Brexit for classics: UK cars leaving for Europe

UK classic cars leaving for Europe

Classic cars are leaving the UK bound for the EU, with European collectors benefiting from the weak pound.

That’s according to auction house Coys, which has seen a “noticeably higher than average sale rate of cars being shipped to European countries”.

At a recent Blenheim auction, a collector arrived from Marseille and bought a Mercedes-Benz 230 SL, a Fiat 500, a Jaguar E-Type and a Ferrari 308.

Meanwhile, a German buyer – new to the classic car market – purchased a Lamborghini Jalpa and a Maserati Merak. Coys referenced an “auction room bidding war between two Germans that left any English buyers in the dust”.

The Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 (pictured) left the UK bound for Spain, selling for £312,700.

‘Alignment of the planets’

UK classics leaving for EU

Chris Routledge of Coys said: “The strength of the Euro against Sterling has undoubtedly created a very advantageous buying climate for European classic car collectors, with not only sensibly priced cars but with the current exchange rate being perceived as being at least 25 percent discounted against European asking prices.

“This is a unique set of circumstances – an alignment of the planets if you like. The quality of the stock in the UK is of the highest international standard, European buyers know it and are very keen to get their hands on it, as with current exchange rates, the prices could not be more attractive.

“For UK sellers of classic cars and other collectibles who wish to sell in Sterling to European collectors, the outlook is very strong while these exchange rates continue, and they should consider grabbing hold of this opportunity while they can. We live in very interesting times.”

Needless to say, Coys is urging UK classic car owners to consider selling their classics at its next international auction at Schloss Dyck in Germany on 3 August 2019.

The auction house has made “special arrangements for discounted transport” to allow them to “copper bottom” their chances of selling their classic to a European buyer.


classic cars

Is this the new way to spot future classic cars?

classic cars

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be,” reads a press release from independent car auction specialist, G3 Remarketing. It thinks the way classics earn that status is changing and that there are new ways to spot such a car before it reaches the limelight.

The way we buy cars has changed. PCP affords us the instant gratification of more aspirational machinery without years of saving. Could nostalgia and buying the cars we never could when we were younger soon be a thing of the past? More on that in a bit. First, we’ll go through what G3 reckons are the things to look out for in a future classic beyond nostalgia.

Unloved, unwanted, rare

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say. In the world of cars, trash can turn to treasure over time, especially when we realise that being unloved in period makes a car rare.

G3 offers the perfect example – the BMW Z3 M ‘Breadvan’. Weird, unconventional, flawed; now rare, now desirable. Generally speaking cars age well, especially performance cars. Ugly becomes beautiful when styling convention changes and we miss what went before.

Still sounds a bit like nostalgia but we digress…

Extra Ordinary

classic cars

As the rules of car manufacturing change, so too do the car designs they dictate. According to G3, these days the rulebook is so thick that a lot of today’s cars are much of a muchness, cut from the same cloth and cast in the same mould.

The stuff that is a bit out of the ordinary, that breaks the mould a bit, is what we need to look out for. It cites the delightfully unconventional Citroen C4 Cactus as an example. We’re on board with that one.

Still, conventions change. There’s a word for pining for the quirkiness of yesteryear. We’re sure it begins with ‘N’…

Supply < demand

This is a simple one – a rule of value that goes back way beyond the era of the motorcar. Whatever you’re buying, with a view for it to make money, make sure few others have it and that many others want it.

The latter is a little more difficult but follow the other rules and you should see demand climb before too long. Fun stuff, weird stuff, it all has value. If it’s rare, that value is solidified.


Overall, G3 reckons you’re safe with a car that has personality. It ought to stoke emotions, maybe divide opinion. The broader a car’s place in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts, the broader its place in the history books becomes. If you’re passionate about a car and know others that are, your investment could be well-placed.

Is nostalgia no longer a factor?

classic cars

It will always be a factor. As a general rule, people don’t know what they’ve got, or even what they want, until it’s gone. Be the person scooping up the remains as a car’s supply circles the plug hole. Identify flickers of intrigue around a car before it becomes a blaze.

We’ll always look back in time wearing rose-tinted spectacles but nevertheless, G3 makes some worthy points to consider.

Ford Heritage Centre

Made in Dagenham: Ford’s secret classic car collection

Ford Heritage CentreTucked away on the outskirts of Ford’s sprawling Dagenham factory is a small, slightly ramshackle warehouse. Inside is a huge array of classic cars representing 113 years of Blue Oval history. From Cortinas to Cosworths, we lifted up up the dust sheets to photograph the highlights.

Ford Heritage CentreFord Sierra RS Cosworth

The mighty Sierra RS Cosworth is an icon. A turbocharged 204hp 2.0-litre 16-valve engine meant 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 149mph – serious stuff in 1986. This particular car was used for development work at Dunton, Essex, and it still fitted with a rollcage.

Ford Heritage CentreFord Escort RS Cosworth

The 1992 Escort witnessed the second coming of Cosworth. It retained the trademark ‘whale tail’ wing of its predecessor (albeit as an option), but boasted 225hp and four-wheel drive. The ‘Cossie’ was also a successful rally car, before being replaced by the Focus WRC in 1999.  

Ford Heritage CentreFord Fiesta

The Fiesta reached a major milestone in 2016. This 1976 model is 40 years old and – as a brief drive around Dagenham revealed – still in great shape. In fact, it was recently driven to Switzerland for the annual Geneva Motor Show. Not bad for 957cc…

Ford Heritage CentreFord Fiesta

The Mk2 Ford Fiesta arrived in 1983, facing rivals such as the Austin Metro and Vauxhall Nova. This is the back-to-basics 1.1 Popular Plus, with a four-speed manual gearbox.

