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What are the most popular classic cars in the UK?

Few things beat owning your very own classic car. It feels good to have a little slice of history in your garage, and to own something no longer in production.

Some owners try to get behind the wheel of their classic motor as often as they can.

While for other owners, taking their motor for a spin is something they save up for country roads and sunny Sunday afternoons.

Regardless of how often the car is used, most owners care for their motor as if it were a child!

While regular servicing and maintenance will help to keep a classic in tip-top condition, owners also need to protect their set of wheels with classic car insurance.

Lancaster Insurance has been assisting owners with classic car insurance for more than 35 years. We have access to some of the most competitive classic car insurance policies in the UK, working closely with specialist underwriters who are able to offer bespoke cover, for a great price.

Looking to invest?

Are you in the market for a classic motor? It really goes without saying, but you’ve got a lot of choice when it comes to classic vehicles. The right car for you will depend entirely on what you want most from it, whether that’s practicality, performance, style, or a little bit of everything! Then, of course, you might also want a classic that’s a good investment choice – a model known to appreciate, rather than depreciate in value.

Checking out some of the top ten lists is a good place to start if you want some ideas for which classic car to buy. First, let’s start with the top classic cars you can use every day, as shared in an Honest John blog:

  1. Volkswagen Golf GTI MK1

    Reliable, reasonably nippy, with quality handling and a timeless look, the Golf GTI MK1 is a great choice for people looking for an everyday classic. This hot hatch has achieved legendary status, with its iconic round headlamps and red banding around the front grill. If you’re into retro hatches, the GTI is as cool as they come.

    MK1 Golf GTI classic car taking a corner on a track at speed
  2. Rover Vitesse

    If you like your motors with added ‘oomph,’ the Rover Vitesse is a good choice – and it sounds as good as it looks. Though the SD1 was known for rust and being unreliable, these problems were resolved by the later launch of the 1982, 190bhp Vitesse. The good news is, many of the Vitesses on the road today will have been well looked after by their owners.

  3. Mercedes-Benz 300CE

    The 300CE is a decent all-rounder and a sound choice as an everyday classic. It’s got tonnes of road presence, good performance and decent build quality (bar the rusty wings). It’s good-looking, too, and with plenty of specialists out there, buying parts won’t be difficult (but it might be expensive).

  4. Mazda MX5

  5. Volvo 240 Estate

  6. Opel Manta

  7. Porsche 924S

  8. Saab 900 Turbo 16

  9. BMW 528i

  10. Ford Granada Injection

What about the most reliable cars?

Now to Carbuyer, which has shared a list of the most reliable and usable classic cars you can buy. They include:

  1. BMW E30

    Pouring all of its knowledge of small car manufacturing into one vehicle, the BMW E30 e series boasts a level of engineering and quality previously only seen on high-end, luxury models. Due to large production numbers at the time, and somewhat of a cult following, parts for the BMW E30 are easy to come by.

    Gray BMW-E30 classic parked at sunset
  2. Volvo P1800

    Solid and extremely dependable, the P1800 can cover endless miles without requiring any major overhauls. Not many other classics from the 1960s boasts as much dependable usability than the P1800, and if aesthetics are very important to you, you’re bound to fall in love with its elegant design.

  3. Mazda MX5

    Featuring on both lists, the humble MX5 was introduced in 1989 and little did it know, it would become the most famous roadster of all time. This a seriously reliable little runner, owing mainly to the combination of tried-and-tested running gear, continuous refinements and a long production life. If you’re after a classic convertible, this is a sound choice.

  4. Saab 900 Turbo

  5. VW Beetle

  6. Mercedes-Benz E Class (W124)

  7. Porsche 944

  8. VW Golf GTI Mk1

  9. Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

  10. Lexus LS400

Which classics are a good investment?

If you want to make sure you purchase a classic car with a good chance of it increasing over the years (or at the very least, holding its value), GQ has listed some of the best investment models, by price. They are:

  1. Porsche Boxster 986 (£5,000+) 

    The Boxster is a modern classic, offering a hell of a lot of car for its price. It’s super-fun to drive, but be warned, repairs can be extremely expensive. Its engines have been a little unpredictable, so you should get it inspected before handing over your cash.

    2002-2004-Porsche -Boxster -986
  2. Fiat 500 original (£7,000 – £10,000)

    You’d struggle to name another motor that’s as charming and stylish as the petite Fiat 500. If you plan to buy one, buy the best possible one your money can afford, as Fiats – just like other Italian makes and models – do suffer from rust issues.

  3. Alfa Spider (£15,000 – £40,000)

    Spider values, like the Fiat 500 values, have accelerated in recent years, so this model could also be a good investment. Early, pristine Spiders can fetch around £40,000 provided they have a decent history. The newer models go for half of that, and come with fuel injection, power steering and electric windows.

Hopefully, this guide will have given you some inspiration and helped you to narrow your search. When you purchase your classic of choice, you need to get classic car insurance before you can take it on the open road. Get a competitive quote from Lancaster Insurance today!

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