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Thread: Looking for a classic car

  1. #1
    Craftsman scucivolo's Avatar
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    Looking for a classic car

    Hi all

    Iím the current owner of a fiat 500 and Iíve been thinking for a while now that is time for a change..

    Iíve been thinking about buying my first classic which, even if unpractical, itís ubercool!

    My budget sits at around 7k, and the cars that I was looking at are MG midget, Mini Cooper and maybe an old fiat 500 or 124..

    Iím no expert in the field, by a long shot.. so Iím open to suggestion on other models and makers.. and more in general, if a go for a test drive what should I look for when driving it..

    Thank you
    Regards
    Claudio


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  2. #2
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    Phew! What a question, so much to say.
    In your position, I would be going to as many classic car shows and meets as possible, read specialist mags, join forums, most classics have quirks peculiar to the model, see if there is a local specialist in your area and go and have a chat. Choose one with a active owners club with good spares pipeline.
    Cheers..
    Jase

  3. #3
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    I’ve had a few classics, mainly Fords and rebuilt a couple of them from the sill up in my time and the only thing I can tell you is that no matter how well they are restored, they all still have 40 year old steering, brakes, suspension, heating and ventilation, wipers, seats, lights etc etc. Nice to drive if only taken out occasionally - like to the test station once a year!

    Of your list though, I’d go for the Mini Cooper but I don’t know what sort of condition you’d get one in for £7K
    Last edited by Motman; 28th April 2018 at 13:17.

  4. #4
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    I owned an Integrale Evo for many years. Interestingly, it costs more not to drive a classic than it does to use it daily.

    I used to leave my car in the garage under cover for 3-6 months at a time, but still starting it perhaps once a month and moving the wheels. When it went to the specialist for MOT or service, often bits needed replacing due to the lack of movement. I was then caught between running it, enjoying it but clocking up miles, or not.

    Starts becoming quite a difficult choice.

    Last weekend, there was a closed road rally near me and we saw loads of Mk2 Escorts looking and sounding awesome. It did get me thinking about a classic again. But looking at the price of a Mk2 RS2000 is now worth, I can't see that happening. Rose tinted glasses are making a not very good car look appealing to me. Have always also wanted to own a Triumph spitfire. These are cheap and a nice looking classic. Sadly never very well made. But I like the idea of a picnic basket on the boot rack and going off with the missus for a day out. Perhaps thats something for a few years down the road.

  5. #5
    Craftsman Jonboy's Avatar
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    What sort of usage do you plan to give the car? Some classics will stand up to more daily use or be more reliable than others.

    One of the biggest things to look out for with any classic is rust... I speak from experience as I have a Fiat X19! Its not always in the most obvious places, so inspect the car as thoroughly a possible, or get a specialist / knowledgeable enthusiast to look at the car with you.

    I had a Fiat 500 for a while, but round Sheffield and Derbyshire, with all the hills, it was painfully slow and wouldnt go more than 30 mph up any sort of hill - a 126 engine conversion with an extra few hp improves this a little from what I have been told. It was reliable though and had been restored not too long ago, but I did keep it garaged.

    The MG midget is a fun little car, I had one of those for a while, but I think the X19 is a better all round car if you get a good one (some will disagree I am sure), although they dont like sitting in heavy traffic, or being stored outside.

    Your budget opens up a lot of options, and there are a number of modern classics out there which might be worth a look at too. As Jason says, get yourself off to as many classic car events as possible and research any that take your fancy.

    Take a look at https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/ for an idea of what you can get for your money.

  6. #6
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Cars assembled and sold in the 70s and 60s were subject to 'quality control' of the era, some look great, a GT6, Alfa GTV or a Lancia Fulvia, would be wonderful but classics are a labour of love, but I have fond memories of this.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  7. #7
    Master
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    Daily use or a Sunday driver ?

    Pete

  8. #8
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    When I was in my first job I drove a 1968 Midget as my daily car. This was 1988. I was 22. It was challenging even then.

    That said Iím now about 5 stone heavier than I was then and last year bought a Westfield (definitely not as a daily driver) so clearly I donít learn.

    A Midget is a lovely car, on a warm dry day if you donít have to go very far or very fast though.

  9. #9
    Master unclealec's Avatar
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    http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.ph...D-litre-saloon

    Where were you when I needed you! !

  10. #10
    The idea of owning a classic can often be more fun than owning one .
    50 -60 year old cars are worlds apart from new ones and itís not just jumping on them when you want a spin etc

    I would go for a modern classic eg bmw e30 convertible , sl r129 . Still modern enough so you have the creature comforts but classic too.

