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Driving like it’s 1999: the UK’s favourite modern classics revealed

Motoring Research logo Motoring Research 14/03/2019 Ethan Jupp
a car parked on the side of a mountain: modern classics 1999 © Provided by Motoring Research Ltd modern classics 1999

Cars that were manufactured in 2019 are now officially 20 years old. By some definitions, including that of many UK insurers, turning 20 is the point at which a car becomes a classic. But what are the nation’s favourite modern classics?

Based on this definition, online car parts supplier Euro Car Parts canvassed the UK public for its favourite modern classics from 1999. Marques from Aston Martin to Ford appear in the top 10, as voted for by 2,000 motorists.

Topping the list is the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage. Though beautiful and the first home for Aston Martin’s to-be seminal V12 engine, the DB7 Vantage felt like an old car when it was new.

Its cabin space and build quality were more befitting a car from 1979, not 1999. Indeed, the DB7’s underpinnings owe much to the Jaguar XJS that hails from the 1970s.

Nevertheless, the DB7’s beauty and the legend of that V12 transcends its foibles, especially in the context of nostalgia. It’s the top modern classic of the people, with 10 percent giving it their vote.

a car parked on the side of a road: modern classics 1999 © Provided by Motoring Research Ltd modern classics 1999

The next few picks vary wildly in where they sat in the car market at the time. From Porsche 911 to Vauxhall Astra, and Land Rover Discovery II to Ford Focus… Guesses on placings? No, the 996 isn’t second place.

That honour goes to the original Focus (six percent), and rightly so. Even today, the first Focus is lauded as one of Ford’s greatest modern era creations, which subsequent generations never quite lived up to. It still looks handsome and modern today and remains a first class drive.

a car parked on the side of a road: modern classics 1999 © Provided by Motoring Research Ltd modern classics 1999

The Discovery follows in third, with five percent of the vote. The Disco is 30 this year, having debuted in 1989. The Disco II kept the looks but made the more rugged Rangie alternative a bit more luxurious, if not more reliable…

The 996 follows with five percent of votes (just getting pipped by the Disco) and is considered one of the worst 911s ever. In the grand scheme of things, that still makes it a pretty desirable machine. In fifth place… any guesses?

a car parked on the side of a road: 1999 Vauxhall Astra © Provided by Motoring Research Ltd 1999 Vauxhall Astra

Nope, you’re wrong. It’s the quite unremarkable fourth-generation Vauxhall Astra. We’ve very little to say of this car, but four percent of voters clearly remember it fondly. It’s very much a car of the people, then.

The last five of the top 10, in order, are the first-generation Audi S3, sixth-generation Honda Accord, the first Audi TT Roadster, the Mercedes CLK and the BMW Z3 M Roadster.

a yellow car parked on the side of a road: 1999 © Provided by Motoring Research Ltd 1999

Out of that cohort, the BMW and the Audi are probably the most interesting and are arguably the best buys for keeping your money safe.

As for other cars that were voted into the survey below the top 10: the Alfa Romeo Spider, Bentley Arnage, Honda S2000, Lotus Elise and TVR Chimaera are the unsurprising names that crop up. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Rover 25 are less easy to justify…

Gallery: 10 unfairly maligned classics [Classic and Sports Car]

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