Friday February 2, 2018
It’s nearly spring, which means the start of the classic car season is near! It’s not time, you’d think, to try and hunt out a bargain – as surely everyone with an interest is going to be in the market, and keeping prices high. Not so! Here are five great cars to buy and enjoy during the spring months.
1) Mercedes-Benz SL (R129)
We know what you’re thinking. These were once the most expensive and sophisticated sports cars known to man – so why would they be cheap today? In a sentence: it’s down to supply and demand: there are lots of good SLs around. They are also durable and popular, but still look relatively modern, robbing them of that all-important classic appeal. But times are changing – modern classics are gaining traction, and prices are on the turn. Not quite yet, though. Buy a six-cylinder R129 from less than £3000, give it a specialist once-over and enjoy guilt-free driving.
Another one of those classic cars that’s in the image doldrums, with even the nicest versions going for a song right now. There are still loads out there, so you can still afford to be picky, and although they have a reputation for unreliability (think headgaskets) there are enough people out there with enough intimate understanding to get it right for not much money. Not yet investment grade, but certainly cheap enough to enjoy without fearing bankruptcy if things go pear shaped.
3) Triumph TR7 convertible
Amazingly, these cars are still affordable, with £3000 buying you a good, usable example without too much difficulty. The TR7 looks good with the roof off, and with the right suspension and steering modifications, it can be made to handle sharply, too. We’d avoid all but the best V8 conversions, stick to originality, and make sure that we have a parts catalogue on hand for those inevitable mechanical maladies.
4) Mercedes-Benz SLK
What, another Mercedes-Benz? Yes, and here’s why. In the late 1990s, a raft of soft-tops hit the market, vying for buyers’ attentions. Some were good, and some weren’t. The SLK falls very much in the former camp, as it’s a great-looking piece of design with one all-important distinction from rivals, such as the Z3 and MX-5: a folding hard-top. Today, they’re cheap as yesterday’s newspapers, but a good parts supply and good overall build quality means they already make great classics. Rust is a worry, though, so buy the cleanest you can find. A long-term bet for value growth.
5) Peugeot 205 CTI
The hot hatch it’s based upon, the Peugeot 205 GTI might now be heading for the value stratosphere, but the CTI and its less powerful sibling the CJ, are great fun and still very affordable. Unlike the other cars here, it’s not a bespoke sports car, being very much a lid-off version of an existing hatch, but don’t let that put you off. The Peugeot 205 CTI is still a great drive, and one which will continue to be if you keep it in fine fettle – a job that’s not difficult, given how easy DIY is on these cars.