Ford Heritage CentreFord Fiesta XR2

The 1980s were the halcyon days of the hot hatch, and the Fiesta XR2 was one of the biggest sellers. With a bodykit, spotlamps and ‘pepperpot’ alloys, it looked the business. Performance was less spectacular: 0-60mph in 10.2sec and 112mph flat-out.

Ford Heritage CentreFord Model T

The 1908 Ford Model T was the first car to be mass-produced. Doing so brought costs down, putting cars within the reach of ‘normal’ people. Thus the Model T changed the world more, perhaps, than any other car. Unlike most old cars, it looks remarkably big alongside modern metal.

Ford Heritage CentreFord RS200

Now for something somewhat swifter… The RS200 is one of the fastest and most exclusive Fords ever made. A road-legal rally car, it had a mid-mounted 1.8-litre 250hp turbocharged engine and lightweight fibreglass body panels. Only 200 road cars were made.

Ford Heritage CentreFord RS200

The rallying version of the RS200 was even more extreme. Designed to compete in the notorious Group B, it was boosted to 450hp and could hit 62mph in 3.8 seconds. Sadly, the Group B era was cut short in 1986 after several fatal crashes.

Ford Heritage CentreFord rally cars

Ford has a long history of rallying. Indeed, the rear-wheel-drive Mk1 and Mk2 Escorts and are among the most successful rally cars of all time. The Mk2 RS1800 in the foreground won the 1977 RAC Rally with Björn Waldegard at the wheel.

Are these Britain's best classic cars?

Are these Britain’s best classic cars?

Are these Britain's best classic cars?

It’s a strange competition that sees a 1978 Morris Marina square up against a 1972 Porsche 914 and 1936 Chevrolet Half Ton Pick Up – yet, happily, that’s exactly what’s happening at this year’s NEC Classic Car Show.

The biannual Pride of Ownership competition is held at the Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show in March and the NEC Classic Motor Show in November. The 20 finalists for this year’s NEC Classic Motor Show have been announced, with highlights including a former police Daimler Dart SP250 from 1961 and a 1979 Citroen CX 2400 GTi barn find.

A finalists will be displayed at the show, with visitors speaking to the owners and voting for their favourites over the weekend. The winner will be announced close to the end of the show on the Sunday afternoon.

The competition is held by Lancaster Insurance, with previous winners including a lovingly-restored 1989 Austin Metro City and a 1972 Triumph Spitfire. Any classic car made before 2000 can enter the competition, and those with an interesting story have the best chance of making the final.

“Year on year, the calibre of cars in the Pride of Ownership is always outstanding and it’s fantastic to once again see such a varied line-up on display. We can’t wait for the show and to see the beauties in all their glory,” said Lancaster Insurance’s senior operations manager, Andrew Evanson.

2017 Pride of Ownership: the shortlist

  • 1979 Citroen CX 2400 GTi, owned by Neil Osborn
  • 1961 Daimler Dart SP250, owned by Jonathan Smith
  • 1959 Ford Cortina Savage Mk2, owned by Rob Sargent
  • 1973 Ford Cortina 2.0 GT, owned by Mark Rogers
  • 1978 Morris Marina 1.8 Special Saloon, owned by Trevor & Brian Ford
  • 1965 K-code Mustang Fastback, owned by Gareth Jones
  • 1970 Dodge Charger, owned by Craig Marsden
  • 1936 Chevrolet Half Ton Pick Up, owned by Justin & Sally Ann Woolner
  • 1941 Willys Coupe, owned by Andy Crockett
  • 1972 Porsche 914, owned by Paul Hibbert
  • 1998 BMW E36 M3 Evolution, owned by Gerald McWhinnie
  • 1968 Sunbeam Stiletto, owned by Ian Thompson
  • 1959 MGA 1600 Mk1, owned by Dominic Taylor-Lane
  • 1959 Hillman Minx, owned by John Georgiou
  • 1983 Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk1, owned by Simon McNamara
  • 1985 Toyota Corolla GTi, owned by Mark and Paul Hart
  • 1989 Austin Mini Thirty, owned by Brenda Roberts
  • 1990 Fiat X1/9 Gran Finale, owned by Claire Lee
  • 1967 Fiat 500F, owned by Stefan Graichen
  • 1964 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Coupe, owned by Ronald Parry

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

NEXT: Video – warehouse crammed with classic Fords

Sold! 10 bargain modern classics you missed this weekend

10 bargain modern classics sold at auction this weekend

More than 250 cars went under the hammer as part of Anglia Car Auctions’ July classic sale this weekend – with something to suit all budgets, from a £125 Austin Metro to a £115,000 BMW 3.0 CSL. Although marketed as a classic car auction, modern classics proved to be the real hot property. Here are 10 modern classics that caught our eye.

More modern classics on Motoring Research: 

E39 BMW M5

E39 BMW M5

Guide price: £7,000 – £8,000
Hammer price: £7,000

Powered by a 400hp V8 combined with a six-speed Getrag manual ’box, the E39 M5 is as desirable today as it was when launched in 1998. This example, finished in desirable Le Mans Blue, isn’t the tidiest left in existence – showing 131,000 miles on the clock and in need of a bit of TLC to the bodywork. Still, its hammer price of £7,000 makes it a very tempting buy. Don’t forget, though – like all cars here, it’s subject to an extra 5% (plus VAT) in auction fees.

Renault Sport Spider

Renault Sport Spider

Guide price: £22,500 – £25,500
Hammer price: £19,500 (unsold)

A bizarre French rival to the Lotus Elise… what’s not to like? The Renault Sport Spider, launched in 1996, combined an aluminium chassis with plastic composite bodywork. Power came from a mid-mounted four-cylinder engine producing 150hp which, helped by a 930kg kerbweight, accelerated the Spider to 62mph in 6.5 seconds.

