I know you can’t really refer to classic cars as ‘bargains’ but having spent several weeks looking at the classifieds; there really are lots of ways to get yourself a classic car even if you’re on a strict budget. And the choice, as they say, is frightening. Who hasn’t bought a copy of Classic Car or Octane magazine and flicked through the classifieds and picked out something you fancy even though you can’t actually afford to buy one? There’s Alfa’s, Porsches, BMW’s and even VW’s that all fall into the classic bracket. Problem is, where do you start and what do you buy?
I’ve spoken to several classic car experts and they’ve all advised me that the first thing you must do is set yourself a budget and don’t go over, as it’s far too easy to get carried away. You’ll always have to spend extra cash to maintain your classic as not all are as reliable as we might wish. Insurance isn’t a major problem as the fewer miles you do annually the less your premium. And always buy from a reputable dealer until you understand the classic car market. Easier said than done of course!
There are thousands of cars to choose from but as we’re talking ‘classics’ I’ve opted for one of the most recognisable cars of all time for our first Classic BOTW. The company have also just celebrated 75 years in the business. Yep, it’s the E-type Jag which some say is the most beautiful car ever designed. I’ll be honest I don’t agree as it’s never really made me adore it to pieces as say, some Ferraris, but still, the E-type is, and always will be, a classic motoring icon.
As I’ve found out, the pre-1970 models are double the price against the particular vintage I’ve chosen. The reason being that after the “E” hit the US market the rear lights were repositioned below the bumper, as well as the front end after getting a styling tweak for the North American market. Purists say this ruined the shape hence the substantial price hike between facelifts. But this has paid dividends with values. Seeing as pre-1970 models will set you back £60,000 plus, you could if you find the right car spend as little as £40,000 for a classic E-type. Not bad considering its status. Budget allowing, you could even go for the V12, but again, the experts say that the straight-six engine is the only one to have.
If you wanted to buy a shell and spend thousands restoring, you could get really lucky and find an absolute bargain, but I’m not looking for one this time around. Fortunately I’ve spotted one over in Belgium (a good excuse to drive it back) and it’s a right hand drive car. Not many RHD’s are for sale and for some picking up a left-hand-drive can save you even more cash.
Colour is also important and finding a decent and acceptable shade is quite difficult. There’s a few baby blue’s and browns knocking around but I don’t think that suits an E-type. British Racing Green is the obvious choice but forget trying to find one as they’re exceptionally rare. You could re-spray your E-type but that costs the earth so holding out for the right colour would be easier. Luckily the one I’ve seen is in red with black leather – definitely more “sports car” I think.
Although the summer has gone prices will always remain high and really don’t seem to fluctuate so even when you eventually come to sell you’ll always get your money back.
Maintaining an E-type isn’t that costly depending on whether you’ll drive it on high days and holidays, just at the weekends or intend to use it it every day – one of very few classic cars that can be used a daily driver.
Fuel consumption isn’t brilliant but they are resilient old things and seem to soldier on without too many problems. Electrical gremlins are common place but are relatively easy to put right. Basic mechanics means affordable servicing but parts are difficult to source sometimes so it’s always best to go to a specialist.
Overall the E-type is affordable to buy and run. Even though I’m not a massive fan, a large proportion of the world’s petrol heads consider it to be the greatest car of all time. Above all, right now its Jaguars 75th anniversary which provides all the more reason to place it on our virtual forecourt and crown it our first ever “Classic BOTW”.
Jaguar E-type – series 2 – 4.2 – RHD – 1970
Original RHD E-type completely restored in 1995 and still in perfect condition.
Colour red with black leather interior.
Runs fantastic, perfect car for everyday use.
Price : 46,500 Euro (around £38,500 at the current rate)