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Gallery: tax dodgers

  1. Buried under the kudzu of information in the 2013 budget, we spotted an interesting little paragraph. Point 2.148, to be precise. And it pertains to Vehicle Excise Duty, or what you may prefer to call road rent.

    Just like cars built before 1973, from April 1 2014 a vehicle manufactured before 1 January 1974 will be exempt from paying VED. That means, come 2014, you don’t have to pay road tax on cars that were built through ‘73, so there’s a new wave of classics that avoid the unfortunate task of handing over up to £1065 in annual taxes.

    Ever on hand to offer real-world consumer advice,’s clumped the best cars launched in 1973 together in this handy gallery. Go forth and buy one. But not till 2014. And don’t come crying to us when it breaks down.

    Which one would you have?

  2. Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer

    It was designed to rival the sumptuous Lamborghini Miura and featured a 4.4-litre flat 12 engine (hence the boxer moniker). 387 were built, 88 were right hand drive, and just 58 of those were earmarked for the UK. That makes it the rarest Berlinetta Boxer of them all…

    Approx value £110,000
    Power 380bhp

  3. Ford XB Falcon

    A product of Ford Australia, it looks a bit like a MkII Cortina folded into a Mustang, but it packs a mighty punch. There’s a 5.8-litre V8 in top-speccers. Watch out, though - some came with a 3.3-litre six pot… You might also remember it from Mad Max -Mel Gibson drove a limited GT351 version in the film…

    Approx value £45,000
    Power 300bhp

  4. Ferrari 308 GT4

    It was a groundbreaking model for Ferrari, this. Firstly, it was the company’s first production car to have a mid-engined V8 (a layout that’d comprise the bulk of the company’s business in the succeeding decades), secondly, it was the first production Ferrari to be penned by Bertone (not Pinninafarina), and finally it was the only Ferrari Richard Hammond’s experienced complete electrical and mechanical failure in… Still, they’re blummin’ cheap.

    Approx value £25,000
    Power 250bhp

  5. Honda Civic

    Yep, like AC/DC, Pepe Jeans, and The Trilateral Comission, Honda’s humble Civic started life in 1973. It was endowed with a 1.2-litre four cylinder engine and featured lavish appointments like reclining vinyl bucket seats, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Wood trim on the dashboard, and an optional AM/FM radio. Find one without rust. We dare you.

    Approx value £2,500
    Power 50bhp

  6. Leyland P76

    The Leyland P76 was an Australian model that featured what BLists described as the “standard Australian wheelbase of 111 inches”. I.e. massive. You could get it with a 2.6-litre inline six cylinder or 4.4-litre Rover V8. They’re all four-door, though. Shame.

    Approx value £5,000
    Power 200hp

  7. Austin Allegro

    It caries the rare distinction of being one of few mass-produced cars with a square steering wheel. Just don’t. Seriously.

    Approx value £2,000
    Power 48bhp

  8. Matra Bagheera

    It looks sporty, it has three-abreast seating and only weighs 965kg. Which is probably a good thing, because the engine at launch was a diminutive 1.3-litre. Don’t be fooled by the lightweight plastic bodywork - it’ll still rust terribly because the underlying steel chassis was entirely unprotected. Still, it’s good for 116mph.

    Approx value £4000
    Power 81hp

  9. Reliant Robin

    As Jeremy demonstrated, the fiberglass Reliant’s talents do not lie in handling. Or speed. Or style. This perennial automotive shambles is, in fact, good for little but pointing and laughing at. And actively repelling females. Still, they’re now even more economical.

    Approx value £2000
    Power 40bhp

  10. Volkswagen Passat

    While the modern Passat errs on the irredeemably dull side of things, the original model’s aged pretty well. It should prove a relatively useable thing, too - it’s FWD, has a sturdy four cylinder engine and produces a useful 84hp in 1.5-litre guise. Fun fact: Passat derives from the German word for trade wind during the period that VW used to name its cars after prominent winds (Golf’s named after the Gulf stream, Jetta after the Jet stream, and Scirocco after the Sirocco).

    Approx value £3000
    Power 84hp

  11. Toyota Starlet

    Believe it or not, this little Toyota hatch is rear-wheel drive. Sadly, there’s not much scope for MASSIVE DORIFOTO - it only comes with a 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre four cylinder. From its launch in April ‘74 you could buy a two-door sedan and a three-door wagon - four doors weren’t available till October. You should buy one. And make it look like this (packing a 1.5-litre 130bhp engine, no less).

    Approx value £2000
    Power 54bhp

    Photo: Rob Richardson

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