QotW: What modern car will be a collectible JNC 25 years from now?

Owners of classics love to complain about new cars. Not enough soul, too much tech, not enough value, too much weight, and so on. But, there are perhaps a few offerings that you would like to own, maybe even deem worthy of keeping for posterity. For the purposes of this question, we’ll define “modern” as being made in the last five years.

What modern car will be a collectible JNC 25 years from now?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the longest road trip you’ve taken with your JNC?

It was a close call this week. Mike RL411‘s had us cracking up that his SoCal mechanic didn’t know what the block heater on his Montana-based Datsun 411 was for, but Chris Tonn narrowly won out with his amusing tale of pre-GPS road tripping:

’91 Miata. Columbus, Ohio to Bar Harbor, Maine. About 2500 miles round trip in autumn 2004 – drove there for our honeymoon.

This was before we had GPS, so we relied on a AAA Trip Tik (remember those?).

Unfortunately, the state of Maine renumbered their interstate exits that year, going from consecutive exit numbering to mileage-based numbering. I think they also changed the routing of I-95 around or through Portland, which screwed us up as well. We kept driving..and driving..and driving. I’m not sure HOW close to Canada we got, but it took us several extra hours to get to the hotel.

Mind you, this is an NA Miata, lowered, with big swaybars. Interstate 80 across Pennsylvania is only slightly less pockmarked than the surface of the moon.

Nevertheless, she remained with me. Well, both of them did. It’ll be 15 years this fall with my bride, and 16 with the Miata.

The roadster has been sitting for a few years, but my oldest daughter wants to learn to drive in it. She and I will head into the garage this fall to revive it.

Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

JNC Decal smash

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23 Responses to QotW: What modern car will be a collectible JNC 25 years from now?

  1. Khoua said:

    Definitely the Lancer Evolution X Final Edition. The Subaru WRX S209. I would even say a BRZ with really odd options. Maybe the Toyota Camry TRD edition too.

  2. Ant said:

    Easy: The latest Suzuki Jimny.

  3. Banpei said:

    Toyota Mirai will definitely be a collectible in 25 years. Apart from its (for 2017) futuristic looks, it will be a pioneer in hydrogen powered car: either as an example that simply was the first mass produced hydrogen car or as the failure as everyone is now driving electric cars that are charged wireless on the highways. 😉

    I recently see people appreciating the first Honda insight and it slowly becomes a collectible. I think the Mirai will follow suit in 20 years time…

  4. Ken Lim said:

    I would say the Mazda RX-8. Why? It is because that is the last fully rotary powered sports car produced by Mazda. It is not known for certain whether Mazda will produce any more fully rotary powered sports car in the future as Mazda only mentioned about using the rotary engine as a range extender for gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.

    The RX-8 was known for its great handling and balance, similar to its predecessor the FD3S RX-7 which definitely sets it apart from other moderns cars who are deemed as soulless or carries too much weight.

    The design and body style of the RX-8 is also very unique as well. A coupe sports car but it came with hidden suicide doors that makes it a proper 4 seater. Is there any other Japanese cars with such a unique body style? None that I can think of.

    Today, the RX-8 suffered a horrible resale value, mainly due to the special care needed for its 13B-MSP Renesis rotary engine. I’m sure that in the future, the value of the RX-8 will rebound again when people started to realize the iconic role of the RX-8 as the last fully rotary engine powered sports car in the world.

    • speedie said:

      As an owner of a 2010 R3 I agree with you. Not only will they be sought after for the characteristics you note but they will also be rare. The fair or unfair reputation they got for exploding apex seals has driven prices down to the level where they are the sports car of choice for the urban teenager with big desires and little pocket change. This is the same age group that pays little attention to things like maintenance and careful revving. Look guys it will rev to 9 grand! Brap, Brap, Brap (repeat until loud booming sound occurs and smoke rises from engine). I highly recommend to anyone who is a car enthusiast that they drive one of these great cars before they are recognized by the BAT elite and no one can afford them.

    • Emuman said:

      I agree, the number of running RX-8 decreases rapidly now, because a lot of them are used as parts bin.

  5. fuel10922 said:

    I think the Lexus IS-F (2008-2014) will be a future collectible. Lexus quality, limited production, V-8 & RWD. I have been watching their prices for awhile and they remain strong for the low mileage ones.

  6. Yuri said:

    A good way to look at this is what makes a JNC desirable and collectible today?

    Many of us weren’t in the position (or even old enough) to buy our JNC’s new, so we often wonder how we would have ordered one if we had access to every option and colorway back then.

