RAC Cars News


Thieves Setting Their Sights on Classics

By raccars Published

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Boy racer hot hatches or premium German brands are usually seen as the prime targets for car theft, but statistics show that classic vehicles are gaining in desirability among thieves.

Classic cars are undergoing a period of renaissance, their popularity among legitimate owners fuelled by their potential as good financial investments – this is apart from the passion many classics owners feel that sees them expending endless time and money restoring and maintaining their vintage automotive babies. Along with the usual suspects such as swinging Sixties Jags, sleek Ferraris or cute MGs, there's a growing interest in more unusual examples, such as Seventies Cortinas or Escorts – a mint condition example of which can fetch £20,000.

However. this all makes classic cars more prone to theft, with vintage Minis, VW camper vans and Ford Escorts suffering the most. While these vehicles are packed with retro charm, they do have their drawbacks – apart from thirsty performance and maintenance costs, there's often a distinct lack of even the most basic security features, making thieves' lives easy. Classics can also be harder to recover, often considered more valuable for the parts than as an individual car, leading to them being broken up quickly.

There are geographic features at play here too. Statistics show classics thefts are most concentrated in West Midlands inner city areas, the north west, London and the south east.

Classic car owners clubs are advising members to take steps to project their pride and joy. If someone seems to be following you while you are driving a classic car, don't return to your home or anywhere else the car is habitually stored. Take a circuitous route and if necessary park the car in a safe, public place and come back for it later.

Also consider fitting security features such as alarms, immobilisers or even a tracing system for more valuable vehicles. Owners who are concerned about the aesthetic impact of such modern equipment can opt for hidden systems to avoid spoiling the vintage look of the car.

Ensure also that you are appropriately insured. Classic car insurance policies usually include an agreed value, which you should check annually and update if necessary. If the car is in storage rather than use, a Laid Up policy costs only about £50 per year and will give you protection if the building is broken into.

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