Market Finds: Classic British Roadsters for Every Budget

Classic British Roadsters for Every Budget

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
November 3, 2014
18 comments

Classic British roadsters are elegant machines engineered to be enjoyed at their limits. They’re true sports cars that produce sensations modern sleds just can’t duplicate. They’re lightweight with just enough engine. And like other British motorcars, roadsters teach us how to repair wiring and fix leaks. There may not be another genre that delivers the automotive experience to the same extent. You can spend a lot on a roadster depending on type and heritage, but since they’re plentiful in affordable price ranges, they’re also a great point of entry to classic car ownership. Here are five classic British roadsters currently on sale for every budget.

The car: 1959 Austin-Healey 3000

Price: $49,000

Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida, USA

Seller’s Info: Click here

The Austin-Healey 3000, was produced from 1959 to 1967 as the result of a collaboration between the Donald Healey Motor Company and the British Motor Corporation’s Austin brand. The 3000 was the third generation bearing the Austin-Healey name. This Mark I 3000 is numbers matching and has been completely restored to show quality condition. Recent service includes new tires, carburetor rebuild, and new slave cylinder.

The car: 1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

Price: $62,000

Location: Saco, Maine, USA

Seller’s Info: Click here

The Jaguar E-Type was called “The most beautiful car ever made” by Enzo Ferrari. Although it’s a beautiful car, they were built for performance. The Series 2 E-Type came with a 4.2 liter straight six as a coupe, 2+2 coupe or roadster. This British Racing Green E-type has 68,000 original miles, manual transmission, air conditioning, and a restored engine bay. It’s also been converted from two to three carburetors.

The car: 1987 Aston Martin V8 Volante

Price: $159,000

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA

Seller’s Info: Click here

The Aston Martin V8 is not the sexiest car driven by James Bond. Even without the lasers, skis, and missiles the car is a significant piece of Aston Martin history. It marks the change from nimble six cylinder sports cars to eight and twelve cylinder luxury supercars. This Volante has only 7400 miles. It’s offered for sale by the second owner and is one of 245 Series V V8s built.

The car: 1961 Triumph TR3

Price: $24,500

Location: Houston, Texas, USA 

Seller’s Info: Click here

The distinctive Triumph TR3 is unmistakably British. Built from 1955 to 1962, the imperial roadster was powered by a four-cylinder engine making nearly 100 horsepower. The face-lifted TR3A had a wider radiator grille and standard front disc brakes. This 1961 is red on black with chrome wire wheels. It has a new radiator, water pump, exhaust, and tires.

The car: 1970 Lotus Elan S4

Price: £22,795

Location: Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England

Seller’s Info: Click here

The early Lotus Elans were more than a basic British lightweight. They were built with a steel backbone chassis topped with a fiberglass body and weighed in at 1,500 pounds. A 1557cc DOHC engine powers the Elan, and the roadster also came standard with four-wheel disc brakes. This Series 4 has 162 bhp, overhauled brake system and a roll bar. It’s available for purchase in England.

If you know of a great, stylish car for sale and would like us to feature it, please let us know!

Petrolicious makes no claim as to the accuracy of the information contained in the car’s original listing, nor will it be held responsible for any errors in said information. If you’re interested in any of these cars, do your homework and research extensively before you buy.

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Thomas
Thomas

@ David Corcio, thanks for the encouragement. I might show up with my old Citroen 2CV (20 something hp) and then we both can keep the rest of the cars in sight together 🙂

simon
simon

Also agree with you and David. I wish I had got into classic cars a lot earlier in life. Saying that my first car was also a 2CV Charleston. I now drive a MG Midget MK1 1961 and love it. Europeans have a great chose of affordable roadsters & soft-tops

simon
simon

The cars that you’ve selected aren’t budget starter cars. I have no idea what the average america salary but most europeans couldn’t afford any of the cars within a 23k to 159k budget. Good affordable examples are Fiat 850, MG Midget, MGB, Triumph Spitfire, Honda S800, Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, Sunbeam Alpine, Alfa Spider

Nick Z
Nick Z

I owned a Healey 100 for years. Drove it every day. Never had a problem.