One of just 60 examples in the UK, this example looks to be among the best. It’s covered just 5,000 miles and, judging by our quick walk-around at the auction, they don’t seem to have been spent on track. Surprisingly, it fell short of its £22,500 to £25,500 guide price – remaining unsold at £19,500.

Peugeot 306 GTi 6

Peugeot 306 GTi 6

Guide price: £4,750 – £5,750
Hammer price: £4,200

If the 205 GTi is anything to go by, French hot hatches definitely have investment potential. The newer 306 GTi 6 is a long way from being as desirable as the 205, but good examples are getting harder to find. This one, although not mint, is probably one of the tidiest on the market. It’s covered 62,000 miles and comes with full service history – a must when shopping with investment in mind. It sold for £4,200, falling short of its £4,750 to £5,750 estimate.

Ferrari 456GT

Ferrari 456GT

Guide price: £48,000
Hammer price: £58,000 – £65,000

Ferraris are traditionally hot property at auction – but reports suggest the market appears to have been slowing down as late, with a number of desirable models failing to meet their reserve. The 456 isn’t old enough to make serious money, as evidenced by this tidy example from 1994 selling for just £48,000 at auction – £10,000 short of its lower estimate. Admittedly it’s covered 55,000 miles – not a huge amount, but high enough to knock its value in Ferrari terms (collectors prefer examples that have been dry-stored from new).

Honda Beat

Honda Beat

Guide price: £5,250 – £6,250
Hammer price: £4,700

This plucky little Honda Beat is showing 111,773km on the clock (that’s around 70,000 miles), with a full rebuild for its tiny 656cc engine 5,000 miles ago. Designed as a Kei car to benefit from strict Japanese tax rules, the Beat makes an MX-5 of the same vintage look massive. This example has lots of history, apparently, and looked to be in great condition in the auction hall. Surprisingly, it sold for £4,700 – falling short of its £5,250 to £6,250 estimate.

Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000

Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000

Guide price: £7,000 – £8,500
Hammer price: £7,800

Many fast Imprezas have been abused, crashed or are dodgy Japanese imports lacking history – so finding a rare UK Turbo 2000 in this condition is a novelty. Incredibly, it’s covered just 34,000 miles with its one owner and comes with a history book boasting 18 stamps. It would definitely be a sound investment, we reckon, and its 211hp turbocharged flat-four makes it quick enough to still be fun today.

Jaguar XJR

Jaguar XJR

Guide price: no reserve
Hammer price: £1,800

As bargain barges go, the X308-shape XJR is surely at the bottom of its depreciation curve. This 2001 example isn’t the tidiest, having covered 137,000 miles, and not everyone will appreciate the rare solid red paint. As the hammer nearly fell at £1,000, we were close to putting in a bid – that’s incredible value for a car powered by a 4.0-litre V8 and capable of hitting 60mph in 5.0 seconds flat. Fortunately, the rest of the auction hall woke up at this point, and it ended up making £1,800 plus fees.

E46 BMW M3

E46 BMW M3

Guide price: £8,000 – £10,000
Hammer price: £8,100

Talking about desirable cars at the bottom of their depreciation curve… the E46-shape M3 can be had for as little as £7,000 now, and represents a true performance bargain. While buying one from auction would be a brave move (they’re not short of issues – from cracking rear subframes to big-end bearing failure), this Laguna Seca Blue version quite literally caught our eye. It’s a convertible, which wouldn’t be our first choice, but it at least comes with a hard top. Selling for £8,100, it scraped over its lower estimate.

Porsche Boxster S

Porsche Boxster S

Guide price: £5,500 – £6,500
Hammer price: £5,600 (provisional)

The Boxster 986 is another modern classic bargain in our eyes, especially in 3.2-litre S guise. Old enough to be affordable, yet new enough to be usable, the mid-engined Boxster makes for a very tempting buy. There are a few caveats, though. For a start, there are still plenty around, so values are unlikely to rise anytime soon. Plus, there are plenty of known issues, so it’s worth doing your research. Hunt out a good one with lots of history and you could be onto a winner.

This example has covered close to 120,000 miles and is lacking a few stamps in its service book, which would make us wary. But it’s bright yellow and provisionally sold for £5,600… which could be cheap enough to compensate for any potential problems.

Opel Speedster (Vauxhall VX220)

Opel Speedster (Vauxhall VX220)

Guide price: £13,000 – £17,000
Hammer price: £12,600

The Opel Speedster (sold in the UK as the Vauxhall VX220) is said to be the thinking man’s Lotus Elise. It shared many parts with the Lotus, but with a more useable 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine. This one has an interesting history, bought new by a Vauxhall engineer and unregistered until 2013. It’s covered just 3,000 miles since then, meaning it remains in as-new condition. It’s spent the last three years of its life on display at a local Vauxhall dealer.

Classic car enthusiast has his STEERING WHEEL stolen

Classic car enthusiast has his STEERING WHEEL stolen

© Herb Real / Flickr

A rare steering wheel worth £250 has been stolen from a 1991 Volkswagen Polo parked on its owners driveway in Lincolnshire.

19-year-old Bradley Lawson’s is gradually restoring his Mk2 Polo saloon but had to leave it unlocked for a weekend while he went away, as the locks were being refurbished. The student was surprised to return home to find the Polo’s door left open with its steering wheel and speakers missing.

