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aldo135

Most usable tax free/classic insurance friendly car? My thoughts. Please correct me!

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Its no doubt been talked about before but I couldn't see a thread. I've been thinking about what would make an ideal second car and hobby/shite/classic/retro (delete as appropriate) in one. Something interesting (to me at least!), but roomy enough to fit the kids in, pick up shopping etc, reasonable parts availability... On that point I'm not trying to dodge the MOT and associated repairs, any car of mine would get checked by a garage at least once a year to make sure I've not missed anything, I don't want to debate that issue here!

So with a theoretical three grand in my pocket here are the cars I've thought of so far, most pretty obvious. Please feel free to add your thoughts or shoot mine down! 

Volvo 244/245

A Scottish 'shiter has to start here! I'd love an Amazon but cheap examples are long gone. So the 200's. A lot are advertised above my budget but with patience I think a good one is easily possible. Maybe not the most exciting of cars but probably the most practical image.jpeg.2ef7da0a123a843bc9f5e1469f170e2a.jpeg

 

Morris 1000 / Austin A40 Farina

I like the classic looks of these two and many have proved they can still be reliable transport, but they are maybe on the small side for me carting kids about, and maybe a bit tiresome on longer journeys? 

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BMC 1800 various 

These cars definitely tick the family box, being so spacious and sturdy with well known engines (maybe not so much with the 2200 six). They do have a classic look as well that probably looks better now than it did when new. I'm sure most on here will know about the futuristic Pininfarina design that was binned, another "what could have been" for the British car industry! The downside to this one is that values are creeping up so I might have missed the boat for getting a good one...

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Small Triumphs

This might be too much for one paragraph! I'll discount the Standard 8 and 10 for being a bit too old for this brief, and the Vitesse sadly for being too dear. I might just about get a Herald at the money, and I would like the chance to tinker with one given that I'm a relative novice with mechanics and they are famously easy to work on, with straightforward engines and easy access thanks to their massive bonnets. More likely given budget is a Toledo or later Dolomite 1300, the 1500s don't have the best reputation and larger engined models are again getting too expensive. I've actually owned a Dolly 1500 and sprint in the past, Dolomites are great cars and I'd happily have another! I do like the Acclaim as well but they were built 81-84 so just miss my pre 1980 cut off. This isn't a great photo but it is the only one I have of my 1500! Sold it to a guy in Walsall about 10 years ago.

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Big Triumphs

Mk1 2000s are my most favourite car! My Dad had one when I was 5-10 years old and it's probably the main reason I'm so into cars now, I just loved it. I did have one about 13-14 years ago before I had kids. At that point in my life though I was either at work, watching hearts get beat or in the pub... It wasn't the best condition car and I sold it on for pennies. It put me off slightly but it was that long ago that I've forgotten the frustration that it caused! My wife was the new girlfriend at the time and couldn't get her head around the fact that I drove around in a £150 Rover 414 because my £1500 car was broken! But I couldn't see the problem as I had a works van and my 2 main hobbies mentioned previously didn't require a car! Good Triumph Saloons are getting above my price range now sadly, although you still see later ones at this price.

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I will add more later, the Allegro Maxi and Marina are next in mind but I need to go to bed, all this excitement! I will no doubt go on about this for ages then buy a Kia Picanto, as £30 tax is nearly free eh? 

 

Edited by aldo135
spelling!

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If you can find Charles Ware's book on Durable car ownership, I think that any classic can be turned into a useable daily driver

 

https://driventowrite.com/2015/10/31/the-durable-car-morris-minor-charles-ware/

 

Personally I'd be looking at the Opel Ascona A and fitting an LET and an omega drive train. 

 

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The Minor is probably the best choice of the bunch for an all rounder because it has that magical thing call Parts Support, that a lot of supposedly practical classics don't, especially when you're looking at the sub-£3k end of the market.  1800s and big Triumphs are going to be better as a family car but parts support isn't as good so unless you're a spare parts hoarder, they're just going to be waiting to get you with an awkward piece of unobtanium at the least opportune moment.  The little A40 Farina is a nice choice, they're a bit more roomy than the Minor, and still don't command silly money, it's just a shame they didn't do a four door version.

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I must admit to being a bit out of touch with what is tax exempt these days, is it 40 years, making anything '79 on a freebie?
A Volvo is always a good shout at that age, as is an early Merc W123 or a big Vauxhall if you can find one that hasn't dissolved. I ran a Royale as a daily for a while a couple of years ago and it was fabulous, 18mpg notwithstanding...

 

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Any Cortina competitor; Marina, Avenger, Hunter, Victor , Primcess etc . Surely £3000 would buy the best one in the world, obviously not the rare and desirable versions GTs, GLSsTCs VX 4/90 etc but a nice rep special saloon or estate of any of these  has almost as much charm as a Landcrab or Maxi.

Something a bit more exotic but along the same lines such as a Fiat 131/132, Renault 12/18 , Passat would be even more usable but could be tricky getting parts

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Something with a big folloowing in the USA is always going to have better parts support than something UK/Commonwealth only.

So that is a really big plus for the Volvo and a big minus for the BMC 1800 (engine excepted because of the MGB connection)

Volvo saloons are still much less sought after than wagons / breaks / estates and still a nice place to sit if the seats are that lovely 70's cloth.

