Is anyone looking forward to the spring yet?.We have been looking at the numerous shows on this year and we are carefully planning weekends away. The Warren Country and Golf Club in Maldon, Essex has regular breakfast meetings throughout the spring and summer and we have joined their Classic Car Club - well worth the cost for a stunning setting and lovely breakfast meeting with like minded car fans on six Sundays a year.
We have kept in the warm over the winter but we are starting to see a return to business as usual. We have sold our first car of the year last week - a lovely little 1960 Morris Minor. These 948cc cars are well made, look great and handle surprisingly well for a 60 year old car! We like them so much that this years focus on buying stock is Morris and MG brands. We hope to find some interesting vehicles of all shapes and sizes so please keep any eye on our progress.
Of course, from May this year cars older than 40 years will not need an MOT anymore to be used on the road. We will still have our cars tested as we think that not only is safety key but for a small amount of time and money you get a pretty good overview of the cars condition. If you are in the market for a classic make sure you find one that has been tested - or we are happy to view and assess for a car for you for a small fee. The peace of mind is invaluable.
So we find ourselves now able to buy a classic car, not have to MOT or tax it (as long as it is over 40 years old) and with very reasonable insurance. On a MGB or a Morris 1000 classic insurance for someone over 30 is usually around £100 a year. You can enjoy the car and the driving experience and it is very unlikely you will lose any money when you come to sell it. It really is, as the kids say, a 'no brainer'!
So if you are looking for something to do at weekends with the family or friends let us know and we will try and help you find your perfect classic car.
Happy motoring and stay tuned for progress!
As summer draws out we thought it time to reflect on the great times at the many shows and events we have been at this year (so far).
With the 'classic season' starting in the spring, we have met many people who share our passion for classic cars. Some are fellow owners, some are keen observers and some used to own what is now considered a 'classic' back when they were common place.
It is always nice to hear stories of classics being used as intended - when we went on our 'bottom gear' challenge this was brought to life with our modern classics. For those who missed it, it was a three day tour from Essex to Wales with an Alfa Romeo 156, a Rover 95, a Ford Puma and (although we are still not sure if this is a classic...) a Peugeot 206 cabriolet!
No doubt we will be heading out again next year so we are looking at ideas for routes. It has been suggested we head further afield - maybe France? As for vehicles it has been suggested that we need a vehicle that we can each sleep in - and cook in - for less than £1000. What would you choose?
If anyone out there is keen to get involved do let us know - last time we had a number of calls so with some forward planning we could get a large group together and maybe even raise some money for charity!
We have found this year that taking a blanket and picnic is a lovely way to spend a day at a classic car show and there is something for all the family to do - usually for less than £10 which in this day and age is a bargain!
So why not invest in a classic - the values can only go up if they are treated correctly -and then get involved in the shows here in Essex (and further afield). We are sure you will also meet some lovely people and the day will breeze away with stories and memories of yesteryear.
With many vehicles from the 1990's (which seems like last week to us...) and before now gaining 'classic' status there is something for everyone out there so we look forward to chatting with you soon.
Happy motoring and remember - a heated garage is a very special place for both classic cars and those who like to tinker with them!
The hunt is always on! During our recent family trip to Portugal we were spotting many classics hiding away from the summer sun! In one dealership on the way from Faro airport we came across a Triumph Herald and a Triumph Spitfire. On the same journey we saw many many Renault 4's - question is now is whether there is a big enough demand for these in the UK? We are lucky enough to know someone who lives in Portugal so finding decent classics there and shipping them would not be a problem. This got us thinking - are classic cars the same in every country? In Portugal the Renault and the Beetle are everywhere so can they be counted as a classic? The Mercedes W123 is in everyday use - although usually fairly beat up diesel examples - so does this count? According to Philippa they are not classics but I think they are - how many do you see in this country? Does a classic have to be in mint condition?
We also had the discussion of whether it Is it a good idea to have a well built 'classic' as an everyday driver? If you look at the sums it adds up (I am accused of some man maths here...). Buy a w123 Mercedes for £1500. Have it serviced and checked. Replace anything that needs doing. Probably you will have invested £2500 all told. Get classic insurance for £100 a year. Pay lowest rate road tax of around £200 a year. In a diesel you should get around 30 - 40 mpg.
So to add it up you have invested £2800 and when you fancy a change on a few years trade it in with us or sell it and you should see most of your money back. Compare this to the leasing offers on new cars. Pay £2000 up front, £250 a month and then after three years (and a limited mileage of 6000 a year on a basic deal) you have spent £9000 and then you hand the car back and have nothing to show for your money. Why would you sit in a euro box - maybe even with a three cylinder motor like our hire car had - when you could cruise in a classic Merc? As someone once said YOLO (which apparently means You Only Live Once!)
