I spent some time looking at used 2004 cars. Why 2004? No particular reason. Ten years is mostly an arbitrary year. No special models come to mind. On the plus side, prices are great and good examples are new enough to make good daily or weekend drivers.
Looking over my list, only the M3 qualifies for future classic status. But the other three have aged so well that I’d love to own them anyways.
The Intrepid feels so 90′s to me. I love it’s squashed low and wide look. Designed and built in a decade of really boring styling, the Intrepid stands out. They’re also dirt cheap. KBB says you can own a mint one for a mere $3,500. Chrysler’s Concorde was cool also, but the Dodge looks less fussy about it.
The E46 generation of 3 series are my favorite. I’m positive clean, low mileage M3′s of this era will rise in value over time. If you’d rather drive one, 325i and 330i’s can be had for well under $10k. Personally, I’d go for a 330 convertible. Because California.
I graduated high school in 2004. At the time, I drove our family’s auction purchased 1997 Nissan Quest. That’s how I simultaneously fell in love with minivans and began my endless hate of Nissans. If I could travel back in time, I’d give myself a Suburban. Sure, it guzzles gas, but gas was cheap then. The grille looks retro before the 2005 Mustang brought back the retro craze. The styling’s subtle, but the size is America sized.
Predicting future classics is hard, so I use a simple metric: when I see cars on the road, how many of those are well taken care of? For example, probably 50% of the 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey’s I see on the road are in immaculate condition – shiny paint, dressed tires, non-faded plastics, the whole 9 yards. Then I just picked out a few from that crop which I thought were really going to do well in the future – but some did have to be left off. Without further ado…
Toyota has a long history of making 4WD trucks. Remember the original FJ40 Land Cruiser? It’s a legend today. But while the modern day Land Cruiser is very capable and reliable off road, it just won’t tug at the heart strings of anybody. It’s become a big, fat, lazy, luxurious, and very expensive status symbol in most parts of the world. That’s where the Tacoma comes in. It’s not as highly regarded as the Hilux offered in Europe and Asia, but that’s because the Tacoma isn’t sold in those places, only in the North American market. The 2004 was the last Tacoma before the 2005 model came out, which was too big and too expensive, with a new untested engine. The 2004 was the last of the extremely capable, affordable, and practical Tacoma’s, and the public has noticed – this truck retailed in the $20-25k range when new, and 10 years later the Double Cab V6 4WD SR5 w/ TRD package is still worth $17-20K. How’s that for resale value?
Although the European model is shown, the Touareg V10 TDI is bound to become a future classic. Why? It was diesel before diesels were hip, and boy was it a great engine. Before the frou-frou green diesels with AdBlue, this thing was producing 310HP and a staggering 553lb-ft of torque. Those numbers were within spitting distance of the Ford 6.0L Powerstroke diesel, which was used in some vehicles designed to tow up to 17,000lbs. And, several years later, VW made an updated Touareg with the same engine, and used it to tow a 747. What has your Toyota Highlander towed today? The Touareg V10 TDI will be remembered as one of the early greats in the diesel world.
I just had to throw a muscle car in here. By modern standards, this car is nothing special. But I think the majority of people who like this car (mostly rednecks – just a guess…) still remember it fondly. The supercharged, 390HP V8 completely made up for its totally crap interior, not-awesome handling, and high price tag. The crazy engine, paired with the limited edition Mystichrome paint scheme for 2004, will ensure this Mustang’s place at a future Mecum or Barrett-Jackson auction.
This one is a shot in the dark, but I think it might actually do well. Despite it being just a 4 door sedan, it was really the pinnacle of design and achievement for Acura. 258HP (270 on the old SAE scale), available 6-speed manual with Brembo front brakes, and an available A-Spec body kit/suspension made it the car to own for affluent young lads in the mid 2000′s. I’d still love to have one in pearl white, but so would everyone else – resale values for ones in great condition hover around 50% of original MSRP, and that’s just too much for my blood.