The classic car world isn’t afraid of seriously large numbers, and after a while it stops becoming surprising when cars sell at auction not just for hundreds of thousands but millions of pounds. However, it’s a misconception that the high-end, big-bucks investment is all that’s out there for classic car owners, as some of the best returns and the most enjoyable drives can be found on the smallest of budgets. So here are five cars that will get your mind racing but are sure to keep you bank manager calm!
Jaguar XJS (1981-1996)
The XJS has, sadly, depreciated considerably faster than many of its namesakes, and was never quite as popular as its predecessor the fabled Jaguar E-Type. Despite this, it still offers fabulous sporty handling, that long, stately body, and owing to the number of years the XJS was in production there are plenty of different models to choose from.
Look for: Rust free bodywork in older models and dashing copper metallic paintwork. Later models represent better investments but a 1981 model could leave you with a low maintenance, great runabout for under two grand.
Estimated Cost: £1,995 – £5,000
Ford Fiesta RS Mk III (1989-1997)
Ford’s ‘RS’ range has always been coveted, but the Fiesta represents a much more cost effective option to the older Escort or the later Focus, both cars revered for their rally heritage. Equally the Fiesta had much less street-cred than a Golf GTi and so should come in much better condition than its popular alternative.
Look for: Condition and a good service history. Many RS models are tuned by their owners and a large number will have aftermarket add-ons. You should check that the history matches up to the spec; classic car insurance premiums can vary massively for tuned cars.
Estimated Cost: Spend £3,500 on a mid-1990s model if you can.
Porsche 924 (1976-1988)
The 924 doesn’t have the reputation of the 911, but there are plenty of drivers who would actually consider that to be a good thing! Quality, hard-working German engineering combined with fabulous, angular 1980s styling makes this model a firm favourite with classic car enthusiasts.
Look for: Special edition models can be extraordinarily overinflated due to their rarity, so keep it simple and go for a basic model.
Estimated Cost: You could pay under £1,000 for an 80,000 mile model.
Citroen 2CV (1948-1990)
There aren’t many vehicles more easily recognisable than the 2CV and that’s exactly why it’s a great classic on budget! There are huge variations available, multiple colour schemes and something for every wallet. Beware however; the 2CV got its namesake because of its deux chevaux-vapeur: yes, that’s just two horsepower. This means it may be underpowered for some!
Look for: Collectors models. Like all quirky classics, the 2CV has its following and rare models will attract a premium.
Estimated Cost: Around £2,500 is a good amount to spend.
Alfa Romeo Spider (1966-1993)
While the older Spiders are surprisingly costly, it’s the later models that really shine. This sporty roadster might not have the reputation of some of its Italian cousins, yet it’s an incredibly classy classic, with enough reliability for even a Grand Tour.
Look for: Newer models in good quality; you might pick up a future classic if you delve into the post-1990 editions.
Estimated Cost: A high mileage machine generally costs around £1,000, but you might get your money back when you sell if you spend a little more.
For a competitive classic car insurance quote visit Lancaster Insurance.