It's midlife crisis time for Bob - well, not quite midlife - and he's been bitten by the classic car bug.

"I've always wanted a classic car, and now not only can I afford one but I have the time to give it the care it needs and the money to have it worked on by a mechanic," he says.

A friend has a 1974 Porsche 911 that Bob admires while he's also a fan of the MG. "And what about a Ford Mustang?"

"What do I need to look out for? And who can I get to check it for me before I buy," he asks.


Bob, tread carefully because the bank balance is going to suffer more than you imagine. You need to consider not only the initial outlay but maintenance, repairs and the cost - and availability - of parts. I would suggest you join a car club first and then start networking with classic car enthusiasts.

They will tell you about not only the good times of classic car ownership but also the potential pitfalls. One of the most expensive repairs can be body damage and structural corrosion. I would warn against buying something part way through restoration as you may find you only inherit somebody else's expensive problems and repairs.

Best you initially start off with a turn-key-and-go experience.

The budget: $12,000
The shortlist
One of the most popular and affordable classic brands to own, the MGBGT is an excellent choice of vehicle to get you started.

It's not overly complicated mechanically, parts are plentiful and it won't be difficult to learn to carry out some of the basic maintenance and repair items yourself.

It's not going to throw you back in the seat on hard acceleration, but that special exhaust note that the MGBGT is renowned for is music to many enthusiasts' ears.

Porsche 911

Make sure your friend tells you about the true total cost of ownership. They are built for spirited driving which can drive costs up. Repairs are best left to the experts - and don't come cheap.

If you like to get places in a hurry and have some thrills on club days then it may well be the one for you.

Ford Mustang (mid 60's)

Another classic car that is the envy of many at car shows or when simply out cruising - which is what they do best.

Some petrolheads reckon that the more cylinders under the bonnet the better, hence the reason the Mustang has been such a popular choice for many enthusiasts over the years. Another car club with a large membership base to draw on for advice.