Mazda’s time has come
Scarcity of good early MX-5s is driving demand. Yes, that's right, a car so successful and therefore so ubiquitous that you assumed it existed in endless supply has been quietly succumbing to rust, neglect or just simply wearing out.
This was the introduction to pure, simple roadster driving pleasure for a generation, and it's now hard to find pristine, low-mileage examples of the pre-1994 cars, hence the growing premium on prices. Now's the time to seek out a good one and keep it that way.
Triumphs on the move
The Herald convertible’s sharp Michelotti lines are in vogue as new buyers look for the crisp, clean look of the Sixties. It's also a doddle to own, with comprehensive parts availability and easy-to-maintain mechanicals.
With prices of a highly usable 13/60 models up 12% to £7k for the best, and needs-nothing examples up around £4500, they're still accessible. Tidy cars in need of smartening start around £2000, but they're less likely to move as much as buyers increasingly want to avoid expensive restoration work.
Price winners and losers
The top 63 price climbers and top eight fallers are revealed in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine.
Leading the charge is the disarmingly stylish Mercedes-Benz 300 SE Cabriolet, up by a shocking 88%. So entry level for a project needing a £100k plus restoration is £40k and you can pay £150k for the very best.
The top five climbers reflect a market with broad tastes, although three of them: Jaguar XJR-S (up 88%), Ferrari F50 (up 56%) and Porsche 911 (993 generation) GT2 (up 73%) are post-1987 models, underlining the growth in demand for younger classics.
Buy a Jaguar MkI
The original compact Jag comes out of the Mk2’s shadows, with interest and prices growing smartly. The top-spec 3.4 with manual overdrive and chrome wire wheels is now a £25-30k car, and we've seen the best cars make double that. Star performances in the Goodwood Revival St Mary's Trophy for Fifties saloons has no doubt added some gloss, as have appearances in TV detective drama Endeavour, just as Morse and Bread did for the Mk2.
Perhaps more than most classics, an apparently good-looking MkI can hide the potential for heart- and wallet-breaking repair and restoration bills. The detailed buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine steers you round £10-25k bodyshell rebuilds, £7-8k retrims and £6k engine rebuilds to help you find the right example at the right money. Take your time, be prepared to walk away from the neglected or badly-restored cars and there's hugely rewarding swift saloon out there with your name on it.
We want this
This 1959 Triumph TR3A will be a hugely fun way to spend £26.5k. It's one of the cars for sale that we evaluate in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine, and it seems to have been well restored and shaken down.
There's a rugged charm about these side-screen TRs, with their rorty inline four-cylinder engines and cut-down doors so they always feel faster than they are. But with 100bhp to shift just 950kg they could embarrass many a more powerful period rival.
Sometimes the simplest of pleasures are the sweetest.