Jaguar XK8 Convertible

5 classic cars that’ll make the perfect Father’s Day gift

5 classic cars that’ll make the perfect Father’s Day gift

Father’s Day this year is on Sunday 18th June. What are you going to get the old man? Socks? Forget it, he’ll have enough. A classic sportscar that he always dreamed of owning? Now we’re talking.

Shop carefully and you could pick up something similar to one of these dad-friendly but very different machines that we hand-picked from this week’s collector car auction, the H&H Classics sale at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, on 14th June. He’s bound to love something here.

1980 Triumph TR7 convertible

For the ‘70s dad…

Prices from: £12,000-£14,000

Did any dad lust after a TR7 when it was new in the 1970s? Perhaps not, but half a century later BL’s distinctly wedgy shock-of-the-new sportscar is not without its ’70s charm, especially in (less wedgy) convertible form. And it always was a much better drive than an MGB of the time. If you want the last of the TR line this example has a lot going for it: 21,000 miles, time-warp condition and all original (apart from the wheels shown; the originals come with the car).

2002 Mercedes C32 AMG

For the power-crazy dad…

Prices from: £12,000-£14,000

Is the E46 M3 a bit too obvious a choice in the early noughties super-saloon class? The less shouty, more Q-car answer came from Mercedes in the form of the C32 AMG. The 350PS (261kW) sedan scorcher wasn’t just faster than its BMW rival, but is also a lot rarer. Top speed? Officially 155mph but the first owner of this one had it derestricted for a theoretical 180mph. And the first owner was? Former works Ferrari, BRM and Aston Martin driver and six-time F1 winner Tony Brooks. He kept the car until his death last year.

1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible

For the pipe and slippers dad…

Prices from: £12,000-£14,000

All dads love Jags – it’s the law – and of several in the H&H Duxford sale we have gone for this one: a beautiful metallic blue with beige leather XK8 convertible. Handsome and refined in equal measure, pretty chilled will be the dad able to cruise around with the top down in this. As XK8s go this one ticks boxes: four owners, 46,000 miles, eight Jaguar main dealer service stamps, new MoT with no advisories and complete with roof cover, tools, spare wheel, original book pack and two sets of keys.

1985 Caterham Super Seven 1700 Super Sprint

For the would-be racer dad…

Prices from: £15,000-£18,000

Every dad secretly craves a blast on a favourite road now and then and none better to deliver it than a Seven, the four-wheeled motorcycle built for driving thrills that was Colin Chapman of Lotus’s brainwave and then picked up and run with so brilliantly by Caterham. This one’s definitely a Caterham (built 1985 but registered for 1967) but with classic Lotus 7 Series 3 looks, headlights and wheels aside. Ford’s redoubtable 1,700cc crossflow four-pot sits under that evocative bonnet. The odo shows 17,700 miles and the car has recently been recommissioned and comes with an MoT to May 2024. Nothing to do then – apart from watch out for the oversteer.

 

2003 Smart Crossblade

For the hippy dad…

Prices from £16,000-£18,000

Can you imagine your old man tooling around in this? True, a tiny two-seater without doors, roof, windscreen or any sort of weather protection won’t appeal to all, but as a second/third beach runabout few cars make more of a statement. Power? Courtesy of Brabus but still only 70PS (52kW). Originally the Crossblade was purely a design statement by then Mercedes-owned Smart, but people fell for the show-car in such a way they were persuaded to build 2,000 of them (this is number 1,176). The Crossblade sold out then (famous owner: Robbie Williams) and these days is a sought-after classic. Just make sure your father has somewhere to keep it under cover.

 

Images courtesy of H&H Classics.

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Classic Porsche 911 930 Carrera

How to get your classic car ready for summer

How to get your classic car ready for summer

The sun’s (sometimes) out, the nights are long and the temperatures are rising, which can mean only one thing – it’s time to take your cherished classic out of hibernation, back on the road and onto the car-show scene.

But cool your jets for just a second and read our guide on how to get your classic ready for summer. We’ve got ten tips to help you make sure your pride and joy is primed and ready to perform in the sunshine.

1. Give it a wash

Washing your classic is a brilliant way to get the ball rolling on your car’s annual maintenance. Running a sponge over the bodywork will reveal everything from paint imperfections to dents and corrosion that you can attend to before they get any worse. Plus, applying a protective coating – be it wax or ceramic – will keep your classic looking tip top throughout summer.

2. Check the tyres

Tyres are the only part of your classic in contact with the road, so keeping them pristine is crucial. They’ll likely be going flat after months off the road, but it also makes sense to check for any lumps or cracks that could cause trouble down the line. Uneven tyre wear hints at a bigger problem with wheel alignment or suspension. Finally, check the age of your tyres using the four-digit code on the sidewall – the first two digits represent the week of manufacture (1-51), while the second two denote the year – code 0122, for example, denotes a tyre produced in the first week of 2022. Tyres should be refreshed every ten years.

3. Check the brakes

Having a classic car that stops reliably is even more important than owning one that starts, so checking the condition of your brakes is crucial. Examine brake discs and drums for imperfections and wear – a 1mm lip usually means the former needs replacing – and do the same for pads and shoes. Check your brake fluid is topped up and in good condition, and finally, check brake lines for damage and corrosion.

4. Top up fluids

Brake fluid isn’t all you have to worry about – bad coolant (or a lack thereof) could spell disaster for your classic in sun’s beating heat, so checking its quality and quantity should be a priority. However, fresh transmission and power steering fluids are also key.

5. Check engine oil levels

Classics are well known for leaking oil, so a cursory dipstick check makes sense even if there are no tell-tale puddles at the start of the recommissioning process. Most enthusiasts recommend changing the oil every couple of years, even on lightly used classics that can suffer from moisture build-up in their crankcase.

6. Test the battery

Trickle-charging your battery will stop it going flat over winter but, if that’s not possible, it’ll likely have gone flat. Either way, it makes sense to test and replace your battery if needed. After all, a roadside breakdown will mean paying top dollar for an emergency replacement.

7. Test the lights

Negotiating a long drive home in the pitch dark with inadequate illumination is not fun (safe or legal), so we’d recommend going over your lights with a fine-tooth comb before hitting the road. A powerful set of aftermarket bulbs is one of the easiest and rewards upgrades you can make to your classic.

8. Inspect belts and hoses

An annual inspection of your cars belts and hoses is also highly recommended. Check belts aren’t hardening, cracked or perished and check hoses are in good condition and securely clipped in place.

9. Prepare the fuel

While fuel will last up to six months in average temperatures of 20°C, the likelihood is it’ll last even longer in the UK. Nevertheless, it pays to add a fuel stabiliser before tucking your classic away for winter, and we’d recommend adding a high-detergent fuel additive before starting it again in the summer. Also, avoid E10 – its ethanol will eat your classic’s fuel system – and instead use a high-octane fuel that’s low in ethanol.

10. Get a second opinion

With no legal requirement to put a car of 40 years or older through an MOT, it can be tempting, fun and frugal to do all the maintenance yourself. But it pays to have your handywork looked over once a year by a professional. A second pair of eyes might notice things you’ve missed and the experience of a trusted professional mechanic could mean you can nip problems in the bud before they become a more serious issue.

And with that you’re ready to get up and running for a summer out on the road with your classic car. Be particular with your preparation and you’ll vastly reduce the chances of having problems when the sun is shining and you’re raring to get out and about.

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