Car Corner
Non Classic Car Watch (Future Classic Watch)

December 1, 2011
By Scott Lewis

If you visit this site regularly you are aware I have a Classic Car Watch column that I use to look at... well... classic cars. I do this for fun, but also in the hopes I will get a classic car one day. Sometimes the Classic Car Watch articles venture off into other areas. This month I want to take a look at some of those unusual directions... and a few more.

I want to build a list of cars that are not yet classics (by the definition that a classic is at least 25 years old). Cars that I might like to own... and would look for on AutoTrader when I have some spare time to surf the web.

Ideally, I will buy one of these cars someday as a "toy." A car to play around with... that just happens to not be a classic. The idea here is that one day I will buy one of the cars below and hold onto it until it becomes a classic. Not to sell it... but to have bought it before it starting going up in value.

Maybe I should call this the Future Classic Watch.

No, this is not going to turn into a monthly column of its own. I don't need to be looking at used cars month after month. What I would like to do is revisit this list once a year... similar to how I have my annual September issue to look at "Cars Worth Waiting For." In the CWWF yearly column, I look at new cars that will hopefully get below $20K while still being viable daily transportation. In other words... cars I can afford for my daily driver.

With this new yearly column... appropriately timed for a December release... I will list the cars that are purely for fun! These cars are only meant to be second cars... should I ever be able to have a second car. Ideally I will have all three... a daily driver, a classic and a toy! This is the toy month.

I will refine this list over the next couple of years. My goal for this column is to become the list of cars I will look for as soon as I can afford a toy. The big question will be... which will come first... something from this list... or a classic.

2003-2009 Mercedes SL500 - In 2003 they made the SL a retractable hard top. From 2003 - 2009 you will be hard pressed to tell these cars apart. So... getting a 2003 is an affordable way to get into a modern looking SL. These can readily be had for under $30K. In fact, I saw a nice 2004 SL500 with 101K miles for $23,995 & a 2003 with 63K miles for $25,995. Not bad. That is a little pricey for a toy... but in general I am not putting a heard price limit here.

1970-1989 Mercedes SL - I have mentioned these before. This is the classic styling that everyone remembers for the SL. These cars all look the same... even though they made this body style for almost 20 years. I always liked these cars from the days when Lee Majors drove one on The Six Million Dollar Man, and Patrick Duffy drove one on Dallas.

1997-1998 Aston Martin DB7 - This is a real stretch... even for me. But when I added this to the list I saw a nice 98 DB7 in the awesome Aston Racing Green with a 5 speed manual trans... for $28,000. So I am keeping it on this list in case I ever decide to look like I have a lot of money.

1983-1989 BMW 6 Series - Every once in a while I will come across a really nice looking example of one of these. I really liked these when they were new. I would love an M6 of this vintage. These cars may be an issue for maintenance costs, so when the time comes I will have to factor that in to any purchase decision.

1981-2005 BMW 8 Series - I really like the look of these cars. They were outragous for a BMW when they first hit the streets. I will probably never actually get one, but I can't help but wondering.

1996–2003 BMW 540i (Also 2000-2004 BMW M5) - This is the 5 series BEFORE the Chris Bangle styling. I still think it is the best looking BMW. If I ever want a practical toy... with four doors... this is going to be on the list.

2001-2006 BMW M3 - Let's cap off the BMW list with the last M3 to use an inline 6 cylinder engine. I really like the styling of this version as well. These are actually quite affordable. A quick look on AutoTrader shows plenty with under 100K miles for under $20K. Perfect for a toy.

1987-1995 Porsche 928 - The Grand Touring Porsche. I liked these when they were new and thought they made a better upscale competitor to the Corvette. I don't think of these as hard core sports cars, so I would look for one with an automatic and enjoy cruising in it when the weather was nice.

2007-2012 Mini Cooper S JCW - Yes... I have a Mini Cooper S. But I don't have a John Cooper Works edition. If I have to trade in my Mini for a more practical sedan (very likely next summer), I will consider looking for a use JCW equipped Mini Cooper as a toy, to play with on the weekends. I would even get into auto crossing with it.

1990-2005 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 - If I were going to buy a C4 Corvette.. this would be it. The one with the Lotus designed 4 cam engine. A Super Car in its day.

2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice - These will become a collectible some day. If I am in the mood for a convertible for a toy... this would be on my short list.

2004-2008 Crossfire - Whereas the Solstice is a convertible... I would only consider a Crossfire as a coupe. It is that show car look that I want with this. The convertible just doesn't look good in comparison. And I would pop the fuse out for the dorky little wing that raises up at speed. It ruins the look.

2000-2012 Mazda Miata - I can't have a list of toys without putting the Miata on the list. I would skip the first generation. I actually like the exposed headlight look. There are always affordable examples of these to be had. So it is just a matter of having the money and pulling the trigger to buy one.

2005-2012 Porsche Boxster - I like the Boxster. I would stick with the 2005 and new models because of the level of horsepower they had then. I do not need any of those special editions. Maybe an S, but that is not terribly important.


That's it for this year. I have others already in mind, but want to let this lit stew for a bit... maybe some of these will fall out of flavor.

I will be refining this list over the next couple of years... and then maybe buying one. Or maybe I will have to wait until I finish putting my kids through college. We'll see.