Top 10 cheapest classics to insure

Owning and enjoying a classic car doesn't have to be a dream - you can make it a reality and it may not be as expensive as you think.

Classic Fiat 500

If you choose wisely and you stay within your comfort zone, both financially and mechanically, you could be experiencing the joys of motoring like never before.

Not only are vintage vehicles packed with character, if they are more than 40 years old, they are road tax and MOT exempt - and cheap to insure.

Here at Admiral, our Pricing Team has calculated the 10 cheapest classic cars to insure (based on average, annual premium).

There’s a real variety of cars in our list – from open-top sports cars to camper vans, and iconic city cars to dependable 4x4s...

1) Land Rover Series (1948-85) | Average annual premium: £98.51

First series 1 landrover

The Land Rover Series I, II, and III (commonly referred to as 'Series' Land Rovers) are in huge demand now - especially since their successor (the Defender) went out of production in 2016.

Arguably no other car offers the all-terrain capability and practicality of the Landy. Of course, the reality is that they are a throwback, so they are big and unwieldly when compared to modern SUVs, and quite heavy to drive - especially in town.

That said, Land Rovers are iconic and, well looked after, will provide many years of enjoyment - just don't expect the comforts of a modern 4x4.

Series Is are the rarest (going for as much as £35,000), but Series IIs and IIIs might make more sense with updates such as a plastic dash and full synchromesh gearbox, while parts are easier to obtain.

Expect to pay at least £10,000 for a Series II/III and get expert guidance because chassis rust is just one of many potential pitfalls.

2) Fiat 500 (1957-76) | Average annual premium: £119.82

Classic fiat 500

Launched in 1957 and developed by legendary engineer Dante Giacosa, the cute 500 was as affordable to buy and run as possible, and a remarkable piece of packaging. More than 3.6 million were built over its long lifespan and they are now a rare sight on our roads.

You can pick up a project for as little as £3,000, but you'll probably have to pay closer to £10,000 for a daily driver. Rust is the Fiat 500's biggest enemy so a thorough inspection is essential. If you can find a solid or well-restored example, you'll find that it's DIY friendly and you're in for a huge amount of enjoyment from your dinky Cinquecento.

3) Triumph TR6 (1968–76) | Average annual premium: £133.44

Triumph TR 6 - RM Sotherby's
RM Sotherby's​

The TR6 was an old-school British muscle car. Of the 91,850 produced, 83,480 were exported and only 8,370 were sold in the UK. It's still a great-looking car thanks to German coachbuilder Karmann, while driving one is a physical experience (heavy steering and clutch), but thrilling all the same.

All TR6s were powered by Triumph's throaty 2.5litre straight-six and UK models got fuel-injection - a rarity in those days. You'll have to pay at least £15,000 for a decent TR6, while immaculate examples go for as much as £35,000.

Watch out for corrosion. Panels can be replaced, but chassis rot is the big issue, so as ever, get it inspected from below. Also watch out for accident damage.

Finally, the more powerful engines (150bhp as opposed to 125bhp) are the most desirable, along with a working overdrive. If you can find one with a good hard top, even better - especially if you plan year-round driving.

4) Triumph Stag (1970-1978) | Average annual premium: £134.04

Triumph Stag

Styled by Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti, the Stag is one of the best-looking classic British sports cars. However, it acquired a reputation for mechanical unreliability, usually in the form of overheating. That said, the V8's problems can be fixed and if properly maintained, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Just under 26,000 were produced and many good examples survive. Best to get a prospective buy thoroughly checked out by a specialist.

As well as rust (wheel arches, sill-to-floor joints and rear spring top mountings) and the engine, there may also be issues with the power steering, for example.

Go for one with a manual gearbox with overdrive and if it's got a factory hard top, even better. Projects can be found for as little as £3,000, but you'll have to pay more than £10,000 for a good one or as much as £25,000 for a mint example.

5) Mini (1959-2000) | Average annual premium: £141.30

Vintage mini

Launched in 1959, the Alec Issigonis-designed Mini was revolutionary with front-wheel drive and a transverse mounted engine creating a remarkable amount of interior space. It set the template for small cars and a total of 5,387,862 Minis were built before production finally ended in 2000.

The Cooper or Cooper S from the 1960s are the most desirable but asking prices for the best are as high as £40,000. If you want something more basic, it's a question of whether you want a classic or a more modern example from the 1990s, for instance, with a few more mod cons.

Whatever you choose, Minis corrode and there are several danger areas including the wheel arches, sub-frame and sills. As ever, best to get your potential buy checked over.

