Some of you may remember thatI bought a 1991 Mercedes 190E 2.0 Auto back in October last year at the same time as our online contributor Mike Duff was running a 1993 W124.

Well, his E-class may have been sold on long ago but my 190E is still running well. In fact, having just celebrated a successful MOT pass I’ve totted up the figures and realised that the much-loved Merc has set me back £985 for the last eight months of motoring. Doesn’t sound particularly cheap, but when you consider that includes £450 of fuel and £210 of tax, it’s not bad at all.

It hasn’t been hassle-free. A dodgy fan switch caused some embarrassing moments in traffic and £80 of repairs, and earlier this year the right front ball joint and bushes needed replacing at a cost of £200.

But given that the car cost £620, has now covered 128,000 miles (only 3000 by me) and is still a pleasure to drive I reckon that’s value motoring – particularly in the knowledge that those costs cover me for the next four months tax and 12 months MOT.

If the 190E continues its current performance I reckon I could get a full year and 6000 miles covered for less than £1500, despite some time spent wielding a spanner.

So there’s your answer to the credit crunch: buy an old Mercedes and ride out the recession in something that’s more retro-cool than Bakelite and is cheaper to run for 12 months than it will cost you to buy factory-fit sat-nav.

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