As the motoring world suddenly takes a lurch closer to its electric future, enthusiasts may find themselves asking the same question: to buy or not to buy? A classic car, that is. We say: go for it.
The thing to remember is that it is only the sale of new petrol and diesel cars that will be banned from 2030. Cars already on the road – and on the track – will carry on as usual, and while petrol is not likely to get any cheaper in the long term it will continue to be available. Classic cars and historic motor racing are not about to disappear.
Indeed in years to come a classic machine hurled along by exploding gases is likely to become more valued (if not necessarily more valuable) than ever. Who wouldn’t kill for quad-cams and twin-carbs for high days, holidays and track days when our everyday transport relies on cold and efficient battery power?
Which classics to go for? We scoured the catalogue for the next Bonhams MPH online sale on 11th December to find some perfect petrol antidotes to all things electric. We wanted plenty of pure petrol potency, lots of useability and a big wow factor – along with a British heritage. Britain is leading the charge to electric cars after all so why not keep it in the family?
2010 Bentley Continental GT Speed, £20-25,000
A top speed of 200mph for £20,000? Really? The GT Speed, ultimate version of the first Volkswagen-generation of Bentley Continental, was officially credited with 202mph, along with a 0-60mph time of 4.3 seconds. So if that guide price is accurate, here is a massive amount of car – of refinement, hand-crafted luxury and street presence, not to mention its 600PS 6.0-litre W12 engine – for the money.
The example in the Bonhams MPH sale is Blue Crystal with a cabin trimmed in Beluga leather. In 10 years it has been driven 59,500 miles; servicing in the past two years has been by Bentley Bristol and cost £3,500. Good news that it has been looked after then… but also a reminder that, however affordable it may be to buy, keeping it in the manner to which it has become accustomed will not be cheap.
1971 Jensen Interceptor III, £20-25,000
Staying with big engines and another classic whose affordability comes as bit of a surprise. Too cheap? After all Interceptors are hot again and good ones sell for a great deal more than this. Bonhams politely says this car “offers room for improvement”.
It’s done 57,000 miles, doesn’t have a current MoT and is mostly described as “average”, with paintwork and interior trim needing most attention, along with engine starting. So some work needed but, hey, it’s a Jensen Interceptor: Touring of Italy designed, bulletproof American V8 power, and sumptuous in its tasteful British luxury – plus the most famous rear window ever to make production. There’s a walkaround video here, if you’re interested.
2002 Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage Volante, £20-25,000
One of the unarguable benefits of a petrol engine over electric is the noise and few cars make a more harmonious and charismatic sound than a V12 Aston. Where better to savour the silky roar than from the classy cabin of a Vantage Volante with its top down on a sunny day.
This metallic blue 57,000-miler has been in storage for the past four years but it has just been serviced and is said to be running well. What it is said to need still is a thorough “refresh”, especially inside. It’s amazing what they can do these days to revitalize tired leather. For the walkaround video click here.
1938 Morgan 4/4 Series 1, £18-24,000
One for the British classic car purist, this, a two-seat roadster from only two years after Morgan made its first car with four wheels. The 4/4 would go on to remain in production pretty much like this until 2019, forming the foundation of Morgan’s enduring sports car range. An early car like this, one of 660 or so two-seaters made pre-war, has an important place in Morgan’s history.
Like all the early cars it is powered by an 1.1-litre four-cylinder Coventry Climax engine (of about 34PS) which is said to start on the button and run smoothly. The engine, along with the Meadows gearbox, was rebuilt in 2009, following a professional restoration of the car in 1993 by marque specialist George Proudfoot. The total work, £40k worth, has resulted in a true classic that is said to drive as well as it looks.
1960 Alvis TD21, £16-20,000
Here’s a lot of classy British early ‘60s coupe for the money, and a much less obvious choice than Astons or Bristols of the time. Understated to a tee, the two-door, four-seat TD21 was actually penned by a Swiss (Graber), but the coachwork is by Park Ward and the motor – Alvis's torquey, 3.0-litre, overhead-valve six with 120PS – is certainly British.
The car for sale was owned by an Alvis Owners’ Club member for 30 years. It was restored in the 2000s and recently has had new wiring and brakes fitted. Bonhams says it drives well – in its day it would top 100mph – but would benefit from a cosmetic refresh.
1962 Jaguar Mk2 3.4, £15-20,000
Being sold at no reserve price, this Mk2 could prove a canny buy for someone. Since 1968 until earlier this year, it was owned by the same person and is said to be a highly original version of the ever-popular Jag saloon. The car was restored in 2010 and has recently had work done to the chrome, but the vendor’s score of 40/100 suggests that further work is need to bring it up to snuff.
1969 MGC Sebring, £24-28,000
Road rallying or circuit racing, it’s all the same to this MGC with body mods in the manner of the Sebring lightweight bodies that BMC Competitions Dept came up with – successfully – in the 1960s. Road registered but prepared for track driving, this particular car has been a regular in sprint and track-day events at Goodwood as well doing a couple of Lands End to John O’Groats rallies.
What’s an MGC? An MGB with 3.0-litre straight-six squeezed in (spot it by the bonnet bulge). It lasted in production less than two years – they were said to be nose heavy and not that much faster than a B. This car – with its new bodywork, lightweight race seats, Perspex windows instead of glass, Race Logic data logging (with front and rear cameras) and plenty of rubber on the road – is one that shows how well it could go. Incidentally the original seats and windows are included in the sale.
The Bonhams MPH is being held “live” inside a hangar at Bicester Heritage, the former RAF bomber base now reinvented as classic car central, on 11th December. More than 50 cars are in the sale, with the emphasis on affordability and more modern classics. You can watch the action and bid online from home at Bonhams.com, but you can’t actually be there in person. You can however make an appointment to view any of the cars before the sale.