10 Classic Dailies that Won't Ruin your Life
Using a classic car as a daily driver is a very stupid yet irresistaby fun idea. Here are the 10 least stupid options for those affected.
It’s easy to buy a classic car and call it a daily, but you still have to live with it. Popular belief tells us that anyone who embarks on such an undertaking will have to endure rust, electrical issues, fuel leaks, fire, mechanical gremlins, explosions and death in the process. Your social life will suffer and eventually fade away as you miss dates, are late to every pub night or get stranded every time you try to go on a road trip. Even if you decide you’ve had enough and go on holiday by plane, your car will give up somewhere on the way to the airport.
It seems that you really need to be well-provided in the gentlemen’s department to consider driving a classic on a daily basis. Well, here are 10 classic cars that are less likely to torture you and your bank account. Because everyone should be able to drive something special if they want to, even if you’re just that bit less well-provided in said gentlemen’s department, or not provided at all.
This is quite likely the mother of all reliable classics, often considered the most durable car in automobile history. The early models have a tendency to rust quite badly, but get one built after 1982 and it might actually survive the winter. Get a diesel, and then you’ve really got nothing to worry about!
The Volvo Amazon may be pretty sensitive to rust, but each and every one of the engines it came with was as bulletproof as can be. Add that to the fact that it’s more comfortable and practical than some new cars, and you’ve got yourself the ideal daily classic. Or, if you’re willing to spend some more cash, get the mechanically identical P1800 instead and enjoy some of the most elegant lines ever to be seen on a Volvo. Which might not be saying much, but you get my point.
I can speak from experience when I say that the Volkswagen Beetle is an unstoppable classic. I’ve owned one for over a year now—which is definitely no garage queen—and it has simply never let me down. What it has done, however, is leaked fuel out due to a worn fuel line, leaked water in due to ruined door seals, sputtered and hesitated due to receiving bad maintenance by an unskilled mechanic and developed rust just about all over the place due to being old, but it never stops. Which is, essentially, all you need.
Toyota J60 / J61 Land Cruiser
I didn’t know about this car until I watched Narcos and saw that every badass in the 80’s wanted a Land Cruiser more than a Mercedes or a Jaguar. Today, though, these don’t really have a luxury appeal to them anymore, but they’re tough as nails and more practical than your average modern estate car. I bet you can fit a lot of bodies in that boot…
Audi 80 B2 / Quattro
This may well be the generation before Audi started building its cars from galvanised steel, but the Audi 80 still has very good rust prevention for its age. The engines are mostly a bit underpowered, but durable. Find one of the iconic Quattros or coupes and you’ll actually have an Audi you can talk about at parties.
Porsche 924 / 944
It is the Porsche often mocked for being more of a Volkswagen or an Audi than a Porsche. That was mainly a bad thing for Porsche at the time, but one aspect people do associate with VW and Audi is reliability. These cars were and still are pretty solid and, depending on the version, also a lot of fun to drive. The base 924 didn’t come close to the performance of a 911 but at least you can still buy a 924 today without having to sell your house.
No list of reliable classic cars could be complete without mentioning the Volvo 240. This Swedish piece of automotive simplicity may not be the prettiest or most elegant of classics, but it is undoubtedly one of the most dependable. Many of them are still in daily use all over the world, endlessly racking up the miles. Rust was an issue on the earlier models, but those from the mid-80s onwards are rock-solid. Or rather: brick-solid.
The last Saab to be produced fully independently, and an absolute cult classic. They were built for almost two decades and, as you’d expect, the later facelifted ones are the less rusty ones. Don’t be fooled, though, because the 900 can be a reliable car in any guise, whether from the late 70’s or the early 90’s. Even the more modern General Motors-built 900 is an indestructible car, although it doesn’t really have the same panache—yet!
You were probably expecting an E30, but I simply prefer the E28. Personal preference aside, this second generation of the 5-Series is often overlooked because the visual changes from the first generation were so minimal. Beneath the surface, though, it was a different story. This 5er had significantly better rust prevention than the previous one and housed several new or updated engines. What’s also worth mentioning is that this was the first generation of the 5-Series to receive an M5 sibling… just so you know which one to look for.
Yes, it does look a bit as if it was made by a French infant with some cardboard and duct tape, but the engine sure wasn’t. The Citroën 2CV’s air-cooled flat-twin engine is a brilliantly simple piece of engineering that won’t stop at anything. And don’t be deceived by the name "2 Chevaux:" this car has well over 2 horsepower. It has at least 9.
Do you know any more dependable classics that aren’t in this list, or even have one? Let us know in the comments!
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