Surely, someone who deals exclusively in the purchasing and selling of used cars knows what to fill their own garage with
4 December 2018

The simple truth is that if you really want to know which cars you should be buying and running, you need to check out what a decent car dealer is steering.

That’s why I had a quick chat with Bradley Mitchell, who runs Hunter’s Lodge Cars in the Midlands. Indeed, his opening line to me was that he had “bought a couple of high-mileage cars this year in the name of Bangernomics”. 

That’s nice to hear, especially from someone who pretty much has the pick of whatever is passing through. Except that old Bradders isn’t so old school that he’s only going to smoke around in whatever has the longest ticket and fullest tank. He buys cars because he loves them. Not all car dealers do. 

He says: “The first Bangernomics purchase was a family wagon and also a dog-carrier: a 59 plate Volvo XC70 D5 auto with 125,000 miles, full history and the all-important cambelt change at 100,000 miles. I paid £5700 for it a few months back. It has now done 130,000 and hasn’t cost me a bean apart from some new tyres on the front. I think if you are talking fitness for purpose, then it’s one of the best cars I’ve owned.” 

Our Verdict

Volvo XC70

The Volvo XC70 is a rugged version of the V70 estate with mild off-road ability. It is well built and refined but otherwise fairly dull

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They are pretty good and a cursory glance at the classifieds certainly proves that they are funky to look at. Dial all the way back to 2009 and £4995 gets you a 2.4 D5 SE Geartronic with 140,000 miles. Sorted out by a dealer, it looked more than ready for winter. 

Then there are Minis, finally affordable, but caution is advised when you are paying a grand or so. They are also perfect to be mucked about with, as Bradley has proved. 

“The second Bangernomics buy was a toy for me, a 2006 Mini Cooper S with 120,000 miles and in a pretty sad state,” he says. “Got it in the trade through a Vauxhall dealer in Bristol. It hadn’t been serviced in 50,000 miles and hadn’t had much, if any, love. It did, however, have an unusually high spec, including heated leather Recaro seats, sat-nav and a limited-slip diff. I’ve had the engine uprated to 230-240bhp and all the paintwork and wheels done, plus four new Avon tyres. So after buying it for £1500, it owes me £2800. That’s two great cars for £8500.” 

He’s right, of course. That’s the whole point of used cars: they deliver value for money. There is a bit of effort required on your part usually to sort them out, but I am continually pointing out Bangernomics isn’t just buying cars for pennies: it is also finding ones that work for you. Be like Bradley.

What we almost bought this week

Maserati 3200GT: Almost bought? That’s right: we chickened out. After all, it’s a thirsty old 1999-reg GT but at least it’s the original and sought-after banana-tail-lights version. It’s the four-speed automatic, too, which suits the 3.2 V8 better than the manual. It has done 72,000 miles and has full main dealer service history (cambelt changed last April). 

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

Land Rover Series 3, 29,392 miles: The Lorry really needed its MOT and eventually it passed. A long time ago, I may have mentioned that the nearside indicators were on the blink. I investigated, of course, but nothing seemed to work. Instead, I used hand signals. 

The garage had to do an awful lot of digging into what must be one of the simplest electrical circuits in automotive history. They also rebuilt the carburettor. I had spoken to a specialist a while back and they said don’t bother with it. So-called specialists are often wrong. It has never run better.

Reader’s ride:

It is nice to catch up again with Jake Belder, who has bought a rather wonderful Subaru Outback

“It looked great on paper, with a full history, new MOT and good photos,” he says. “It has the 3.0-litre flat six and auto gearbox. The mileage was just under 140,000. I put in a low bid and the seller accepted. 

“I gave it a service and have replaced the inner CV gaiters, anti-roll bar links, ball joints, tie rod ends and a rear wheel bearing. Other than that, it’s been 4000 miles of effortless (if slightly thirsty) cruising.” 

