Buying a British classic car

Buying a British classic car
Buying a British classic car

The best and most envied used cars from UK factories

There’s nothing better than a beefy slice of good old fashioned British brawn for many people. Forget performance cars or fragile Italian supermodels: homegrown is sometimes the only way to go, particularly if you’ve a long-lived dream to chase.

If you’re lying awake at night deciding which British car to dream about for when your lottery numbers come up, here are some suggestions. Who knows, you might be able to realise some of them today, even without crossing your fingers waiting for the sixth ball to come out.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin V8 Vantage
You could have an Aston Martin V8 Vantage from around £27,000

Let’s start with the British supercar brand of the moment – Aston Martin. The reborn firm has designs on challenging Ferrari, so now’s probably a good time to get your foot on the ladder with a 2005-on V8 Vantage, the best-selling Aston ever. Pick one up from around £27,000.

It’s a surprisingly solid thing for a hand-built British sports car, although you might be best avoiding the first-off-the-line cars. Generally, they are dependable, but all suffer from niggles, particularly if they’re not used that often and the battery runs flat. As with any Ferrari, we’d budget a decent four-figure sum for annual maintenance costs.

Rolls-Royce

As British as Buckingham Palace – the Rolls-Royce

You used to be able to get a 1970s Silver Shadow II for £10,000. That’s now doubled. The £10k car today is the 1980s Silver Spirit, which replaced rounded headlights and detailing with a much squarer-set look. Now’s the time to get a good one, though: it won’t be long before priced go the Shadow II’s way.

TVR

TVR Chimera
The TVR Chimera was a poster car for the 1990s

If you came of age in the 1990s, you’re probably still hankering dreams of owning a TVR, even though you know they’re fragile and expansive to fix. We don’t blame you – and although the reputation isn’t entirely undeserved, the cars are still probably more reliable than you think. There’s your in.

The cheapest TVRs are the Rover V8-engiend Chimera: take a 1997-on car from £10,000. If you want something more modern, try a Tuscan, which was made from 1999 to 2006. This has TVR’s own straight-six engine, and although it was problematic when new, specialists have honed it into a dependable thing today. Pay from around £30,000.

Low-volume specials

Morgan Plus 8

Then there are the minnows. Most British sports cars are hand-built in low numbers, but some really are sold in tiny volumes. Take Morgan: it still makes its cars partly from wood, for heaven’s sake (although the chassis have actually been dependable steel for years). A 4/4 will cost you from around £20,000, but for some, only a V8-engined Plus 8 will do. They’ll pay accordingly: prices are double those for the 4/4…

Bond cars

British classic car Aston Martin Vanquish
James Bond’s Aston Martin Vanquish – standard models didn’t get rocket launchers, sadly

We can’t mention British sports cars without referencing James Bond. Over the years, he’s had all sorts of Aston Martins and Jaguars: let’s not mention his bizarre dalliance with BMW (Bond, in a Z3? Really?).

One of the most iconic modern Bond cars is the Aston Martin Vanquish, used in Die Another Day. The car’s as iconic as the film, and gets more gorgeous with every passing year. It may well cost from £80,000, but it won’t be long before prices hit six figures.

Is there a legal upper age limit for driving in the UK?

Learning to drive after your 17th birthday rolls around is an exciting milestone in life - but is there an age where it's time to give up getting

How to jump start a car

The cold winter months are tough on cars and particularly their batteries.Heavy use of lights and heaters can place extra strain on batteries,

Quiz - the new cars of 2018

2018 was a bumper year for new cars, with the latest versions of perennial best-sellers and all-new offerings from some big-name brands appearing.To

Save £360 a year on fuel with these 8 simple driving tips

Fuel is the second biggest expense for drivers after insurance and the last year has seen some painful increases in prices at the pumps.The