Why Classic Cars are Better Than New Ones

The start of 2008 brought great hilarity for those of us who keep a keen eye on the motoring industry – and especially those among us who sneer at anything less than a supercar. First, the joy of the internet and email meant I received a picture of a garden shed on wheels (yes, an actual shed) – with a clever fake press release heralding the launch of the new Daewood car! Very funny.

Then, in India, Tata Motors launched the world’s cheapest new car…the $2,500 Nano. Wizened industry-watchers heralded the apparent “breathtaking innovations in manufacturing technology in the global automobile industry based on severe cost-cutting”. Others were not so open-minded, with one United States media presenter describing the car as “a golf cart crossed with a jelly bean.”

But both events got me thinking – why on earth would someone buy a horrible new ‘Eurobox car’ when the money could be better spent on a fantastic classic car? This conundrum always baffles my colleagues at Sureterm Direct – the UK’s leading specialist classic car insurance company – so with their help here are my top 7 reasons to buy a classic car instead of a faceless, cheap, under-powered, Euro-shed.

1. Better insurance deals. Take it from us, as the country’s leading specialist classic car insurer, the costs of insuring a classic MGB if you opt for special features like limited mileage options can be considerably less than cover for a new hot hatch. And we’re not just talking about saving a £10 or so – the difference can run to hundreds of pounds. Classic car insurance quotes can be very competitive.

2. Zero road tax. Yep, that’s right. In the UK classic cars built before 1973 qualify for zero-rated road tax. You have to display a tax disk, but it doesn’t actually cost anything. So there’s £160 banked straight away.

3. It makes financial sense. The moment you drive your run-of-the-mill chunk of far Eastern plastic and metal car off the forecourt you lose 30% of its value straight away in depreciation. You no longer own a new car – you own a second-hand one! But if you invested in a cracking little classic car in good condition – and kept it smart – the chances are it should at least hold its value (and in some cases it might even increase in price).

4. Cheaper repair bills. Let’s say you’re in the middle of a country estate enjoying a picnic in your classic Morris Minor when you carelessly but gently bump into a great oak. You can find a new rear lamp for around 20 quid. However, do the same in your new Kia and the replacement rear light is likely to be at least two times that.

5. You’re more environmentally-friendly. People think old cars use more petrol per mile than new ones – and in some cases they’re right. But it is a well-documented fact that around a third of the energy consumed by a car in its entire life is used to make it in the first place. So buying and using a classic car is recycling par-excellence. Spare parts for older cars are readily-accessible, so keeping your classic running is again very environmentally sound – while many components used in the build of new cars are sealed in and only fit for the bin once they’re no longer of use.

6. You look good. Swing down the street in a gleaming classic MGB and you’ll turn heads. And it feels great to drive around in something that is instantly-recognisable and draws knowing waves, nods and winks from other motorists. Of course, your Far Eastern tin machine might draw hand signals too – but a single finger doesn’t constitute a wave I’m afraid.

7. Social networking. Want to meet nice new friends in great surroundings? Then join a classic car club. For example, there are events for VW Beetle owners almost every weekend. It’s fun – and it’s hard to imagine the same feeling from a field full of Daihatsu Sirion owners.