We are now well into our series of classic car buying guides.
From the bargain basement of £1,000 to the frugal £2,000, half-decent £3,000 and heftiest £5,000
We’re now getting pretty serious – classics that you can pick up for £10,000 or less. You’d think it’d get easier the more cash you’ve got to spend, but with £10k in your pocket the choice is ever-expanding.
Here, we attempt to offer a varied selection of possibilities to whet your appetite, but head over to our for sale section for plenty more. As always, before you buy make sure you check the history, get a full MOT and have an expert assess your potential purchase.
If you reckon that the Triumph Stag had a bit more style than most cars coming out of British Leyland in the 1970s, there’s a good reason for that. Produced between 1970 and 1978, it was designed by an Italian, Giovanni Michelotti, hence its attractiveness. The idea was for it to be luxury sports car to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz SL – quite an ambitious target to say the least.
And, while it didn’t quite make that level, most would say, the Stag is fondly remembered and much-coveted today. They were all four-seater convertibles, although they had that distinctive rollbar to meet US safety standards. Powered by a 3.0-litre V8, the Triumph was something of a gem in what was a pretty dark time for British Leyland, although it still suffered from reliability issues.
Over its lifetime 25,939 were made and it’s got a loyal following today.
While today’s Range Rover is something of a prestige luxury vehicle that also happens to be hugely capable on the rough stuff, the first-gen car was somewhat more rugged. That said, it was conceived in 1970 as a more upmarket and comfortable alternative to the basic Land Rover.
To begin with – in fact until 1981 – it was only available with two doors and it came with vinyl seats and plastic dashboards – the idea being that it could literally be hosed down. Later in life the luxury started to develop with exciting additions like power steering, carpets, air con, cloth and leather upholstery and wooden trim.
It was the fact that the Rangie offered more versatility than the standard Land Rover that gave it appeal to a wider market than simply people who needed an off-roader. It was better on the road while still being excellent off it, was more comfortable, accommodated more people – as well as more load space – and was a bit more car-like in many ways.
The first one ever made – pictured here – still exists and the first generation was so well-loved that Land Rover made it until 1996.
Alfa Romeo Spider
A real slice of Italian chic, is this one.The Alfa Romeo Spider in name was produced between 1966 and 1993, but for your £10k you should be looking at a proper classic example, pictured here, from the 1960s or 1970s. Launched in 1966, it became something of a style icon.
Powered initially by a 1,600cc engine, it was light, lithe and lots of fun – as well as oozing Italian sex appeal. Later cars got a bigger 1,750cc engine for those in search of a little more poke, but this car was more about the experience than the speed.
Around 9,000 series one cars were made, making them fairly sought-after these days Series two models, produced throughout the 1970s, are far more numerous.
Hailing from a time when a Jag was a proper jag driven by a caddish Brit who everyone hated to love, the XJ-S is still an instantly recognisable car. Launched in 1976, it certainly had a tough act to follow, replacing as it did the E-Type. But it, while never having a chance of following a legend like that, had plenty of appeal and was produced for 20 years with a reputation for being a decent grand tourer.
By the time the last one rolled off the assembly line in 1996, more than 115,000 had been made. That’s not bad for a car whose birth was hardly ideal – Jaguar launched the car, which had a 5.3-litre V12, not the most economical engine, just as the fuel crisis was tailing off.
The XJ-S, which was succeeded by the XK8, is worthy of its own place in both Jaguar’s and Britain’s car history.
A bit of a curveball here, but certainly one worth a look if you’re into your Americana. A car that screams ‘American Dream’ when you look at it, the Chevrolet Corvair was made during a golden era – 1960 to 1969. It has a claim to fame in that it is the only American-designed, mass-produced passenger car to be bestowed with a rear-mounted, air-cooled, engine.
You could have one as a two-door coupe, convertible, four-door or a station wagon – as well as a van (yes, really) or pickup truck.
Designed to compete with imports like the Volkswagen Beetle as well as other home-grown rivals, the Corvair’s biggest legacy is probably its safety issues. With much of the weight at the back of the car, it was found to have a tendency to be terribly easy to lose control of, but a report later decided that it was no more likely to do so than any other car of its era.
If you fancy spending your cash on something super-cool, the convertible is particularly desirable.