What we’ve actually learned after 5 years is that one classic car in the garage is not quite ideal. If you have a convertible then you can only use it in Britain’s variable summer. If you have a coupe you want a convertible when it’s warm and a saloon when friends and family come over.
So we started to think what garage we’d create with a notional £10,000, which seems to be the sum most people have in mind to spend.
Rather than spend £10,000 on a nice TR6 or MGB,. we’d prefer to put it into 3 or 4 classics that fit the mood and the situation 365 days a year. By splitting your budget across more than one car you can also chop and change the fleet to suit your mood – without making a drastic change. Ok, so you might argue, the cost of owning the cars will increase if you have 3 or 4. There will be extra insurance and storage costs and perhaps additional road tax costs. Maintenance costs may also increase based on increased use of your fleet throughout the year. If these are hurdles for you we suggest you adjust your £10,000 budget to take this into account. But in our experience the additional costs are relatively small and offset by the enjoyment your cars will bring.
For us at Great Escape, the ideal classic car garage would have to cater for summer weather, cold or inclement weather (so that we can extend the driving season), an everyday commute car (so we can actually use one of the cars daily) and a family and friends weekend getaway car. So here’s our first shot at our ideal 365 day per year classic car fleet:
A great, fun two seater convertible is a must for any classic car fleet. You can pick up an average MGB for £4-5k or a very nice Alfa Romeo Spider S3 or S4. Stick with either of these common, reliable models with good club support and your convertible will be easy and cheap to maintain.
A convertible is for sharing, a driver’s car is for those days when you just want to drive, without worrying about making a passenger seasick. There are plenty of sweet handliing 80s classic hot hatches around that deliver just that – they’ll never be cheaper and they are more reliable than their 70s counterparts thanks to innovations like electronic ignition. The Peugeot 205 GTI (in 1.6 rather than heavyweight 1.9 guise), the increasingly rare Alfasud Ti, VW Golf Mk1 or Mk2 or Mk3 Escort XR3 or RS1600i. Good examples of these cars all start at less than £2k.
Your Drivers Car can double as your Classic Commuter if you’re working on a tight budget, but if you want something more soothing and relaxing for the trip to and from work then there are plenty of great commuting cars. A good commuting car needs to be relaxing, distinctive and reliable. For us here at Great Escape Classic Car Hire it has to be a slat front Saab 900 Turbo 16S – bulletproof build quality, ultra reliable and very comfortable. Our 1990 example has covered 213,000 miles, cost £950 and looks the business. Alternatives include VW Corrado, Fiat Coupe and 1990s Alfa GTV, particularly in 3 litre 24v form.
Family & Friends Ferry
Call them old smokers or luxobarges but there is something about an old 70s or 80s executive saloon. They’re very cheap and ideal for weekend day trips with family and friends – a chance to share your hobby with generally reluctant kith and kin. There is plenty of choice around the £2k mark, which would bag you a nice Series 2 or Series 3 Jaguar XJ6, Mercedes W123 saloon or estate, Citroen CX or a Mark 2 Ford Granada (obviously a Ghia X or a S).
So there you have it. Tell us what you think or if you’ve already gone down this route, let us know what’s in your garage.