Several classic cars offer unique aesthetics that result in a double take. While many classic vehicles look great on posters and online car ads, reliability remains an essential factor.
The market has plenty of classic cars with maintenance needs that are bound to create headaches. Classic cars are often a big enough upfront investment. Every driver wants to avoid dumping tons of cash into endless tune-ups and repairs that detract from their vehicle’s fun factor. A classic car doesn’t have to be your daily driver—but knowing that it can act as one will bring you (and your wallet) peace of mind.
Let’s dive into our list of iconic classic cars that won’t leave you stranded.
What Makes the Saab 900 Turbo Reliable?
Saab’s 900 made an impressive run from 1978-1998 at the height of the Swedish Manufacturer’s status. This sedan’s fun and somewhat unconventional appearance blend elegantly with its precision engineering. Purpose-driven performance and dependability kept the Saab 900 on the road for twenty years. The key to maintaining a functional Saab 900 is simple. Apply routine oil changes and help the timing chains remain in shape for Saab 900 performance and reliability that never dwindles.
Drivers looking to purchase a vehicle that will appreciate in value can place their bets on the ultra-reliable Turbo versions of the Saab 900. Early 90s Turbo Saab 900s are equipped with 185 horsepower and an appearance that remains in style.
Classic car enthusiasts get the best of both worlds with the Saab 900’s inspired performance and firm dependability.
How Did the Mercedes-Benz E Class (W124) Gain Worldwide Recognition?
This 1980s E Class model gained worldwide recognition for its reliable driving capabilities. Word got out that the Mercedes-Benz E Class W124 turned petrol into forward momentum. This dynamic led to the Mercedes-Benz E Class W124 acting as a service vehicle in addition to a daily driver. Taxi services far and wide utilized the Mercedes-Benz E Class W124 reliability for their business practices. The Mercedes-Benz E Class W124 was known to operate in a widespread variety of business-oriented roles in Africa.
You won’t be hard-pressed to find Mercedes-Benz E Class W124 models currently driving around the world. Mercedes-Benz’s dedication to engineering evolution created a breakthrough within the E Class W124. This E Class model’s production years ran an impressive span from 1984-1996.
Does the Porsche 924’s Affordability Foreshadow Maintenance Issues?
Drivers on the hunt for an affordable classic car with an iconic manufacturer name will be pleased with the Porsche 924’s price tag. You’ll get more than you originally bargained for thanks to this Porsche’s compelling performance. The Porsche 924’s rear-mounted gearbox paves the way for exceptional handling while the vehicle’s four-cylinder engine provides dependability. Classic car enthusiasts willing to sacrifice thrilling engine power for consistent reliability can’t go wrong with the Porsche 924.
Porsche’s 924’s consistent performance led to a steady ten-year run from 1975-1985. The public considers the 924 as Porsche’s original, affordable model. Drivers seeking an unconventional Porsche design can get what they’re looking for with the Porsche 924’s conservative appearance. Small rear seats and a hatchback design supply the Porsche 924 with a different design from its 70s and 80s contemporaries.
Post-1980 versions of the Porsche 924 are going to present fewer rust issues. Classic Porsche fans can opt for a 924 Turbo model to up this vehicle’s modest but reliable engine.
What Makes the VW Golf Mk1 and Mk2 Fun and Dependable?
Our list of reliable (and fun to drive) classic cars wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Volkswagen Golf Mk1 and Mk2 models. Volkswagen officially moved on from its signature Beetle with this stylish front-drive hatchback. The Mk1 made a splash during its introduction with its transverse and water-cooled engine design. This configuration set the stage for the Mk1’s extensive run from 1974-1987.
Drivers looking to add an extra layer of performance to their classic car can benefit from exploring VW Mk2 models with power steering. The most sought-after VW Golf Mk models are Mk1’s in their initial GTI variety. A core element of these VW’s reliability is their practicality. The original Mk1’s hatchback design leaves a healthy amount of space for cargo, while the transverse and water-cooled engine remains a dependable option.
How Does the BMW E30 3 Series’ Engine Stand Out?
The BMW E30 3 Series’ engines personify durability. One of the E30’s most impressive engines is the M20 variety. A BMW M20 engine accommodates up to 20 psi of boost for exceptional levels of air circulation. Typical engine boost levels are between 6-8 psi. Classic car drivers looking to receive this extra psi boost can modify the car’s fuel system and engine map while using proper head bolts.
While the BMW E 30 3 Series’ small parts may be prone to breakage over time—the vehicle’s performance foundation will remain strong.
Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
We’re going to wind the clock way back to cover the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost’s impressive reliability. Rolls-Royce more than proved the Silver Ghost’s dependability when the vehicle completed a 15,000-mile driving trial in 1907 without any problems. This trial accomplishment is incredible because most automobiles during this time regularly required maintenance after casual short-distance drives.
The Ghost is, without a doubt, the car that solidified Rolls-Royces’ status as a premier auto manufacturer. Drivers instantly recognized this vehicle’s performance capabilities, resulting in the model’s production running from 1907-1926. Rolls-Royce briefly paused Ghost model manufacturing during World War I before adapting the vehicle’s chassis and engines into various armored cars.
Look around the market to spot one of around 1,500 Rolls-Royce Ghosts for sale today.
How Did the VW Beetle’s Design Foster Easy Maintenance?
VW set out to manufacture the Beetle as the standard car of the people. Classic car owners love old VW’s reliability and low maintenance demands. Any necessary VW repairs can be taken care of with the car’s numerous affordable parts that require basic tools. You’ll find plenty of classic VW’s cruising down the road all over the world. This is hardly a surprise because VW produced over 21 million models of their iconic Beetle.
