RAC Cars News


DIY Bargain Classics

By raccars Published

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If you're interested in investing in a classic car but your budget is economy rather than first class, you're going to have to search out a restoration project and put in the work to return it to its former glories yourself. However, if you don't buy carefully, you could end up with less gleaming Concours goldmine and more rusting white elephant cluttering up your garage.

Fortunately, there are a number of popular classics that are amateur restorer friendly and come with helpful support networks to back you up.

Citroen 2CV

Commanding £10,000 for a top spec example, the 2CV is one of those helpful little cars that rewards DIY effort. Parts are easy to come by and relatively cheap, as long as the chassis is sound.

Ford Cortina Mk IV & V

Post 1976, Cortinas are just about still affordable and benefit from some very traditional engineering for DIYers. Watch what you spend, however, as you're not ever likely to regain a fortune spent on body panels and respraying.

Land Rover SIII

Basic enough to be dealt with by an amateur but slightly more refined than the earlier series, a post 1971 SIII should make for a very usable restoration. If you enjoyed playing with Lego as a child, you should be fine with their simple mechanics, parts are plentiful and there's a huge fan community full of helpful information.


The perennially popular MGB is one of amateur restorers' favourite choices, thanks to its simplicity of design and the excellent availability of spares. Don't hesitate to ask the advice of the enthusiastic MG owners' clubs.


Surprisingly for such a popular restoration project, the Mini is not always straightforward. However, fans certainly think it's worth the trouble and, as long as you don't go overboard on spending, a decent restoration should gain in value over time.

Morris Minor

An increasingly rare sight on UK roads, the Minor is another rewarding choice thanks to its basic construction and the affordability of its parts. Charles Ware's Morris Minor Centre will give you invaluable advice.

Rover P6

Rarity value ensures high demand for the P6, which is an ideal restoration project if you can find one with a solid chassis. Once again there are plenty of Rover fans eager to assist and new panels available from JR Wadhams in the Midlands.

Triumph Spitfire

Less predictable than an MG, this compact Triumph sportster is gaining in value and there's no shortage of parts, so now is the time to dive in. Later models make more usable classics but all Spitfires offer an engaging drive.

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