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Classic Cars For 5000 Or Less

In this series we've shown you that it's possible to pick up classics for a bargain £1,000 and a frugal £2,000, as well as a reasonable £3,000.

Now, we’re into the middle ground - with £5,000 to spend you should be picking up a classic that you can enjoy straight away and for many years after.

Check out our ideas here - some are well-known and loved, some less so.

As always, before you buy make sure you check the history, get a full MOT and have an expert assess your potential purchase.



Once cheap and cheerful and a first car for many people, these days the original Mini is a bona-fide classic with the price tag to boot. The cool factor and the fact that the little Mini is not just a car but the symbol of a nation in its prime mean that getting your hands on one - a good one, anyway - for anything less than £5,000 is pretty much impossible. The Mini's success was such that it was made for 41 years - from 1959 until 2000.

Firstly gaining popularity as a small, affordable and ingenious car - 80 per cent of its floorpan could be used for passengers and luggage - that helped to mobilise millions, it became a style icon in the 1960s and has been one ever since. Alongside that, performance versions, the Cooper and Cooper S, are even more sought after. They made their name as rally cars that blew rivals out of the water when they started competing in the 1960s.

Many different versions were made over the years, but the design and ethos always stayed the same.


Porsche 944

Yep, we've got to the point in the series where we can start mentioning names like Porsche. Don't get too excited just yet - you won't be racing off in a pristine classic 911 for this money. But, however, a nice example of the 944, built from 1982 to 1991, is very much within sight for £5,000 - in fact there are plenty around.

The 944 was introduced as an entry point to the Porsche range and came as a coupe and a cabriolet, with both naturally aspirated and turbo engines of 2.5, 2.7 and 3.0-litre capacities.

Looks-wise it was a departure from that classic Porsche shape and isn't as desirable, granted, but it has that bit of 1980s charm to it, if that’s your thing. Buyers certainly weren't put off at the time - with more than 163,000 produced making it the most successful Porsche of all time at that point.


Ford Anglia

Just the very mention of the Ford Anglia conjures up images of quiet country roads, clean towns and villages and exciting adventures. That's for some, at least, and especially those who might be in their 50s or 60s now. Think Z-Cars and Heartbeat on the TV. To clarify, we're talking here about the Anglia that was made in the 1960s, which was actually the fourth version, given that the car was first launched in name in 1939.

This version was introduced in 1959 and its American-influenced styling, including a sweeping nose, chrome grille and prominent headlights proved a big success with buyers - more than a million of this version were sold, making it a huge commercial success. From 1962 there was also the Anglia Super, which had a bigger engine and other bells and buttons.


VW Beetle

Given its dubious beginnings in 1938 as a cheap, mass-mobilisation device instigated by Adolf Hitler, it's amazing to think how legendary - for entirely opposite reasons - the VW Beetle became. Born under a repressive dictatorship, the Beetle, in a post-World War Two world, transformed into a symbol of freedom as the car of choice for hippies in the 1960s.

It lasted all the way until 2003 and, by then, 21.5m had been produced, making it the longest-running and most-manufactured car ever. Much like with the Mini, the name has been brought back as the marketeers try to trade on that retroness. But, when you can have an original for £5k or less, why would you want to have a watered-down modern version?


Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

A Roller for less than £5k? Sign me up, we hear you say. And, yes, it is possible. You're not going to drive away in an immaculate example, sure, but for £5,000, or quite possibly several hundred pounds less, you could have yourself a decent, driveable, example of this fine piece of British car manufacturing. The Silver Spirit was launched in 1980, alongside the Silver Spur, which was a long wheelbase version.


Interestingly, it was the first Rolls to feature a retractable Spirit of Ecstasy on the front, something that its cars have to this day. At the time of launch, the Silver Spirit was the first of a new generation of models, later being the basis of the Flying Spur and Silver Dawn, among several others and the Bentley Mulsanne and Eight series. For this money you're getting a serious slice of quality - self levelling suspension makes for a ride that you only get in a Rolls - and a piece of British history as well.


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