One of the first victims of the economic downturn was the depreciation-free car. It’s not long since the heady days when city boys sold their places on the DB9 waiting list to each other for 20 per cent more than list.

Smart Now supercar values are suffering harder than pretty much anything else as values slide. So is there still a foolproof way to keep your automotive investment safe?

You can always go classic. At the top of the market you have Chris Evans paying £5m too much for a Ferrari, and at the other there are some perky values among small-engined Brit classics that are easy to park and cheap to look after.

So while the E-Type is going to hold its own in the longer term, increasingly buyers are seeing the appeal of something cheap and family-friendly like a Morris Minor.

There are still plenty of Moggies around, parts availability is superb and those registered before 1971 qualify for free road tax. They’ll manage over 40mpg too – so a well-chosen £2500 Minor will always get you your money back.

Of course, most people can’t trust the business of getting to work or ferrying the kids to school to something in its mid-forties. Fortunately there are some modern cars that have pretty much lost all the value they’re going to. How about getting Smart – literally.

Small is beautiful these days, and despite the teetering handling and anaemic performance, the Smart is tough and reasonably cheap to run. Early examples stopped depreciating some time ago, and that includes the left-hookers. Spend £1500 on one and you should get most of it back in two years’ time.

Or, getting more sensible, a middle-aged diesel supermini is about the best way to reduce your running costs to an absolute minimum. Yes, you’ll still be shedding a few hundred quid a year in depreciation, but you’ll make most of that back through ultra-low fuel and insurance costs.

Many are only just beginning to realise that one of the most economical superminis of recent times was the previous-generation Renault Clio dCi 65. It can manage comfortably over 60mpg, road tax is £35 a year and it’s actually pretty decent to drive.

Or finally, be daft. Knowing which Porsche 911 to buy when has been a proven way to hedge pretty much every economic downturn of the last three decades. So sell the late models, which are falling in value, but still aren’t cheap enough, and concentrate instead on a decent ‘80s Carrera – or a tidy, late air-cooled 993. Recession or not, these are always going to make sensible mid-term investments.