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  • Writer's pictureRoad Test Team

Three Awesome Modern Classics, as Chosen by J.D Classics

Charles & Dean are delighted to discuss our collaboration with J.D Classics, the ultimate destination for restoration, race car preparation and the sale of historic motor vehicles. Join us for an exclusive conversation with sales and events lead Henry Waugh as we explore the subject of modern classics.

Founded in 1987, J.D Classics will be a familiar name to anyone with an interest in exquisite classic cars. Its award-winning workshops do it all, from concours-winning restorations to performance-enhancing upgrades, and if you’re looking to buy its sales inventory is always full of jaw-dropping cars.  

With modern classics becoming increasingly frequent visitors to J.D Classics, sales and events lead Henry Waugh gives us his expert pick of the best modern classics on the market. Henry worked in the art auction world prior to joining J.D Classics, where his research and client service skills together with his passion for British classics make him a perfect fit. Henry’s broad remit sees him meeting with clients, viewing cars offsite, working on new consignments, leading on events and organising guest tours of the showroom and workshop. 

BMW 3-series (E30)

If you’re struggling to get your head around contemporary BMW design – and you’re not alone – then the timeless second-generation 3-series could be just what you need. Elegantly retro, they’re a fabulous looking car.

‘The market for these is very strong at the moment, and that’s down to a number of factors,’ explains Henry. ‘The blocky retro styling and nostalgic details are a big part of it, but they’re also a comfortable, easy-to-live-with classic. And for anyone coming from a modern car, an E30 won’t come as a shock. They’re a light, fun car to drive, with that old school feel on the road, but you’ve got features like electric windows. And if you do want to do a little work on it yourself it’s all easy to access and relatively easy to understand. Not long after the E30 cars became more tightly packaged and harder to work on.

‘Values start in the region of £10k-£15k, with £25k-£30k being the upper end of the market if we rule out the crazy-money E30 M3. We’re selling a 21,727-mile, one-owner 325i convertible at the moment. I can’t think of a better modern classic for a weekend away or a cruise through town on a summer’s evening, roof down.’

Porsche 911 GT3 (996)

The GT3 legend started here. Introduced in 1999, the 996-generation GT3 was the spiritual successor to the earlier Carrera RSs but combined lightweight, track-focused engineering with liquid-cooled flat-six power to bring about a dynamic paradigm shift for the iconic 911. 

‘We have a beautiful 2003 GT3 for sale at the moment, and I just think they’re ageing so, so well,’ says Henry. ‘We had it on track recently, supporting the charity Mission Motorsport, and these cars still hold their own against modern supercars.

‘Yes, the 996 lost that air-cooled sound. But the naturally-aspirated six still sounds incredible and they’re such exciting, analogue cars to drive. They’re light, raw and basic, with a real racecar feel, and they just make you want to drive; they’re not interested in going slowly. The ride’s a little tough – not uncomfortable but tough – and ABS is the only driver aid. But that just adds to the experience. And our example, in tasteful black with gold wheels, has some nice options like leather bucket seats and climate control.’ 

Jaguar XJR

‘My job means I get to spend time with some incredible Jaguars, including XK120s with period racing pedigree and a car that belonged to the son of founder William Lyons. But while we all love the classic Jaguars you can’t drive them every day; it’s often just not practical,’ says Henry. ‘Clearly some of our customers feel the same, and I think that’s why we’re starting to see more modern classic Jaguars; XKRs, XJRs, even V8 S-Types. We’re seeing them for maintenance, for ceramic coatings and for mechanical overhauls.

‘My pick would be a late, 2007 or 2008 supercharged XJR in a nice spec. There are a few out there in some less appealing colour schemes so hang on for something in a good colour, black perhaps, on nice wheels and with an interior combination that works. I think even a bit of walnut in the interior is nice in this instance and it’s traditional, nodding to the Jaguars of the 1950s and 1960s. What’s less traditional is the performance – the engine is a supercharged 4.2-litre V8 good for 400bhp and 0-60mph in just 5.0sec. Jaguar just isn’t making cars like this anymore, and for £20k-£25k I think they’re a great option – so long as you’re prepared for the running costs!’


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