Will
Will

Although this article is nicely done, it is inappropriately titled. As previously mentioned, the five cars featured here are definitely not for every budget. Now, if this list were expanded out to include TR6’s, TR4’s, MGB’s, Sunbeam Alpines, and Spitfires, then it would be valid. I own a TR6. It’s easy to work on, parts are relatively inexpensive and easily attainable, and the TR is quite reliable as long as it is maintained properly – which is not hard to do. It is a very affordable classic roadster.

TR3b
TR3b

Gee TJ, I put 35000 miles on a TR3 as a daily driver in college and right out of over the course of four years. This includes three trips from California to Texas to visit my brother. All I ever did was add oil and change the tranny fluid. Not quite getting your comment on this model. Can speak about any of the other ones, but my guess is that you’re as far off on them as you are on the Triumph.

Nom de la Nom
Nom de la Nom

Maybe not classic by your measure but a sorted Jaguar XJ-S can be had for less than $20k or less if you’re handy and don’t mind sorting it yourself. That’s less than a Volvo 1800 in good nick. And if well sorted, XJ-S’ are amazing cars.

Philip Beresford
Philip Beresford

Certainly an interesting definition of ‘for every budget’… Where’s the MG B? The AH Sprite / MG Midget (the later ones with roll-up windows, but before the rubber bumpers)? The Triumph Spitfire? Triumph TR6?

Thomas
Thomas

I agree with Jakov and Jay, we have a very different definition of “every budget” if that ranges from 23k to 159k. That’s one reason why I am hesitant in participating in an event like the one at the Paramount Ranch in 2 weeks. My car (70 Spitfire / maybe 10k) might not fit the bill. I love Petrolicious and stop by quite often but I have the slight feeling that we might live in different worlds. I think the article should have featured a typical MGB or Midgit or Sprite or Spitfire as well (lots of fun there for… Read more »

David Corcio
David Corcio

Being in a similar situation, I can certainly feel where you are coming from. Currently, I drive a 62 beetle that’s all original, meaning that the paint is all faded, the seats are ripped, and the headliner is all torn up. However, I’m still attending the event because I feel that the ethos for Petrolicious to “drive tastefully” signifies that we drive a great vintage car simply because we enjoy it; we stand out of the norm in a good way. It shouldn’t matter if it costed you $1k or $1M, you drive it because you enjoy your vintage automobile.… Read more »

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

Alright … lets get down to brass tacks and reality on this one . See that TR3 up above selling for $24,500 ? Doubling that within the first four years of ownership would be closer to the truth . The Lotus Elan … oh brother .. the Lotus Elan . One of the best small sports cars ever built . One that has influenced everyone from Mazda and their MX5/Miata right on up to Gordon Murray’s McLaren F1 . The real cost once the initial purchase has been made ? Tripling the original price tag might get you close ….… Read more »

Josh
Josh

TJ, if you don’t like British car’s you shouldn’t comment. Some people enjoy the amount of love you have to give a British car (As I do) And don’t care how reliable they are, they are just fun. That being said you do contribute some great information, all the negativity is just a bummer (Don’t say it’s a reality check, it is not.)

Will
Will

As a british owner of a British car (1977 MGB gt) I can honestly say bummer means something different in this country, and old unreliable british cars are cool!

Josh
Josh

Hahaha oops, yes it does, I meant it in the American form 😛 (I mean no offense to Mr. Martin) 1971 MGB owner here, the fun drive is worth the work, at least it is too me. It has actually been pretty reliable for a 43 year old car!

Paulo Ferreira
Paulo Ferreira

Obviously you are an european car hater..on a previous article you put down the Alfa’s, on this one the Brits. Well, I owned a lot of them exept for Ferrari, Lotus ,Aston and unfortunately a Lambo is still to come. Since the day i had a driving licence i only drove for most of the time vintage cars, Alfa’s, Triumph, Austin Healey 3000, Maserati and Porsches ( the Healey and the Porsches are my favoured )…and this everyday even in the winter, apart of some oil changes and sometime carburetors cleaning or some fine tuning i never had major issues.… Read more »

Brompty
Brompty

Good grief: Italian cars are built by communists… and are rubbish; British cars no good and fall to pieces. What’s left? I am not sure this is the website for you. Try What Car?

Jay
Jay

“every budget”? Three out of the five cars are almost 50k or more. Where are the roadsters I can get for $10-15k?

Jakov
Jakov

We certainly have a different definition of “every budget”