Top five affordable classic British roadsters for summer


Top five classic roadsters


With summer finally here Mark Wilkinson from Heritage Classic Car Insurance reveals five classic British roadsters perfect for English countryside driving that won’t break the bank.

The Triumph Spitfire 1500



Triumph_Spitfire_1500_(2)The Triumph Spitfire 1500 was the final incarnation of this pretty two seater English sports car originally introduced at the London Motor Show back in 1962.


The introduction of a 1500 cc engine, as well as a wider and lower stance significantly increased horse power and handling, making it a joy to drive.


With a few cosmetic changes made through the late seventies such as steering column, switch gear and cloth/vinyl seats, production ended in 1980 as it struggled against the more modern Triumph TR-7.


At just £4,000 on the road it takes our number one position.


Vital statistics:


Years produced: 1974 – 1980
Launch price: £1,360
Performance: 0 – 60 mph: 13.2 sec
Power & Torque: 71 bhp/82 Ib ft
Engine: 1493cc 4 cylinder 8 valves
Drive train: Front engine RWD
Structure: Separate chassis
Transmission: Four speed with overdrive
Weight: 794 kg
Typical value: Excellent: £5,250, Good: £4,000, Average: £3,000, Project: £1,000


The TVR 3000S



TVR_3000S_1979_chrome_bumpersTVR is renowned for its Great British performance sports cars. Although no longer producing vehicles today, in its prime TVR was the third largest independent sports car manufacturer in the world.


The TVR 3000S was the convertible version of the 3000M, but this was no simple chop top conversion. The 3000S was a completely re-engineered production, featuring stronger stability as the result of a Jaguar XJ6 rear axle. It also had a fully detachable roof that could be stowed in the boot, along with the removable side windows allowing comfortable elbow height for cruising. Together with TVR’s engine choice from Ford in the shape of the roaring Essex 3 litre V6, great performance was ensured together with an exciting ride all round.


Sadly only 258 of these roadsters were ever made between 1978 & 1979 so as you can imagine they are indeed a rare find with values increasing continually. Unfortunately. guide prices tend to be under realistic market values but it may be possible to find a model in good condition for around £15,000 if you’re lucky.


Vital statistics:


Years produced: 1978 – 1979
Launch price: £6390
Performance: 0 – 60 mph: 7.7 sec
Power & Torque: 142 bhp/174Ib ft
Engine: 2994cc V6 12 valves
Drive train: Front engine RWD
Structure: Tubular steel chassis/GRP body
Transmission: Four speed manual
Weight: 1098 kg
Typical value: Excellent: £23,000, Good: £13,000, Average: £8,000, Project: £5,000


Austin-Healey Sprite MKI


Austin-Healey Sprite MKI

Roadsters don’t come much more British than the Austin-Healey Sprite.


When former racer/engineer, Donald Healey and Austin boss, Leonard Lord combined their skills back in 1952 Austin-Healey was born, bringing large engine roadsters to the motoring world.


Then came the Austin-Healey Sprite, a quirky budget roadster built for the masses and now known across the world. Underneath its cute exterior was a mix of Austin A35 and Morris Minor. However The Austin-Healey Sprite had a saving grace. Its power to weight ratio with nothing more than a 948cc 43 bhp engine was impressive making the Sprite a lively drive.


While the MKII models boast bigger engines, we prefer the iconic look of the original. Today prices are relatively high if you want a good example. Having said this, the MKI remains a reasonably priced British roadster and would be a pleasure to drive and own.


Vital statistics:


Years produced: 1958-1961
Launch price: £669
Performance: 0 – 60 mph: 20.5 sec
Power & Torque: 43 bhp/52lb ft
Engine: 948cc 4 cylinder 8 valves
Drive train: Front engine RWD
Structure: Monocoque
Transmission: Four speed manual
Weight: 602 kg
Typical value: Excellent: £18,000, Good: £12,000, Average: £8,000, Project: £5,000


Triumph TR-7 also known as the bullet



Triumph TR7The second Triumph entry into the top five, the TR-7 was a risk for Triumph with its unusual wedge shape. However, despite its unfamiliar design and smaller 1998cc engine, compared to the TR-6 with its 2499cc six cylinder 150bhp engine, the TR-7 was a huge success thanks to its overall driveability.


There were a number of changes to the Triumph TR-7 during the 1970s, with the introduction of its iconic tartan check interiors in red or green and the addition of a V8 engine for added performance.


The Triumph TR-7 was the last of its kind and today is potentially a good buy for this reason alone. Also prices are keen at the moment so this could be a wise investment for the future.


Vital statistics:


Years produced: 1975 – 1981
Launch price: £3,000
Performance: 0 – 60 mph: 9.1 sec
Power & Torque: 105bhp/ 119Ib ft
Engine: 1998 cc 4 cylinder 8 valve
Drive train: Front engine RWD
Structure: Monocoque
Transmission: 4/5 speed manual or 3 speed auto
Weight: 1000 kg
Typical value: Excellent: £4,000, Good: £2,500, Average: £1,500, Project: £500


MGB Roadster



MGB_RoadsterBy the time MG decided to manufacture the MGB Roadster they were already experts in the field of fun filled compact open top cars.


with their earlier T types and the MGA. It seemed MG had the recipe for success.


Taking over from the T types and MGA, the MGB became the company’s most successful roadster, taking sales to a new level and eventually becoming the world’s best selling sports car.


Compared to its rivals the MGB roadster was ahead of its time and way ahead of the competition. Featuring a luggage rack, pinion steering and independent front suspension it remains a pleasure to drive.


What’s more there was plenty of performance in the upgraded 1.8 B series, with its 95 brake horsepower engine and disc brakes fitted as standard.


Today the MGB roadster attracts enthusiasts all over the world, of all ages. In many ways it is the archetypal classic British roadster and with all parts widely available you won’t break the bank if you own one. Prices are reasonable and rising. It’s possible to pick an MGB for under £10,000, but if you want a really nice model, it could cost double.


Vital statistics:


Years Produced: 1962 – 1967
Launch price: £690
Performance: 0-60 mph: 12.2 sec
Power & Torque: 95 bhp/110lb ft
Engine: 1798 four cylinder 8 valves
Drive train: Front engine RWD
Structure: Monocoque
Transmission: 4 speed manual
Weight: 920kg
Typical value: Excellent: £15,000, Good: £10,000, Average: £7,000, Project: £2,000


Heritage Classic Car Insurance is one of the UK’s most trusted classic car insurance specialists. To find out more visit

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