So a Volvo 244 would be my choice from your list.

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FE Victor or Rootes Arrow could be a good shout.  I doubt you'd get a good FD now in budget.  Might also be worth looking at an Opel Rekord of the same age because there are still plenty in Yurrup.  Grab 'em while you can!

Triumph, a friend has a 2.5PI mk2 and he doesn't keep hold of cars.  Shall I ask him for you?

Arrow is the minimum size you need if you have 3 kids, so a Volvo 144/244 would fit very well.

Rover P6 has sculpted rear seats to carry two adults, so the kids won't be happy in one of those.

American: at these prices you're going to get something unloved and likely neglected, so perhaps not suitable for your needs.  Ask me how I know!

Renault 16/20/30?  The 16 is really the smallest car you could consider, but does have the hatchback, and there's already plenty of AS support for one.

Just a few thoughts, the choice is yours!

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How about an air-cooled VW for parts support and the early availability of an electrical drivetrain conversion kit.

OK it costs about £30k, but it won't cost that forever and as any fule noes, a VW engine is only held in with four bolts, so it's the work of a moment to swap it over.

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10 hours ago, New POD said:

If you can find Charles Ware's book on Durable car ownership, I think that any classic can be turned into a useable daily driver

 

https://driventowrite.com/2015/10/31/the-durable-car-morris-minor-charles-ware/

 

Personally I'd be looking at the Opel Ascona A and fitting an LET and an omega drive train. 

 

Despite the fact the Ascona A is a rare car, (rarer than a Manta A) the parts to keep them on the road are even rarer again. I wish I’d kept my gold one, 73 1600 manual 4 door. Sold it for peanuts. A good summer classic yes, But as a useable daily classic, not so good.

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I run a Minor as a daily. It's fine locally keeps up with traffic no problem. Not so good on motorways.

If you get one, a traveller is best by far, but very expensive these days.

Rover 75 are good, I've got one of those as well, excellent to drive anywhere,  Can be expensive if you happen to buy the wrong one. Classic insurance with Peter Best.

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There's a few classics that are new enough to accomodate rear belts, the Princess as suggested above actually has the fixing points in the back already, it's just that hardly anyone opted to have them fitted when new.  From about 1980 on, there's usually provision for rear belts, pre-1970 there usually isn't, and throughout the 70s it's very hit and miss what will and won't accept them.  £3k would get you an exceptionally nice Princess, keeping it that way - and any other classic for that matter - is where the work is.  Being able to garage it so it can dry out, keeping the corrosion promoting grime off, and generally keeping on top of all those jobs people did every weekend way back when is all part of the experience.

That's the bigger issue with dailying a classic, really.  If you're trying to use it just like a modern and with all the demands that imposes you've got that to contend with along with all the stuff people had to contend with when the cars were new, as well as the effects of entropy on every single aspect of the vehicle.  It's a lot of work to daily a classic, not always a lot of money, but definitely a lot of work, and complacency is your biggest enemy no matter what car you choose.

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https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VOLVO-AMAZON-1965-121-5-DOOR/312866055082?hash=item48d84523aa:g:5u8AAOSwkNRd4EUx

This Amazon might fit into budget, no bids yet at 2.5k and listed as open to offers. MOT history from 2012-2017 doesn't look too scary though would have kept the local welders in business before then!

AMAZON.jpg

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Yank tank. I know someone with a 1970s Cadillac and on the rare occasions he  needs any parts he just phones up a company in Texas and they arrive in a few days and at a reasonable cost. Only drawback is the fuel consumption, but he doesn't do a vast mileage in it. Something smaller such as a Ford  or Chevrolet would no doubt be even more practical.

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3 hours ago, Justin Case said:

Yank tank. I know someone with a 1970s Cadillac and on the rare occasions he  needs any parts he just phones up a company in Texas and they arrive in a few days and at a reasonable cost. Only drawback is the fuel consumption, but he doesn't do a vast mileage in it. Something smaller such as a Ford  or Chevrolet would no doubt be even more practical.

You know someone else with a 1970s Cadillac too ;) and I can vouch for them on seat belt terms: Huggy has lap belts for six (three each front and rear) and optional shoulder belts for driver and osf passenger.  Do I need to remind you that Huggy is also For Sale, if a bit over budget...?  I'm hearing talk of a 740 so it's possible something could be arranged...

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Nice Maxi for around £2.5 to 3k.
This one is used regularly all year round as a second car and has been 100% reliable.
Seats 5 people. Amazingly spacious inside for its size. Plenty of room for shopping, etc. with easy loading tailgate.
5 speed box means an average of 30 mpg. Tax and MoT exempt.
Good mechanical parts availabilty through the owners' club.

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Rear belts for 3 people. Retrofittable for around £60. 2 lap and diagonal inertia reel belts and a centre lap belt. Mountings already there for 3 static belts.

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Easy to add an extra mounting in the boot for the inertia reel. The rear seat still folds backwards for double bed fun.

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The British Renault 16 with much better parts availability and no nasty Frenchness.

Full impartial HubNut road test of this very vehicle available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtihHAa0WmY
or just google HubNut Maxi.

 

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