These 12 Models Will Define the Next Generation of Collector Cars


In the 1990s, baby boomers deep into their earning years and nostalgic for their imagined youth built up a bull market in GTOs, Mustangs, and ’Cudas. But today, the next generation of collectors—not counting the Ferrari and Porsche folk, who’ve practically become automotive asset man­agers—is coalescing around a core of a dozen vehicles that will be the substance of the classic-car market for the next decade or more. Like muscle cars before them, these cars defined high performance, engendering passion and acquisitive lust in a generation of America’s young people. These are Gen X vehicles for Gen X collectors, and they’re starting up the same appreciation curve that Chevelles have been climbing since the ’90s.

Beginning with the assumptions that speed still matters, that four-doors aren’t proven collectibles, that limited numbers mean unlimited potential, that originality counts, and that bad-assery never goes out of style, here are 12 machines that will define mainstream collecting for the foreseeable future.

12. 1997–2001 Acura Integra Type R, $20,000–$45,000

The Hemi ’Cuda of sport compacts, most Type Rs have been ruined with bad mods or stolen, recovered, modified, and stolen again. But pristine cars are rocket­ing upward. “We know the most expensive one that’s traded hands was a 1997 with 10,000 miles,” says racer Peter Cunningham, who has collected five. “A dealer paid $43,300 for it on eBay.”

11. 1991–2005 Acura NSX, $40,000–$130,000

The sublime NSX is climbing toward its perch. Early cars—easily spotted by their all-black canopies—with high mileage are still in the $40K range. But a 2003 NSX-T with 8500 on the odo went for $100,000 at Mecum’s 2016 Kissimmee auction. Zanardi-edition cars all seem to be at least $70,000, and asking prices are getting astronomical. The pricing specialists at Black Book peg a nice 2005 NSX-T at $54,500.

10. 2011 BMW 1-series M coupe, $35,000–$60,000

Only six years old, but they’re selling for more than their original MSRPs, with some dealers asking $70,000-plus for primo examples. This M car’s one year of production promises plenty of upsides. Black Book says more-attainable specimens should be around $42,500

9. 1988–1991 BMW M3, $25,000–$130,000

Primo early M3s have been dramatically climbing in value. High-mileage cars can still be had cheap, but the nicest examples are beyond $50K, and preserved Sport Evolution models have blasted off into six figures. Black Book sets the value of a quality first-generation (E30) M3 at $32,500.

8. 2011–2015 Cadillac CTS-V coupe, $24,000–$50,000

In a crossover world, there doesn’t seem to be much future for another coupe like the hugely powerful, dramatically styled, low-production CTS-V. But right now it’s a used car with potential—a collecting gamble. Black Book has clean 2011 cars at $33,200 and nice 2015s at $53,375

7. 2005–2006 Ford GT, $200,000–$500,000

Timeless the very moment it appeared, the GT has never lost value. An ’06 Heritage Edition showing five miles went for $467,500 at Barrett-Jackson’s 2016 Palm Beach auction. A good example should be $250,000, according to Black Book.

6. 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R, $20,000–$50,000

Ford built only 300 of these lightweight 385-hp Mustangs, and while some saw track duty, many sat pickling in garages. Sellers can ask more than $50,000, but it seems most preserved cars go closer to $40,000. Black Book has a nice example going for $45,000.

5. 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra, $15,000–$70,000

The run of these ultimate Fox-body Mustangs totaled just 4993 units, and a nice car sold for $27,500 at Barrett-Jackson’s 2016 Scottsdale auction. Prices on eBay are now around $35,000; Cobra R’s run twice that. Black Book places a decent SVT Cobra at $16,500.

4. 1999–2000 Honda Civic Si, $3000–$7000

While most were ripped apart for stupid modifications, a few un-modded examples are still sitting around at reasonable prices. The last Civic with an unequal-length ­control-arm front suspension and the only one in the U.S. with the B16 1.6-liter inline-four, it’s cheap to collect and destined to rise in value. Black Book lists good examples as low as $3650.

3. 1989 Pontiac Trans Am 20th Anniversary, $14,000–$40,000

Pontiac made only 1555 of these, each with the turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 from the Buick Grand National. Preserved cars stalled in the $30,000 range for years, but that price rose to $37,000 at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction this year. Expect a breakout as values pass $40,000. Black Book has the Turbo T/A at $22,000.

2. 1985–1987 Toyota Corolla GT-S (AE86), $3000–$20,000

Almost every example of the Corolla GT-S has had the Initial D brutalized out of it. “There are fewer stock GT-Ss out there than Ferrari Enzos,” asserts AE86 owner Ben Hsu, who co-founded JapaneseNostalgicCar.com. Good clean ones will run at least $15K. “I don’t even drive my hatchback. I’m afraid someone will steal it.”

1. 1994–1998 Toyota Supra Turbo, $25,000–$80,000

It’s gaining value fast and furiously, but it’s tough to find a Supra Turbo that hasn’t been butchered. Can’t find a set of original wheels? No one else can, either. Black Book has clean 1998 Supra Turbos at $31,500.

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