Readers’ questions

Question: Is there a good family saloon for £8000 or have SUVs killed them off? Darren Nuttall, Folkstone

Answer: Sadly, the new Peugeot 508 is out of your price range but a low-mileage 2013/13-reg Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI SE should do nicely. You won’t believe the interior space, equipment level or the performance from that sweet-revving 157bhp motor. John Evans

Question: Why have I been sent a road tax reminder for my zero-rated car? Sally Kirkup, Bodmin

Answer: A car can attract no road tax but is not exempt from it. So no car can be driven on the road without it being taxed, whether it costs £800 or zilch. The alternative, a £1000 fine, should clear up any confusion. John Evans

Question: Is a timing chain more reliable than a timing belt? Scott Dawes, by email

Answer: Not necessarily, as a colleague who owned a chain-driven Vauxhall Zafira is fond of saying. However, it wasn’t his car’s chain that let go but the tensioner. Whatever a belt’s merits, at least there’s a requirement to replace it and the tensioner at intervals. John Evans

Read more

Peugeot 508 review​

Company car tax: what you need to know​

Subaru Outback review​

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Comments
10

4 December 2018

I'm not sure if what's good for a dealer is necessarily a good buy for private buyers like me. The dealer is going to buy the car at trade price and fix any problems at trade rates, plus he's more likely to accept the risk of problems knowing that they can be sorted at mates rates - or if terminal, the car can be disposed of through the trade.

For me, a ten year old diesel at over £5k would be too dear and too risky for a bangernomics buy. Perhaps I'm just too cautious! 

4 December 2018

Was thinking that myself, LP. The likes of the MINI, it might cost a private buyer a few grand to get a respray to tidy up the paintwork. The dealer might know (or have) a paintshop / some guys willing to do the job.

4 December 2018

£6,000 for a Volvo is not Bangernomics, that's just normal used-car market. Or has the rampant new car price inflation hit the Bangernomics budget too?

4 December 2018

This is the whole point of used cars: they provide value for money. On your part, as a rule, it takes a little effort to sort them out, but I constantly point out that Bangernomics is not just buying cars for pennies: it is also a search for those that work for you. Be like Bradley. I fully agree with the statement, of course, everyone has their own preferences, but the fact remains. I try to apply the same strategy when maintaining the site https://writingpeak.co.uk/custom-essay-writing. Thanks for the great info.

4 December 2018

Boy the definition has moved on a bit.     Loved this " It has now done 130,000 and hasn’t cost me a bean apart from some new tyres on the front" so it has cost quite a few beans then

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

4 December 2018
xxxx wrote:

Boy the definition has moved on a bit.     Loved this " It has now done 130,000 and hasn’t cost me a bean apart from some new tyres on the front" so it has cost quite a few beans then

HYave a word with yourself, a couple of tyres, can be sourced for about £100, possibly less for a dealer, thats not exactly a lot of beans is it? 

Nice to see your hatred of all things Volvo is alive and well, surprised you didnt point out the price of heated washer jets or power child lock on that model.. Muppet. 

4 December 2018
Citytiger wrote:

xxxx wrote:

Boy the definition has moved on a bit.     Loved this " It has now done 130,000 and hasn’t cost me a bean apart from some new tyres on the front" so it has cost quite a few beans then

HYave a word with yourself, a couple of tyres, can be sourced for about £100, possibly less for a dealer, thats not exactly a lot of beans is it? 

Nice to see your hatred of all things Volvo is alive and well, surprised you didnt point out the price of heated washer jets or power child lock on that model.. Muppet. 

It had nothing to do with it being a Volvo, read it again maybe a bit slower this time. How the author say it hasn't cost a bean then say it needed new front tyres (£50 a tyre for an XC70, bet they're quality), see nothing to do with the make.

You don't need to attack every Volvo comment you don't agree with, they aren't perfect despite you telling everyone they are!

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

4 December 2018

Dealers should be forced to drive the same cramped, underpowered and over-priced rubbish they foist on so many of their customers.

4 December 2018
In july I bought a 2005 Audi TT with 125000 miles and 11 months mot. It cost £1900 and to be on the safe side I had a cambelt,waterpump and pulleys changed for £280. The car is almost immaculate inside and out has no oil leaks and in 3000 miles I have not needed to add oil. It starts instantly has great acceleration and although the road tax, £290, and fuel consumption , under 30mph, are wuite high, depreciation will never bother me. My neighbour paid over £25000 for his Mazda 5 years ago and now its worth £13000 in part exchange for a new one.
Some years ago my son bought a ford for £50 and he ran it for nearly a year without spending anything for repairs.

4 December 2018

Any dealer with any sense will drive something that will barely depreciate in value and will need no immediate mechanical work. Usually this puts you in a diesel costing upto £2,000. A year on and that will be sold and similar car would be purchased. Would I buy an old Mini with all the expensive possible faults and spend money keeping it on the road? No, because the industry has taught me that buying a Mini of this generation is like buying a shredder as a piggy bank. Oh and a 'good' car dealer buying a car that hasn't been serviced for 50,000 miles? Okay Autocar

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