April 2009
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Future Collectible Cars of India



I read a recent article on Popular mechanics “Jay Leno Predicts Future Collectible and Classic Cars”.  I had to create a similar one based on cars available in India.  

Long Post Warning: This is another long post ( I do have to learn to write shorter ones soon).

The vehicles  I have listed match one or more of these criteria:

  • Vehicles sold in India to the mass market not imported vehicles
  • Car of the Year awarded  (typically packed with features and are usually popular).
  • Have some “first” attributed to them or some other unique characteristic, unusual engines or features or designs. Highest trim level versions are usual suspects since they have new features ahead of their time. (For e.g the Swift ZXI was the first Indian hatchback with steering mounted audio controls and climate control and airbags.)
  • Special editions / signature editions.
  • The first models  or the last models  of a car/brand.
  • 4x4s, convertibles and coupes and higher engine powered variants. 
  • Shouldn’t cost more than 15 Lakhs (ex showroom) when new.
  • Sold between 1975 till today April 20th 2009. Why 1975 ? Because that’s the year I was born. Simple ? :-).

In the order of Manufacturer/Brand I predict that in the year 2034  (25 years from now) these cars will be considered as collectible antique cars:


  • The 2002 Fiat Palio 1.6 Sport (Car of the year for 2002). The S10 is collectible just for the signature.
  • The Palio Adventure for being a  station wagon with go anywhere looks. Unfortunately was not a 4×4.
  • The 500 just made my list at 14.8 lakhs
  • Upcoming: I predict the Grande Punto to be a collectible just for its looks. Hope it has an engine to match.

Force Motors:

  • The Trax , Judo and the Ghurka all in 4×4 versions.


  • The Escort 1.6 and the Orion and Iris special editions – these are rare already you cannot find cars in good condition anymore.
  • The 1999 Ford Ikon 1.6 SXI with ROCAM engine a popular enthusiasts car giving good performance for a reasonable price. 
  • The Fiesta Diesel from 2006 for having the best diesel engine from Ford. BSM Jury Award 2006. Fiesta special editions with weird stripes as well since just a few in number were released. 

General Motors/Chevrolet:

  • The Aveo U-VA. BSM Car of the year 2007. The only reason this can be a collectible is that very few actually sold.
  • The Chevvy Spark(Daewoo Matiz reborn): Best Value award for 2008. Plus it looks really good for an Indian Chevy.
  • Optra SRV:  Sporty hatchback. Very poor sales makes this a collectible.
  • Upcoming: Chevy Beat & Cruze both look good and could become really popular

Hindustan Motors:

  • The 1.8 L MPFI Petrol Isuzu engined Grand versions will be popular. Non cabbie vehicles of course.
  • The Avigo will be a collectible for its looks plus it is a rare car as well due to low sales.
  • The Contessa Classic (Late 90s -2002): The real object of car lover lust in the late 80s & 90s based on the Vauxhall Victor/VX FE series.


  • The Old Honda City V-Tec – for its engine and being the most popular enthusiast car of early 2000s.
  • The New Honda City (CVTs might be a bit more popular) for its weird shape.
  • The All New Honda City of 2009  (arrow shot design) for its great looking shape.


  • The 2000 Santro Zip Drive for starting off the Tall Boy trend (this one had a bump in power than the original base version).
  • The 2004 Hyundai Getz GLS ABS. The first real super mini hatch with more space and features than any other available Hatch. First with ABS as well.Car of the year 2005.
  • Verna CRDI. Performance car of the year 2007.
  • 2009 Verna Automatic – First diesel automatic in the C-Segment, First Diesel auto under 12 Lakhs
  • 2008 I10. Car of the year for 2008.


  • Mitsubishi Voyager Van – very few sold. (Sold through Mahindra)
  • 4x4s of the Jeep family based on the 5XX series. The “Classic” takes special mention and is already sought after.
  • The 2003/2004 Bolero Invader – the only new soft top 4×4 to come out in recent years.
  • Custom versions of the Bolero and Scorpio. 4×4 versions of the Bolero and Scorpio are rare.
  • The Scorpio Petrol (Renault Engine) 116 BHP. Very few sold.
  • The Scorpio 2.2 CRDE Automatic 4×4 in 2009 is the first auto box 4×4 SUV under 15L.
  • The Scorpio Getaway 4×4 from 2007 when it was launched.
  • The Bolero CRDe with the Bosh Micro Hybrid tech (for being the first vehicle in India to feature it).

