In my late 20s and early 30s, I bought a hell of a lot of second-hand cars. That may be because I hadn’t gone through that phase when I was younger and the experience - and cost - of real-world buying, renovating and selling is useful even in this job.
You never forget days like the one when you told the missus not to take your ancient, lumbering, Audi 100 Avant into the mid-summer traffic in central London for a day’s ‘research’ and then, when she gets back, find she’s partially seized the engine.
Or, at least, you don’t forget the cost and hassle of sourcing a decent 2.0-litre, 5-cylinder, Audi motor and then getting it fitted.
I’ve always been pretty hot on safety and build quality, so I was usually searching the classifieds for what used to be categorised as ‘Prestige’. I had some really interesting stuff and some junk. A one-owner BMW 325i E30 Touring (one of the first registered) was a dream and perfect in town. Terrible on country lanes, though.
I also stumbled across an ultra-rare Audi 90 20v quattro Sport, which had bespoke forged suspension components. I owned it alongside a long-term 1998 Impreza Turbo and I swear there wasn’t much between them for driving pleasure.