Motor Show 1993: Is that old car a bargain or a burden?: James May provides a guide to some of the more popular classic cars that can be picked up for less than pounds 5,000

YOU HAVE probably bought an old car before, but that was because you were skint, although there was a time at the end of the Eighties when you bought an old car because you were rich or, thought it might make you rich. Before the boom there was a sufficient supply of old - but still interesting - machinery that the ordinary old-car buff could buy for reasonable money and tinker with to the total disinterest of everyone else.

Then, the word 'classic' seemed to be reappraised, and cars that would previously have been advertised in the local paper as 'runner or spares' were sitting pretty in the back of specialist car magazines as 'restoration projects' under a quadrupled asking price.

Now that the boom has passed, it is possible to see that it did some good, generating interest in a lot of old cars, especially from the late 1950s, the 1960s and, to a lesser extent the early 1970s.

It is still possible to spend a fortune on a rare old car, but the new breed of classics means that you can become accepted in the retro set for well under pounds 5,000.

A few tips on buying a classic. Decide what you want and then join the owners' club. These clubs are an invaluable source of advice and spares, and you will recoup your membership investment by taking advantage of one of their special insurance deals. If possible, take an expert along when viewing, and finally, be prepared to haggle.

Morris Minor (1956-1970) Saloon pounds 2,000, Convertible pounds 3,000, Traveller pounds 1,800.

Charming interior features include leather upholstery in older examples, a dearth of instruments and a mesmerising winking light on the end of the indicator stalk.

Club: Morris Minor Owners' Club, 127-129 Green Lane, Derby DE1 1RZ.

Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite (1958-1961) pounds 3,500

Lightness and simplicity of design allowed a top speed of over 80mph from just 43bhp.

Club: Austin Healey Club, 4 Saxby Street, Leicester LE2 0ND.

Ford Consul MkII (1956-1962) Saloon pounds 1,700, Convertible pounds 4,000

American-influenced styling embodies American handling characteristics.

Club: Ford Consul MkII , Zypher & Zodiac Club, 16 Berkshire Way, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 1QT.

Armstrong-Siddeley Star Saphire Saloon (1958-1960) pounds 5,000

Slab-sided and dignified, it looks 10 years older than it really is and most people will think it's a Rolls-Royce.

Club: Armstrong-Siddeley Owners' Club, 57 Berberry Close, Bournville, Birmingham B30 1TB.

MGB (1964-1974), MGBGT (1965-1974) pounds 3,000- pounds 5,000 plus

Mechanical simplicity translates into raw and entertaining driving experience.

Club: MG Owners' Club, 2/4 Station Road, Swavesey, Cambs.

Triumph Herald/Vitesse Convertible (1961-1971) pounds 1,800- pounds 3,000

Has four seats and Meccano-style chassis-based construction, so infinitely reparable. Most have been.

Club: Triumph Sports Six Club, Main Street, Lubenham, Market Harborough, Leics LE16 9TF.

Daimler V8 Saloon (1963-1968) pounds 5,000

Quicker than the Jag and much cheaper. You won't get a perfect one for this money and that's probably only the beginning.

Club: Daimler and Lanchester Owners' Club, FREEPOST, The Manor House, Trewyn, Abergavenny, Gwent NP7 5BR.

Lotus Europa 1 (1966-1969) pounds 4,000

Outrageously styled glass fibre body doesn't rust, but sadly the chassis is of plain old steel and probably has. Notoriously troublesome but Tara King had an orange one in the Avengers. Not many left.

Club: Club Lotus, PO Box 8, Dereham, Norfolk NR19 1TF.

Ford Capri MkI 3000GT (1969-1974) pounds 2,750

If the idea of a Capri still seems horribly naff, remember that this was the Vauxhall Calibra of its day, only then we'd never had it before. Club: Ford Capri Club International, Field House, Redditch, Worcs B98 0AN.

Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5 (1968-1975) pounds 3,000

Rust-proof plastic body, sturdy Ford V6, quirky interior and it has four wheels.

Club: Scimitar Drivers' Club International, 12 West Drive, Caldecote, Cambridge CB3 7NY.

Triumph Stag (1970-1977) pounds 5,000

Had something of a reputation for being a lemon owing to problems with the V8, which is wonderful when it works. Hardtop is a safer but cowardly option, and you won't get an immaculate one at this price.

Club: Stag Owners' Club, 16 Denewood Close, Watford, Herts WD1 3SZ.

Jaguar XJ-S (1975-1981) pounds 5,000

Glorious engine, stupendously complex, gets more expensive to run the cheaper it becomes to buy.

Club: Jaguar Drivers' Club, 18 Stuart Street, Luton, Beds LU1 2SL.

Brooks are holding an auction of classic cars at the Motor Show on 28 October. For details, telephone 071 228 8000.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot