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Retro

12 of the UK’s best classic cars to avoid ULEZ charges in 2023

As the ULEZ expands to all London boroughs, it's time to go old or go home

BMW 3 Series (E21)
  1. Volkswagen Golf GTI MkI

    Volkswagen Golf GTI MkI

    The Mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI is the epitome of retro cool. For that reason, if you’re getting your hands on one, you’ll pay a pretty penny. Yet, that won’t be money wasted. A decent investment and ULEZ-exempt to boot, despite its arguably (cough, ahem) young age, if you have the garage space and don’t need a daily driver, the VW Golf GTI is the classic hot-hatch to have.
     

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  2. Triumph TR6

    Triumph TR6

    The quirky roadster that is the Triumph TR6 is a ‘70s icon, powered by a 2.5-litre straight-six engine and four-speed gearbox. With plenty of character and a compact form, it's easy to park, easy on the eye and qualifies for ULEZ charge exemption.

  3. BMC Mini

    BMC Mini

    This iconic little thing is never going to rival a family hatchback even though it was a ground-breaking affordable family wagon at launch. A super cute set of wheels, with unrivalled visibility of the road and a 'historic road tax class' pass in ULEZ, a Mini is a lifestyle choice.

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  4. Vauxhall Viva

    Vauxhall Viva

    With a reputation for being one of the slowest cars on the road, even at the time, the original Vauxhall Viva might not be an obvious choice of ULEZ-compliant classic car. Yet, with the introduction of more 20mph limits, how fast are you going to be going really?

  5. Rover P6

    Rover P6

    Inspired by the Citroen DS 19, the Rover P6 - 2.0-litre, 2.2-litre or 3.5-litre engined - were quite exceptional models for their time. A veritable land boat with enough room for all the family and the kitchen sink. Production ended in 1977 so plenty ahead of that 1982 ULEZ cut-off.
     

  6. Austin 7

    Austin 7

    Ok, Minis appear twice because there were two of them. Only the wavy grille shape determines an Austin Se7en from the straight-grille Morris Mini Minor - eventually amalgamated to become the Mini brand we know and love today. Getting spares for either isn't too difficult and they're not expensive to run, so wallet-friendliness on multiple fronts.

  7. Mercedes-Benz W123

    Mercedes-Benz W123

    Arguably the world's coolest - and perhaps most indestructible - Mercedes-Benz, the W123 is a must-have for anyone wanting to haul their family along and look effortlessly cool doing it. Despite chugging numerous emissions out of the 3.0-litre straight-five diesel engine, you don't have to pay a penny in low-emission zone fares. Course, it wouldn't be right if everyone did it, so you're guaranteed to feel pretty special, you rule-breaker you.

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  8. Toyota Land Cruiser

    Toyota Land Cruiser

    This Japanese military-inspired off-roader has huge appeal. Those pre-82 models not only avoid the ULEZ charge, but the Japanese import is available with a 4.0-litre turbo-diesel engine and has a utilitarian charm that can still be appreciated today.

  9. Lamborghini Countach

    Lamborghini Countach

    We know you've been itching for a good reason to buy one, so here's your opportunity. Driven every day in a ULEZ, the Lamborghini Countach has the ability to save you £4,562.50 year round. At an average price of £420,000, it'll pay for itself in, what, about a century?

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  10. Land Rover 2A

    Land Rover 2A

    A short-wheel-base (SWB), ULEZ-exempt Land Rover 2A is a great pick for summer in the city, though procuring one of these iconic 4x4s will set you back the best part of £20,000. Still, with three seats across the front and a roomy boot, the 2A makes light work of those urban (and broadly thankless) trips to IKEA.

  11. Ford Capri

    Ford Capri

    It'll be a few years before Minder's late Mark III Ford Capri 280 is ULEZ-exempt, but going for a pre-1982 model will still save you some pennies in the low-emission zone, ironically. This fastback coupé is quite a head turner; opt for the sportier one with the longer bonnet or the hatchback style of the late '70s with the shorter bonnet.

  12. BMW 3 Series (E21)

    BMW 3 Series (E21)

    The pioneering E21 BMW 3 Series is arguably the best-looking one of the benchmark-setting 3 Series bunch - as handsome today as it was almost five decades ago. Wonderful to drive, with precise, light steering and tidy dynamics. A fine contender for a ULEZ-friendly classic.

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