Hot Hatches, the classics of the future

by Johni Parker

Now, I don’t have to sell the idea of hot hatches, that’s been proven for years. The appeal is universal as hot hatches are everything to everyone; fast, practical, cool and relatively cheap. What’s not to like?

Taking a sedate, everyday car and colouring bits red, adding spoilers, alloy wheels and a bigger engine seems to enthral us all.

Hot Hatches were in their prime in the late 80s & 90s, and it shows as modern incarnations don’t seem to capture the same spirit as those of yesteryear. They were the cars of the 90s. It does come as no surprise then, many are now becoming widely regarded as classics.

Classic motoring has always traditionally conjured the idea of wood, chrome and meets on village greens. This new era of classics is different, as the audience who holds reverence is different.

What Makes a Classic?

There’s no specific criteria for what constitutes a classic, but nostalgia plays a huge part in the emotional part of buying in the classic car market. Historically, the most popular cars of an era often become the most sought after in future markets, as the cars can have the memories attached to them by more people.

Many cars of the era were indeed modified, but it’s the original examples that fetch the money and pique the most interest. While modifying cars might have been fun at the time, it’s become a regretful hangover for many enthusiasts who now appreciate it more looking as the designer intended.

Cars that were once ubiquitous are now surprisingly rare, I mean, when was the last time you saw a Renault 5, Vauxhall Nova or a Fiat Uno? Especially the much rarer, more sporting variants. The scrappage scheme was a bad thing for many cars that probably had loads of life still left in them, which has no doubt pushed the price up of the examples that managed to escape it.

Hot Hatches were generally a more European thing, and some cars that might not be worth a lot here, can fetch a fortune in a different market. Much like the niche, but strong following of the American Car Scene in Europe, it works both ways as anything that’s different becomes exotic in America. A big old 80s Cadillac is a head turner in Britain, but I guarantee a mint Peugeot 205 GTI would turn some heads in the states…

Hot hatches are in many ways some of the most exciting cars you can ever own, as unlike a supercar, they can be constantly driven at their limits. They have power, but not so much that you can't ever really use the full power band.

Anyway, if you’re a fan, there’s still quite a few around at reasonable money and may be one of the best investment bets in the used market.

What are your best bets in the modern classic market? Let us know! @HIDS4U/@johniparker

10 of the Best

  • Renault 5 GT Turbo
  • VW Golf MK2 GTI
  • Fiat Uno Turbo
  • Peugeot 205 GTI
  • Citroen AX GT
  • Renault Williams Clio
  • Vauxhall Nova GTE
  • Nissan March Super Turbo
  • Ford Fiesta XR2i
  • MG Metro Turbo