The start of the millennium is shockingly 18 years ago now, and since those wild parties and concerns over computer meltdowns, various special run of the mill cars were born. Steve runs through 12 cars in no particular order introduced in the Noughties (2000-2009) which he feels could become classics.
The word Avantime translated from French means “ahead time” and which was a perfect name for this Renault which was crossed between an MPV and coupe. It certainly was ahead of its time, and one I feel if released tomorrow in the growing MPV market it would sell well. It was fitted with either a 2.0 or 3.0 petrol engine and featured a panoramic roof and futuristic rear lights all wrapped up in a luxurious cabin. Alas, it was not to be and the Avantime had a poor sales record in the UK. However, this means that it is guaranteed to become a future classic due to its rarity and exclusivity.
Ford Focus RS
The Mk1 Focus RS was the first Ford hot hatch from Ford since the immortal Escort Cosworth and as such had big shoes to fill. However, thanks to Colin Mcrae at the wheel the Focus RS proved itself to be a very capable rally car and as such developed a loyal following. The Focus RS had a low volume production run where 4,500 were made for the European market, of which just under half ended up on UK roads. The Focus RS was powered by a 4 cylinder turbocharged engine producing approximately 212bhp and as such could easily give its competitors a run for their money. Just like other cars on this list I feel the Focus RS is a guaranteed future classic due to its rarity but more importantly due to its motorsport pedigree.
Volkswagen Golf Mk5 GTI
The Golf Mk5 GTI aimed to build on the Golfs dependability as a family car but aimed to inject some excitement back into the GTI name which some buyers of the previous models had been missing in both the Mk3 and Mk4 GTI. To do this Volkswagen gave the Mk5 GTI a hot 2.0 petrol engine, combined with a touch of retro flair with a tartan interior and Golf ball gearknob. Overall the changes made the Mk5 GTI very appealing to buyers and I sure will help in making it a future classic.
BMW Mini R50/R52/R53
The BMW New Mini was released in 2001 just as the classic Mini production ended. This was a sad and exciting time for Mini fans, but also a bold move by BMW which cannot be denied has been a complete success. The Mini owes this to its design cues taken from the classic mini such as the grill and headlights, as well as the large round speedometer and classic style switchgear. The new Mini wasn’t all show and no go either, as its sporty yet classic looks were backed up by great handling thanks to a wheel at each corner and a great selection of engines.
The C6 was Citroen's flagship model aimed at competing with the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E class. However, the C6 wasn’t as conservative as its German rivals due to the body style such as the concave rear window, the roof angle, hydropneumatic suspension and unusual interior design. Unfortunately, the C6 wasn’t a big seller compared to its rivals and as such it makes it a rarity today. But I feel just like its predecessors of the BX and CX the C6 will become a future classic.
The second generation Jaguar XK appeared in 2006 and had a hard act to follow in light of the success of the first generation and just like its predecessor the XK was available in coupe and convertible form. Thankfully Jaguar managed to succeed in releasing another exquisite designed sports car, however, some of the general public felt the car had copied Aston Martin in some of the body lines. This isn’t as daft as it sounds, as the same designer had been used for the creation of the Aston Martin Vanquish and the XK. The stunning design was also mated to a supercharged V8 as well as having a lovely interior.
Renault Clio 172/182
The Mk2 Clio range gained the first sporty model at the start of the 21st Century and kicked off with the 172. This later developed into a facelifted version which included Xenon headlights, rain sensing wipers, more airbags, 6 cd player and climate air-conditioning. The final phase of the 172 was the Cup version which was a lightweight version of the 172 and naturally wasn’t fitted with any of the extras of the facelift model except for subtle body modifications. In 2004 the 172 made way for the 182 which gained slight cosmetic tweaks and increased performance. Just like the 172, the 182 also had a lightweight Cup version but then gained the Trophy spec which was a limited production run of 550 cars and was fitted with upgraded Sach shocks. I feel this Renault pocket rocket is sure to be a classic, with the 172 Exclusive model (172 units made) and 182 Trophy commanding the most money if kept in original condition.
The S2000 was yet another car to be released at the turn of the century and released in the year of the Millennium. The S2000 became synonymous as a true drivers car thanks to a 1997cc four-cylinder VTEC engine which could reach a staggering 9000rpm as well as appearing in the second Fast and furious film, 2 Fast 2 Furious. It also benefitted from a 50:50 weight distribution and double wishbone suspension which meant that it had great handling to match the performance. The most sort after models ar the GT Edition (UK)/Ultimate Edition (Continental Europe) which symbolised the end of production in 2009 and were limited to 200 cars. 100 GT Edition/100 Ultimate Editions which were finished in white with red leather interior, grey wheels and came with the additional hard top.
Launched in 2003 the RX8 was a clever design, not only did the coupe style body hide four doors the engine too was something special. All RX8 models were fitted with a 1.3 Wankel rotary engine which were available in power from 180bhp up to 231bhp. The RX8 benefitted from sports car-like handling and performance but had all the advantages of a normal family hatchback. However, reliability issues affected the model due to engine lobe wear and engines requiring a rebuild at no less than 80,000 miles. I feel the RX8 is a guaranteed future classic due to its rarity and unusual design.
The MG ZT and its sister the Rover 75 were the last big MG Rover cars to be built at Longbridge, but had been designed by BMW and were available in either saloon or estate. The MG ZT was powered by a 120bhp 1.8 K series engine, 160bhp/180bhp 2.5 V6 engine or a Ford Mustang 4.6 litre V8 and available with either a manual or automatic gearbox. The rarest versions were fitted with the options such as the X pack which increased power or pearlescent paint. But the V8 versions are coveted by enthusiasts as they are rear wheel drive as opposed to the other models which are front wheel drive and had a chassis setup developed by Prodrive.
The Vauxhall Monaro will look very familiar to our Australian or American readers, as the Monaro was badged as a Holden Monaro in Australia and a Pontiac GTO in America respectively. Released in 2004 to the UK market the Monaro was relatively unchanged from its Holden sister, and fitted with the 5.7 small block gen 3 V8 for the first generation model or a 6.0 litre V8 as fitted to the second generation which also benefited from cosmetic changes. The Monaro was a rare car in the UK even when new which will only help with its future values and well worth considering if you want a proper V8 powered right-hand drive muscle car.
Alfa Romeo Brera
The final car on this list and by no means the least is the Alfa Romeo Brera which was launched in 2005 as a replacement for the aging GTV and based on the Alfa 159 platform. The Brera was available in four trim levels; Medium, Sky view, Turismo Internazionale and Brera S the latter was only available in the UK and featured improved handling which was helped by tuning company Prodrive. The Brera was available with a 2.2 four-cylinder petrol, 3.2 v6 petrol engine or a 2.4 diesel. Total production figures for the Brera exceeded 21,000 but despite this, the Brera was not a common sight on British roads even when new and as such will help make it a future classic.