What Defines the Classic Cars of Today & Tomorrow?

When you think of a classic car, you’re probably more likely to think of a Jaguar E-Type or a Ferrari Daytona than a Vauxhall Vectra. But according to insurance companies, a classic car is aged 20 years or older, meaning that any car released during 1999 or earlier technically is a ‘new’ classic in 2019.

Here at Euro Car Parts, our recent research discovered that there are nearly 400,000 classic cars on the roads in Britain. What’s more, we also asked which of the new generation of classics is the nation’s favourite.

The Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage took the top spot as the most popular ‘new’ classic. Other cars that made it in the top ten were the Ford Focus and Mercedes CLK.

The top ten most popular ‘new classic’ cars from 1998/99 are:

1)Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage

2) Ford Focus

3) Land Rover Discovery (series II)

4) Porsche 911 (996 series)

5) Vauxhall Astra (4th gen)

6) Audi S3

7) Honda Accord (6th gen)

8) Audi TT Roadster

9) Mercedes CLK

10) BMW Z3 M Roadster

We spoke with motoring expert and journalist Tim Barnes-Clay to find out what he thinks defines a true classic car, and to also get his take on our new research findings.

He said: “We can see that the British public chose some of the cars you’d expect to see, but also cars that made an impact on the market, such as the Land Rover Discovery, and humble but popular vehicles of the people – the Ford Focus, for example.

“This tells us that some cars gain status in the classic car market that others never get close to; but predicting which cars will obtain that status is far from a simple task. Experts and passionate car collectors often disagree about which cars will go down in history as true classics, and which will be left for the scrap metal pile.”

Our latest survey also looked at which cars released in 2018 were most commonly thought of as future, true classics (not just in terms of their age, but also how aspirational they are). Of these, the Jaguar E-Pace (16%), Lamborghini Urus (14%) and Jaguar I-Pace (13%) were the voted for.

Tim said: “Nobody can predict the future of the classic car market, but we can spot indications to help our understanding of what makes some cars special.

“It’s interesting that SUV’s are mentioned quite often in the survey results, and Jaguar’s E-Pace and I-Pace models are both tipped to become classics. The remarkable Lamborghini Urus is also a top choice. This super-SUV seems to be on everyone’s lists for future classic status.”

So, what do people look for when trying to spot the classics of the future? Overwhelmingly, the British public suggested that a car’s design was the primary factor (72%). The brand (43%) also plays a part, while the car’s performance (32%) was the third most popular factor.

Tim said: “Some cars are pretty much guaranteed true classic status as soon as they roll off their production lines. I’d happily put my chips down on the likes of the Ferrari F12 Tdf or the Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge becoming future classics that will command a substantial sum. The reasons for this are clear; they’re already rare cars from important, illustrious brands.

“Whilst factors like design and brand are crucial, for me innovation could be the most important. Can anyone imagine the Audi Quattro having made such an impact if it hadn’t put all-wheel drive on the world stage?

“Innovation drives progress, and when we see a car that furthers the entire market with a new feature, it instantly becomes significant. With current innovation heavily focused on developing eco-friendly cars, I wouldn’t be surprised to see examples like the Mk 1 Toyota Prius becoming classics.

“Cars like the I-Pace are popular because they combine every aspect. It looks fabulous, drives well and is one of the first of a new breed of luxury electric SUVs that will soon become more common on our roads.

“Whatever the future holds, it’s going to be fun seeing who correctly predicted the true classics of tomorrow. If like me, you love cars, the continually changing scene is an exciting thing to witness, no matter how close you happen to be to it.”

To show just how much some of these cars have changed over the years, we’ve done our very own #10yearchallenge to show the dramatic difference between the past and present. Check them out over on our Facebook page.