More Volkswagen news on Motoring Research

“[The steering wheel was] made by an American company, Grip Royal and it had been imported,” he told Lincolnshire Live. “There is only five of these steering wheels in the country.”

The custom-made steering wheel is carved out of mahogany and costs around £250 before import charges are added.

“All of the steering wheels are handmade so they are limited edition, you put the order in for them and when they are made they are shipped out to you.”

As the vehicle was left unlocked, it’s unlikely that his insurance provider will pay out for the stolen goods. Police are currently looking into the theft.

Lawson added: “They just opened the door and took it. The house is gated and fenced off – you don’t expect them to climb in, get it and then run off.”

Older cars are an easy target for thieves as they lack anything more than the most basic of security measures. Volkswagens of this era are popular with young drivers as they’re cheap to run and easy to modify, with a huge ‘scene’ of enthusiasts providing support.

Part thefts are nothing new – even modern cars such as the Vauxhall Corsa have been targeted by gangs looking to steal parts to sell online.

Top tips for protecting your classic car

1: Fit a tracker
2: Add an aftermarket alarm and/or immobiliser
3: Use a steering wheel lock
4: Park in a garage
5: Disconnect the battery to prevent it being started

Deutsch marques: fabulous classic German cars on show

Stanford Hall Volkswagen showThis year marked the 41st anniversary of the Stanford Hall Volkswagen show, set in the grounds of Stanford Hall itself, near Lutterworth in Leicestershire.

The show is organised by the Leicestershire and Warwickshire VW Owner’s Club, and a historic Volkswagen display has been a staple part of the event.

Air-cooled actionStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Stanford Hall brings out some of the best air-cooled Volkswagens, and some of the most unusual. ‘Bertie’ is a 1958 historic rally Beetle and driver Bob Beales drove ‘him’ in events as recent as the 2016 Wales Rally GB.

Beetles aboutStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Beetles have long been a key ingredient at Stanford Hall. Amanda Clampin’s 1972 ‘Marathon’ Beetle is well known in VW circles and on the show circuit. She has owned the car for almost two years.

Marathon milestoneStanford Hall Volkswagen show

A total of 1,500 ‘Marathon’ Beetles were built for the UK and celebrated the small VW overtaking the Ford Model T as the most-produced car in the world on 17 February 1972. Special features such as 10-spoke alloy wheels and the metallic blue body colour set the Marathon apart.

Karmann everybodyStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Of course, it’s not all about Beetles, though. Volkswagen’s other classic air-cooled models such as the Type 2 campervan and Karmann Ghia also have a starring role at Stanford Hall.

Ballistic busStanford Hall Volkswagen show

While the show prides itself on standard models, this Type 2 is anything but original, and packs a fearsome V8 punch. Your cutlery and plates would fly out of the cupboards…

Shaken, not stirredStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Similarly, this Martini-liveried Karmann Ghia has been inspired by Porsche. A lurid black and red 996/Boxster snakeskin interior features inside, while the running gear is taken from a 2004 Boxster.

Metal Ghia solidStanford Hall Volkswagen show

In contrast, this Type 3-based Karman Ghia is as it rolled off the production line at Osnabrück. Introduced in September 1961, the VW 1500 Karmann Ghia is also known as the ‘Razor Edge’.

As Volkswagen intendedStanford Hall Volkswagen show

The Concours d’Elegance at Stanford Hall is considered to be the best in the country, specialising in cars of original specification. Sixteen classes cover all VW, Audi and Porsche models and feature gems such as this very early 1975 Volkswagen Golf.

Clean machinesStanford Hall Volkswagen show

The concours judging is very strict and every car has to be as clean as when it left the factory, with points taken off for dirtiness and non-original accessories. A simpler design means air-cooled engines may be easier to clean than their later water-cooled counterparts. Here, a Mk2 Golf GTI 16V engine is so clean, the proverbial dinner could be eaten off it.

Mars Red Mk1 magicStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Stanford Hall used to be a predominantly air-cooled Volkswagen show, but in recent years there has been a surge in water-cooled cars’ presence. Golf GTIs are popular concours entrants.

Super Class winnerStanford Hall Volkswagen show

The concours ‘Super Class’ features only the previous year’s winners. 2017 Super Class and Best of Show winner was Chris Burt’s Mk 2 1989 Golf GTI 8V.

Derby dayStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Even Volkswagen’s sometimes ‘forgotten’ models get a look in at the Leicestershire gathering. Older Polos are regularly on display, and Vic Kaye’s booted Derby is one of the best Mk1 models.

The 1980s called…Stanford Hall Volkswagen show

David Cross’ super-rare Mk2 Jetta GT Special is a limited edition from 1986. An officially-marketed GTI Engineering conversion, special equipment included 15-inch alloy wheels, a 1.8-litre engine, a bodykit and two-tone paintwork.

There’s a Storm comingStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Volkswagen’s coupés were well represented at the 2017 Stanford Hall event. The later Corrado (background) contrasts nicely with this early Mk1 Scirocco Storm limited edition from 1979.

Audis on showStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Audis of all shapes and sizes are welcomed into the Stanford Hall concours fold, and there’s probably not a more disparate pairing than this 1980s 200 Avant and late 80-based Cabriolet.

Four-cylinder funStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Club stands are an important part of Stanford Hall, and the biggest gathering of Porsche 912s in the UK was aimed for at the 2017 show. We don’t know if that was achieved, but there were certainly more than we’ve ever seen in one place.

Germany’s favourite sports carStanford Hall Volkswagen show

And while the number of four-cylinder 912s may have outnumbered the number of 911s, the 912’s ‘big brother’ was still very much in evidence. 

