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First time classic - your suggestions please!

  • 31-12-2016 10:14pm
    #1
    Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional North East Moderators Posts: 10,826 Mod ✭✭✭✭ PauloMN


    Am looking to dip my toe into the world of classic car ownership in 2017. Long story short - spent many a weekend at classic car shows with my father and (like him) longed for the day I'd own a classic of some sort.

    Having looked at threads on here and elsewhere, along with the usual diet of Wheeler Dealer, Car SOS and the like on TV, it seems it can be a minefield if you don't do your research.

    I'd love a six or eight cylinder engined car (as I spend my days in a 4 pot diesel), but not sure my budget would stretch to such. Speaking of budget, I'd have about 5 or 6k to play with, so a lot of nice stuff would be ruled out.

    So what do I like/dislike?

    I'm not really into American classics, I prefer British stuff purely from the point of view that I grew up in the '70s and British cars were largely what were around. Would love a tidy Triumph Stag but they are out of budget (would prob need to double or triple the budget for one). Kinda like the idea of a V8 Rover P6 but I wonder might they be too much for a first car? I'm also quite fond of old Mercs though, so that could be another option.

    So what sort of car would you recommend someone starting out in classic car ownership? Is something like an MGB a good starting point? The Mini is just a little too small for my liking. Would be happy enough to do minor tinkering, small body work jobs, tidying up the interior and basic servicing, but I wouldn't want to get into engine rebuilds or major structural stuff, at least not for a first shot at classic ownership.

    Any ideas appreciated!


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,542 ✭✭✭ Blue850


    Triumph 2000/2500? Lovely straight six engine and your budget will get a very good one


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭ Type 17


    I'm biased as I own one, but 70's Mercs might be a good buy with your criteria - the biggest engine in the E-class (W123) is a 2.8 straight 6, and that engine (as well as 3.5/4.5/6.9 V8's) also comes in the S-class (W116).

    The "secret" is that 4-door Mercs (excluding Estates) are around half the price of their 2-door brethren, but you get the same engines and build-quality...

    They can hide rust well, so bring someone who knows the model properly, but you should be able to get a decent, usable one within your budget.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,156 ✭✭✭ w124man


    Get yourself a straight six W124 / W126 Mercedes. Ultra reliable and cheap. Are you cool enough for one though ??


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional North East Moderators Posts: 10,826 Mod ✭✭✭✭ PauloMN


    Thanks folks, good suggestions there.

    Would the Mercs be easy enough to work on and get parts for?

    Like the Triumph 2000/2500 suggestion also. These are basically saloon Stags, right?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭ Type 17


    Merc parts are easy to get, either genuine or OEM aftermarket.
    The Mercedes Classic Centre (division of Mercedes-Benz AG) looks after older Mercs from the 50's to the late 80's, and almost all mechanical parts and most trim & interior parts are still available. Some rarer parts with low demand may be NLA from Mercedes, but would probably still be available used (especially over the 'net from Germany) - compared to some makes/era's, parts for older Mercs are positively plentiful.

    Working on classics: with the passing of time, all cars are seen as simpler than when they were new, as the technology becomes more widely known in the aftermarket trade, so for all simple to medium-complexity tasks, even relatively expensive-when-new cars like Mercs are no more difficult to work on than any other make these days.
    I would even go as far as to say that some of the classics that are harder to work on are cars that were designed down to a price, and less thought/expense was given to longevity, and to ease of maintenance.

    UK cars would have a good support trade from the UK, and were always popular in Ireland, but get ready to buy imperial spanners/sockets, and enter the wonderful world of imperial thread-sizes (each to his own, and while I do enjoy looking at UK cars, it's metric for me, all the way!)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,472 ✭✭✭ Seweryn


    Never thought of the madness of imperial spanners and threads, as I was never interested in an old UK made machine.

    I would recommend a good Mercedes as well as others suggested above. They were the best cars made in the day. I used to have a lovely S123 300TD and I very much regret selling it. Excellent build quality and if maintained it will last decades...

    Another good option is a Porsche 924 as it is very well protected against rust (galvanised body in all 1980+ models), has simple mechanics and is fun to drive. Probably the cheapest classic car in terms of maintenance cost (some parts are extremely cheap) combined with purchase price.

    There are many other good cars to choose from including Japanese, German and French vehicles. However I would make sure I get a good example to start with.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,319 ✭✭✭ Filmer Paradise


    PauloMN wrote: »

    Like the Triumph 2000/2500 suggestion also. These are basically saloon Stags, right?

    The Stag would have been based on the saloon alright, but it had it's own unique & infamous Triumph V8.

    The Rover P6 & Triumph 2000 range would be good first time classics as they are so useable in today's traffic.

    Plenty of power, lots of extras & very advanced for their time.

    The Triumph came with 2/2.5 6 cylinder engines & 4speed/auto boxes. Overdrive is available on some. They are roomier inside than the Rover.

    The P6 2000/2200 has a 4 cylinder engine with the option of 4speed or auto. The 3500 has the V8 & would be my choice of the range.

    I find that the Rover is more commonaly available than the Triumph.

    Either way they're great cars if you can find a good well cared for example.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭ Type 17


    Seweryn wrote: »
    ...However I would make sure I get a good example to start with.
    ...they're great cars if you can find a good well cared for example.

    Unless you like major restoration (and while some people do, you mentioned 'minor tinkering'), the comments above are the most important - any car, even the best-made, most cleverly-designed and beautiful car can be turned into a money-pit by neglect.

