By on March 10, 2022

Just about every automaker has committed itself to going “all-electric” at some point in the next decade, and whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it means that the internal combustion engine (“ICE”, for the purposes of this article) is dead tech walking. Death and discontinuation are usually one-way tickets to the scrap heap for cars – but some cars are different. Some cars are special, and being made rare or obsolete just makes them more appealing.

The Great Jack Baruth once called this The Grand National Problem, and I think there are a few ICE cars out there that will be more appealing to car guys and gals than others in 20- or 30-years’ time. As such, I’ve taken some time to look at the automotive class of 2022 and pick my 5 future ICE Age Classics. Enjoy!

BMW M2

It’s small, sporty, and stupidly fast with a classic long-hood/short-deck design in a relatively compact package – and there is absolutely zero chance that a well-maintained BMW M2 won’t be a highly sought-after collectible in a few decades’ time.

The car shown, above, is the 2020 BMW M2 CS Racing shown at Circuit of the Americas. Sold as a customer race car for BMW fanatics, it’s the rarest BMW M2 variant and follows Jack’s unwritten written collector car advice, which is: Buy a mechanically durable sporting car from a well-respected manufacturer, in the highest-performance variant you can afford.

In the case of the M2, that’s the CS Racing. And, whether we’re talking 2022 or 2042, I promise it will be a thrill to take one out on a track.

 CHEVROLET CORVETTE STINGRAY

Chevy’s first mid-engine production Corvette is also likely to be its last ICE-powered Corvette— or, at least, the last ICE-powered Corvette without a hybrid or electric variant offered alongside it (and even that isn’t a certainty if the rumors about an upcoming E-Ray are to be believed). That said, as long as there are Corvette people, a V8-powered Corvette will always have its appeal.

Will the C8 ever match the collector car status of that first split-window ’63 Stingray? Probably not in 20 years … but in 30? 40? When it’s time to take your grandkid for ice cream, would you really take them in whatever the silent, steady version of an all-electric crossover is when you have one of these lurking in your garage?

F*ck no, you wouldn’t. If you had any kind of soul, you’d strap that kid in, fire up what may be the only V8 engine they’ll ever hear, firing just a few inches behind their heads, give them a little wink, tell them to hang on.

FORD BRONCO

If the C8 Corvette is the last of the great, V8 sportscars, then the recently reborn Ford Bronco is the first of the last wave of ICE-powered off-roaders.

“Why not the Wrangler,” you ask? Simply put: There’s already a plug-in Wrangler, and it’s outselling the gas-only Wranglers so convincingly that you can’t even order an ICE-only Wrangler in some markets, anymore. Jeep— and, frankly, I can’t believe I’m saying this— has moved on.

The Bronco? The latest Bronco tugs on all the right heartstrings, does all the right off-roady things, and absolutely looks the part. If these Broncos aren’t future classics that regularly pull six figures at auction, I’ll eat my own ass. Ed. note – I had no idea you were so flexible.

TOYOTA 4RUNNER

It doesn’t have the look, to my eyes, but the current generation of Toyota 4Runner may be the last of its kind. 4Runners already have a cult following in some of the overland groups I follow (overlanding – so hot right now!), and I can’t imagine that following get any less cult-y once Toyota axes the 4Runner in favor of some electrified off-road pretender.

Now, I know the Ford Bronco and Toyota 4Runner are pretty similar, conceptually, and you might think I chose two cars competing for the same classic buyer, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think some people love the Marty McFly Toyota pickup, and some people love the OJ-era Bronco, and some people love both, but I don’t think that someone who would drop six figures on the Toyota would do the same for the Bronco, and vice-versa.

I could be wrong, but I think these are two different guys. The Bronco crowd feels (to me) to be more upscale and LL Bean-y, while the 4Runner crowd feels a bit more blue-collar and Carhartt-y. It’s Starbucks vs. Mr. Coffee, and I think each of them will drive up the value of their future classics.

