The introduction of the Cayenne may have seemed like the beginning of the end for Porsche, but it arguably saved everyone’s favourite sportscar marque, providing the financial security the company needed to be able to continue producing the thrill machines we all love. Now, as the values of these cars approach rock-bottom, they make for an excellent platform for modification, with possibilities only limited by your imagination. Looking for a home-grown Dakar truck, or even a polar exploration vehicle? The Cayenne is more than happy to play dress up, and the low price point means plenty of left over cash for off-road tyres, lifted suspension, and rooftop tents. The Cayenne, along with its other millennium brethren, the 986 Boxster and 996 911, is introducing a whole new breed of Porsche addict to the world. As Harm Lagaay’s designs continue to ripen with age, why not join in on the fun?
You might also like: Porsche 911 (996) / Porsche Boxster (986) / Porsche Cayman (987)
Handbuilt in Bavaria
Like every other manufacturer, BMW has set in motion its transition to purely EV production, making now as good a time as any to explore their superb back catalogue of combustion engined vehicles. The S54 is perhaps the most legendary straight-six ever, hand built by BMW’s Bavarian master mechanics and implanted in some of the greatest sports to grace our roads. The E46 M3 and Z3 M Coupé have already begun to rise in value, so the Z4 M Coupé might be your last chance at getting an affordable taste of the S54’s magic. Sure, the suspension may be spine-shatteringly firm, but that’s an easy fix and well worth the effort when you take the Z4 M’s timeless design into account.
You might also like: BMW 320si (E90), BMW M3 (E46)
Tin top titan
If you want to get involved in some classic racing in 2022 and relive the glory days of the BTCC, then the Ford Capri is a handsome and accessible way to get on the starting grid. Europe’s Mustang may have never achieved the silver-screen icon status of its American counterpart, but 20 years and three generations of Capri production means there’s plenty of choice. While most were equipped with V6s, if you look there are some V8 rarities, such as the South Africa-only Perana. Of course, the Capri isn’t your only option; the Ford Galaxie, Rover 3500, and Jaguar MkII 3.8 are all becoming increasingly popular choices for on-track action, so don’t be surprised if they become less affordable the longer you wait.
You might also like: Ford Galaxie, Rover 3500, Jaguar MkII 3.8
The last of the Bussos
The S54 might be the best straight-six ever made, but nothing with six cylinders beats Alfa Romeo’s Busso V6. First developed in the early seventies by engineering god Giuseppe Busso, Alfa’s V6 started out with 2.5-litres and 12 valves, eventually evolving into a 24 valve, 3.2-litre eargasm machine, such as in this delightful 156 GTA. If you’re looking to enjoy one of the greatest power plants ever, then this is a ride that will steal looks from exotica with ten times the price tag. Unfortunately for the purists, the final evolution of the Busso was only ever offered in FWD cars, so a limited slip diff is a must-have. Other than that, you could always just turn the ignition and pull up a lawn chair, because these Alfas look as great as they sound. Just be warned, you’ll almost certainly become an Alfaholic after owning one.
You might also like: Alfa Romeo 147 GTA, Alfa Romeo GTV 3.2
Drop it like it’s hot
If you’re like us, then whenever you’re daydreaming about adding a MK1 Golf GTI or E30 3 Series to your collection, you will automatically ignore the cabriolet variants in the Classic Driver Market. What’s the reason though? Chassis rigidity? These are old cars — body roll is practically unavoidable — so why not trade a slightly less sharp ride for unlimited headroom? The perfect example of this is the Mercedes 320 CE. It boasts graceful Merc styling, and the standard car is hardly a track weapon, so you won’t notice more flex in the chassis. In fact, the soft top here makes this one of the best cruisers we can think of, and when you consider how expensive W111s have become, the 320 CE seems like the deal of the century. After the chaos of the last two years, we think you owe it to yourself to pick up that comparatively cheap soft top E30, MK1 Golf, or Saab 900, drop the top, and just enjoy the open road.
You might also like: VW MK1 Golf Cabriolet, BMW 3 Series Convertible (E30), Saab 900 Cabriolet
Life’s a beach. Or a slope...
The Meyers Manx has a made a huge comeback in 2021, and it’s easy to understand why: simply put, it’s bloody good fun! The Manx has always been about freedom and expression; what was once a relatively staid economy car can be turned into the beach-going hotrod of your dreams, with endless possibilities in terms of colours, wheels, interior, you name it. However, the real revelation was that the Manx doesn’t have to be shackled to the dunes of California — it’s just as much of a laugh in central London, or even on the slopes of St. Moritz, as we recently found out. Whatever the weather, whatever the location, we highly recommend hopping in a Manx and going for a blast.
