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Seven super value Sportsters

Published: 30th Sep 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Seven super value Sportsters
Seven super value Sportsters
Seven super value Sportsters
Seven super value Sportsters
Seven super value Sportsters
Seven super value Sportsters
Seven super value Sportsters
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If a Midget or Spitfire don’t float your boat as a classic British sports car, and you’ve had your fill of MGBs and TRs, then seek out one of these magnificent seven sunseekers!


If ever a modern ‘Spridget’  manifested itself then it was this ugly duckling from Reliant. There’s a real minimalist, functional feel about the Scimitar SS1 and the later Sabre roadsters that MG owners will feel at home with. And while the Tamworth car is hardly a thing of beauty, it certainly performs better than those looks suggest, especially in later Nissan Turbo tune plus the handling on all is excellent. Some mechanical parts are Opel or Reliant specific and chassis rust can be an issue but overall it’s not a difficult car to own and run. If you don’t mind those looks then there’s cheap fun to be had.

MGF/TF£200 - £8000+ BEST MODEL: 160 TROPHY

What hasn’t been written about this MGB replacement? Only that they aren’t as bad as you may have heard in terms of build and durability plus are very good drivers; few mid-engine sports cars are so user friendly to drive at the (high) limit. Performance from the sharp range of K Series engines is good all round, even the 1.6, and the only models that miss the spot are the non manual variants. Support from specialists and MG owner’s clubs is excellent and while some parts (such as Hydragas spheres) are now scarce they can be found – or alternatively you can convert an MGF to later conventionally sprung TF spec. Sadly this is a dear repair and outweighs the value of most cars. Get a good one and you’ll appreciate why so many MGB owners have moved on to an F or the newer TF.


Sunbeam’s Alpine is a difficult sports car to bracket. Aimed at the TR4/MGB market, it’s much softer and less sporty. Really it feels little different to, say, a roomier, four-seater Rapier convertible of the same era but more stylish in a Daimler SP250 sort of way. Alpine is good GT for touring with ample poke and cockpit refinement; it’s the soggy handling that needs sorting if you want a sportster. Best in 1725cc guise with overdrive, Alpines have yet to reach their peak in terms of value although prices are rising strongly for good ones. Spares and support is okay but never up to MG levels, understandably.

VAUXHALL VX220£4500 - £12,000 BEST MODEL: VX220

Okay so it’s a Vauxhall and a very modern one as well but you can’t deny this car’s excellence – because it’s little more than a Lotus Elise in drag and was even made at Hethel alongside the Elise! Where the VX220 scores over the Lotus is with an arguably even better engine (a vivacious Astra unit), a blistering Turbo option what will beat the pants off an Elise, and easier, less snappy 10/10ths handling. Of course, what lets the Vauxhall down is The Wrong Badge but it does mean great value plus the car can be maintained at main dealers. We’ve gone for the non Turbo as best buy because it’s easier to run and fast enough, thank you…

TVR S£2500 - £10,000 BEST MODEL: V8S

The TVR S gives you best of both worlds; the classic styling of the old M Series but twinned with a more modern make up care of the 1980s Tasmin, which shares the same chassis. The result is one of the nicest TVRs around with classic looks great pace (from a Ford V6 or Rover V8) and entertaining sports car handling of the old school variety. Still good value, so buy the best you can from the outset.

LOTUS ELAN M100£2500 - £9000 BEST MODEL: SE

As there’s a full buying guide to the car elsewhere in this issue, we’ll keep it short and sweet! The M100 Elan is one the best Lotuses ever made, especially in terms of durability and the M100 is a great drive; as good as the original Elan but in a front-wheel drive manner. Before you go for that MX-5 try one while they’re so cheap.


Engine by Lotus, suspension by Vauxhall, transmission by Sunbeam – development by owners! It’s the first and last factors what really killed the Jensen-Healey after just four miserable years. But this Spitfire-on steroids-looking sportster is finally coming good with improving parts supply. Interest is increasing all the time making it a classic to watch out for. When going right, this16-valve Lotus-powered roadster will see off a TR6 and even an old Healey and all for Midget money…

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