The term “modern classic” seems like an oxymoron. And to certain members of the old guard of the collector car world, it might just seem plain moronic. But time marches on, as do tastes and points of view on what a “classic” car is. Here are five that are rapidly gaining a following as modern cars that are worth collecting:
- 1976-94 Jaguar XJS: The XJS now ranks as one of the most popular cars among members of the Jaguar Club of North America and it seems like it’s finally emerging from the shadow of the E-Type. More of a grand tourer than a sports car, the styling of the XJS is aging like a fine French red, and it comes both in convertible and coupe form with lots of chrome, wood and leather to compliment what is in actuality an understated design with roots in the late 1960s, the golden era of GTs. XJS also has the cachet of V-12 power (although it was available as a six-cylinder as well).
- 1992-95 Porsche 968: The 968 was the ultimate development of the car that saved Porsche in the 1980s, the 944. As such, it was the ultimate expression of the front-engine, water-cooled four-cylinder Porsche and many say is among the best driving and handling Porsches of all. In either coupe or cabriolet form, they’re quite rare and we’d be shocked if they don’t double in value in 10 years.
- 2006-09 Cadillac XLR-V: The Cadillac XLR was Cadillac’s two-seat convertible follow-up to the Pininfarina-designed Allante of the 1980s. An altogether better-thought-out package that was based on the C5 Corvette, the XLR-V added a supercharged Northstar V-8 to the mix which gave it a sub-5-second 0-60 time. The XLR’s styling remains striking and the V is difficult to come by, with most sources listing under 2,500 produced.
- 2002-05 Ford Thunderbird: The retro-styled 11th generation Thunderbird is a car that should have had greater success in the marketplace as a new car, and it might have done, except for a nearly non-existent sales and marketing campaign by Ford. The relative scarcity that resulted from Ford’s lackluster selling of the car is one of the things that makes it desirable today. They’re also quite pleasant to drive and among the most visually appealing of the late 1990s and early 2000s throwback styling phase.
- 1990-2002 Mercedes R129 SL: Mercedes SLs tend to have long lives in the marketplace. The R129’s predecessor, the R107 lasted from 1971-89 and it’s already on its way to becoming a desirable collector car. The R129 which came with six-, eight- and twelve-cylinder engines, is still very affordable. While complex and pricey to maintain and repair, it’s tough to resist the V-12 SL600’s charms, particularly at under $15,000 for a nice one.