FailCar visits the NEC Classic Motor Show

Last weekend, FailCar took a trip to the Classic Motor Show at the NEC. Here he does his best for marital harmony by putting together a list of cars that should be part of our eBay watch lists. I’m sure I once read that divorce rates went up in the winter and that Christmas is a big contributor to this fact. Personally, I think the Classic Motor Show is to blame. But whatever, here’s FailCar…

I do love the classic car show, but for me it’s always a dangerous time of year. The nights draw in and all of a sudden the idea of having another winter project starts to pop into my head. I never really get that excited by the ‘exotic’ stuff on display, but what does get me excited is all the stuff that’s within reach. You know the sort of classics that can be had for a couple of grand, tops.

And it hardly seems fair that I have to go through the punishing temptation, so I figured this time round I would focus on all the stuff that’s ‘attainable’.

I’ll throw in some quirky stuff too.

So let’s start with this somewhat unloved classic. The Ford Sierra XR4. Why no love? I think they look pretty sweet and tidy and would make a great (Waxoyled) winter hack. I reckon prices are going to start going up on these soon so maybe it’s time to get in on it?

Ford Sierra XR4

Next up is something that the prices have already gone up on – the MK1 Fiesta XR2. I think these MK1 Fiestas look so awesome now and while I used to have eyes only for the MK2 XR2, the MK1 just looks so clean and with those quad lamps it’s a proper little rally wannabe. You could pick up a decent ‘project’ for around the grand mark and I would assume parts are plentiful. Mmm…tempting, isn’t it?

MK1 Ford Fiesta XR2

This is the Escort RS1700T. I was not familiar with it until someone pointed it out the other day (@antonyingram?) to me on twitter. It does look pretty awesome and with a 1.8 Cosworth turbo producing 300hp to the rear wheels it must be a right hooligan to drive. Sadly this is not really in cheap project territory BUT you know what is?

Ford Escort RS1700T

The Escort XR3, that’s what. Like the XR2 I really think these have matured with age and in standard form have lost their Essex boy racer image and look quite understated and tidy now. You can easily get one of these on the cheap and from what I have seen once clean seem to be going for £4k plus.

Ford Escort XR3

Anyhow, a world away from Dagenham and we have this lovely pair of Beemers. The M1, which just looks awesome and the E30 M3 which has long been an epic want of mine. Sadly both of these fall out of the cheaper winter project budget and as did pretty much everything else on the BMW stand.

BMW M1

BMW E30 M3

Apart from this.

BMW M6

OK well, maybe nothing like this actual M6 but you can pick up a workable 635CSI for around the £1,500 or less mark. That’s a very pretty coupé for not much money at all. Tidy-ish ones appear to be around the £5k plus mark, so maybe with a bit of nurturing and love you could even make a decent profit. Or you could just waft about it something that looks like it’s worth twice what you paid for it. Oh dear, I think I need to self enforce an eBay ban now. It’s all getting too much.

OK here we go, another example of something I find rather unattainable. The Renault 5 Turbo 2. But something like the standard GT turbo is becoming a rare beast indeed. In fact I reckon there is money to be made in ‘de-rudeboying’ Renault 5s to turn around some money. It would be a bit of a backwards winter project but you could also sell the big pile of K-Tec racing bits that have fallen off in the process to pay for acquiring some of the standard bits back again.

Renault 5 Turbo 2

Not sure how easy a Healey Sprite project would be, but I thought I would just share this one with you because it would appear to be rather awesome. Under the bonnet of this 1977 car is a modified 1.9 K-Series which produces 235hp. Sweet.

Healey Sprite

Oddly no Peugeot 205 GTI appeared to be present at the show, but there was this 205 CTi. I’m not really a huge fan of the CTI, purely from an aesthetic view, but this 1990 63,000 mile example was on sale for £3,900. That’s £3,150 more than I paid for my GTi which I think is miles better anyway. But I would say that. While there are bargains to be had at the moment I don’t quite understand some of these cars on show which seem to be asking what is, in my opinion, a silly price.

Peugeot 205 CTI

I do like the E36 325 Touring but even with only 7400 miles I think you would be a bit bonkers to shell out £6,995 for this. Crazy right? Or am I alone in my thinking?

BMW E36 325 Touring

Oh dear. I forgot the Alfa Arna existed. I wish I had not been reminded. Moving on…

Alfa Arna

Ah here we go, a nice VW I mean err Porsche Coupé. The 924 S. This would make a lovely little winter project and you can usually pick them up on eBay for a few quid. Just ask @Pawnsacrifice. Which reminds me – how is #project924 getting on?

