The XK8 and XKR sold well when new and so are available in decent numbers making finding a good one relatively easy. Prices are also pretty keen right now with higher mileage XK8 coupe's selling in the region of £2000, though it would be best to pay a bit more for an example with sensible miles (75k would be a good number to aim for) as the price rises sharply for very low mileage cars. convertibles and XKR's obviously attract higher prices but are still reasonable value. Its worth noting that convertible XKR's aren't that much more expensive than the XK8. If you are on a budget go for a sensible mileage XK8 coupe, but if you can afford it an XKR convertible would make for refined weekend motoring with the wind in your hair. Examples for sale (Nov 2016) XK8 convertible 80k miles FSH £8000 XKR convertible 77k miles FSH £11000
The original Audi TT came out in 1998 and had quite a wow factor, looking as it did at the time as if it had come from another planet, and proved to be a great success. There is a 1.8L turbo with a range of power outputs, and 3.2L V6 to choose from though the bottom spec 1.8 is not worth bothering with as it seems Audi forgot to connect the turbo, it only produces 150bhp... We obviously salivate over the V6 Quattro, problem is, so does everyone else. The Quattro's are of course the most desireable with the 1.8L 225bhp, giving a 0-60 of 6.4 seconds, looking the best value, and prices are starting to firm up for low mileage examples. There are plenty to choose from so take your time and get a good one. Example: November 2016 03 plate 225 Quattro 68k miles £3500
The RX8 is proving to be a rather difficult car to make a call on regarding its future classic status. For starters the rotary engine, that Mazda have been doggedly persisting with through out much of the RX series, is the main conundrum as it is now the only rotary engine fitted to a production car and thus gives the RX8 a unique place in the automotive world. At the same time it also causes a world of worry to anyone considering buying a second hand example (more on that later). Secondly there is the design of the car itself, with its innovative suicide rear doors which make it a genuinely practical 4 seater sports car. On the flip side, its quirky styling is quite a departure from the RX7's dramatic, and certainly to my eyes, very pleasing aesthetics, which help to give the car much greater presence than the RX8(in its last incarnation). For Mazda though, giving the RX8 four doors was a huge commercial success, with cars flying out of the showrooms as buyers jumped at the possibility of having a practical sports car. That of course means that there are plenty on the second hand market, and as we all know rarity not plenitude maketh a classic. And it is here that we come to the great elephant in the room.... Let me explain by saying that the RX8's position as an everyday car proved to be its Achilles heal, the truth is that the rotary engine is far from being an everyday engine, its a specialised piece of kit that needs to be treated as such. Things like making sure it is at full running temperature before revving hard and most crucially, before turning off, meaning that short runs to the shop or taking the kids to school were ruinous for the engine. But that is just what everyday cars are used for, and now the small ads are awash with RX8's that have the dreaded hot starting issue, which basically means the engine has lost all compression and a full rebuild is needed. The up shot of all this is that there are many examples out there that can be pick up for £500 odd, even ones with 50-60k miles as sadly, if used as a run around, thats what will happen. There are companies out there offering rebuilt engines for as little as £1000 but I can't vouch for the quality of these units, so buying one with a shot engine is something that needs to be given a lot of consideration as the costs of sorting it will be considerable. Of course the rotary engine can go for many miles if treated correctly and there are plenty of healthy examples out there. My advice if you are looking to buy one is ask a lot of questions of the seller and try to work out if they are an enthusiast, and ask them what sort of driving they did in the car. But the foremost thing to demand if paying top dollar for one is a compression test report from a garage that knows what it is doing. As with all cars, doing plenty of research before hand is everything.
