Running a classic car
"Surprisingly low effort to drive, saved by the power steering that its early predecessors lacked, but this late reiteration of the E-Type benefits from excellent all round vision due to the deeper and longer glass."
Right now I’m flicking through a classic car price guide almost in tears.
If I’d taken the plunge and invested the £45,000 I intended to pay for a Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer 512 BBi I had my eye on some years ago, today I’d be selling that same car for £255,000 more than I would have paid for it! That’s a lot more than any high interest investment account would have achieved.
Investing in classic cars can be a highly profitable business, and highly enjoyable. Buy right and you win on both counts. In this series on owning and running classic cars we intend to put you behind the wheel of some of the finest classics on offer, and talk to their owners too. Some of us might be scratching our heads to work out what exactly a classic car is, but if I said E-Type Jaguar you‘ll stop scratching.
An owner’s view
Ten years ago South London businessman Gary Gordon (48) took the plunge and bought this stunning 1972 V12. Gary told us “I’ve always liked old cars and planned to buy a Triumph TR3A, but I saw the E-Type for sale at Bonhams and my friend told me it suited me, so I bought it! It was previously owned by the actor Nick Berry of Heartbeat and EastEnders fame. I’m its second owner in thirty years!
“In the 10 years I’ve owned the Jag it has been a lot of fun, but I’ve only covered about 1,000 miles a year in it since I bought it, and it’s done about 85K in total now. The Jag’s been very reliable, but like all older cars things do go wrong, and on this one it has tended to be things like rubbers and other minor niggly stuff. During its time with me I’ve had a new power steering unit fitted, a new radiator, and I’ve overhauled the brakes; most recently I’ve treated the car to a metal respray so I’m happy. The insurance costs me about £400 per year which isn’t bad. Some garages do tend to overprice the work on the car though, often based on their perception of the value, so you need to be careful on that score.
“The car gets a lot of attention and it’s comforting to know that it is appreciating in value. I intend to pass the car on to my children rather than sell it – we are custodians of these cars after all, and I’d like my children to enjoy the experience of owning and running a classic car.”
On the road
What’s ultimately surprising is the driving refinement of this legend of a sports car that is some 44 years old. In its day it would have been state-of-the-art, yet even today the ride quality and manoeuvrability of the Jag impresses. It is a surprisingly low effort car to drive, saved by the power steering that its early predecessors lacked, but this late reiteration of the E-Type benefits from excellent all round vision due to the deeper and longer glass. It’s not fast by today’s standards but is no pushover, and it goes and sounds the business when pushed. Unsurprisingly, it handles too but we were not inclined to test the limits. The heavy V12 and limited rubber suggests on-limit caution but hey, do you really care? Petrol’s cheap these days and you’re unlikely to build up big mileages, so best enjoy your V12 to the full. In the meanwhile, sit and watch your money grow.
Model: Jaguar E-Type S3 V12 | Years produced:1971-1975 | Engine: 5.3 litre V12 petrol | Transmission: 4-speed manual or 3-speed auto | Top speed: 146 mph | 0-60 mph: 6.4 secs | Power: 276 bhp | Price when new: £2,245 | Current prices: Excellent £85,000 Good £60,000 Average £20,000 Project £15,000 (Source: Classic Car Price Guide – values are approximate).
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