6) Volkswagen T2 (1967–1979) | Average annual premium: £160.10

VW T2 campervan

The Volkswagen Type 2 followed the iconic T1. Larger and heavier, it lost the 'splittie' (split windscreen) design and gained panoramic vision via its 'bay' window. There were scores of other changes during the T2's lifetime, including larger engines and the addition of front disc brakes.

Needless to say, they are highly collectable now and dozens of companies offer them for hire if you fancy a trip away in a classic camper. However, allow plenty of time to get to your destination - its 48bhp 1600cc engine had a 0-62mph time of 50 seconds and a top speed of 65mph.

Expect to pay at least £15,000 for a decent one, but good ones go for as much as £25,000. Rust is the biggest killer (it can take hold everywhere), so you need to find one that's original and rot free, or an example that has been extensively and properly restored. Thankfully the air-cooled engines go on forever, or at worst, can be replaced.

7) Mercedes-Benz 350 SL (1971–89) | Average annual premium: £167.75

Mercedes 350 sl

Powered by a 3.5litre overhead cam V8, the 350 SL (or R107) replaced the elegant W113 ‘Pagoda roof’ Merc. The SL variant was a two-seater roadster with a standard soft top (optional hardtop and folding seats for the rear bench). In total, 237,287 were produced and there were classy if not overtly sporty like some rivals.

Like all classics, it's worth paying that little extra for a long service history. Apart from the usual rust (apparently worse in pre-1976 cars), other things to look out for include sub-frame cracking and timing chain rattle - a ticking bomb under the bonnet.

Now that Pagoda prices have gone stratospheric, the 350 SL is an appreciating classic. Expect to pay £15,000 for a decent car, or at least £25,000 for a stunner.

8) MGB (1962–80) | Average annual premium: £187.34

A row of MGBs

Replacing the MGA in 1962, sales of the MGB and its variants (MGC and MGB GT V8) totalled 523,836 cars. Available as a roadster and 2+2 coupe (GT), it was a rival to Triumph's TR series.

Popular around the world, especially in the States, the MGB is a classic British sports car and an absolute pleasure to drive. In its heyday it was affordable too, though now £5,000 will only buy you a runner and you'll have to pay closer to £25,000 for a nicely restored example.

Chrome bumpers were replaced by rubber in 1974 and the former are more desirable, but there's not much in it now such is the lure of the MG brand. The 1.8 litre cars sound good and are torquey, while the V8 (arrived in 1973) added a whole new dimension to the GT.

There's a thriving owners' scene for the MGB so parts large and small, and even full rebuilds, are not uncommon if money is no object. Beware of rot and subsequent bodges.

As ever, get advice from an expert before investing in a MGB because what may look good might be hiding a multitude of surprises.

9) MG Midget (1961–80) | Average annual premium: £192.53

MG Midget
Huw Llewellyn (Flickr) 

The Midget was the result of a bit of 1960s’ badge engineering. Effectively a re-badged Austin Healey Sprite MkII (itself a development of the original 1958 MkI 'Frogeye' Sprite), the MkI Midget was a small, simple, affordable sports car powered by the 948cc A series engine also seen in the Mini.

Apart from more powerful engines, the biggest change came in 1974 when it was fitted with black bumpers to comply with the latest safety rules.

Fun to drive with low running costs, round-arch Midgets with chrome bumpers (1972-74) are generally considered to be the most desirable. Around £3,000 will buy you a perfectly acceptable Midget, but you'll have to pay three times that for a show car.

Parts are widely available, and they are DIY-friendly, but you'll have to look hard to find a solid one. Always thoroughly check over for the rust before committing.

10) Volkswagen Beetle (1938–2003) | Average annual premium: £197.00

VW Beetle

Created by Ferdinand Porsche, Hitler’s “people car” was originally called the Volkswagen Type 1, but soon became known as the Beetle.

By the 1960s it had reached cult status and was the star of the Herbie movies including 'The Love Bug'. Production continued in Germany until 1978 and the last Beetle rolled off the assembly line in Mexico as late as 2003.

More than 21 million were built and buying a Beetle is one of the cheapest ways to run a classic. Earlier split rear window Beetles with sloping headlights are worth the most, but examples from the late 1960s and 1970s with rounded windscreens and plastic dashboards are slightly more sophisticated, while convertibles command a £1,000 premium.

Corrosion can and does attack anywhere and everywhere on a Beetle, so buyer beware. The good news is they are DIY-friendly if you find a solid one. Beetles cost anything from £1,000 for a project, to £4-7,500 for a daily driver or as much as £35,000 for a Concours car.

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