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The Four Most Reliable Classic Cars

Buying a classic car can feel like a game of roulette as you dread the day it puts you in the red. But not every car has to be a money pit! From classic NZ station wagons to the iconic Beetle, plenty of old cars have life in them yet. Discover the four most reliable classic cars you can buy today.

Volvo P1800: The Unkillable Icon

Produced between the 1960s and 70s, the Volvo P1800 was robust and uncharacteristic for a Volvo; it was a sight to behold. Its striking lines and classic 60s curves turned heads back then and continue to do so today. But the P1800 finds its way onto our list of the most reliable classic cars for more than just its looks.

The term “reliable” can be vague, thrown about by car manufacturers to sell their latest model. But when we say the P1800 is reliable, we mean it. Don’t believe us; ask Irv Gordon. Irv Gordon managed to get his trusty 1966 Volvo P1800 past a record-setting 3 million miles. That’s like road-tripping around the earth 120 times! Before passing, Gordon left a few nuggets of wisdom on caring for your car “Follow the factory service manual, replace worn or broken parts immediately, don’t let anyone else drive your car and always use the turn signal.” While your P1800 may not reach such heights, it’s safe to say that when we say it’s reliable, we mean it!

Mercedes-Benz W123: Reliability Built During Uncertain Times

The storied history of the Mercedes-Benz W123 is just as remarkable as its reliability. During the Second World War, Mercedes-Benz Group found themselves on the wrong side of the efforts, which ended up getting their factories bombed by the Allies. This devastation meant they could not produce the same super luxury cars by the end of the war. Instead, they shifted all engineering efforts to producing the unkillable machine we now know as the W123.

The results speak for themselves! Very much a product of its environment, the W123 is battle-hardened. It drives like a tank, steamrolling any terrain in its path. Unlike most classic cars, the W123 rarely needs maintenance and has longer legs than most, capable of running for hundreds of thousands of miles. This unmatched build quality, especially for the time, is the only thing that kept the Mercedes-Benz Group alive and why the W123 is one of the most reliable classic cars you can own today.

Volkswagen Beetle: The Reliability is in the Simplicity

Designed to be the ultimate people’s car, the Volkswagen Beetle went into production in the late 1940s. What is clear is that this is one of the most reliable classic cars to date, with plenty of them still driving down roads worldwide.

Sure, the Beetle is slow. It’s basic too, but that’s exactly what makes it so reliable! The simplicity of its design makes it a breeze to fix. Break down on the side of the road? Odds are you’ll be able to get it up and going with minimal tools or mechanical knowledge. And seeing as though it was such a popular car and easy to manufacture, plenty of parts are still knocking about for cheap.

If you’re just getting into the world of classic cars and your overalls aren’t yet greasy with decades of experience, the Beetle is a perfect starter-project car. The older air-cooled engine has fewer parts and doesn’t require coolant, eliminating one of the most unreliable aspects of classic cars.

Saab 900 Turbo: Gone but Not Forgotten

The death of Saab in 2014 still saddens many motorheads worldwide, as the little Swedish company made some of the most sturdy and reliable classic cars over the years. None more so than the Saab 900.

The Saab 900 was introduced in the 1970s at the height of Saab’s power, long before General Motors’ cost-cutting measures saved the company but diluted its cars. This front-engined, front-wheel drive sports car was quirky and over-engineered in all the right places. Taking the world by storm in the late 70s, these models allied spirited performance with superb reliability, and it is this marriage that has kept them as daily drivers for decades.

There’s Plenty of Oldies but Goodies at Portage Cars

While it’s fun owning a classic car, it’s even more fun owning one that actually works! Use this list of the most reliable classic cars to ensure you find yourself a lifer, not a lemon, when looking for cars for sale in New Zealand. Have you got your eye on something in particular? Portage Cars can help you find the wheels you’re looking for. 


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