What the car industry needs right now is a big head like the late Brian Clough to whip it into some sort of shape. It’s a shame that MG Rover aren’t still around for him to take from the depths of League 2 and onto European glory.

I’m not quite sure how far a football metaphor stretches when it comes to cars - probably not very far at all - but I will still have a go. So which underperforming models could be bought by us this weekend and then turned into something more special by Monday morning?

At the risk of being BMWist, you might just get a cheapie MINI One and chip it for Cooper type responses. Still haven’t seen any dirt cheap ones, though, even at supposedly great value car supermarkets.

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On the small side you can get an old Panda, which are now rather less money than they used to be, and funk it up in a 500 sort of way with some silly stripes, alloys and Scorpion stickers. I might have to pretend to be 17 again, but that would probably work.

Chippery is the shortcut to more speed or economy and I heartily approve of it - especially if the car is out of warranty. I think the VW group offers the biggest opportunity for dramatic improvements. Now it is okay to own a Skoda, I’d say a minicab friendly Octavia diesel is the answer. High mile ones cost buttons; you’ll get a 250,000-mile diesel in white for £500.

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In the old days, the performance makeover consisted of a rather more traditional approach with the ‘Barry Kit’, which really amounts to a sod-off air filter. It still works, but the biggest potential for redeeming a lost cause has to be buying a kit car that’s been abandoned and reuniting all the right parts. Knew I’d get back there eventually.

So go on, there’s no Prem or Championship tomorrow, so you can go out and buy a lost cause, then save it.

 

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