When Jaguar unveiled its F-Type coupe last fall in a Los Angeles aircraft hanger, Simon Cowell, Miranda Kerr and Kelly Osbourne joined the hundreds of guests there who ate British pastries under a laser light show celebrating the feat.
The $65,895 base model comes with a 340-horsepower supercharged V6 engine, while a top-of-line 550hp “R” version with supercharged 5-liter V8 starts at $99,895 and goes well above the $100,000 mark.
It’s certainly a step forward, design- and performance-wise, for the Tata-owned brand, which has struggled in recent years to produce relevant, reliable sports cars and convertibles. But that’s no guarantee it’ll fetch anything grand on the auction block 20 or 30 years from now.
“For a car to be collectible in the future, it has to be cool right off the assembly line,” said McKeel Hagerty, founder and CEO of an eponymous Traverse City, Mich.-based firm that specializes in insuring high-priced and vintage cars.
Cool does not mean having the latest or best technology and sustainability ratings—those are largely irrelevant to collectors and investors. It does mean a car that has a certain rarity, belonging to a special lineage, encompassing a specific moment in time for its brand and looking beautiful or singular in its physical form. Cross these criteria off the list on whatever you buy this year and you may end up having something that will hold its value. If you’re really lucky, you might even gain a few bucks with the right ride.
Behind the Numbers
To that end, each year Hagerty compiles a list of vehicles that stand out as likely being collectible within the next 25 years. To be considered for the list each car must be produced within the 2014 model year and have a base price of less than $100,000. Spoiler alert: Yes, the F-Type did indeed make this list—Hagerty called it “a triumphant return to the sports scene”—but Jag certainly wasn’t the only historic marque that made the list.
The Alfa Romeo 4C ($54,000) is an affordable Italian sports car with a lineage that includes a 104-year-old brand and successful runs in Grand Prix motor racing, Formula One, touring car racing and rallies; it became famous in the United States thanks to its role alongside Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 film The Graduate and subsequent appearances in The Godfather and James Bond movies.
“It might sound like an oxymoron, but the Alfa Romeo 4C is saying all the right words,” Hagery said. “This sporty two-seater isn’t pulling any punches.”
The Maserati Ghibli S ($75,000) also returns to the Hagerty list for a third time, this time as a four-door. Its two turbochargers feed a 410-horsepower V6 engine, which make it relatively fast and strong, while its well-muscled curves will undoubtedly lure buyers for years to come.
Of course America also has a few now- and future classics as well. The $90,000 Chevrolet COPO Camaro basically guarantees future collectability because it encompasses heritage, strength and good looks–and a limited production of 69 units. (The first COPO will be sold next week at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona.)
Also from America, the little Ford Fiesta ($21,400) has some collecting potential, Hagerty says: “It looks, sounds and acts the part of a modern day enthusiast’s car.” Translation: Its plucky resilience, punchy drive performance and lovable mien will mean something in the course of motoring history.
Sure it’s small and inexpensive, but so was the Fiat 600 when it came out in 1956–it was listed in Britain as costing just £585 (less than $1,000 US dollars). Next month in Paris a sky blue number from RM Auctions is expected to take $40,000. Not a bad mark-up for such a little two-door toy.