Porsche 924S

This is a Ford Consul ‘Woody’. @MajorGav spotted one on Car and Classic the other day. To me to looks like a stretched pair of wooden Y-fronts has been stuck on the side. I have no love for this. Sorry.

Ford Consul Woody

I quite liked this though. Squint and especially with those wheels it has something of the Mustang about it. This is one of two prototype Capri Convertibles produced on commission from Ford at CarBodies in Coventry. I bet it flexes more than a fake-tanned Jodie Marsh in a women’s bodybuilding final though.

Ford Capri convertible

Mmm… Saab 99 Turbo. These aren’t exactly cheap these days, but they are lovely looking things. Nice and clean compared to the later 900 turbo. Which, incidentally I also like and it is much more attainable. Reminds me of a time before they made bloated Vectras in Swedish frocks. But of course the current PetrolBlog ‘shed’ Cavalier in a frock does look pretty sweet (eh, are you calling my non-GM 9000 a Cavalier?! – ed). I reckon when we see some snowy photographs of it getting posted here, eBay will see a spike in searches.

Saab 99 Turbo

Impossible to look at this without getting a certain Madonna song stuck in my head. Maybe that’s just me though. I’ll take mine in brown please. Yes, yes. Totally attainable but with three little letters being key. L-P-G.

Range Rover Vogue

I don’t know why but I don’t really have much love for the Capri. I should, but I don’t. Weird. Anyways, tidy examples are starting to fetch decent money now, but pick up a scabby Laser, a CB radio and go and hoon around shouting at an imaginary Doyle with the handbrake engaged on every turn until it’s dying. Then refurb it a bit and sell it for twice the price. Well that’s how it goes in my head anyway.

Ford Capri S

A MK1 MX-5. At a classic car show? It’s only a 1996! But still, these are all over the place and being a convertible means in winter they tend to be cheaper. That’s why I bought my MK2 in the snow anyway. Rust tends to be an issue on the MK1 but parts and light modifications are plentiful and cheap so now is the time to get one, spend the winter tidying it up and then have a lovely topless summer. Go on. Do it.

MK1 Mazda MX-5

Ah the Dolly Sprint. While it may sound like a sheep which has been cloned and genetically modified for 100m events, the old Dolly is quite a cool motor. Practicality and a lovely 16V engine means that the Triumph Dolomite Sprint can get a bit of a move on and with some light tuning 150hp can easily be attained. Best thing about the Dolly is the various BL paint colours it comes in. Lovely.

Triumph Dolomite Sprint

These have to be future classics right? I mean the Volvo 480 is such a classic shape to come between an era of hard angles and blobby 90s styling. I love it. With a Renault engine ‘tuned by Porsche’ what could possibly go wrong. One to keep an eye on I reckon for a bit of a money spinner, but will be many years in the making I suspect. It kind of reminds me of the Reliant Scimitar.

Volvo 480

Oh hello, what’s this? Nobody mention Princess Anne. The Reliant Scimitar is often a car that appears on many a Sunday night eBay watch list for me. Rust? It’s fibreglass. Reliability? It’s an an old Ford Essex V6 tank. While at the older spectrum of my want list I bet with some loud pipes and the cheesiest possible 70s velour interior the Scimitar would be a whole lot of awesome. Damn, writing this with an eBay tab open is getting more and more dangerous. In fact I think I can hear Heaven 17 ‘Temptation’ in my head.

Reliant Scimitar

Ah the VW MK1 Golf GTi. Overpriced I reckon, especially when the 205 GTi is a far superior car. Be a good winter project though, but getting hold of a standard one on the cheap now is pretty damn rare. I do love the look of the MK1 GTi though but every time I look on eBay I always think of how, for the money, a MK1 Scirocco Storm would really do it for me a bit more.

MK1 VW Golf GTi

These are not cheap. But is there a car other than the Sunbeam Lotus that manages to pull of such a paint scheme? Answers on a postcard…

Sunbeam Lotus

Every year that goes by the Jaguar XJS just seems to get better looking. Everyone loves a flying buttress. The temptation is strong with this one and @Ralphhosier has not helped by posting lovely pictures of his V12 racer. Prices have already started to go up on decent examples and if I had the space this would I reckon be a good place to put some money. In fact now I’m thinking about how lovely it would be to have an XJS and a 635CSi on the drive – just for looking at.

