• Jay Leno told Business Insider the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the original Toyota Prius, and older electric cars could be among the next generation of collectible automobiles.
  • According to Leno, people collect the cars with which they are familiar and have built emotional bonds.

The Ford Mustang has long been the darling of both classic car collectors and your average car loving Joe. After all, there are few vehicles as historic and evocative as the original pony car and its many descendants.

The Mustang remains popular, but what will be included in the next generation of collectibles?

“It’s whatever you grew up in. It’s whatever you went to your prom in. It’s whatever your dad used to take you to Sunday ice cream in,” comedian Jay Leno said in an interview with Business Insider. “That’s the car the next generation will collect”

“It’s as much about the memories as it is about the car,” he said.

According to Leno, cars to watch include the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the first generation Toyota Prius, and electric cars from the past couple of decades.

Jay Leno Hot Wheels

Foto: source Mattel

And there are few people more qualified to speak on this subject than Leno, whose collection of more than 150 cars has become the stuff of legends.

"I think the Miata will be the Ford Mustang of the next generation," Leno said.

The comedy legend attributed the Miata's collectability to its slick gearbox, perky engine, and fun-to-drive demeanor.

With more than a million sold since its introduction in 1989, the Miata is also widely available at affordable prices, he added.

Leno, who spoke with Business Insider to help Hot Wheels kick off a tour in search of great cars worthy of being immortalized as a diecast model, also pointed towards alternative fuel vehicles as cars with collector potential.

"I think you'll see the first generation Priuses where people will say look how simple it is compared to the modern stuff."

Toyota Prius hi-rez

Foto: The original PriussourceToyota

These days, the hybrid is ubiquitous. But that hasn't always been the case and the original Toyota Prius from the late 1990s really helped usher the hybrid into mainstream status.

And then there are the electric cars from the 1990s and the 2000s. Even though Tesla helped make the EV cool, battery-powered cars have been around for a long time. During the early '90s, GM introduced the EV1 electric car. Even though most of the cars were unceremonious rounded up by GM and crushed, there are a few stragglers still around. And those cars can now carry hefty price tags, Leno told us.

"I think you'll see people collecting the first generation of electric cars," Leno said. "Someone offered me one the other day for $440,000."

Leno didn't buy it.