  11. #11
    OP - do you have a garage? If not, Iíd seriously think hard about those cars you have listed. They will all rust at great speed if you are planning on keeping them outside in anything beyond the short-term.

    Iíve run MGBs, a TR6, several Mk2 Golfs, and e24 & e30 BMWs. German 80s metal is probably well suited to daily driving and keeping outside (assuming thatís your intention). Itís also much more reliable than British classics (Lucas electrics have a bad rep for a reason).

    Iíve used my 33 year old e30 as much as my modern M6 over winter and probably put about 4K miles on each over the past 7-8 months. The M6 has chewed its way through my wallet but the 323 stands me £180 for an oil pan sensor which in fairness failed after 86k miles/33 years.

  12. #12
    Craftsman scucivolo's Avatar
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    Well thanks all for the thoughts given..

    My plan is to use it as a daily driver, having said that, my daily driving is about 6 miles around town, 3-4 times a week.

    I live in a block of flat which has an underground car park, so that is at least one thing in favour.

    I can see why the thought of owning a classic is more enjoyable than actually owning one, thatís why Iíd like to listen to what you guys have to say about it, because I just donít know what I like to live with a 40-50 years old car.. I mean, Iíd like to own one, but if you guys talk me out of it, Iíll understand.

    In fact, my question to you is just this, can any of the car Iíve e listed above, be used as a daily driver, given my routine?

    Thank you


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  13. #13
    Craftsman scucivolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j0hnbarker View Post
    OP - do you have a garage? If not, Iíd seriously think hard about those cars you have listed. They will all rust at great speed if you are planning on keeping them outside in anything beyond the short-term.

    Iíve run MGBs, a TR6, several Mk2 Golfs, and e24 & e30 BMWs. German 80s metal is probably well suited to daily driving and keeping outside (assuming thatís your intention). Itís also much more reliable than British classics (Lucas electrics have a bad rep for a reason).

    Iíve used my 33 year old e30 as much as my modern M6 over winter and probably put about 4K miles on each over the past 7-8 months. The M6 has chewed its way through my wallet but the 323 stands me £180 for an oil pan sensor which in fairness failed after 86k miles/33 years.
    I appreciate your input, for that little Iíve heard over my years in Italy.. British classic are very prone to rust.. German new classic are not for me though, Iíd rather keep it either British or Italian, but thanks again for your input. :)


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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by scucivolo View Post
    I appreciate your input, for that little Iíve heard over my years in Italy.. British classic are very prone to rust.. German new classic are not for me though, Iíd rather keep it either British or Italian, but thanks again for your input. :)


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    No problem. The only issue you will face with any British or Italian classic if you drive it in winter is rust.

    We throw so much salt on our roads that by the end of the first winter you will end up with some rot, somewhere, that wouldnít have been there if youíd not driven it over the winter period. That then means you will have devalued your investment and now have an ongoing maintenance issue that wasnít there before.

    If you can live with that then go for it!

  15. #15
    Master unclealec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scucivolo View Post
    Well thanks all for the thoughts given..

    My plan is to use it as a daily driver, having said that, my daily driving is about 6 miles around town, 3-4 times a week.

    I live in a block of flat which has an underground car park, so that is at least one thing in favour.

    I can see why the thought of owning a classic is more enjoyable than actually owning one, thatís why Iíd like to listen to what you guys have to say about it, because I just donít know what I like to live with a 40-50 years old car.. I mean, Iíd like to own one, but if you guys talk me out of it, Iíll understand.

    In fact, my question to you is just this, can any of the car Iíve e listed above, be used as a daily driver, given my routine?

    Thank you

    My Riley is my everyday car, but it does depend on your requirements for everyday transport.
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  16. #16
    Iíve got 3 1960s Alfas, and much of the reputation for dodgy quality control is perception rather than reality. In 10 years none of mine have ever let me down. Nor are they necessarily rusty: most have been rebuilt. Anything that hasnít will either be perfect and a fortune, or will be cheap and obviously tatty. The 4 door Giulia from the 70s is both practical and a bargain.

  17. #17
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    For 7k, I'd look at a late '90s Mini Cooper MPI with sports pack. I know it's not as old as you're thinking but it's an original Mini design so you get all the aspects: go-kart handling; crashing ride over speed bumps; fit anywhere and will just about take four adults. The MPI means it should just be a turnkey car and everything is cheap if needed as there are loads of specialists.

    A lot of these seem to have been bought as investments or by owners who never did any miles so are, generally, well cared for. Ours had 20000 on the clock after about 12 years and now has 50000. They do rust, everywhere below the roof line if neglected though... Buy the best you can.

