Hot 30

In a tur­bu­lent mar­ket, even great cars can slip into a back­wa­ter. We asked six ex­perts to tip those set to move again soon

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents - Words ROSS ALKUREISHI Pho­tog­ra­phy TOM WOOD

In a clas­sic car mar­ket that con­stantly ebbs and flows, more gems have un­de­servedly been left strag­gling be­hind than you may think. With the help of six ex­perts, we tip 30 di­verse buys before 2018 brings them back up to speed

Af­ter the boom there has been no bust. Yes, the mar­ket has self­cor­rected, but that’s taken place mainly at the top end. In the mid-tolower price ranges many cars have con­tin­ued to gen­tly in­crease in value, with the odd out­lier ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions. Whether it’s bag­ging a high-end rar­ity, a su­per­car bar­gain or an af­ford­able road­ster, our six ex­perts have dug deep to pick the cars to buy now before prices move again.

>Fiat 124 Spi­der TIPPED BY EMANUELE COLLO

‘I think you can get a good 124 Spi­der for way less than £25k,’ says Emanuele Collo. ‘It looks great and re­minds me of a Fer­rari 275 GTS. One is many, many times the price of the other but you can prob­a­bly have the same amount of fun, if not more, with the Fiat. Han­dling is great, it’s supremely chuck­able and is com­bined with that sweet Aure­lio Lam­predi-de­signed twin-cam en­gine. For me, the 1.6-litre in par­tic­u­lar is al­most as good as the 1.6-litre Alfa Romeo unit, and that’s a se­ri­ous com­pli­ment.’

There’s a big va­ri­ety of mod­els in­clud­ing early, pure, chrome­bumper mod­els through to later im­pact-bumper cars. En­gines range from the first 1.4-litre unit, to 1.6- and 1.8-, and the later 2-litre lumps. The char­ac­ter of each is dic­tated by car­bu­ret­tor, fuel in­jec­tion and even su­per­charger (on the Vol­umex) fuel sys­tems.

‘My pref­er­ence would be an early chrome-bumper car in Giallo Posi­tano (yellow) or an­other Seventies colour scheme,’ says Collo. ‘Im­pact-bumper cars suit smaller bud­gets but still have lots of char­ac­ter, and the later Vol­umex en­gine is also quite in­ter­est­ing.’

Early chrome-bumper mod­els usu­ally get all the glory and at­tract higher ask­ing prices with, as Collo points out, the 1.6-litre vari­ant be­ing a par­tic­u­lar sweet spot. How­ever, the Pin­in­fa­rina Spi­dereu­ropa seen here, and up for sale at Spi­der spe­cial­ist DTR Euro­pean Sports Cars, proves just how good later vari­ants can be.

De­spite twin-tube bumpers and the larger rear light clus­ters, its Tom Tjaarda-de­signed lines re­main sleek and pur­pose­ful. In­side, a par­cel shelf re­places the plus-two rear seats and there’s more in the way of mod cons in­clud­ing elec­tric win­dows and side mir­rors.

The 2-litre twin-cam now fea­tures Bosch L-jetronic fuel in­jec­tion and that has a dis­tinct calm­ing and mod­ernising in­flu­ence on the driv­ing experience. Gone is the car­bu­ret­ted in­take blare, with the en­gine elic­it­ing a smoother, much more re­fined char­ac­ter. This en­sures this 124 Spi­der is more at home as a city cruiser and ex­cels as a long-dis­tance tour­ing op­tion – an­other bonus is the lofty 32mpg fuel re­turn.

You get a short-throw, pos­i­tive gear change and be­neath all that fuel in­jec­tion plumb­ing there’s still the en­gine’s in­her­ent will­ing­ness to rev – plus enough au­ral plea­sure through the ex­haust back box to keep you in­ter­ested. Out on B-roads it re­mains pure 124 Spi­der – poised, bal­anced and to­tally pre­dictable as long as you don’t do any­thing silly, such as lift of the throt­tle mid-cor­ner when charg­ing hard.

When buy­ing, body­work is key, be­cause a full restora­tion will be ex­pen­sive and for later ex­am­ples pos­si­bly more than the car’s worth. Post-1975 metal was of poorer qual­ity and has a greater ten­dency to rot, par­tic­u­larly around the wheel arches and sills, the lat­ter from the in­side out. Parts avail­abil­ity is first class and, un­like the 275 GTS, it has Fiat run­ning costs.

There’s also the badge ques­tion. The Fiat Spi­der never of­fi­cially hit UK shores, so it’s al­ways been un­der the radar and never fully ap­pre­ci­ated. This car from Pin­in­fa­rina, which took the pro­duc­tion reigns post-1981 for the fi­nal two years, will have all and sundry look­ing at the ‘f’ badges on bon­net and boot and try­ing to guess what on earth it is.

As for a pop­u­lar ri­val for your cash, ‘Drive an MGB and a 124 Spi­der back-to-back and there’s no com­par­i­son,’ Collo ad­vises.

‘It’s at least as much fun as a Fer­rari 275 GTS but at a frac­tion of the price’

‘The MX-5 MKI is a defin­ing road­ster in the world of mod­ern clas­sics’

>BMW Z4M Coupé TIPPED BY WILL SMITH

‘I love the quirky fast­back looks of the Z4M Coupé. It’s a real nod to the past,’ en­thuses Will Smith. ‘With that big straight-six and a man­ual gear­box it’s a real high-per­for­mance M car – for me once they moved on to tur­bocharg­ers they lost their heart and soul. The in­te­ri­ors are clean and sim­plis­tic and on the road it just does ev­ery­thing so well.’

Smith be­lieves the Coupé will con­tinue to com­mand a pre­mium, cur­rently £10k-£15k, over its soft-top equiv­a­lent. ‘The rigid­ity of the hard­top means it’s the bet­ter han­dling of the two. Once peo­ple cot­ton on to the model I think it’ll be a safe place to put your money and it will con­tinue to in­crease in value.’

In the cur­rent mar­ket £20k will buy a nice car, but for a low­er­mileage ex­am­ple you’ll be look­ing at up to £25k. The most pop­u­lar colours seem to be dark shades, with black in­te­ri­ors. ‘Check the ser­vice his­tory care­fully, en­sur­ing that the all-im­por­tant run­ning-in ser­vice has been done at the cor­rect in­ter­val,’ says Smith. ‘Avoid heav­ily mod­i­fied cars and in­spect care­fully, look­ing for ev­i­dence of ac­ci­dent dam­age. Be pa­tient with your search and al­ways buy the very best you can af­ford be­cause it will only serve to get you a higher price when it comes to sell­ing. The Z4 or ‘M’ fo­rums tend to be a good place to start, with friendly ad­vice and gen­uine en­thu­si­asts on hand to steer you in the right di­rec­tion.’

