As the 2020s loom on the horizon, the appeal of a classic car is very easy to understand. Without sounding too bleak or curmudgeonly, the onslaught of an automated, assisted future will only make the prospect of a classic, a car that needs driving and caring for, more alluring. More alluring to a very select few, sure, but given we are that few, here's the place to celebrate it...
So if 2020 is the year to fulfil the classic car dream, do we have just the vehicle. See, the trouble with old cars is that, as their appeal increases, so do their values. Cars that might once have worked perfectly as a cheap, interesting classic are now at sky high money, even with a recent softening. The knowledge that the era they represent is not returning, and that motoring will only move further from it, keeps their demand buoyant.
Then the trouble with cheap classics is that they tend to be the cars that people don't want any more, those gladly consigned to the history books because, well, they're a bit crap. Slow, ugly, boring, or a combination of all three, it can make the hunt for a classic rather challenging for the enthusiast.
Those are quite broad, sweeping statements, but hopefully the point is clear enough: getting hold of a classic is harder than it used to be. So how about this? For £10,000, which is a pretty inconsequential amount in the grand scheme of car buying, you could be the owner of this Lancia Fulvia.
Quite the specimen, isn't it? Unencumbered by modern safety standards - and aided here by the debumpered rally look, more of which shortly - the Fulvia is small, beautiful and sweet as cherry pie. Lots of Lancia rally history is dominated by the blocky, functional Delta, but of course those absolute stunners existed before it: Stratos, Monte Carlo, 037. It's surely fair to include the Fulvia in that list of very pretty Lancias.
First introduced in 1963, this Series 2 1971 Fulvia was first brought to the UK - driven here, no less - two years ago. As the owner is keen to point out, Fulvias of this era benefit from the gorgeous styling of the early cars, but were built before Fiat's cost-cutting influence was too severe. Prior to sale it's been set up on a rolling road, fitted with a new clutch and an upgraded alternator. "Ready for a new owner to enjoy" is how it's pitched, a "usable, presentable car offering a spritely and engaging drive". And who wouldn't want to try that?
As for the rally look - note the rake pushing the nose down, and the spotlights - appropriate because the Fulvia did compete back in its homeland. Described in the ad as "gentle road rallying", which for an Italian in a Lancia we'll assume was a little more spirited, it's not hard to imagine how much fun a little Lancia in the hills must have been. Hopefully the next owner can continue with a bit of competition - something a bit different to a Mini, isn't it?
Now, obviously, tending to a 50-year-old Lancia won't be as simple as a modern car, and perhaps not as drama-free as some contemporaries. That said, this is fundamentally a pretty simple little machine, one not blighted by huge weight, enormous power or any great complexity - nothing much should be under any tremendous strain. And goodness knows there's the enthusiasm and support around Lancia in the UK to keep the cars going, with decades of experience at specialists. To be able to get yourself into that community, to fulfil a dream of classic ownership and nab something this pretty, all for £10k, looks like the bargain of the year...