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The Best Vintage Cars for a UK Collector

By: Tim Dudley - Updated: 14 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Car Vintage Collector Owners Club Morris

With many thousands of different makes and models made before 1930, the collector new to the vintage car scene can be overwhelmed by choice. The things to consider when selecting an old car for the first time are: mechanical ability; the availability of spare parts; availability of expert help and the tasks the car will be expected to perform.

Most vintage cars can be maintained using basic tools and are well within the capabilities of the home mechanic. Machines such as the Austin Seven, Morris Eight and the Ford Model T were built for people who had never owned a car before, and who might be many miles away from the nearest garage.

The Austin Seven

The Austin Seven is perhaps the best example of a practical and entertaining vintage car. It is simple to maintain and to operate. Parts are readily available and there are many clubs and specialists who can advise the newcomer to the hobby. Baby Austins first appeared on British roads in 1923 and sold nearly a third of a million examples in fifteen years, so there are still plenty of survivors to choose from.

The Morris Eight and Model T Ford

The Morris Eight is not as well served by specialists, but has a loyal following and an enthusiastic owners club. The Model T Ford, while very basic, is a fascinating link back to the very early days of motoring. While the youngest car was made in 1927, there are manufacturers still making the parts required to keep any Model T on the road. There were twenty million of these cars made and it is still possible to find untouched relics in barns around the world. Enthusiasts have been rebuilding them for fifty years or more, so there are many restored examples available if a full renovation is not something you wish to do.

Looking For Something More Powerful?

All three of these cars are simple to maintain and reasonably cheap to buy, but they not as powerful as cars of today and are not really able to keep up with modern traffic. If performance and daily driving are more important, there are larger cars which would be more suitable for modern roads. The Riley Nine is a very popular choice and many Rileys have been adapted over the years into roadgoing racing cars. While the clubs frown on turning a rare survivor into a track special today, there are plenty that have been converted over the years which are suitable for both road and circuit use.

Riley Nines can be found as both two and four seaters, but if a practical family car is required, the Morris Oxford and Cowley and the 16/60 Humber are reliable and practical larger cars. For those who need to carry passengers on a regular basis, some of the middle-sized American sedans make excellent choices. A late 1920s Chevrolet or Dodge could be a good selection for the collector who wishes to take family and friends on summer drives, confident that the car was built to travel long distances reliably, and that the closed saloon bodies will provide comfort and protection against the elements.

There is a vintage car to suit all requirements and all pockets. The grandest Bentleys, Rolls Royces and Mercedes can command huge prices far out of reach of the average enthusiast, but with careful research, a collector can find a satisfying and rewarding old car which will provide years of happy motoring.

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