Think ‘cult ‘ status has been replaced nowadays with ‘marque ‘ status, there’s simply not the numbers ( or spares infastructure) for any models following to be able to have the broad appeal the originals.
Personally see the upcoming range of older cars as ‘niche’ motors, classic status due to age more than anything else, dont think any of them have the production run timescale to become cult, or were taken to heart by the buying consumers of the relevant time in the same way as 2CV’s, 4s, Beetles, Moggy’s, Minis etc were in their day or now.
Good examples will always be good examples, but I personally dont think mass produced cars from during and after the ‘technological’ revolution in the 80/90s were ever produced with the masses in mind, more the manufacturer, models change so quicky there will never be the parts avalability to keep them on the road as affordable classics, more a few months of driving a nice old car about followed by a few months of searching for unavaliable spares..
Nissan Micras seemed to be very popular on the roads a while ago, but I cant see myself getting the same satifaction opening my garage to see an early Micra sitting in the place of the 4.
I think that two small cars of the 90s could grow as "cult", because when they arrived were different from everything earlier and remained still something unusual during their lifespan.
The first is obviously the Twingo, with all the respect with the mentioned Micra, a shiny yellow Twingo with vinyl sunroof is for sure a worse car in every way, but is also something I'd notice parked on the street unlike the japanese one.
The other one is the Ford Ka, not my favourite to be honest, but still something really unusual even today. Again a shiny yellow one with the big black plastic bumpers is something that can jump to the eye in today's traffic.
Twingo - early ones in launch colours, yes. Although cult status doesn't mean valuable necessarily.
Good call on the Ford Ka too. Early ones and later SportKa would be a very, very good investment if you could find a good one and tuck it away for a few years I reckon. Mk1 Focus possibly similarly.
As everything (and everyone) gets older then the cars that used to be commonplace become more valuable and sought after though. A good Citroen AX GT or Saxo VTS / VTR will probably be something that gets expensive in the coming years but then so will lots of contemporary cars.
Both the Twingo and the Mk1 MX-5 were cult from day 1 simply because they were one of a kind. But they will never be considered as real classics, because they are not! A "classic" is not a car that got 30 or 40 years old, but rather a typical example of the classic era of automobiles - that is '50s to mid-'70s. A'70s R4 was considered as "classic" in the '90s, when it was only 20-25 years old. I don't think we have the same thoughts today for, say a '98 VW Golf MkIV, or an Mk2 Clio...
The plastic bumpered cars of the '80s-early '90s are already considered as "youngtimers", a definition that I think will continue to exist even when they become 50 years old.