Motorshows. Not as exciting for me as they once were. I can handle the new technology and promises that we will be hover-boarding to the shops.
What I can’t quite abide is that a lot of models are now not exactly updated but deliberately uglified. I am sure that the new BMW 3 Series is a wonderful thing – Autocar said so and the changes make it better – but it is certainly no prettier than the high standard set by an E46-era 3 Series.
Listen, I know why changes are regularly made: Vance Packard explained built-in obsolescence back in 1957 in his seminal work, The Waste Makers. It is all about marketing and snobbery, so everyone knows you drive the very latest. However, the car-buying public love something retro, don’t they? That’s how the new Mini really got started and the Fiat 500 looks pretty good. Meanwhile, any short-run, road-legal or not Aston Martin, Jaguar or, right now, Porsche sell out before they are announced.
Then there is the Volkswagen Beetle, the new one with the plant pot. Back from the dead in 1998, it has passed away again. Clearly, that reboot didn’t go at all well. That was a retro wrong move, but Beetles remain an interesting used buy. In the ‘part-exchanges to clear’ section of some online classified ads, you can pick up a 2003 1.6 with almost 140k miles and enough MOT to get you into 2019 for £375. If you want more poke, then a 2000 2.0 with 120k miles is £470, with the private seller rather desperate to move it on.