The BMW 535d, one of the first true diesel classics in my humble opinion. Of course everyone thinks of the M5 when talking about the classic status of any 5 series generation and obviously the E60 M5 is going to be a classic car, its the birth right of all M series BMW's after all! But I decided to look at the rest of the range and immediately the 535d stands out, in fact its my favourite future classic and I'm not even sure if the future part of that tittle is correct (more on that in a minute), of course the 550i is an impressive bit of kit but somehow is slightly over shadowed by the M5, where as the 535d has a niche of its own. Just take a look at the power figures opposite and you will see what I mean, you have to get into V8 petrol country before the BHP figures better that of the diesel and even the mighty M5 would lose out in the top trump stakes when it comes to torque. As for the 0-60 dash, well the M5 does it in 4.6 seconds and the 535d takes 6.3 though the measured 0-60 always favours revvy engines and in the real world I would expect the diesel to feel nearly as fast as the M5. I am not going to more than touch on what these cars are like to drive as i'm sure anyone with a passing interest in cars will be aware of the high regard that all BMW's are held in for handling and general dynamics. All i would say is that the softer suspension of the 535d over the M5 would make it an easier car to live with. Other reasons why the 535d should be a classic is it has the pedigree, motor sport heritage and general high status of the marquee. It also has innovation of design and styling with the introduce of things like the iDrive system that was the cause of bafflement for some many owners, and the flame surfacing styling that proved to be so controversial at the time but which I think most would agree, has aged very well. Also there is the technological innovation of the variable vain turbos giving it impressive power and torque. On a last note and as I hinted at early, the 535d is actually quite rare and prices are reflecting that fact, so if finding a good one is proving to difficult or costly then the 530d is a much more achievable buy and only loses out to its bigger brother in its torque figures, so is well worth a look and I am sure will also be a collectable car before too long.
From the legend that was British Leyland (cough) You have to be knocking on a few years to remember the launch of the Austin Metro in 1980, and sadly I can remember it. Leyland, who were at the time the conglomerate covering some of the great British car names from yesteryear like Jaguar (yes Jaguar), Land Rover, Triumph and Austin, decided they needed a city car to rival all those pesky foreigners flooding the British market with their fancy offerings. And so was born the Metro which was first presented to use a top the white cliffs of Dover, busy sending those foreign imports back to whence they came from (no doubt Farage would have been the first to buy one) So exactly how did Leyland choose to weaponize their plucky little Brit to take on the might of the French, Italians and Japanese, by fitting it with an A series engine (designed in the 50's) and a 4speed gearbox (also designed in the 50's), of course! Actually, the Metro wasn't at all a bad car for the times, though it has since suffered from a greater decline in appeal than say the Ford Fiesta, especially in their sport guises. The original XR2 for instance is now very desirable where as the MG Metro is only moderately so, which is surprising given their rarity value with only 135 left (see MG Metro). So given the Metro's rather dowdy image it might be a surprise to discovery that one was up for sale recently on eBay (June 2016) for an eye popping £18k, and you did read that right. To be fair it was a turbo version which there are only 20 left on the roads, and it only had 7k miles on the clock, so it just goes to show that where there's muck, there's brass, especially if it has a turbo sticker on its side! A good source of info on all things to do with Metro's can be found on the site below www.metropower.org.uk Prices: A good condition turbo example with sensible miles should be about £8.5k A simular MG non turbo would be about £4k June 2016
Its fair to say that the RAV4 was the worlds first attempt at a crossover, and very successful it was too. Before the RAV4 all 4x4's had either been rather agricultural work horses that were awful to drive on the road or they were expensive Chelsea tractors, out of the reach of most people. So when the RAV4 came out with its nippy 2litre engine giving decent performance and handling that was unashamedly tuned for the road it was definitely a trend setter, and it wasn't at all surprising that it has been an enduringly popular car with the concept now having been copied by virtually every other manufacture. So what do you get if you buy one? Well if you go for the Mk1, which is the model we are focusing on here, then cheap, fun, reliable motoring basically. Toyota took