Among the cars on sale today, there are a few that will stand out for a few months and then subside, some will continue without making any fuss, while most importantly, there’s a set of cars that will over the period grow in value as well as charm. These cars, or ‘Future Classics’ if you want to term them, can have market success stories backing their charm or stories of unfortunate failures which make them so uncommon. We take a look at five such cars. Feel free to add your selection in the comments section below.
Reminiscent of the Mahindra MM540, the Thar is a slightly different beast. It comes with a new NCGS chassis, a more powerful engine, (now) has a better interior, and is more eager to go mud plugging. What works in the Thar’s favour is the exclusivity, the old world charm, and the levels to which it can be modified – from a WWII Jeep lookalike to a modern day Wrangler replica, there’s a lot that can be done with the Thar. And whenever the Indian car culture will be discussed, the Thar will find itself there.
Fiat Abarth Punto
It’s not an everyday thing that a car is called a future classic as soon as it’s launched, but the Abarth Punto is no everyday car, either. Fiat India has had enough of trying to be a mass market player because who really understand its cars are enthusiasts, and that’s whom the Fiat Abarth Punto caters to. The car’s made in India – notice no ‘Evo’ here; it’s different from the global model – uses a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 145 hp and a diesel humbling 210Nm of torque. It’s like Fiat’s way of thanking its enthusiasts in India, and that reason alone makes it a future classic – something that will be remembered for ages.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
Believe it or not, the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is still available! And while you need to be an off-road maniac to buy one, keep in mind that the Indian Army still uses these, so that’s another reason to shut up your spouse, parents, and even peers who will endlessly question your purchase. As far as it being a future classic, hell no, it’s a classic already – one that’s going to remain close to our hearts forever. It’s powered by a 1.3-litre Esteem-derived engine which will surely make you lose at every traffic light GP, but take it off the road, and the lightweight Gypsy (provided you’re skilled enough) will surprise you with its off-road capabilities.
And talking of off-road capabilities, how can you forget the Force Gurkha. This article might have started to look like an orgy of off-road vehicles, but, hey, these are nothing short of legendary. And the Gurkha, like its name suggests, is no less capable than the Samurai here (the Gypsy was originally called the Samurai in certain markets). To start with, the Gurkha comes with a Mercedes Benz derived 2.6-litre diesel engine, differential locks at both front and rear axles, and thus the ability to chew bad terrain better than its competitors. A true off-road delight, the Gurkha isn’t here for numbers games – even the previous iterations didn’t sell as many units as the Thar does in a year, but if you have to buy the most potent off-roader off the shelf, it has to be the Gurkha.
While how it shapes up as a value proposition is yet unknown, but the DC Avanti was born a future classic. Why you must ask. Well, it’s the first sportscar made in India, and while it may not be as feature-rich as similarly priced cars, it’s said to pack some serious fun. The mid-engined sportscar uses a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 250PS. That in a car that weighs just 1.5 tonnes is really something. A price tag of Rs 35 lakh, ex-showroom, might not make it a mass product, but one must realise that this is a carbon fibre bodied sportscar that we are talking about here. One that will continue to be the talking point for generations to come. Best topic for your pub talk? You bet!
And the ones which couldn’t make it:
The car that moved India is sadly no more, which is the reason why we couldn’t include the 800 in our list. If there’s a specific Maruti Suzuki 800 model that deserves to be here, then it has to be the 45hp, 5-speed version. If there was a car that emphasised on the ‘less is more’ philosophy, then this is it!
Sadly, the Nano, although still on sale, isn’t on our list. Fun to drive and practical to travel in, the Nano couldn’t be the people’s car it wanted to be. As a product, it’s a really good option for intra-city usage, but anything beyond that isn’t ideal – it can still scale the whole country, but it isn’t the best car to do that in. Will it be a classic in the future? That’s a tough one. It sure is one of the cars that put India on the world map, but as a product, it still feels not-quite-there.