Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be: Used car experts G3 reveal the NEW way to spot a future classic

Independent car auction specialist G3 Remarketing is sharing new advice for pinpointing a modern classic that will keep its value and be a joy to drive as well as behold.

1Leeds based G3 will hit its 10-year milestone in 2019 and during that time, thousands of cars have passed through its auction lanes – from the latest models, through to classics from yesteryear. 

Some create a buzz in the hall and spark passionate bidding wars, while others sell with barely a comment or a second glance!

This begs the question, how do you spot a car that will turn heads and start up conversations in years to come?

Up to the Noughties, nostalgia for vehicles that you couldn’t afford when they first came out, weren’t practical for the daily grind, or that were made iconic by movies or TV, were the ones to get hearts pounding in the small ads.

But consumer culture has changed and buyers are less constrained by the funds they have available. Twenty-year-olds in full-time work, living at home with parents, can now have a flash new car on PCP if they are able to stump up £500 per month for the repayments.

So what is the new way to recognise a slow-burning future classic to snap up now? G3’s buyer services manager, Alex Miles, who has 25 years’ experience of buying and selling used cars, reveals some valuable tips from the trade.

Chase the bread van

Future classics are often unloved at launch and mocked for their individual looks. A perfect example is the original BMW Z3 M Coupe –or the ‘bread van’ as it has affectionately come to be known!

Launched in 1998 it could have been classed as a failure from BMW with poor initial sales, meaning production of this model was limited to just four years. Two decades on, it’s heralded as one of BMW’s cult classics – meaning the few that do become available draw huge interest and high values.

But why? Well, it was fast and quirky, but the main reason was that it was ahead of its time in the looks department. Its quirkiness actually grew to became its charm.

The ordinary made extraordinary

Due to increased safety legislations and shared production platforms, cars are more anodyne than ever before. This means the unusual-looking ones – Citroen C4 Cactus, anyone? – are fewer and further between. So a car doesn’t need to be drastically different to its peers to become a classic.

Look for something in the “everyday” bracket that you know will remain reliable and popular but has been made super-special in some way such as a limited-edition spec, top-end trim or the most powerful engine.  Fast Fords, like the Focus RS for example, never fall out of favour and have built up a loyal following over many years.

Choose something that’s hard to find

For a used car to command high value, demand must outstrip supply. Don’t pick something of which there are plenty to go around. Similarly, watch reviews and ratings – some new releases sink without trace for good reason!

Some flaws are acceptable, but not fatal ones – if you choose a lemon you’ll struggle to make lemonade, or indeed receive a decent resale sum! The ‘interesting’ cars that become classics are generally the good performers which are fun to drive and have an identity.

Love it or hate it, but have an opinion

To sum up, G3’s advice is to look for a car with personality that might be a bit Marmite – not everyone will love it, but at least it draws a reaction.

Ask yourself some questions. Is it uncommon as well as dependable? Are you passionate about it? 
If the answer is an unequivocal yes, the chances are others will be too and if that’s the case, it could well turn into the modern-day equivalent of a future classic. Happy hunting!