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Thread: Low cost classic?

  1. #1
    Master
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    Low cost classic?

    We are selling our VW camper to pay off some mortgage. I've managed to secure a sum to purchase a replacement second vehicle. It will be used on nice days for outings, regular local use. We have a garage to keep it in.

    Spec:

    - 4 seats
    - convertible
    - older than 1983 (to avoid coming ULEZ- we are in London)
    - less than £5k to buy a good one
    - simple to maintain- I am not a spanner twirler, but happy to tackle easy stuff

    So far, shortlist is: Herald, Minor, Beetle, early VW golf, BMW E21

    Any thoughts welcome.

    TIA!

  2. #2
    Master
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    4 seat cabrio cuts things down a lot.

    No idea of prices but what about an Audi 80/100, BMW 3 series, cavalier, escort?

  3. #3
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    I would think the only one on your list to be in budget might be the Hereld.
    Cheers..
    Jase

  4. #4
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apm101 View Post
    We are selling our VW camper to pay off some mortgage. I've managed to secure a sum to purchase a replacement second vehicle. It will be used on nice days for outings, regular local use. We have a garage to keep it in.

    Spec:

    - 4 seats
    - convertible
    - older than 1983 (to avoid coming ULEZ- we are in London)
    - less than £5k to buy a good one
    - simple to maintain- I am not a spanner twirler, but happy to tackle easy stuff

    So far, shortlist is: Herald, Minor, Beetle, early VW golf, BMW E21

    Any thoughts welcome.

    TIA!
    Saab, surely?

  5. #5
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Heralds are easy to work on and the parts supply is good. Same goes for the Minor. Downside: electrics and rust. Check both. Walk away from a car with anything that looks bodged, especially when it comes to the electrics. Check the fuses: there should NOT be a bigger (heavier) fuse where a lighter/smaller should be in place. Check all electric components (wipers etc) yourself. I know that a faulty wiper motor will perform one single 'stroke' before the fuse gives up. It looks to be okay, but you can't turn the wiper on a second time. A few (10+) full 'strokes' on the windscreen tells a lot more.

    The heater in a Minor or Herald is rubbish. That could be an interesting point when you want to drive with the top open during cooler days. VW's heaters were always great. Provided that the intricate VW system (exhaust heat to the cabin) is still in good nick. You can buy Clayton heaters for the Minor and Herald, but that's not cheap!

    A British car with an upgraded electrical system (relays) is always good. Check the overdrive if fitted - on the Herald an add-on, I think. Repairs are expensive and knowledge about the 'how to' is getting thinner, so to speak.

    Panel gaps on a Herald are a joke, especially between the bonnet and the front doors. That has to be so wide, otherwise, the lower edge of the bonnet will interfere with the front of the door every time you open/close the bonnet. Other gaps should be acceptable. Try to open/shut the doors without anyone sitting inside. Then do it again with 2 and then 4 people in the car. Closing the Herald's and Minor's doos should be as easy as before with no-one inside. Otherwise, the body is sagging in the middle... There's always some sagging with people inside, but the doors should still close easily.

    Rust: check the clubs' website for info about that.

    VW: well, you had a Camper! So a Beetle convertible is basically an older model camper. I'm sure you know the details of that. Check the fuel lines running from the tank to the engine. Older fuel lines are prone to rust etc. Replacing is a fiddly job.
    Last edited by thieuster; 4th May 2022 at 11:52.

  6. #6
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Herald or Minor for that money. Spares are plentiful but make sure the hood is good.

    Rust is really a problem on these old cars so be very careful you could be buying a pig in a poke.

    Not being a convertible would open up your choice immeasurably.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  7. #7
    Grand Master
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    Any old classic will invariably have had lots of restoration work done at some time in the past. Look for evidence that its been carried out thoroughly to a high standard, with a herald or vitesse that means taking the body off the chassis, personally I would never buy one that hasn’t had a full body- off rebuild.

    Buy the right car and it’ll be fun to own, buy the wrong one and it’ll be nothing but trouble. Good examples aren’t cheap and they’re not easy to find.

