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Rave Retro Roadsters

Rave Retro Roadsters Published: 19th Jan 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Rave Retro Roadsters
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Eight pieces of gold for less than you think

Singer Nine/RM

Heard this song?

A genuine, if less popular rival to the MG T Series, any car daring to declare the title of ‘Le Mans’ must have some sporting potential and the so-badged Singer, made between 1933 and 1937, was rightly compared to Midgets of that era. In 1935, Singers competed at Le Mans and came first, third, fourth, sixth and seventh in its class! Today, all are coveted and loved for their style, nippy nature (especially the rarer Sports Specials) with the later Nine and RM derivatives all at usually prices half that of a comparable T Series.

Riley nine

Blimey riley…

Before BMC took over, Riley was a respected sporting name and Nines are delightful sporting cars that performed well. The Riley Nine is one of the best small sporting cars of the interwar years with more than 6000 had been produced, the biggest change occurring in 1929 when a superior and stronger chassis boasting better brakes appeared.

The roomier Ultra Nine of 1931 and for 1936 a new X-braced chassis with Girling brakes surfaced; options here included overdrive to the three-speed transmission. Riley values across the board have risen greatly over the past couple of years, and for a good Nine you need to spend in the region of £13,000, although the rare two-seater sportsters, such as the Imp and Brooklands, can sell for three times this. There’s pretty good support for such a rare marque and spare parts supply is much better than you’d think; Blue Diamond is the best known specialist although, because of age, the cars are naturally a weekend toy for the majority. Some approved replicas made.


A fine vintage

The TF was the final brew of the T party and provided the basis of the forthcoming MGA replacement, featuring an enlarged 1.5-litre XPAG engine on last-of-the-line 1500 models. The TF was massively popular in its day, despite only having a two year run, and preferred by many over the earlier models for their less vintage look and feel. As with earlier T derivatives, values vary and are more dependent on originality and desirability but all things being equal, a TF can command 25 per cent more than a earlier TD, especially the 1.5-litre versions.


Queen B?

The MGB lasted for almost 20 years before being resurrected almost two decades later as a bespoke modern antique, rather like a Morgan. The RV8 is a match of old and new, retaining the MGB’s essential character yet modern and up to date where it really matters. It’s certainly the best V8-powered MGB of all and a worthy cheaper choice to a Plus 8 or Big Healey with prices only around 25 per cent dearer than a normal MGB yet considerably cheaper than an MGC.

MG replicas

Better than the real thing?

Such is the popularity of the MG T Series, and the TF in particular, that a cottage industry in replicas appeared during the 70s. Naylor was the most faithful reproduction of the TF, constructed along the lines of the TF but featuring an ash wood body frame, front-hinged doors (to comply with E-regulations) and McPherson strut front suspension. Naylors are now a treasured classic and the vast majority of the 100 made still survive. Another replica came from Harper Roscoe Motors of Cheshire who became the European makers of the American TF1800 albeit with a British built chassis and MGB mechanicals. The TD Silverstone is Malaysian, and was sold as a brand new car using Toyota running gear. Its mix of old and new technology may outrage purists, but it works well. Contact Lifestyle Automotive ( for full details.

Suffolk sportscars

Best of both worlds

Brilliant replicas of Jaguar’s SS100 and C-Type relying on old fashion build practices upon modern mechanical (broadly XJ6) make up that’s either self or works-build to owners’ specification.

Suffolks have become classics in their own right with values on par with V8 Morgans (usually in excess of £60,000 thanks to good residuals). Arguably they drive better although it’s very much a personal preference.

Lotus & caterhams

Road racers

The roomier more mature Morgan performs how you’d expect a 1930’s sportster to, and so demands understanding and strong commitment from the driver. In contrast, Caterhams pander to those who want a road legal racer or four-wheeled motor bike that belies its ever advancing age yet refuses to grow up! If you’re after a real road burner that offers more smiles per mile than just about anything else, then nothing provides it quite like a Lotus or the later Caterham Seven. While Lotus invented the car, Caterham kept it alive to ultimately thrive and are still as popular as ever new or second-hand although lack of refinement, even on latest ones, means that a magnificent Seven is best kept for special drives when you’re in the right mood.

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