Why you should buy a retro car for the winter

MG ZTPerhaps the last thing you want to do with your new car pride and joy is subject it to the ravages of winter. The very thought of having to overtake a gritter lorry is enough to make any right-thinking petrolhead wince.

But for those who aren’t able to bubble-wrap their new cars, what’s the answer? Here’s one: buy a cheap retro car to hack about in when things are really wintery.

The peace of mind it brings is truly liberating. You don’t have to worry about the worst of the winter weather, needn’t give road salt a second thought, and can pass gritter lorries with delicious abandon. You can go out in weather conditions you’d never dream of taking your precious new car out in, just for the challenge of not getting stuck.

Better still, bolt on a set of winter tyres and you’ve an all-weathers car you don’t have to fret about if the weather truly gets the better of you and you end up ditched in a snow bank.

This is one of the many great things about retro motoring – cars from the 1990s and early 2000s haven’t yet reached fully-fledged classics status, so are still available for sensible money. As in, the cost of a smart repair on your brand new car to fix the stone chips caused by the gritter lorry.

So for us, the logic of having an extra retro car for the winter is indisputable. You could even go posh retro and get an old hack with heated seats, or go SUV retro and get an old four-wheel drive. Maybe go purist retro and get a tiny lightweight old car with skinny tyres, perfect for cutting through the snow and defying logic.

We’re doing just this. Our MG ZT cost us £300; it’s not good enough to be dry-stored, so we’re instead going to relish its retro-ness throughout the winter. We’ve even got ourselves a set of winter tyres to beat almost anything the elements can throw at us.

We’ll be updating you about how we get on throughout the winter. But in the meantime, why not check out our pick of 10 retro winter hacks we’ve spotted today?

  1. 1996 Nissan Micra: Skinny tyre-tastic! 
  2. 1998 Volvo S40: Heated seats and £150! 
  3. 2000 Ford Galaxy: Retro MPV with heated front screen!
  4. 1995 Volvo 850: A winter archetype! 
  5. 2000 Honda Accord: More heated seats! 
  6. 1999 BMW 520i: Drifty! 
  7. 2000 Vauxhall Omega: Even more drifty! 
  8. 1999 Jeep Cherokee: Grippy!
  9. 2000 Nissan Micra: Presumed reliability and *that* paint!
  10. 1996 Ford Escort Cabriolet: Winter sun! 

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Richard Aucock
I'm Managing Director at @editorial_mr. I run a bit, cycle a bit, love the automotive industry. I'm a World Car Awards juror and Deputy Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers.


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