VOLKSWAGEN GTI S

I’m not here to lie to people, so I have to admit that the GTI was not on my radar when I started writing this article. In fact, I’d kind of forgotten the GTI existed – and it’s probably not just me, either. Demand for the Golf has dropped so much in the US that VW doesn’t even offer one anymore, ICE or otherwise.

The good news, though, is that the GTI – especially one fitted with the 6-speed manual – is the one you want. In his review of the car, our own Tim Healey wrote, “The car felt looser, or at least less buttoned-down, than the Golf R, but that’s not necessarily bad. It lent a playful air to the GTI.”

That playful air is going to play well in 20- or 30-years’ time, when all the Rs have been beaten to death by street racers and Tokyo Drift enthusiasts. The GTIs should hold up better and might be collectible enough, on their own, to appeal to a different crowd, anyway. Think of the way the 90s Corrado appeals to people in a different way than the Golf R32. It’s a nuanced thing, but it’s always been the GTI’s thing, and just reading about this has me missing the third-gen Golf I first drove my oldest son home from the hospital in.

Call me a sucker, but I’ll always be a player on a well-kept GTI.

WILD CARD PICK: SUPERFORMACE COBRA

Most of the cars on this list will eventually be regulated out of existence. They’ll make way for something quieter, cleaner, and probably better, if we’re being honest with ourselves. That’s not why they’ll stop building the Superformance Cobra.

No – eventually some high-ranking member of the fun police will get a ride in one of these, smell the unspent gas in the fumes coming out of the side exhausts, feel the rumble of the engine in their chests, and hear absolutely nothing but the scream of the Ford V8 and the shrieks of the tires as they clip and claw for traction. When that happens, this car – and all the cottage industry cars like it – will be banned forever.

Whether you choose the MKIII 427 Cobra, GT40 continuation, or even the modern GR-1, you can’t go wrong. I like to think of myself as a connoisseur, so my choice would be the 289ci MKII FIA. Whatever yours is, you’ll want to get it while you can.

[Images: BMW, Chevrolet/GM, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Superperformance]

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30 Comments on “2022’s Top 5 Future ICE Age Classics (Plus 1 Bonus Pick)...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    The regular Stingray will be common enough to not be extremely sought after IMO. There really aren’t any “standard” Corvettes that have held value after 1967 or maybe 1973. I do think the Z06 will absolutely be seen as the pinnacle of ICE American performance.

    I would add the Cadillac Blackwing cars and the 911 GT3 to your list, as well as the Raptor, Wrangler 392, and TRX. Perhaps the IS500.

    • 0 avatar

      Excellent point. I was going for “first”, but I think you’re right. Disagree on the Cadillac, and the Raptor, IMO, is already diluted with the V6.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I think there will be a “last performance sedans with 3 pedals” bonus for the Cadillacs that will keep them viable. The automatics will probably fade away.

        You’re probably right on the Raptor. Maybe it will take the Raptor R to really make an impression, but on the other hand I’m somewhat stunned at how well Raptors consistently hold their value for something that isn’t all that uncommon.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I think any Raptor is going to remain sought after in the future. Anecdotally it seems to be the #1 desire among younger folks that can’t afford anything right now.
          It probably won’t become a “retirement grade” classic, but I don’t expect a GTI S to be either.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @jack4x – I agree on your choices. The 1st Raptor would most likely be collectible as well as the supercharged V8 coming out to combat the TRX. The 392 Jeep with Extreme Recon should be collectible.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Some common cars have earned higher status as time passes since these cars disappeared when their value bottomed out. For example would a clean Integra or CRX Si. However in general I agree – there are so many modern Corvettes that unless you have a ZR1 or other low production model that was sealed in a plastic bubble you don’t have a “collector car”. Barrett Jackson has turned every Corvette owner into thinking they have something special. I say this even as someone who owns a unique C7 (1 of only 500 Premier Edition coupes) I am fully aware that my car’s value is only a tiny faction over a normal C7.

      I do think the first and last of a breed will always be special. If the C8 is last non-hybrid Corvette then yes it will be more highly regarded then other Corvettes. As is the C7 is the last front engine rear drive manual transmission so it has to be considered as classic of the ICE era.

