Looking for a new project or just something to tinker with over the winter? There are some great cars that future classics, which means they’re still priced reasonably. That may not last long. Our friends over at Hagerty Insurance have a unique tool at their disposal that helps them determine which cars are starting to heat up, or those cooling off.
That tool is which cars are being quoted for insurance. If someone is looking for collector car insurance for a vehicle that’s off the collectors’ radar, then that gives it a guide to what hobbyists are finding of interest to restore, or just add to their collection. So here’s a unique window into the future to see what’s starting to take off in the collector car hobby:
1999-2005 Mazda Miata
While the first Miata is already being snatched up by enthusiasts and collectors, the second-gen from 1999-2005 is starting to catch up. This generation was more refined and has more features we would consider contemporary, like fixed headlights instead of pop-ups, and more organic, sculpted body. The proportions are still chunky, which we like more than the newer generations that start to lose body mass.
The 1.8-liter four-cylinder upped power to 140 hp from its original 133 hp, but you could get more. From 2004-2005 you could also get a turbocharged version packing 178 hp. Any of these versions of the second-gen go for under $10,000 for nice examples. There are plenty of parts available, and in a sea of SUVs and trucks, this future classic will definitely stand out.
1974-1983 Jeep Cherokee
As Jeep’s two-door version of the Wagoneer, the Cherokee is more sporting, and has a cleaner design since it lacks those two extra doors. There were different sticker packages, and also a choice of either the inline-six at 258 ci and the big V8. They’re solid vehicles if a bit lacking in fit and finish. But hey, they’re for off-road excursions, not a Concours.
We’ve seen prices ramping up the last few years, signaling its place as a future classic, before leveling out this year for whatever reason. In a decent #3 condition a Cherokee will set you back under $10,000. Be careful of the rust worm which can be problematic in these Jeeps, even with aftermarket sheetmetal available. Hagerty sees over 50% of their Cherokee insured are Gen X-ers so the interest is even across the ages of the owners.
1972-1980 Mercedes S-Class Sedan
Built like tanks and plentiful, these S-Class sedans can actually be worked on by the hobbyist, as opposed to some of its later offerings that get a lot more complicated and technical. These came with mostly a straight-six in the 280S and 280SE versions, 300SE diesel, or the SOHC V8 450SE or longer wheelbase 450SEL.
But don’t forget, you could also get the monster 6.9-liter M100 V8. These sedans were almost an entirely different car under the skin, and were Mercedes’ flagship. They are still fairly plentiful and one in good condition will set you back under $12,000, but as one of the last classic Mercedes sedans they will only go up in value.
1966-1974 Saab Sonett
Always an outlier, Saab’s sports car was the Sonett II. With a fiberglass body and built-in roll bar, most Sonetts have the 1.5-liter V4 with a slightly anemic 65 hp, but a few early examples came with a three-cylinder two-stroke. The Sonett IIs had fixed headlights and were shorter, but in the early-1970s the body got a substantial update that included pop-up headlights.
Either design is quirky but definitely stands out in a crowd. Part of the reason they do is that they came in bright colors. A slightly beat driver is under $5,000. We’ve seen decent V6 engine swaps, and can also expect some electric motor swaps as their lightweight and sporty looks seem like the perfect mashup.
1981-1987 Alfa Romeo GTV6
The allure of an Alfa can be too much to resist, especially at these prices. GTV6s in nice condition are still around $15,000. As Alfa made 22,000, they are fairly rare, but you’ll see them advertised from time to time. With a 2.5-liter SOHC V6 and the weight distribution enhanced with a rear transaxle, you’ll have a nimble, sporting road car. Unlike some of the other future classics on this list, it may actually shoot up in value, too.
There are even twin-turbo Callaway conversions, so always keep that in the back of your mind, though prices for those GTV6s will be more. While 1980s cars may seem too new, these are the cars ramping up with collector interest as SUVs and trucks dominate our roads and highways. A fun looker like this Alfa makes all of that fade away.
1959-1970 Volvo 122
In the angry toaster world of sculptured bodies and spaceship interiors, these Volvo 122s are downright clean. You can tell it’s definitely from the 1950s, but it’s a well built Swedish body and seems resistant to rust which is always good to stay away from no matter which car you’re interested in getting. You have a range of body styles, too, from two-door and four-door sedans to a wagon. Depending on the condition and the body style, you can still find good examples for well under $10,000.
1969-1975 International Harvester Pickups
With the trend in trucks being what it is we have been surprised that these IH trucks aren’t more expensive. Never common, they look much better than their bulky Travelall counterparts and are less likely to wear out. International Scouts have always had a good following, and prices are going up, so it makes sense that these pickups would see more interest. For under $10,000 you can get a solid start that’s a driver, and we’ve seen some out west without rust and in running condition for under $5,000 on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. They’re out there!