Jaguar XJS

Citroën DS. I don’t really need to go on about how advanced the DS was for its time or that it is probably for me the number one timeless car. I don’t know why I don’t just bite the bullet and buy one because the value on these is going to sky rocket. It’s just at that level for me though where it’s just that bit too expensive for a ‘toy’ even though in the back of my mind it seems to make sense. Dammit I want one. Maybe one of you could buy one and then just slag it off to make me feel a bit better?

Citroën DS

Visa GTi. Good luck finding one and I must admit I’m not a huge fan of the looks, but I bet it’s a corker to drive with this model having 115hp in a body that weight about the same as four crisp packets and a yoghurt pot. Apologies in advance for this – as such you would not want to get a crunched corner as you would get müllered.

Citroën Visa GTI

Here is a somewhat more common Citroën and to me it seems to be like something almost as cool but more attainable than the DS. The Citroën CX looks great and has a wonderfully bonkers Citroën interior that makes it all the more cool. This brown estate looks the nuts, but for me it would have to be the GTI Turbo. Not just because it has a steering wheel that has ‘TURBO’ written on it though. OK maybe it is. A bit. Anyhow a CX can be picked up cheap, unless you get a very pretty early model I don’t reckon it will do much for you investment-wise, but think of the fun you could have over the winter with the hydraulics. You could pretend you’re in Cypress Hill or something.

Citroën CX

Talbot Matra Rancho. Do I need to say anymore? It’s like the original crossover, (don’t believe people when they say it’s the Honda HRV), and just like many of the modern crossovers they could only put some dirt under the front wheels, because had they put it under the rear too it would become a permanent fixture at the NEC. It’s a practical quirky classic – what’s not to love? In fact with enough peer pressure I’m sure we could get @MajorGav to crack (I wouldn’t need that much persuading – ed).

Talbot Matra Rancho

Possibly a bit of a modern look here, but the Peugeot 306 Rallye was made in limited numbers and it’s a great fun car to drive. Ollie Marriage had one on evo fast fleet, (now at Top Gear), and I seem to remember he also loved it. I used to have a GTI-6 a few years ago but I did the silly thing to do when buying an old French hot hatch and I bought one that was pretty ropey. Sniff out a decent loved one and make sure the cambelt has been done and you should have a better car/driver relationship.

Peugeot 306 Rallye

Somehow I’ve never got my hands on a Willy, but they are supposedly awesome and much as I hate to say it because @evoStephenDobie will get a grin from ear to ear, the prices on them are going up pretty rapidly for decent examples. The owner of this Clio Williams was in his early 20s and had started to do a sort of rolling restoration and plans to get it to concours. Good luck to him and it’s nice to see cars at these shows that are not necessarily 100% perfect.

Renault Clio Williams

Is it just me or does this Renault 4 Plein Air side profile look rather a lot like a skip?

Renault 4 Plein AirRenault 4 Plein Air

Fiat X1-9. This one was a bit beefier thanks to some fettling and an Alfa 24v V6 sitting under the back. I am surprised at how cheap these are given how good they look and how much fun they are to drive. They are right at that stage now where they are being broken for parts in many cases and lots of them have sacrificed their door handles and roof clips to Stratos replica builders. In a few years the few original ones left will be worth a fair chunk of wonga.

Fiat X1-9

MK1 Vauxhall Astra, these disappeared pretty quick didn’t they? Well I quite like this two-tone Celebrity edition but for me a GTE in white looks very tempting.

Vauxhall Astra MK1

This chopped Hillman reminds me of that scary film ‘The Car’ so I’m not exactly sure why there is a fat Batman inside?

Hillman 'Batman'

Ah the original four door coupe – this is the Ferrari Daytona Coupé AKA Rover SD1. These can still be picked up proper cheap and I desperately want a V8. A great winter project and loads of tuning can be done to that Rover V8 to make it sound awesome and be able to easily keep up with modern metal. Any questions just give @Octane_Keith a shout. This Rover P6 V8 is also a regular on my eBay watch list, but sometimes a more modern motor from the Rover stable appears…

Rover SD1

P6 Rover

The Rover Tomcat. Looks good and with the 220 Turbo it’s still properly quick. It’s cheap too, and reminds us of a time before Rover started going all weird and using too much chrome while also churning out the blobby Daewoo Lanos shape 200.

