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VW Camper Van and Beetle among Britain's most popular classic cars

By raccars Published

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Recent research suggests that Britain's most popular classics vary geographically, with buyers in the South keener to invest in vintage metal.

A safe place to invest

Analysis has shown that classic cars are a more reliable investment vehicle (pun fully intended) than art, wine, coins, stamps, jewellery, watches or even FTSE 100 stock. The average return on investment over a ten year period is 487 per cent, over five years is 140 per cent and 16 per cent over 12 months, showing that it's worth hanging on to that vintage piece languishing in your garage. By comparison, an investment in fine art returned an average of only 252 per cent over ten years, 61 per cent over five years and 15 per cent over twelve months.

Buyers from the southern counties have proved to be canny investors, with Kent, Surrey and Essex being the busiest areas for classic car sales. However the most popular model for these classic car buyers may surprise you; it's not a Porsche or a Ferrari, but is in fact the VW T2 camper van.

Britain's most popular classics

The definition of a classic car for these purposes is a vehicle of at least 15 years of age and which is not its owner's main car. According to insurers, on this basis the VW T2 camper is the most popular classic in the UK, followed by the MGB, then the Austin Mini, the Morris Minor and the pre-1995 Porsche 911.

The Land Rover 88 is Britain's sixth most popular classic, then the MG Midget, followed by the Volkswagen Beetle 236, the Austin Healey and finally the Ford Escort RS/XR3i. Geographically Kent is a classic car hotspot and the site of more than 6 per cent of the UK's vintage vehicle total. 5.3 per cent of classic cars in the UK live in Essex and Surrey owners claim another 4.6 per cent. Nottinghamshire is the fourth most popular county for classic car ownership at 3.5 per cent, while Norfolk took fifth place with 3.4 per cent

Bad weather: a deterrent to owning classic cars?

By contrast and probably unsurprisingly, the Shetland Islands are not a popular spot for classic ownership, with only 0.02 per cent of market share to be found there. In fact a number of Scottish locations languish at the bottom of the classic car ownership list including the Isle of Barra, Orkney, Dumfriesshire and Ayrshire. The Channel Islands take only 0.04 per cent of the total classic car market share, while Powys in Wales takes only 0.08 per cent.

Research also shows that British brands are favoured by classic car buyers in the UK, with Land Rover, Triumph and of course MG among the most popular marques. However none of these are as popular as evergreen Volkswagens.

Volkswagen beats British brands

Some 20 per cent of the classic cars registered in Kent alone are Volkswagens, far ahead of MG at less than 10 per cent. Overall about 15 per cent of the total market share of classic cars belongs to VW, with most of these being the T2 model camper van. In Nottinghamshire the second generation camper is responsible for a whopping 78 per cent of vintage vehicle ownership, and almost three quarters of all classic cars in Lancashire are Mk2 campers.

It’s not only the camper van's retro appeal that makes it so popular, but the potential for extra return on investment through rentals. The T2 camper is in great demand if properly restored and camper hire firms are flourishing country-wide as a novelty hungry British public searches for new and interesting ways in which to spend the summer holidays.

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