The pros and cons of owning a classic car

Car buying advice Car Maintenance Car Ownership Classic cars
There is a subtle difference between these two Jaguar Mark 2 models

With the introduction of a rolling 40-year Vehicle Excise Duty (otherwise known as road tax or car tax) exemption in this year’s budget, it seems there has never been a better time in the UK to own a classic car. And after the reveal in March, even classic car owners whose vehicles didn’t fit into last year’s 1974 tax exemption will now feel an added benefit of owning a classic vehicle.

But owning a classic car isn’t for everyone – so how do you know if it’s for you? We take a look below at a few of the pros and cons of owning such a vehicle, to help you decide if you are ready to take a step into the world of classic car ownership.

Firstly, the cons:

Ford Fairlane classic car restoration project

Financial outlay

Owning a classic car has always been a job for those who truly appreciate and understand the vehicle they own, and are willing to lavish it with the care and attention it needs, including purchasing steel garages for sale, keeping them safe and sound.  Many classic car owners are faced with a much larger initial costs than someone buying a non-classic second-hand car, and can then face more financial outlay to repair any problems.  Classic car parts can be harder to come by than modern car parts and you may find that, depending on what kind of classic car it is that you own, only certain garages will be able to do the repair work for you.


Although all cars are prone to rust, older cars are far more likely to have serious rust problems.  Older cars tend to be made from more steel than modern cars, and it is this steel that can be prone to rust.  And along with the rust, classic cars are also less likely to be reliable – as is the case after years of wear and tear.  However, if you can find a car that someone has taken good care of, and you continue to follow suit, you should be able to avoid huge problems with reliability.

No mod-cons

Classic cars are not fitted with the mod-cons that we’ve come to expect as standard in our cars.  Clearly, a built-in satnav and smartphone syncing are out of the question!  But you also might be missing some things that you usually take for granted, such as electric windows and air conditioning. The first electric-powered windows were added to a car by Daimler in 1948, but they weren’t really commonplace until around ten years ago.

And now, the pros:

Cleaning your car does not guarantee it will turn into a Ferrari 250 GT SWB...

Style and character

Classic cars may not be fitted with the mod-cons that we now rely on for a comfortable journey, but they have something that many modern cars don’t – style and character!  Classic cars tend to stand out from the crowd of lookalike modern cars, and will guarantee you plenty of attention and conversation from bystanders.

Driving experience

Modern cars have been designed to be as insulated as possible from the outside world to create a more comfortable driving experience.  However this can often leave the driver feeling isolated from their car and the road.  A classic car will transmit far more of the noises, smells and vibrations of driving, which can give a motor enthusiast a richer driving experience and a chance to appreciate their car.

Financial bonuses

From April 2014 a 40-year rolling rule has been introduced to classic cars, which entitles any cars built before January 1974 to be eligible for a zero-rated tax disc.  This means that owners of newer classic cars will start to benefit – for example, the Ford Escort Mk2 will now be ‘tax-free’ from 2015.  When this new measure was announced this March, it was estimated that around 10,000 classic cars owners would be affected and not need to pay tax from 2015.  This was added into the budget to encourage more people to own classic cars, as the government feels they are an important part of our heritage.  The knock-on effect of this is that the Reliant Robin, Austin Allegro and MGB V are now classed as classic cars, which means their market value is expected to gradually rise as a result.

Another financial bonus is that classic cars don’t depreciate in value in the same way that new cars do.  Classic cars tend to hold their value, and if well looked after can even increase in value.


If you want a true driving experience and are prepared to dedicate time to looking after and maintaining a car, then a classic car could be right for you. With the cuts in tax and the possible increase in value, it certainly makes financial sense too.  Our advice would be to do your homework first to ensure that you are buying a model which still has parts available, is reliable and won’t lose its value.  This will help you to guard against running into trouble further down the road and minimise ongoing spending on your new purchase.

Written by Jay Paterson from, manufacturer of show plates and legal number plates. Design your own car and motorcycle number plates using the easy plate maker, with no legal documents needed.


  1. We get a lot of classic cars in our bodyshop repair workshop – they are a joy to work on, a real labour of love but totally gratifying to see an old chestnut restored to it’s former glory. Classic car owners are the true car lovers, they live and breathe their motors and lavish hundreds, if not thousands of pounds and hours on their beloved cars. All the cons are are totally swept away by their love of their vehicles, in fact they are quirks that make them appreciate them even more!
    Owning a classic car isn’t for everyone, but once you get smitten by an old beauty, there’s no going back!

  2. Thanks for such a wonderful and interesting article.Classic cars are always very attracting and beautiful,but the only issue is that how to maintain it I will choose a luxury car over classic cars because good foreign car repairs providers are there in my town.

  3. If you are comfortable to be unique and express character with class on the road anywhere any time, Classic car is the answer.
    I enjoy driving my classic car around London (weather permitting) regularly and happy with the feedback from bystanders and tourist of all origins taking pictures and sharing friendly smiles of admiration.
    As a 50th birthday present to myself I bought an MGB Roadster is in British Racing Green with Black leather interior, 1971 but was restored 2002 by the previous owner and still stunning
    Hope to upgrade to a Mercedes 190SL Roadster in the near future.

  4. Personally, I’ve had old cars since the mid-1980s, carrying on a family tradition for tinkering with older vehicles rather than obsessing over the latest must-have model. Classic cars tend to hold on to their value much better than a modern – so long as they are well maintained. :)


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