>Mazda MX-5 TIPPED BY TIM SCHOFIELD

Tim Schofield also chose the Mazda MX-5 MKI in the £10k price band of our 2014 Hot 30 list, which in­di­cates how the model has moved up in the mar­ket.

‘Sub-£10k will still buy you a circa-20k miles, Uk-sup­plied car on an G or H (1989-90) plate but you’ll now be look­ing at closer to £15k for the very best,’ he says.

‘My ideal has to be a red-with-cloth­in­te­rior car and ideally with fewer than 20k miles on the clock. Like all th­ese cars, sub­se­quent mod­els put on weight, so go for the orig­i­nal with pop-up head­lamps.’ For Schofield’s £15k top price you’ll get the best ex­am­ple of what is a defin­ing road­ster in the world of late-eight­ies and ear­lynineties mod­ern clas­sic cars. With 115bhp, del­i­cately bal­anced han­dling and fin­ger­tip-light steer­ing, it’s a joy to pi­lot.

‘This mass-pro­duced two-seat Ja­panese road­ster draws ob­vi­ous sim­i­lar­i­ties to the MGB but just edges it in terms of per­for­mance and de­sign. It’s such a pretty lit­tle car and one that res­o­lutely re­mains on my wish­list.’

Schofield ad­vises avoid­ing mod­i­fied or high-mileage or cars or any that have been thrashed. ‘Find a loved one with orig­i­nal paint and trim, to­tally stock just as it left Mazda, that’s been garaged and had sum­mer use only. Th­ese are now be­com­ing cars sought by col­lec­tors and it might one day make the same kind of money that the as-new £30k MG Mid­gets made at Bon­hams’ last auc­tion.’

>Mercedes Benz SL55 AMG TIPPED BY DANIEL DONOVAN

With a 476bhp su­per­charged V8, at launch this was Mercedes­benz’s most pow­er­ful road-go­ing car yet and a real slayer of su­per­cars. ‘It’s still a great all-round car to­day,’ says Daniel Donovan. ‘And you get a for­mer F1 pace car for the price of a Volk­swa­gen Golf. It was supremely im­por­tant, com­mand­ing a £20k pre­mium more over list price when new. Plus the roof comes down too. Who would have thought one day it would only cost £20k to buy?’ For that price Donovan says you can ex­pect a good car with 40k-60k miles on the clock, but an ex­cel­lent low-mileage ex­am­ple will cost more.

Ensure any potential pur­chase has been prop­erly main­tained, ser­viced at the cor­rect in­ter­vals and pro­vides a to­tally trou­ble-free driv­ing experience. Poor-qual­ity ex­am­ples can cost a for­tune to put right, so it’s im­per­a­tive you buy a good one. ‘They’re pretty bul­let­proof cars and an SL55 AMG does ev­ery­thing it says on the tin. It’s com­fort­able, fast, and a coupé and a con­vert­ible at the same time. You can drive any dis­tance in a sin­gle sit­ting and still get out feel­ing as fresh as you did when you got in. They also al­ready came fully loaded, with the only op­tions be­ing con­fined to wheels and a panoramic sun­roof.’

From a fi­nan­cial point of view, he ex­pects them to fol­low suit of the 107 Se­ries brethren. ‘Ten years ago the 107 was a £20k car and now it’s worth £40k. I think the SL55 AMG will eas­ily fetch £40k-£50k in eight years.’

>BMW M5 TIPPED BY STEPHEN HAL­STEAD

‘The orig­i­nal M5 is one of those cars we all wished were on our par­ents’ drive­way in the Eight­ies,’ says Stephen Hal­stead. ‘The M535i might have slightly racier looks but the M5 is the wolf in sheep’s cloth­ing. It’s got un­der­stated looks, with just a nod to the des­ig­na­tion with its front and rear M5 badges, but a whop­ping 282bhp un­der the bon­net. Low-mileage ex­am­ples are quite hard to come by but well worth the in­vest­ment.’

That said, Hal­stead says not to be put off by those with a few more miles on the clock, just ensure a full ser­vice and main­te­nance his­tory is in­cluded and, ideally, some new or re­cent brake discs. ‘You also shouldn’t be put off by some wear in the leather seats and a nick or two – re­mem­ber, th­ese E28s are 30 years old and were typ­i­cally used as daily driv­ers – but keep an eye out for cracks in the dash. Own­ers’ clubs and fo­rums can of­fer a wealth of in­sight on what to look for, but if you’re un­cer­tain it’s worth en­list­ing the help of a knowl­edge­able dealer to as­sess a potential pur­chase.

‘There’s re­ally only one di­rec­tion the prices for th­ese will be go­ing and with fewer ex­am­ples com­ing to the mar­ket it may be a good time to take the plunge and get that dream Eight­ies sedan onto your own drive­way or, prefer­ably, into your garage.’ And once there, you can en­joy its thrilling per­for­mance at will.

>BMW M635CSI TIPPED BY EMANUELE COLLO

For more than a decade we were told the M635CSI was the next big thing, but val­ues stayed at around the £20k mark. Un­til now. A 15,300-mile ex­am­ple sold for £100,100 at the NEC Restora­tion Show in April this year, though Emanuele Collo reck­ons that was a spike rather than the norm. ‘£50k will buy a top ex­am­ple, with very good ones be­ing achiev­able in the mid £30ks,’ he says.

The shark-nose pro­file of Seventies BMWS reached its zenith not in that decade but with the 1984 re­lease of the M635CSI. Here was the ul­ti­mate thrust­ing Bavar­ian su­per-coupé, and yet one that man­aged to re­main dis­creet, bor­der­ing on a sleeper, thanks to min­i­mal use of the ‘M’ for Motorsport badge.

And it’s those E9 se­ries aes­thet­ics that Emanuele Collo cites as the big BMW’S big­gest sell­ing point. ‘I love the shape and it’s age­ing very well. In to­day’s mar­ket the over­all shape of a car is im­por­tant be­cause more and more peo­ple will maybe not drive their cars as much and will be into ap­pre­ci­at­ing their beauty.’

How­ever, its looks aren’t the only rea­son you’ll want to buy one, be­cause shoe­horn­ing in a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the M1’s six-cylin­der M88 en­gine trans­formed the model’s per­for­mance. How does 68bhp over a stan­dard 635CSI, it­self no slouch, grab you?