The best motoring events of 2017

The best motoring events of 2017

The best motoring events of 2017

January: a time for planning. And car fans will be pleased to hear there is no shortage of motoring events on the agenda for 2017. Why not grab a brew, your shiny new calendar and join us for a look at what we have to look forward to this year?

Ace Cafe German Night (6 February)

If you’re a car enthusiast and have never been to an event at London’s Ace Cafe, make it your resolution to change that in 2017. The historic transport cafe, located on London’s North Circular, plays host to regular themed evenings. The German Night is a must for Mercedes and BMW enthusiasts.

London Classic Car Show, Excel (23 – 26 February)

If classic cars are more your thing, you don’t have to wait long until the London Classic Car Show, held at the Excel in February. The central Grand Avenue will feature more than 50 classic cars in action every day, while a special display will celebrate 70 years of Ferrari road cars.

Race Retro, Stoneleigh (24 – 26 February)

Those who like to see classic race cars being used as their maker intended should head to Warwickshire for Race Retro. Highlights include an auction of historic cars, interviews with legendary racing drivers and, of course, a live rally stage.

Retro Classics, Stuttgart, Germany (2 – 5 March)

Retro Classics, Stuttgart, Germany (2 - 5 March)

Looking for an excuse to travel further afield? Stuttgart hosts Retro Classics, one of the biggest classic motor shows in the world. There’s something for everyone, say organisers, from exotic Maseratis to motorbikes, and even a timeline of European local buses from 1950 to 1955.

Geneva Motor Show (9 – 19 March)

The Geneva Motor Show is one of the biggest events on our calendar – we attend every year to bring you the latest concept and production cars on display in Switzerland’s second biggest city. But you don’t need to be a journalist to attend the Geneva Motor Show, it opens its doors to the public from 9 March, allowing you to get up close with the latest reveals. It makes for a fantastic road trip.

Ultimate Dubs (12 March)

From Geneva to… Telford. Ultimate Dubs is the UK’s largest indoor VW Group event, catering for modified Volkswagens, Audis, SEATs and Skodas. If slammed VW Golfs and Audi TTs with more attitude than a bored teenager are your thing, Ultimate Dubs is the ultimate place to be in March.

BTCC season launch, Donington (16 March)

Where else can you see names such as Gordon Shedden and Jason Plato hammering souped-up road cars on tracks around the UK? The 2017 British Touring Car Championship kicks off at Donington in March.

Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Goodwood (18 – 19 March)

Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Goodwood (18 - 19 March)

The exclusive Goodwood Members’ Meeting is a weekend of motor racing, enjoyed only by members or a small number of lucky ticket holders. By keeping attendance down, spectators can enjoy motorsport with limited crowds. Alternatively, watch it unfold online.

Brooklands Mini Day (19 March)

Brooklands is a historic venue and always worth a visit – but its special Mini Day in March is unmissable for fans of Britain’s favourite pocket-sized car. Drivers of modern MINIs are welcome too.

Great Escape Cars & Coffee, Redditch (26 March)

The best classic car events can involve little more than getting a gathering of enthusiasts (and their motors), giving them coffee and letting them chat cars. Hire firm Great Escape Cars lets enthusiasts do just that – and donates £1 to charity for every classic that turns up.

Practical Classics Restoration and Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham (31 March – 2 April)

The Practical Classics Restoration and Classic Car Show is a relatively new addition to the calendar, but 19,000 enthusiasts headed to the NEC for the show in 2016. This year, it promises more than 800 cars on display – from restored classics to neglected barn finds. Adult tickets start at £16 in advance.

The Fast Show, Santa Pod (2 April)

The Fast Show, Santa Pod (2 April)

If your idea of a car show is a village green full of MGBs and, at a push, a beer tent, The Fast Show at Santa Pod probably isn’t for you. It involves an open ‘run what ya brung’ drag strip sessions, a nightclub in the evening and even dancing girls.

Techno Classica, Essen, Germany (5 – 9 April)

The five-day-long Techno Classica show at Essen, Germany, is a must for British classic car fans who’ve outgrown our own shows. It attracts nearly 200,000 visitors from around the world.

Top Marques, Monaco (20 – 23 April)

The Fast Show this is not. Top Marques is held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, and allows visitors to get up close to the world’s hottest supercars. Demonstrations take place on the iconic F1 racetrack and, if you’re a serious supercar buyer, you might even be able to take some test drives.

Drive It Day (23 April)

Drive It Day is a nationwide thing, introduced by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) to encourage classic car owners to drive their cars. It’s held in spring every year – giving enthusiasts the perfect opportunity to get their cars on the road after winter. Events are held all over the country, including at Beaulieu, Brooklands and Gaydon.

Auto Italia – Italian Car Day, Brooklands (29 April)

Auto Italia – Italian Car Day, Brooklands (29 April)

Back to Brooklands, these time for Auto Italia’s fabulous Italian Car Day. Visitors in Italian cars – whether it’s a Fiat or Ferrari – get to park in a special area, while fans can enjoy track demonstrations.

Japfest, Silverstone (30 April)

Meanwhile, over at Silverstone, Japanese car nuts can enjoy the enormous Japfest event. Watch drifting demos, take part in club line-ups and even get out on track. There’s even a show and shine for those who like to keep their motors in mint condition.

Truckfest, Peterborough (30 April – 1 May)

And now for something a bit different. For one weekend, the East of England showground becomes the country’s biggest truck park – with more than 2,000 lorries heading along the A1 to take part. You don’t have to be a trucker to attend, with adult visitor tickets starting at £17.50.

National Kit Car Motor Show, Stoneleigh (30 April – 1 May)

If you like your cars to be of the DIY variety, the National Kit Car Show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire is a must. From have-a-go opportunities to live music and hundreds of trade stands, there’s plenty for the casual fan as well as the serious kit car enthusiast.

