Think classic muscle and you will, no doubt, think of the 1960s or ‘70s Mustang, Camaro or a Corvette. These cars have cult status in the American driver's psyche for lots of reasons, they speak to a Golden age of US auto production and perhaps even the American Dream. But these cars weren’t created with the icon status in mind. They were created to serve the arms race between auto companies who wanted middle-class Americans to part with their hard-earned cash. So, what car should you be looking at now which have the potential to become a future classic?


Firstly, let’s look at what makes a classic car because, crucially, any old car isn’t a classic. The definition of a classic varies around the world (and even from state to state) but typically it’s generally a car that’s older than 20 years old and has an element to it that makes it collectible and worthy of restoration, rather the scrapping. This may not be true of all cars, however, there is a market for AMC Pacer’s despite many people considering them to be a joke.


But let’s get down to business. Which cars from the ’90s and ’00s which you can probably pick up on the cheap, which in a few years time, could be sold for a tidy profit. We asked the Clasiq community for their opinion, looked at the market and what’s more easily available without costing a small fortune and here’s our top five. Spoiler alert — it’s not all US muscle…



1. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (IV)


The Lancer Evo is a high-performance sports car based on the vanilla Lancer model. The Evo is the more exciting version, equipped with a 4-wheel drive and a turbocharged, 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine.


The renowned 4G63T, a turbo-charged iron block is bulletproof and quite capable of producing immense turbo boosts whenever the driver needed it. The Evo line won consecutive World Rally Championships from 1996 to 1999 by Tommi Makinen.


Changes from the Evo line were mostly incremental upgrades but served well in the collectability aspect, notably the Evos used in movies about fast cars and bank heists.


The Lancer Evo IV had superior handling and performance, but unfortunately, the market forecast didn't have as much demand for sports compact cars as with other types. The last Lancer Evo was the Evo X, which was then discontinued in 2015.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evo enthusiasts will have a difficult time finding untouched classics and ones that are in great condition. The brand itself has been attributed to the tuner industry and as such, many of the Evos today have been modified heavily.


Image Source: @evooo_tom


2. Nissan Skyline (Fifth Generation)


The Nissan Skyline has a familiar shape that takes people back to their days of playing Gran Turismo 1 and 2 on PlayStation consoles. It was such a popular car during its peak among car enthusiasts and drivers alike, thanks to its fearsome presence and outstanding performance.


Unbeknownst to many, the Skyline heritage dates almost 50 years back. A small, independent carmaker company called Prince Motor began working on a Skyline model in 1957. The namesake was an inspiration to the winding roads in Japan's many mountains, with the goal of being able to climb them. Tinkering led from one discovery to another, and soon the world saw the first Skyline, the GT-R in 1969.


The R-34 is essentially a sports coupe featuring a 2.0-liter inline-6 engine and a part of the 5th generation Skyline GTR which were produced between 1999 to 2002. The tech advances that came with the car was amazing- turbo lag was removed, and in place was a torque increase without the need to replace the 2.6 twin turbo engine. The five-speed was replaced by a six-speed, and improved body and aerodynamics gave the two-door Japanese import the speed and power it needed to face its European supercar counterparts.


Image Source: @gtrcrew


3. Pontiac Grand AM (1996-1998)


The Grand Am was initially a midsize car, which transformed into a compact. Car manufacturer Pontiac wanted a Trans Am - Grand Prix hybrid, which led to the model's creation. The GTO body was built on the A platform and outfitted with Grand Prix interiors.


In 1996, the model received a mid-gen facelift in the form of side skirts and a rear and front fascia, HVAC controls, softer plastics, a more intuitive audio system, and dual airbags. The Quad 4 was replaced by a newer, 2.4 liter DOHC Twin Cam engine. In 1996, Pontiac removed the 3-speed automatic for the 4-speed one that had traction control. Furthermore, the car maker put in standard daytime lamps and auto lighting control, and in 1997 air conditioning was added as a standard as well.


In its final year, there were no further additions as the company was preparing for the 5th gen automobiles.


Image Source: @granda_gagt_and_ashton


4. Subaru Impreza (1997-2001)


The Impreza, introduced in 1992, was a 4-door family saloon in both 4WD and 2WD. The North America branch started focusing on the AWD version and made it available for all Impreza models starting in 1997.


In the UK, Subaru came up with the Catalunya, a turbocharged Impreza with limited numbers, sporting a pre-dominant black coat and accentuated with gold wheel alloys. This model was created to commemorate Subaru winning the WRC Rally in Spain in 1997. Then, in April 1998 the "Terzo", was made, featuring a blue coat with the same gold alloy wheels.