    Cheers, Chris

  18. #18
    Craftsman scucivolo's Avatar
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    So, reliability is not a MAIN issue I understand.. but rust is.

    Any particular spot you guys suggest to carefully look at?


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  19. #19
    Journeyman
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    Quote Originally Posted by scucivolo View Post
    So, reliability is not a MAIN issue I understand.. but rust is.

    Any particular spot you guys suggest to carefully look at?


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    If it's a Mini: floor and sills first; then front wings and A posts; then lower of doors; then subframes; then everything else... Best to buy from a specialist in my opinion if you're not sure.

    All these old cars rot. In the sixties, Jaguar only painted the parts you could see so, inside of sills were virtually bare. They've all been rebuilt by now so it's finding one that's done properly. Probably applies to most manufacturers.

    I have no issues with reliability and have regularly driven 50s and 60s cars but, again they need to be carefully set up/maintained so, it is a minefield.

    If I were you, choose something of interest and read up on them plus join a club if there is one.

    Good luck, Chris

  20. #20
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    It's a hard balance. I think if I was to get another classic it would be tax exempt. However, as others have said, the older you go, the more you have to do. Modern classics will be easier, but will be slow to go up in value.

    If you do go this route, perhaps consider older golfs or maybe the vr6 corrado? In another thread we were discussing Porsche 944's, some of these would be in your budget and are likely to go up in value if you get a good one.

  21. #21
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    Have you thought about buying from a classic car auction? More risk but decent savings to be had. There's a fairly decent one held every couple of months in Kings Lynn. Results from the last auction here: https://angliacarauctions.co.uk/clas...th-april-2018/

  22. #22
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    A little Ďleft fieldí perhaps: BMWís Neue Klasse! 1500, 1600 etc. Comfortable, fast enough for daily traffic and plenty of parts available. Easy to tune (Webers ).
    Often, these cars are overlooked, keeping the prices relatively low


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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    A little Ďleft fieldí perhaps: BMWís Neue Klasse! 1500, 1600 etc. Comfortable, fast enough for daily traffic and plenty of parts available. Easy to tune (Webers ).
    Often, these cars are overlooked, keeping the prices relatively low


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    Not many of those in the UK though Menno. Might be a little more common on the continent.

  24. #24
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Perhaps youíre right! I am on my phone and canít see where the OP is from! His name sounds Italian, though.
    Last edited by thieuster; 28th April 2018 at 19:53.

  25. #25
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Clearly, a mk.1 MX-5 fits the bill.

  26. #26
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Given your possible choices, I would skip over the Fiat 500, and try to find a really nice Fiat 650 better still see if you can find a Fiat 131 Coupe.

    I would however not look to source one from one from the U.K.,but southern Italy or other sunny med country.

    The Fiat 650 would be my choice simply because I would then try to make it as Arbath as possible.

    If this all falls then how about a Lanica Beta Coupe or Monte Carlo. Starting to get very rare. If you do go Lanica Beta Coupe, I have a few spares which I would be happy to donate including an original ML steering wheel and rear light.

    Alternatively, and rather funky, how about a Saab 96, very interesting and usable car.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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  27. #27
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Usable? Merc W123.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  28. #28
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Usable? Merc W123.
    Excellent recommendation.

    At the ďpractical but less comfyĒend of the scale Iíll also put in a word for the Series Land Rovers.

  29. #29
    Master Kirk280's Avatar
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    Or a W124. I had a rough example and it still drove beautifully. A good one would be amazing.

  30. #30
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    '78 VW, certainly a classic, and many get dailyed all over the planet.



    Modern classic, and really cheap compared to what one would set you back here.

  31. #31
    Grand Master
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    I own a 1970 MGB, Iíve rebuilt a couple of MGs in the past and I owned a Triumph TR6 for 10 years.

    Great fun as a hobby, nice to drive on a summers day, but no way would I run one as an everyday car. If I wasnít able to do all the maintenance myself I wouldnít own one, thereís always something needing attention and ideally you donít want to be paying big money to someone else to sort it out.

    A garage is a must too.

    Tomorrow Iíll be stripping the front suspension down again to replace the new front springs I fitted 2 years ago, theyíve sagged / settled to such an extent that the car is sitting too low. The replacements will cost 3 times the amount I paid for the crap ones and hopefully theyíll be far better.

    Poor quality remanufactured parts are the bane of classic ownership and the situation isnít improving. Sad but true.

    Paul

  32. #32
    Master Kirk280's Avatar
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    Are Mercedes R129s in budget?