So onto the hire car -also known as the fastest car in the world! We picked up a nearly new (less than 3k) VW 'Up' from the airport. With the three of us and five cases squeezed in we set of into the Portugal sun using a rather snazzy app on the phone and found our way to our hotel. The 3 cylinder VW strained its way up the hills and putted around finding its happy point at about 75 mph. To be fair it is a pretty decent little car - well built and with excellent air con - but again how much is one of these new? Could you really drive one everyday? Which brings us back to the Mercedes - trusted the world over! So I guess the ideal solution is to have a hire company at the airport which provides a range of 'classics' or 'used vehicle solutions' depending on the budget. If we could have hired a 1985 Mercedes that had been freshly serviced for £40 a day I know what I would have picked.... How about you? Anyone interested in setting up a hire fleet??
We have just about recovered from our weekend at the Silverstone Classic car meet. This event, one of the biggest in Europe, is staged over three days and to see the range of classic cars racing is a real treat. Everything from pre 56 cars, pre ww2 cars and classic 70's formula one racing all from the club grandstand in lovely weather made this weekend one to remember. The noise and smell of vintage racing is something that every classic car fan needs to experience - when the Williams Formula One Winning car from back in the 90's was out on its ten lap display it was a very special moment indeed. The unity of racing fans and the noise is an experience that will not be soon forgotten. Taking a stroll around the site there is everything from Austins to Aston and Ferrari and Maserati. With over 10,000 cars on display it took many hours to cover them all and most interestingly you do find yourself used to seeing 100k+ plus classic cars and really spoiling yourself with an 'imaginary shopping list'! The Jaguar stand was demonstrating the latest product and the passenger and viewing experience smelt like it cost a set of tyres for each run they made - you probably would not want to buy one of these as an ex demonstration model...
The auction also ran over two days and armed with our £20 catalogue we moved amongst the movers and shakers of the classic car world - and had a nice chat to Mike Brewer who was raising money for charity and presenting on the Ebay stand. This was one of the only Ebay experiences we have seen where someone does not make a bid and then disappear! The auction itself has some lovely examples although with a sale rate of around 60% many struggled to find a new home. We were tempted on a few but sadly our budget of 25k would not stretch very far on the day! There were two halls of cars and some presented outside and as the pic shows - something for everyone which was the theme of the weekend. We will be back next year for sure. Take a look at our YouTube channel for more clips of all the action!
Happy motoring and enjoy the (somethings good) weather.
We currently have a Jaguar XJS-C V12. Our philosophy is to buy classic cars that we admire and enjoy and then pass them on to the right clients. When we were offered this beast of a car it had sat forlornly for a number of years. Although it had been locked away we took on the challenge of a light restoration. As with all projects there is always more than meets the eye and this Jaguar has been no different!
We first addressed the seized brake calipers and installed a pair of rebuilt rear units. We reconditioned the original front units. The inboard rear discs are not much fun to work with and very costly to repair. It is a time consuming job and took us a day to complete! It was interesting to see that the brake pads that were originally on the car had seen many better days so we think maybe many XJS owners do not like to update/replace these parts (and we can see why!)
Once the car was rolling and stopping we turned to the V12 engine. It was running but did hesitate on acceleration so we changed the fuel filter and cleaned out the injectors which improved the performance and allowed the V12 to burble as Jaguar intended. We then noticed a small leak on the front and changed out the radiator and flushed the coolant. This was also a bit of a challenge with some forums suggesting to remove the bonnet for access but after some maneuvering we managed to retain the bonnet in place. We serviced the bonnet struts and checked all the pipes and connections to make sure this Jaguar will be as reliable as possible!
Once the engine was running and brakes working it was time for the exciting first test drive. This is when we noticed that it would not shift from first gear! It had reverse and park but only one forward gear. Although it does do 50 in first we thought it better to investigate. After a lot of head scratching we changed the governor gear (thanks to a great YouTube tip!) and replaced the oil and filter. As if by magic it is now all up and working and drives very well indeed. Whilst under the car we took the opportunity to check for any other rust and it is rock solid. We undersealed the entire car from front to back and repainted the sills so it is good for another good few years before this needs doing again.
Next up was a clay bar and full machine polish followed by a valet. The black paint has really come up very well and the interior is a masterpiece of British engineering. The originality of the interior is a sight to behold and includes the original radio and even the wood trim and dashboard is in excellent order. The black paint has a deep shine and is good order. There are a few blemishes - the worst being a slight dent on the drivers door and the rear wing but we think it still looks a million dollars especially with the roof tops out and the rear dropped down. When the car arrived it was shabby and dull and now you can see your reflection - it really is a head turner.
As with any light restoration there is always something more that could be done to take a car to a mint standard and we think it is nice for a new owner to have room to improve and add value to a car should they wish or enjoy a high quality well sorted example as it is.
