Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

Yes, really. You’ll need to shop incredibly carefully to avoid the whole world of pain that buying a bad Roller can cause, but presentable versions of the Spirit can now be found for four-figure sums. It may be ugly, its image may be cheesy, but it’s still a hell of a thing to turn up in

MGB

It may be neither fast nor particularly exciting, but the MGB’s great looks and mechanical strength still made it the quintessential British sports car of the 1960s and 1970s. Always choose an open one over a closed example and avoid later cars with horrible rubber bumpers

Mini Cooper
Not today’s BMW-built hatchback, but the real thing: the three-times Monte Carlo rally winner and immortalised in The Italian Job. By modern standards, Coopers are startlingly slow, but when you’re having this much fun, you’ll  struggle to notice. Go-kart steering, deafening engine and roller-skate handling only add to the enjoyment

Jaguar S-type
Your £10,000 won’t quite buy the Mk2 beloved of Inspector Morse, but it will quite easily secure the slightly less pretty but more accomplished S-type that replaced it. Performance and handling are both strengths, but the bodies are inclined to rot, so buy with great care. Many cars look better than they actually are

Fiat 500

Not the cutesy hatchback now cluttering the streets of London, but the little jewel of a car that inspired it. Pre-dating even the original Mini, the so-called Nuova 500 replaced the pre-war Topolino in 1957, and remains the most gorgeous, characterful city car ever built. Not quick, but tiny dimensions and incredible turning circle make it the ultimate urban weapon

BMW M3

Some say the original M3 is still the sweetest-handling, conceptually most pure BMW sports car of them all. With four seats and big boot, it’ll keep your family happy, and its race-derived engine and gearbox and fantastic steering make it a dream purchase for those wanting a car more for the joy of driving than to be seen in

Range Rover
Early Range Rovers are guaranteed future classics, and prices are already rising. Avoid the ugly and badly built second-generation cars introduced in 1994, and go for an original, ideally with the later 3.9-litre engine and ABS brakes. The bodies last forever, but watch for rust underneath and around the tailgate. Still the coolest car for shooting

Porsche 911
The longest-lived and, many would argue, greatest sports car of all time is now remarkably affordable. A £10,000 budget will buy a lovely 1980s example that will be as quick as most modern sports cars and lot more fun. There’s probably also no more reliable sports car than a good 911

Alfa Romeo Spider
Remember the Alfa Spider in The Graduate? It stayed in production right into the 1990s, growing steadily less pretty and desirable as the years rolled by. The best all-rounders are the two-litre models from the 1970s: the earlier, 1.6-litre boat-tailed Duetto, as driven by Dustin, is more desirable, but expensive and slow

Audi Quattro
Audi’s 1980s sports-car icon has evolved into a fast, practical and hugely entertaining classic. Four-wheel drive makes it usable in all weathers, and its unique five-cylinder engine gives one of the most memorable sounds of any car. The later the car, the better it will be, with the very last, featuring 20-valve engines, being the best of them all

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