London Motor Show (5 – 7 May)

London Motor Show (5 - 7 May)

After a number of years without a motor show in the UK, the London Motor Show returned last year. And it’s back for 2017 – hosted at Battersea Park, with celebrity guests including Jodie Kidd and former Stig Ben Collins likely to put in appearances.

Mille Miglia (18 – 21 May)

The original Mille Miglia race took place between 1927 and 1957, but has been brought back since 1977. The thousand-mile event crosses Italy and is only open to cars made before 1957 that participated in the original race. While most of us aren’t lucky enough to own such a car, it’s worth a trip to see the spectacle of such exotic motors being put through the challenge.

London to Brighton Mini Run (20 – 21 May)

Who doesn’t like a Mini? The London to Brighton Mini Run takes place every year, with 2,100 Minis old and new taking part in the event. At Madeira Drive in Brighton, there’s a line-up of all the entrants, plus a live action arena featuring autotest demos and stunt bike displays.

Worthersee, Austria (24 – 27 May)

If you’re a VW enthusiast and want to travel a little further afield, the Worthersee Volkswagen festival attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year. There’s a manufacturer-backed element – usually a few pimped cars and the occasional special reveal alongside Lake Worthersee – but the whole town is taken over by retro and modified Vee-dubs.

Nurburgring 24-hour, Germany (25 – 28 May)

Nurburgring 24-hour, Germany (25 - 28 May)

Why not combine a trip to Worthersee with a visit to the infamous Nurburgring for its annual 24-hour race? More than 200 cars take part in the event on the 15.5 mile Nordschleife circuit, making it a mesmerising spectacle.

Isle of Man TT (27 May – 9 June)

The Isle of Man TT is a must-visit event for bike fans. It’s been taking place every year since 1907, with star racers such as Guy Martin taking to public roads to test their limits. It’s a thrilling event and well worth the cost of a ferry.

Coventry MotoFest (3 – 4 June)

You can imagine the conversation that led to the inaugural Coventry Motofest taking place in 2014. A group of petrolheads got together and decided it’d be fun, for one weekend a year, to take over the city of Coventry with motoring-related activities. Could they show off the city’s motoring heritage, display classic cars in the centre and even hold demonstrations on the ring road? Turns out, yes they could. It’s definitely worth a visit.

Classic Ford Show, Santa Pod (4 June)

Classic Fords, run what ya brung and DJ Pied Piper… wait, what? Yes, the Classic Ford Show at Santa Pod in June really has it all. Well, if you like old Fords, drag racing and tasteless garage music. Adult tickets cost £18 in advance.

Cholmondeley Power and Speed, Cheshire (9 – 11 June)

Cholmondeley Power and Speed, Cheshire (9 - 11 June)

Dubbed the Goodwood Festival of Speed of the north, Cholmondeley Power and Speed (formerly known as the Pageant of Power) is a three-day motorsport extravaganza. A record 40,000 visitors attended last year.

24 Hours of Le Mans, France (17 – 18 June)

Even if you’re not a big motorsport fan, no one can fail to get caught up in the atmosphere at Le Mans during its annual 24-hour race. Enjoy a ride on the ferris wheel, watch cars hit 200mph on the Mulsanne Straight in the early hours of the morning and find out exactly what a ‘beer mountain’ is. Book campsites well in advance as they do fill up.

MG Live, Silverstone (17 – 18 June)

Think of MG enthusiasts and you might picture a small gathering of classic MGBs at a village car show, but MG Live is a much bigger event than you’d expect. Held at Silverstone, the two-day motoring festival celebrates all that’s great about MG: from historic racing to displays of the latest models.

Bromley Pageant of Motoring (18 June)

With more than 3,000 classic cars in attendance, the annual Bromley Pageant of Motoring claims to be the world’s largest one-day classic car show. Entry is £12.50 in advance, and cars are grouped into special one-make parking areas.

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood (22 – 25 June)

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood (22 - 25 June)

In 1993, Lord March hosted a hillclimb in the grounds of Goodwood House in Sussex and created the Festival of Speed. Back then, 25,000 spectators attended – today attendance is capped at 150,000. It’s a brilliant opportunity to see historic race cars driving up the infamous hill climb and the recent addition of the Moving Motor Show even allows visitors to get behind the wheel.

The Supercar Event, Dunsfold (24 – 25 June)

How would you like to take a passenger ride in a supercar on Top Gear’s test track and to raise money for charity at the same time? That’s precisely what The Supercar Event at Dunsfold offers, with owners giving up their time and petrol for nothing. Book ahead for £30 to be guaranteed a ride.

PSCUK’s Peugeot Festival, Prescott Hillclimb (2 July)

The Peugeot Sport Club’s Peugeot Festival, formerly known as Pugfest, has been held at the historic Prescott Hillclimb since 2002. Whether you’re a fan of the legendary 205 GTI or slammed 306s are more your bag, the Peugeot Festival is a must visit for Pug fans. Tickets start at £12 for non-members, and visitors can drive their car up the hill for just £7.

The BMC and Leyland Show, Gaydon (2 July)

The chances of seeing an Austin Allegro or Leyland Sherpa on the roads today are slim, but if your boat is floated by these unloved classics, the BMC and Leyland show is the place to be. It’s held at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon and is open to all British Motor Corporation, British Leyland and Rover Group vehicles.

Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone (14 – 16 July)

Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone (14 - 16 July)

Like Le Mans, you don’t need to be a huge motorsport fan to be caught up in the atmosphere of the F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Tickets for the main event on Sunday are officially sold out, but you might find some if you shop around.

