Family Friendly Classic Cars

Family friendly classic cars

by Stephanie Spencer |
Published on

The definition of ‘classic car’ is changing. No longer does it purely apply to sporty vehicles from the 1950s that explode when you try to change gear – we now have different categories, including modern classics from the 1980s onwards. This means, while an E-type Jaguar continues to cost more than Ian Duncan-Smith’s breakfast tab, you can pick up a ‘classic’ and join the car club scene for as little as £800. Take your pick from the likes of the Ford Sierra, Mazda MX-5 or Mercedes-Benz S-class – that’s right, the cars from your childhood are now considered classics. Not to make you feel old or anything…

We all reminisce about the cars our parents once owned – from the Triumph Herald to the Rover SD1 – but while many memories will consist of steam billowing out from under the bonnet and spending large amounts of time at the side of the road, cars from the 1980s and 1990s, quite frankly, were built better and are ultimately safer. Looking at the sharp edges in the back of a Land Rover or the potential for that Morris Marina door to fall off completely, it’s a wonder that children of the 1960s and 70s survived at all, yet we had no public information films explaining the dangers of a car built in the Midlands. 

So, here we have eight modern and aspiring classics that allow you to enjoy that rose-tinted retro glow without compromising your family’s safety. These vehicles are also child proof – no fiddly, expensive interior components to break here. Also – easily cleaned when that projectile vomit finds its way across the dashboard. Snigger all you like, but it happens…

Land Rover Discovery (1989 – 1998)

You’ll be questioning why we’ve chosen the Discovery over granddaddy Defender or the luxury of a Range Rover Classic. Well, quite simply, the Range Rover is too costly to run and the Defender doesn’t quite cut it on the comfort edge. A well-heeled first generation Land Rover Discovery makes a perfect hybrid of the two – offering all the practical qualities and off-road prowess gifted by the Defender and enough Range Rover-esque comfort to make long journeys something of a joy, rather than a spine-bending nightmare destined to turn your children into a big ball of homicidal, tantrum-packed goodness. Camping trips? Ikea trips for your daughter’s new wardrobe? Football run with your son and his five friends? No bother to a Discovery, especially if you find a seven-seat variant.

Is the interior childproof?
You can bounce around the interior of an early Discovery like Flubber and the Discovery will simply shrug it off. Early examples can be easily cleaned, making life less of a stress when that bag of crisps is spilled everywhere or that chocolate bar ends up smeared into the cloth seats. At least, we hope that’s chocolate….

To find your perfect Land Rover Discovery check out this excellent selection at our sister website Classic Cars for Sale: discover your Discovery

Renault Espace (1984 – 1991)

You may look at the first-generation Renault Espace and mock the Space 1999-stye looks, yet the humble Espace remains an unsung historical hero from modern motoring history. The first people-carrier of its kind remains versatile and easy to manoeuvre through modern day traffic, having set the trend for one-box flexibility that allowed large families to move around in one vehicle. Engines are durable too, lasting well over 200,000 miles. It’s also fantastically 80’s, leaving most bystanders to stare with an open jaw as you drive past. Modern people carriers offer all the charm of a rotting teddy bear, but this genesis model has bags of character destined to leave you yearning for the decade of shoulder pads and Noel Edmond’s jumpers.

Is the interior childproof?
Seeing as this is a Renault, most interior components will already have fallen off – leaving only the bare necessities still functioning. Unless your child has the muscle mass of Sylvester Stallone there is virtually nothing to tug at and destroy.

To find your ideal Renault Espace and live out your childhood again check out what’s available on Classic Cars for Sale: escape in an Espace

Jeep Wrangler (1993-1997)

One glance at the American Jeep Wrangler and you’ll have two words on the tip of your tongue – ‘Jurassic Park’. To an entire generation the Wrangler remains popular for its ability to out run dinosaurs (no, we aren’t talking about Anne Widecombe) and is, therefore, the coolest car on the planet. Bouncy, indestructible and great fun – is there any better weekend toy? What do you mean try a Land Rover Defender?

Is the interior childproof?

