Owning a classic car shouldn’t be a lonely pursuit- with more clubs, rallies and events than ever before, the whole family can get involved in the hobby. Here are our five top classic cars for families to enjoy.
Volkswagen Type 2 Camper Van
The VW camper is in many ways the perfect family classic. It has an iconic and instantly recognisable shape, loads of room to seat up to five in comfort, and also provides the opportunity for family camping trips.
The other great thing about the Type 2 van is the variety of layouts on offer. Whether you want a simple ‘day van’ or a pop-top camper, there are a range of conversions by Westfalia, Danbury, Dorma and others. Plus, if the interior doesn’t suit your style then there are loads of companies who specialise in bespoke designs.
Early split-screen vans (1950 to 1967) known as ‘Splitties’ are the most desirable, especially the Samba Vans with up to 23 windows but later bay window vans (1967 to 1979) offer all of the fun at a more reasonable price. Later water-cooled busses were made on licence in Mexico until 2013, and offer more reliability if lacking some of the original character.
Fiat 600 Multipla
The Fiat 600 Multipla was the original MPV- designed to seat six adults in a tiny car only 50cm longer than a mini. The result is an elongated bubble which looks like something owned by Peppa Pig.
Not to be mistaken for the 1998 Fiat Multipla (famously described by Jeremy Clarkson as looking ‘bonkers’) the Fiat 600 Multipla, built between 1956 and 1965 is a rare classic, and will draw attention wherever you go. On the down-side, the cramped interior means you probably wouldn’t want to travel far with the whole family and you may have to strap your picnic onto the roof rack.
Ford Cortina Mk III Estate
From 1972 to 1981, the Ford Cortina was the best-selling car in Britain. And for families in need of space for dogs, bikes and other ‘stuff’ the most practical model was the Estate. The Mark III- sold between 1970s and 1976- was offered with varying trim levels and engine sizes.
As a family classic car today, the Ford Cortina offers the same practicality that it did in its heyday. In addition, you’ll attract huge amounts of attention from forty-somethings at car shows all of whom will rush up and say “my dad had one of those!” Hard to find now in any numbers, cars like this are celebrated in the annual Festival of the Unexceptional.
If you’ve got two kids and want a Ferrari to carry the whole family, then your options are severely limited. The Ferrari 400 range encompassing the 400, 400i and later 412, is one of your best bets- and at the moment they are some of the cheapest Ferraris on the market.
The Ferrari 400 is not to everyone’s tastes. The slab-sided boxy design looks more saloon than supercar, but under the bonnet lurks the legendary Colombo V12 engine, and the interior is as smart as you would expect from Maranello’s finest. Plus unusual 1970s and 1980s cars are all the rage at the moment. Mind you, make sure you buy a good one- servicing isn’t cheap.
BMW 325i Cabriolet (E30)
The top-of-the-range BMW E30 M3 has been a rising star of the classic car world in recent years, and is now recognised as an iconic historic vehicle. But although values of the E30 M3 have rocketed, other BMWs from the same range are still accessible.
The BMW E30 325i cabriolet combines the best of all worlds. A powerful six-cylinder engine delivering 169 horsepower, the iconic E30 styling, and a convertible roof for those sunny summer days out. There’s loads of space for four people, and a big boot for the picnic. Leather seats add a touch of class, and there’s even a cassette rack for your old Wham! tracks. What more could you want from a classic car?