There are plenty of good looking cars from the 50s, 60s and 70s that hold their own in terms of style and value. For example, this is a photo of a very stylish Citroen DS (the original model) from that period, taken in Steyning this summer. Anything much earlier is likely to be too impractical for modern conditions.
Vintage cars need to be regularly serviced by a garage that knows how to look after them. Not all garages or dealerships do.
Whilst it may be difficult to find a local garage you can trust, once you do, maintenance costs are generally low compared to a modern car because of the absence of complex on board systems.
Many older cars can be competent ‘daily drivers’ but they will require covered parking to maintain their reliability and value.
What to look out for?
Our advice is to
+ Buy a car with good older car parts availability such as MG, Lotus, Mini, BMW, Citroen and Alfa Romeo.
+ Join FOXY Lady Drivers Club to help you find the right garage specialist to look after the car, to benefit from insurance discounts and to have someone on hand to advise you when you have a problem.
+ Look out for evidence of corrosion. On some old cars even the glass rusts so get an expert to check an old car out before buying. Depending on the car it may make financial sense to join the relevant owners club to find that expert BEFORE you buy the car of your dreams, not after. It may cost c£30 but this is well worth it to make sure you aren’t buying a dud.
What questions should you ask when buying?
+ The car’s history is important. What has been spent on the car over the past five years for example (or the last 20,000 miles)?
+ Why is the car for sale? Ask for permission to speak to previous owners prior to buying.
+ Ask about difficult to source components such as tyres. Where can you buy parts for example.
What are the common pitfalls when buying vintage cars?
+ Buying a pretty-looking car on sight without asking an expert to check it over first.
+ The driving experience – make sure you take a long test drive to feel the difference in handling.
+ Not knowing what the likely mechanical/rust problems are with that model.
+ Buying a Maserati and expecting Morris Minor bills.
What are the pros and cons of owning a vintage car
The pros include:
+ Style and individuality.
+ Admiring looks in car parks.
+ Making friends with car owners like you.
+ It’s likely to be an investment – as a rule, vintage cars don’t depreciate, providing you look after them.
+ Cost of ownership – insurance is generally much cheaper from a classic car insurer and you’ll get a good discount if you’re a member of a car club.
+ VED tax exemptions – if your car was built before January 1 1973 it’s exempt from road tax and after April next year this’ll apply to one manufactured before January 1 1974.
But there are several significant cons to bear in mind…
+ A vintage/classic car will rust away if you can’t garage it.
+ It’s unlikely to match modern car reliability.
+ It’s unlikely to have power steering (although some cars may have this).
+ It may not have power assisted brakes (which results in a totally different style of driving*).
+ It’s highly unlikely to have air conditioning so de-misting can be quite a problem.
+ Most won’t have central locking, electric windows, sound systems and so on.
+ Unless it’s a 60s super car, it won’t handle as well as a modern car.
+ Parking won’t be as easy.
+ You’ll need extra security if you’re ever parking in a city or out of doors; vintage cars were built before car theft became the problem it is today.
*You need to allow for more braking distance to accommodate old brake technology
If we haven’t put you off, and we’d commend your determination anyway, we wish you all the very best of motoring in what we hope becomes a much loved member of the family…. providing you buy a good example of an older car in the first place, and then ask FOXY to help run it as economically as possible in future!
i/c FOXY Helpdesk