Owning a classic car is something that we all dream of as enthusiasts. But, a lot of the time, the ownership experience can be painful. Quite a lot of classic cars are nowhere near as reliable as their modern counterparts. It doesn't have to be that way, though. There are some classic cars available that have legendary levels of reliability and longevity. If you buy one of these classic cars and look after it properly, it could easily reach 250,000 miles or more!
Perhaps surprisingly, there's a decent variety of different classic cars on this list. There are several from one manufacturer in particular, and they tend to be European or Japanese. Some of them are there for being over-engineered to the point of being almost like tanks, while others are there because they were designed to be fairly easy to maintain. All of them, though, are classics that'll last to that 250,000-mile mark and beyond!
10 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W140)
Whenever you ask a Mercedes-Benz enthusiast about what they think the best version of the S-Class is, a lot of them will say that it's the W140. There's a very good reason why! It was the last Mercedes to be made in the era where the engineers controlled the budgets. Because of that, it took years to develop, and by the time it went on sale, it was massively over-engineered. The W140 was actually the last car to be built by Mercedes under this policy, as by this point the company had realized that it wasn't profitable.
Because this car is so over-engineered, it's quite common to see them get to huge mileages. Several owners have said that they've managed to get to that 250,000-mile figure, and then some! If you get a W140 and you keep up with looking after it, it seems like they can go on almost indefinitely.
9 Mercedes-Benz W123
You might start to notice a bit of a running theme in this list, as this is another Mercedes-Benz! This one, in particular, is the W123, the executive option for the brand from the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s. Much like the W140 S-Class, the W123 was developed with a budget set by engineers rather than accountants. As a result, it was similarly over-engineered. That gave it legendary reliability, to the point where plenty of W123s are still around today!
It's not unusual to see examples of W123s for sale with at least 250,000 miles on the clock, and many owners have reported that theirs have gone much further than that. With the W123 being as over-engineered as it is, that's not really a surprise. So long as you keep maintaining one of these well, it'll last pretty much forever!
8 Mercedes-Benz W124
The third old Mercedes-Benz on this list, the W124 was the replacement for the W123 mentioned earlier. This version of Mercedes' executive car carried on with tradition, as it was as over-engineered as its predecessor! The W124 is renowned for being able to take an incredible amount of punishment and still carry on working. As a result, there are plenty of W124s still around in daily use today.
Because of their over-engineered levels of reliability, W124s have often ended up as taxis. One 1993 example that was being used as a taxi in Albania ended up reaching over a million kilometers (around 6.2 million miles)! There are also plenty of W124 owners who have managed to get well over the 250,000-mile mark. As with the W123 that preceded it, as long as you keep a W124 maintained well, it'll run for seemingly forever.
7 BMW 3 Series (E30)
BMWs of the '80s and '90s have always had a reputation for being solidly engineered. One of those BMWs of that era that's known for being a solid, reliable car is the E30 generation of the 3 Series. While they may not be as over-engineered as a Mercedes-Benz from the same time, they've still managed to last! They're one of the few proper classic cars that you could genuinely use every day because of how reliable they are.
The E30's solid German engineering has meant that plenty of them hit the 250,000-mile mark and beyond. One E30, which was bought by Mobil and used as a rolling testbed to prove how good their products were, managed to hit a million miles!
6 Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry is a car that comes up a lot when people talk about the most reliable cars you can get. The venerable Camry's had this reputation for multiple decades now and for good reason. So many Camrys have been daily drivers for North American families and commuters, barely causing their owners any problems even though they get put through a lot of punishment. So many Camry owners speak highly of its ability to just outlast almost anything.
Not only can the Camry easily reach the 250,000-mile mark and then some, but it can barely feel like time has passed at all when you're driving these high-mileage examples. One particular Camry with 279,000 miles on the clock was documented on video, and the person who drove it claimed that it still felt like new! Much like an old-fashioned Mercedes-Benz, it seems like so long as you keep a Camry properly maintained it'll just keep on going.
5 Mazda MX5 Miata (NA)
When it comes to the most reliable sports cars out there, the Mazda MX5 Miata has always reigned supreme. The original NA version of the car quickly gained a reputation for being incredibly solid and easy to maintain. In fact, NA Miatas are so reliable that a lot of them are still around!
As the NA Miata is so reliable, it's not uncommon for examples to reach 250,000 miles on the clock. Several owners have talked about theirs getting near or above that amount, and one YouTuber has even done a detailed review of his 250,000-mile example. As long as you look after one of these cars, it seems like they'll last for pretty much forever.
4 Saab 900
Saab has historically been a name that's associated with quality and reliability. No Saab potentially embodied this better than the 900. While everyone lusted after the useable performance of the Turbo model, the regular models that sat below it still had a lot to offer as brilliantly reliable cars. You only have to look at what previous owners have said over the years to realize how dependable these cars are.
Because the 900 is so bulletproof in terms of its reliability, there are many instances of them reaching 250,000 miles or more. It would be a bit odd if a 900 didn't end up reaching this milestone eventually!
3 Volvo 940
If you grew up in '90s middle-class suburbia in Europe or North America, you likely knew at least one family who had a 940. Or, your family's car of choice might have been a Volvo 940! This was the middle-class family transport for a reason. Like other Volvos of this era and before, the 940 was known for being built like a tank. The 940 Turbo especially got this reputation, thanks to its over-engineered powertrain that many tuners have had a lot of fun with over the years!
With the Volvo 940 being as over-engineered as it is, it really isn't surprising that a lot of them have gone quite a way over that 250,000-mile mark. There are well-documented examples of people buying 940s that have lasted for as much as 265,000or even 300,000 miles.
2 Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Beetle was designed to be a cheap car for the masses (Volkswagen is, after all, German for "people's car"). As a result, it not only needed to be pretty reliable, but it also had to be very easy to maintain. Those are two things the classic version of the Beetle managed, so much so that lots of them are still around today!
Because these cars are so easy to keep going, there are plenty of examples of Beetles that have hit 250,000 miles and beyond. It's not uncommon for Beetles to achieve double that mileage, although they'll have definitely had to have an entirely new engine by that point.
1 Lexus LS400
When Toyota wanted to build a brand new luxury car to compete with the best of the European brands, the car it came up with was the Lexus LS400. Toyota had done the job right, as not long after the LS400 came out it began gaining a reputation for being almost faultlessly reliable. Many owners over the years have waxed lyrical about how bulletproof their LS400s were.
When it comes to high-milers, there probably aren't many cars that are more legendary for it than the Lexus LS400. Some owners have talked about their cars lasting for double that 250,000-mile mark. There's also Matt Farah's legendary Million Mile Lexus, which he bought with 900,000 miles on the clock and lent out to other journalists to get it to that magic number of a million miles. If you want a car that you absolutely know will last you forever, there aren't many more options that are better than the LS400.