Project cars are the ultimate form of escapism for car enthusiasts. Tinkering away with the nuts and bolts of a vehicle is a great way to relax and spend your time. Indeed, the journey of transforming a vehicle to your own ideas and specification can be a truly rewarding one, the experience and end result is a real joy for many motorists. Of course, it can also be a stressful process at times too, but that often serves to make the final outcome even more rewarding.

If you’ve ever considered getting your own project car then now is a great time to get involved. Why? Well, there are lots of cheap, user-friendly second-hand vehicles to choose from that can make an excellent project to work on.

To help you on your way, we’ve found out some of the most popular project cars available – and which ones are most in-demand at the moment. But before we get to that, we should answer a question for the uninitiated: what is a project car?

What’s a project car

Like the name suggests, a project car is one that becomes a project for you to work on. For example, you could buy an old Ford Mustang that doesn’t run anymore, strip it down, fit new parts, fine tune it, and give it an engine swap to give it a new lease of life. You’d bring it back to its former glory, and maybe even customise it with some modern upgrades to tailor make the car to your specification, wants, and needs. But it doesn’t have to be a broken-down used car. You could take an existing model that isn’t built or tuned to how you want it. Then spend time over a number of days, months, or years, to rebuild the car in your vision.

Naturally, project cars take a fair amount of time and planning. You need a good amount of auto knowledge too – unless you plan on calling in a mechanic – and you need to be prepared to do a lot of hard work. You also need to plan ahead and budget for the financial costs. Nonetheless, the entire process can be very rewarding, whether you’re working on classic project cars, or an old rundown shell of a vehicle. Typically, the best project cars:

  • Are easy to work on and tuner friendly, meaning you can readily adjust and change the car to your liking
  • Offer room for performance improvement
  • Have parts that are readily available
  • Have a knowledgeable community to ask for guidance
  • Are readily available for those lower costs and inexpensive fixes
  • Have a base for strong aftermarket support

Where to find cheap project cars?

Browse our used vehicles to find a cheap project car to work on, fine tuning your search according to the make and model and price that you’re after. With over 300,000 used vehicles for sale, there is plenty of choice on offer. And if you’re after a project car for beginners, it’s also a great place to start because you can tailor your search by age, engine size, and transmission type. And older engine and transmission types are usually easier to work on, typically requiring only basic tools.

Of course, private sellers and auctions can also be a good place to find an old car to work on, particularly if you’re after something like abandoned classic cars projects for sale. Again, as with any vehicle it can be a good idea to shop around to find the right car for your needs.

How much should you pay for a good project car?

Like any vehicle, how much you pay is up to you and how much you can afford. And just like buying a used car for everyday use, it’s a good idea to work out your finances ahead of time, and to budget for the vehicle and the cost of parts you might need or want. Having said that, many people that are looking for something to work on typically go for cheap project cars – especially if it’s your first time. More experienced motorists might pay a little more if they have a specific vision in mind for their project car.

Either way, before you go out and snap up a deal, it’s a good idea to equip yourself for success in advance. You’ll want to:

  • Get the right tools for the job
  • Ensure your car knowledge is up to date
  • Find support for those tough days
  • Set your resolve to finish the project

Remember, you don’t have to go for the best car on the market for project cars. In fact, it’s typically the opposite. Many enthusiasts opt for an inexpensive vehicle that’s in need of some TLC. Such vehicles often make good project cars to work on as with a bit of elbow grease, you can transform the car into an impressive beast, or at the least, something that you can be proud of having done it yourself.

Best project cars for sale in the UK

The best UK project cars are the ones that meet your needs and expectations. Yes, that might be a bit of a cop out answer, but it’s true all the same. If you have vision for what a car should look like and how it should perform, then all vehicles can be turned into great project cars. At the end of the day, it’s the fun you get out of it.

Having said all that, we wouldn’t leave you without a list of excellent vehicles that can really make some of the best project cars in the UK. Our 5 fantastic project cars below are also the most in-demand at the moment on, with search volumes having dramatically increased in recent months.

  1. Nissan Silva
  2. Porsche 928
  3. MG MGB GT
  4. Rover Mini
  5. Land Rover Defender 90

1. Nissan Silvia

Searches for the iconic Nissan Silvia have grown by a huge 550% on our website, proving just how popular this car continues to be. Arguably one of Nissan’s more entry-level sports cars – underneath the Skyline, for instance – it’s easy to work on and parts are plentiful. Prices also remain strong because of the demand, which means finding a clean, un-modified version can be tricky. However, if you find a good model, you’re likely to experience one of the best sports cars of a generation.

Nissan Silvia

2. Porsche 928

Like the 911, The Porsche 928 is another iconic offering from the prestigious company. It was produced throughout the 80s as one of the firm’s grand tourers and was the first to feature a front-mounted V8 engine, too. Its popularity hasn’t diminished either, with searches for this classic sports car up an incredible 517%. Of course, with that Porsche badge comes high part prices and more costly mechanical changes. That said, this is one project car which will reward the owner with a hugely involving drive. And, potentially, a good return if you ever come to sell it.

Porsche 928


The MG MGB GT is an icon of classic British motoring and is a common sight on sunny Sunday drives. It’s relatively easy to work on and looks great too – with the earlier chrome-bumpered GT models being quite sought-after. It’s probably why searches for the model have increased by 271% on Again, due to demand prices stay quite strong for these models, but there are deals to be had as well – just bide your time and wait for the right one for you to come along. Find used MG cars with us and get your project started.


4. Rover Mini

Another British icon is the Rover Mini. Dinky, yet perfectly proportioned, it’s a model which is known wherever it goes, be that the British countryside or the heart of London. It’s a stylish, ever lovable motor that has a strong place in many motorists’ hearts. The Mini is easy to work on too, with simple mechanics and a wealth of owner club support. It’s little wonder why it’s so popular – and searches for the Rover Mini have been up an incredible 222% on our used car search.

5. Land Rover Defender 90

Equally iconic as the other cars on this list, the Land Rover Defender 90 embodies everything people love about rough-and-tough off-roaders: solid mechanics, robust engineering, and tank-like looks. It absolutely looks the part of a rugged 4×4 and it can handle whatever tough terrain you throw at it. Yes, reliability for the Defender 90 can be a sticking point, but a project car wouldn’t be proper if it didn’t throw a few spanners in the works – quite literally. Yet, working on a Land Rover Defender 90 can be a real joy, and when you get it up and running, you’ll get to enjoy the car’s go anywhere capabilities. Searches for the Defender 90 are unsurprisingly up 200% with us at But don’t worry, there are still plenty of Land Rover Defenders on offer.

Land Rover Defender 90

So, there you have it, our 5 popular project cars that are excellent to work on. These iconic vehicles are now in more demand than ever, but even though the search volumes are up, there are still lots of fantastic deals to be had. And one of them could be yours, providing you the starting point to realise your vision and fine-tuned setup of your ideal project car.

Live More. Search Less. And if this article has inspired you to look under the bonnet of your car, but you don’t have the full know how, check out our How to do Basic Car Maintenance video and quickly learn the essentials.