For all classic car fans, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the time of cheap classic cars is long gone, and you can forget about picking a decent, roadworthy vehicle up for a few quid. We live in a time of rusty 911s going for over 50,000 pounds and once obsolete, VW T1 Buses going for around £100k. The good news is that you can still find interesting classic cars which will provide you with much motoring enjoyment and feel for less than 15,000 pounds. Not exactly pocket change, but still affordable. Here are our picks.
The definitive British luxury sedan isn’t a Rolls Royce; it is a Jaguar XJ6. Introduced in 1968, it created a sensation and immediately made German competitors look outdated and slow. The Series I and II are the ones to get, and a 4.2-litre straight-six is the best engine if you want to use your car regularly. Rust is always an issue, but parts are available, and a well-sorted XJ6 will provide you with an unforgettable driving experience and a bit of performance, too.
Do not confuse it with the current SLC model (which is really an SLK roadster) because the SLC we are talking about was produced from 1972 to 1981. This was basically a coupe version of the venerable R107 SL Roadster with identical engines, same build quality, same style but more interior room, and a plusher ride. It is a great entry-level classic Gran Turismo cruiser and comes equipped with six-cylinder and V8 engines. The best part is that you can get a decent one for as little as 12,000 pounds.
Rolls Royce Silver Shadow
It is fantastic that you can get one of the Rolls’ most recognisable models for as little as the price of the new Ford Fiesta, but before you jump in, there are a few things you should know. The prices are very tempting, but complicated mechanics, rust issues, and hard-to-source details could give you trouble, so be sure to check the car thoroughly before the purchase. For £15k, you should be able to find a nice one and have proper Rolls in your garage.
Alfa Romeo Spider
Although roadsters are typically British specialty, the Italians did produce a few exciting models, with the Alfa Romeo Spider being one of the most sought after. This model was introduced in 1966, produced in four distinctive series, and discontinued in 1994. With timeless looks and a lively 2.0-litre twin-cam engine, the Spider is a good choice for a classic summer fun car, and it will only set you back around 12k for decent examples. Of course, as with any classic Alfa, pay attention to rust and if you want the most for your money, go for later models.
Chevrolet Corvette C4
The Corvette C4 is one of the definitive 80s icons with recognisable design and torquey 5.7-litre V8 engine. However, compared to other 80s cars, the C4 is amazingly advanced with composed suspension, innovative chassis, and more than decent performance considering relatively low power output. The earlier cars have cool-looking digital dashboards, but newer ones have a 300 hp LT1 V8 engine. Either way, for 15k, you should be able to find a nice one and outrun the Porsche 911 of a similar vintage without any problems.
Peugeot 205 GTI
Amazingly, the legendary hot hatch that defined the class can still offer much sheer feel and excitement despite its modest power output. Its secret is in small weight and high revving four-cylinder engine, which will let you achieve its maximum without breaking the law. The prices for roadworthy examples are very low, but even if you are looking to get the best ones with the 1.9-litre engine, you shouldn’t go over the £15,000 limit.
Conceived as a European Mustang, the Capri became an even bigger legend, at least in Great Britain and Germany. It was affordable, cool-looking, fast enough, and easy to maintain, making it the perfect enthusiast car for generations of coupe fans. Today, not many are left, and rust, accidents, and owner’s negligence claimed the most of 1.8 million built. However, those that are left are cherished and valued pieces of automotive history. The 15k should buy you a lovely one, and we suggest looking for Mk1 or Mk3 with a V6 engine. The much-loved 2.8i V6 version is also within reach, so start shopping for “a car you always promised yourself” today.
For those who lust after a Jaguar E-Type but cannot afford its exorbitant price tag, the XJS is the next best thing. Arguably a better driving car with more modern features, handling, and comfort, XJS is a well-known Gran Turismo cruiser that falls in our price range. The six-cylinder cars are more affordable, but V12-equipped models are the ones to get. Go for a later model, which is more dependable, better equipped, and has covered fewer miles.
Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Officially the Type 14, Karman Ghia is much better known by combining the names of the bodywork specialists Karmann and design house Ghia that created this model. Basically a VW Beetle in fancy clothes, the Karman Ghia is the perfect car for those who are in love with the classic Porsche 356 but don’t have 100,000 pounds for one. The Type 14 will set you back around 15,000 and still give an almost identical driving experience.
Ford Mustang GT 5.0
For a generation that grew on MTV videos and stone-washed jeans, there are no more iconic cars than the legendary Foxbody Mustang. Introduced in 1979 and sold through 1993, it is the epitome of an 80s muscle car. Due to the large number produced, surviving cars are cheap but stay away from early models with small engines; they are pretty slow and dull to drive. The models you want are 1987 to 1993 GT versions with the legendary 5.0-litre V8. With 225 hp, rear-wheel-drive, and relatively low weight, this is the cheapest way to own a proper classic muscle car.
There you have it, MyCarHeaven’s top 10 greatest classic cars that you can get your hands on for under £15K. Don’t forget to follow us on social media and subscribe to our blog for more awesome car content!