      I even foresee a period in which a gen I Prius will be considered special for being the first hybrid. Original Telsas (a Louts with batteries) are already generating buzz as possible collectibles.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ve wonder how history will look back on my more recent cars.

    I think the Stinger falls into the AMC Javelin or Matador Coupe area. Or, maybe the non Grand National turbo Buicks. Good performance with strong value from an unexpected brand and 10 years from now normies won’t remember it ever existed.

    The IS500 is tougher. Like a cross between a ’79 Trans AM and a 2017 LS460. I expect it’ll be popular as a used car but then fall behind the other 5.0L cars beyond 15 years.

    • 0 avatar

      While both good cars, I feel like they’re imitations of BMWs. Shadows of greatness, even if they’re better now and then.

    • 0 avatar
      Undead Zed

      From what I’ve seen the IS500 flew under the radar for most folks. My hope is that in 5-10 years when it’s time to replace my mustang, a few of these will be floating around for not-terrible prices. If I’m lucky I might be able to buy one off a little old lady who only took it to church & the occasional brunch on the weekends.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Shameless plug for bias confirmation in 3 2 1…The GX460 is everything the 4 runner is with a tried and true v8 instead of the wheezy v6 for similar money out the door. We shopped them both and bought the GX for the V8. The price was a wash but I admit the 4 Runner is better looking IMO.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’ll put in a plug for the Honda Civic Si. Right now it doesn’t get a lot of love because it doesn’t have as much power as a GTI, but there’s something intangibly perfect about the way small manual Hondas work, and the Si and new Integra are likely to be the last of that breed. There are several generations of Si that the market has grown to appreciate over time and I think the same will happen to the last two.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    If Porsche goes full electric, the last ICE-based Porsches will absolutely be on that list.

    I also expect the current Cadillac Blackwings will trade up over time. I would have one socked away in my garage for once-a-fortnight use if I had a spare spot to put it in. Damn inner suburbs.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Car nut logic: if you can afford the Blackwing, you can afford a storage spot for it.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I think proper storage (and the house that would have to come with it) would cost me many times as much as the Blackwing!

        Regardless, if I had my current income with no kids, I’d be awaiting delivery of a CT5-V Blackwing right now.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I’m too old to consider this; I’ll very likely be dead 30 years from now. But even if that was not the case, I wouldn’t take the gamble.

    30 years from now, gasoline-only cars will barely exist, having been legislated, taxed, and insurance’d almost totally out of existence.

    In 1910, few people owned a car. If you wanted to get around faster than walking, a horse was involved. There were dozens of farriers and food suppliers all over town.

    Now a horse is a plaything for the wealthy. A good farrier is hard to find, and you’ll have to go out to the country to find a feed store.

    By 2050, a gas-only car will be something like a horse is today.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      so cal still has a suburban horse culture that im assuming is relatively affordable, with places near the san gabriel “river” offering boarding and riding. always made me smile whenever i rode the bike trail to seal beach and see the horses and riders. and LOTS of bunnies for some reason.

    • 0 avatar
      17andCounting

      Horses die of old age. Cars can “live” for centuries. Gasoline sadly may become unobtanium.

  • avatar
    BEPLA

    Little BMWs are interesting – but they’re not really collectable because they’re not particularly rare. BMW 3.O CSI and 6 Series are collectable now. The 8 Series will be the future collectable BMW.
    No mention of Porsche? Porsche sportscars are ALWAYS collectable – the SUV’s not so much. As are big Mercedes-Benz convertibles – Looking at you, E450 and E53 AMG Cabriolet and 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL. Bentleys, Rolls Royces – and the Lexus LC Coupes and Convertibles will fall into this category too – because expense and rarity.
    Mainstream production SUVs are never going to be collectible – Whether from Ford or Toyota. Interesting perhaps if a few survive the suburban grind – but not collectible. You want a collectible SUV? Find a big Land/Range Rover that’s still in running condition, or one from a marque that no longer exists – such as Isuzu (Infiniti, anyone?). Those will be your collectibles in the future.
    Corvettes are almost always collectible – particularly when production is low and there’s something notable about the series, such as the first mid-engine Corvette. High-line Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers will be collectible too – particularly the convertibles.
    Trucks? Not collectible, not even Raptors. Unless maybe one shows up in a movie sometime – like Marty’s jacked up Toyota HiLux in “Back to the Future”. Oh, wait – Nobody collects those either. It’s that car people collect…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The 1M is already a collectible and I think the E82 135i will eventually be one too.