    Certain cars just grab attention from other enthusiasts, and feel special. I’m going to focus on what would constitute a car that’ll be just plain cool 25 years from now, over something that is just valuable, because as an enthusiast, happiness and uniqueness triumphs over investing.

    1. The car should be well-received at launch, be good at what it’s designed for, and get a following at least somewhere in the world as a result. Previous examples: NA Miata, S13 Silvia, Datsun Z, Datsun 510, Mazda RX7, Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru STI.

    2. The car should be the best sub-generation produced, taking into account any year-to-year upgrades/downgrades.

    3. The car should be something special within that line. For example, limited editions, performance packages, anniversary editions, track packages, homologation specials, factory tuned variants all count. If the version you get is the best performing/driving version the factory ever made, then you’ve hit the jackpot. Even more so if it was extremely limited production.

    4. Rare colors are always a cool thing to have in the long run. Things like Laguna blue Miatas, Lavender Frost S13s, teal A70 Supras, and Lightning yellow R34’s are sought out today, even though (and often times because) they weren’t popular when new.

    5. Was it once forbidden fruit? There’s something special about finally getting a car that was lusted over from afar, whether it’s something that never sold here, or only sold after being available in Japan for a long time.

    6. Does it have a following outside of the automotive enthusiast scene? Does it appear in video games, anime, manga? Think how many JNC’s we love that we first learned about in Gran Turismo.

    7. Bonus; can you get rare and unusual OEM parts for it that will be insanely cool at JCCS 25 years from now?

    I thought over all these aspects when I bought my newest daily last February. I wanted something I could be the first owner of, and proudly show at JCCS 25 years from now.
    I purchased a 2018 Subaru BRZ tS in Crystal Black Silica.
    Here is how it slots into the previous guidelines.

    1. The 86 twins were launched to glowing reviews and welcome arms. It was the revival of the hachiroku, a return to affordable fun to drive FR Japanese performance. They are one of the most modified cars in the world, with a huge following in Japan and the US. Go to any touge in Japan at any given time, and you will see anywhere from one to an entire fleet.

    2. The kouki 86 twins (2017+) feature revised gearing, aluminum intakes on the MT models, an improved interior with a partial MFD in the instrument cluster, and an improved stability management system over the zenki models. The BRZ is available with Brembo brakes and Sachs dampers.

    3. The tS was the BRZ tuned by STI to grip and pump out greatly improved lap times over the standard 86 twins. It had an interior only offered on the tS, STI tuned suspension, a full aero kit, 18″ Enkei/STI wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, chassis draw stiffeners, flexible v-braces, and most apparent; an adjustable dry carbon GT-wing that costs $4k if purchased separately. One of the reasons the car was sold in the US was to homologate the dry carbon wing for Pirelli world challenge racing. The tS’s running in Pirelli world challenge have been extremely succesful. Subaru built only 500 for the USA, spread out amongst three different colors.

    4. Crystal Black Silica is the rarest tS color, with only 104 built (and currently 102 believed to be currently surviving.) This makes a Crystal Black Silica tS the rarest trim/color combo.

    5. The tS was sold in Japan for two years as a zenki model. It wasn’t until the 2018 model year we finally were given the tS for US consumption. Before that it was forbidden fruit, with US owners cloning their Limiteds and Series. Blues into ersatz tS’s.

    6. The 86 twins are featured in countless games, as well as being the primary protagonist’s car in the sequel manga to Initial D; MF Ghost, and a secondary protagonist’s car in the drift manga Dricam.

    7. The amount of oem parts for the 86 is astounding, with Toyota offering Modellista, GR, and TRD parts, and Subaru with STI. It’s possible to build a very rare and unique car using only OEM+ components, and is half the fun. Showing up to an event 25 years from now with things like illuminated Modellista fender vents, TRD window louvers, TRD turbolators, STI graphics packages, GR Recaro seats and the like will grab attention.

    These are the reasons I chose my BRZ tS as my future JNC, and I couldn’t be happier. I hope these tips come in handy for helping anyone else find the nostalgic of their dreams too.

  7. Harry Honda said:

    S2000

  8. Ben Hsu said:

    Guys, these are great suggestions, and we may even agree your choices, but cars like the S2000 and RX-8 are way older than 5 years old!

    • speedie said:

      The RX-8 was sold in in North America until 2011 and Japan until 2012 so they are only 7 years old (six if you don’t count the six months of 2019 as a year). I would not call that “way older” than five years.

  9. Iwakuni91 said:

    Honda S660
    Why?
    – Rear wheel drive HONDA (not Acura, but Honda!)
    – mid-engine
    – last of the Keis
    – Targa topped
    – not only the successor to the Beat, but the true successor to the MR2 (1st gen.)

