These are very strange times indeed when cars at auction are fetching retail money.

Of course, this isn’t true of every type of car; the days of DB9s and Bentley Continentals and all that heavy metal fetching industrial-strength money are well and truly over. However, if you go down to the auctions today you can bid for a little shopper hatch from 2003 up to £2900 and feel rather pleased with yourself. Until you start to look at the price guides, which suggest you’ve overpaid by £900. Then you feel rather queasy when you look in the classifieds and find you could have got an example that was fully prepped, serviced and warranted for the same money.

This has reached such a stupid situation that a garage down the road from me is seriously considering cutting out the auction altogether and just buying the retail cars for a few hundred less. A garage will always be keen to turn a few bob with another trader to move something on, but this seems like a mad situation.

So it seems that mainstream small has become very big and a Citroen C3, Pug 206 and the like are the new must-have used buys. That got me thinking: what small car has been overlooked and is unlikely to be the subject of an auction-room bidding war?

Well, the early Hyundai Amica, the original Hyundai Atoz, and the toy-town Daihatsus that I really adore are all treated with the sort of suspicion that they don’t deserve. The Daihatsu Cuore is a fantastic buzz box, and these little things just don’t break down either. Not that you see many of these at auction, mind you.

Anyone else have some oddball suggestions that won’t break the bank?

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