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Cool classic cars are what LSD was to hippies, a dose of variety and thrill. While modern cars are like washing machines – white goods, serving a purpose only to make life appear easier. If you’ve seen the film Wall E, you can see the trajectory modern cars are taking us on. Now that’s not to say there aren’t some great, crazy cool modern vehicles out there. They just seems all too easy. Always connected and with no escape from Facebook notifications and algorithmic suggestions on what you should have for dinner. Not to mention that most modern cars are either offered in grey or well, grey. 

The exception to the rule could be the new electric MGs which seem to be available in a range of fruity colours. I digress. 

Cool classic cars are on the other hand, engaging, easier to maintain, investment opportunities, therapists, sources of knowledge/friendship and family. They also come in some crazy colours, just think of Mercedes-Benz’s Vivianite Green… Cool classic cars are the opposite of what new cars are becoming. And that’s why you should buy one of these. 

We’ve picked out a selection of cool classic cars that we believe offer mindfulness on one level and exhilaration on the other. 

A Dose of Cool Classic Car – TVR Chimeara

A perfect choice for those looking to break into the cool classic world. The Chimeara offers exceptional fun for a reasonable amount of cash. Less than £15,000 will get you into a good calibre example with less than 80,000 miles, handing you a classic that truly stands out from a sea of German, Italian and French classics. 

The Chimeara possesses distinct curves from front to rear, and long flowing uninterrupted panels symbolic of TVR’s shift from a cottage house company to an internationally revered brand with thanks to Peter Wheeler, an engineer who purchased the company in 1981. Just over 5,000 Chimeara models were produced between 1992 and 2003, making it a rare vehicle to own today.

The Chimeara’s Rover V8 won’t disappoint, we promise. Available in 4 to 5 litre form, you’ll have ample power and a sporting chassis setup to enjoy spirited country drives when you’re full of caffeine and comfortable touring when you’ve stocked up on lunch.

A Cool Classic Estate Car – Volvo V70R 

The V70R first showed its face in 1997 and arguably set a new benchmark for fast estates at a time when long and crazy wagons were largely uncommon; with the BMW M5 Touring (E34), Mercedes C36 (W202) and previous 850R model being the first trend setters on the block. But Volvo always had unique ways of standing out. 

Arguably prettier than the 850, the V70R had a long but slender stance, where the 850 appeared slightly wider. Distinctly Volvo, the shape and size offered versatility for the family man and petrolhead. The dog, children, suitcases and parents could hit the motorway without fear of being ‘gapped’ on the way to the holiday home. Colour was king with the V70R. Its launch colour of Saffron still looks awesome today – find one in this colour and keep it. 

Engine-wise, the MK1 1997 V70R made use of the 850 T5-R’s 2.3 litre turbocharged straight 5-cylinder engine, producing 236hp at 6,000 rpm and 310nm of torque between 2700 and 5400 rpm. In 1999, the same 2.3litre unit was enhanced to produce 10hp more at 5000 rpm as a result of an upgraded Bosch ME7 engine management system. Its plenty quick for an estate but not outlandish like the Audi RS4 (B5) that would arrive in 1999. 

A Wedge for Less – Fiat X19 Bertone

Launched in the golden era of four-wheeled wedges, the X19 landed in 1972 Turin Motorshow and was reported to drive like a ‘Formula One car’, resulting in a mammoth 160,000 units being produced between 1972 and 1988. 

The X19 was designed by Bertone and was offered with a SOHC in-line four engine designed by Aurelio Lampredi of Ferrari – engineers designed this wedge to accommodate the ending directly in front of the rear axle, giving it a mid-engine layout. The result was, handling akin to a race car. 

The Bertone versions of the X19 are much harder to come by, but for those with longer legs, we advise opting for this model – they have revised footwells for longer legs like TCC co-founder, Frank. Nevertheless, the X19 is a truly a wedge you can obtain without the need for a bulky back pocket.

Too Cool for School – BMW E31 8 Series

If there’s a peak period to buy a cool Bim Zimmer, it’s got to be the 1990s. The E36 is all the rage amongst us millennials but it’s the E31 8 Series that stands out to the TCC team. The balance of class and bling is just right – you can slam it and stick a massive set of rims on all corners and somehow, it will still look sophisticated. Maybe it’s the pop-up lights or perhaps it’s that long snout, you tell us in the comments.

