Choose your new performance car wisely, be careful not to rack up too many miles and, three years later, it might be worth 60% of what you paid for it. That’s pretty much a best-case scenario. That means the Volkswagen Golf R that you’ve put £35,000 into will be worth £21,000 after 36 months, so it will cost you close to £5000 in depreciation alone every single year.
No matter how you buy your new car – with cash, on finance or on a lease contract – you as the first owner will bear that cost. You can reduce your depreciation liability by buying a second-hand car, perhaps one that is already three years old and has slipped down the steepest part of the depreciation curve with somebody else’s name on the V5 document. But the car will still lose value. As we’ll show over the next five pages, though, it is possible to buy a first-rate driver’s car that will hold on to its value.
There are certain performance cars on the second-hand market that are so well-regarded – and that are in sufficient demand – that their values are set in stone. Pick the right one and it’ll probably owe you nothing two or three years down the road. You could get back every penny you paid for it.
Can it possibly be that straightforward? No, of course not. On the subject of future values, there can be estimates and calculated guesses, but never any guarantees. We will also take a closer look at the realities of choosing an older car over a brand-new one. What you need to know is this: by slashing your depreciation bill to nothing, your motoring expenses could be obliterated. And it’s doable even on the most meagre budget.
Mazda MX-5 (NA)
Not too long ago, an original MX-5 could have been yours for little more than £1000. That will only buy the tattiest MX-5 out there these days, which is as clear a sign as any that values are on the up. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the little sports car’s arrival, which means you’ll invariably be looking at examples with more than a handful of miles behind them and plenty of stories to tell. Nonetheless, there are plenty of cars out there that have been cherished, so that doesn’t mean you’ll have to satisfy yourself with a rust-ridden and careworn old shed.