Planning your next classic buy? Our Hot 30 will help you through the maze – if you buy with your heart and head
on the drive home from the last classic car night at London’s Ace Café I had plenty of time to mull over the conversations I’d had about the eclectic variety of cars with their similarly eclectic mix of owners. Everyone I spoke to had either completed a restoration (Lotus Seven) and was contemplating the next, or had just bought a classic (Mercedes 560 SEC). Some were the product of a mission to own a long-held dream; most were a compromise between desire and the need to seek out good value classics.
Tales of missed opportunities abound at the Ace, Dragstalgia, Goodwood and any of the other places where I’ve been hanging out – cars that were within reach ten, five or even just two years ago have jumped.
So what to buy now? The market is messy – it’s down, up or sideways, depending on where you look. Suitors of popular auction collectables like Mercedes Gullwings and Ferrari Daytonas have been resisting the belief system of annual price escalation, pushing values back to where they were a couple of years ago, yet more humble symbols of youthful aspiration like Ford Capri RS3100S and Peugeot 205 GTIS continue to set records.
So our annual round-up of the 30 best cars to buy before demand chases up their values was a tougher ask than usual. But our five experts came up with a compelling mix, from the velvet express indulgence of a Jaguar XJ-S to the laugh-manically-throughevery-corner dartiness of an Alpine A110. We chose our team for their seasoned market expertise, but they were also united by an overriding belief that classic cars should be chosen by the heart first and the head second. Payback comes from the pleasure they give every time you heave open the garage doors, take on a cross-country adventure or hop out at a petrol station to field a barrage of enthusiastic questions.
Which reminds me – I must book my place on the Round Britain Coastal Drive, organised by Philip Porter of the E-type Club. I can only commit to part of this epic 3600-mile relay, starting and finishing at Goodwood, but I’m really looking forward to being part of something so special, and important in its bid to raise £50k for charity. You can find out more, make a donation or sponsor me at E-typeclub.com.
Enjoy the issue. Phil Bell, editor
Phil’s E-type is ready for the Round Britain Coastal Drive charity run Rockin’ Ramon’s Wild’r at Heart is a Dragstalgia star Ace brimming with fresh restos and buys