Making History: five cars en route to classic status

The last decade has been something of a golden age for cars. And it will likely go down as the final evolution in the era of the largely mechanical and driver-intensive vehicles as cars are slowly taken over by technology, eventually becoming fully autonomous.

There can be little doubt that many of the final driver-based vehicles will ultimately end up with classic car status. With the massive improvements in per-displacement power production, stability control and aerodynamic design, the last 10 years have been a golden age of car production, featuring many of the most powerful and best-performing vehicles that have ever graced the roadways.

Here are a few rides that are likely to stand head-and-shoulders above even this stiff competitive cohort.

The Dodge Viper SRT

The Dodge Viper is perhaps the longest-running production of a single, easily recognizable sports car in American automotive history. Unveiled in 1991, the Viper of that year introduced the world to the rawest and most unwieldy street car that any American manufacturer had ever produced. And all the way to the end of its production run in 2017, the Viper maintained a strong adherence to its own lineage, with the final model bearing a strong resemblance to its 26-year-old forebear.

Right up to its last iteration, the Viper earned the reputation as an automotive rodeo bull, a vehicle powerful enough to kick any competitor into the dust but a danger to any driver not skilled enough to wrangle it. Between the neck-snapping power, wild handling and venomous aesthetics, the Viper is all but assured classic status.

The Dodge Challenger

With throwback styling that strongly nods to Mopar’s heyday in the ‘60s, the Dodge Challenger is as handsome as it is thrilling. A true driver’s car, the Challenger suffers from less of the wild-stallion-like feral road handling of its Viper cousin. And it can take a cart full of groceries back home with four adults riding along.

Yet, in its upper-echelon forms, the Challenger ranks among the most powerful production cars ever churned out of Detroit. It’s not hyperbolic to call the Challenger the archetype of modern American muscle. And this means its eventual classic status is a good bet.

The Honda S2000

The S2000 is an often-overlooked convertible that, while having a sleek and competent design, just doesn’t tend to visually reach the heartstrings the way that more exotic cars can. But the S2000 remains one of the greatest driver’s cars ever built. With its screaming 9,000 rpm redline, the S2000 accelerated, handled and sounded like a Ferrari but was priced like an Accord. You can bet on its presence at the auto auctions of the 2050s.