Currently reading: James Ruppert: Don't chicken out on a second-hand coupe
The used market is crawling with suave two-doors at ever suaver prices
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4 mins read
17 November 2020

Coupés seem to be regarded as pointless these days – a zombie niche, because apparently everyone wants SUVs or coupé-like versions of them. Meanwhile, in the wonderful world of used cars, coupés are great value and offer all the seats and sportiness you could ever need – and most likely lower running costs. So let’s go shopping for a cheap coupé and avoid the obvious choices.

I think it may be the last chance to buy some beautiful classics like the Peugeot 406 Coupé. This is surely one of the most handsome cars ever, and a 2001 SE with 128,000 miles plus a recent cambelt, fresh clutch and service could be mine or yours for just £700. It’s with a private seller who has sorted out all of its outstanding issues, which is handy.

Let’s stick with private sellers of seemingly undesirable coupés who need to make some space on their driveways. The Hyundai Coupé was far better than it was ever given credit for, and the Series 3 was almost purposeful and pretty. There are V6s, but the standard 2.0-litre is the reliably economical choice. A 2008 74,000-mile example wearing black alloys is certainly tempting. Again, the owner has spent a fair whack on suspension parts, tyres and a lambda sensor, so £2000 isn’t too bad at all.

When it comes to the truly uncool, let’s add rare into the mix. Ooh, look, a Toyota Paseo. I never expected to see one of those ever again. It’s incredibly dull yet a grandfather of today’s fantastic GT86. Well, really it’s a 1.5-litre Corolla with a groovier body on top, which in this case is from way back in 1997 and comes with 127,000 miles for just £995. It seems very solid and hasn’t been mucked about with, despite being on its fifth owner. It will never be worth less. The Paseo is a sleeper classic, but don’t quote me on that just yet.

Also deeply unfashionable is the Chrysler Crossfire, which gets all sorts of misplaced grief. I found a 2004 example with the 3.2-litre engine and just 62,000 miles being offered by a private seller. I think it looks great. Who cares if it isn’t a Mercedes-Benz SLK? At least it looks different, rather than conventional. It isn’t much to pay, £2500, but the small print indicates that a minor wing weld is required for the MOT.

For the same money, there’s another Toyota in the wings, and indeed one with a wing: a 1997 MR2 T-Bar with 141,000 miles that the private seller has owned since 2004. A fantastically detailed and heartfelt description in the classified ad always makes a difference for me, so I think I would take this car instead.

Coupés will never completely go away and neither should they. Just make sure you find the right seller.

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Tales from Ruppert's garage

Volkswagen Golf, mileage - 74,245: My daughter called me to say that the nearside front wheel of her Golf was intermittently making a graunching noise. I imagined it could be related to the wheel bearing – or one of the local pheasants had got trapped in there. She arrived and it was indeed a weird noise. There was a downpour but it couldn’t wait, so I jacked up the front and took off the wheel. I noticed that the sill cover was bent, which related to a story a couple of years ago when a stray trailer wheel got embedded in there. It has been temporarily repaired.

A to Z bangerpedia

E is for Chevrolet Epica: The Epica was a reconstituted Daewoo saloon and obviously not remotely epic. Chevrolet kept it simple with a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre diesel. There was a shedload of equipment for the lucky buyers who went for the LS or LT. Unfortunately, the air conditioning, suspension and sundries can fail due to mileage and neglect. It does at least have a decent 480-litre boot. There’s a handful on sale and it’s virtually impossible to pay more than £2000; £1000 gets you a 2008 diesel with 90,000 miles and a full service history.

Readers' questions

Question: I’ve got rid of my daily driver so am faced with using my rust-prone weekend classic over winter. Should I worry? Brian Davies, Pembrokeshire

Answer: A dilemma indeed: you could spice up your daily commute no end but face a hefty welding bill down the line, courtesy of the UK’s wet and salty winter roads. If you really have no choice, it’s best to get the car up on a ramp, give it a thorough clean, apply a fresh coat of underseal and then invest in a waterproof cover for the office car park and allow an extra five minutes in the morning for demisting. Have you considered a temporary bargain banger, though? Just £600 gets you into a 2003 Ford Fiesta that you can shift in the spring. FP

Question: A garage replaced my rear brake pads. Soon after, my car rolled down a hill, damaging another. Is the garage liable? Fiona Eyres, via email

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Answer: It’s especially frustrating to be held responsible for a prang you weren’t even present for, but unless you can prove the garage failed to tighten the handbrake cable, you will struggle to pass the buck. If the damage wasn’t too bad to either car, consider stumping up the repair cost outright rather than lose any no-claims bonus you might have. And in future, leave your car in gear when parking. FP

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Comments
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405line 17 November 2020

I'm not up to this..

..I don't have the Calibra

michael knight 17 November 2020

Some cars should just die:

Chrysler Crossfire

jameshobiecat 17 November 2020

Good luck finding a good 406

Good luck finding a good 406 coupe these days. I've owned one before so always keep an eye out for them, sightings have dropped to once a year at best.
Straff 17 November 2020

Availability

jameshobiecat wrote:

Good luck finding a good 406 coupe these days. I've owned one before so always keep an eye out for them, sightings have dropped to once a year at best.

Tidy one on eBay at the moment and another two on News Now

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