    A herald will need suspension work quite frequently, front trunnion bushes never lasted long and the replacements are unlikely to be better than the originals. Even when everythings in good condition the rear suspension will make creaking noises, I spent many hours trying to track down the cause when I owned a Spitfire many years back and in the end I gave up.

    Sadly, the classic car hobby is blighted by poor quality replacement parts and and this situation seems to have got worse not better in recent years.
    Last edited by walkerwek1958; 4th May 2022 at 13:22.

  8. #8
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    Not being a convertible would open up your choice immeasurably.
    Got to agree, and something with a full length Webasto sunroof would make it akin to being in a convertible and wouldn't have quite so many drawbacks.

  9. #9
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    Saab, surely?
    In would say a Saab too - the £5k price and other requirements really limit options - Audi 80 maybe but with anything from the late 70's and early 80's rust is not your friend and finding anyhting good for under £5k that won't burn you with a massive bill isn't easy. Early Golf Mk1 cabs would have been in that price range a year or 18 months ago but they're pretty much well outside now.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by astonandy View Post
    In would say a Saab too.
    Saab 900 Cabrios weren't made until about 86-87 though

  11. #11
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    I'd take a Beetle convertible over a Herald any day (I love the Herald, I own a Spitfire but in terms of practicality the VW wins hands down for me) but I doubt you'll find something roadworthy -let alone hall decent- for £5K.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  12. #12
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    Reliant Scimitar if you like a lot of space or, if the kids are young enough, a Midas Cortez or MK IV 2+2

    This looks like it's had a fair bit of love:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/384869234...cAAOSwWC1icXBZ

  13. #13
    Master murkeywaters's Avatar
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    Think youíll struggle at 5k with those requirements, give up the rag top or ulez and more cars will come into play, even then you donít want to be buying the bottom end of your choice.

    Maybe look at classic auctions, you canít look over a car as well as a private/dealer sale but you may just bag a better car..

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by catflem View Post
    Got to agree, and something with a full length Webasto sunroof would make it akin to being in a convertible and wouldn't have quite so many drawbacks.

    Another vote for this route - I had one on a Fiat 124 Special T (four seat saloon) in the summer of 1976 and I remember it with great fondness. Easy to open and close from inside, almost as much sun and fresh air as a rag top and, as has been said, would open up your choices considerably.

  15. #15
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    Reliant Scimitar if you like a lot of space or, if the kids are young enough, a Midas Cortez or MK IV 2+2

    This looks like it's had a fair bit of love:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/384869234...cAAOSwWC1icXBZ

    Is it difficult to get the top down?

  16. #16
    Master Joe.K's Avatar
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    Wouldnít one of the second gen beetles 1990ís onwards be ulez compatible? Great cars for the money I reckon.


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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe.K View Post
    Wouldnít one of the second gen beetles 1990ís onwards be ulez compatible? Great cars for the money I reckon.
    That's my thought too.

    Finding an reliable classic convertible will be harder than finding a more modern car that's also ULEZ compliant.

    Petrol modern Beetle convertibles are and can be had for far less than £5k.

    A quick search on autotrader for ULEZ compliant 4+ seat convertibles turns up over 1000 cars

  18. #18
    Looks to be nice herald in London on eBay for £3750

  19. #19
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    Keep an eye on the catalogue for the 11th/12th June classic auction at Anglia Car Auctions plus there's loads of previous results to browse through to give you a bit more of an idea: https://angliacarauctions.co.uk/classic/results/

    How cool would this have been for £3750? https://angliacarauctions.co.uk/clas...nvertible-lhd/


  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Lampoc View Post
    Keep an eye on the catalogue for the 11th/12th June classic auction at Anglia Car Auctions plus there's loads of previous results to browse through to give you a bit more of an idea: https://angliacarauctions.co.uk/classic/results/

    How cool would this have been for £3750? https://angliacarauctions.co.uk/clas...nvertible-lhd/

    Yeah, ok, that!

