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Hundreds of Londoners are dodging Sadiq Khan‘s hated Ulez charge by buying classic cars – which they can then insure for a fraction of the cost of a modern motor. 

Merlin McCormack of Duke of London said he has clients searching for a classic that can be used as a daily driver. 

In the UK, once a car reaches 40 years by year of manufacture it is deemed historic. This means the car is exempt from road tax, does not require an MOT and benefits from classic insurance. 

Though, despite the lack of an MOT requirement, experts advise that owners should get their cars tested to ensure it is safe to drive. 

Most importantly, a historic car does not have to pay the Ulez charge. 

Merlin McCormack, owner of Duke of London, said he is dealing with clients every day looking for a classic car to dodge Sadiq Khan’s hated Ulez charge while allowing them to drive something with a bit of character

Sitting on the forecourt of Duke of London are a range of classic cars from different generations. On the left is the iconic British MGB GT from the 1970s. An American Ford Mustang from the 60s sits in the middle, while a 1980s Mercedes R107 SL is on the right

A 1970s Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, right, while Ulez compliant, might not be the best daily driver due to its lack of fuel economy

Though from the inside, the Rolls Royce offers lots of wood and lashings of old-school charm

Speaking to MailOnline from his showroom in Brentford, west London, he said: ‘Many of us grew up in the back of these cars which are now modern classics. They have many of the creature comforts of a new car without the price tag. 

‘We have seen a massive spike in people looking for pre-1983 cars, which still have extras like heated seats, air conditioning, but have far more character in comparison to a new car. 

‘Imagine you can now buy the bomb-proof W-123 Mercedes or the R-107, the earlier VW Golf GTis and a host of late 70s early 80s fast Fords. 

‘These are all cars that can be used as daily drivers, but won’t lose half of their value when you leave the forecourt.’ 

One recent client from London who owned an electric Fiat 500 saw his car insurance drop from £1,500-a-year on the new electric vehicle to just £300 when he bought a 1970s Mercedes SL.  

A classic Mini Cooper, pictured, makes an ideal classic for someone entering the market looking for a good car for nipping around the city. It is pictured beside a less practical but equally fun 1968 Austin Mini Moke and a Jaguar XK120

This 1952 Jaguar XK-120 was one of 12,000 made in Coventry between 1948 and 1954, powered by a 3.4 litre straight six engine. When first built, the XK-120 was the fastest production car ever made. The front windscreen was often removed to eek out a few extra miles per hour

This 1960 Austin Healey 3000 MKI has a five-speed gearbox as an upgrade making it more useable on modern roads – enabling it to cruise along the motorway or fly around b-roads 

Mr McCormack continued: ‘In all fairness, not many modern cars are interesting, they lack character. We have people coming in from all generations and they want the feel of an older car, one which provides feedback. You can feel the road.  

‘Some are looking for a daily driver to use as their man car, while others want a toy for the weekend.’ 

There is an abundance of vehicles available for anyone with a budget of between £5,000 and £30,000. 

At the lower end, there are 1970s MGs, Triumphs and the odd early 80s hatchback. 

According to Mr McCormack: ‘Buy the best example you can afford and maintain it properly and it will be an investment. If you buy a 1970s Mercedes SL for around £10,000, it will need welding. That costs money. If you start with a good classic and keep it in good repair, you could well sell it in three years for a profit. 

‘They are appreciating assets at the moment. It is interesting, the newer version Mercedes SL has crashed in value because of Ulez as it will be at least a decade before they are exempt from the charge. 

For Fast Ford fans, this is a 1990 Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth. Unfortunately, it will be a few years before it is Ulez friendly

Fans of Japanese exotica will love this 1977 Datsun 280Z – one of the first Japanese sports cars to be sold in Europe

For the gentleman of a certain vintage, the 1972 Bristol 411 Series 3, pictured ahead of the the Mercedes SL, left and Ford Mustang, right, is the ultimate car for a trip to the South of France

‘There is an undeniable hypocrisy with the Ulez exemption because these cars will fail modern emissions standards. But if you look at the entire lifespan of the car, a 40 year old motor has already more than written off the carbon footprint of producing it. 

‘Keeping it on the road is more environmentally beneficial than digging up cobalt for electric batteries. Some of these cars, such as the W123 Mercedes will still do 25-30 miles per gallon on a run.’ 

Some classic car fans are buying American cars from the late 70s or early 80s, such as the cheaper Chevrolet Corvettes which are a fraction of the price of a classic Stingray. 

‘It is difficult to say where somebody should start as there are so many options out there. The later Ulez compliant classics still have the charm of an older car, but they are well sealed and water tight. Someone new to classics might need advice about the initial maintenance needed to repair rust or sort out issues that will get worse over time. 

‘But once that work is done properly, they can have peace of mind.’ 

Although, classic owners have to be careful over the fuel they use in their cars. As part of the Government’s net zero strategy they have ordered oil companies to add ethanol to their petrol. Unfortunately, for classic car owners, the ethanol collects more water from the atmosphere than traditional unleaded which damages the older vehicle’s fuel pipes.

Mr McCormack, pictured, with a Ford Mustang said potential classic car owners should by the best vehicle they can afford as the cheaper ones will require considerably more work to keep on the road… unless they are looking for a project

This is a 1970 Pontiac LeMans, with a 5.7 litre V8. As with many of the older classics, it is entirely Ulez compliant

This is an absolutely stunning Alfa Romeo Guilietta Spider from the 1960s. It is parked beside an unusual Lancia Y10 ‘Fire’ from 1986 and in the corner, in black is a 1955 Ford Thunderbird

This is a 1990 Porsche 964 Carrera 2 Cabriolet with a tiptronic gear box 

Ahead of the Porsche is another Ford Mustang, while to its right is 2017 Morgan Aero 8 and the Datsun 120z

Mr McCormack added: ‘There are several things you can do that can make your classic more useable, such as make sure it is properly undersealed underneath to stop rust. 

‘Also, it is now possible to install modern head units that look like retro models, but offer support for Apple Play. That means you have a hands’ free kit, sat nav, infinite music supply and traffic alerts without having to cut huge holes in the car’s dashboard. 

‘These are cars that have to be used regularly. There is no point hiding them away in a garage. Some people have never experienced the wonder of owning a car with an “over-drive” button. In older cars, the over-drive gave you an extra gear for cruising. No need to change on the stick, just press a button. Using that button keeps the charm of motoring alive!’ 

The MGB GT is one of the most affordable classics with an enthusiastic owner’s club and a wide range of spare parts

Mr McCormack, pictured sitting on the bonnet of a Range Rover P38, said classic car ownership puts the character and fun back into motoring

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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