Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 12 June
A riotous and speedy Vauxhall? Yes, really. Say hello to the Vectra VXR

If I say enormous top speed, would you think Vauxhall? Unlikely. And yet the five-door Vauxhall Vectra VXR stunned its contemporaries in 2005 by rewarding those brave enough to look down when flat out with a 161mph readout.

But, of course, you probably don’t live near an abandoned airfield and your commute is unlikely to include a stretch of autobahn. No matter: even at more regular speeds, this Vectra VXR is a riot to drive.

9 Vauxhall vectra vxr static front

It’s powered by the same twin-scroll 2.8-litre V6 turbo engine as a Saab 9-3, but with an extra 5bhp pushing it up to 276bhp, along with 259lb ft of torque. And it offers a real shot of analogue hot saloon thrills. Hit 3000rpm in full-bore acceleration and the prodigious amounts of torque steer turn the wheel into a rattlesnake in your hands, and the firm low-speed ride is a constant reminder that – despite the roomy interior – you are not in something that’s remotely sensible. And sure, it isn’t that comfortable around town, but if you do spend most of your time on the motorway, then you’ll appreciate its impressive high-speed stability.

This example from 2009 is knocking on the door of 100,000 miles, but you get it with 12 months of MOT and dealer warranty. And it looks to have a pretty mint history. The advisories on its last MOT suggest it may need a new set of tyres but, apart from that, it’s good to go. A part-leather interior, front and rear parking sensors and climate control add a dash of big-car luxury to this top-speed hoodlum. Its £25,000 price when new made it a tough one to justify, but less than £6000 now gets you raw pace and space.

8 Jaguar f type svr static front

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Jaguar F-Type SVR, £60,000: VXR: 161mph? Pfft. The F-Type SVR is a two-seat monster that will hit the double-ton. And this one is almost half its original price. It’s nicely specced, with carbon-ceramic brakes and a tasteful deployable rear spoiler (not the fixed, yobbish one).

7 Bentley flying spur static front

Bentley Flying Spur, £50,000: High-speed luxury doesn’t get more cosseting than this. Sat in the back, working or relaxing, you’ll have no idea your chauffeur is on a storming 200mph autobahn run. This one-owner, 45,000-mile car has a full service record of its six-year life.

6 Audi rs6 avant static front

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Audi RS6 Avant, £38,000: Helpfully large, stupendously rapid and supremely usable, this stealthy Mythos Black RS6 Avant has £12,000 worth of extras on it, including a top speed limiter raised to 174mph. Its full service history shows an important gearbox service at 40,000 miles.

5 Maserati quattroporte static front

Maserati Quattroporte, £10,000: The alloys have seen better days but you don’t have to look at them when you’re sat in that dashing navy leather cabin. And it’s a Maserati for £10,000 with a good chunk of MOT left. You’ll hit 171mph and the sonorous 4.2-litre V8 will delight you on the way there.

Auction watch

4 Audi quattro static front

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Audi Quattro 10V: What better way to celebrate 40 years of Quattro than by buying this pristine example from 1986? For just shy of £30,000, its new owner walked away with the original 10-valve engine and what appears to be a mercifully unmolested model – even with the original numberplates and dealer’s floor mats. A modest 76,000 miles have been covered in its 34 years, with £8000 spent on brakes, belts and tyres.

Future classic

3 Honda s2000 static front

Honda S2000, £6200: One of the best examples of having your cake and eating it. You will be purchasing a supremely reliable car with a bombproof 9000rpm engine and all of the joyous driving thrills it can provide. And you can do so safe in the knowledge that such engaging drop-top dynamism will remain highly sought after in the years ahead, so your relatively modest investment should be well protected. This £6200 example has done 120,000 miles, which may seem like a lot but it has had only one owner since being bought new in 2002 – and they’ve apparently looked after it, as the full service history should show. The interior understandably looks a bit tired, but some cash would easily help spruce that up.

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Can you find me a decent wedding car for £8000?

2 Rolls royce silver spirit static side

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Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, £7495

1 Jaguar xjr static front

Jaguar XJR, £7995

Mark Pearson: So, Felix, if for some reason you are not instantly attracted to this prime rump of British luxury – the perfect wedding car – let’s start with the obvious fact that this imperious 1981 Silver Spirit has old-school appeal by the bucketload. Inside is a cocoon of leathery opulence, with all the usual wood trimmings. What bride won’t swoon with delight when she spies this coming up the driveway on her wedding day?

Felix Page: What a lovely carriage! Are the horses included? If you’re tying the knot in the 21st century, you want something a bit more… millennial. This 2000 Jaguar XJR is the epitome of elegance, its swooping lines cloaking a sumptuous 4.0-litre V8 and a cosseting leather interior that makes your rear bench look more like a pew. With 370bhp and a 0-60mph time of 5.6sec, it’ll get you to the church on time, too.

MP: But it’s the bride’s prerogative to be late! And also, how is she going to fit in the back of this cramped Jag? Plus you’ll have to put the bridesmaids in the boot.

FP: If she’s to enjoy her day at all, she’ll be in the driver’s seat, careening sideways to her nuptials in a cloud of tyre smoke and confetti – not plodding along at 25mph and getting a headache from petrol fumes.

MP: Well, I suppose there’s a question mark over whether she’ll get there at all in this Jag…

FP: All great marriages are built on a foundation of excitement and unpredictability.

Verdict: Oo-er. An XJR will get me to the church on time…


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Boris9119 12 June 2020

Got to be the Honda

Not sure about in the UK but a nice S2000 is a safe place to put your money here in the USA. Already a classic with a good following and still affordable. Got to be the pick of this weeks offerings, and its a great drivers car. 

si73 12 June 2020

I see loads, and I live near

I see loads, and I live near the sea which probably helps the rust, but I don't think they're as bad as the mx5s for rust.
xxxx 12 June 2020


Strange thing about the Honda is considering how long it was actually sold for I hardly ever see one on the road, could be down to the usual Japanese sport car rust story.