1 - Be flexible with the car you’re after
Shop around and you’ll still and Riley Elfs, MG Midgets and Morris Minors for under £1k, but chances are they’ll be tired and need a little (or a lot) of work. The cars that represent far better value in this price bracket are models from the 1980s and 1990s – they are affordable simply because they’re not as readily accepted as classics at the moment. Among the models spotted in CCW’s classics ads are a Reliant Scimitar SS1 and an R8-generation of the Rover 200 and 400 – including the 200 Cabriolet. Extended friends and family can often be an unlikely source of cheap cars in good condition, particularly if lots of your friends are also classic car devotees. This one’s more about luck and it pays not to be choosy.
2 - Be prepared to haggle
The £1200 classic that might seem slightly out of your budget can easily become a £1000 bargain if you’re prepared to negotiate on price – and most reasonable sellers are prepared to play ball. Cars advertised with ‘ono’ – ‘or nearest offer in plain English – immediately after the price, are a good starting point, indicating even before you make the call. that the seller might lower the asking price for the right deal. Another good tip is to watch out for cars that have spent a while lingering in the classic eds; if the owner is keen for a quick sale it’s well worth putting in an offer you might get politely rebuffed by a seller holding out for more – but as the old saying goes: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
3 - Is A Restoration Of A Vehicle Right For You?
There’s nothing more satisfying than plucking an unwanted wreck out of the classifieds lavishing a few months’ TLC on it in your garage and then impressing everyone with the result at a show the following summer – but it’s not always that straightforward. That slightly rotten MGB might look like a sub-£1k bargain but bear in mind that there are plenty of previously restored ones within reach of a £5k budget, so the cost of rescuing the unrestored car might actually end up costing you more. Talk to owners’ clubs and fellow owners before taking the plunge. Unless you can do most of the work in-house and source parts cheaply you could end up with a false economy on the back of that trailer.