Whether we like it, Generation Z may be the last generation to purchase and responsibly operate classic cars with combustion engines.
We’re not here to debate what’s driving today’s youth to lose interest in vehicles, but gatekeeping and constant preaching about what it takes to be a classic car enthusiast isn’t likely to help.
Furthermore, older generations have a worldwide passion for antique cars, and even vaguely fascinating automobiles are rapidly becoming out of reach for the ordinary young car enthusiast seeking their first classic. Looking at how certain automobiles now flatten the depreciation curve, it appears we’re done with reachable and entertaining used cars.
The future may appear unwelcoming, but not everything is lost. For example, there are still entertaining and unappreciated automobiles you can buy, drive, and learn from while keeping them on the road. Furthermore, none of them appear to be getting any cheaper, so you’ll also be securing a drivable, pleasurable, blue-chip investment.
We’re glad you’re here, whether you’re a young enthusiast or an aspiring vehicle collector on the other side of the screen. Finally, there is a space for you on the streets—and if you still don’t know where to look, one of these modern classics might be worth a look! . Mazda MX-5
There’s a sequence in the 2012 film Looper that I keep coming back to. Joe, a teenage hitman, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, discovers an immaculate condition NA Mazda Miata and begins to drive it around the apocalyptic vision of future Kansas City.
Looper isn’t a car movie. It doesn’t pretend to be one, yet this is one of the most accurate automotive moments in recent film history because the Miata will become a sought-after collector car in the future.
The Miata checks all the requirements for a first classic vehicle. First and foremost, it’s relaxed and fun, and it’ll get you hooked on driving. Next, it is reasonably priced and plentiful, which means you will have no trouble finding one that meets both your wants and your budget (for now, at least). Then, because it’s pretty straightforward, you’ll be able to run it yourself. Finally, it includes a large community to assist you with any problems you may encounter or upgrades you choose to make. . SN-95 Ford Mustang
While Generation X is reliving their childhood dreams by driving up the cost of third-generation Mustangs, the fourth generation, constructed between 1993 and 2004, can provide you with a taste of a relatively old-school Fox Body. The SN-95 Mustang is available in two different designs, two body types, and various engine options to fit any budget.
Your future Mustang can have the original rounded look or a more streamlined New Edge facelift, depending on how retro you want it to be—and as far as engines go, the V8-powered GT is the one to go for. Earlier vehicles had a pushrod 302 V8 with a robust 215 horsepower, whereas cars made after 1996 had a 4.6-liter Modular V8 with up to 225 horses.
You can unlock new performance levels with a virtually limitless assortment of aftermarket improvements if you get tired of stock mechanics. And, with aftermarket components available for almost any budget, you’ll be able to keep customizing your Mustang regardless of how much you want (or don’t want) to spend. . Mitsubishi Pajero
Owning a car is a passport to freedom, but owning a classic off-roader brings that freedom to another level. In these current pandemic-ridden times, everyone with a bit of spare change desired their piece of space—and in the blink of an eye, the costs of Overlanding vehicles surged higher than Bitcoin.
There are still plenty of cars available for you, like the Mitsubishi Pajero, a rugged small 4WD from when the four-wheel-drive wasn’t just a gimmick and SUVs were truly athletic and helpful. Thanks to its body-on-frame design, selectable 4WD, and optional locking rear differential, the second-generation Montero is a good off-roader. Furthermore, the rear seats can be folded into a bed, so look for one with a glass sunroof. . BMW E46 3 Series
Three generations before you had their fix of a BMW sports car, why shouldn’t you? Leave the 02, E30, and E36 series to the boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials, respectively, and jump on the last classic BMW 3 Series, the E46.
The M3 has become unaffordable, and it is unlikely to become so any time soon (if ever). Therefore, the 330 is the ultimate non-M straight-six vehicle. The legendary M54 was available in various body configurations, including sedan, coupé, convertible, and wagon.
