30 years - an age or a relief
In some fields, 30 years may seem like an age, and we all know what we mean by that. In the car industry, however, reaching the 30-year milestone will be like the opening of heaven’s gate... quite a relief.
Indeed, the new law regarding old-timers that came into force in early February 2016 in Luxembourg stipulates that in order to obtain historic vehicle status the car or motorcycle must be 30 years old, be in good working order, look as it would have at the time it was manufactured and have the corresponding features (no tuning, please!) and undergo a technical inspection every two years.
In order to obtain historic vehicle status for an imported vehicle you will need to visit the SNCA for an expert assessment (it is advisable to take as much of the vehicle’s documentation with you as possible) and registration, followed by a technical inspection (SNCT). Once the status has been granted, the road tax will be reduced to €25 per year and a technical inspection is only required every two years rather than every year (this can also be carried out at the ACL). You will find that the cost of insuring the vehicle also decreases significantly.
So if you still have that old car from your youth stored away somewhere and about to turn 30 years old in 2017, why not bring it out of hiding and celebrate it being part of the 1987 vintage?
Here are a few interesting examples of cars that could be obtaining historic vehicle status in 2017, with particular focus on the Mercedes E-Class Coupé:
Mercedes E-Class Coupé (C124)
Let's start with the lucky star that is the Mercedes Classe E Coupé, affectionately known as the W124. This lineage featured in the catalogue between 1987 and 1997 and still, to this day, represents elegance and class (it has no side pillar and the side windows, meaning that they can be lowered electrically without hindering visibility) and the seatbelt is automatically placed in the driver’s hand so that they can fasten it easily.
This Mercedes Coupé is extremely reliable (provided that it has been correctly maintained) in both the 4-cylinder 230 CE model and the larger 3-litre model, with a rather smooth inline 6-cylinder engine on the 300 CE and 320 CE models. The latest models have been produced with the 24-valve or 3.2-litre engine. An AMG version known as the 36 AMG has also been produced, along with a 200 and 220 CE in certain markets. This was back in the days when Mercedes were significantly more expensive than the competition and offered a partially hand-crafted finish. You’re looking at around €7,000 - €10,000 for a 4-cylinder, depending on the condition and added extras. Prices are starting to increase, and if you enjoy a relaxed drive on major roads without getting tired then this is the car for you, unless, of course, you’d rather go for something with air-conditioning.
Now let’s take a somewhat indiscriminate, non-exhaustive look at some of the cars that shaped this 1987 vintage, continuing with the coupés. The
little Honda CRX 1.6i 16-valve Mk2 is in an entirely different category, a little bomb back in its day with its 1600cm3 producing 160hp. Then, of course, there was the legendary Ferrari F40 - the last Ferrari produced before the death of boss Enzo Ferrari -, and the Porsche 959 - probably the most technological car of 1987, heralding the new generations of 911 with its 4-wheel drive.
Staying with the sports cars we come to a personal favourite of the author,who has driven one on many occasions - the Lancia Delta HF Integrale (it is vital that you pronounce this word the Italian rather than the French way - it really does make all the difference!). And who could forget the ride up to Bridel, at speeds approaching 200+.... feels like another lifetime!
The French class of ‘87
Again in the sports car category but a very different type of sports car this time, there was, of course, the dynamic Citroën AX GT, which was pretty fast thanks to its lightweight design, and even the BX 19 GTI. Other classic French cars of the time included the Peugeot 405 MI 16 which
featured in the film Taxi and the Peugeot 205 Rallye - a nifty little thing with its 1.3 carburettor packing quite a punch given the weight of the car and its Peugeot Sport coloured stripes. The national brand ran wild with the Renault R21 2 L Turbo - a turbo that really pushed the boundaries given the less than sporty design of the 21. Staying with the coupés, although this time a little more exclusive in terms of the number of units manufactured, there was the Venturi 200/221, which is currently an excellent buy if you can find one in good condition.
Some of the slightly more exotic cars produced in 1987 notably included the BMW Z1, which was almost a mass-produced concept car with its descending doors creating the feel of a TR3-style roadster from the glory days of British sports cars. We hope you are successful in finding the right ‘87 vehicle for you and above all wish you many years of happy motoring with it!