With its silky 5.3-litre V12, later XJSs could waft up to 155mph, and its ride was always magnificent. In 1983 it was joined by a 3.6-litre in-line six (later enlarged to 4.0 litres) that was almost as quick but much easier on the wallet.
The earlier V12s could be troublesome, however, and are probably best avoided. Rust is a known problem, so check the floor, sills and front wings. The engines are generally reliable, but avoid high mileages, check the oil pressure and watch out for dark smoke.
Find a good XJS and you’ll have an appreciating classic. Old Jags are in demand, and you’ll pay at least 10 times as much as this for an E-Type.
3 - Porsche Boxster (1996-present)
Fancy a mid-engined, open-top Porsche capable of 150mph for under £5k? With its push-me pull-you looks, the original Boxster polarised opinion, but the car was a gem from the off, with a sweet 2.5-litre flat six and eager performance.
Later models grew in engine displacement and power, but all retained the deft handling and wind-in-the-hair fun of the original low-slung hipster.
Your £5k buys one of the earlier cars, though, and that means careful shopping. Although Porsches are well made, Boxsters will have been used with enthusiasm, so check the car’s history carefully and look out for worn suspension bushes, accident damage and corrosion.
4 - Citroen C6 (2005-2012)
It took courage to overlook depreciation issues and buy a C6 brand new. In the end, fewer than a thousand people in the UK did — which at least made it exclusive.Big Citroëns have a reputation for being complex and unreliable, too, but C6 owners have only good things to say. The diesel V6 is refined (there was a petrol V6, too, but you’ll be lucky to find one) with a reputation for reliability.
There’s a wonderfully supple ride, and the cosseting cabin is well isolated; push it hard and there’s plenty of roll, a reminder that its forte was touring, not blasting around the Nürburgring.
Prices for the earlier cars have now sunk below the £5k mark, and with interest in the DS, CX and XM on the up, this would seem to be a good time to buy into the C6’s highly individual style.
5 - Renault Alpine GTA (1986-1991)
There aren’t that many GTAs out there, but if you’re lucky enough to find one, you’ll have a rare and distinctive sports car with real pedigree on your hands.
Its rear-mounted 2.5-litre V6 was good for 200bhp, 152mph and 0-60mph in 6.3sec in its more compelling turbocharged form. It had bags of roadholding, strong traction, eager handling, great steering and a neat short-throw gearshift. It still looks great today, with its low-drag, 2+2 glassfibre body purposefully squatting on its deliciously wide tyres.
You’ll pay a lot more than £5k for the Renault Alpines that came both before and after this model, so if you can find a good GTA, snap it up right away.
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