Top 10: Cool cars you can add to your classic car insurance policy
The cost of motoring is spiralling, and the idea of owning our dream car might seem further away than ever for many. But instead of denying yourself, how about buying that car and running it as a classic car instead?
Many cars that you might not expect to be considered as a classic are viewed in just that way by the insurance companies. And with that in mind, you could run it as a weekend toy with a limited mileage agreement in tandem with your modern for far less money.
For those with a reliable driving record, who are over 25 years old, and live within a sensible postcode, some of the premiums being offered for quite glamorous machinery are very reasonable indeed. So here's a top 10 of unlikely dream cars you could own and run for far less money than you might think. If you're not sure what's needed to qualify for classic car insurance, then check out our FAQs. Enjoy the list - there's something for all budgets.
Jaguar XJR (X306) 1995-1997
The XJR was a clear signal that the leaping cat was gunning for BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the performance saloon market. It was the company's first-ever supercharged road car, with the Eaton M90 blower upping power and torque to a very impressive 326bhp and 378lb ft. Performance was up there with the M5, too - with a 0-60mph time of around 6.0 seconds and a limited maximum speed of 155mph. Most cars available today are autos, but manual 'boxes are well worth seeking out. And despite current depressed values and 'pub landlord' image, the classic car insurance companies will be happy to take you and your pristine XJR on.
Lotus Elise 1995-2001
The lightweight and sylph-like Elise put Lotus back on the map when it was launched in 1995. The company's only other product of the time - the Esprit - was fading fast, and now powered by a new turbocharged V8, it was rapidly moving away from Lotus founder Colin Chapman's ideals. With a relatively modest 118bhp from its K-Series engine, it's still capable of putting in a fine performance. Now approaching 20 years old for the oldest examples, the Elise would have no trouble being underwritten by a classic car insurer, especially in association with Club Lotus.
Citroen AX GT 1987-1991
The Citroen AX GT was transformed into a latter-day Mini Cooper thanks to the addition of the brilliant all-aluminium TU-Series engine in 1.4-litre twin-choke carburettor form. ‘Rocky Marciano’ was how the advertisers described it, and they had a point: it was a featherweight that packed a giant-killing punch. Currently still cheap to buy (and insure), but numbers have already been seriously depleted.
Volkswagen Corrado VR6 1991-1995
The Corrado VR6 is generally regarded to be the best affordable 1990s coupe money can buy. In 1991, the new narrow-angle VR6 engine, displacing 2861cc revolutionised how the reborn Scirocco Mk1 went - and it wasn't even as if the old G60 was slow. This 187bhp unit was compact and light (if a little troublesome), but endowed the Corrado with excellent performance. Maximum speed was up to 143mph and the dash from zero to 60 was down to 6.2 seconds - and being a cult car, it's already on the classic car insurers' lists.
Skoda Rapid 1984-1991
Okay, so it's not cool in the conventional sense of the word, but the Skoda Rapid has built up a surprisngly large following across Europe, and makes for a brilliant starter classic that can be run for very little money. And being rear engined, with rear-wheel drive, it certainly offers interesting handling. And who can forget that in 1988, Autocar magazine put the 136R Coupé on the cover, comparing its handling favourably with the Porsche 911. One to tell your mates in the pub.
BMW M5 1988-1995
The BMW M5 is a universally admired performance saloon. It also became utterly super-cool following its impressive appearance in the 1998 film Ronin, where it was seen drifting and snarling its way through Paris, chased down by a Peugoet 406 driven by Robert De Niro. King of the hill from the moment it was launched, rivals struggled to match the M5’s intimacy, balance and pace, even if they could equal its 155mph maximum. Values are still below where they might be, and that makes it a great time to buy and cherish.
Honda Beat 1991-1996
The mid-engined rear-wheel drive Beat was a sports car that only Japan would build, and make a success of. It was a pure Kei-Class car, powered by a jewel-like high-revving 660cc power unit, and styled by the Italian design house, Pininfarina. Not exactly plentiful in the UK, but refreshingly reliable in service and cherished by its owners - and being an almost-exclsuively grey-import car, the specialist and classic car insurers are well used to dealing with this one.
Fiat Coupe 1993-2000
The Fiat Coupe was one of the more successful cars of its type of the era, even it its Tipo based underpinnings and front-wheel drive might not have seemed too promising to the non-believers. But the company spun a fabulously fun two-door that combined a Chris Bangle exterior with a gorgeous Pininfarina-penned interior. The five-cylinder and turbo models were the most exciting, and the one that enthusiasts want today, but the more sedate cooking models are easily the most balanced. Again, this timeless car might seem on the new side, but it's now recognised as a pukka classic car.
Land Rover Defender 1990-date
Talk about interesting. We're listing this car as a classic, and it's still actually in production - a feat also repeated by the equally timeless Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. The Defender replaced the 90 and 110, finally giving the company's longest serving product a model name after 42 years in production. The Defender is currently a period as something of an it car, enjoying trendy status with London's fashionista - something that we reckon the Wilks brothers might not entirely understand.
Peugeot 106 Rallye 1994-1996
For all those tiresome people who say that Peugeot hasn't built a great hot hatch since the 205GTI, may we present them with a gift wrapped 106 Rallye. This stripped-out little buzzbomb, with a mere 1.3-litres and 98bhp was capable of running rings around the opposition thanks to wonderful, biddable handling and gorgeous throttle response. The Rallye was only available in red, white and black, and you had to wind up the windows manually - but really, who cares when you're having such fun in your cherished French classic. The classic car insurers know this car very well, and appreciate just how special it is...