We put the Jaguar in for an MOT in May and it passed first time with no issues or advisories so now it is all ready to go. We are very pleased with this XJS - C and it really is one of those 'if we had to space we would keep it' cars. We are sure that in 20 years time, when there are even fewer left, this will be a true survivor. It is a pleasure to cruise the country lanes with the awesome V12 burbling away in the luxury this car - surely as high spec as a Rolls Royce in its day.
If you are in the market for a top quality cabriolet that is the essence of a classic Jaguar then feel free to come and have a look - we even provide a cup of tea!
Sometimes classic cars are like buses - you wait for one and then three come along! Currently we have a 4.2 XKR, a 4.0 XKR and a 1985 V12 XJS Cabriolet!
All of these cars have very different characters - the 4.2 XKR is a super fast car that reflects the top end of Jaguar engineering in 2003 whilst the V12 Cabriolet reflects the very best of the 1980s age of indulgence. It is super smooth and not concerned with such factors as fuel consumption managing around 15mpg!
We love sourcing these cars but if only we had a crystal ball as well - with the E Type now out of reach of many classic car fans it must be the turn of these top end Jaguars to reach these dizzy heights as well. Imagine this post in 20 years time when they reach the 40 - 50k mark....as always, we wish we could keep them all!
If you are looking to invest and see your capital grow - certainly more than your less than 1% on most investments - then now is the time to get involved.
Please follow us on Facebook at Barnes Classic Cars for live updates and future finds!
Happy motoring and enjoy the summer.
We have found a number of great cars for the summer buyers! Currently we have the awesome VX220 all ready to go and being prepared is a good example of the super rare Jaguar XJS-C V12.
This 1985 beast will be added very soon so keep an eye out or contact us for early viewing. We are booking up for the shows this summer so we hope to see you all out and about - this weekend we will be at the Maldon Museum of Power for a great family day out (with lots of classic cars as well).
If you see us say hello! Enjoy the sunshine whilst you can!
Here at Barnes Classic Cars we are always on the hunt for classics that inspire us - there is no point in investing in something that you do not like!
With this mind, we have a collection of Jaguars at the moment reflecting the brands best offerings from the 1980s to the mid 2000s. The 1985 XJS V12 is tipped to rise in value and our barn find one we are itching to start working on. It is a very solid car so a good place to start! On the other end of the scale we have a 2003 XKR 4.2 Supercharged which is a masterpiece of engineering with stunning performance in great all around package. As Jaguar once advertised - their cars have grace, pace and style!
Our VX220 is also a great little car that we are enjoying now the sun is out and we have plans in the diary for many of the classic shows coming up - we hope to see you out there in the sunshine!
Our little MG Midget finishes (on a leading auction site as they say on Wheeler Dealers) this evening and has garnered a lot of interest - we are sure the new owners will have a great time - we have loved every minute of driving it.
Happy motoring and remember - they are they to be used not just polished!
Finally the clocks have sprung forward so we find ourselves with time in the evening to enjoy our cars - plans are being made for summer tours and club meetings so we hope to meet you at some of these!
Currently we have an MG Midget from 1977 which is a cracking drive -it has been lowered and really does go very well indeed. Fast forward 25 years after the MG's production we have also just secured an a Vauxhall VX220 - we are amazed at the technical progress made. It is true though that they both offer something unique which we guess is why the classic car market continues to thrive - different horses for different courses!
We will be at the Anglia Classic Car auction on the 8th of April so we hope to see lots of you there - hopefully securing a bargain - usually there are lots of people and a great range of classics - even if you are not buying it is a great day out! Please see more at http://www.angliacarauctions.co.uk/en/classic-auctions
Enjoy the sunshine and remember - buy a convertible!
Finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel - literally!
As the Spring draws in we are building up our portfolio of finds. We have a new garden office installed and we have recently upgraded our forecourt so our clients have more space to view our classic car finds.
We are sourcing some interesting cars at all price points - from the Vauxhall Carlton - which we love - to the Jaguar XKR - which how could anyone not love?
We will continue to grow this year - please feel free to drop by and have a look at our cars - we aim to please.
While competition for excellent examples of quality vehicles to source remains high, we feel this is a good sign as it means the investment market is growing steadily. We have said it before but as its Spring we will say it again - buy a new car for £25000 - the moment you drive away from the forecourt you have lost the VAT value and the countdown begins. On average in three years your purchase (asset) will be worth roughly half what you paid for it - say £12000.. If you divide this down into additional monthly costs on top of insurance and tax then you could add roughly an additional £300 a month to your actual costs. If you buy a classic then it can be cheaper to run, they are cheaper to insure, they are cheaper to fix, they look cool, you can go for weekends away with local clubs and when you sell it you should return your investment if not increase it. So it seems that Classic Cars may be the way forward.....
Happy motoring and roll on the summer nights.
Chris Barnes - a Classic Car hunter that has bought and sold for twenty years bringing you the inside track and discoveries as they happen
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