You might also like: Fiat 500 Jolly, Mini Moke, Citroen Méhari
What do the Audi A2 and Bugatti Veyron have in common? Both are examples of the VW group flexing their engineering muscles, in two very different ways. While the A2 may not be capable of reaching 400 km/h, it’s still a magnificent piece of design in its own right. This is especially true in the case of the A2 3L, which had the lowest drag efficient of any car in the world when it launched, and could achieve a highly impressive 100 mpg — something a Veyron certainly can’t claim. The A2 was one of the first cars to be built largely from aluminium, and while it was more expensive than other small cars, Audi claimed they wanted to "create a small Audi, not a cheap Audi”, which is something I think we can all appreciate in this age of planned obsolescence and needless waste. Like many of the other cars on this list, the A2’s clean design, penned by the great Peter Schreyer, has ensured it still looks great 20 years on, making it an excellent alternative to the usual economy boxes that litter our cities and a worthy collector car.
You might also like: Audi TT, Mercedes A Class
Hop on the Dakar Express
Much like the wolf, which was gradually domesticated and bred into the hyperventilating pug probably sat across from you as you read this in your local café, the noble SUV has been morphed over the years into every petrol head’s worst nightmare: the crossover. Thankfully, as the 2022 Dakar approaches, we can all be reminded of a time when Sports Utility Vehicles were both sporty and useful for more than just parking on a kerb, and we think the time is right to add one of these Dakar legends to your collection. While this Dakar Lamborghini LM002 might be a tad unattainable, the Mitsubishi Pajero Evo makes for an equally rad and far more affordable alternative. Let’s not forget that there are two-wheeled options too, such as the fantastic Honda Africa Twin and Cagiva Elefant, both of which are proven Dakar winners. Whatever you pick, it will undoubtedly beat a crossover, that much is for sure.
You might also like: DAF Trucks
The pinnacle of Pininfarina
Pininfarina is one of the greatest coach builders in the world. Ferrari is one of the greatest supercar manufacturers in the world. Therefore, you don’t need to be an automotive expert to realise that the three cars born from the last time the two got into bed possess more modern classic potential than possibly anything else on this list. If you’re looking for a razor-sharp, naturally aspirated supercar, then the 458 is for you, but if you’re more into your grand touring, then the F12 is perhaps the best GT ever made. However, Classic Driver has always had a soft spot for shooting brakes, and that’s why the FF is a firm favourite in the office. With a V12 up front, room for four, and a four wheel drive system that will take you wherever you want to go, it’s the only car you’ll ever need. And thanks to the designers at Pininfarina, it’s a car that you’ll never tire of looking back at when you reach your destination. We rest our case.
You might also like: Ferrari 458, Ferrari F12
Running out of stock
As people who played racing sims like Gran Turismo in their youth can finally afford to buy their dream cars in real life, often it’s the Japanese icons that they turn to with their wallets. Combine that with the fact that for a long time these cars were dirt cheap and often modded and drifted into walls, finding a clean, unmoved example is becoming increasingly difficult, and these cars are starting to climb in price as a result. R32 and R34 Nissan GTRs have already shot up in value, but there are some cars that you can still get for hot hatch money, and the naturally aspirated Honda S2000 is the perfect example. With a super bike instrument cluster and the rev limit to match, accompanied by a super sweet gear shift, this little Honda is a recipe for driving delight. However, if you want to enjoy some racing sim nostalgia, then act fast, because like all these other JDM dream cars, they’re disappearing as quickly as they hit redline.
You might also like: Mazda RX7, Toyota Celica GT4
Wildcard: The Digital Frontier
2021 is the year the automotive and digital worlds became irreversibly fused, with many 3D artists like The KYZA, Ash Thorp, and Davide Virdis becoming more famous than many real-world car designers. The automotive world was not immune to the rise of NFTs, and Hoonigan’s Hoonifox NFT project proved that ones and zeros can be just as desirable as metal and petrol. While the world of NFTs may still seem a bit indecipherable to many, we only expect to see more and more artists, tuners, and manufactures getting involved in the fun in 2022. So why not invest some of that Bitcoin fortune in some virtual blue chip cars?