a chance on purchasing something down the road.

Research reaps results

As well as the more generalised research into trends, if you have your sights set on a particular vehicle, it pays to know the full history. If you’re already wanting to invest, spending just a few pounds (usually between £6 and £10) to have a full history check is money spent wisely. That way you can eliminate if the car has been written off, stolen, or if there is unpaid debt or finance attached to it. And don’t forget to use the DVLA’s free-to-use MOT site so you get the full picture of your future classic’s history, including repairs and mechanical idiosyncrasies.

So what are the future car collectables?

The period of car manufacturing that we’re really interested in are those bold, brave designs that first appeared in just before and at the turn of the millennium. Showing as much sass as a nineties catwalk crowded with supermodels, the one-on-its-own Lotus Elise vies for the spotlight classic spotlight alongside the attention-seeking Audi TT Quatro Sport. But a bit like Linda Evangelista declaring she “wouldn’t get out of bed” for less than £10,000 making her all the more interesting, that Audi also wins the exclusivity crown as only 800 were produced in its heyday.

For those that can stretch the budget further, our classic car crystal ball safely predicts that a Porsche 911 GT3 will not just hold, but increase in value when placed in loving hands.

Back to the sustainable future

We’ll end where we began – looking at sustainability. The original electric cars are attracting interest. It’s hard to fathom that Tesla’s very first model, the 2005 Tesla Roadster has more than doubled in resell value over the past five years from $50,000 in 2018 to an average of $102,000. That’s a genuine piece of history that changed the driving landscape, so a collector’s edition indeed.

There is plenty of vroom left in the classic car fuel tank, with rarity, desirability, and cool style remaining up there with the power of the actual drive, but collectors need to shift their perception of what is truly collectable and worthy of investment.

Mechanic working on vintage car

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