There’s something about those classic roadsters from across the pond. It must be the lightweight structure of the cars, the gleeful tones of those high-revving engines, the way the cars reward the driver’s skill making it seem as if the car was a ‘people person.’ It’s something that all enthusiasts should experience at least once in their life, sort of like going to the Nurburgring, and for those that do, it’s an experience that they remember so long that it will one day be engraved on their tombstone.
There is, however, a problem. Many of these beloved icons are so cherished that with the price that sellers are asking for, you may as well have bought a brand new sports car with working air conditioning, Ipod connectivity instead of a cassette player, and many other modern luxuries. That being said, if you are absolutely burning inside to one day own a classic British roadster but you’re on a relatively tight budget, which one should you buy?
1969 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark IV Roadster
A sub-2,000 pound overall weight and a 60 horsepower straight-four that revs up to 6,000 is all that needs to be said about this car. This beautiful machine is the definition of not only what makes a proper British roadster, but is also the embodiment of what a sports car should be. Sure, it could possibly do with a bit more power, at least that is what we say based on modern performance standards, but there’s not much else on this planet that could make you happier then hearing the lovely symphony of a 60s British straight-four engine screaming out of the exhaust. You can pick one up in good condition for less than $4,000.
1968 MGB MkII/III Roadster
You can’t make a list of classic British roadsters without including an MG at some point. MG is the classic roadster: the looks, the sound, the performance, it’s all there. And furthermore, it’s all there for around $6,000 for a 1968 MGB in prime condition. The Mk II and III MGBs may have had a notably higher overall weight, tipping the scales at 2,552 lbs, but the 84 horsepower straight-four was potent enough to propel the car to a top speed of 104 mph. With the combination of a logical price and a quick car, the only thing missing is some empty country B-roads.
1964 Triumph TR4
Triumph is just another one of those names that, when said in a group of classic car enthusiast, draws an instant reaction of the various models the marque produced. Honestly, it seems that practically every car Triumph made was a hit; TR3, TR4, TR6, and, who can forget, the legendary Spitfire. This model, however, really strikes a chord with the love string of enthusiasts, particularly because of the very unique styling. However, the TR4 was not solely limited to the iconic look of its front lights and grill, as the TR4’s 2,130 lb weight mated with a power output of 100 bhp from a 2.1-liter inline-four engine cemented this car as a true British roadster for the ages. A TR4 in good condition can be hunted down for less than $5,000.