Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 28 May
From Minis to Fiestas, there are plenty of spicy hatchbacks in this week's selection of classified car ads
4 mins read
28 May 2021

Look beneath the surface and there are some devilishly interesting hot hatches with classic potential out there.

First we have the Mini John Cooper Works GP. Launched in 2012 as the second-generation Mini was being pensioned off, just 2000 examples were made, 459 of them earmarked for the UK. At first glance, it looks like another expensive (£29,000) limited edition of even more limited interest. But that’s wrong: it has an uprated 215bhp version of the JCW’s 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, sits lower, has adjustable coilover suspension (a first for a production Mini) from Bilstein, more powerful six-piston brakes, bespoke road-legal track-day tyres and an aero bodykit that actually makes a difference.

Inside, it has front Recaro seats wrapped in Alcantara and behind them a strut brace in place of a bench.

Our find is a 2012 car that has done 64,000 miles. That’s a little higher than average, but at least that means it hasn’t been sitting around.

It has only partial service history, although the vendor claims to have recently treated it to uprated brake discs and pads. It’s being privately sold so is cheaper than dealer ones.

old so is cheaper than dealer ones. Even so, the price is low enough for us to want to take it for an extended test drive and to examine it carefully from head to toe. After all, its trackday tyres and lowerable suspension might well have been used in anger on a track (note: it has had uprated front and rear springs fitted). Never been raced or rallied? Look the seller in the eye as they answer that one.

Reassuringly, though, it has had a regular diet of high-quality oil and is claimed to have proved reliable.

Ford Fiesta ST200 £12,200: Drivers of the standard Fiesta ST could get 197bhp in overboost, but the ST200 made this as standard, with overboost taking it to 212bhp. Combined with a shortened top ratio, it’s of more than passing interest. This 2016 car has done 58,000 miles.

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Volkswagen Lupo GTI £5995: The Lupo was a harmless city car, but in GTI form it grew horns. Its 1.6-litre engine made just 125bhp but had only 960kg to lug around, so it was able to outsprint the larger Polo GTI. The seller of this cherished 2001 example with 69,000 miles knows its value.

Toyota Yaris GRMN £17,995: You need to join a queue for a new GR Yaris so, while you’re waiting, why not spend some time with its GRMN predecessor? It’s powered by a 209bhp supercharged 1.8-litre engine and only 100 came to the UK. This is a 2018 car with 11,000 miles.

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Abarth Punto Evo £9000: A Punto with classic potential? Our find is a 2011-reg with 56,000 miles, plus a perky and flexible 165bhp 1.4-litre Multiair motor. Where this Punto really shines is in its grip, thanks to the understeer-limiting Torque Transfer Control system.

Auction watch

TVR Sagaris: The definition of courage is buying a TVR Sagaris for £60,000 in an online auction. Of course, the buyer might have arranged to view the car prior to the sale, but we know enough about this model’s unreliable mechanicals to believe they still had their heart in their mouth when the hammer fell. The Sagaris was the last car TVR produced, but it was one hell of a finale. Prices typically start around £65,000, so this bright-looking example, with its rebuilt (and improved) engine, was, fingers crossed, a bit of a steal. The odometer showed 45,000 miles as proof its previous owner enjoyed it.

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Future classic

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio £36,255: We judged the hot version of the Giulia as one of the most magnificent driver’s saloons in a decade back in 2016. Its 503bhp twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 engine had plenty to do with that, of course, but what really impressed us was its all-round ability. “It’s everything you would want a fast Alfa Romeo to be,” we concluded. Our test car cost at least £61,000 when new, but we’ve found a 2017 example with 36,000 miles for a good deal less. There are others for sale, and we reckon the best will always fetch strong money from the Alfisti.

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Could you find me something multi-coloured for £8000?

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Honda Beat £6999

Morris Oxford £8000

Felix Page: Well, James, you can’t say we make it easy for you. Max looks to have stolen an exhibit from the British Museum, while I’ve kept things funky with this pint-sized 1990s roadster, last seen on these pages over a year ago and still inexplicably for sale. This Honda Beat’s… erm… striking livery lends the 760kg two-seater a welcome degree of extra visibility.

Max Adams: Beating up my choice already, I see. Who could have a mean thing to say about a lovely pea-over-olive 1959 Morris? Nostalgia is big in the classic car scene, and many of its members will have fond memories of family trips in an Oxford.

FP: Let’s just hope its chassis isn’t so multi-coloured, eh? You’re right about nostalgia: I can see James haring around in a Beat wearing his Kappa tracksuit with Blur turned all the way up.

MA: I doubt any of Blur’s albums contain a song that would impress James, whereas my multi-tone Morris will. Plus, it has a patina that denotes the honest originality that all good collectors look for.

FP: It hardly screams fun, though. Whatever your thoughts on the Honda’s cartoonish livery, you can be sure that it will get the phone cameras snapping on your way down the high street.

MA: The current owner of this Morris used it as a wedding car, and everyone takes pictures of that sort of thing. Plus, all of that chrome is sure to catch some admiring glances.

Verdict: Colour me sold on that comical Honda.


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