Plan­ning your next clas­sic buy? Our Hot 30 will help you through the maze – if you buy with your heart and head

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contentts -

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

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