Are These 5 Cars Already Old Enough to be Considered Classics?
Let’s all feel old.
In legal terms, cars that were built before 1991 are now considered classic cars. Yes, you read that correctly: Cars that came out at the same time as Point Break and REM's Losing My Religion are classics, according to the U.S. legislature and the Antique Automobile Club of America.
Recently, the folks over at Hagerty Insurance put together a short list of some of those cars that have now inherited classic status, however, we don't think they included many of our top picks. Likewise, some of Hagerty's picks aren't exactly what we'd call classics to that we desire -- Buick Roadmaster, Dodge Spirit, Ford Explorer? -- so here is our revised list.
To Hagerty's credit, the NSX was included, but because of the classic status and iconic shape, the Acura NSX needs to be on every list anyone makes when talking about recent classics. The NSX was more reliable than contemporary Ferraris, and it partially developed by the late, great Ayrton Senna. The NSX was the start of the every-day supercar you could daily drive to work. Over the last few years, the NSX has seen its value increase marginally due to more people realizing its status in automotive history. If you get the chance, pick one up while they're still under $100,000.
DSM Turbos (Eagle Talon and Mitsubishi Eclipse)
When The Fast and the Furious first came out, one of the star cars was a heavily modified Mitsubishi Eclipse, specifically one of DSM versions, and there was a good reason for its inclusion. The Eagle Talon TSi AWD and Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX represented a new form of hot-rod: They were the start of the tuning lifestyle and because of each of the cars' small engines, massive turbos, and all-wheel-drive layouts, they were absolute rockets when modified. These are hard to find unmodified or unmolested, but if you can find a pristine example, buy it and then give them a few more years, we could see their values increase.
1990-1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata
There's an adage among car enthusiasts that the Miata is always the answer, and when it comes to the first-gen NA Miata, that's especially true. The Miata first debuted at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show alongside the NSX mentioned above. Because of its now-classic status, those original Miata owners can take their British-inspired sports convertible to classic car shows and display them with pride, rather than receive derision alongside the same cars that gave rise this car. NA Miatas are also inexpensive, making them one of the cheapest ways of getting into a classic sports car.
Nissan 300ZX Turbo
Nissan 300ZX Turbo has an interesting history. It's not generally as well liked as either its predecessor or its offspring. The 300ZX Turbo was just there, essentially a place holder for the future 350Z. However, it's a moniker it doesn't rightly deserve. When launched, the 300ZX Turbo competed against the Toyota Supra, a car that has since gained international acclaim by being one of the most modified and lusted after JDM cars on the planet. The 300ZX Turbo though, just fell by the wayside, even with its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine that made around 300hp. The 300ZX Turbo was a great car, and we could foresee a possible future when this truly does become sought after classic.
The BMW 8 Series was also included on Hagerty's list, but it's worth delving deeper into. The 8 Series was a GT car that was ahead of its time in terms of both looks and power. Using a 5.0-liter V-12 engine that was originally found in the 7 Series, BMW coupled the engine to either a four-speed automatic or a much more driver-centric six-speed manual gearbox. Sadly, the 8-Series was a failure and has been regulated to the annuls of history as such. However, there is still hope, perhaps people will finally see it for what it was and begin to appreciate the styling and the smooth as silk V-12. At least we can only hope.