Progress never stops, and that means cars will continue to get better. Better might mean faster, quicker, lighter, stronger, more efficient, safer, and eventually... autonomous. But maybe this won’t make them all actually better. Here are six cars that are available to buy new from a friendly local dealer near you, that someday will likely be seen as better, perhaps measured with different criteria.
1. Ford Fiesta ST
Ford’s extra small hot hatch seems to have that ultra rare and elusive quality that makes the total car greater than the sum of its parts. More so than the larger and more powerful Focus ST, the Fiesta ST seems to fulfill the hot hatch mission with more focus (see what I did there).
Why buy it now? Well, the 2nd gen Fiesta ST may very well turn out to be even better. But it might not. Looking purely at the specs, the current Fiesta ST shouldn’t be as good as it is. If Ford can’t cast the same spell on the new Fiesta, or it gains weight, fat, size, softness, or maturity, it may not be as good as the current one.
2. Manual Dodge Challenger
Will manual V8 muscle cars exist in the future? Probably, at least for some time. But will they have the same lunatic cartoon character as the Dodge Challenger 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker (that is the actual name!)? I am suggesting the 392 Shaker instead of the Hellcat, since the Shaker is ever more of a cartoon character. And the manual trans makes this even more of a circus oddity. Will future Challengers be this crazy? Will they have a manual option? Who knows, buy this while you can.
3. Alfa Romeo 4C
How long will this car be sold? I fear not long. It is chock full of exotic Italian seasoning and still available at a price mere mortals can afford. It is far from perfect, but those flaws make it special and feel more exotic.
4. Dodge Viper ACR
Yes, the Viper has been around a long time. But the current version is the best, and will be the last. To think that anybody (with enough cash) can stroll into their local Dodge dealer and buy the closest thing to a street legal race car, is a bit bonkers. The car shown here is the ACR Extreme Aero package. Normally aspirated 8 liter V10. There will be no more like this, ever. Someday, this maniacal, hydrocarbon swilling, climate changing beast will be seen as mythical. It doesn’t try to be anything other than fast on a race track. Period. And it is very fast. This the the Ford GT40 of our time (yes, more than the new Ford GT).
When all other forms of personal transportation are pushing electrons, fire this thing up and rumble down the street. Hopefully you will still be allowed to own it. Buy it now, while you can.
5. Chevrolet SS manual
The manual SS is the last of the traditional American full size, rear-drive, V8 sedan with a manual. It will be a special car long into the future. Especially if the rumors of a 570HP LSA supercharged V8 in the final year turn out to be true.
6. Aston Martin Vantage S V12 manual
Just when we thought there would be no more manual V12s, Aston does the right thing and builds one. Only 100 available in the US though. If you have the means and opportunity, buy it.