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Hagerty predicts future classics

Tue, 31 Jan 2012

Classic-car insurer Hagerty released its latest Hagerty Hot List last week, highlighting today's cars that are expected to be future classics. This comes on the heels of Arizona auction week, where record-breaking sales take place yearly.

“After more than 20 years of witnessing car-collecting trends, we have the unique ability to look at new cars through the eyes of a collector,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance. “This year's Hot List includes cars that are sure to develop a cultlike following because their characteristics resonate with driving enthusiasts.”

The only rule is that the car's sticker price must be less than $100,000 today.

From Hagerty:

1. Buick Regal GS ($32,535): It has been quite a long time since we could say “that isn't your grandpa's Buick.” Surprisingly, at a time when allegedly more sporting makes don't offer real three-pedal manual transmissions, Buick is doing it with the Regal GS.

2. Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca Edition ($48,100): Ford is calling this a “race car with a license plate,” and it pays homage to the original and very collectible Boss 302. It is a beast on the racetrack yet tame enough to drive on the street--and all for less than $50,000.

3. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 ($61,785): Let's face it, Americans love SUVs. The problem is that most SUVs don't handle as impressively as they look. The SRT8 version of the Grand Cherokee takes the rugged, go-anywhere look of an SUV and combines it with performance characteristics that would earn respect on a racetrack.

4. Fiat 500 Abarth ($22,000): With a 160 hp, 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, Abarth-tuned suspension, brakes and dual exhaust, the latest in-house-tuned Fiat recalls the “small but wicked” models from the past. Fiat's performance division also includes complimentary admission to the Abarth Driving Experience with each purchase. The cognoscenti line has formed.

5. Volkswagen Golf R ($36,000): The Golf's ancestor, the MK I GTI from the early 1980s, is now a legitimate collectible, and the rare 2004 Golf R32 is headed in that direction. The new, all-wheel-drive Golf R is geared toward someone who enjoys driving and evokes the same “pocket-rocket” characteristics of its predecessors.

6. Porsche 911 ($82,100): The Porsche legacy is built around the 911. Every generation runs the course from being fun used cars for good buys to eventually swelling in value. If you are most concerned about a car holding its value over the long term, then this is the car on this list to buy now and lovingly keep.

7. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ($54,095): Since 2005, the current generation of Shelby Mustangs has owned the king-of-the-hill position in the pony-car segment. The new ZL1 Camaro, with 580 hp, brings Chevy back into the hunt and demonstrates that old-school muscle is alive and well.

8. Nissan GT-R Black Edition ($95,100): Until this year, this is the car that young people in the United States have only been able to experience on video games. It manages to squeeze 530 hp out of a six-cylinder engine. While the invoice price is out of reach for most in the younger generation, we predict that they will remember these cars down the road after their student loans are paid off.

9. Dodge Charger SRT8 ($46,795): What won us over is the giant touch screen in the center of the dash--and not for the reasons you are thinking. It has “performance pages” that feed input to the driver about statistics such as available horsepower and torque.

10. Audi TT RS ($56,850): For people who won't buy a Porsche because they haven't won Le Mans in quite a while, the Audi TT RS is the answer. This is a car with global appeal, which means it will have global demand several decades down the road.

We'd like to add a few to the list:

1. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Centennial Edition ($76,500): We're going to break the rules right away: The as-tested price of the Z06 that we drove just cracked the $100,000 barrier. But we think the black-on-black color scheme, race-car-like performance and unmistakable exhaust note exempts it from the limit. Twenty years from now the Centennial Edition will be garnering even more hard-earned cash.

2. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque ($44,995): The Evoque won Autoweek's Best of the Best/Truck award six months after its introduction. Sure, it looks futuristic now, but in 20 years we probably won't even remember Range Rover's 500-hp, fire-breathing street SUVs. The one that moved the brand forward, on the other hand, will be hard to come by.

3. BMW 1-series M coupe ($47,010): People talk about the 1-series M as if it's the second coming--of the BMW M3. Many enthusiasts complained as the M3 grew in size and weight to accommodate more Americans. It was the same critique of the Subaru WRX. The old car was a driver's car, they said. The new 1-series M is what the M3 used to be. Therefore, it's an instant classic.

4. Audi A7 ($60,125): It's difficult to imagine swoopy sedans being classics, but we can easily see the first year of the A7 crossing the block at Barrett-Jackson. A strong and relatively efficient supercharged V6 powers the German four-door. We just wonder whether the original LEDs will still be working.

5. Mini Cooper S coupe ($25,300): The Mini Cooper coupe might not be the most beautiful of 2012's cars, but it stands out in a crowd and has a fun-to-drive factor that most cars can't match. We're sure the backward-baseball-cap look will be recalled upon fondly. We hope.

By Jake Lingeman