Top Three... Investment cars for £10K

Although buying cars as investment pieces is fraught with potential pitfalls, nothing can beat the feeling of having a genuine classic sat on your drive that is worth more and more as time goes by.

Below we list three of the best automotive investments you'll find for £10K. Obviously, certain advice stands for any classic you look to buy:

*Make sure the car has a decent service history

*Try and buy the best example you can. A rough car now will still be a rough car in a few years when you want to cash in.

*Do a thorough HPI check. Not one of the £2.99 text jobs. Spend wisely here as it could stop you getting your fingers burned. Some companies even offer financial compensation should the information they give you turn out to be incorrect.

*Have any potential purchase inspected either by us or a specialist in the marque.

*Check VERY carefully for accident damage. You can change any number of things on a car but if it's been wrapped around a tree at some point in it's life, no amount of polishing will change that fact and it will seriously affect it's value come resale time.

*Check out any online forums for the make / model you intend to buy. These can be a great resource and a good way to get in touch with other enthusiasts.

3rd: Jaguar XKR.

The XKR was Jaguar's belated replacement for the XJS, (Aston Martin stole it's first attempt to make the DB7). Classically British and devilishly fast these cars have enjoyed a steady rise in price of late that looks set to continue.

However, they are not with out problems. A £10K budget will likely see you sifting through earlier pre 2001 cars. Of these, the main issue was the lining that Jag used in the cylinder bores. It can be eroded over time which can lead to a loss in compression. If it's sluggish to start, run away quickly. Even if it isn't, make sure you have a full compression test before you part with any cash. Starting under the bonnet, any top end rattle should be a cause for concern. Early cars suffered from timing chain tensioner problems which can be massive money to rectify should it go horrible wrong.

The gearbox on these cars is generally pretty hardy, (it's made by Mercedes), but make sure it travels through all the gears smoothly or you'll be staring down the barrel of a £3500+ bill to put it right.

Most of the XKR's came with the 20 inch BBS split rims, (as the one pictured above). Make sure the stainless steel rim is in good order. They can be bent quite easily, look unsightly and are expensive to replace.

2nd: BMW E46 M3

Although M3's have been around since the late 80's, the E46 is considered by many to be the best of the bunch. They have already started to appreciate at a rate of knots so now is the time to buy.

They are generally reliable cars but that said, there are a couple of things to watch out for. Rear suspension springs are a notorious failure on the M3. Not expensive to replace but you don't want your first trip in your new car to be to us do you!?

Sub-frames are known to crack on these also. Have a good look around to make sure it's sound. There was a recall on the pre 2003 cars to replace faulty con-rod bearings. Make sure any potential purchase has had this attended to . Likewise, all M3's should have returned to BMW after 1200 miles for a 'running in' service. Although it won't affect the warranty this far down the line, trying to sell a car with out it's vital first stamp could be difficult.

For £10K you'll have a few to choose from. Try and avoid ones that have been modified and keep it as original as possible.

1st: Ford Focus RS

If you're thinking of picking up one of these fast Fords, stop what you're doing at once and go and get one immediately. The cat is well and truly out of the bag on this and prices are soaring. This just sneaks in to our £10K limit but truth be told, for one worth having you should be adding another couple of grand at least.

Overall, the mighty Focus is pretty well screwed together. The only real problems of note are the charge cooler system failing, (which can lead to all sorts of internal engine damage), and worn turbo seals. This will present itself in the form of a cloud of blue smoke in your rear view mirror under heavy acceleration.

Other problems include the dreaded tin worm around the sills and wheel arches and saggy seat cushions on the early cars.

As an aside, make sure that it comes with all the original trim including the RS floor mats. These are like hen's teeth and can be surprisingly expensive to replace.

Lastly, make sure the service history is comprehensive and it's generally advised to replace the cambelt at 60K miles as oppose to the 100K that Ford recommend due to the power the 2.0 Duratec produces.

We hope you found guide this helpful.

To read our other guides, search for the tag : Top Three on our blog page.

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