Classics on the Common, Harpenden (26 July)

It’s the biggest week-day classic car show, with more than 1,000 classics heading to the Hertfordshire town of Harpenden for its annual Classics on the Common event. Starting around lunchtime and running throughout the afternoon and into the evening, the event combines a great atmosphere with an eclectic mix of old and new cars.

Silverstone Classic, Silverstone (28 – 30 July)

Disappointed to have missed out on the Grand Prix? Or just prefer older cars? Don’t miss Silverstone Classic, held on the last weekend of July. It’s more than just classic motor racing: there’s live music, classic car line-ups and even a special retro run on the roads around Silverstone.

CarFest North (28 – 30 July)

CarFest was the mad idea of Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans. He may not have succeeded at Top Gear, but his charity event has been a runaway success since its launch in 2012. Millions of pounds have been raised for Children in Need, with tens of thousands of fans heading to CarFest North’s venue at Bolesworth Castle in Cheshire each year.

CarFest South (25 – 27 August)

CarFest South (25 - 27 August)

For those of us in the south, there’s a second CarFest event held at Laverstoke Park Farm near Basingstoke, Hampshire. Highlights include live action on the hillclimb, as well as live music and even cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs.

Salon Privé, Blenheim Palace (31 August – 2 September)

Salon Privé describes itself as “the UK’s most exclusive automotive garden party”. If rare and exotic Ferraris are your thing, it’s the place to be. Tickets for the supercar show on the Saturday cost £125 plus fees.

Beaulieu International Autojumble (2 – 3 September)

If a giant car boot sale full of automotive paraphernalia is your idea of a good day out, head to Beaulieu for its world-famous autojumble. More than 2,000 stalls will be selling every car-related item you could possibly imagine, and there’ll even be around 200 vehicles offered for sale by private sellers.

Goodwood Revival (8 – 10 September)

Step back in time at the Goodwood Revival. Visitors are encouraged to dress in period clothing (in fact, you’ll stand out if you don’t), while historic race cars recreate the golden era of 50s and 60s motorsport. There’s even a period Tesco store on site.

Frankfurt Motor Show (14 – 24 September)

Frankfurt Motor Show (14 - 24 September)

The Frankfurt and Paris motor shows alternate every year, with 2017 being the turn of Frankfurt to host the world’s car manufacturers in September. If you want to know just how much money German car manufacturers have, head to Frankfurt. Volkswagen Group, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all attempt to outdo each other with the size of their show stands.

Manchester Classic Car Show (16 – 17 September)

The Manchester Classic Car Show lives somewhat in the shadow of its Brummy cousin, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re a classic car nut. From a wide array of classic car clubs to a concours event and even a live rally stage, there’s plenty to keep the family entertained.

Land Rover Owner International Show, Peterborough (16 – 17 September)

Once a year, Peterborough plays host to the Land Rover Owner International Show. Whether you drive a tricked-up Disco or a rare Series One, there’s plenty see for every Land Rover enthusiast. Visitors will even be able to take part in a little light off-roading at the nearby Tixover Grange.

Rally GB, Wales (26 – 29 October)

The penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes place in Wales – and you can get your rallying fix later in the year. While special stages such as Cholmondeley Castle are a good starting point, we suggest being more adventurous and travelling deep into Wales to get closer to the action without the crowds.

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (5 November)

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (5 November)

The annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is an annual celebration of the 1896 Locomotives on Highways Act, which increased the national speed limit to 14mph. Apart from a break for WW2, it’s been held every year since 1927, with more than 400 cars taking part. Our tip? Head into London early to watch the historic cars passing famous landmarks.

NEC Classic Motor Show, Birmingham (10 – 12 November)

The NEC Classic Motor Show is always a brilliant way to end the year. The show takes over five halls and features classic car clubs, exhibitors selling everything from rare parts to old magazines, and even an auction. Book in advance to save money on tickets.

Classic car enthusiasts furious as Vauxhall brings back the scrappage scheme

Classic car fans furious as Vauxhall brings back scrappage scheme

Classic car enthusiasts furious as Vauxhall brings back the scrappage scheme

Angry classic car fans have taken to social media after a picture emerged of an Austin Maestro abandoned in a skip outside a Vauxhall dealer in Suffolk.

The advertising stunt is part of a promotion for the car manufacturer’s latest offer, which apes the controversial scrappage scheme introduced by the government in 2009.

The official scheme saw nearly 4,000 old bangers scrapped when their owners part-exchanged them for a new model in return for £2,000 off the list price – causing outrage when rare or interesting cars were traded in as the rules said they could not remain on the road.

Vauxhall’s latest offer gives customers £2,000 off a new model whenever they part exchange their car – and, like the original scheme, dealers are being told that trade-ins must be scrapped.

However, in a move to keep classic car owners on side, the car company says it will flag up any cars made before 1991 before scrapping them.

“Vauxhall’s scrappage programme is not designed to rid the world of classic cars,” the car manufacturer said in a statement. “As a result, Autogreen, Vauxhall’s recycling partner, will identify any cars manufactured prior to 1991 that are presented through the scheme and inform Vauxhall’s Luton HQ.

“Relevant owners’ clubs will then be notified, giving them the opportunity to purchase parts through the Authorised Treatment Facility.”

Vauxhall’s product and heritage PR manager, Simon Hucknall, added: “Vauxhall has immense respect for the UK’s classic car groups, irrespective of what make or model they support.

