Classic cars are more than just a way to reach your destination — they’re timeless beauties that capture bygone eras of motor history. If you’re a young classic car enthusiast or a parent looking for your child’s first vehicle, you may wonder if a classic is the right choice.
While there certainly are benefits of owning a classic car, these vehicles also come with unique challenges, such as more frequent maintenance. You need to weigh the pros and cons of owning one, and there’s no single correct answer regarding whether or not it’s the right choice for you or your family member.
In this blog, we unpack some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a classic car as a first car, and we’ll discuss good classic cars for first car options.
Pros of Choosing a Classic as a Starter Car
While picking a classic as a first vehicle isn’t right for everyone, it does have some distinct advantages. Perhaps the best reason to buy a classic is their appreciating value. When you purchase a modern vehicle, you can count on it depreciating quickly, especially if it’s a new vehicle. As you likely already know, new vehicles sharply depreciate the second you leave the car lot. Why settle for a modern car that’s sure to lose value when you could invest in an appreciating classic?
One important note when it comes to this advantage is that not all classics are guaranteed to appreciate, and their resale value often depends on the health of the economy and the collector car market. If you decide you want to buy a classic for this purpose, make sure to do plenty of research regarding its potential increase in value. Further, consider the expenses of owning a classic compared to how much the vehicle may appreciate over time. For instance, if you buy a classic that requires costly upkeep, it may not be worth it.
Another unique benefit of investing in a classic as a starter car is the classic car community. When you buy a classic, you can become more actively involved in the motor enthusiast hobby and attend various events, such as car shows, rallies, and Cars and Coffee. While you don’t technically need to own a classic to attend one of these outings, owning a slice of motor history makes it all the more exciting, and you can bond with other passionate and friendly classic car owners.
Cons of Investing in a Classic
There certainly are drawbacks to owning a classic ride, and it may not be the right choice for some new drivers. As we’ve already discussed, some classics will require a great deal of maintenance, and finding parts and qualified mechanics can be difficult. That said, if you’re interested in learning all about the mechanical components of cars and plan to learn how to maintain the vehicle yourself, investing in a classic may still be a great choice.
Another disadvantage is overall reliability compared to modern cars. Typically, older vehicles aren’t as dependable as their contemporary counterparts. Again, that means more in maintenance costs, and you may want to think twice before taking your classic ride on long trips, depending on the car’s age, mileage, make, and model. If you do choose a classic, make sure to have AAA or an insurer that provides roadside assistance.
Speaking of long trips, you’ll also likely need to pay a great deal more for gas, as classics often have notably worse miles per gallon. Of course, this consideration also depends on which classic vehicle you choose — a Fiat 500 certainly has better mpg than a 1965 Ford Mustang.
Good Classic Cars for First Car
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of having a classic vehicle as a starter car, let’s explore some of the best classic cars for first-time drivers:
- Volkswagen Beetle: The Volkswagen Beetle is known for its dependability, fuel efficiency, and affordability, making it an ideal choice for first-time drivers.
- BMW 3 Series: BMW introduced its 3 Series in 1975, and this series includes numerous notable classics with iconic designs and comfortable interiors, like the E30 and E36.
- Volkswagen Golf Mk1: The Volkswagen Golf Mk1 features a front-mounted, water-cooled engine, and its humble yet eye-catching design and fuel efficiency make it a good first classic car.
- Porsche 924: This classic Porsche made its debut in the US in 1976 and is far more affordable than other classics in the manufacturer’s catalog. Its aerodynamic and stylish design makes it both visually appealing and practical.
Additional good classic cars for first car include:
- The Saab 900
- Triumph Herald
- Volvo 240
- Triumph Spitfire
- Honda Civic
Get the Best Classic Car Insurance Available
If you decide that a classic vehicle is right for you, you need to protect your investment with classic car insurance. Fortunately, you’re in the right place. We offer custom policies for classics, antiques, and collector vehicles. Our policies also include great benefits, like inflation guard, rollover miles, and nationwide roadside assistance with flatbed towing.