‘Open up the bon­net and look at that M1-de­rived en­gine – it’s a piece of art. Its 286bhp was se­ri­ously im­pres­sive for the pe­riod and 0-60mph takes just six sec­onds, but it’s also a very use­able clas­sic and with ABS it’s start­ing to get like a mod­ern car – you wouldn’t be wor­ried if lend­ing it to a friend.’

Your vis­ual clues that this is some­thing spe­cial are limited to a few M badges – front grille, rear bootlid and one on the tachome­ter, plus a small strip of Motorsport colours on the steer­ing wheel – and that’s your lot. Leave them want­ing more.

The seat­ing po­si­tion is spot on, vis­i­bil­ity is ex­cel­lent thanks to slim A-pil­lars and lat­eral and me­dial sup­port are first class thanks to its body-hug­ging seats. And that’s a very good thing be­cause for a big lump this car can cer­tainly han­dle. Thanks to stiff­ened sus­pen­sion there’s very lit­tle body roll, and prodi­gious lev­els of grip when you lean on it.

Wind up that en­gine and it un­der­goes meta­mor­pho­sis, trans­form­ing from an easy-na­tured bur­ble­fest to a full-on Teu­tonic de­mon. It will hit 155mph and bar­rel four adults and lug­gage along the au­to­bahn in great com­fort, yet re­turn to be­ing a plain Jane 635 when you get back into town.

Cor­ro­sion is the big­gest en­emy of this gen­er­a­tion of BMW, so check the body thor­oughly be­cause front wings, roofs and sun­roof panels are par­tic­u­larly prone to rust. Match­ing en­gine and chas­sis se­rial num­bers are also key be­cause some ex­am­ples are likely to have been re-shelled when val­ues were low.

‘It’s a stun­ning car, and I do think it has big potential,’ is how Collo sums it up.

‘How does 68bhp more than a stan­dard 635, it­self no slouch, grab you?

>Alfa Romeo Ju­nior Za­gato I TIPPED BY JOHN MAY­HEAD

Like many clas­sic cars fans, John May­head has a fa­mil­iar rea­son for choos­ing the Ju­nior Za­gato. ‘I kick my­self that I didn’t buy one of th­ese when they were about £10k. They’re crack­ing lit­tle cars. Many con­sider them to be the best han­dling of the 105-Se­ries Alfa Romeos, plus Er­cole Spada’s styling is sharp enough to draw at­ten­tion at any clas­sic car meet.

‘They’re light, ag­ile and very well bal­anced. The all-al­loy en­gines, ei­ther 1290cc or 1570cc, are revvy, sound won­der­ful and tend to be very re­li­able if well main­tained.’

With most me­chan­i­cal parts be­ing in­ter­change­able with the other cars in the Gi­u­lia se­ries they are rel­a­tively easy to main­tain and up­grade. ‘Com­pa­nies such as Clas­sic Alfa and Al­fa­holics sup­ply a range of re­place­ment parts, plus op­tions to im­prove han­dling, cool­ing and power.’

Like any other 105-se­ries Alfa, the Ju­nior Za­gato’s weak­nesses are cor­ro­sion and electrics. Rust tends to strike in the usual ar­eas: sills, front and rear valances, boot floor and whee­larches.

‘Be­ing a low-vol­ume car – only 403 ex­am­ples of the 1600 Ju­nior Za­gato were built – find­ing trim items is nigh-on im­pos­si­ble, and you’ll have to have body parts fab­ri­cated. That said, prices are ris­ing: good ones are now reg­u­larly ad­ver­tised in the mid-£40ks and val­ues seem to be on the up. You should get a good re­turn on your in­vest­ment – try find­ing an­other Za­gato-bod­ied clas­sic Alfa Romeo for this money.’

>Austin-healey 3000WILL TIPPED BY SMITH

In this price bracket Will Smith opts for the ‘Big’ ’Healey. ‘Prices of all ’Healeys have started to move on in the last 18 months – they were dra­mat­i­cally un­der­val­ued before that,’ he says.

‘Peo­ple are start­ing to re­alise that they’re such great driv­ers’ cars and of­fer the quin­tes­sen­tial Bri­tish sports car experience. And their race and rally pedi­gree adds a fur­ther el­e­ment of interest.’ Given the choice he would plump for ei­ther the ear­li­est 100/4 or the last of the 3000 mod­els. You’ll find one or two of the for­mer be­low the £50k mark, but you should ex­pect them to need work; of the later six-cylin­der cars you’ll have sig­nif­i­cantly more choice.

‘The MKIII is slightly more re­fined than other Big ’Healeys,’ Smith con­tin­ues, ‘and of course you get two more cylin­ders and a power hike over the ear­lier four-cylin­der cars. How­ever, with any ex­am­ple, there’s a real hon­esty and sweet­ness about them.

‘Parts avail­abil­ity and spe­cial­ist back-up are strong but they’re so straight­for­ward me­chan­i­cally that you can eas­ily fix one your­self. Home mar­ket cars com­mand a pre­mium over left-hand-drive ex­am­ples – ex­pect to pay 10-20 per cent more for right-hook­ers but don’t be put off by con­ver­sions, es­pe­cially if com­pleted by a mar­que spe­cial­ist.’

Smith adds a word of cau­tion, though. ‘Make sure you buy one that’s had the chas­sis and body re­stored in the last ten years. Then you’ll have a great-look­ing car that ev­ery­one loves and that you can en­joy driv­ing with­out worry.’

>Porsche 993 Coupé C2 TIPPED BY TIM SCHOFIELD

The last of the air-cooled 911 range is one of Porsche’s most de­sir­able mod­els for those look­ing to spend about £50k, reck­ons Tim Schofield. ‘For me it’s an ob­vi­ous choice. It has pretty, rounded styling and all the mod­ern com­fort and driver aids you ex­pect in a much more ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cle, but all in a clas­sic

pack­age. It’s purer in two-wheel drive than four-wheel drive, and def­i­nitely go for a man­ual gear­box.’

This is a car that’s mileage-sen­si­tive from a Porsche col­lec­tor’s point of view. ‘You’ll be look­ing to pay £50k-£60k for a 65k-80k mile car, with a good-colour, low-mileage ex­am­ple up around the £75k mark. Early ser­vice his­tory and Mots give com­fort that the mileage is gen­uine and cor­rect, but re­cent ser­vice his­tory is key. Has it been owned and not driven? Talk to the peo­ple who have ser­viced it.’

Parts avail­abil­ity is very good and there’s a raft of deal­ers and in­de­pen­dent spe­cial­ists who can look af­ter the model. ‘With any pur­chase, look at the last four to five years. Has it been quickly de­tailed – a quick coat of paint, in­te­rior Con­no­lised – to look good in the show­room or garage for two months? The value is in keep­ing the car with the spec it was born with; a dif­fer­ent rear spoiler, wheels or side mir­rors may look good but de­tract from orig­i­nal­ity. Prices have climbed in re­cent times and while that may con­tinue they’re more com­mon on the mar­ket now.’

