When it comes to owning a classic car, the two seat sports cars and Grand Tourers get far too much attention. A hobby is best enjoyed with friends, and just how many of your favourite people can you fit inside an E Type or an SL?
We’ve put together a round up of the best classic people carriers* currently available.
*We mean vehicles with the ability to carry people, whilst still looking cool. Sorry if you thought this was going to be a blog about the MK1 Ford Galaxy. It’s just not there yet.
Table for 5, please – A classic car with 5 seats
The Swedish Classic with room enough for 5
Offered for sale by Wizard Classics, price £5,995 – Click to view listing
Straight in at the top spot is our very own Volvo 240 Estate, the ultimate and iconic Swedish brick. These are have always been in demand, and right now the very best are appreciating rapidly.
The Volvo 240 offers perfect family transport, reliable daily use, the ability to lug loads of all shapes and sizes AND plenty of classic car kudos at your local classic car show. That’s a very long sentence but it was necessary to describe exactly how many boxes this Swedish box can tick.
Buy a good one while you still can, because there’s headroom in the current prices.
Table for 7, please – A classic car with 7 seats
Another iconic Swede and a youngster in Classic Car years
Offered for sale by David Stockton, price £6,995 – Click to view listing
Built from 1990 until 1998, the Volvo 900 series was introduced to replace the 700 series… Which was introduced to replace the 200 series, which it failed to do. The 200 series was still in production when the 900 series was launched! In the classic car world we always refer to the Mercedes-Benz R107 SL when talking about lengthy production runs, as that car enjoyed an 18-year run. The Volvo 200 boasts a production run of some 19 years!
Knowing they needed an absolute stormer of a car to replace the long-lived and long-loved 240, Volvo presented the 900 series. This was to be the last of the large rear wheel drive cars from Volvo, switching to front-wheel drive with the introduction of the 800 series (remember those T5 estate cars loved by the police)
This one is a very end of line car from 1997, making it one of the very last. Many children of the 1980s fondly remember the folding rear seats…. Naughty boys and girls who are now in their 30s will probably remember sitting in the rear facing seats at the back of the car and making rude gestures at other drivers. Dad was always wondering why people cut him up so often….
A fine choice for family transport; and entirely respectable at your local classic car show. Like the 240, buy a good ‘un while you can.
Table for 9, please – A classic car with 9 seats
The one that’s been a popular choice for half a century
Offered for sale by Custom Classic Campers, price £29,500 – Click to view listing
Originating in the mid 1950s, Volkswagen’s Type 2 has been the ideal choice for load lugging for more than five decades. Built in huge numbers, these were numerous and cheap at the advent of the ‘hippy era’. The affordability, availability, reliability and repairability of these cars made them the perfect choice for the love generation. They didn’t buy them because they were cool; they were just plentiful and affordable… It’s the equivalent of today’s alternative youth driving around in Citroen Berlingos…
The size of these vans also made them popular with the surfing scene, which was blossoming in California and elsewhere in the 1960s. With room enough for surfboards and sleeping, its no wonder these found love among the beach dwelling communities of the West Coast.
Classic Volkswagens have always had a very strong following, and it’s one of the few branches of the classic car world where modification and customisation isn’t a dirty word.
In the last two decades the popularity of these buses has grown exponentially. Whether purchasers are recreating their youth or buying into an age-old mantra of change and good vibes, we don’t know, but the prices have gone haywire, with some exceptional examples reaching almost a quarter of a million pounds.
This beautiful 9 seater ‘Microbus’ listed by Custom Classic Campers is a great example of elegant transport for 9. It’s stated as ‘investor grade’, and of course it’s the desirable 23 window ‘Samba’.
Table for 13, please – A classic car with 13 seats
13 seats available offering the ultimate in stylish, retro travel
Offered for sale by H&H Auctions, March 18th Sale, price £30,000 to £40,000 (estimate) – Click to view listing
At the very top of the transport ladder is the coach, and this Mercedes-Benz 319 sits right on the fence between cool private transport and retro corporate travel. Built between 1955 and 1967, the 319 was intended to be larger than a delivery van and smaller than a light truck of the period.
With 13 seats and a sliding door, its years of being a school bus are definitely over. In recent years the occupants have been much less likely to write their name on the seats, or scratch it into the windows with a compass…
As a classic car and as an investment, this bus is entirely charming. Having been used for weddings and events, the seller also informs us that he has regular bookings for film and TV work. Being rare (have you ever seen one) makes this an ideal choice for someone looking for unique corporate travel. We can imagine this bus living at a luxury Golf resort, giving tours and whisking people off to afternoon tea on an old-fashioned country estate.
This bus is the great, great, great grandfather of the Mercedes-Benz sprinter that parked on your kerb and delivered an Amazon parcel earlier today. That’s right, the Mercedes-Benz 319 would spawn the T2, which at the end of its production run was then split between the Vario (bus) and Sprinter (Van).
A lovely looking thing with a rich heritage and an important figure in the family history of the Mercedes-Benz models we know and love. Just beautiful.
Offered for sale by H&H Auctions, March 18th Sale, price £30,000 to £40,000 (estimate)