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The Independent Culture
BMW 3.OCSL, 1970-75, pounds 8,000

For: class, performance, driver appeal, ambience, visibility, practicality. Against: finding a good one, rust-prone lightweight panels, heavyweight thirst, expensive repairs.

Ferrari 308GT4, 1973-80, pounds 17,500

For: best of affordable Ferraris, exotic name, 150mph, air conditioning, plus-two seats, driver satisfaction. Against: rust, tricky to drive, cripplingly expensive to repair, few specialists.

Ford Lotus Cortina, 1963-70, pounds 10,000

For: competition history, Q-car performance, simple mechanics, plenty of room, gear-change. Against: high price of Mkls, humdrum styling, heavy steering, jerky ride.

Jaguar 420, 1966-68, pounds 7,000

For: much cheaper than coveted Mk2, independent rear suspension, comfortable ride, regal presence, lots of specialists. Against: graceless styling, lacks provenance of older Mk2s, thirsty, expensive to run.

Lotus Elan, 1962-73, pounds 12,000

For: definitive sports car, handling, driver appeal, galvanised chassis on restored cars, simple mechanics. Against: fragility, dodgy build quality, poor crash protection, kit-car ancestry.

Mercedes-Benz 350SL, 1970-80, pounds 12,000

For: class, style, comfort, luxury, performance, build quality, envy factor, dependable. Against: Expensive to buy, run and fix, poseur's delight, dubious 'up-yours' image.

MGB/BGT, 1962-80, pounds 4,000-pounds 9,000

For: lots to choose from, easy to fix, cheap to buy and run, character, owners' club world's biggest. Against: commonplace, primitive, bumbling performance (V8 excepted), GT wind noise, low tingle factor.

Porsche 911, 1964 onwards, pounds 6,000-pounds 30,000

For: icon status, reliability, performance, air-cooled engine, easy maintenance, unique sound. Against: early ones tricky, expensive to fix, difficult to work on, yuppie image, thieves' favourite.

Rover 3.5 Coupe, 1967-73, pounds 7,500

For: coach-built opulence, lush trim, great ambience, strong V8 engine, comfort and refinement. Against: finding a good one,

rust-prone body, sloppy handling, expensive to fix, stodgy.

Triumph Stag, 1970-77, pounds 8,000

For: style, versatile headgear, V8 exhaust waffle, six speeds, cockpit, large and helpful owners' club. Against: engine unreliable unless well tended, less sporting than it looks, poseur image.