MEET THE RIVALS
1958-61 AUSTIN-HEALEY ‘FROGEYE’ SPRITE £4000-18,500
The car that sired the Austin-Healey Sprite (and therefore the MG Midget) majors on its cute-as-a-button looks and evocative driving experience. Small wonder you can now convert a later Midget to look like a Frogeye.
1962-73 LOTUS ELAN S2-4 £7250-36,000
The earlier the Elan, the rarer, more desirable and more expensive it is, so buyers on a budget tend to ignore the 1500/1600 in favour of the later S2-4s. Pretty, with fizzy engines and handling to die for, but not exactly cheap.
1989-97 MAZDA MX-5 NA £500-5000
Mazda’s unashamed Elan homage is still cheap enough and ubiquitous enough to deliver champagne sports car thrills on a lemonade budget. Timeless styling, high build quality and inch-perfect handling add up to a compelling package.
1979-81 TRIUMPH TR7 DROPHEAD COUPÉ £1000-6000
Oft-maligned – unfairly, for the most part – the drop-top TR7 arrived to the party late thanks to Triumph’s wobbles over pending US rollover legislation. More cruiser than sports car, but surprisingly enjoyable to drive none the less.