Antique dealers: yes, they do work on the not-very-vintage interweb, but a lot still have touriste-trappe ye olde shoppes, too.
They often have panel and Luton vans at the very least for shifting stuff, but I love the idea of something more bijou for a 1970s-style amateur dabbler with an estate car or something that won’t take a four-poster bed but is rather cool. It has to be a Volvo V70, and there are so many wonderful flavours to choose from.
Going back to the 2000-2007 era still makes sense. This V70 still looks great and can have kiddie- friendly rear seats in the boot, but mostly it’s a proper load-lugger, with its posh carpeted cargo bay. Note that it got something of a revamp in 2004.
Its engines are very tough, whether diesel or petrol. There’s a Flexifuel, too, but finding E85 is hard now. The 2.4 petrol and 2.4 diesel are the ones to get, with 50mpg-plus potential.
It’s the suspension bushes that can go, broken throttle bodies could leave you stranded and, at this age, beware of MOT-failure-level rot.
The next-generation V70 (2007- 2012) had a bigger boot but slightly less overall seats-down space (1600 versus 1641 litres), but who’s actually measuring? There are lots of meaty engines to choose from, and the diesels remain the best if there are miles to be done. Petrols just soldier on forever, and the middle-order 2.0 and 2.5 units are best of the bunch.
This is the era to focus on, as Volvos are starting to get complicated, and on the whole they manage to avoid being too flaky in the mechanical and electrical departments.
Watch out for smoking and therefore worn turbos, suspension damage and serious wear and tear if there are too many previous owners.
2003 Volvo V70 2.5 R, 70,000 miles, £8995: For the antique dealer in a real hurry, how about 300bhp of grunty loveliness? This one is a dealer buy, with a decent warranty and very low miles in top condition.