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BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Six future classics that won’t break the bank

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.

 

  • Oddities today, treasures tomorrow

    'Tis the season for gatherings of spectacular automobiles and their well-heeled custodians. Summertime brings a host of glittering events – the Concorso d’Eleganza in Italy, the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the US – each one a blinding parade of unspeakably valuable production cars, singular concept vehicles and irreplaceable racers.

    Certainly, such rarefied rides are out of reach of that vast majority of collectors. Fortunately there exists an assortment of odd and endearing vehicles whose values lie well with within the budget of the average automotive speculator. BBC Autos has picked a half-dozen as starting points. With some love and plenty of luck, any one of these could become the concours darling of tomorrow. Well, maybe the day after tomorrow.

  • Dodge Ram SRT-10 (2004-2006)

    Created for the sole purpose of stealing thunder from Ford’s mighty SVT F-150 Lightning pickup truck, this fearsome version of the Ram 1500 debuted at the 2002 Detroit auto show and rumbled into showrooms as a 2004 model. Its Viper-sourced 8.3-litre V10 engine churned out 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque, sufficient to send the bedded bruiser from a stop to 60mph in 4.9 seconds, and onward to a top speed of 153mph. A four-door version – tipping the scales at 5,618lbs but still capable of a 5.2-second sprint to 60mph – arrived for 2005.

    A used Ram SRT-10 regular cab in good condition can be found for about $24,000. (Photo: Chrysler Group)

  • Dodge Ram SRT-10 (2004-2006)

    Created for the sole purpose of stealing thunder from Ford’s mighty SVT F-150 Lightning pickup truck, this fearsome version of the Ram 1500 debuted at the 2002 Detroit auto show and rumbled into showrooms as a 2004 model. Its Viper-sourced 8.3-litre V10 engine churned out 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque, sufficient to send the bedded bruiser from a stop to 60mph in 4.9 seconds, and onward to a top speed of 153mph. A four-door version – tipping the scales at 5,618lbs but still capable of a 5.2-second sprint to 60mph – arrived for 2005.

    A used Ram SRT-10 regular cab in good condition can be found for about $24,000. (Photo: Chrysler Group)

  • Mazdaspeed MX-5 (2004-2005)

    The only factory-developed turbocharged Miata since the model debuted in 1989, the tail-happy Mazdaspeed MX-5 boasted 178hp – a significant 36hp more than the non-turbocharged version – and a wish-list of speed parts, including an upgraded six-speed manual transmission, a stiffer suspension and 17in Racing Hart alloy wheels. Production was slight: fewer than 5,500 cars rolled out of Mazda’s Hiroshima plant over two years. That said, Mazdaspeed MX-5s are still quite easy to find, and prices remain only modestly higher than those of well-equipped standard Miatas.

    A used Mazdaspeed MX-5 in good condition can be found for about $14,000. (Photo: Mazda North America)

  • Mazdaspeed MX-5 (2004-2005)

    The only factory-developed turbocharged Miata since the model debuted in 1989, the tail-happy Mazdaspeed MX-5 boasted 178hp – a significant 36hp more than the non-turbocharged version – and a wish-list of speed parts, including an upgraded six-speed manual transmission, a stiffer suspension and 17in Racing Hart alloy wheels. Production was slight: fewer than 5,500 cars rolled out of Mazda’s Hiroshima plant over two years. That said, Mazdaspeed MX-5s are still quite easy to find, and prices remain only modestly higher than those of well-equipped standard Miatas.

    A used Mazdaspeed MX-5 in good condition can be found for about $14,000. (Photo: Mazda North America)

  • Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG (2007)

    A rare misstep from one of the world’s savviest automakers, the AMG version of the odd-duck R-Class people mover was the oddest duck of the Benz range. Like the more popular ML63 AMG sport-utility vehicle, the R63 featured all-wheel drive, an AMG-calibrated version of the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission and a 6.2-litre V8 engine that was good for a stupefying 503hp and 465lb-ft of torque. Sixty miles per hour arrived in 5 seconds flat, and the family hauler would haul all the way to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. The result was something TopGear might have concocted. Priced at a steep $88,000, the R63 was, in no uncertain terms, a flop.

    A used R63 AMG in good condition can be found for about $33,000. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz USA)

  • Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG (2007)

    A rare misstep from one of the world’s savviest automakers, the AMG version of the odd-duck R-Class people mover was the oddest duck of the Benz range. Like the more popular ML63 AMG sport-utility vehicle, the R63 featured all-wheel drive, an AMG-calibrated version of the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission and a 6.2-litre V8 engine that was good for a stupefying 503hp and 465lb-ft of torque. Sixty miles per hour arrived in 5 seconds flat, and the family hauler would haul all the way to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. The result was something TopGear might have concocted. Priced at a steep $88,000, the R63 was, in no uncertain terms, a flop.

