Motorists who want to stand out from the crowd are increasingly turning to classic cars. And not just as investments — but for fun.
Nor do you have to break the bank to dip your toe into the classic car market.
While some exclusive supercars will fetch millions at auction, many more are affordable at just a few thousand pounds – less if it’s a restoration ‘project’ – and are even useable as everyday runarounds.
At a time when new cars are in short supply and second-hand prices are soaring, now might be your chance to give it a go – and those running modern classics can get some relative creature comforts too.
Old gold: The British-built Triumph TR6 was produced between 1969 and 1976. There are three million historic cars on UK roads, worth over £12bn, with an estimated average value of £5,400
Many new fans getting hooked on older cars start off with cheaper cars.
BBC’s Top Gear picked up on the trend this week with a feature on how some modestly priced cars — such as an MGB, a later original Volkswagen Beetle, and even a Russian Lada Niva — could be an alternative for younger drivers, with the attraction of lower prices and insurance premiums.
An early or mid-era Mazda MX-5, Triumph TR7, or a legendary Morris Minor ‘Moggie’ could equally make a decent alternative to a second-hand car.
There are also other advantages to buying a classic. When a car turns 40, it qualifies for historic vehicle tax exemption. Owners no longer have to pay to tax their cars or require an annual MoT.
They are also automatically exempt from the London Ultra Low Emission Zone.
This is Money earlier this month compiled a list of 10 potential ‘classics’ that hit the market in 1982 and are set to qualify for historical vehicle taxation in 2022 – you can do what I did and read the full list here.
10 classic cars recommended to collectors for 2022
by Rob Hull, Motoring Editor for MailOnline and ThisisMoney
There’s plenty of guidance available on which classic cars might make you a profit from next year.
This week insurance specialists Hagerty published a list of ten ‘attainable’ models in reach of some – though not all – collectors and enthusiasts which it thinks will spike in value over the course of 2022.
It is part of its Bull Market List, which analyses sale prices and market demand to give an indication of which cars might be at the bottom of an appreciation curve.
This list aims to identify ‘automotive gems for 2022 which offer a pleasurable driving experience’ while also predicting which models may gain in value.
Not everyone was happy to see BMW relaunching the Mini name in 2001. Yet, Hagerty believes good examples of Cooper versions could be in demand soon
Among the recommendations is the reborn Mini Cooper, also known as the R50, which was sold between 2001 and 2006.
While not particularly loved by Mini purists, it is starting to show signs of rising in value now that it is 20 years old, with current values at £900 for one that needs a bit of work to £6,650 if you’re after a low-mileage pristine example.
Also on the list for 2022 is the hot-hatch Renault Clio Williams (1993-1995), original Porsche Boxster roadster (1996-2004), Renault’s volume-selling (in France) 4L (1961-1994), Britain’s open-topped Triumph TR6 (1969-1976), the war-time MGTB (1939-1940) and Volkswagen’s T3/T25 Camper (1979-2002).
For those with a little extra to splurge, the recommendations include the Rolls-Royce Camargue (1977-1986), Maserati 3200 (1998-2002) and Ferrari 458 Italia (2010-2015).
> Read the full in-depth report on each car and their current average values
The 10 classics earmarked to provide a return from 2022. Pictured from left to right: Porsche Boxster, Ferrari 458 Italia, MG TB, Renault Clio Williams, Renault 4L, Rolls-Royce Camargue, Triumph TR6, Mini Cooper, Maserati 3200, VW T3/T25 Camper
Britain’s world-leading classic car industry already supports around 113,000 jobs that depend on the £18 billion a year automotive heritage sector, according to the Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance, which was set up earlier this year as a campaign group and trade association.
There are three million historic cars on UK roads, worth over £12 billion, with an estimated average value of £5,400.
The Alliance’s chief executive Garry Wilson said it aims to ‘bust the myths and popular misconceptions’ surrounding classic cars, pointing out that well-maintained vehicles are relatively green and sustainable because they prolong the life of great pieces of craftsmanship ‘rather than surrendering to built-in obsolescence.’
Mr Wilson said, although his own daily drive is a BMW 5-series, his ‘pride and joy’ is a 1969 Rover P5B coupe.
But he also speaks fondly of a 20-year-old BMW Z3 2.8, a 25-year-old Land Rover Defender and rallying in a 1980s MG Metro 6R4.
The Alliance also has the support of legendary Formula 1, supercar and electric car designer Professor Gordon Murray who said: ‘As we move towards electrification and ever more stringent regulations, in my view it will become even more important to support and protect our classic automotive heritage.’
Keep your classic safe
However, the classics boom is also attracting thieves, with reports of original Land Rover Defenders — whose prices have gone through the roof since production ended — ‘stolen to order’.
Clive Wain, of stolen vehicle recovery experts Tracker, said the classic car industry has boomed since the pandemic struck in 2020.
He added: ‘Demand for older models and parts has soared, and experts predict that classics that cost less than £10,000 today are projected to rise in value faster than the average savings account.
‘Unfortunately, this makes them an even hotter target for thieves.’
Lacking sophisticated security and ID markings, they can be easily broken into, hotwired or towed away, and are difficult to trace.
Mr Wain advises fitting a tracking device to vehicles, saying: ‘If you have a garage, use it. If not, park a modern car in front of the classic car on the drive, as it is harder to steal.’
How to drive a classic without owning one
If you can’t stretch to buying a classic outright, you can still drive one as there are plenty of firms offering driving days and test-track experiences.
Then, of course, there are events or motor museums to visit.
One major classic car hub is Bicester Heritage, on a former RAF base in the Oxfordshire town, is now home to more than 40 specialist and historic car firms and holds regular open days and ‘scrambles’ for families and enthusiasts.
The new Great British Car Journey museum (greatbritishcarjourney.com) opened at Ambergate in Derbyshire in May, showcasing up to 100 nostalgic cars.
It joins existing museums such as Brooklands in Surrey and the British Motor Museum at Gaydon in Warwickshire in celebrating classics.
Toyota continues to build its electric empire
He may have been late to the electric car party but the boss of Toyota made up for it this week by unveiling up to 16 new battery-powered cars to be launched within the decade.
The Japanese car maker’s president Akio Toyoda said it will now be offering a total of 30 fully electric models by 2030 – selling 3.5 million a year globally.
That’s up from earlier plans to sell 2 million zero emission hydrogen and battery electric vehicles per year by then. It currently sells about 10 million vehicles globally.
Full charge: Toyota president Akio Toyoda (pictured) said the firm will now be offering a total of 30 fully electric models by 2030 – selling 3.5 million a year globally
Until now, Toyota had been focusing on promoting petrol-electric hybrid power, as pioneered with the Prius, and hydrogen fuel cell technology, as used in its Mirai.
Anglophile Mr Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder, acknowledged he had not been that interested in electric vehicles in the past, but said he is now excited about the new vehicles Toyota is developing.
Mr Toyoda promised a full line-up of electric models called the ‘bz series’, short for ‘beyond zero’, including sports cars, sport-utility vehicles of varying sizes, saloons and crossovers, pick-up trucks and some quirky city cars and vans.
The company’s upmarket Lexus luxury brand will become fully electric by 2035.
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