One of the many innocent pastimes that are either illegal or at the very least frowned upon is kicking the tyres on used cars. It is very difficult because dealers are shut. However, on your permitted daily exercise, it is possible to swing past the lot, packed full of quietly depreciating stock. Technically, it is also possible to buy and get a dealer home delivery. Wonderful.
This isn’t the time to buy blind, though, is it? Unless there is something that’s sensationally good value on the interweb. It will inevitably be a private sale, but it could be worth the risk, or the wait.
Old, previously very expensive Porsches are always worth a look, so a 2011 Panamera 4.8 V8 with around 55,000 miles was very tempting indeed. It had just had a full service and came with a year’s MOT. It looked really good, except that the beauty shots were taken in a deserted retail car park. Mind you, £19,995 was good enough to get me doing an online MOT history check.
Keeping with terminally expensive Porsches, I really should go and get a 911 before my life becomes too complicated. I found myself looking at a 2006 997-generation Carrera S with 95k miles on the clock. The fact that just 15k miles ago there had been a £14k engine rebuild was strangely reassuring, although ‘seven previous owners’ didn’t inspire particular confidence. Mind you, £16,750 seemed just about reasonable.
I can’t tear myself away from Porsches, so I will probably stick with these for a bit. I would rather go historic and not pay the road fund. It is a marginal amount when it comes to running a Porsche but it is the principle of the thing. So what about a left-hand-drive 1977 911 SC Targa, my favourite compromise bodystyle, for £34,999? I would enjoy knocking the price back a lot further. The model had the 3.0-litre engine by then, but it is something you really would have to go and see if you were planning on spending anywhere near £30k.
Which brings me to the Boxster. What incredible value these are. Look to the mid-2000s for a lot of real sports car that most normies would confuse with a 911. A 2008 2.7 987-generation Sport Edition with less than 90k miles, a fresh MOT that has no advisories and a decent service history is just a smidgen over £10k.
But I find myself considering a four-wheel-drive Porsche, which would usually be one of those dirt-cheap Cayennes. Except that a 2003 911 3.6 wide-body 996-generation Carrera 4S with 109k miles – oh, and seven previous owners – is £16,999. Yes, it is Tiptronic but this is a 911 at pretty much real-world money.