The Impreza 22B or Coupe WRX STi gained the title "ultimate STI car" in 1998. This machine commemorated the company's 40th anniversary and its third consecutive title in claiming the FIA World Rally Championship on the same year.


The STI variants remain faithful to the Impreza's winning formula in terms of combining performance, durability, and affordability. The carmaker initiated a run of 300 vehicles based on the Electra One concept, aka the Impreza S201 STI..


After the last run of the 2nd generation Impreza, Subaru decided to launch the WRX STi in Japan in the late 2000s. This was to become the "New Age" of Subaru Imprezas, particularly the STi models, which proved to be extremely popular all over the world. The Impreza line touts standout looks, excellent daily usability, and driving dynamics.


Image Source: @ro_subarulover


5. The Fourth Generation Ford Mustang (1994-2004)


In 1994, Ford ushered in the 4th generation of the revered Mustang line and marked the 30th anniversary in the process.


The brand had its first major redesign in 15 years. Codenamed SN-95 by Ford, the design featured updates that came from the Fox platform. How much had changed? According to the car manufacturer, around 1,330 of parts are changed to a 1,850 total.


Notable changes included a new style and elements that were brought back from classic Mustang models. Other than that, the manufacturer decided that the new Mustang should have a different look as well as handling. Initially, there was the 3.8-liter V6 engine, but when the company went back to the drawing board they offered a 5.0-liter V8 engine for the SVT Mustang Cobra.


Two years later, Ford decided to throw out the 5.0-liter V8 engine in favor of the newer 4.6L V8 engine for their Cobra and Mustang models. Then, in 2001, as part of honoring the 1968 GT-390, a car that appeared in the movie Bullitt, Ford made a special "Bullitt" edition.


Finally, in 2004, Ford released the 40th Anniversary Mustang GT Convertible, which was also the 300 millionth car to roll off the production line. The limited edition package was offered to all GT and V-6 models and featured a metallic, Arizona Beige racing stripe and a Crimson Red exterior.


Fortunately, for US car fanatics, the future classic you are most likely to pick up in a condition in its near original state would be Mustang. The lessons we have learned as classic car enthusiasts, we would say still apply to a ‘future classic’, and you can check them out here.


Image Source: @that_66_inline_6


6. Trans Am WS6


The last of GMs F-body production, known as the 4th Gens, in model years 1993-2002 breaks into 2 sections: 1993-1997, and 1998-2002. The 93-97 featured an iron block, aluminum head, 5.7 LT1 V8 with a 4 speed automatic or the optional 6-speed manual. 1996 was the reintroduction of the Ram Air WS6 performance and handling package on the Firebird Formula and Trans Am. The Ram Air package in 96-97 enhanced LT1 5.7-liter V-8, from 285Hp up to 305Hp.


In 1998-2002 The 1998 Trans am received the ground breaking all aluminum LS1. It also gained a new look, the most noticeable change was the aggressive "Ram Air" hood that the WS6 has become famous for. In addition to the updated hood, the front bumper and fenders took on a new shape, the headlights were now dual instead of the previous singles and the tail lights received a new updated honeycomb pattern. However, it was the hood that made it stand out. It looked like it was gonna kick your ass, and that's what it did!


Image Source: Creston ward, Rueben Hurt, Dakota Chapman, Chad Orner


In stock form the 98-02 WS6 will shred tires and throw you back into your seat at the crack of the throttle. In 2002, the WS6 Trans Am rolled off production lines with 325-horsepower. With simple bolt ons, this car is fully capable of producing over 500hp thanks to the LS1's ground breaking technology. That combined with the aggressive looks of the WS6, have made this car very popular amongst racing enthusiasts for their power capabilities and collectors for their timeless styling.


Commonly referred to as just "The WS6", the 98-02 Trans Am WS6 availability is dwindling rapidly due to many factors. While these Birds are approaching the Endangered Species list more each day, at the same time it is known as a "Living Legend". This is shown currently with a huge spike in interest, and with the prices continually rising over the past few years. There is a decent online community, dedicated and very loyal to the WS6 if you are interested. In closing, it's been 17 years since they were produced. So, if you want one, you'd better get in now before it's too late or be prepared to pay the price.


Image Source: Creston ward, Rueben Hurt, Dakota Chapman, Chad Orner


View other: guides