Help Autocar and the National Motor Museum hunt for future classics

Which of today’s cars will become classics? To us, that’s a seriously thorny question. History is usually the key element in helping us to decide about a car’s ultimate importance and rarity: in its early years, even the now legendary Jaguar E-Type was overlooked by some because it was relatively cheap and plentiful. Another fascinating example is the elevation to iconic status of the rear-wheel-drive ‘dog bone’ Mk1 Ford Escort, made in millions.

So in a new project we’re launching with the National Motor Museum (NMM) at Beaulieu, we are seeking your help to identify which of today’s cars will be the E-Types and Escorts in 50 years’ time – with all that means in terms of kudos for the owners, importance to motoring history and (possibly) stratospheric value hikes,

After a voting process that involves as many enthusiasts as possible, the chosen cars will be unveiled early next year in a special event to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the NMM’s opening. Autocar readers will be invited to attend.

The plan is for four expert groups – you, Autocar writers, NMM visitors and museum staff – to choose five future classics from 2022, to be displayed for a whole year at the NMM. The voting period runs from now until the end of September and each person will be able to choose three cars.

Winners will be announced in early 2022. Each car will be billed as an Autocar-Beaulieu Future Classic and recognised as such at next year’s Autocar Awards in May, in an evolved version of our current Readers’ Champion award. And if the project runs as well as we hope, we will invite Autocar readers and Beaulieu visitors to vote for a new future classic every May into the future.

We’ve already developed a long list of more than 100 eligible cars (cars that will be on sale in 2022) and plan to decide on our five future classics in two stages: first, refining the long list to just 10 entries; then cutting that group in half in a tense run-off. The first stage will be achieved by votes from readers and visitors to Beaulieu; the second with the help of a panel of Autocar and Beaulieu experts. To be eligible, a new car must be on sale now and continue to be offered in 2022.

We’ll collate the votes of Autocar readers and Beaulieu visitors before revealing the 10 semi-finalists, and then name the five contemporary icons.

Want to vote? You can do so online by visiting: