Many car enthusiasts (and most automotive journalists) take
performance statistics and mechanical specs very seriously.
But while I do love speed -- and have the tickets to prove
it -- zero-to-60 stats mean little to me. Fast is fast. I'd
argue that all the talk about displacement and fuel
injection has little to do with what makes a car a classic.
So what really makes a car a classic? "It's more about
aesthetics," says Richard Lentinello, the executive editor
of Hemmings Motor News, a magazine for car
collectors. Cars endure largely because of design, he
argues. Think Jaguar E-Type. Mercedes Gull-Wing. James
Bond's Aston Martins. Ken Okuyama, head of transportation
design at Pasadena's renowned Art Center College of Design
and a designer of Porsches, Corvettes and Ferraris, puts it
in even more intangible terms. "We like to have this joy of
living," he says. "Sports cars are a representation of that."
Passion. Beauty. Joy of living. These are the things that
contribute to a car's cultural shelf-life; a certain
something that continues to thrill for years, even decades.
It was in search of qualities like these that I took a close
look at five of the best-selling mid-range sports cars --
i.e. those selling for $30,000 to $60,000 -- of the last
year, plus the hot new Lexus SC 430, which came out this
year. Using my admittedly subjective criteria -- plus the
guidance of noted car designers and collectors -- I
attempted some handicapping: How likely is each to attain
classic status decades down the road? Here's what I think,
from shortest odds to longest.
NEXT: Audi TT »»