These days when it comes down to the age of a vehicle, a car can be one of three things. It can be a ‘Modern’, a ‘Retro’ or a ‘Classic’. Classics are classed as being well over 25 years old and are pretty much sought after for petrol-heads. Thing is though, what if I was to tell you that there is an age bracket which separates ‘Moderns’ from ‘Retros’. These are known as Modern Classics and generally, sit between 15-25 years old.
Now, these might be nothing new, even though no one hardly talks about them modern classics are accepted in communities. With this article, however, I want to ask a general question and that is this; What exactly makes a Modern Classic and what does it take for a car become one? It’s no lie that I love both Classic & Retro cars. In fact, I wrote an article on them explaining as to why but with some lovely new machinery coming out recently from a plethora of manufacturers, It is safe to say that I’m into modern cars as well.
Now Modern Classics for me personally are cars which while relatively old now were new when I was young, these can be anything from the original Ford Focus RS all the way up to a Pagani Zonda C12 for example. The reason why I’d consider these modern classics is that they’re both at that age where they are kind of forgotten about compared to both moderns & classics. Add in the popularity these cars once had, and it’s no surprise that these are becoming modern classics.
The thing is though, not every car can be a modern classic as I’ll prove. Take for example my own car and my stepdads Seat Leon. both of these cars were made around about the same time, both of them were relatively well-loved which shown both in sales & reviews and they both were replaced by their newer incarnations at around the same time. However, for me personally, the Leon doesn’t come across as a modern classic. For a start, it’s only a 1.4 so it’s nothing really special. Would I feel different if it was a Cupra or a Cupra R? More than likely but as it’s an everyday model it doesn’t come across as anything special, never mind a modern classic. This moves me onto my car, while it’s not the ‘T5’ which is the one which will more than likely gravitate towards being a modern classic, C70’s as a whole are quite rare cars and have a very strange but special upbringing. For a start, all MK 1 C70’s were engineered by Tom Walkinshaw Racing which made them drive rather well for a big car, add in the rivals and at the time Volvo’s 4th ever coupe, it has everything there to make it a modern classic.
For those reasons you can kind of understand why I have it in my mind why my car will be a modern classic and why the Seat, unfortunately, can’t be. Trying to judge what makes a modern classic isn’t easy though, in fact, these days a lot of cars you’d never think of being modern classics are starting to become collectible by both collectors & buyers everywhere. Take the humble 5th generation Toyota Celica for example, not everyone is a fan of them and that is understandable but it seems that the years have been kind as they’re starting to rise in value to people & enthusiasts in the know.
The thing is, modern classics are different to everyone, take for example a Fiesta RS Turbo from the early nineties. For anyone who was born around that time they might consider that a modern classic whereas I’d classify it as retro instead which can make things confusing and awkward.
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned anything about the RX’s situation in this debate. Well for me, even though the Lexus has what it takes to be a truly special car in years to come. For me personally, it’s not quite old enough yet to be classified as a modern classic. With hybrids still in 2019 being quite a taboo subject, I feel like it’s going to be quite a bit of time before we see our Lexus as a modern-day classic.
Some of you may have read my Calibra article a few weeks ago and gasped at the fact that it is turning 30 years old this year, I certainly know I did. The thing is, when I was young and living in London, I used to see these nearly everywhere to the point they were fairly common so to find out that they were going to be celebrating such a milestone it certainly shocked me. They’d been under the radar for so long that even I forgot they were as old as they were and that is the typical story of a modern classic.
So what exactly makes a modern classic? Age is, of course, a major factor, now I’d personally say anything from 15 to 20 years old is a modern classic but other people may have more stringent rules on the matter. For me, the car has to be something rather special, whether it’s a small city car or a high-end supercar. If it is something which is well-loved then that’s another sure-fire way of spotting a modern classic. Last but not least, for me, they need to be relatively rare. There is no point in trying to consider a relatively modern Fiesta as a modern classic because they are nearly everywhere these days which kind of defeats the point. Now, of course, rarity isn’t everything when it comes to a modern classic however it does help.
So going by that what would you guys consider a modern classic? For me, there are lots of cars which fit that bill, from Ford Mondeo ST220’s all the way to Vauxhall Monaro VXR’s even down to the humble Rover 75 V6, these cars all share something good about them which all make them perfect candidates for being modern classics. Is there anything else which can go on that list? Let me know in the comments and I’ll share my thoughts.
Hope you enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
As most of you guys know, I have a thing for Volvo and the brand they have become. These days they’re making some fantastic vehicles and as far as I can tell, they are well worth the money. So when I was given the invitation to the launch of their new S60, I jumped at the chance.