    If you had to drive and underpowered 4 banger, do you really want the Scion/Subie Wonder Twins (deactivate!)? Though the answer might always be Miata, they are a dime a dozen. The S660 is a classic in the making.

    Honorable mention: Honda Element

  10. CobaltFire said:

    First, I have to say that the EVO X and STi (2007 on) are unlikely to approach the following of their earlier versions; they are just too far divorced from their roots and became something that had a less devoted following.

    I have to agree with some other picks though; the 86 twins, especially the special editions, will be excellent JNC’s come their time. The same goes for the IS-F, and possibly the RC-F. The ND Miata is a safe bet, especially the 2019+ with the full kit. The GT-R is a given; it will always have a following.

    One that is often overlooked is the FJ Cruiser; they already command silly prices for clean used ones. This may actually be THE pick at this time; buy one, keep it stock, and drive it 500k miles before it becomes a JNC. It will survive anything (thought the trim might not). Along the same lines are the rest of the J120/150 vehicles, including the GX’s and the 4Runners. I own one and have been repeatedly asked if I’ll sell it. Get a 2003/04 4.7l and put the factory supercharger on it for bonus points. Most of these will be driven into the ground or turned into offroad/expedition vehicles, so clean, stock ones will be very rare (they are already getting there).

    However, the car that I think is likely to be a sleeper hit is the GS-F. With an upgraded version of the IS-F’s drivetrain, it’s outstanding build quality, excellent looks (subjective), and all the other perfectly chosen pieces (Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, BBS wheels…) it stands to be an excellent long term buy. What helps is that though they will only make a couple thousand total, parts should be reasonably easy to get as it’s (almost) a parts bin special. It’s also naturally aspirated (less to break or wear out), and so expensive that it’s unlikely many will be ragged out anytime soon. I expect the prices to bottom out at mid 30’s for clean examples, and never go lower. They are currently sitting at mid 40’s for a 2016 in my area (Socal).

    A bonus would be the GS460; it’s no GS-F but the fact that it shares the majority of it’s underpinnings with the IS-F means you could build a very interesting sleeper for a very reasonable outlay (Ohlins DFV, Brembo brakes, etc. are all available off the shelf). Perhaps the only issue holding it back is the lazy transmission, which is something that can be fixed by swapping in the F transmission (it was paired with the 4.6l in the LS460 Sport).

    An interesting side note here: I picked almost exclusively Toyota’s. I’ve been critical of some of their choices in the past, but they really do cater to some niche audiences that absolutely love their products. This spans a range of vehicles, some of which are so popular they can’t build enough of them (4Runners, GX’s, Tacomas), some of which fight for a small niche and can’t possibly make much money (86), and some of which are so niche you wonder if they weren’t an internal pet project (GS-F, GS460).

  11. mel said:

    Eclipse Cross

  12. GSX-R35 said:

    If I can be permitted to bend the rules a little bit I’d like to advance the Infiniti G35 – particularly the coupe – and its current version the Q60. I know the V35 coupe debuted in 2002 which is well past the question’s 5 year cutoff but it has so many factors that make it likely to be a future collectible: 1) It comes from a respected manufacturer (I know Infiniti takes flack but it’s a subsidiary of Nissan and the V35 was branded a Nissan in Japan), 2) it has historical significance – the V35 is generally regarded as the high point for Infiniti and won numerous awards and featured on C&D’s 10 Best list, plus it was the first of the V-series Skylines in Japan, 3) it performs well (the sedan even beat the BMW 3-series in a C&D comparo and the VQ35 motor is mod-friendly with decent aftermarket support given its ubiquity, 4) the coupe has lovely styling that has aged very well, 5) it’s basically a classic GT car – 2 doors, RWD, 2+2 seating, available 6MT, and ample luxury for its time, 6) it wasn’t a massive success but it did gain notoriety in racing circles under Team Falken both as a drift car and road racer, and lastly 7) it’s hit the point in depreciation now where its fairly cheap to get – because of that it’s become a bit of a favorite of import fans on a budget. Unfortunately that’s meant it’s gotten a bit stereotyped as a ricer car currently but the same thing happened with the S-chassis and look how desirable a good 240 is now. Sad as it may be to see a perfectly good car get ruined with cheap mods, it just means a clean G35 will be worth more in the future same as a clean 240, Civic, or Supra currently. Not to mention that being a popular cheap car right now means it’ll be nostalgic for many an import fan in the future.

    Let’s not forget its not a common car to see so it’s got that rarity factor that so many collectors covet without a huge price tag to go along with it.

