Six Modern Day Classics To Buy Right Now

Audi TT Coupe 1999 1600x1200 Wallpaper 01

Being a petrolhead on a budget doesn’t need to amount to pure anguish. These six modern day classics, sold in South Africa during the noughties (2000-2009), represent great driving enjoyment and could grow in value in the near future. However, ultimately collector value is not only about price appreciation, but also about enjoyment, so some of the cars listed here are unlikely to ever become museum pieces. Nevertheless, all of them boast a blend of desirability, limited availability, a rising cult following or exceptional (and often unrecognised, at the time) ability. Best of all, none of these modern day classics will break the bank to buy, so head to our used car section to start your search.

Six Modern Day Classics To Buy Right Now

Honda S2000

Modern-Day-Classics Widely regarded as one of the best driver’s cars of its generation, the Honda S2000 made its world-wide debut at the end of the nineties, but enjoyed a lengthy production run of nearly ten years. Even so, it was never sold in great volumes, especially in South Africa where its price put it close to rival products with more desirable badges. For the uninitiated, the S2000’s incredible charm is hard to grasp. It’s not massively powerful, with the normally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing 177 kW and 208 Nm. Performance was nevertheless excellent, with the S2000 sprinting to 100 kph in around six seconds. Far more important than the raw figures was the way in which the S2000 engaged its driver. The engine was a screamer, with maximum power delivered at a heady 8 300 rpm, and it had the sound to match. Power went to the rear wheels via what remains arguably the best six-speed manual transmission to ever be used in an automobile. And the dynamics? Early cars were much looser, but it was always a fun handler. Current pricing: R150 000 – R280 000 (avoid modified cars)

Subaru Impreza WRX STI “bug-eye”

subaru_046 The Subaru Impreza, particularly in WRX and STI forms, was the darling of the nineties, riding a seemingly unstoppable wave of success into the new Millennium. But then the covers came off the new-generation model in 2000 and the Impreza’s fans were quick to voice their disgust, while the rest of the world sniggered. Subaru, it seemed, got the design of the new Impreza very wrong. Most of the criticism centred on the almost oval headlamps, which appeared at odds with the rest of the design. The criticism was so stinging that Subaru hastily engineered a facelift, which appeared a mere two years later. The result is that the “bug-eye”, as it became known, is quite rare these days. More importantly, the look suited the STI model, which featured the pumped-up arches, big wing and detailing of the company’s WRC contenders. These days there is a growing “bug-eye” cult, and good examples are not only starting to get rare, but are also fetching better prices. And, of course, it remains a blast to drive… Current pricing: R100 000 - R150 000 (Beware, lots of modified and abused cars out there)

Mazda RX-8

Mazda-RX-8_2003_1600x1200_wallpaper_02 Easily one of the quirkiest cars of its generation, the Mazda RX-8 went into production in 2003 and lasted until 2011 when tightening emissions controls led to its demise. South African availability stopped in 2009. It was the last mass-produced (relatively speaking) production car to make use of a Wankel (rotary) engine. This powerplant delivered 170 kW at a very high 8 500 rpm and 211 Nm of torque (six-speed manual model). Interestingly, a five-speed manual derivative with less power (141 kW) was also offered. Although it was never the fastest car around, its charismatic engine delivered a very unique driving experience – the way the engine would achieve its high revs while remaining silky smooth was uncanny. Pity the engine became known for high oil consumption (so check carefully). Besides the engine, the RX-8 also offered plenty of design appeal – it offered stunning looks and a quirky “suicide-door” arrangement, while inside, the cabin was well-made and stocked with features. A (very) underrated, future classic… Current pricing: R95 000 – R130 000 (full mechanical check-up advised)

BMW M Coupe

BMW-M_Coupe_1999_1600x1200_wallpaper_08 The awkwardly styled BMW M Coupe had an interesting development history – it was never officially “planned” to happen, but a dedicated team of engineers pushed for its production. The big advantage of the fixed-roof, “shooting brake” design was torsional rigidity (it was nearly three times as stiff as the Z3 roadster, on which it was based). Powering this hot-rod was the straight-six from the M3, a 3.2-litre producing 236 kW and 350 Nm of torque. The five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive M Coupe could sprint to 100 kph in well under six seconds and it delivered thrilling dynamics and an engine sound to match. A significant number of South African models featured an AC Schnitzer kit that included suspension and exhaust upgrades, in addition to some trim and design changes. Ultimately, it’s the unique look and rarity of the M Coupe that makes it a sure bet for future classic status. Current pricing: R150 000 - R170 000

Renault Clio V6

Renault-Clio_V6_Renault_Sport_2003_1600x1200_wallpaper_07 Now for something different... Introduced in 2001, the first-generation Renault Clio V6 boasted a mid-mounted V6 engine that punched out 166 kW and 300 Nm of torque. The main attraction, however, is its outrageous styling – its wide rear track and massive side air intakes, as well as large exhaust outlets, endow the Clio V6 with instant street cred. Later, in 2005, a Phase 2 model was launched with sharpened up styling and an even more powerful engine (187 kW). This time it was built by RenaultSport in Dieppe, but Porsche helped with its fine-tuning as well. Very few of these cars were sold in South Africa – at the time a R360 000 sticker price for a Renault was hard to swallow, as the brand went through troubled times. The Clio V6 can be bought with relative peace of mind, however, as it was essentially hand-built by performance car experts. Current pricing: R200 000 - R250 000 (very rare)

Audi TT Coupe

Audi-TT_Coupe_1999_1600x1200_wallpaper_01 One of the prerequisites to attain true collectable status is, of course, rarity. So what is the first-generation Audi TT doing on this list, you may ask? After all, it sold in relatively large numbers for such a sporty car. Well yes, but that very over-supply has pushed down prices, making them affordable to folks who can’t really afford to maintain them. Consequently, clean, well-cared for examples are getting rarer. Now add the fact that the Audi TT was a design revolution when it first arrived, and that it was a very important car in the evolution of Audi as a brand, and its importance becomes clearer. Various models were offered in South Africa, but for us the true icon remains the original, the 1.8T Quattro Coupe that was launched in 2002. With 165 kW and 280 Nm torque, the all-wheel drive TT provided ample thrills. Currently, it represents great value. Current pricing: R80 000 – R120 000