Maruti Suzuki:

  • 1983 Maruti 800 (with Japanese made engine and very few local parts). 
  • 1999 Omni XL (High roof): Very few still remain and also this version was stopped very early. The flat low roof one is too common. Also front mid engine rear wheel drive layout.
  • 1993 Zen (the original jelly bean): The timeless shape of the zen. The current Zen Estilo cannot ever dream of getting this popular.
  • 2000 Zen “Classic” though hated by everyone for its looks will definitely be a collectible. If you own one do maintain it well and don’t ever sell it.
  • 2003 Zen Carbon (Mica Black) and Steel (Silver) two door coupes.
  • The 1989 1000: The first 1000cc + sedan from Maruti.The later post ’93 1.3 L engines are also popular.
  • The 1996 onwards Gypsy King MG413W: The first time the Gypsy has adequate power and decent looks together.
  • The Baleno for being another favourite enthusiasts car
  • Baleno Altura for being one of the few station wagons at the time. Again low sales volume.
  • The 1.1 L Alto VX. Great power to weight ratio. This engine also had a short production run.
  • The Swift: The car that changed the impression of Maruti and is probably only rivalled by the Zen in popularity. I already mentioned the ZXI for being the first car in its segment with adequate safety features at a reasonable price. The DDiS VDI will also be a collectible for being the first really loved Diesel from Maruti(Fiat).
    Also BSM car of the year 2006 for petrol engine ZXI. I am planning to keep my Swift for as long as I can :-).
  • The SX4 ZXI (2007) for being the first car from Maruti with all possible features and even leather seats. The interior space of a Corolla with comparable features at several lakhs less
  • Upcoming: The Kizhashi if it ever comes out and is priced under 15 lakhs for being the first D-segment car from Maruti in India.


  • The first iteration of the Lancer in India with SFX trim.


  • 2003 Astra 1.7 Club – one of the earliest cars with an OEM sunroof. I would avoid initial batches for build quality issues.
  • The 1.6 Corsa Royale edition with sunroof and leather. Loaded with features but sadly didn’t do too well because of the price. Also the last special edition trim sold in a last ditch effort to rescue sales. A 1.4 Royale also was sold I think.
  • 2002 The Corsa Swing: Only station wagon I have seen in Yellow. Already not on the roads.

Premier Automobiles Limited:

  • The Premier Padmini of course (1968-2000). I pick the 137D version with its fancy wheel caps and much improved paint quality and looks. Am sure a lot of petrol heads will object but I chose this for the reason that it was the latest in the iteration. Premier Padmini petrols are already rare enough and sought after.
  • 118 NE (Nissan Engine & Transmission) good unmodified versions are no longer available easily.This car was based on the Fiat 124.
  • Sigma MiniVan – never seen these till I saw the links on Wikipedia.


  • 309 (1994-1997) – for becoming extinct in India. Only one model was sold here.

REVA Electric Car Company

  • Reva 2001 onwards for being the first electric car of the 2000s in India

San Motors

  • San Storm: The only convertible under 15 lakhs. The few that were actually sold are collectible.

Sipani Motors:

  • 1983 Dolphin based on the Reliant Kitten with a fibreglass body & 2 doors 4 seater.

Standard Motors:

  • Standard Gazel (1971-1977). Not listed the Herald or the 8s or 10s since they are not in the year range I used for my criteria.
  • Standard 2000 (Rover) launched in 1985 and made till 1988

Tata Motors:

  • The Tata Sierra Turbo 4×4 – First Turbo charged car in India
  • The Tata Estate  -One of the first to feature Power steering and power windows
  • The Tatamobile: The first pickup truck after 1990.
  • The first generation of Indicas for being the first foray of Tata into hatchbacks. 
  • The Vista Quadrajet will be popular too. 
  • The Indigo CS – for being the first compact sedan in India. Cheapest Sedan available in 2008. 
  • The first batches of Safari 3.0 & 2.2 Dicors. First time the Safari has a decent engine powering it and the start of the Common Rail Diesel Wars between Tata and Mahindra. The older petrol engined ones also are rare by now.
  • The Tata sumo Grande – not much by way of sales till now -it may die a natural death soon or be refreshed.
  • The Indigo XL – the only OEM built Long wheelbase sedan under 15 lakhs.Best with the diesel Dicor engine and at the highest trim level with headrest mounted displays.
  • The Xenon Pickup truck – as of now low volume but if priced right will really become popular.
  • The Nano.

Good References:


To Jayadev (JayD) for graciously granting permission to use a photo of his Maruti Suzuki SS80 (first photo in this post). His car is one of the last few well maintained unmodified SS80s in India – maybe even in the world. More pictures of his car are available on Team-BHP

Do you agree with this list or have I missed any car out from 1975 till now that may become a collector car ? Please re-look at the criteria I mentioned and if it fits please let do me know your thoughts.

PS:   Please do use your own judgement in picking cars that may have a long term value – if the car doesn’t appeal to you it has ZERO value for you regardless of how much it is worth. If it appeals to you you wouldn’t ever part with it if you own it and would try your best to get your hands on one regardless of the price. 

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19 comments to Future Collectible Cars of India

  • I think the 800 is a real collectible car, the mark 1 ofcourse. While the Fiat Palio is a desirable car, it can’t be really called as collectable, unless ofcourse you want to keep collecting spare parts at exorbitant prices 🙂

  • Interesting forward looking post. Was wondering if Maruti Wagon R could make it to the list – 1st car with factory fitted LPG kit?

  • Sushil

    @ICB – the Palio I felt is a car with a great fan following – the parts issue is something car collectors will have to deal with anyways. So no issue there :-).
    @Danesh – Thanks ! The Wagon R is a possibility – but it isnt a car that evokes any kind of passion from an auto enthusiast.
    Good well maintained examples of the Wagon-R will turn out to be
    collectible cars some day :-).

