Recently there have been a number of people spending a lot of time contemplating which classic car they should invest in. With online car classifieds tempting car lovers who have more time on their hands (during lockdown and work from home) to scan the classifieds like www.mudah.my during boring Zoom meetings and client conference calls, add to this the variety of great cars available and the very tempting prices.
If you are thinking it’s time to buy your first classic car and you have no prior experience and have a smallish budget, then please keep reading and share this article with a friend that might need it. Well, the decision to leap into this segment for the less informed, we offer some sensible advice.
To start, please ignore any and all old BMWs, Jaguars’, Range Rovers and Italian made vehicles. Sorry, but these are classic vehicles that need an experienced eye to find the right unit, an experienced hand to maintain it and a healthy bank account to finance its keep. It might be cheaper to get a mistress.
So, now that you know what to avoid, let’s look at what is affordable and could be used daily if needed.
Start with Japanese cars – old Datsun’s and Toyota’s are great to own and restore. Then for British car lovers you have dozens to choose from like Ford, Austin Mini, Triumph and even Rover.
Then there are the German brands that are starting to look very desirable like Mercedes-Benz (plenty of choice), Porsche (costs are running up) and Volkswagen (prices are not so reasonable anymore).
So, which brand should we start with? Let’s start with something cheap and cheerful. Mercedes-Benz is our suggestion.
*all cars were available, and pricing is accurate on the publish date of this article
Until two years ago, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class W126 was doing very well and there were plenty to choose from. This followed with the W123 E-Class. Both models could be bought from RM5k or so right up to RM20k for a restored unit.
Then the popularity of both models pushed the prices up by 100 percent plus and today you are looking at RM12k for the W123 to RM15k for the W126 for basic models that need some work. Restored cars can fetch up to RM45k which we think should be reserved for rare models only like the W123 coupe and the W126 coupe.
So, we are suggesting you look at the W124 E-Class which is currently being ignored by many. Prices start from as low as RM4k for a work in progress to just RM12k for an immaculate unit that can be driven everyday.
Right now, parts are easy to find, new and used and there are many neglected units going cheap for spare parts. The W124 is easily the last of the ‘over-engineered’ Mercedes Benz cars and built to last when looked after.
Launched in the early 1980s and was updated until the mid-1990’s, the W124 is an easy daily driver with independent rear suspension, automatic seat belt tensioners, and more advanced crumple zones. It also came with ABS, two or four airbags, a modern O2 sensor to improve fuel efficiency and better emissions.
Well, head on over to www.mudah.my to check out what’s on offer. There are dozens of W124’s for sale and even some for scrap so you can get used parts, if necessary. It’s not like the W124 is a high value classic for you to look at expensive restored models.
Our suggestion is to look for a 6-cylinder model and yes, fuel consumption might not be the best, but it is the best to own in the long run. The W124 300E with its 178bhp 6-cylinder engine that delivers 255Nm of torque has a yearly road tax fee of about RM2,127.00 and the 260E with its 158bhp 6-cylinder engine that delivers 220Nm of torque at 4,600rpm slightly has a slightly lower road tax of RM1,102.00. This is a once in a year payment and remember, the yearly insurance for this car will be 3rd party which will be just a few hundred Ringgit.
At the end of its lifespan, there was a 300E with a 24 valve engine that delivered 220bhp and 265Nm of torque at 4,600rpm and this is rare in our market and our suggestion to try to find a unit and buy it, if you can find and afford it. Best of luck!