>Ford Sierra Cos­worth RS500 TIPPED BY STEPHEN HAL­STEAD

‘Cossies are fast be­com­ing col­lec­tors’ items and while I’d be quite happy with one of the 5545 Sierra RS Cos­worths, it’s the RS500 that’s par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing,’ says Stephen Hal­stead. ‘Just 500 were con­verted by As­ton Martin Tick­ford and they’re good for 0-62mph in 6.2 sec­onds. It’s es­sen­tially an evo­lu­tion of the RS Cos­worth, with an ad­di­tional 23bhp and up­grades to the en­gine and sus­pen­sion. Rar­ity plays a large part of the appeal, as does the feel­ing of own­ing a car that won 40 Bri­tish Tour­ing Car races on the trot. The enor­mous spoiler might not suit to­day’s tastes but this is an em­i­nently prac­ti­cal car with loads of boot space that’s so much more ex­cit­ing than its mod­ern equiv­a­lent, the Fo­cus RS.’ Prices are, un­sur­pris­ingly, on the up – what could have been bought for around £30k a few years ago will com­mand around £50k to­day but they aren’t show­ing any signs of slow­ing down. Low mileage ex­am­ples – sub-40k – are up­wards of £70k.

‘Check the chas­sis num­bers and VIN to ensure you’re look­ing at a gen­uine RS500 and watch out for af­ter­mar­ket and re­placed items such as spoil­ers and bumpers which, like some other parts, are no longer avail­able from Ford. This is a model that may well have been thrashed early in its life, so ser­vice his­tory, garage re­ceipts and a thor­ough in­spec­tion and test drive are es­sen­tial.’

‘The 993 C2 has mod­ern com­fort and driver aids in a clas­sic pack­age’

>Porsche 911 (930) Turbo 3.3 TIPPED BY WILL SMITH

Some names are in­dica­tive of their era – ‘blower’ in the Twen­ties, ‘road­ster’ in the Fifties and ‘turbo’ in the Seventies. What we have here is the car re­spon­si­ble more than any other for the last of th­ese, bring­ing tur­bocharged race tech­nol­ogy to the road and en­dow­ing the 911 with epic su­per­car per­for­mance. Well, not this car ex­actly, be­cause the ear­lier 3.0 Turbo has long since bro­ken through the £100k bar­rier, so it’s the later 3.3 that Will Smith has cho­sen in this price bracket. ‘The very first time I drove a 930 Turbo I was blown away by the per­for­mance,’ he says. ‘Even to­day I can’t quite be­lieve it came out in 1975. The leap in per­for­mance was a game changer for the car in­dus­try.’

And that’s not hy­per­bole. In later 3.3-litre flavour that ex­tra 300cc, com­bined with the in­te­gra­tion of an in­ter­cooler, means the 3.3 gained a whop­ping ex­tra 40bhp, rais­ing it to 300bhp. Also for 1989 only you got a Ge­trag G50 five-speed transaxle. A five-speed ’box in a 911 Turbo? ‘Heresy!’ I hear you cry. So what does all that add up to? Mon­u­men­tal per­for­mance, that’s what.

At low speeds it’s all a bit ‘so what?’ But build the revs, get the KKK tur­bocharger on boost and you experience an au­to­mo­tive dou­ble punch to kid­neys – this is flat-six, air-cooled Porsche, but not as we knew it. The over­all pack­age, no-non­sense in­te­rior, big brakes, su­perb grip and han­dling, all wrapped up in a mus­cu­larly cur­va­ceous pack­age that’s topped off with the mother of all rear spoil­ers re­mains as vis­cer­ally po­tent to­day as back in the day.

There’s a lot of choice out there, says Smith, so it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mat­ter which one you go for. ‘Right-hand drive cars are more prone to rust, so check the body­work thor­oughly be­cause full body re­builds are achingly ex­pen­sive. They’re quite easy to ap­praise – you can see the welds and check if they’re orig­i­nal fac­tory ones. And lift the car­pets to in­spect the floor­pan – you can’t do that with the cars of to­day.’

Be sure to check for ac­ci­dent dam­age. Read any fea­ture writ­ten on the ‘widow maker’ theme and the 911 (930) Turbo is al­ways there. And for good rea­son. Get your cor­ner­ing wrong by en­ter­ing too fast or boot­ing the throt­tle too early and the model’s in­fa­mous snap-away han­dling at the limit will bite you in the seat­ing de­part­ment. But get it right and sat­is­fac­tion is guar­an­teed.

The best bit thing about the car pic­tured here – for sale at Hexagon Clas­sics in Lon­don – is that you get to try to at­tain that goal with the wind in your hair. Shades on, roof down, turbo whistling on full boost – life doesn’t get much bet­ter.

‘I chal­lenge any­one not to smile when the turbo kicks in and you experience that raw ex­plo­sion of power,’ says Smith. ‘I took a friend out in one. He was amazed and when he re­turned to Amer­ica he bought one on the strength of that pas­sen­ger-seat ride. It’s so of its era. Sim­ple, beau­ti­fully built and, of course, it has that all-im­por­tant mo­tor sport con­nec­tion.’

‘The ex­plo­sion of power when the turbo kicks in will make any­one smile’

‘A 911 2.4T will cost the same money but I’d rather have the Maranello’

>Lan­cia Ful­via HF Fanalone TIPPED BY JOHN MAY­HEAD

‘I’ve been singing the praises of the Lan­cia Ful­via for years,’ de­clares John May­head. ‘And I still think that they’re un­der­rated cars. Even the most col­lectable – the HF “Fanalone” – is rel­a­tively well priced for buy­ers. It has that great com­bi­na­tion of racing his­tory, in­stantly dis­tinc­tive styling, Ital­ian cool and a real gem of a 1584cc V4 en­gine.

‘Al­though ear­lier Lan­cia mod­els had achieved some rally suc­cess, it was the Ful­via that be­gan the mar­que’s dom­i­nance from 1972, when it took the first of Lan­cia’s man­u­fac­turer ti­tles. The HF, or High Fi­delity, sported an alu­minium boot, bon­net and doors, plus added light­ness through re­mov­ing the radio, bumpers and other un­nec­es­sary items, but it still had only a 1.2-litre en­gine with a mod­est 88hp. It took the larger 1.6-litre en­gine in 1968 for the car to start win­ning in earnest. The Fanalone (big head­lamp) cars, with their ZF transaxle, mag­ne­sium wheels and glass­fi­bre wheel arches of­fered 115hp in ba­sic spec­i­fi­ca­tion, but the works cars put out a great deal more.’