“The Scrappage Allowance is designed to capture vehicles that are beyond economical repair, and given the low value of scrap metal, recycling of parts is vital to the scheme’s viability. We’re also confident that the number of genuine classics over 25 years old presented to the scheme will be minimal, especially given the steady rise in value of even the most mainstream collectors’ cars in recent years. But if we do see any, our ‘safety-net’ will ensure that classic car owners and clubs will benefit.”

Vauxhall scrappage scheme

UPDATE: On the Maestro itself, Hucknall has since contacted Motoring Research to add: “We have seen the picture of the Austin Maestro outside the Vauxhall dealership and would like to emphasise that this vehicle has not been presented as part of Vauxhall’s Scrappage Programme.

“The retailer concerned, which is an independently run business, has used the car to promote the scheme. Had this very car been presented as part of Vauxhall’s Scrappage programme, we would have been alerted by Autogreen, our recycling partner, due to its age and a relevant owners club would have been alerted, giving members the chance to purchase parts from the car.

“As a manufacturer that respects Britain’s motoring heritage, no matter what the make or model, we would make sure that this Maestro was treated with respect.”

But classic car enthusiasts aren’t satisfied – branding the stunt carried out at the Drive Vauxhall dealership in Haverhill, Suffolk, a “disgrace”.

Commenting on the photos, which showed a beige 1988 Austin Maestro City X in a skip and were posted in the Pride of Longbridge Facebook group, Chris Denyer said: “It’s worth saving… it’s a British 80’s retro car. It’s going to get valuable, mark my words!”

But others pointed out that the car – which hasn’t been MOTed since 2008 – could require a lot of work to make it roadworthy.

“Oh look, a skip in a skip,” commented Martin Burston.

In a joke about the ongoing Zafira fires issue, Andie Nelson said: “Well they’re not going to put a Zafira in it are they? All skips say ‘No Fires’ on them!”

A number of posters have said they have contacted the dealership asking if they can rescue the Maestro, but have so far not received a reply.

Vauxhall’s scrappage scheme is eligible on cars ordered before the 18th December which are then registered by 31st December 2016.

The rules says that cars being traded-in must be registered to the customer at least 90 days prior to the order date of the new vehicle – meaning you can’t buy an old banger just to save £2,000 on a new Vauxhall.

What’s it like to drive?

Honda Insight review: Retro Road Test

Honda Insight: Retro Road Test

This is what environmentally-friendly motoring looked like in 1999. A car from a time before hybrids were commonplace, the Honda Insight would have looked at home on Tomorrow’s World. It boasted unheard-of fuel economy from its hybrid powertrain, along with futuristic looks. But that was kind of its downfall…

What are its rivals?

At the same time, Toyota was launching the more conventional hybrid Prius… and that’s still around today. The Prius boasted five seats, a useable boot and looked a little more normal. Car buyers liked that.

What engine does it use?

Under the bonnet you’ll find a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine, producing 68hp, while the first-generation Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) – essentially a small electric motor located on the crankshaft – adds an extra 13hp.

What’s it like to drive?

What’s it like to drive?

Eco-friendly cars are dull to drive, right? Er, wrong. Thanks to its tall gearing, the Insight isn’t quick, hitting 62mph in 12.0 seconds and topping out at 112mph, but Retro Road Test fans will know fun isn’t all about speed in cars like these.

You sit with your bum on the floor surrounded by a weird and wonderful interior. Just the two seats and a sloping roofline (helping the 0.25Cd drag coefficient) makes it feel a bit sporty – but you are very aware of how big other cars are in traffic.

The steering, while not particularly direct, provides enough feedback to give you the confidence to carry speed through corners. The suspension, meanwhile, manages to be both wallowy and firm.

Reliability and running costs

The Insight’s crucial facts and figures are still impressive today. How about a combined 83.1mpg (although we’ve heard of owners comfortably exceeding this)? A 40-litre tank means it can cover 700 miles before needing a fill-up, too. It emits just 80g/km CO2 – less than the most eco-friendly Ford Fiesta on sale today. And it’s packed with technology to help improve efficiency: stop/start as standard, as well as a gearshift indicator and even low rolling-resistance tyres. Amazing in 1999.

Could I drive it every day?

Could I drive it every day?

The original Honda Insight would make for a great everyday hack. It’s cheaper to run than even the most economical modern cars, and it’s unlikely to leave you stranded on the side of the road. The interior, while lacking a few mod-cons, perhaps, is perfectly comfortable – although you might feel a tad vulnerable on motorways. Oh, and if you need to carry more than one passenger it’s obviously a no-go.

How much should I pay?

There weren’t many sold in the UK, so simply finding one can be difficult – we found just three currently listed in the classifieds. Pay as much as you can afford, as buying a cheap one could be a false economy. A £3,000 budget should get you a reasonable example, but spend more if you can find a really tidy one.

What should I look out for?

It’s a Honda – so it’s fair to say it’s likely to be fairly reliable. However, the earliest models will now be 17 years old, so their batteries are likely to be a little past their best if they haven’t already been replaced. Budget around £2,000 for this.

With an aluminium body, rust shouldn’t be an issue – but look out for any minor bumps and scrapes. They might not be cheap to repair.

Should I buy one?

Should I buy one?

Yes, if you can find a good one. Sure, by the time you’ve factored in maintenance costs you might be better off running a diesel Golf or similar, but this is much more fun. Whether a quirky everyday runaround or a garage queen (and probably a decent investment), the original Honda Insight ticks a lot of boxes. Just as long as you don’t need to carry more than one passenger.

Pub fact

The legendary original Honda NSX was handcrafted at the firm’s specially-built Tochigi plant, but declining sales towards the end of its life meant the Insight and S2000 were built at the same factory. Yes, this 83.1mpg hybrid was built alongside a mid-engined, Ferrari-baiting supercar.