10 Most Underrated British Classic Cars You Should Buy Right Now


Interest in classic cars has exploded in recent years. Those coveted cars from the gearheads’ childhood that once fell out of favor have all found their way. Those who love British-built performance cars like the Ford Sierra RS500 racing monster will have seen such examples soar.

Many gearheads may not have deep enough pockets to buy the best of Brits, and while seeing an iconic Jaguar E-Type sitting in the driveway is never a reality, there are other options.

Those with a keen eye can pick out cars that are set to increase in value. Not only positioned to most likely be a financial winner, but they’re also extremely rewarding to own and drive. So, for those who want to turn their backs on the main heroes, here are ten of the most underrated British heroes classic cars you should buy now.

ten Jaguar XJ-S V12

There is no point in arguing, the Jaguar XJ-S is even more beautiful today than when it was released. A massive British-built brute, it came with a selection of enthusiastic engines. The one to have is the glorious V12, simply because the option is there.

Able to reach 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds, the XJ-S was hampered by its weight. The powerful 5.2-liter V12 generates up to 295 hp, but it’s a nightmare to work on. It is still a sports coupe with a V12 engine, which can now be purchased at a relatively low price.

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9 MG ZS 180

At the time of its debut, the MG ZS was an oddity. Most of his competitors were equipped with turbocharged engines, but he preferred a V6. It may have lost some sales, but made it a much better car. Finely balanced and fast, it was a real gem.

Its hard-charging 2.5-litre powerplant produced only 177 bhp, but could hit 60 mph in 7 seconds. Fitted with fully independent suspension, the ZS 180 was a great car to drive fast. With the throttle pinned, it would cover ground at an alarming rate and reward in spades.

8 Rover 220 Tomcat

The handsome Rover coupe has been best known in top-spec 2.0-litre turbo form. This flagship model is said to deliver 197 bhp, hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 150 mph. Which makes it a very fast car for its time.

Being one of the most powerful Rover cars ever produced, the 220 Turbo featured fashionable T-Tops and a sporty interior. Dubbed the Tomcat during development after the fighter jet, the moniker stuck and suited the spirited coupe car well.

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seven Jensen Healey

A strikingly looking 2-seater convertible, the Jensen-Healey was the company’s selling model. Powered by a 2.0-liter Lotus engine developing 145 bhp, it could sprint to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. Fun to drive, it turned out to be a very nimble vehicle.

An easy-to-maintain car, most examples were exported to the United States. In cross-country, the Jensen-Healey could easily beat its competitors. With a modest top speed of 119mph, it might not have been the fastest, but it was one of the most demanding to drive.

6 Triumph Dolomite Sprint

One of the first cars in the world to feature a multi-valve engine, the Dolomite Sprint was a high-performance masterpiece. Its 2.0-liter 16-valve engine generates 127 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque. This allowed for a 0-60mph time of 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 120mph.

A true sports sedan, the Dolomite Sprint proved to be a race car on the road. Anxious to rev up, she would gladly place her German and Italian rivals in her rearview mirror. The ideal tool for the family man with a racer attitude, it has also proven to be very practical.

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5 TVR Tasmine

After gathering an assortment of auto parts from many different manufacturers, TVR created the Tasmin. Powered by a 2.8 liter Ford V6 engine developing 160 hp, it would hit 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. A very smooth vehicle to drive, it set several firsts in the industry.

Also available with a 2.0-liter engine producing a paltry 100 bhp, the Tasmin was one of the first vehicles to feature a bonded windshield. The Tasmin was also the last TVR to be officially exported to the United States by the company.

4 Ford Scorpion Cosworth

One of the lesser known Cosworth creations, the Ford Scorpio was an executive express. Hiding a 2.9-liter V6 under its hood that put out 204bhp, it sped to 60mph in 8.2 seconds, while its rear-wheel-drive setup offered snappy handling.

Luxuriously furnished with upholstered leather chairs, it was also a wonderful place to relax, able to eat miles as fast as it would drink gasoline. Never reaching the levels of desirability of rival Cosworth products, the Scorpio Cosworth could once be had for less than $1500.

3 Vauxhall Calibra Turbo 4×4

Once a common sight in the executive car park, the Vauxhall Calibra could be ordered with four-wheel drive and a big turbo. This gave the once quiet coupe blistering performance and confident handling to match.

With 201 hp, a 0-60 mph time of 6.2 seconds, and the ability to hit 152 mph, the Calibra emerged as a performance car contender. As the engine had been fine-tuned by Cosworth, it offered incredible flexibility in picking up gears. Occasionally unloved, many have been abused.

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2 Imp Hillman

Although a rear-wheel-drive compact car, with a rear-engine layout, the Imp was designed as the perfect family car. A rival to the Austin Mini, the Imp never really made it into the market, unlike its successful rival.

Lightweight, highly adjustable and a favorite of those looking for an inexpensive running tool. The Imp can be turned into a highly competitive vehicle with decent acceleration. A far cry from the basic factory car that struggles to hit 60 mph in 15 seconds.

1 Reliant Scimitar GTE

Marketed as a 2+2 coupe, the Scimitar GTE looks more like a two-door wagon. A muscular machine, fitted with the venerable 3.0-litre Essex V6 engine, would chirp happily. Plant the throttle and its 135bhp would see the GTE hit 60mph in 7.8 seconds.

Very practical, the Reliant Scimitar GTE is often overlooked by buyers for more exotic machines. Still, with a little tweaking and a few upgrades under the hood, a GTE can be turned into something very fast and unique to look at.


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