Al­though the HF Fanalone is the col­lec­tor’s favourite, May­head reck­ons the great thing about the Ful­via is the sheer breadth of the model range. There’s some­thing for ev­ery bud­get, with a stan­dard 1.3S coupé start­ing at less than £10k.

‘Look out for rust, es­pe­cially in box sec­tions and sills. Parts are not easy to find, al­though this is slowly im­prov­ing. If you want some­thing slightly rarer the Ful­via Sport Za­gato is an­other op­tion. Th­ese are still out there be­ing ad­ver­tised at less than £30k.’

>Fer­rari 550 Maranello TIPPED BY EMANUELE COLLO

‘I dreamt of this car when it was new,’ says Emanuele Collo. ‘There was an English magazine that tested a se­ries of cars, in­clud­ing a Peu­geot 106 Ral­lye, Lo­tus Esprit V8 and Fer­rari 550 Maranello. It was a black car and I can still re­mem­ber it on the race track look­ing very mean. I think it made a greater im­pres­sion on my gen­er­a­tion than some of the Fer­raris that fol­lowed it’

A key fac­tor for Collo is buy­ing one of th­ese in the cor­rect colour. ‘Red is too boy racer, and that’s re­flected in lower dealer prices for cars in that hue,’ he says. ‘The im­age of this car is of a dis­creet, long-dis­tance tourer, so light blue, green or any shade of grey works best.’

Check the main­te­nance his­tory of any potential 550 Maranello pur­chase be­cause, as with any Pranc­ing Horse, ser­vic­ing costs are high, so it’s im­por­tant to be sure the one you’re look­ing at has re­ceived the cor­rect level of care.

‘Prices have soft­ened slightly. You can def­i­nitely get one in this price bracket, al­though some peo­ple are ask­ing sig­nif­i­cantly more than that. The range is prob­a­bly cur­rently sit­ting be­tween £75k and £140k. Now is the right time to in­vest a bit more though, be­cause the gap in the medium-to-long term for the bet­ter cars will only get big­ger.

‘The chance to buy a proper V12 big GT Fer­rari for a rea­son­able amount of money is too good to miss. A Porsche 911 2.4T will cost roughly the same but I’d def­i­nitely rather have the Maranello.’

>Jaguar E-type Se­ries I FHC TIPPED BY TIM SCHOFIELD

‘In my opin­ion, this is an in­fin­itely more ap­peal­ing choice than an As­ton Martin from the same pe­riod,’ says Tim Schofield. ‘A re­stored ex­am­ple with match­ing num­bers would be the ideal choice, fin­ished in a pe­riod cor­rect colour – opales­cent sil­ver grey or opales­cent blue are my favourites.

‘Th­ese E-types still con­tinue to per­form very strongly at auc­tion and over the past three years they have con­sis­tently out­per­formed the gen­eral col­lec­tors’ car mar­ket.’

Schofield reck­ons E-types are still show­ing good potential for growth in value. ‘They re­main a very at­trac­tive propo­si­tion to buy. With the E-type S1 fhc we’re into the do­main of the As­ton Martin DB4 and DB5 – but are th­ese worth three, four or even six or seven times the E-type’s price? Per­son­ally, I don’t think you’re get­ting that mul­ti­ple. In terms of use­abil­ity, drive­abil­ity and sheer smiles per mile you get driv­ing one it would have to be the E-type for me ev­ery time. And of course it still re­mains a stun­ning look­ing mo­tor car.’

Check for body cor­ro­sion and match­ing num­bers and that the car is in its orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion and colour. ‘You also need the right names as­so­ci­ated with any restora­tion and gen­eral ser­vic­ing and main­te­nance of a car. In this price band you’ll prob­a­bly se­cure a 4.2-litre car that scores eight out of ten. We did sell a fair-to-good 3.8-litre ex­am­ple for less than £100k re­cently, but it had body and trim im­per­fec­tions. Keep in mind the ear­lier the car, the more valu­able.’

>Bent­ley Con­ti­nen­tal T or wide­body Conti’ R Mulliner TIPPED BY DANIEL DONOVAN

‘For this price, it has to be the Bent­ley Con­ti­nen­tal T or a wide­body Con­ti­nen­tal R Mulliner,’ says Daniel Donovan. ‘At the time of launch the list price of th­ese cars was circa £280k and they were built to spe­cial or­der only. It was the epit­ome of a “gentle­man’s car­riage” and to­day a su­per-low-mileage ex­am­ple will most def­i­nitely be one for the fu­ture.’

For £70k-£80k you’ll get a good ex­am­ple of ei­ther of th­ese qual­ity hand­built be­he­moths. ‘They’re quite happy driv­ing at 20mph or 150mph,’ says Donovan. ‘As big cars, they do wal­low a lit­tle in cor­ners but you’ll never get fed up or tired driv­ing one.’

Bent­ley did make more right-hand-drive than left-hand-drive ex­am­ples and left­ies now carry a pre­mium of around 20 per cent. Oth­er­wise there were no real op­tion boxes to tick when th­ese cars were new, al­though some cus­tomers did pay huge amounts for a be­spoke in­te­rior or a one-off ex­te­rior colour. ‘There’s no pre­mium for ei­ther to­day,’ says Donovan. ‘Those tend to be quite gar­ish. Last year we had a yellow car with a pea­cock hide in­te­rior and it was quite an eye­ful.’

‘With reg­u­lar ser­vices and oil changes they’re vir­tu­ally in­de­struc­tible and sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able to main­tain. There are plenty of in­de­pen­dent spe­cial­ists who will do just as good a job as a dealer and at a frac­tion of the cost.’

>As­ton Martin V8 Volante TIPPED BY JOHN MAY­HEAD

Noth­ing of the pe­riod in­tim­i­dates in the rear-view mir­ror like an As­ton Martin V8. The sheer de­sign bru­tal­ity of this big slice of Bri­tish beef­cake lends it a snarling pres­ence.

‘The V8 is the epit­ome of Seventies cool – big, pow­er­ful, pur­pose­ful and slightly os­ten­ta­tious,’ says John May­head. ‘It’s very much the car of the mo­ment and one that must con­tinue to grow in col­lectabil­ity. As ever with As­tons, the Volante is the most de­sir­able op­tion and with a top Hagerty Price Guide val­u­a­tion of £268k you can still find a su­perb ex­am­ple within this price range.’