the engine from the Camry/Carina range which was of middling power for a 2litre, being tuned for lower end torque as a way of maintaining some off road credentials. The transmission was a modified version of what you would have found under the Celica GT Four no less, so its fair to say that with the right tyres the RAV4 should make a decent fist of being a 4x4. But lets face it, not many were going to be put to the test and it was the cars on road abilities that Toyota focused on. So what's it like to drive, in short a hell of a lot better than its closest rival, the Suzuki Vitara which really was not a car that you wanted to drive fast on the road (I still laugh when I think of the Vitara's where owners had put flared arches and fat tyres on them, about as inappropriate as it is possible to get), it's no GTi in the corners but has generally civilised road manners and is a fun car to drive. The short wheel base model is obviously going to be the quicker with performance figures of about 0-60 in 11 seconds which is amusing if not electrifying. If you do need a bit more practicality then you could go for the 5 door version but somehow it seems a bit pointless doing that as the main appeal of the RAV4 is its cutesy, fun value, so if you are looking for practicality then there are a lot more appropriate cars out there. That said, the 5 door versions are very cheap indeed so if you fancy having the high driving position then why not, we're just not sure of its value as a future classic. The 3 door on the other hand is another matter, what with its aforementioned trend setting status and fun value, not to mention Toyota reliability, there's a lot to be said for the RAV4 and prices are pretty keen right now. Of course if you want one with low mileage there is going to be a bit of premium to pay as they are very rare, if you do find one with less than 60k that some dealer isn't asking the earth for, snap it up and look after it. For true rarity and therefore collectability, try and find one of the few cabriolets that were made. They had a very fiddly hood so proved unpopular and only sold between 1998 - 2000. A good account of the history of the RAV4 can be read here http://forum.rav4driversclub.com/topic43.html As for prices, well £500 will easily get you a decent example if prehaps needing a little TLC, a £1000 would get you a really good one though with higher miles 110k plus. Low mileage examples are difficult to find so we can't really put a price on them but would be worth hanging onto, so shop around, how knows what you might find.
Bold American styling, Mercedes underlings and an “in your face” name, what more could the American car buying public ask for? Well it certainly seems they were askance of something as the Crossfire only ever sold roughly 46k units in the US over 4 years of sales, which is a tiny amount for a country like the states where 7.5 million cars were sold in 2004 alone. So what was the issue? Well a look at reviews in America of the Crossfire when it came out can be described at best as cool, many criticised the interior quality and the handling which, when you consider the iffy quality of most of the cars coming out of America at the time, is quite surprising. What makes the Crossfire's poor sales even more surprising is that Chrysler sold some 116k PT Crusiers in 2004, a car that is.. er, well lets just say that I drove one once and that is 25 minutes of my life I am never going to get back! My only conclusion is that, although styled and sold by Chrysler, it was basically a Merc SLK underneath and was built in Germany to boot, and it seems to me that Americans still considered it a Mercedes. Should that be a problem, well yes as I get the feeling that most Americans, whether consciously or not, place higher expectations on European cars than they would their home grown ones, and as the Crossfire is to all intents and purposes a European car, even if it is styled for the American market, it got reviewed that much more harshly. Either that or it was just too expensive... As for us UK buyers, well, with only 3429 left on the roads of Britain the Crossfire certainly has far greater rarity value the SLK that it is based on, and if the American styling is your kinda thing then it makes for a pretty enticing buy. And if you like to DIY those gear changes then the news gets even better as one third of them come as manuals. Reports from owners suggest that the car is proving pretty reliable but they are quite a devoted lot so maybe not the most unbiased of sources. Plenty of low milers around and prices are also very keen at the moment, so go on, get yourself something a bit left field. £3500 should get you a good one with roughly 70k (May 2016)
