Which products have made it into the Honest John Kit gift guides for Christmas 2019? You'll be surprised... | No thanks
Ask a Question

What was the best car before cars became complicated?

In these days of emissions, DPFs, DMFs, ESP, ABS, complicated gearboxes and keyless entry I'm considering a forray into buying something simple to keep as a hobby. What cars were most reliable and well-made before cars became weighed down with airbags, electronics, etc. I'm looking at 1980s/90s, possibly something unusual that will become rarer? Ideally, it will be more reliable than the Skoda Octavia TDI that I currently own.

Asked on by

If you want pure simplicity and plan to tinker in a home garage, then you'll be looking at something that's carb fed and you'll have to sacrifice mod cons like air conditioning, cruise control, electric everything and a decent stereo. Fuel injected cars can be reliable but some are are starting to experience problems with fuel delivery, blocked injectors, dicky pumps, and temperamental fuel metering heads (especially if the vehicle in question has been sat around for a bit or not received much use). Of course, what was reliable in the late-Seventies and Eighties doesn't mean it will be reliable now - any old car is going to give you a few headaches. If you want something simple to keep as a hobby, choose a car that you fancy (what did your dad have?) with good parts support and an active club. An MGB is a popular first-time classic, as is a Triumph Herald or Vitesse. If you're set on a model from the 1980s or 1990s, then a Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTI is a good shout.
Similar questions
My 90 year old father has a 1997 Peugeot 406 Sri Turbo 2.0-litre Petrol, which has covered 80,000 miles and been owned by the family from new. Apart from normal servicing costs, the vehicle has been trouble...
My insurance company has asked me for the value of my car, a 1997 Ford Mondeo with 65,000 miles on the clock. I have a valid MoT and it has been serviced every year. I have no idea what to say, I suspect...
We have a J registration Metro in our garage at home. It has about 20,000 miles on the clock, but hasn't been moved for eight years. Would an enthusiasts club would be interested in it?
Related models
Brilliant parts availability and specialist back-up, good to drive, and easy to work on
Six cylinder engine sounds great and gives the Herald-based car reasonable performance
Good to look at, fun to drive, amazing parts availability, the archetypal classic roadster and coupe
The definitive 1980s hatchback, sold, well made, practical and reliable
 

Ask Honest John