Collectible cars of tomorrow

Collector car insurance company polls its customers to find out what collectors will want in 2027.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Later this week, a 1971 Plymouth will go on the auction block in Phoenix, Ariz. The car's estimated value is $5 million.

That's not a custom car, by the way. It's a blue Hemi 'Cuda convertible that remains just as it left the assembly line.

Dodge Viper
Dodge Viper

In 1971, no-one would have guessed that a stock Plymouth muscle car would ever be worth millions of dollars. Or that Camaros, GTOs and Shelby Mustangs would be worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars, too.

Gallery: Collector cars of the future

It's impossible to predict these kinds of things, of course. Some cars, like Ferraris and Rolls-Royces, are automatically going to be collectible, but those cars cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to begin with and they are produced in tiny batches.

For a mass-produced car to become collectible requires enormous demand among well-moneyed buyers. And collector tastes are fickle. There's no way to tell what collectors might think is cool 10 or 20 years from now.

Hagerty Insurance, a company that specializes in insuring collectible cars, decided to try anyway.

Last year, the company began routinely asking its roughly 50,000 customers to guess which of today's common consumer vehicles they thought might be hot collectibles decades from now.

The most surprising thing about the resulting list, said Hagerty Insurance president McKeel Hagerty, was the number of Japanese cars on the menu. And the relative absence of American cars.

"We see this pretty significant shift toward imports," Hagerty said.

Collectible Japanese cars are all but unheard of today. But, in the future, Toyota's Scion cars and its FJ Cruiser off-roader might be hot items at car auctions, Hagerty's customers predicted.

The only American cars were two Chrysler products, the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Viper.

Cars that are hot now may not be so hot for collectors in the 2020's, Hagerty's survey predicted. Notably, the Ford Mustang did not make the list in any form. Nor did the Toyota Prius.

The main ingredients that make cars desirable, said Hagerty, are cool designs and honest performance. Cars that look hot but don't perform won't end up being desirable in the long term, he said.

Gallery: Collector cars of the future

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.