This 4x4 has an interior?

Find your child friendly Jeep at Classic Cars for Sale: it’s not Jeep and nasty

Ford Sierra (1982 – 1993)

A replacement for the beloved Cortina, everyone knows a driver who cut their teeth behind the wheel of a Sierra – as any 1980s/90s child would have sat on their father’s knee to ‘steer the car’. An advanced shape meant that the classic car scene was slow on the uptake to rescue the Sierra from scrap status, and although most were sadly recycled, today the Sierra is considered a quirky and interesting choice to feed the ‘80s desire we all suffer from. Just slide into the cabin and you’ll instantly be transported back to a time free from Wi-fi and PPI adverts.

Is the interior child proof?
4 million UK families can’t be wrong.

Relive your glory days and step back into a happier, carefree time with Classic Cars for Sale: it’s more than af-Ford-able

Volvo 940 (1990 – 1998)

Estate cars are always solid classic choices, and perfect for keeping the kids at bay with acres of seat space. Capable and reliable, the load-swallowing estate will run forever so long as its maintained. Some examples have turned over 300,000 miles without protest. The saloon variant offers tank-like protection for less than half the price while examples with 24-valve 3.0-litre engines can leave you seriously gawping at the acceleration on offer. The 940 may offer soggy handling, but you’ll be so relaxed in the big seats that you’ll hardly care.

Is the interior child proof?
Volvo cabins are practically indestructible – even an enraged Edward Scissorhands would struggle to get the better of a healthy 940.

We all love Lego so why not drive a classic the same shape from Classic Cars for Sale: veg out in a Volvo

Volkswagen Campervan/Kombi (1950 – 1967)

There is very little to say about the Campervan that you don’t know already. It’s simply the coolest thing with four tyres. The Hippie movement on wheels, owning a Kombi is more of a lifestyle choice than a driving experience. With a 0-60mph time of 55 seconds, the Kombi teaches you to chill and take your time, but don’t panic about driving on modern roads as you’ll find that people let you out of junctions and give you space through sheer admiration and respect for the vehicle. Your children will love it, we promise.

Is the interior childproof?
Almost like a giant play area with more open floor space than most London flats, unless you arm your child with a flame thrower, the interior of a Campervan is unyielding and hard wearing.

An expression of your individuality from Classic Cars for Sale, man: it's not Camp – it’s a van, man

Bentley Turbo R (1985 – 1987)

If your boy or girl believes they are Richie Rich, or you want to ferry them around in first-class comfort, the brilliantly smooth and effortlessly powerful Bentley Turbo R is the classic you want. It still packs a punch in the looks department despite being over 30 years old, while the interior offers plush lounging room for your 2.4 children. The seats are so supple that children suffering with motion sickness will probably fall fast asleep – a result worth paying for. The boot is also big enough for even the largest of birthday party shopping expeditions.

Is the interior childproof?
Probably not. There are lashings of wood that can be easily scratched and carpets so thick that any colouring-in pencils dropped will be lost forever. Interior components are also devastatingly expensive to repair should the notion take your child to run their toy car over the seats.

Drive your kids in luxury with a Bentley Turbo R from Classic Cars for Sale: breeze through life in a Bentley

Jaguar S-Type (1999 – 2008)

There are two S-types to pick from – the 1960s bank robbers favourite, or the 1990s revival that sold like hot cakes. We would advise going for the later model – as safety measures are greatly improved. Airbags, side-impact bars and crumple zones will keep everyone safe should the worst occur. For when you feel like opening up the taps, power from the free-revving engine will keep everyone amused and at the end of the day, you can say ‘my other cars a Jag’. All together now, Jaaaaaaaaaaggggggg….

Is the interior childproof?
Largely so, although there are so many tantalising buttons that will be pressed out of curiosity you may find yourself in trouble. The handbrake is also easily pulled, being only a lift-switch, making for potential to slide across the motorway at 70mph should young hands go wandering.  

Turn the school run into a blagger’s paradise with a Jaguar S-Type from Classic Cars for Sale: devour the competition with a Jaguar

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