Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 20 December
Citroen C6 is a shapely thing with a perky V6, but be sure to check for safety before you buy

"It’s worth spending more for a well-cared-for C6 to avoid coming to grief.” Not our words but those of the top techs at Wolsey House Motors, a Citroën specialist and purveyor of fine examples of the sumptuous C6 of 2006-12.

So with their advice ringing in our ears, we’ve ignored the 90,000-mile 2006-reg 2.7 HDi V6 Exclusive we found offered at £2750, passed quickly by the gaggle of similar motors huddled around £3500 and instead stopped for a closer look at this £5995 example.

It’s a 2009 car, so a little younger than the rest, with a reasonable 80,000 miles. Better still, the trade seller has gone to the trouble of listing every service, including mileage, date carried out and type (major or minor). ‘First to see will buy!’ is the confident claim.

Looking at those services, the car’s black leather interior, immaculate (at least in the pictures) black bodywork and gleaming 18in alloys, and imagining the near-silence of its double-glazed cabin, we can believe it.

But safety first, so best we recall WHM’s tips for checking over these old French fancies. First off is the coolant system whose thermostat housing can crack and steel pipes corrode and leak. The automatic gearbox is another of those so-called ‘sealed-for-life’ affairs that should actually have had the occasional fluid change. The C6’s trick suspension can store up all sorts of trouble, including corroded pipes and pipe ends. We’ll check it sits level, too.

The body is a combination of steel and aluminium, so galvanic corrosion will be on our radar. Fingers crossed that the C6’s party trick, its dynamic rear spoiler, rises and falls. And then it’s just a question of checking that all the interior bells and whistles work.

Datsun Stanza 1.8 5dr auto, £6000: Anything that survived the great 2009 scrappage massacre is worth our attention. Even this 1982 Datsun Stanza, with T-shaped auto shift lever and rich velour upholstery. The spacious, two-owner hatch has done only 28,000 miles and is immaculate.

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Ford S-Max 2.5T Titanium, £4500: Before SUVs arrived, families used to travel in things called people carriers. Here’s one that’s even more unusual for being powered by the 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine from the Focus ST, enabling it to accelerate from rest to 62mph in just 7.4sec.

Mazda CX-5 2.2TD SE-L AWD, £5495: The CX-5 was a minor revelation at launch. Here was an SUV that could ride and handle as well as it looked. Most were front drive but here’s a rare 4x4 example: a one-owner 2013 car with 109,000 miles and full history. Handy if winter sets in.

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Seat Leon Cupra 280 Sub8, £14,395: Sub8 references the model’s sub-eight-minute dash around the Nürburgring in 2014. Seat created three Sub8 performance packs, but it’s not clear which one this 51,000- mile 2015-reg five-door comes with. Either way, it’ll do 0-62mph in 5.9sec.

Auction watch

Range Rover 4.0 HSE auto: The P38 Rangie of 1994-2002 still looks reasonably fresh, and to think it was the successor to the original launched back in 1970. Here’s one we saw pass through auction recently: a 2001-reg 4.0 HSE with 74,500 miles. It made £3282. Good Mk1s make much more but we’d have been happy with this P38 with its 4.0-litre V8, leather trim and electric sunroof. This engine is a safer bet than the 4.6 (it has cylinder liner problems), although both can suffer with dodgy cooling systems. We’d have checked that this example was sitting nice and level, too.

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Future classic

Toyota Yaris 1.8 GRMN, £17,995: Never mind hybrid this and EV that, we’ll look back on this period as the age of forced induction, which is why the Yaris GRMN is so interesting. It takes a slightly different route, eschewing a turbo for a supercharger – which means it thrives on revs and sounds fantastic. It looks good, too, with its race-inspired styling. Sadly, engine and bodykit can’t disguise its slightly off-the-pace handling, but 10 years from now that small detail may not trouble enthusiasts keen to bag the few remaining examples of the 80 GRMNs that landed here.

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Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Find me an interesting car from an obsolete brand for £5000.

Reliant Kitten DL, £3000

Daimler XJ V8 4.0, £5000

Max Adams: The 1970s was a good time for Reliant. Some may not believe it, but it was actually the second-biggest British-owned car maker at the time. It had bought out its closest rival and was making all sorts of interesting models to appeal to new customers, including three-wheelers, vans, sports coupés and even this little Kitten, from 1976.

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Mark Pearson: I think you’ll find the 1970s was also a good time for Woolworths, and look at how things turned out for them. Well, I’m sorry but your pathetic plastic contraption is no match for my Jag…er, Daimler. It’s a thing of beauty, for one, with a thumping V8. It’s got power and performance and it’s wonderfully luxurious. And you can add to that unmatched ride and refinement. Only 86,000 miles on this 1998 one and years younger than your jumped-up Robin.

MA: Now look here, Pearson. Need I remind you that my Kitten does, in fact, have four wheels – one in each corner! Your Jaguar with extra chrome is a far cry from Daimlers like the SP 250, so I think you’ll find that mine’s more interesting.

MP: I know which one of these two I’d rather take on a long journey. Or a short one, come to that. Your Kitten is nothing but a sour puss.

MA: Très drôle.

Verdict: The Daimler’s chrome wing spats could be hiding rust, so I’ll take the glassfibre Kitten.

READ MORE

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Citroen developing 'unconventional' saloon models

100 years of Citroën

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5cylinderT 20 December 2019

Buy a P38 range rover and end

Buy a P38 range rover and end up buying second hand PARTS a week later.

xxxx 20 December 2019

£18k GRMN - This years bargin!

Surely sold by now for the simple reason that's nearly new Fiesta ST money