Ask The Best And Brightest: 2009 Future Classics?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
ask the best and brightest 2009 future classics

The Friends of the National Automotive History Collection have voted the Ford Flex as their “Collectible Car of the Future” of 2009. According to the NAHC’s press release, the award process “asked members to predict which of this year’s new vehicles will turn heads in the Woodward Cruise of 2034.” Of course, this criteria allowed only Detroit iron into the running, a stricture that we won’t hold you to here. We don’t care where in the world your nominated vehicle is built or sold, we just want to know what new car sold anywhere will be a coveted classic in 20 years. Our first nomination comes from TTAC commenter gslippy, who figures

Early Nanos will become collector’s items someday, just as the Honda N600 has.

That’s a solid nomination to start things off with, to which I would simply add the BYD F3DM. Not only is it the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid, it has also sold miserably, further adding to its future collector value.

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  • Davey49 Davey49 on Dec 13, 2009

    Collectible cars are not always rare, Mustangs, Chevelles and Novas sold by the tens of thousands and I see them at car shows now. Toyota Prius Honda Element Scion xB Chrysler Aspen Dodge Nitro A Jeep Liberty with the wide open roof option

  • Eggsalad Eggsalad on Dec 13, 2009

    Agree with 1st gen Scion xB. Fairly limited production. Interesting, if unusual design. Interesting marketing. Potential for modification reduces availability of original cars. (I also just bought one, and really, really appreciate it!)

  • B10er B10er on Dec 13, 2009

    I for one seriously doubt there will be many modern classics in the future. Cars used to come in a great variety of shapes, designs, colours, and used often diverse technological approaches. Indeed, European, Japanese, and American cars were instantly distinguishable at first glace. Some worked, some didn't, but either way people often loved their cars often in spite of their flaws, and often became intimate with them at least on some level because they could and had to. Today, as result of government/safety regulations, slavery to wind tunnel testing, general lack of automotive originality, and an ever more bland buying public, most cars are remarkably similar in computer generated style, appearance, and substance - which shade of black do you want sort of thing. I don't know how many cars post c.1990 really inspire people with their style and design. Rather I think its what they can do that impresses most - whether it be fuel efficency, performance, cargo room, etc. In each area, there can always be room for improvement, and as such its the next one that has the draw. How many environment-types will want a 1st Gen Prius 30 years down the road, to go through the effort and hassle finding trim bits, disposing of batteries, and waiting weeks for parts to arrive? Esp. when the 8th Gen Prius gets 95mpg? I dunno...we'll see I suppose. In my humble opinion, the golden era of the automobile was when the modern car shape took hold and their lines were penned by actual human designers unincumbered by regulations and computer aerodynamic testing. Chevrolets, Mercedes, SAABs, Rovers, Fords, Alfa Romeos, Porsches, Datsuns and Toyotas were all so different from each other - being a brand loyalist had meaning, and there was genuine diversity. The era began to fade in the 1990s, and I don't know if it will truely be back. Will a Prowler will ever steal a show when a Superbird sits next to it? In 15 years, or 20, or 25? Will a Z8 be that much cooler than a 507 in 20 years? Hmmm... What is a classic even? Some cars will of course age better than others, and remain desireable when 10, 15, or 20 years old, and have brand fan-boys defending how much better their's are than the exact same thing from another make, but does that make it a classic? I agree with the comments about WRXs, but that also saddens me, as watching a rally dominated by Mitsubishis and WRXs is so painfully dull compared to the manly coolness of say the 1960 Monte Carlo Rally. I don't at all care for a Miata, but in terms of sporting impact, re-ushering in the roadster into the automotive marketplace, is pretty big. Then again, the Miata was nothing more than a better engineered but much blander copy of genuine and much more pretty cars - Elan, Healy 100 or 3000, TR4 and so on. The same applied to the new Mini - very cool, but an improved copy of a real classic... I'd love to own a new M3 saloon or m5, but in terms of classic-ness, even the e34 M5 is hard pressed to be called a classic, and its earliest examples are now over 20 years old and although very smart looking, is still an early form of the modern aero-bubble - clean but not distinctive. The e30 M3 is becoming a genuine classic, of only because it was an actual homologation special, plus the fact that it was a blast to drive and one of the last boxy cars. Will a new M3 or M5 be a 'classic', or just a really hot car that will eventually destroy unsuspecting owners with repair bills? The only thing I really can say for sure is, the Dodge Nitro, Jeep Liberty (with any roof, unless the rare .50 Cal turret option), Chrysler Aspen, Honda Element, Aztek, and Hummer H2 will NOT be classics, outside of their brand fanboys. Perhaps the Aztek and Hummer H2 will be remembered as incarnations of an era gone wrong, a la Cadillac Cimarron or AMC Pacer, but less cool...

  • Ralph Kinney Bennett Ralph Kinney Bennett on Dec 13, 2009

    I believe the first Acura Legend and the first Lexus LS400 will be collectibles. they are both milestones in the truest sense of the word. The Legend revitalized the idea of the sports sedan with its build quality and performance. The LS400 just blew everyone away with its overall quality. It woke up everyone in the luxury class. It's spare lines may have been uninspiring to some and a bit derivative, but its fit and finish, its attention to detail and the promise of quiet, luxurious, dependable performance it delivered make it a landmark car.