Pop the door on this stun­ning War­wick Blue ex­am­ple, cur­rently for sale at As­ton Martin spe­cial­ist Des­mond J. Smail, and the lux­u­ri­ous in­te­rior pro­vides an in­ter­est­ing jux­ta­po­si­tion to all that ex­ter­nal aggression, with mag­no­lia Con­nolly hide, thick dark blue Wil­ton car­pets and a pro­fu­sion of wal­nut.

Un­der load the 5340cc quad-cam V8 is an­i­mal­is­tic with its quar­tet of Weber 42 DCNF car­bu­ret­tors greed­ily in­gest­ing fuel and air and twin ex­hausts emit­ting hefty bel­lows.

The power-as­sisted steer­ing is light but at low speeds you’ll be aware of the car’s heft. That weight means that the V8 is no sports car. In­stead it re­mains an in­cred­i­ble de­vourer of as­phalt and a peer­less gentle­man’s tourer.

With 320lb ft of torque there’s never a deficit of heave but make sure you bag a Euro­pean-spec car or, even bet­ter, a rare right-hooker. ‘US safety leg­is­la­tion pre­vented the pro­duc­tion of a soft-top As­ton Martin V8 un­til 1978,’ ex­plains May­head. ‘When the V8 Volante was re­leased it was an in­stant suc­cess in the US, de­spite an ad­di­tional 70kg over the coupé and a con­ser­va­tive 262bhp against the Euro­pean 305bhp. To­day the most de­sir­able cars are the later Van­tage mod­els, es­pe­cially those with the X-pack en­gine and 16in Ronal wheels. RS Wil­liams pre­pared a tiny num­ber to 6.3-litre or 7-litre spec but th­ese com­mand a hefty pre­mium and have long since bro­ken this price bracket.

‘Spe­cial­ist sup­port is good but like any old As­ton, run­ning costs can be high,’ cau­tions May­head. ‘Parts are also ex­pen­sive, but the canny buyer can some­times find com­po­nents that were fit­ted to other makes that will help to soften the blow. Find­ing a well-main­tained car is key. Oil needs chang­ing ev­ery 3000 miles. Stan­dard V8s were rel­a­tively cheap only a few years ago, so some were ne­glected. Re­pairs to the steel sills, which weren’t treated by the fac­tory and re­quire chop­ping off the bot­tom of the alu­minium wings for ac­cess, can ac­count for sub­stan­tial restora­tion costs.’

In re­cent years it’s rel­a­tive young­sters like the V8 Volante that have seen most growth in the As­ton Martin world and buy­ing a good ex­am­ple should prove an ex­cel­lent in­vest­ment – with the added ben­e­fits of brood­ing top-down looks, thump­ing per­for­mance and larger-than-life au­ral out­put.

‘It’s an in­cred­i­ble de­vourer of as­phalt and a peer­less gentle­man’s tourer’

>Fer­rari F512M TIPPED BY DANIEL DONOVAN

If you’re buy­ing a Fer­rari, it should be a 12-cylin­der, reck­ons Daniel Donovan. ‘As the last of the iconic Tes­tarossa se­ries, the F512M is one se­ri­ously wellput-to­gether car and highly un­der­rated. Maranello ironed out the de­fects of the ear­lier car, such as chas­sis twist when driv­ing fast. It makes all the right tra­di­tional flat-12 noises, not a high-pitched roar that’s fan­tas­tic for five min­utes and then gets grat­ing. In ad­di­tion you can turn off the anti-lock brak­ing if you want to and have the sen­sa­tion of driv­ing the old way.’

Only 501 cars were man­u­fac­tured world­wide in­clud­ing just 75 for the US mar­ket. ‘They are still a closely guarded se­cret in cer­tain cir­cles,’ ex­plains Donovan. ‘How­ever, af­ter 25 years they can go to the USA with­out be­ing fed­er­alised and when that hap­pens it can only en­hance their value. Cur­rent US cars sit at around $440k$500k (£340k-£385k), a huge leap in value com­pared to what one is worth in Europe. You can bet there are more than 75 buy­ers for an F512M over there and if any­thing the US model is a bit ugly and less pure, so it all stacks up from an in­vest­ment point of view.’

F512MS are pretty re­li­able cars but key checks you need to make in­clude when the cam­belts were last changed and ev­i­dence of reg­u­lar oil changes – even if the car hasn’t been used. Colour isn’t crit­i­cal, al­though you can’t go wrong with tra­di­tional Rosso Corsa. ‘It epit­o­mises Eight­ies’ styling and is cer­tainly a su­per­car wor­thy of Mi­ami Vice,’ says Donovan.

>BMW Z8 TIPPED BY STEPHEN HAL­STEAD

BMW’S de­ci­sion not to fit an au­to­matic gear­box to its Z8 road­ster may have cost it sales in pe­riod, but Stephen Hal­stead reck­ons that means all of to­day’s ex­am­ples are real driver’s cars. ‘Al­though I doubt it could ever reach the sta­tus of a true Bond car – de­spite star­ring in The World Is Not Enough – the all-man­ual Z8 has been punch­ing well above its weight, more than dou­bling in value in the last decade. It’s be­come a highly sought-af­ter car and prices are ex­pected to keep ris­ing.’

He be­lieves its pop­u­lar­ity is largely down to the most beau­ti­ful coach­work in the Z se­ries, along with rar­ity and per­for­mance. ‘It’s far more iconic than a Z3 and it’s the retro Fifties style of Hen­rik Fisker’s de­sign that sets the Z8 apart. Just 5700 were pro­duced, against 300,000 Z3s, and on the road it’s no slouch. The 4.9-litre V8 de­liv­ers 400bhp and the pre­cise gear­box, com­bined with the car’s light weight, ensure a thrilling driv­ing experience. That said, the ride can be a lit­tle harsher than its sa­loon sta­ble­mates.’

With the Z8 now highly sought-af­ter, he ex­pects prices to keep ris­ing. ‘Ex­pect to pay at least £200k for a low-mileage, con­cours qual­ity ex­am­ple – if you’re lucky enough to find one. Sup­port is sec­ond-to-none, with OEM parts rel­a­tively easy to come by thanks to BMW’S own 50-year com­mit­ment to keep­ing spares.’

>Bent­ley 3 Litre Tourer TIPPED BY TIM SCHOFIELD

Ac­cord­ing to Tim Schofield one of the most en­joy­able things about 3 Litre Bent­ley own­er­ship is the doors it opens to the ral­lies and events you can take part in. ‘Pre-war ral­lies and races such as The Fly­ing Scots­man and Le Mans Clas­sic are some of the most thrilling mo­tor­ing events to take part in and the 3 Litre is a per­fect toe-in-the-wa­ter car in which to par­tic­i­pate. It’s rel­a­tively easy

to drive, an iconic de­sign and, most im­por­tantly, it has good brakes! An orig­i­nal-bod­ied ex­am­ple with match­ing num­bers would be the best op­tion to ac­quire. The val­ues of a Bent­ley is in­her­ently linked to those match­ing num­bers, orig­i­nal­ity, coach­work type and how pretty it is.