      The 80 Series Land Cruiser and second-gen 4Runner are already disproving your thesis about mainstream SUVs. I wouldn’t sleep on the original Montero either.

      And we’ve also seen big numbers from restomodded old-body GM pickups on BAT lately.

      • 0 avatar
        BEPLA

        Interesting and Collectible are two very different things.
        Some folks are interested in certain older vehicles – and some survivors are desired by some folks as old cars to be driven or stored – but that doesn’t make them particularly Collectible. Case in point – 70’s & 80’s AMC’s, Pintos and K Cars at Malaise-themed car shows. Nobody bought them to collect, but a few have survived and are interesting to see and show or even drive.
        Collectible is more along the lines of cars that are purchased either with the purpose of keeping it as an investment (1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible, for example), or as a part of a fleet which ensures it will remain low mileage (Many Mercedes-Benz SLs), and/or as a vehicle which will be so rare and desirable as to warrant a full restoration (any 1st Gen 300SL Gullwing or Roadster) The mindset is: “Look at my low-mileage and all-original X Motors Deluxe – We’re having it lightly detailed, then we’re taking it to Legends/Ameila/Hershey, etc. next year”.
        Restomods are their own beast entirely. While they may command high values for the work done to be enjoyed by the one who commissioned the work – They frequently don’t hold their value as well as comparable factory originals or restorations.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Perhaps Corey or Murilee can answer this one.

    I’m inclined to think that any ICE-powered vehicle could become a classic. Maybe I’ll keep my minivan after all, and let my kids profit from its dusty re-discovery in 2052.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    An alright BMW, a farty 4-cylinder full size truck, Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide, and a gaggle of pathetic automatic scum.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Wow, no CT5-V Blackwing? That would definitely be on my future-classics list, which would be as follows:

    1) Aforementioned CT5 Blackwing. Possibly the greatest sport sedan ever made, and possibly the last great Cadillac of all time.
    2) Tesla Model S Plaid. Love Tesla or hate it, but there’s no denying this car has rewritten the performance rules. The big question, of course, is whether the car’s well built enough to last long enough to be a classic. Jury’s out on that one.
    3) Land Rover Defender over the Bronco. The Land Rover’s rarer, and it has a V8, as God intended.
    4) Subaru BRZ/Toyota GR86 over GTI. Heretical, I know, since I just bought a VW. But this new GTI’s been haptic-touched into annoyance.
    5) Dodge Challenger Hellcat. If there ever were a car made for Future Mecum, this is it.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I may be already sorted in this department, purely due to need/want/luck:

    – 2010 F-150 4X4 SCab with the 6.5′ box. I get the occasional compliment both on the shape it’s in and about the larger bed that it has compared to most trucks currently on the road.

    – 2003 Toyota 4Runner with the 4.0L V6. The seller thought that it had 93,000 miles on it. It was 93,000 Kms. Score.

    – 2000 GMC Sierra 4X4. It has the 4.8L; 4:10 rear and Positraction. Three-door goodness for The Kid’s bangin’ tunes and massive subs.

    – 2007 CTS-V. Daddy’s car. Currently garaged with another blown radiator that will be swapped out before the snow melts.

    All I really want is a NA or NB Miata. And somewhere to park it.

  • avatar
    Irvingklaws

    In my book GTI peaked with the Mk7. The new models are already tainted with slapped on ipad touch controls and fugly fog lights. Actual switch gear and analog gauges will make earlier versions more desirable to enthusiasts, especially once they’ve vanished from most vehicles. They won’t care so much about actual performance numbers if the associated styling/image ages well.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    @Jo Borrás,

    My mission this morning involves transporting 12-foot boards – on snowy roads. Your vehicle advice is useless. :-)

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