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Money-Making Motoring: Investing in Affordable Classics

Every now and then news reaches us of another classic car sale and new record prices being paid for classic cars.

The latest example is perhaps Chris Evans, who is selling off part of an impressive collection, including many vintage Ferraris and even Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The profits being made on cars like these can be eye-watering, and with the recent relaxation in pension rules, big business is also getting involved in the form of managed funds. For most of us, however, the sort of money being talked about is well beyond what we can afford. That doesn't mean, though, that there are no classic cars with more modest price tags to invest in. We may make money or we may not, but we might just have a little fun in the process, whatever the outcome. Here are ten budget classics to consider.

1) Alfa Romeo Alfasud

It is said that you cannot be a true petrol head without at some point owning an Alfa Romeo, and the Alfasud is your opportunity to do just that while netting a classic. The Alfasud was revolutionary when it was introduced in 1972, bringing real driving enjoyment to a front-wheel-drive car. The trouble is that it also brought real rust problems too. The corrosion suffered by these little hatchbacks is so severe that very few remain in the UK. If you can find one, however, that scarcity means that you could be on to a winner, and the prices of these little crackers are rising fast. A really good one will only set you back around £3,000.

2) Citroen XM

Citroen cars of today are pretty mainstream, but it wasn't so long ago that the French company was considered to be the most eccentric of mainstream car makers. Perhaps one of the reasons for this was their love of their hydrostatic suspension systems, which made for a lovely soft ride. Sadly, however, it also made for added complexity, chunky repair bills and much scratching of heads among the car mechanic fraternity. The result was rock-bottom second-hand prices, but this is a truly marvellous, striking and comfortable big car, which can also be had for a bargain £2,000.

3) Fiat 126

Chris Evans sold a Fiat 127 for big money at his recent auction, and it won't be long until the attention of collectors turns to its little brother, the Fiat 126. This is a rear-engined and belt-driven little oddity, but with all the praise being heaped on the reborn Fiat 500, small classic Fiats are bound to just get cooler. You can turn this one on a dime and park it anywhere, and its 70s looks are just waiting to charm the retro lovers. If you put aside £2,500, you can expect to land one of the very best Fiat 126s, and you just might be making as shrewd investment too.

4) Mazda RX-7

For many people, the term classic car suggests something sporty, and the Mazda RX-7 delivers on this front. It is an angular and stylish-looking little two-seat coupé, and it also delivers when it comes to interest and rarity value. That is because of its innovative Wankel rotary engine, which offers high revs, low weight and exciting sporty performance. There are three different models to choose from, but for the collector the original is best, and the first-generation car can be had in excellent condition for around £4,000. This car is pretty much unique and has all the ingredients to become a true classic, making it a great investment prospect if you pick the right one.

5) Porsche 924

The Porsche 924 was derided when it was first launched in the 1980s. The purists dismissed it as 'not a real Porsche' because it was designed by VW and had an Audi engine. It was originally intended to be marketed as a VW, but Porsche was looking for an entry-level car and the 924 fitted the bill. The stigma has stuck to the 924, which is great because it means that used prices have stayed much lower than they should be. That could all change soon, though, and if you pick up a 924S for around £5,000, you will be getting a solidly built car that has a great chance of seeing values rise.


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