If you want something a little more exotic, all-wheel drive is an option, albeit it will cost you more and will most likely be a facelift model. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that the 330i ZHP is not “essentially an M3,” and you’ll be fine. . Porsche Boxster 986
For so long, the collector market has aggressively pushed the Porsche 911 towards being unattainable that the once-unloved 996 has been swept up in the wave. Unfortunately, the front-engined 944 and derivative 968 are out of the picture. Your only option for a 911 replacement is the original Boxster.
Yes, decent specimens are hard to locate, and they are more expensive than most of the cars on our list, but a well-cared-for 3.2-liter Boxster S will easily find a new owner if you decide it’s too much for you for whatever reason. On the other hand, if you find it to be a keeper, it will reward you with miles of open-top pleasure while also being a solid long-term investment. . Subaru Impreza WRX
The Subaru Impreza WRX is an all-season, all-wheel-drive icon, whether painted in the classic blue with gold wheels or in any other color. The non-STi WRX is a more inexpensive option that provides a lot of fun thanks to the tried-and-true combination of parallel all-wheel drive and a turbocharged four-piston boxer engine.
Unlike the WRX STI, which was only available as a sedan, the WRX was also known as a wagon. As a result, you may choose between the original Bugeye fascia or one of two modifications, suitably titled Blobeye and Hawkeye. All three makeover 200 horsepower and are well-known for their tuning capabilities, so you can’t go wrong with them. . Ford Focus SVT
If you like underdogs and turn-of-the-millennium sporty hatchbacks, we’ve got something for you. This spiced-up Focus is a wildcard in the realm of future classic automobiles, providing a lot of bangs for a few bucks. So, what’s the story on this one?
It has something to do with the naturally aspirated 7200 RPM, 170 horsepower, 2.0-liter Zetec with a 6-speed manual transmission. Still, the appeal of this car goes beyond smooth power delivery and three pedals in the footwell. The way this SVT hatchback handles is simply fantastic, especially given it’s a 20-year-old car that can be had for $4,000.
The answer is in this car’s Control Blade rear multilink suspension, which makes even an essential Focus responsive and engaging—let alone an SVT model with everything set up to 11. Moreover, unlike previous Fords from the Special Vehicle Team, the Focus SVT is reasonably priced and relatively unknown, so you won’t feel awful modifying it if you decide to keep it. . Honda Civic Si (1999–2000)
If you like a more conventional hot compact, only one car is for you. Dealers have determined that the new Civic Type R isn’t for you by ramping up market adjustments (even for the Si variant), but that doesn’t matter because you can have a sporty Honda for much less.
If you’re feeling daring, you can import the EK9 Type R with its dependable 1.6-liter engine and impressive 182 horsepower, but the 1999–2000 Civic Si is a safer alternative. This one is a two-door coupé with 160 horsepower, a 1.6-liter VTEC inline-four engine, and a more robust, more responsive suspension (among other upgrades). Just make sure to choose an example as close to new as possible since this will keep you out of many difficulties. . Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler has to be one of those American icons transcending generational boundaries. Like the Levi’s 501 or Ray-Ban Aviators, the Wrangler has undergone several alterations over the years while maintaining its original spirit and globally-iconic silhouette. As a result, the Jeep Wrangler 4×4 is a vehicle for all seasons and terrains: a weekend and daily driver, a beach car, and even a robust camping buddy.
There are numerous Wranglers on the market. The YJ and TJ models provide an authentic old-school Jeep experience, but the more recent JK is equally entertaining if you can get beyond its interior. You’ll have a fantastic start to your Jeep adventure. . Any Car That Brings You Joy
In the end, it’s all about cars that make you happy. You can have any car you want as long as you can afford to run it responsibly. Do you crave adventure? Purchase an off-road SUV, a large wagon, or a people carrier for your friends!
All vehicles on this list are far too modern for you, and you like true old-school classics. Get them while they’re hot! Do you wish to work on a large and ambitious project? Carry it out! You’ll get it on the road if you’re wise and persistent. Become uncontrollable by purchasing an Aztek. Enjoy yourselves, zoomer!
The future generation will enjoy the cars you save now. Of course, we old folks will silently critique you from a safe distance—but you’re the ones who will determine the future of collector automobiles, so get whatever gets your heart racing and drive it like crazy!
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