    A used R63 AMG in good condition can be found for about $33,000. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz USA)

  • Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet (2011-present)

    The only vehicle on this list that is still in production, the two-door Murano CrossCabriolet, derived from Nissan’s four-door Murano crossover, is the automotive April Fool’s joke that wasn’t. The Japanese automaker’s executives may have had a bit too much French wine when they green-lighted this luxury laden two-door all-wheel-drive crossover convertible, so much does it resemble something Renault might concoct (see the similarly loony Avantime, later in this slideshow). The result, be it loveable or laughable, is a sweet-driving, comprehensively equipped, fastidiously crafted open-air grand tourer that stands as a compelling alternative to... well... something.

    The 2013 Murano CrossCabriolet starts at $42,840 (inclusive of $845 destination charge). A used example in good condition can be found for about $34,000. (Photo: Nissan North America)

  • Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet (2011-present)

    The only vehicle on this list that is still in production, the two-door Murano CrossCabriolet, derived from Nissan’s four-door Murano crossover, is the automotive April Fool’s joke that wasn’t. The Japanese automaker’s executives may have had a bit too much French wine when they green-lighted this luxury laden two-door all-wheel-drive crossover convertible, so much does it resemble something Renault might concoct (see the similarly loony Avantime, later in this slideshow). The result, be it loveable or laughable, is a sweet-driving, comprehensively equipped, fastidiously crafted open-air grand tourer that stands as a compelling alternative to... well... something.

    The 2013 Murano CrossCabriolet starts at $42,840 (inclusive of $845 destination charge). A used example in good condition can be found for about $34,000. (Photo: Nissan North America)

  • Pontiac Solstice Coupe (2009)

    As the last new model to bear the Pontiac name, the Solstice Coupe is a genuine artefact. A mere 1,152 regular production models emerged from General Motors’ now-defunct factory in Wilmington, Delaware, before the axe fell – on the factory, on the sports cars produced there (the Solstice and the Saturn Sky roadster) and, in 2010, on the Saturn and Pontiac brands themselves. And yet, even in turbocharged, 260hp GXP form, the targa-roof Solstice Coupe’s rarity has yet to register with collectors, and values are a mere blip above the Solstice roadster (some 64,000 of which rolled off the line). The removable roof panel weighed a modest 31lbs, but there was no space to stow it on board (not unlike the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport). Fortunately Pontiac offered, as an $1,100 option, a folding toupee top for the car (also not unlike the Veyron Grand Sport).

    A used Solstice Coupe in good condition can be found for about $17,000. (Photo: General Motors)

  • Pontiac Solstice Coupe (2009)

    As the last new model to bear the Pontiac name, the Solstice Coupe is a genuine artefact. A mere 1,152 regular production models emerged from General Motors’ now-defunct factory in Wilmington, Delaware, before the axe fell – on the factory, on the sports cars produced there (the Solstice and the Saturn Sky roadster) and, in 2010, on the Saturn and Pontiac brands themselves. And yet, even in turbocharged, 260hp GXP form, the targa-roof Solstice Coupe’s rarity has yet to register with collectors, and values are a mere blip above the Solstice roadster (some 64,000 of which rolled off the line). The removable roof panel weighed a modest 31lbs, but there was no space to stow it on board (not unlike the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport). Fortunately Pontiac offered, as an $1,100 option, a folding toupee top for the car (also not unlike the Veyron Grand Sport).

    A used Solstice Coupe in good condition can be found for about $17,000. (Photo: General Motors)

  • Renault Avantime (2001-2003)

    Renault’s short-lived range-topper, a scant 8,557 of which rolled off the production line between 2001 and 2003, employed designer Patrick Le Quement's innovative/outlandish "Coupespace" one-box concept, with a stiff upper structure of bare aluminium, huge double-hinged doors and an all-glass roof. Available only in the European market, where it was roundly reviled, the Avantime was nonetheless a sumptuous grand tourer with fine road manners and one particularly neat trick: a quasi-convertible striptease, engaged by a button on the headliner. Press it once to lower the side windows and retract the forward panel of the all-glass roof. C’est magnifique-ish!

    A used Avantime 3.0L Privilège in good condition can be found for about $27,000. (Photo: Renault)

  • Renault Avantime (2001-2003)

    Renault’s short-lived range-topper, a scant 8,557 of which rolled off the production line between 2001 and 2003, employed designer Patrick Le Quement's innovative/outlandish "Coupespace" one-box concept, with a stiff upper structure of bare aluminium, huge double-hinged doors and an all-glass roof. Available only in the European market, where it was roundly reviled, the Avantime was nonetheless a sumptuous grand tourer with fine road manners and one particularly neat trick: a quasi-convertible striptease, engaged by a button on the headliner. Press it once to lower the side windows and retract the forward panel of the all-glass roof. C’est magnifique-ish!

    A used Avantime 3.0L Privilège in good condition can be found for about $27,000. (Photo: Renault)