Classic Beetle owners can expect their car to rack up hundreds of thousands of miles before giving out. This high level of durability presents drivers with plenty of opportunities to buy antique Beetles. VW provided initial Beetles with high levels of reliability through previous Auto Union technologies like water-cooling and front-wheel drive.
How Does the Volvo 240 Satisfy Classic Car Enthusiasts?
Volvo’s 240 (otherwise known as the 200-series) provided plenty of reliability during the car’s rallying and touring days. Few cars were produced as long as the Volvo 240. An 18-year run from 1975-1993 led to Volvo manufacturing of 2.8 million 240 models with dependability that keeps them on today’s roads. While the Volvo 240’s engines aren’t especially powerful—their capacity for modification keeps classic car enthusiasts satisfied.
Drivers will run into fewer instances of Volvo 240 rusting by shopping through this model’s later years of production. The widespread availability of Volvo 240 parts ensures your ability to readily address any maintenance needs. Expect to score a quality deal when searching for an available Volvo 240. The average 240 model runs between $5,000-$10,000 on various auction platforms.
How Far Can You Drive a Lexus LS400?
One Lexus LS400 was driven by The Smoking Tire podcast host Matt Farah until the car registered 1 million miles. Farah’s LS400 is described as driving like a car with 150,000 miles when it over 900,000. The LS400 made its debut in 1989, containing a 4.0-liter V8 engine. This Lexus’ reliability can be attributed to its overbuilt manufacturing approach. This top-of-the-line manufacturing process was attributed to the inflated market during Japan’s Bubble Era.
You’ll surely experience a comfortable ride within the Lexus LS400. Drivers highlight the LS400 interior’s ability to feel calm and stable at speeds over 100 mph. The Lexus LS was groundbreaking because it proved that luxury cars could be dependable with inexpensive operating costs.
How Did the VW Karmann Ghia’s Design Translate to Reliability?
There’s a reason why VW Karmann Ghia models are still being used as taxi cabs in Mexico. VW Karmann Ghia’s contain Beetle-inspired engineering that’s inexpensive to keep up. A minimalist construction approach helps VW Ghia owners incur low maintenance costs. This classic car is best reserved for casual drives off of the highway. The VW Ghia’s 37 horsepower engine won’t have you racking up speeding tickets anytime soon—but it may award you some with some head turns at a local car show.
Consider the VW Ghia if you’re on the hunt for a mint condition classic car with a low-price tag. It’s relatively common for a high-quality VW Ghia’s to be sold under $15,000.
Are VW Vans Difficult to Keep Up?
This next classic car needs no introduction. VW vans have a special place in many classic car lovers’ hearts. This vehicle design rose to prominence through counterculture and pop-culture entertainment like the Zits comic strip. Owners of a VW van will have no problem attending to their classic car’s maintenance needs. An extensive reserve of parts allows VW van drivers to continue onward with this spirited driving tradition.
VW vans share a wide range of components with VW Beetles, which naturally increases part accessibility. Some later model VW vans have impressive all-wheel-drive capabilities, while specific 1950s models attract six-figure auction bids.
Purchasing a local VW van often requires integrating a fresh battery and a $500-$2,000-dollar tune-up. You won’t have to stretch your search for a VW van too far. Many people keep these vans around as collectibles—even if they’re not driving them.
How Did Mazda Offer Innovation With the MX5?
Mazda combined British 1960 roadster aesthetics with Japanese auto dependability to create the MX5 in 1989. This little car eventually made a big splash securing the title as the most popular roadster of all time. Mazda continued to evolve the MX5 with continual refinements that complimented the car’s thoroughly tested running gear. The current generation Mazda MX5 has stayed true to its foundation by maintaining a miniature size that’s a fun daily driver. The Mazda MX5’s open-top and reliable legacy continues to hold strong.
How Did the Porsche 944 Improve Upon the Porsche 924?
The Porsche 944 carried the 924’s dependable reputation while adding in some classic Porsche design elements. 944 owners will enjoy plenty of power at a solid price tag. A turbocharged Porsche 944 can generate 247 horsepower, while the vehicle’s other 4-cylinder engine varieties are nothing to overlook. Drivers can achieve peace of mind knowing that the 944 is one of the Porsche’s that can take a beating. The Porsche 944’s robust design allows you to drive classic-style daily.
Did a Volvo p1800 Really Rack up Over a Million Miles?
Volvo was able to solidify the P1800’s reliable status when a Long Island local racked up 3 million miles on his 1966 P1800’s original engine. This Long Islander drove to every state with his superhero-like Volvo P1800. Classic car fans will have to sacrifice some power to acquire this vehicle’s durability. P1800’s registered 100 horsepower, while later models went up to 130 horsepower.
Sophisticated GT exterior design elements continue to draw drivers toward Volvo’s P1800. A solid-running P1800 will run you somewhere in the ballpark of $15,000.
How Did the Plymouth Valiant’s Engine Stand Out Amongst the Crowd?
Plymouth’s Valiant defines engine reliability. This car’s engine is a Slant-six variety that essentially a 30-degree angled inline-six. Over-the-top engineering and precise design components award this Plymouth’s engine with an indestructible image. Slant-six engines are well known for their dependability. The quest to drive a classic and reliable American automobile can be completed with the addition of a Plymouth Valiant’s burly engine and exceptional fuel economy (for the time).
Did our list miss any ultra-reliable classic cars that are worth mentioning? Share your expertise and comment a reliable classic car recommendation on our social media feeds!