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How to spot a future classic

Today's cars turn into tomorrow's classics – but what determines which ones earn a coveted place in motoring history and which go on the scrapheap? It can be hard to tell, particularly when aesthetics and values constantly change from one decade to the next.


However, there are a few things that most beloved vintage vehicles have in common, and these are what you should look out for when you're trying to spot a future classic:



A car's styling and attractiveness go a long way to ensuring it won't be forgotten in a hurry. Whether it's a great example of the design philosophy of its time or a unique creation that sparked a new trend, beauty is a great store of value – though a number of interesting-looking cars (such as the Citroen 2CV) have against the odds become classics in their own right too.



Cars that win races or guest star in box-office hits often become associated with a particular time in the public's mind. The 1960s was a great era for this, with the Mini Cooper entering cinema history in The Italian Job – not to mention no end of Bond cars getting their silver screen debut. Track performance can be just as important, so keep an eye on the cars rally champions are driving to victory.



Sometimes, limited production runs are a cynical attempt to make an underwhelming car seem more valuable than it strictly is… but other times, it's because the car really is too spectacular for mass production. Either way, limited-run cars will at least be of interest to dedicated followers of the brand in future, so if you spot a good deal on one – and it's not a complete lemon – it could be well worth snapping up.


Tech and innovation

The first cars to use a particular groundbreaking technology often become fondly remembered for that very reason. Today, as cars become increasingly automated, this might mean that early adopters of features like lane keeping and adaptive cruise control (such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class) could go on to be considered classics of their time.




This can be a tricky one to gauge, as many modern cars haven't had a chance to be tested against the ravages of time just yet – but people will always want good cars that won't let them down. It may not be fast, beautiful or particularly innovative, but if it's sturdy and looks like it has a good few years ahead of it, you might just have a future classic on your hands.

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