  33. #33
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Saab 96 is nice. I have one in a barn (donít ask) and Iíve owned a few.
    Prices are not so high, but that has to do with the love-it-or-loath-it attitude of potential buyers. It is not an easy car to drive (column shift). A Saab 99 is also an interesting one! The B20 engine has a weak waterpump and sometimes the head gasket leaks. The later H engine is better.

  34. #34
    Craftsman Nuisance Value's Avatar
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    Alfa 75? Italian, not too old so modern-ish, very cool well respected and prices only going up...

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  35. #35
    I had a mini sprite1275 which I sold. Loved owning it and it was a real head Turner but it only came out on sunny days. I couldn't imagine using it as a daily. I would say which ever you choose out of the three your thinking about, even if it's in mint condition after two salt ridden winter's it's going to start turning orange.

  36. #36
    Craftsman saintsinner's Avatar
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    Some sound advice already given, but i'll add my experiences.
    I own a Lancia Delta Integrale and have owned it long before it was considered a classic, or least before the prices started to rise. Price rises are great if you want to sell, not so if like me you have no intention of selling, as with price rises comes the inevitable increase in prices for spare parts. Owning an Italian classic like mine means i have to track down alot of parts from the mother country and places like Germany and the Netherlands which requires surfing a clubs Fiat EPER parts catalogue between the hours of midnight and 2 am otherwise i'm disconnected due to the amount of users, for part numbers to put into ebay.it and ebay.de. Google translate helps aswell.


    My car has just gone through a very costly bodyshell rebuild, the 1st time in 27 years so not bad, and i have rebuilt it mechanically over the last 5 years or so, it took me that long to locate various parts. The longest i took to source parts was a 7 year wait for a reasonably priced set of headlamps, something the mother country or europe couldn't help me with. I dread to think what the garage bills would have been if i couldn't do the mechanical work myself.


    So in summary, would i own a classic car out of choice, no, they are a labour of love, they require a huge investment of your time and money. If the Integrale was to magically disappear would i replace it, no. If my 159 Sportwagon was to disappear i would replace that. The 159 is devoid in the main of character, quirks, driver sensation, but there is something to be said for parts availability and not having to worry about salt, road conditions, having an accident etc...

  37. #37
    Craftsman Jonboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm3 View Post



    Modern classic, and really cheap compared to what one would set you back here.
    I drive one of these too, they have good club support and there are quite a few specialists. As with any car, they have their issues, but there are plenty of good ones out there and prices are on the up. The 20VT is bonkers, but has higher running costs, dont be put off by the stories about expensive, engine out cambelt changes etc, there are specialists who are very reasonable. Happy to offer more info if it is a contender.
    The Alfa GTV of the same vintage is another alternative.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by draftsmann View Post
    When I was in my first job I drove a 1968 Midget as my daily car. This was 1988. I was 22. It was challenging even then.

    That said I’m now about 5 stone heavier than I was then and last year bought a Westfield (definitely not as a daily driver) so clearly I don’t learn.

    A Midget is a lovely car, on a warm dry day if you don’t have to go very far or very fast though.
    Totally agree, I ran my MG Midget for 6 years as a Summer Sunday car and that's about all you would want to do. As a daily driver in modern traffic a big no no from me.



    Used to love it on a nice sunny day and after having it fettled to 1480cc twin choke weber carb straight through exhaust it sounded great and got down the road quite quick
    Last edited by hilly10; 29th April 2018 at 10:38.

  39. #39
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonboy View Post
    I drive one of these too, they have good club support and there are quite a few specialists. As with any car, they have their issues, but there are plenty of good ones out there and prices are on the up. The 20VT is bonkers, but has higher running costs, dont be put off by the stories about expensive, engine out cambelt changes etc, there are specialists who are very reasonable. Happy to offer more info if it is a contender.
    The Alfa GTV of the same vintage is another alternative.
    Or a Fiat Barchetta?

  40. #40
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hilly10 View Post
    Totally agree, I ran my MG Midget for 6 years as a Summer Sunday car and that's about all you would want to do. As a daily driver in modern traffic a big no no from me.



    Used to love it on a nice sunny day and after having it fettled to 1480cc twin choke weber carb straight through exhaust it sounded great and got down the road quite quick
    That couldíve been mine- same colour. Mine was a year younger than yours. Lovely car.

  41. #41
    Master
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    I was going to post earlier saying my advice is donít buy one but thought Iíd get shot down. Seems similar advice has been offered by owners so I donít feel bad saying it now.

    They are a labour of love and running one every day will be a quick way to turn you off them completely Iíd say.

    Weekend tinkering and driving (with the odd sunny Friday to work) or not at all would be my advice.