    Given your (sensible, but not enormous) budget, you should rule out most estates, convertibles, 2-door sports and GTI-type variants of your target cars - better to have nice Triumph 2000 than a tatty Stag, or a decent 280E Merc Saloon than a knackered 450SEL 6.9


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,546 ✭✭✭ Agricola


    6 cylinder 320/323i in e21 or e30 would be a nice alternative to the Merc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,319 ✭✭✭ Filmer Paradise


    If you want something a little bit sportier, a Ford Capri might fit the bill.

    In my book the Mk3 would be the pick of them. Mk1s are scarce & expensive. The Mk2 looks a bit Plain Jane to my eyes.

    The later 1.6/2litre Lasers would be coming into the 'chape tax' now. They're well equipped with 5 speed box, sunroof, alloys etc. Also they have a practical hatchback. They're surprisingly roomy for a Coupe

    Being Ford, they share a lot of mechanical bits with the rest of the range, so parts are cheap & easy to get hold of.

    Maybe your budget might stretch to the 2.8 injection. Then you'd have the power to match the looks.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,093 ✭✭✭✭ Nekarsulm


    Mercede W123 CE 280, get a rot free one and you have a sweet straight six, and a lovely comfortable drive.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,830 ✭✭✭ shawnee


    Enjoyed a spell with a beautiful 280ce and indeed they are an absolutely beautiful spec car with a bombproof and powerful engine.:p Rust can be a problem but reliability ain't.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,795 ✭✭✭ Red Kev


    Consider a BMW E28 or E12. They're a better car than the year equivalent Merc, they drive better, are just as reliable and rust a lot less (I'm saying this as a Merc fan). Comfortable and usable as a daily driver. Cheap parts as well as being easy to repair. Prices are steadily rising and most of them are pre-87, so tax won't be an issue.

    You'll probably need to go to the UK, join one of the BMW forums there and you should be able to pick something nice and reliable with a bit of patience.

    Here's an example of what you could be getting; two very different cars, both with long MOT's

    520i Auto http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C775075

    More desirable, but more expensive to run M535i : http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C812684


  • Registered Users Posts: 3 Piebaldass


    I'm considering parting with my 1972 MGB GT......well within your budget with money left over to really make it stand out.
    I use it everyday but it could do with a respray....i have had quotes from 800-1200 for this......a little bit of tidying on the inside and it'd be perfect. I also have loads of spares to go with it,bout 500 euros worth.
    If you're interested?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,831 ✭✭✭ RobAMerc


    had a w114 - 1974 and she had electric windows, pas, an electric sunroof (and all still working too) a silky smooth straight 6 and would basically just pound the bumps into submission - downside was taking it round bends :eek:

    I also think the engineering in 70's mercs was nothing short of superb. in fact they were totally over engineered.

    parts are simple to get, and they are fairly easy to work on too compared to the modern stuff ( or a lancia for instance )

    Italian stuff I can tell you from experience is often also superbly engineered but sadly poorly built and the 70's Britt stuff imo seems neither well engineered nor well built ( although my 1973 mini had not much to go wrong so I'm not really talking from actual experience.)


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional North East Moderators Posts: 10,826 Mod ✭✭✭✭ PauloMN


    Thanks for the suggestions all, some food for thought there. Love the E28 alright, could be a great place to start. Always liked the shape of them and they are pretty much all 6 cyl from what I can see? I presume most of them are auto, I'm wary about an old auto box being a major cost if not good, would it be easy to spot a bad one?
    Piebaldass wrote: »
    I'm considering parting with my 1972 MGB GT......well within your budget with money left over to really make it stand out.
    I use it everyday but it could do with a respray....i have had quotes from 800-1200 for this......a little bit of tidying on the inside and it'd be perfect. I also have loads of spares to go with it,bout 500 euros worth.
    If you're interested?

    Not ready to buy anything yet - garage is first thing to be built as a home for the car I eventually get. Hoping to get it underway within the month. Then time to go shopping!


  • Registered Users Posts: 463 ✭✭ Testacalda


    PauloMN wrote: »
    I presume most of them are auto, I'm wary about an old auto box being a major cost if not good, would it be easy to spot a bad one?

    Really auto boxes are not much to worry about, change the Fluid and filter when you get it and it would most likely be fine. Repairs aren't that much more expensive than a manual box as an older auto box isn't actually all the complicated inside, there just seems to be a built in fear of the auto in Ireland!

    manual boxes can give problems too, noisy bearings, worn out synchro etc...


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,069 ✭✭✭ Tzar Chasm


    That e28 535i seems suspiciously cheap, the ad says CAT C Write off, so you'd have to wonder.

    That said it could be worth a look


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 193 ✭✭ MrRolex


    Well I am looking for a classic around the same budget as you, so here are my picks.

    If it has to be British, then a 1985 Granada 2.8 Ghia-X
    Otherwise these:
    E30 BMW 320i or 325i
    W123 Mercedes 230E or 300d
    MK2 Golf GTi
    I think any of the above be within your budget for a clean example. They are all reliable, and good to drive.
    With the exception of the Granada, I have owned them all over the years.


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional North East Moderators Posts: 10,826 Mod ✭✭✭✭ PauloMN


    Spotted this earlier, very tempted:
    http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/bmw/5+series/169625

    Garage about 3 weeks away from completion, so it would have a home. :)


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