As you might have noticed, used car prices are on the up. SMMT figures reveal the market has just had its best-ever second quarter (whatever that is), growing 108.6% as more than 2.2 million vehicles changed hands.
The global computer-chip shortage means manufacturers are struggling to supply enough new cars, so more motorists are instead buying used. I’ve been wheeled onto several radio programmes to explain what exactly was going on. And I’ll tell you what: Bangernomics has struck a chord. The public really warm to the idea of an old car that’s going to cost rather less to buy and run. So let’s apply the economic principle to extremely characterful cars, and to make it even more interesting, let’s steer clear of the main channels.
Occasionally, I really do fancy a Cadillac. How about the BLS, that pretend one from when the brand was reintroduced here in the early 2000s? Using Saab 9-3 underpinnings and offering a Fiat diesel engine, it was a proper European lash-up, and I think that it looked brutishly handsome, especially as a station wagon (to use the appropriate term). I was pleased to find a 2008 diesel with 115,000 miles, leather, electric most things and fresh tyres (but apparently a less than fully charged battery) for £795.
Despite what some enthusiasts will say, I have nothing but love for the little Mazda MX-5. I found a very honest Mk1 example from 1998, making it the last of the popup-headlight icons, with a full year’s MOT and all for just £1495. There were plenty of pictures, so I could see that it was crumbly but certainly not terminally so. It had loads of history, too, including a recent bill for £700. A proper bargain, then, especially in handsome British Racing Green. I must confess I was very tempted.
However, I reckon the smartest buys of all right now are Bangernomic classics. That means almost anything from the 1980s that’s properly solid and costs less than £5000.