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.