The debate as to what constitutes a classic car has being going on for years now, and here is probably not the best place to enter that argument, but one thing we can be sure at here at austin-rover.co.uk is that out of the cars we currently cover, we have an abundant supply of classics.
One only needs to look at the BMC>Rover Top Ten to see what I mean. There are the undeniable all-time classics, such as the Mini and Range Rover, as well as the thinking man’s classics, such as the Dolomite and ADO16. So we know the 70s and 80s stable is littered with interesting and desirable cars, and that there’s a wealth of classics here, but what about the future? What cars from the more recent stable are destined for classic status, and what would you get from owning one?
It is probably best to work in equivalency. In other words, what is the modern equivalent of specific cars in the range..?
…the 220 Turbo was (and still is) a
vividly quick car. The path to such
performance was no act of rocket
Stick a lumping great engine into a
small car, and then bolt a turbo on
for good measure.
One car that springs to mind as a pukka classic right now is the Triumph Dolomite Sprint. This car was named by many people who took place in the “greatest” poll, and one can see why. Classy styling, thanks to Michelotti, a genuine wood-lined interior experience, but to top off the experience, a 127bhp 16 valve power unit. Bearing in mind, we’re talking about a 1973 car, such technology seriously stood out in the era of overhead valve engines and live rear axles. So, it was an intriguing package, but what really draws enthusiasts to it was its exceptional performance.
Fast forward twenty years, and what car in the Rover range offered the same blend of qualities? How about the Rover R8 2-litre turbo. Offered in three- and five-door hatchback form, the 220 Turbo was (and still is) a vividly quick car. The path to such performance was no act of rocket science, though… stick a lumping great engine into a small car, and then bolt a turbo on for good measure. Maybe not the ingenious solution Spen King came up for the Dolomite Sprint, but effective nonetheless. And what marks it out as a future classic is that it is rare, quick and in the case of the 220 and 420, living in the shadow of the more glamorous Tomcat Coupe.
What else? Where if you want a modern Triumph Stag, look no further than the Rover 800 Coupe. However, as I have covered this car widely on the site, further discussion is probably not needed.
75 variations that will achieve classic status? The Vanden Plas versions and (obviously) the V8 versions (MG and Rover). Anything else less than obvious springs to mind..? I look forward to your suggestions.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.