Start the year with a classic alternative

With so many car makers sharing platforms and engines, mergers and amalgamations of brands, it’s perhaps no surprise that many cars feel rather similar. Arguably in many cases look similar too.

For example one company is now in control of Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Vauxhall/Opel, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Maserati, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram and Abarth.

Unless you pay a lot of money for your car, and even then there are companies sharing parts and technology, individuality is becoming a rare commodity. Cars seem to have become the automotive equivalent of white goods, we buy them when needed and change them for a newer, more efficient model in a few years.

However it doesn’t have to be this way. Many modern classics are perfectly useable day-to-day and can be subtly tweaked to provide a more modern driver experience. Cars like Renault’s once ubiquitous 5 can be had for very little money, in good condition and provide a characterful and economic daily commute.

Even newer companies like SEAT have a back catalogue providing far more character and interest than a modern equivalent. More luxurious modern day classics such as Mercedes Benz models from the 1980s/90s are incredibly useable and surprisingly economical in daily use. Another benefit is that many countries and cities give exemptions to classic vehicles in terms of road tax and charging schemes.

If you like your cars then driving a modern classic can draw far more attention than some uber-posh modern car, and it’s not the kind of negative attention that modern super cars can sometimes draw. It’s also a way to drive a car that you would never have been able to afford in the day, and certainly wouldn’t be able to afford its modern equivalent. So on both economic and style grounds modern day classics seem to be a winning choice for  classy and unusual transport.

There are downsides though. No matter how much you improve the driving experience, a modern classic will never, in this writer’s view, drive as well, or as easy, as a modern car. Although many modern day classics have a great parts network, increasingly via the manufacturer but also specialists, depending on your choice some parts can take a while to track down.

So take a look at the classic car press and online presence, do your research and you may just find the most interesting and stylish car you’ve ever owned.


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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.

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