I notice that a while back – I dunno, a matter of weeks probably – car subscription services were being touted as the exciting new way to not own cars. Just as an example, there was Nissan Switch, BMW Access and good old Porsche Passport. They all work in their own mysterious ways where you end up paying a rental and swapping between models. Or something. Let’s imagine for a moment that you don’t want to be involved in such a scheme: what are the options if you paid a yearly subscription up front?
Starting with Nissan, why get lumbered with a Skyline-sized depreciating asset? The 350Z is a wonderfully throbbing concoction. If you want to turn heads and wake the neighbours, it’s possible to find some great-value examples. Dodge the ones that have a ton of aftermarket extras playfully attached and a full-service-history, verified-mileage GT from 2009 is just over £8000. It has had only three owners and will breeze into an Ultra Low Emission Zone as well. Think of the fun you’ll have with that. The value should remain pretty constant as well.
BMWs are absolutely everywhere and it is a case of sorting out the ones to really enjoy on your very own all-in subscription basis. I have been drawn to the 8 Series recently – and not the latest one, obviously. Values are slightly all over the place, but avoid the completely lost causes. The real ones with MOTs and that seem tidy in the pictures start at £12k. These are 1995 and 1996 840Cis, which are mostly with car traders who may be trying to reverse their way out of them. The next level is £20,000 and now includes 850CSis, which seem ready to display at an event. The top tier for 8s is around £33k. They are Estoril Blue and some were even heritage collection condition and parked in franchised showrooms.
Then there’s Porsche. The more that time rolls on, the Cayman not only seems like the purest driving machine but the best value one too. For a fraction of any instalment costs, you can get something truly soul-stirring. Maintenance is the key and even a 2007 Cayman with 120,000 miles with a full service history can be on your drive for just under £10,000. That seems like excellent value. It would have a manual gearbox, too, and no Tiptronic compromises. The one I saw was finished in conventional silver, but that’s a compromise worth making under the circumstances.
Now a subscription car service might sound like fun, but it can never be truly satisfying. Committing yourself to one modern or older classic is what running enthusiast cars is all about.