    In keeping more with the rules of the question one can also consider the current Q60 coupe which hasn’t had the same impact as its predecessor but is generally regarded as a very good car. In its Red Sport trim it’s like a GT-R Lite. The styling is handsome too. If Infiniti plays its cards right and makes something out of its Project Black program then a very collectible, rare, high-performance version may be in the cards for the near future.

    But the modern car most likely to be a future collectible is the new C8 Corvette…oh wait, that’s not Japanese. Sorry, I’ll show myself out…

  13. Ken Lim said:

    Pardon me for overlooking earlier about the last 5 years rule that I missed out when I suggested the Mazda RX-8. If it is about something new, I have another car that I believe will be a collectible JNC 25 years from now on. I see that many had suggested sports cars, high performance cars, special/unique cars like the S660 and FJ Cruiser. It seems that many had overlooked a common nameplate that existed so long in the history of JNC. Not something special here but a bread and butter product for the largest Japanese car manufacturer. Yes, it is the Corolla itself.

    The current 2019 E210 Toyota Corolla will definitely leave a mark in the long history of Corolla. Why do I said so? This new Corolla had brought back a lot of forgotten traits and characteristics of old Corollas.

    For one, the body style offered. The hatchback and wagon body style made a comeback in this generation of Corolla. Ever since the end of 90s, these body style were never offered anymore for the Corolla. The return of these body style is actually surprising in an era where manufacturers are trying to reduce variants and body style offered for a singular nameplate.

    Emphasis on performance is another unique point for this 12th generation Corolla. The automatic rev matching system is a first for the Corolla lineup and the independent rear suspension setup makes a return to the Corolla since the E110 generation. Corollas made after the E110 had been shying away from performance and I don’t think anyone expected the latest E210 Corolla will come with these features. Although not related to performance, the old Corolla emblem also made a return in this new Corolla.

    With all these returning features that pays homage to the older Corollas, I’m quite sure that the E210 Corolla will be remembered as milestone in the Corolla lineup.

  14. Alexander said:

    Maybe Honda Civic Type R FK2? less than 10k produced, almost exklusive to europe, forbidden fruit for america, and only 750 shipped to japan and the asking prices is still around 4 million yen, the orgonal sticker price was 4,28 million, and for 2-3 years ago it was atleast 5 million. The First turbo charged type R, fastest FWD car around nurburgring at the time, more hardcore and mutch rarer then FK8, and looks mutch better in my opion..

    also appears in lots of video games (and more to come?)

    I own one with only 15 KM, brand new to keep!

  15. Jeremy A. said:

    The new Suzuki Jimny, for sure. With its throwback to classic styling, I think in 25 years, it’ll be just as collectable as its bretheren.

    However, if I can stretch the rules just a little bit, my mind immediately went tot the Honda Element. I look at how popular vans like the HiAce and Delica have become, and 25 years from now, I can totally see someone seeking out a Honda Element, especially the 4WD model, as a way to have their delivery or adventure vehicle really stand out from the crowd.

  16. Taka Kiseki said:

    For myself, I think the 2015-2019 Subaru WRX STI will be a classic in the future since it will be the last generation to use the EJ engine series and with many being modified, crashed and and riced out, stock ones will be highly sought after.

    Personally, I think the next generation STI won’t be raw and as good as the current generation now which is the last “TRUE STI”

  17. Parker Lewis Jr. said:

    THE CURRENT NSX.

    No one is buying them which assures production numbers will be obscenely low!
    Not to mention, they’re now the red-headed stepchildren of the community, but will undoubtedly gain more appreciation in hindsight…just like the original.

    Unfortunately, it’ll likely be remembered as Honda’s last (specifically created) sports car platform.

  18. speedie said:

    The current FK8 Civic Type R. Its engine makes 306 hp and 295 ft-lbs of torque, it can accelerate to 60 in less than 5 secs (C&D clocked it at 4.9), it can pull just over 1 g on the skid pad (C&D measured 1.02), it looks like nothing else on the road, and can be used as an everyday family car (if desired). All of this for less than $37K. This is one of the performance bargains of the decade and is sure to make it a street legend and future collectible.

  19. Brandon said:

    I’m gonna have to say the CR-Z. They weren’t exactly appreciated when new. People are grabbing them for cheap now and swapping K-series engines in them and they’re getting a bit of the love they deserve. They’re definitely one of the best looking Honda cars of recent times.

  20. speedie said:

    I think the Honda Element is a great pick and one I had not thought of. Whenever one goes by my wife always notes how much she would have liked to have gotten one when they were new and friends who owned them talk about how much fun they were and the adventures they had in them. Totally anecdotal, but desire and fond memories are two key elements to being a future collectible.

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