As with watches, a classic car marks you out as a man of a certain taste. And as with your wristwear, it means your money goes further. Even if you do have to dedicate more time to keeping it running. But the investment is worth it, if being seen in something no-one else has revs your engine. We thought so.
The Best For Looking Impeccable – Citroën DS
Modern before its time, the DS boasted hydraulic suspension and was the first mass-production car with disc brakes. It was futuristic-looking when it was launched in 1955, and it’s aged with all the French grace you’d expect. Inside, it’s classical, with the single-spoke steering wheel a particular talking point. It’s also a cultural icon, having played a starring role in Scarface and an assassination attempt on President de Gaulle. The DS came as a hatch, estate and super-rare convertible. Should you fancy the former, you can get a good one for about £20,000.
The Best For Posing Like A Playboy – Rolls Royce Corniche
There’s nothing like an old Rolls. They’re as subtle as Chatsworth House, and nearly as big. And this goes double for a Rolls convertible. Driving one is about as conspicuous as displays of success get. Being a Rolls, even an old one will be more luxurious than any modern hatchback, with an entire abattoir of cows sacrificed to the leather interior, and a forest levelled for the wood inserts. But, you don’t need to pay equivalent prices, and can get a tidy Corniche from £20,000.
The Best Future Classic – Renault Avantime
The youngest car in our garage is more of an investment piece. The Avantime is a three-door MPV/coupé hybrid, based on Renault’s Espace, that never sold well as no-one was sure what it was. Plus, its striking looks, designed by Patrick Le Quément, put off the less adventurous. But unpopularity translates to rareness and it’s enjoying a resurgence, now that the before-its-time aesthetics are seen as stylish, rather than challenging. Low sales mean there aren’t many in the country, but you can still find one for about £2,000. And these will probably only appreciate in value, meaning you’ve got an on-trend set of wheels and the promise of future profit.
The Best For Pleasing Your Inner Child – Lancia Delta Integrale
The Delta is one of the most phenomenal rally cars ever, winning the World Rally Championship every year from 1988-1992. It’s also as enjoyable to look at as it is to drive. Italian cars from the 1980s might not be the most reliable rides, but they retain a certain charm. The Lancia’s all straight lines, sharp edges and flared wheel arches; a bit primal, the sort of car that 11-year-old you wanted to drive. From £15,000, you can fulfil his dream.
The Best For Making An Impression – Jaguar E-Type
This is the classic car. It oozes class and style from every panel. Available in both coupé and convertible form, the E took the world by storm when it was launched in 1961, and it continues to take your breath away. Enzo Ferrari described it as “the most beautiful car ever made”. If you want to look like the cat that got all the cream, this is the one for you. Prices start from £30,000, though the sky’s the limit with these.
The Best For Looking Like A Millionaire – Ferrari 456GT
We all want to own a Ferrari, don’t we? The name inspires visions of racetrack glory, dashes along mountain roads, or simply being parked up on Sloane Street. And steering classic makes sense, since there’s an argument that the Ferraris of yesteryear were more elegant than the crop Maranello currently offers. You can pay millions for a Ferrari, but £50,000 will get you a 456GT. It’s a proper four-seat grand tourer, and it’s achingly beautiful, with pop-up headlamps, proper sports car looks and an engine that does the styling proud. We’d recommend getting a prancing horse in deep blue, with a tan interior. Then, take it to your nearest stately home. People will assume you own that, too.