December 11, 2023

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These Are The 10 Most Reliable European Classic Cars Money Can Buy

Europeans have a long history of churning out fantastic automobiles. Since Karl Benz patented his Patent-Motorwagen back in 1886, we have witnessed the industry grow and spread out across the UK, Germany, Italy among other EU countries. In that time, many eras of invention came and went, leaving us with iconic classic cars that are highly sought after by collector’s world over.

Classic cars come in different conditions, and collectors prefer them when they stay as authentic as possible to their original design and form. Consequently, the good and bad are retained, and all reliability issues the car had in its heydays live on. If they were solidly built, they would stand the test of time and likely serve you honestly years later if well maintained.

Now, classic car owners, especially those getting into the hobby, want a car they can rely on, and sometimes a classic can be driven daily without breaking down every two minutes. Here are the most reliable European classic cars money can buy.

10 Audi Quattro

Audi Quattro
Via Silodrome

The ‘OG’ Audi Quattro has been around for over thirty years, yet it can give many modern cars a lesson in performance. A car knows no compromise and has it all; devastating performance, excellent handling, and most importantly, solid reliability. It was one of the first cars to include all-wheel drive, and following several winning exploits, the Quattro helped set AWD as the gold standard for rally cars.

Via: Audi

The 80s Quattro is easily one of the most reliable Audis ever made. Modern Quattros are less robust than the original ones, that still maintain their performance and efficiency.

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9 Mercedes W123

Mercedes-Benz W123

Mercedes makes good engines that can last well north of 250,000 miles if looked after well. It is the electricals that pose the most reliability issue. That said, the Mercedes W123 Series was one of the finest and most reliable sedans made in the 20th Century, with bulletproof engines and crafted to the point of over-engineering.

mercedes W123 300d
via outmotorsport

Buying a W123 today is a wise investment, as you will get a comfortable, reliable car that does its job perfectly and has held it up for over 40 years.

8 Volkswagen Beetle

zelectricbeetle (1)
via Zelectric

The VW Beetle is as ideal as it gets when looking for an entry-level classic car. Despite its strange shape and far-sighted design, the bug will surprise you with its comfort over long-distance travel. It can also squeeze four adults inside its tiny footprint. But it’s the car’s rugged reliability and easy maintenance that made it gain its popularity globally.

1958 Volkswagen Beetle Classic Car
Via: BringaTrailer

Twenty-one million units of the Beetle were sold while remaining essentially unchanged in over six decades. The car will be around for much longer, even though it is no longer in production. Even if yours breaks down, parts won’t be a big deal with millions of them out there and a massive aftermarket.

7 Saab 900 Turbo

Saab 900
via Steam

Today, practically all modern hot hatch cars have a turbocharged engine; from the VW GTI, Civic Type R, to the Fiat Abarth and Hyundai Veloster N. This is all thanks to the Saab 900 Turbo, the first modern hot hatch to boast a turbo.

saab 900 saab heritage
Via: Saab Heritage

The Saab 900 Turbo was extremely robust and reliable, as it was with all Saab cars before GM acquired the Swedish manufacturer and ruined everything. The cars are rare today and shape into valuable collectibles despite their quirky styling, and most are still being used as daily drivers.

RELATED: Here’s What The 1984 Saab 900 Turbo Costs Today

6 Porsche 944

1988-1989 Porsche 944 Turbo S
via Classic Driver

The Porsche 944 has seen its value rise incredibly quickly over recent times, making it an excellent time to acquire and enjoy one of the more affordable entries into the classic Porsche owners’ club. The car has a reputation of being robust and reliable, specifically if you can lay your hands on an 83-85 model. They have a high survival rate today, proving their build quality.

1985 Porsche 944 Turbo
Via: ezToys

Though pricey to maintain, the 944 can be a reliable daily-driven classic if you keep maintenance up to date. Also, did we mention you get the cool pop-up headlights?

5 VW Golf GTI Mk1

Front 3/4 view of the Golf GTI Mk1

The MK1 GTI is a genuine icon of its time that helped define a new breed of modern hot hatchbacks. Every gear head knows this ‘boy racer per excellence’ that gave power to the people, with its rough edges and all. Given it’s a Golf, supreme reliability comes without question.

Red 1984 Volkswagen Golf GTI MK1
Via: Wikimedia

Today, many Golf GTI MK1s have fallen victim to rust, but those that were taken good care of still retain the original charm. Parts are readily available, and the engine is easy to work on, making restoration jobs a breeze. Also, if you don’t mind the absence of an aircon, you can drive the MK1 on the daily.

4 Volvo P1800

volvo p1800
via volvo

This two-seater coupe dripped so much class in its day that Roger Moore drove it on the hit series ‘The Saint’. The Swedish carmaker rarely makes coupes, but the P1800 was one of the prettiest and most reliable coupes ever made.

Volvo P1800
Via Classic Driver

As proof of its build quality and durability, one P1800 entered the Guinness Book of Records for clocking more than 3 million miles, a record it still holds for a personal vehicle. Also, the P1800 appeared in many endurance races, finishing 84{7b5a5d0e414f5ae9befbbfe0565391237b22ed5a572478ce6579290fab1e7f91} of the 164 official races it started.

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3 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL

Mercedes 560SL - Front quarter
Via Mecum Auctions

The 560 SL was the last of the revered W107 Series, which were in production between 1972 and 1989. It was the most powerful and the heaviest SL when it made its debut in 1986; although its potent 5.6-liter V8 barely found any trouble hauling the weight, as evident by the car’s 140mph top speed.

Mercedes-Benz 560 SL
Via Hagerty

Since its heydays, the 560Sl has upheld its reputation as a robust, reliable, and classically-styled luxury car. Today, it is still lovely to drive and powerful enough to keep up with the best on the expressway.

2 BMW E30

via: Omaze

The BMW E30 is remarkably reliable once you get some unavoidable jobs done on the car by a seasoned E30 mechanic. While it is susceptible to rust and damage like any other car, a well-maintained E30 can easily go over a million miles since they have robust engines. The car had a high level of build quality and engineering. With high production numbers, parts are easily accessible today.

v10 e30
via YouTube

They are hard to beat down, as many of them have been converted into track and drift machines, and they go about the business with the toughness of a modern sports car.

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1 Porsche 911

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 - front
Via: BringATrailer

The early Porsche 911 models were almost magical; they were immaculately well-built machines that delivered a driving experience unparalleled by any sports car of the era. The 911 has remained essentially unchanged for more than five decades, while ranking highest for trouble-free ownership shows the car’s long-standing reliability and durability.

Orange 1972 Porsche 911S Sports Car

The 911 is one of the most identifiable car profiles on the road, and while owners have to do with a few minor issues here and there, the car has stood the test of time has been an engineering marvel since 1964. Indeed, a must-have classic for any car collector.

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