Top 5 Classic Collector Cars You Can Afford To Love

With Valentine’s Day highlighting the sheer cost involved with running an ‘other half’, why not trade them in for a classic car?

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It's Valentine's Day!

Modern life presents a wide array of challenges. When expected to work each hour of the waking day, certain aspects of existence can escape the forefront of attention, such as suddenly remembering that today is the consumerists’ ‘day of love' – Valentine's Day.

It’s then you realise that you haven’t booked a table at the most expensive restaurant in town, and that your disgruntled partner is therefore going to put you through a wall. Or that your anniversary began nine hours ago and you have failed to mention it to your spouse. Cue a mountain of anxiety, fighting, divorce and a year’s supply of Valium.

However, there is a resolution to the mother of all non-holidays....

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But don't panic...

This Valentine’s Day, rehome a classic and show it some love. As something to bring you and your partner together, the world of classic car ownership remains second to none. Who wouldn't prefer a Mustang Foxbody or Mazda over an overpriced meal out?

The comradeship, teamwork and travel required with a vehicle of historical origin can harden any already solid bond. It can also drive couples apart… but if your lover can’t develop a liberal attitude to engine components in the bath, it was probably never meant to be anyway.

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...here's how to escape with a classic car

It doesn’t take a shed-load of cash to get into the classic car scene, either. While the prices of an Aston Martin DB4 or Ferrari 250 GTO would leave wealthy oil barons reaching for the smelling salts, you don’t need lashings of dollars to source, buy and run a charismatic slice of yesteryear. Here’s our list of the top five classic cars you can buy for less than a weekend break for two.

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5. Citroën 2CV

Charming, nimble and resilient, the Deux Chevaux – or Tin Snail, as it was fondly known – must be approached in a completely different manner to any other vehicle. Tailored for extreme economy, the ingeniously-designed Citroën is packed full of innovative detail to ensure each journey remains as comfortable, charismatic, and affordable as possible.

We admit that acceleration remains non-existent – you’ll need patience to gather any pace above 45mph – however, if you can cope with episodes of Sex and the City or watching live soccer coverage, chances are such tedium will be child’s play.

Prices are largely consistent across the board, so budget roughly $8k for one that will recreate a loveable Parisian ambience within the cabin – rather than a cheap example that will bring all the joy of starving during the French Revolution.

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4. Mazda MX-5 Miata

If the lure of drop-top motoring remains too much to ignore, head to the classifieds in search of Mazda’s first-generation Miata. No MkI is worth big bucks, yet the amount of car you get for your money is largely unrivalled. You can find a running and dependable example for under $5k, and it’ll be capable of 120mph and 30mpg into the bargain.

The MX-5 may be a tad impractical, but for getting away from it all for a long weekend at the coast, nothing offers the same therapeutic tonic as a well heeled Mazda sports car. While it may not be perceived as the most desirable classic on the road, as a driver’s car it outclasses even the maddest Porsche or daintiest Ferrari. For all the thrills of a drop-top coupé with reliability and pop-up headlamps, you can’t go wrong.

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3. Ford Mustang Foxbody

If you are looking to grab a slice of Mustang action, the Mustang III still represents your cheapest entry ticket. A solid introduction to the American car scene for those on a shoestring budget, to avoid disappointment when planting the accelerator, it’s a V8 that calls your name.

They easily lend themselves to further tuning should you have the fuel budget (prepare for single digit return figures), and the higher the trim the better. If you find an example seeking a new owner with leather upholstery and electric everything, it’s the best American motor for your money, without the garage busting girth.

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2. Jaguar XJ40

Want to go from 0-62kmh faster than your angry partner’s temper? The fourth incarnation of Jaguar’s impressively smooth and graceful saloon will make for the ideal getaway car. Yet you must choose your XJ40 wisely, as while it may well showcase the best of Jaguar from the 1980s, it can also happily demonstrate why the company nearly went bankrupt in the first place.

While capable of highly desirable outright speed and handling agility, an XJ saloon can also explode in a cloud of oil and steam faster than you can say ‘Sorry, darling’. Purchase a complete wreck and it won’t be the Jag that spoils your relationship – rather, the drinking that comes with it. Bargain on 16mpg, if you’re lucky.

Still, with handsome looks and opulent comfort, for a raunchy night out in Soho’s nightclubs, casinos and bars little else in this price range can help you keep a low profile yet feel so special. It huge boot will also swallow all the gifts and flowers your significant other could possibly wish for.

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1. MGB

The MGB is considered the archetypal classic – and for good reason. It is far from exclusive, with half a million spewing out of the factory gates when new, and as slow as a week in jail. The upshot is that it’s about as aspirational as a weekend spent stripping wallpaper.

However, such a view unfairly short-changes the dear ol’ B. The 1.8-litre B-series engine may submit a 0-60mph time you can register on a sundial, but the powerplant’s frugality means you’ll sail by the Mercedes driver who mocked you as they haul in for a fuel stop.

There is a rare V8 option, but expect single digits when calculating your fuel read-out, and forget about that wedding you were saving up for. Or even having the money to date in the first place.

As a romantic ideal, taking your MGB out on a sunny, crisp spring morning is the pin-up image for affordable classic ownership. You’ve got a superb view down the sloping bonnet, an exhaust note that trumps any heavenly choir and a sense of occasion that will leave you grinning inanely from ear to ear.

All you need to add is a wicker picnic basket, red and white chequered blanket, and scones and jam for the ultimate dreamy, tender day out as a pair. You could even take your partner, too.

Classic Cars for Sale