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These British classic cars are so exceptional you'll probably do anything legally possible to own one... even remortgaging your house.
Troubling times ahead could be all the excuses you need to remortgage your house and invest your savings in a British classic car. Collectors pay top dollar for the right car in the right condition.
It might sound like some hair-brained get-rich-quick scheme, but used car markets and auction sites tell another story. The cheapest car here, when new cost around $1,000 and was unashamedly built down to a budget. Over time, rarity has seen that same car rocket in value by over 200 times its original purchase price. Likewise, Jaguar scored considerable success with the E-Type, faster, cheaper and prettier than the competition, that if you had one today could be worth $500k upwards in pristine condition.
Naturally, cars are meant to be driven regardless of age, rarity, and value. Imagine, then, the curious idea of one of the greatest hyper-cars ever made parked in your garage, never to be driven. Sadly, this isn't a dream. In 2021, a low-mileage McLaren F1 rolled across the Pebble Beach auction block earning its seller a multi-million dollar profit.
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Evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the DB6 bears more than a passing resemblance to James Bond's DB5. The subtle changes included a stretched chassis affording a bigger cockpit with improved leg and headroom for rear passengers. Like its predecessor, the DB6 was designed as a luxury GT.
That's not to say the DB6 couldn't hold its own among its peers topping out at 152 mph. Under the hood, a tweaked 4-liter straight six fed by triple SU carburetors pumped out 325 hp in the more collectable DB6 Vantage.
It's hard to believe the McLaren falls under classic car status. Launched 30-years ago, the Gordon Murray-styled hypercar still looks and feels contemporary. Naturally, a lot of the F1s presence is down to the sheer might of its BMW engine and record-breaking speeds.
While the F1 is no longer the holder of the world's fastest production car title, it remains the quickest naturally aspirated car with a top speed of 241 mph. World-beating performance combined with rarity makes this one of the most expensive British classics you're likely to come across.
RELATED: The 10 Features That Made The McLaren F1 Stand Out From Every Other Supercar
Low volume race car for the road; Jaguar built just 16 XKSS cars in 1957. The remainder were destroyed in a factory fire. Essentially a road legal version of the companies successful D-Type racer taking on a more user-friendly two-door/two-seat cockpit.
Unchanged under the skin, Jaguar's race-winning 3.4-liter XK6 motor cranks out 250 hp, driving the rear axle via a four-speed manual transmission. Building on the XKSS story, in 2016, Jaguar recreated the final nine cars using continuation chassis numbers bringing production up to 25 cars. However, the original still holds sway over collectors with premium prices.
Rarer still, the Lister Knobbly, despite the Jaguar moniker, has little to do with Jaguar Cars. Produced between 1958-59 the Knobbly as it became known, due to its number of bumps, was built purely for racing. Powered by a Jaguar 3.8-liter XK6 motor turning out 330 hp the Lister competed successfully against both Ferrari and Jaguar.
Although the Knobbly is closely associated with Jaguar, from a competition point of view Lister was far from being a one make race car manufacturer loyal to Browns Lane. In total, 12 Jaguar-powered Knobblies were produced with a further 10 Chevrolet V8-engined cars for the US market.
Pushing the boundaries of weight saving too far nearly killed the Elite. Colin Chapman an advocate of weight saving over bigger engines, specified a glass-fiber monocoque chassis. The choice of minimalism over strength almost killed the Elite before it could succeed. Rear suspension mountings failed with alarming regularity.
The Elite would eventually come good with a 1.2-liter in-line four Coventry Climax engine cranking out 75 hp, powering the lightweight Lotus to a top speed of 111 mph. Unfortunately for Lotus, in either ready-to-run or kit form, they lost money on every Elite produced.
RELATED: 10 Things Everyone Forgot About The Lotus Elite
AC Cars, the cornerstone of what would become the Cobra. However, long before Carroll Shelby got busy with the ACE, AC Cars had another successful sportscar in the Aceca. True to form, different engine options would separate the good from the great. The only way, to be sure, involved getting under the hood, Bristol engined cars bearing BE-prefixed chassis numbers.
Depending on the year of manufacture and which engine you have can affect the price. Surprisingly, it's the older AC-engined cars that are the more sought after, even if the Bristol motor delivers better performance.
The all conquering RS200 Evolution, Ford's answer to Group B rallying homologation rules. Produced from 1984-86 with completed cars amounting to 200 examples plus a further 20 complete kits, the RS200 is one of the rarest Ford production cars ever made. Rarity, naturally attracts collectors with big budgets to spend.
Dropping a cool half a million bucks on a Ford might seem crazy, but this is no ordinary mid-sized compact. Tucked away somewhere in the middle, Ford-Cosworth-tuned BDT 2-liter engines kick out 250 hp driving all-four wheels. However, in full Group B level states of tune, the RS200 could produce 450 hp with a 0-60 mph time of 3-seconds.
Classic British styling marks the Silver Cloud out as the last beautiful Rolls-Royce ever made. The only way to make it even better was to hand over the convertible conversion to Mulliner Park Ward. Ordinarily, chopping the roof off a 4,600 lbs limo and placing a folding fabric item on top would be tantamount to automotive blasphemy. In the Silver Cloud III it just works beautifully.
Now for the bad news. Classic styling and low production numbers mean you'll be paying a lot more for one of these rare drop-tops. Actual production numbers are best taken with a pinch of salt. In all Rolls-Royces claims 328 Silver Cloud III underwent conversion by numerous coach builders, used prices understandably varying wildly depending on final finish.
RELATED: Check Out Beyoncé's 1959 Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce Convertible
Healey might be a familiar name to gearheads, but we doubt many will recognize the much earlier Healey Silverstone. Designed as a two-seater sports car, with modest performance for a tax-avoiding price of £975 equivalent of $1,187 (1948). A simple ladder-style chassis mounted on a narrow open-wheeled body style culminated in an unusual spare tire/rear bumper arrangement.
The Silverstones modest 90 hp output is derived from a Riley "Big-Four" 2.4-liter inline four running a custom Healey manifold and carburetor set-up. Needless to say, production numbers err on the low side. In all, a claimed 105 cars were made across both D/E-Type specification.
Choosing the XK150 over an E-Type purely on value for money is a no-brainer. Yes, the E-type is prettier, but the XK150 is no ugly ducking either. A steady evolution of the XK120 added better brakes, suspension and bigger engines. By the time Jaguar stopped building the XK150 in 1960 with a 3.8-liter XK6, engine power output had peaked at 265 hp.
In a Jaguar Vs Jaguar cat fight for your money, the XK150 is a better prospect. Scouring the classifieds and late XKs can be had for $100k, or around half the asking price for a reasonably well sorted E-Type.
Raised in a car-obsessed environment from an early age ensured a keen interest in anything car-related. first and foremost an F1 fan, but also an avid follower of other motorsports. Professional background working closely with a well established UK based Supercar manufacturer in recent years.