‘A long-chas­sis sa­loon or re­bod­ied open tourer should be yours for less than £250k. On the other hand, a beau­ti­ful short-chas­sis tourer with orig­i­nal coach­work will be sig­nif­i­cantly more, and that’s before you fac­tor in cars with fab­u­lous his­to­ries.’

Schofield of­fers a note of cau­tion. ‘To­day there are more 3 Litres than were built by Bent­ley in pe­riod, so ensure a spe­cial­ist looks at the car for you. All have num­bers, in­clud­ing sig­nif­i­cant me­chan­i­cal parts, that can be checked and ver­i­fied. You can buy some great pub­li­ca­tions for a rel­a­tively small amount of money that will give you great in­sight, and there are also web­sites that will al­low you to check chas­sis num­bers.

‘Driv­ing a 3 Litre de­pends on the gear­box and set-up – some are tricky but re­ward­ing to use. And no two are the same, so try­ing more than one car is a must.’

>Maserati Ghi­bli Coupé TIPPED BY EMANUELE COLLO

The Ghi­bli’s GT style is what at­tracts many peo­ple into the clas­sic car world, be­lieves Emanuele Collo. ‘They read in Clas­sic Cars magazine about driv­ing to the south of France in one, and that draws them in. Never mind that the re­al­ity is you might get stuck in traf­fic and the car will then start over­heat­ing; you’ll then find your­self wor­ry­ing about it the whole way. We are all here be­cause we dream of some­thing and the Ghi­bli Coupé is the type of car that prop­a­gates this dream feel­ing.’

Collo also reck­ons that the model re­mains un­der­val­ued when com­pared to sim­i­lar clas­sics of the same pe­riod. ‘It has all the right in­gre­di­ents in­clud­ing that race-bred V8 en­gine, the el­e­gant Six­ties styling, plus it’s al­most as good to drive as a Fer­rari Day­tona and the brand is just fan­tas­tic. I don’t mind a bit that Fer­rari is al­ways re­garded as be­ing the num­ber one.’

Both the 4.7-litre and the more pow­er­ful 4.9-litre SS mod­els fall into our price bracket here, al­though the Spi­der soft-top is well north of £500k. ‘Be­ware of rust, of course, watch out for bad restora­tions and avoid US au­to­matic spec­i­fi­ca­tion cars. Mileage isn’t such an is­sue be­cause th­ese are quite strong cars. Try to ensure any pur­chase is in its orig­i­nal colour and spec­i­fi­ca­tion. Peo­ple buy­ing them in pe­riod had a bit more fan­tasy in their choice com­pared to Day­tona own­ers – a Ghi­bli is best in bronze, cop­per or green.’

Whichever Ghi­bli you go for, the car’s strong­est suit re­mains those un­sul­lied GT looks. ‘It’s so purely Six­ties,’ en­thuses Collo.

‘The Ghi­bli has all the right in­gre­di­ents and it’s as good to drive as a Day­tona’

>Fer­rari 365GTC TIPPED BY TIM SCHOFIELD

This gen­er­a­tion of Fer­rari ex­udes style in ev­ery way, before it all got a lit­tle di­luted in the Seventies and then hard­core in the Eight­ies. Fac­tor in small pro­duc­tion num­bers and rar­ity and the re­sult is that the many are fight­ing over the few.

You could hap­pily spend many evenings in­side this car just tak­ing in its un­der­stated am­bi­ence, with the pranc­ing horses that adorn the three-spoke Nardi steer­ing wheel and the cool black Veglia Bor­letti gauges your only in­di­ca­tors of who built it.

‘With only circa 170 of th­ese cars built over two years it is the rar­ity and beauty of the ve­hi­cle which, for me, makes it a more at­trac­tive and bet­ter op­tion than the Day­tona,’ says Tim Schofield. ‘It is one of the most de­sir­able grand tour­ing Fer­raris from the late Six­ties. It han­dles bet­ter than a Day­tona too.’

He’s right. Where a Day­tona can feel leaden, par­tic­u­larly at low speeds, this 365GTC – cur­rently on sale at Hexagon Clas­sics – pro­vides a firm but sur­pris­ingly sub­tle ride, its unas­sisted ZF worm-and-roller steer­ing light­en­ing up at speed and faith­fully trans­mit­ting road sur­face nu­ances to the driver.

The best bit is the 4.4-litre V12’s flex­i­bil­ity. With 320bhp on tap it of­fers a beau­ti­ful surge of mid-range punch. And like all the best Ital­ian pow­er­plants, the higher you rev it the bet­ter it re­sponds.

Therein lies the glory of Maranello in this pe­riod. You’re buy­ing into the era pri­mar­ily re­spon­si­ble for the Fer­rari leg­end. With its quad Ansa tailpipes singing and the triple twin-choke We­bers fuelling the dream, all’s well in the Six­ties GT world.

‘You’re buy­ing a sig­nif­i­cant car and one that I’ve al­ways thought is un­der­val­ued, says Schofield. ‘It’s hugely pretty with quite a small num­ber built. I’ll never know why the ones you see for sale on the auc­tion block and at events lag be­hind the Day­tona in price.’ You could buy the 365GTC for the se­duc­tive Pin­in­fa­rina aes­thet­ics alone. Where the Day­tona sits with the As­ton Martin V8 in the school for brutes, this car is from an al­to­gether more stylish pen. You’d never tire of its rear three-quar­ter and dead-on rear views, both of which are sim­ple, chic and sug­ges­tive of force within.

‘It de­fines Fer­rari in that pe­riod as a maker of lux­u­ri­ous GT cars and it will al­ways be sought af­ter,’ says Schofield. ‘For the last ten years they have re­mained at a sim­i­lar sort of value ra­tio to a 275GTB, Day­tona or Lusso – but I’ve al­ways thought that’s not quite right. His­tory is im­por­tant and match­ing num­bers are more im­por­tant than they’ve ever been. With a Fer­rari it’s be­come a huge fac­tor that it has a red Clas­siche book [prov­ing Fer­rari cer­ti­fi­ca­tion], which seems to give the mar­ket the re­as­sur­ance that the car must be all right. You’ll get a very good ex­am­ple for £500k.’

Go for a dis­creet Six­ties metal­lic colour, such as this ex­am­ple’s Gri­gio, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to spend as much time vis­ually savour­ing the car as you will driv­ing it.

