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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 9 February 2017 by Chris

Answered by Keith Moody
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.
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