This wasn’t the first time I went to a launch event, in fact, it’s the third time after going to their XC40 & V60 launch early last year. This year, however, things were slightly different. Instead of an evening launch of just the one car like they had done previous, this time they decided to do an ‘Evolved Launch’ as it was aptly named. This basically entailed Volvo showing off every model they currently produce as well as introducing the new S60 into the mix. As I’d done before, I went to my nearest Volvo dealer which is in the seaside town of Ayr for the launch. This is where I’d been to the launches prior and there was good reasoning for this. Volvo Parks in Ayr is one of the best dealers I’ve ever walked into, whether it’s the sales team or the service department, the staff are just so friendly and so helpful which makes stuff like these launch events so much easier to go to. Most dealers on launch events tend to just let you be and get on with whatever you’re doing but with the staff at Parks Ayr, they just go beyond expectations to make sure you are settled and enjoying your time. Even before we were shown the new car, the staff were so welcoming to us and that’s before I even sat down to get stuff ready.
After getting my camera up & running, I was asked if I knew anything about the car prior to the launch to which I replied yes. Like a lot of Volvo people, when a new one is released I tend to read nearly every article, watch every possible video and find pics after pics to get a slither of information from them so I know what I’m getting into when the car eventually launches over here in the UK. To the guy’s surprise, he realised I knew quite a bit about the new car in question so then started to show me a tablet with an app which unlocked the mystery behind the ‘Evolved Launch’ naming. The app worked in conjunction with a small stand the tablet stood on and depending on where you pointed the tablet, it’d play different videos on the particular subject printed into the stand by using the tablet’s camera.
The app was talking about the manufacturer’s vision for the near future and talked about hybrid & fully electric powertrains in the next few years instead of diesel or a fully-fledged petrol car. Now while I’m not a big fan of hybrids or electric cars, the app itself was really rather cool to use and for anybody who is into new tech, you’d easily be able to spend quite a while on the app just playing around with it.
While the app was a brilliant way of wasting time, and the food & drink put out was fantastic, I wasn’t there to relax so I got to work on taking pictures of the new car and getting a general feel for it and my own opinion on it. It’s ok to read other articles and get an idea of it but its never the same as seeing the car for real, first of all, the boot or trunk is absolutely massive. Volvo is known for making huge boots with tons of room but this S60 was something else entirely. Not just was it square in size with hardly any intrusion from the wheel arches but it was as long as it was wide.
Exterior wise it is a really good looking car with chiselled good looks and a sense of family connections, this was a car where you could tell it’s from the same design structure as the V60, the XC60 and the larger S90 & V90. In fact, from some angles, it looks like a smaller, more compact S90 saloon which is no bad thing really as they look stunning. The dimensions are good as well, it isn’t as big as the current 3 series or C-Class but it’s not tiny neither. This is also a first for Volvo as well, see, normally they’ll build a car in an already existing Swedish plant and then proceed to send it over to different countries to launch it. This time, however, Volvo opened up a factory in the USA and this is where the new car is built. Surprising really as the dimensions are perfect for UK & EU roads.
Interior wise it’s rather smart but also easy to access everything and use. Build quality is incredible as are the seats. They have the ability to be really comfortable but also hold you in rather well. On the cars Parks Ayr had, they all had a mixture of leather & cloth in the seats and the quality of them was great. Rear space was also very good with a decent amount of leg & headroom and with a fold-down armrest with a cubby hole, a shallow tray & integrated cup holders it’s a nice place to be for rear passengers, however there is an issue with it which I’ll mention a bit later on towards the end.
At the moment, the only powertrain is available is the 250bhp T5 automatic, unfortunately, there are no diesel options available for this model however there will be both hybrid versions and performance versions as well. I have confirmation from the dealer that the ‘Polestar Engineered’ version will be coming to the UK which means 400bhp from its 2.0 4 pot which is crazy considering a CLA45 AMG has in region of 300bhp.
Prices for the new car start from £36,000 and rise to about £43,000 once specced up which isn’t terrible compared to the equivalent 3 Series or C-Class, unfortunately, there are no prices available for the Polestar Engineered version but I’d suspect it to be near the £50,000 mark. The only trim you can get it in at the moment is the R-Design but expect more to arrive as time goes by.
Unfortunately, there are issues with the car, they are small but they do need addressing. For a start, some of the interior trim, especially those found under the dash seems a bit low rent compared to the rest of the interior. Secondly, the rear is a bit too dark which isn’t helped by the dark coloured interior, upon further investigation there is no lighter colour option so if you were to buy one, I’d personally spec the sunroof to bring more light in. Another problem (and this certainly has a mixed reaction) is the rear end of the new car, now personally I think it looks good but other people don’t seem to have that much enthusiasm for it. Now I’ll admit, compared to the bigger S90 or even the V60 which it shares its platform with, the saloon may not look as good but that doesn’t mean it’s ugly. The last problem is the engines available, as I have already mentioned, there is no diesel available for the new car as Volvo dropped diesel not too long back for hybrid & electric powertrains. While that may work for the planet, it doesn’t work for potential buyers who need diesel for long journeys or for the extra economy, add in the upcoming prices for hybrids which are normally higher than a conventional car, not everyone who wants an economical S60 will find it difficult to stretch to one, to begin with.
In summary, the new S60 is a fantastic car launched in a fantastic way with wonderful people hosting the event, it looks really rather smart and for what you get it’s a really good price, however with a lack at the moment of different trim levels, better specifications, different engines available and no diesel involved, the S60 will more than likely take a bit of time to start to appeal to people.
Hope you enjoy!
By Alex Jebson