Rover Tomcat

Perhaps a bit of an alternative to the MX-5 MK1 is the Toyota MR2 MK1. That is some cool ’80s wedge and a decent one can be picked up for £1,500. Only main issue is with rust. Seriously someone needs to get the Japanese and the Germans together and have a seminar on rust prevention. No point involving the French because they seem to have the knack and will just giggle at how ‘M-R-deux’ sounds.

MK1 Toyota MR2

I think I may have waffled on a bit too much so I’m going to finish off with this. While the prices of the original Mini continues skywards, dammit why did I not buy one five years ago!, the Morris Minor does not have quite the same attention. It looks awesome, it’s cheap, parts are plentiful and it’s rear wheel drive.

Morris Minor

Now go forth to eBay before you start budgeting for Christmas and I’ll just leave you with the video above as a demonstration of the humble Minor from @tiff_tv.

Further waffle you might like

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ABOUT AUTHOR
FailCar
PetrolBlog’s very own Stig. Only a select few people know the true identity of FailCar, but his forthright and strong views on automotive matters have won him fans the world over. Like MajorGav, FailCar has a love of 80s cars and has spent the best part of 2011 painstakingly restoring a Peugeot 205 GTi using nothing more than a toothbrush, a lint-free cloth and some Creeping Crack Cure. Some say he lives in an ark-shaped barn in the middle of the country, surrounded by two of every single car made during the 1980s. All we know is, he’s called FailCar.

11 comments

  1. November 19, 2011
    Simon Hingston

    Some nice spots there. Completely agree with thoughts on prices for lots of things. To me the stand out real classic (though I don’t actually want one) is the Sierra for the difference it made to design.
    On a different note love the DS too, but I’ll have this one please:

    http://www.hexagonclassics.com/car_sales/Citroen-DS21-EFI-Chapron/4450.htm

    What does one of these go for these days? Somewhere between £100-150k?

    Simon

    Reply
    • November 19, 2011
      MajorGav

      Wow! That is stunning…

      Reply
      • November 19, 2011
        Simon Hingston

        Rather over restored but if they let me have for 10 years I’ll find them some patina. I know too generous.

        Reply
        • November 19, 2011
          MajorGav

          Your generosity is an example for us all…

          Reply
  2. November 19, 2011
    Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

    So it turns out that I clearly missed one of the halls at the show, since I don’t remember seeing the MR2s, the Range Rover, the E36 Touring or the XR3s. Day out fail.

    Wasn’t me who mentioned the RS1700 though. I did see it there but it had a crowd around it the whole time so I didn’t come away with a photo. Completely agree on the early Fiesta XR2s and SuperSports, they’re looking fantastic these days and I reckon they’ll be on the up very soon for even half-decent ones.

    Stars of the show were still the Alpine A110s for me – I’ve developed a complete obsession for them and I MUST own one at some point. Just need £15-20k laying spare…

    I’d give a special mention to the immaculate Ferrari 348 that was at the show. I know they’re not typical Petrolblog fayre but they look wonderfully 80s with all the slatted sides and rear end and as Ferraris go, they’re relatively inexpensive – going rate is £25k. Or about the same as a mid-spec Mondeo.

    Reply
    • November 19, 2011
      MajorGav

      Hard to disagree with the A110. Ideally in full rally-spec!

      The 348 holds a small place in my heart, if only for the wonderfully detailed Herpa model I still own from my childhood. Lovely thing.

      Reply
      • November 19, 2011
        Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

        Mine is a 1:43 Bburago model, in black. Had it since I was about 7 or 8 years old and it’s still one of my favourites. It’s nothing special but I’ve always liked the 348 because of it.

        Reply
  3. November 19, 2011
    FailCar

    Easy to miss some stuff, don’t think they had a very good layout this year, seemed diff to me anyway. I had to consult the map, which is usually something I only do at Frankfurt. This involvolves looking at a map and announcing “S**T how have I missed two halls?” or “Excuse me, I can’t seem to find Saab on this map”

    Reply
    • November 19, 2011
      Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

      I didn’t bother with the map, but probably should have. I was mildly irritated when they handed me a big bag full of stuff as I hate carrying anything other than my camera around (motor shows can be a pain, having to carry camera, laptop and press kits…).

      Reply
  4. November 19, 2011
    FailCar

    WOW. That DS is Porn.

    Reply
  5. March 31, 2012
    SneakyElephant

    Good article…I had a Dolly Sprint (in black) back in 86 and even then it was decently quick. Now, where is that Sunbeam Tiger resto project I’ve been searching for so long…all the ones I see are silly money. One day my ship will come in, then watch out!

    Reply

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