  42. #42
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    Saab 96 is nice. I have one in a barn (donít ask) and Iíve owned a few.
    Prices are not so high, but that has to do with the love-it-or-loath-it attitude of potential buyers. It is not an easy car to drive (column shift). A Saab 99 is also an interesting one! The B20 engine has a weak waterpump and sometimes the head gasket leaks. The later H engine is better.

    I liked the colum change myself, but I enjoyed the "free wheel" option on the gearbox. Coast into a corner, select a gear and boot the throttle on the apex. Huge fun.

    The other benefits were a) they were built like tanks and b) the Ford derived V4 engine was easy to get spares for and fix.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  43. #43
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    We currently have a 1989 BMW e30 325i cabrio as our second car. It's not a summer weekend toy, but gets used all year round. It is garaged, but is generally very reliable, and has at least some of the comforts of a modern car (power steering, leccie windows and a few other bits). Very happy in traffic, in fact with about 180bhp in a light car, it's actually quite quick. And it's an absolute hoot to drive, too (does have a non-standard Scorpion SS exhaust which makes a lovely noise).

    These are also appreciating slowly. Mine is now worth twice what I paid for it 6 years go, and that should keep going up. They are still good value, though, albeit some of the exotic models are big money now (M3...)

    Mine's not an M3, it just has some M-sport bits (interior, alpina style wheels).

    Here's mine...


  44. #44
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    Funnily enough, I sat in a hardtop version of one of those the other day. Compared to modern cars, it was like sitting in a greenhouse - there was just SO much glass in the car. The all-round vision was amazing, not like these modern cars with windows the size of letterboxes and pillars the size of tree trunks!

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by apm101 View Post
    We currently have a 1989 BMW e30 325i cabrio as our second car. It's not a summer weekend toy, but gets used all year round. It is garaged, but is generally very reliable, and has at least some of the comforts of a modern car (power steering, leccie windows and a few other bits). Very happy in traffic, in fact with about 180bhp in a light car, it's actually quite quick. And it's an absolute hoot to drive, too (does have a non-standard Scorpion SS exhaust which makes a lovely noise).

    These are also appreciating slowly. Mine is now worth twice what I paid for it 6 years go, and that should keep going up. They are still good value, though, albeit some of the exotic models are big money now (M3...)

    Mine's not an M3, it just has some M-sport bits (interior, alpina style wheels).

    Here's mine...

    Alpinas always look good on an e30. Just bought and had refurbished some BBS basket weaves for mine to replace the standard bottle caps.

    Was thinking about getting an aftermarket exhaust for my 323 - is the Scorpion lairy or just a nice hint of grunt?

  46. #46
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    My tuppence worth, amongst other things £7k should just get you into a classic TVR wedge. Nice on on eBay for £5k at the mo but minor engine fire so needs some attention but makes it a great bargain.


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  47. #47
    Craftsman scucivolo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    London
    Posts
    510
    I feel like Iíve told off of buying one.. and for good reasons!

    It has been my ďdreamĒ from when I was a kid.. but I assume I have to face the fact that the life style here in London and the one I use to live in Sicily are to worlds apart.

    I guess Iíll have to start thinking about the future of motoring rather than the past..

    Electric?


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  48. #48
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    331
    Quote Originally Posted by scucivolo View Post
    I feel like Iíve told off of buying one.. and for good reasons!

    It has been my ďdreamĒ from when I was a kid.. but I assume I have to face the fact that the life style here in London and the one I use to live in Sicily are to worlds apart.

    I guess Iíll have to start thinking about the future of motoring rather than the past..

    Electric?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    If its your dream, go for it.
    Only you will know if its right for you. What might not work for others may work fine in your circumstances.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by scucivolo View Post
    I feel like Iíve told off of buying one.. and for good reasons!

    It has been my ďdreamĒ from when I was a kid.. but I assume I have to face the fact that the life style here in London and the one I use to live in Sicily are to worlds apart.

    I guess Iíll have to start thinking about the future of motoring rather than the past..

    Electric?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    You only live once..... Your going to have plenty of time to try electric but I would say limited time to try classic. You might love the endless rust chasing, washing your vehicle with waxoil, fine adjusting your carb, changing the blue coolant every 2 years, shimming your ball joints, keeping your eyes fixated on the road ahead for potholes (not good with 10" alloys) oh and that numb bum feeling. (this experience comes from my username) and to be honest I loved every minute of it :D

  50. #50
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    543
    Have a low mileage mk1 and couldnít agree more
    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    Clearly, a mk.1 MX-5 fits the bill.

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