What is a classic car? It's in the eye of the beholder. Any car out of production could be considered a classic. The more usual definition of a classic car would be that it is also more than 20 years old. Some would consider the Lotus Elan - just out of production - a classic. On the other hand, a 20-year-old Austin Allegro may not fit the conventional perception.

Is a classic car a good investment? The classic car market closely follows the housing market, so now is a cheap time to buy.

Where to repair? Every club has lists of people who will give specialist advice and very often charge no more than a normal garage. Spares can be easier to get hold of than for a five-year-old car.

What to look for in your car? Mileage isn't important, but go for a good body: condition, inside and out, is everything.

Look for: car history documentation; as few previous owners as possible; service record; original bill of sale; DoT test certificates; names and addresses of previous owners.

What about insurance? Shop around. At least 60 companies offer classic car insurance. The rule is: if you don't use the car as your main transport and keep within a specified mileage, it will be cheaper to insure than a modern car.

Top 5 popular starter classics (you should be able to pick one up for around pounds 5,000):

Austin Healey Frog-Eyed Sprite

Early mini (especially Mini Cooper)

VW Beetle

Morris Minor convertible

MGB

Top 5 naff classics

Austin Allegro

Austin Marina

Austin Maxi

Rover SD1

Vauxhall Viva

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