The E31 begun its ascent over the years, with many favouring the early V12s badged 850i, with the V8 850Ci supposedly deemed less reliable due to bore liners, but this criticism is largely overstated. The E31 didn’t change in styling over its production period, so you’ll get the same level of cool styling whether you choose the early or late 1990s. 

Engine options ranged from a 4.0 litre V8 badged the 840CI to a 5.6 litre V12 badged the 850CSI. You can find all with either manual or automatic transmissions, generously featuring climate control, heated seats and automatic stability control.

The bargain in the range appears to be the 840CI – just be sure to assess the mechanicals carefully. 

Totally Tantalising – Audi TT MK1

If you’re a child of the nineties, you may remember seeing the TT first in the action film, Mission Impossible II, this along with the Porsche Boxter made their debut on the Hollywood screen in 2000, cementing both into automotive history. The MI2 scene sees Tom Cruise and Thandie Newton take things a little too close to the edge… 

The TT marked a new design legacy for Audi, going on to inspire some very interesting future models, including the Audi R8, as well as the main vehicle driven by Will Smith in I-Robot. 

So it’s got Hollywood appeal, but why should you buy one? 

Well let’s start with the engine options, you can opt for an array of options including a 1.8 turbocharged 4-cylinder base engine or go to the opposite end of the spectrum with a 3.2 litre VR6 which produces 247bhp and offers a healthy 0-60mph time of 6.3 seconds. Though, the Quattro 1.8 BAM engine features a larger turbocharger to achieve 225bhp and offers almost the same pace as the VR6. 

Prices for Audi TTs vary depending on the model, but you can find a well-kept, sub-50k miles example for under £10,000. You’ll also be pleased to know Audi were not in their ‘grey’ phase in the early 2000s so you can find some interesting vibrant colours. 

The Alternative to a House Deposit – Porsche 968 

If you’re in your early 20s and you’re considering buying a house? Why not enjoy a few years exploring the continent behind the wheel of an appreciating, cool and fun asset? You won’t be able to do so once you have mortgage… 

Of course, we all want a 911. That goes without saying but there are several understated other options including the 968. For a short production period from 1991 until 1995, the 968 put to play decades of fine-tuning that commenced with the 924 in the early 1970s, succeeded by the 944 and then the 968. 

While the 968 borrowed much of its chassis and componnetnst from the 944 S2, Porsche maintained that the 968 was 80% new. The 3.0 litre uprated in-line four-cylinder engine has a higher compression than its predecessor, lighter crankshaft and crankcase, along with revised intake valves and manifold, amongst others. Mated to a newly developed 6-speed manual transmission, the 968 would climb to 60mph in 6.4 seconds with thanks to 240bhp. 

Prices for the turbo and club sport models are somewhat inflated, but standard models could definitely be obtained for less than a 10% house deposit…

The Cool Classic Cat – Jaguar XJR (X308)

Jags are often slated with the line, ‘they’re old man cars’ or ‘company cars’, but that’s where we, as petrolheads can overturn this unfounded myth… 

The Jaguar XJR (X308) offers the exemplery sailing you would expect of a luxury saloon, but this cat truly is wild. Its not your average saloon. Underneath that lovely bonnet is a supercharged 4.0 litre V8 pushing out almost 400bhp. The lovely aspect of the XJR, is that its power is largely indiscernible except for the mesh grille at the front, the larger brakes and the XJR badge to the rear. Other than this, its appearance is not dissimilar to the XJ8 and six-cylinder variants.

Choose an XJR for comfort, practicality and something unusual to put those boy racers in their place…

The Cool Classic Car – Mercedes-Benz 190E (W201) 

Designed by the highly revered Bruno Sacco, the W201 was the first compact passenger car produced by Mercedes-Benz – one that would go onto be produced in great numbers. But that doesn’t mean its not one to own…

There’s not much to say about this model other than that it is extremely reliable and built like a well, tank. As many Mercs were in this era and the decade that preceded the 190E. If you’re looking for something cool to cruise around in, the standard 190E will make onlookers envious. For those looking for more attention, the 2.3-16V Cosworth is the 190E to have – its lightweight alloy cylinder head, dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder provided 183bhp at 6,200 rpm  to achieve a sub eight seconds 0-60mph time.


There’s many cool classic cars to choose from out there, but sometimes you it helps to choose the less obvious option. If you’re a young person, you’re definitely more likely to be able to afford to insure a classic car than you are a new one… So think about what you could buy for the cost of a Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio. To those in their 20s and 30s like us, perhaps choose one of the above instead of spending £30k on a wedding… food for thought?