  21. #21
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I'd take a Beetle convertible over a Herald any day (I love the Herald, I own a Spitfire but in terms of practicality the VW wins hands down for me) but I doubt you'll find something roadworthy -let alone hall decent- for £5K.
    I'd disagree as I've never liked Beetles (horrible, crude noisy things with dreadful ride), but you're right, a convertible (original) Beetle is no way in budget.

    M

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  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by tz-uk73 View Post
    Looks to be nice herald in London on eBay for £3750
    this looks good for small money and seems to tick your boxes (i'll declare no association or specialist knowledge)


  23. #23
    Master unclealec's Avatar
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    I would like to input on this; I am the very embodiment of the classic car driver (although they weren't classics when I was driving them, they were just cars).

    These are my personal experiences; don't forget - different strokes for different folks.

    I am just under 6ft and weigh 13 stone. My daily drivers are Riley RM, Jowett Javelin, and Morris Minor van.

    In your price range:

    Heralds. Ghastly to drive. Tinny little things. They have a certain charm, parts are cheap and available, and you will find a good solid example within your range. But it will be for driving and enjoying, not for being pristine. Nothing ever fits quite right. I struggled to make myself fit comfortably in the driving position. Performance and economy pretty good. Personally I can't get past the Micky Mouse rear suspension.

    Morris Minor. Much better room-wise. Surprisingly good to drive, and improveable by adding on various mods i.e. telescopic shockers, an easy job and not that dear to buy. Parts available and cheap. You will get one in your budget but it will need ongoing work, and probably welding from time to time. If you are prepared to do some structural work occasionally, and regular maintenance and improvement, I would say this is your best bet.

    Other than these - no chance unless you drop the topless bit.

  24. #24
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    About Webastos: great for the 'open top motoring experience' and keeping the structural rigidity of the body. In the 60s, a lot of cars sold in the UK had a sliding roof or Webasto as a dealer option. It never caught on here on the Continent. These are rather rare here.

    Downside is moist in the -often wood- contstruction under the cloth/vinyl cover. Check that carefully. Another option is a modern-day sliding roof on a classic car! I've seen Saabs 95/96 with a Renault sliding roof. I think it looks the business!!!

    This one:


  25. #25
    Master
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    Thanks for your responses, all.

    We had narrowed down to a Moggie.

    Then I found that the six cylinder E46 beemers are ULEZ compliant. Then I found out that an E93 tin top can be had for not much more.

    This guy is currently the front runner. 330i, 272bhp. Oof!



    Or something like this 330i. 231bhp.



    Currently looking at both. Not quite as classic, although I reckon the bigger six cylinder versions of both may well end up as modern classics in the future. Feels like the prices for the E46 are already hardening.

    The E93 is clearly the better car in many ways (tin top, more refined, lighter, more power, LOWER road tax, believe it or not). But there's something about the E46 that feels more classic somehow. Price difference is not much: £4,600 private for the E46 on 73k miles, £6150 for the E93 from a dealer, 96k.

    Bit of a change, I know!

    More thoughts very welcome.

  26. #26
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Well, that certainly escalated fast!

    I've always liked the E46 (My 'realistic dream' car is an E46 M3, but it doesn't fit my daily needs, maybe one day), certainly BMWs didn't get better looking after that model.

    Probably a better option than a true 'classic' (or am I just showing my age now that cars I owned or considered new are now old enough to be considered classics? ) and realistically a 330i (or even a D?) is all you'll need.

    M


    Quote Originally Posted by apm101 View Post
    Thanks for your responses, all.

    We had narrowed down to a Moggie.

    Then I found that the six cylinder E46 beemers are ULEZ compliant. Then I found out that an E93 tin top can be had for not much more.

    This guy is currently the front runner. 330i, 272bhp. Oof!

    More thoughts very welcome.
    Breitling Cosmonaute 809 - What's not to like?

  27. #27
    Master unclealec's Avatar
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    God Almighty!

    Morris Minor or BMW E46?

    A bit like asking "what would you prefer? A spaceship or a bicycle?"

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