5 Cheap current & future classic cars that aren't a pain to live with
Want a classic car, but don't want the hassle of an old car? Check out this list...
Do you fancy a bit of the classic car life? Going to meets and driving something that's rare, beautiful, and a bit special? But at the same time, you don't have a small fortune to spend on the car and the constant maintenance it will require? Well, check out these young-timer classics.
The S2000 is like a grown-up Miata: it's still tons of fun, it's cheap but a lot more rare and special, and it also has a more mature image. The once record holding 2.0 litre inline-4 is powerful, fun and typically reliable, with 237hp and a super-car rivalling 9000rpm red-line – it's really the heart and soul of the S2000.
The chassis, while aged, still offers amazing driving thrills and most of all the ability to drive it day to day without your back disintegrating.
BMW M3/330ci E46
The E46 was in many ways an evolutionary revolution for the 3 series. It got more plush, quiet and refined, all thanks to a softer suspension, more sound deadening and enough extra equipment to embarrass some cars even now. It all came at a price though – it was a lot heavier and thus less nimble and driver-oriented than the outgoing E36.
That being said, it's a RWD coupe, saloon, cabrio or even an estate with as much as 286bhp in some trims, which makes it a bit of a benchmark. There is one more problem though: it's been still in production in 2006, which doesn't exactly fit the idea of a 'classic'. However it did enter production over 20 years ago in 1997, thus in my eyes, a clean example of an M3, 330ci Clubsport or even something like a clean (that's the key word here) 330d can be a classic. However something like a 318d or 316i with tons of rust and steel wheels... well that's just an old banger.
Volkswagen Golf R32 MK4/5
I'm no fan of the Golf, I see it as a bit of bore car. It does everything you ask it to do, and it does it well, but it doesn't feel really special. And then there is the R32, a family hatch with 3.2 litres VR6 shoved under its little hood, it even has an AWD system ensuring it can actually put down all of its 240hp (247 in the MK5) and 320nm of torque.
Performance wise the R32 badged Golfs were some of the fastest hatchbacks of their day, with the MK4 dispatching a 0-62mph sprint in 6.6 seconds (6.4 with the DSG gearbox), and the MK5 bringing it further down to 6.2 seconds.
On the inside the R32 is basically a fully loaded Golf with some extra bits that remind you are a driving something quite special, meaning it's both comfy and very in tune with an appreciating classic. There are no major mechanical faults known, and there are a lot of them for sale with well over 150,000 miles on the clock, indicating longevity.
While the MK4 is certainly a bit of a young classic at this point, calling MK5 a classic is a bit of a stretch right now. Nevertheless it's here thanks to its uniqueness, performance and the fact it's some 30-50 per cent cheaper than the MK4.
The MK4 has already begun appreciating as a classic so expect to pay upwards of £7,000 for a decent example. Slightly tatty MK5 models come in at £4,000, expect to pay £6,000 and above for a decent example. The MK4 is a nice indication of possible appreciation potential for the MK5.
Mazda Miata NB SV-T Sport
Okay, here it goes... I think the NB looks better. The NA can look stunning, but in bone stock form it just looks goofy. There I said it.
So... what the hell is the SV-T sport? It's a bit like a grown-up Miata, with comfier interior, more power, a 6-speed gearbox, Torsen LSD, Bilstein shock absorbers, front strut brace, bigger brakes, fog lights, climate control and a few other extras I don't fully remember.
This all makes the NB S-VT MX-5 makes it way more fined thus easier to live with than the NA or pre-facelift NB. The 'VT' stands for 'Sequential Valve Timing' which basically brought the MX-5's engine into the 21st century.
The LSD makes it even better and more responsive to drive, the 6-speed box features closer ratios but longer final drive - giving you the best of both worlds, fun and better economy. Combine that with the more cushy interior and I would argue the MX-5 can be a budget GT car. Other than that it's an MX-5 meaning it's reliable and parts are cheap and plentiful if something goes south.
Audi TT MK1
Just like me, the Audi TT turned 20 years old last year, this means two things: the TT gets classic status, and I will never be able to do certain things in a socially acceptable manner. Adulthood eh?
Anyhow, since its introduction two decades ago the TT went from a hairdressers car, to a seriously quick coupe to an up and coming classic car.
While not to everyone's taste, most people agree it looked great when it came out. Even now an example in good spec will still get quite a few looks on the street. It's a 2+2 coupe but don't expect to get much use out of its super-cramped rear seats.
It was powered by two fantastic engines, either a 1.8 20V Turbo Four banger or a 3.2 VR6 with power ranging from 180 and 225bhp for the 1.8 to 247bhp with the VR6.
With the 225bhp four-cylinder and Haldex based Quattro AWD the TT gets to 62mph in about 6.4 seconds. So it's certainly a quick car, even by today's standards, however, it's not exactly a sports like the S2000 or MX-5. It's a good looking, comfortable cruiser with a ton of grunt, making it ballistic in a straight line, and plentyof fun in the corners for the capabilities of an average driver.
Looking for that perfect Valentines Day gift for the special petrolhead in your life?
Pickup truck with Ferrari levels of power for $39,995? Some days I really do wish I lived in America...
IF YOU ENJOY THE CONTENT CONSIDER FOLLOWING THE TRIBE AND THE SECOND GEAR TEAM:
Student/JLR ungergrad. I love Cars (obviously), photography, travel and media. Currently driving a crappy old Astra, next car goal is either an MX-5 or Alfa Romeo GTV6.
Hello. I am leader of the Second Gear tribe and I had hair like James May