Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 7 July
Don your bucket hats and warm-weather vests, because summer is here. You'll need something small and sporty like the Renault Wind
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5 mins read
9 July 2021

Don your bucket hats and warm-weather vests, because summer is here. But it never lasts. You’ll need something small and sporty to cover the most miles with the most smiles because, before you know it, winter will come back around.

A great place to start is the Twingo-based Renault Wind, for something sleek, unique and cheap. It’s powered by a choice of a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol producing 99bhp or a 1.6-litre returning 131bhp that packs a bit more of a punch. If you opt for the faster 1.6 – and we suggest that you do – you’ll have a car that can cover 0-62mph in 9.2sec (it’ll feel faster, promise…) and top out at 125mph. The five-speed Wind is equipped with Renault Sport suspension, so it’s agile and manoeuvrable, too.

Dynamique trim opened the line-up, launching at just £15,500 and offering 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning and cruise control as standard, while the next step up, Dynamique S, gained 17in wheels, automatic lights, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and an improved sound system. GT Line added an alarm, climate control, heated mirrors and leather seat trim, while only 200 examples of the range-topping Collection were sent across the Channel. It’s worth tracking down if you want a Wind, though, with its generous kit list also including heated leather seats. Our search through the classifieds found a 2011 30,000-mile Collection for £5490.

Be wary when buying, though. A lot of used examples are in cambeltreplacement territory, which should take place every six years or 72,000 miles. Early Wind models date from 2010 and many ads we came across had no mention of a cambelt change at all, so make sure to check that this has been done, irrespective of mileage. Any parts that need replacing should be easy to find, though, because bespoke components were limited mainly to the Wind’s body panels.

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Audi TT 2.0 T Roadster £5795: With satisfactory grunt and sporty styling, this 2007 TT could scratch your summer driving itch. It’ll be a bit more expensive to run than the Wind, but with its proper infotainment system, good handling and better drivability, you won’t mind that.

BMW Z4 sDrive20i M £16,995: This one-owner 2015 Z4 brings 184bhp to the table for a 0-62mph time of just 6.9sec. The coveted manual gearbox is fitted, as is a raft of niceties such as parking assist, adaptive M suspension and BMW’s Comfort package.

TVR 280 Series 2.9 £7500: Something with more class, perhaps? This TVR should cover it, with Ford’s Cologne V6 providing punch for 0-62mph in 6.9sec – not to be scoffed at in 1989 and still satisfying today. The previous owner used it in summer months only, clocking up 43k miles.

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Range Rover Evoque 2.0 TD4 Convertible £26,995: It won’t thrill like a lower-slung, performance-focused drop-top, but it’s sure to turn heads when driving down the high street. It’ll perform reasonably as a long-haul traveller too, thanks to its punchy, frugal diesel.

Auction watch

Chevrolet Monte Carlo: A left-field alternative to Chevy’s better-known Corvette and Camaro, this first-generation Monte Carlo has accumulated an impressive amount of provenance in its 51 years on the road. It spent much of its life in Hawaii as a movie prop car, appearing in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and several music videos. Its throaty small-block V8 has received an overhaul and the interior has also been retrimmed – although, like many ageing stars, its underlying condition isn’t quite as fresh as its clean exterior would suggest, with some damage and corrosion around the rear, and a few small patches of rust. But £10,000 to bag a bona fide Hollywood A-lister? Yes, please.

Future classic

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Jaguar XK, £15,495: The XK, with styling cues that draw on the hallowed E-Type, remains one of the defining works of Ian Callum when he was Jaguar’s influential design chief. It’s every inch as imposing and elegant as it was at launch in 2006, but the XK doesn’t just major on looks. Its deliciously noisy 4.2-litre V8 is good for 0-62mph in 5.9sec, and its lightweight aluminium body helped to boost dynamic performance over its predecessor. The standard XK was a gem, even when compared with the range-topping XKR that soon followed. We found one for £15,495 with 47,000 miles on the clock. Gaze at its gorgeous curves, revel in that V8 rumble and smell the burning rubber: the XK is a proper sensory feast.

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: How about a rare retro hot hatch for £10,000, please?

Fiat Strada 105TC Ritmo £9895

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MG Maestro Turbo £9000

Felix Page: Fix It Again Tomorrow? Try: Feisty, Interesting And Tasteful. The seller suggests just five examples of this quirky Golf GTI alternative are still on the road, and this surely has to be one of the best: no rust, rips or rod knock to speak of, and it boasts a completely revamped chassis. We’ll gloss over the fact that it wasn’t dynamically competitive…

Jack Warrick: There’s a reason why only five Stradas are left: the rest have all rusted and rotted away. If yours hasn’t by now, it will do soon. If you want retro, look no further than my MG Maestro Turbo, one of six left on UK roads. It will leave your Fiat quite literally for dust.

FP: There’s a phrase about glass houses that comes to mind… Your MG might make you a lot of friends in the supermarket car park, but none will be happier to see you than your local mechanic.

JW: No trips to the mechanic for me. This MG has been given an engine overhaul and a new water pump and has been freshly serviced as of last year. Looking at yours, it appears they’ve had to replace the whole car… Not very retro, is it?

FP: ’Tis but a bit of light surgery, and marks this out as a classic Fiat that might just cope with daily (all right, weekly) use.

JW: Well, at least you don’t need to worry about your gear linkages, starter motor, alternator, battery and master cylinder for a few weeks...

Verdict: Wow, a pair of proper hen’s teeth… It’s got to be the Fiat.

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Zapetero 11 July 2021

ActuaLLy I tried to purchase un renauLt wind 1.6 recentLy, but Le deaLer Let me down. They need rear springs (common fauLt), and he said he ordered the part par from France. I gave up phoning him, and et & he stiLL owes me £100 deposit ? Im un renauLt enthusiast et & before I had un cLio 1.4 RT (now scrap), hmm.

si73 9 July 2021
The Renault Winds are funky looking little cars with a neat roof, daft name and next to no rearward visibility, I'd have thought, with their tiny rear screen. Still at the right price for a 1.6 you should have a lot of fun for little cash.
sabre 9 July 2021

The claim for the MG "It will leave your Fiat quite literally for dust." should be "It will leave your Fiat quite literally for rust." Just rust dust and ashes is the proper title for both.