‘This is one of the most de­sir­able grand tour­ing Fer­raris of the late Six­ties’

‘The Van­tage is a mean-look­ing car and makes you feel like James Bond’

>Porsche 911 2.7 RS TIPPED BY EMANUELE COLLO

‘It’s a bit of an ob­vi­ous choice,’ ad­mits Emanuele Collo, ‘but it is iconic and I’ve al­ways thought it was the ul­ti­mate pack­age. When I first got the clas­sic car bug my ul­ti­mate dream was to take a 2.7 RS through the Alpine moun­tain passes.

‘It’s not rare, but it is fan­tas­tic to drive. The en­gine is glo­ri­ous, with just the right amount of power, plenty of torque and it makes a great sound. Fac­tor in ex­quis­ite han­dling trans­mit­ted through that tac­tile steer­ing and you’re in driv­ing heaven.

‘Prices rose to around £700k a few years ago but have now soft­ened, adds Collo. ‘You have some choice be­cause there are quite a few on the mar­ket. Many have been heav­ily mod­i­fied, so go for a stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion car. Avoid cars raced in later years and then badly re­stored, re-shelled or with non-orig­i­nal en­gines.

‘Fakes abound, so get­ting it in­spected by a spe­cial­ist is a must. Colour is down to per­sonal pref­er­ence but Grand Prix White is too com­mon and al­most al­ways used for repli­cas. I like pur­ple.’

The num­ber cur­rently on the mar­ket gives the buyer some ne­go­ti­at­ing power. ‘If you can get one cheaper than a few years ago, that’s great. It’s like a Mercedes-benz 300SL Gull­wing – prices will go up and down but it will al­ways be col­lectable – it was con­sid­ered so even 20 or 30 years ago.’

>As­ton Martin Van­tage TIPPED BY DANIEL DONOVAN

‘The As­ton Martin V8 stuck with me ever since I saw Ti­mothy Dal­ton drive one across a frozen Czech lake in the James Bond film The Liv­ing Day­lights,’ re­calls Daniel Donovan. ‘The Van­tage is a gen­uine Bri­tish su­per­car with the panache of a Rolls-royce, com­plete with Wil­ton car­pets and Con­nolly hide in­te­rior and gen­uinely ca­pa­ble of reach­ing 175mph. It’s a mean-look­ing car that will make you feel like James Bond and the rasp of the ex­haust pipes will make you smile ev­ery time you put your foot to the floor and blip the throt­tle.’

Given the value, it’s cru­cial to check it’s a match­ing-num­bers car; the en­gine and gear­box num­bers must cor­re­spond to the build sheet. ‘Un­like some As­tons they never dipped to be £10k or £20k cars and have al­ways been im­por­tant, so most have been treated and main­tained well. Prices vary be­tween £350k and £700k de­pend­ing on mileage and ex­actly what it is. We sold a 90k-mile car for the lower price last year and the very last left-hand drive X-pack car for £435,000.’

A Volante will gen­er­ally com­mand a 25 per cent pre­mium over a coupé and right-hand drive cars are more de­sir­able than left-hand drive. You also need to fac­tor in power out­put be­cause

the stan­dard Van­tage has 400bhp while those with the X-pack kick out a wal­lop­ing 432bhp. ‘There were also 20 POW (Prince of Wales) Van­tage-spec­i­fi­ca­tion Volantes with no flip tail and not quite so mus­cu­lar body­work.’

>Bent­ley S-type Con­ti­nen­tal Fast­back TIPPED BY STEPHEN HAL­STEAD

‘Both the S-type and R-type Con­ti­nen­tal Fast­backs have in­creased in value over the past ten years but the S has lagged be­hind to the ex­tent that it might well be un­der­val­ued right now,’ of­fers Stephen Hal­stead. ‘If that price gap be­tween the two mod­els closes you could see HJ Mulliner S Con­ti­nen­tals chang­ing hands for even more sig­nif­i­cant sums.’

The R was the orig­i­nal model and built for speed, so it has en­joyed the most at­ten­tion from en­thu­si­asts and buy­ers alike. The S Fast­back is a rarer beast; Mulliner pro­duced just 151, in­clud­ing 123 with right-hand drive, ver­sus 193 R-types.

‘The S-type also of­fers a lit­tle more com­fort than its pre­de­ces­sor, with elec­tric win­dows, air con­di­tion­ing, au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and power steer­ing, so the driv­ing experience was more suited to long-dis­tance tour­ing.

‘While nowa­days you may not want to put quite so much strain on the car, or miles on the clock, it’s a time­less post-war clas­sic in which to en­joy some of our beau­ti­ful coun­try roads. Af­ter all, the car was de­signed to pro­vide a speedy drive, car­ry­ing four adults in supreme com­fort.

‘They are not easy to come by and find­ing one with a sound chas­sis may be a bit of a chal­lenge,’ cau­tions Hal­stead. ‘But it’s worth the ef­fort if you can pick up a 1956/57 model for around £450k.’

>Jaguar XJ220 TIPPED BY WILL SMITH

‘The Jaguar XJ220 is half the price of a Bu­gatti EB110 or Fer­rari F40,’ ex­plains Will Smith. ‘But just look at it – it’s ab­so­lutely spec­tac­u­lar. I had a model of one when I was six years old and I still have that sense of child­hood ex­cite­ment when I see a Jaguar XJ220. Yes, the de­sign was flawed be­cause it should have had a V12 rather than the V6, but it’s still mon­u­men­tal and so quick to drive.’

Prices cur­rently range from £350k to £500k de­pend­ing on spec­i­fi­ca­tion and con­di­tion. ‘I think the up­per end of that will buy the very best UK right-hand drive car in the right colour com­bi­na­tion with al­most de­liv­ery mileage. They’re so far and few be­tween, es­pe­cially in right-hand drive, so ex­pect to pay a 10-20 per cent pre­mium for one of those.’

Run­ning costs are fairly steep, so make sure the bag fuel tanks have been re­placed. Fun­da­men­tally though, XJ220S aren’t that com­pli­cated me­chan­i­cally. Smith sug­gests hav­ing Jaguar it­self or a spe­cial­ist such as Don Law in­spect any prospec­tive pur­chase for you. ‘When you get into this kind of money you need to ensure the car hasn’t been crashed or abused.’

Smith cites the driv­ing experience as an XJ220’S finest virtue. ‘It sounds bor­ing at tick­over, but get the revs up and it’s the tur­bocharger that’s the over­rid­ing force you can hear. And oh, it flies. It’s stonk­ingly quick even by to­day’s stan­dards. It was the fastest car in the world when it was new and for that rea­son alone I’d have one.’

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