  • Interesting article Sushil. Good job. Maruti’s cars will continue to be made, so they’ll never be classic cars 😉 But yeah, the original 800 will definitely be one in 20 years time.

  • Thanks IAB. I have to disagree with you – Maruti will keep making cars and sometimes even new variations of the same cars – but the oldest ones will become rare and therefore collectible. Just look out for Fiats from the 170s these days. Very rare to find good examples. Same with the Dolphin,Standard 10s and Heralds. These were very common in their heyday but are now not seen. 🙂

  • Will Esteem 2001 LXi be ever in collectible list???
    I have one. I hope to gain from it more if it becomes collectible:-)

  • Sushil

    Hi Adesh. Welcome to Zimbly Cars. The 2001 Esteem LXi doesnt have any special feature or first that I am aware of that makes it special. However if you take great care of your car and make sure it is in top condition you will have a buyer for it whenever you want to sell it and regardless of what car it is or what year it is from. If people step into the car/take a look at it and say it has been well taken care of – your motive is achieved.

  • Karan Kumar

    The New Mahindra Renault Logan Edge Connect with special body graphics and exclusive leather and wooden console upholstery is a collectible version. If you have not seen it you can check it out at

  • Sushil

    Hi Karan. Welcome to Zimbly Cars. Good point – I have to admit I didnt think of this version when I put up my list. Thanks for mentioning. Personally though I wouldnt want to buy one of them – thats just me however :-).

  • Interesting article Sushil,

    By the way what is your opinion about adding Toyota Qualis adding to the list?

  • Sushil

    Hi George, Thanks for visiting again. Like I mentioned to Danesh, Adesh and Karan – if you wait long enough every car on the road now will become collectible since most will be scrapped after 15-20 years usually. The few that survive that and are in really good condition will appreciate in value. The Qualis too if it is a non cabbie vehicle with low miles and very well maintained without engine/body/any modifications may also become a collectible vehicle. Just dont think there would be too many enthusiasts looking out to buy one of them. Same issue as the Wagon-R,the Logan as well. They are good vehicles in their own righ but am sorry to say a bit boring though.

  • Senthil

    Sushil – Very interesting post. I noticed that the M800, Ford Ikon 1.6, Getz and the Swift – all feature in here 😉
    Anyway, if you remove just the ‘COTY’ criteria there may be a few more cars – that had a good following and could be added to the list. For e.g. the Fiat Uno was somewhat popular during its time, thought like the Puegeot 309 it was already dated by the time it was introduced here. Then there is the Fiat Linea – though I am not sure about firsts here. The Hyundai Accent Viva (1.6 was’nt it?) was kind of unique. The 99’/00′ Matiz was quite popular too and is already rare. The Hindustan Trekker probably ought to be in there too 🙂

  • Sushil

    Thanks Senthil – you mention a good list as well but I doubt they will have a big enthusiast following. Personally I think the COTY cars make sense 🙂 and from experience it really has paid off both the Swift & The Getz. I would buy a used Ikon 1.6 if I can get my hands on something cheap :-). Maybe just the engine would be fine.

  • Govind Bhat

    @Karan Kumar
    The Logan Edge Connect should definitely be included in the Collectible cars list because it is special Edition Logan. Only Limited number of units are being manufactured for Logan Edge Connect so it is definitely a rare model. Logan Edge Connect is the Apple of My Eye.

  • Sushil

    Hi Govind. Guess you and Karan are the reason why Renault still makes cars in India. :-). Glad to see your passion for the car. If you do own one of these please do put together a detailed review and I would be happy to post it on this blog.

  • Ravikumar

    I purchased a 9 yr old Signature edition Alto VX 1.1 in 2009 from True value Maruti for 1.3 lacs as a second owner. I spent 15 thousand on it. All the people appreciate it.Performance is good;but no smooth running sound.A,B&C need some maintenance every now and then. Should I keep it?

  • Sushil

    Hi Ravikumar – unfortunately the mass produced vehicles wont really fetch much as a collectible. The 1.1 is rare enough as is but the longer you keep it the less you should drive it as the mehcnaical issues will start and maintenance costs will keep adding up.

  • Rakesh N Subramanian

    Hi Sushil,
    Me Rakesh N Subramanian wish to say hai to u first! Me wish to let you know that i do own the same maruthi 800 Japan car of 1984 model with the same colour and with same condition as of how you posted the picture in this webpage. Also feel proud to say I own 1956 model Fiat Millicento car with 100% originality. These 2 are my lovable collections. Both the cars are in very good condition. Next I do have 1994 model BMW of % series(518i) German car with me, which rocks on Indian road gently by me. Me felt happy by looking at this page and feel proud that mine has very good value. More than anything I love my cars most heartedly and shall be mine forever and for my next generation too.
    Hope you shall at least go through my comment and give me some feedback on my collections. Thank U!

  • Sushil

    Thanks Rakesh – do mail some photos of your vehicles to me: cars @ z i m b l y . c o m . Will post them here.

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