BMW Z4 Roadster. BMW made a big leap forward when they released the Z4, after the Z3 received a far bit of stick for its lack of handling not to mention its hairdresser appeal, and applied their new “Flame Surfacing Design Theory” to its styling, which as far as we are concerned was a great success, imbuing the car with much sharper and distinctive looks than its predecessor. The handling has been described as excellent by the vast majority of owners though some have criticised the ride quality for being a bit on the harsh side (ditching the run flat tyres would help remedy that and is something worth considering when buying one). Performance is good so long as you avoid the the 2.0L, which is only worth considering if you have been collecting lots of points for your license lately, though not quite up there with the Porsche Boxster S ( Z4 vs Boxster feature coming soon) unless you go for the M Roadster, but we aren't really covering that one here. Personally we would go for the 3.0L which provides the best mid range grunt, the 2.2L and 2.5L do need to be revved to get the most out of them. Where the Z4 does trump the Boxster is regarding BMW's decision to remain true to type and apply some good old Germanic build quality to the construction process, quite ironic really when you consider that the it was built in America. Nevertheless the Z4 has a generally quality feel about it and a good reliability record. Though before any owners get too smug or potential buyers complacent I should point out that the Z4's copy book is not completely blot free., there are a few things to look out for. Firstly, the BMW seems to have a healthy for rear springs and related issues with bottoming out can cause damage to the fuel tank. Also, a good old tried and tested hydraulic power steering system obviously wasn't good enough for those boys in Bavaria so they fitted an electric steering assist system and sure enough, it has proved to be a bit trouble some, so look out for sticky steering if buying. Door locking relay mechanisms are also a problem area, something that appears to afflict several German car manufactures. Its an easy fix but they come as a module and its not cheap. Lastly, water pumps need to be checked regularly after the 80k mark. At the moment prices are still dropping for Z4's though its worth noting that Z3 prices have suddenly firmed up dramatically (I have noticed that its costing a lot more for my monthly hair cut recently. Sorry, couldn't resist that one) so its definitely a good idea to keep an eye on those Z4 prices. A coupe version was released in 2006 and featured the 3.0L engine only. It is a stylish and relatively rare addition to the range which will undoubtedly give it a greater level of desirability than the convertible. If you see a good one, buy it! Prices (April 2016) 2003 2.8L 60k miles £5700 2003 2.5L 111k miles £4300 2006 3.0L 82k miles £9000 Coupe
Porsche Boxster. When people talk of German engineering they are more often than not doing so in an almost hallowed manner, as if referring to the holy grail of all things excellent. I am indeed guilty of this myself. So it would seem that when Porsche came to make the Boxster they had decided that they were getting sick of being stereotyped as the, great at cars, crap at jokes sort of person, and instead would play a joke on their customers. Out went the build quality and in came hugely expensive repair bills, the result of which is that Boxster ownership has become somewhat akin to playing Russian roulette with your bank account. I say Russian roulette as some owners have happily sailed past the 100k make without a hitch, where as others have had a much less pleasurable ownership experience, the causes of which I shall now outline. Most of the problems (though not all) that have been putting the frighteners on Boxster owners seem to arise from the engine which was Porsche's first attempt at making, and selling, a water cooled flat 6, and sadly it would appear that their customers were an integral part of the development process judging from the collection of issues that owners have faced, including porous engine castings, leaking seals and bearing failures, to mention a few. And if its not the engine that causes you loads of problems then there is still the gearbox waiting in the wings, read to ambush the smug with its recalculant second gear. I have provided a link here to a list of issues that you can look forward to upon buying a Boxster. http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=911405 The up shot of all this is that £5000 engine rebuilds are not uncommon and a sticky second gear will really need a rebuild which is another £2000. Of course not all Boxsters are going to ruin you financially, and I have been indulging in a bit of creative license with what I said above. There are plenty of owners out there who swear by their cars and have never had a problem. Indeed they will tell you about the excellent handling and poise of the car, the amazing performance (if they are driving a 3.2S) and the wonderful banshee howl of the flat 6 engine. And of course the kudos that comes with owning a Porsche. Its just that I can't help but think that, as you are about to hand over the money for your Boxster, its rather reminiscent of the scene from Dirty Harry where Clint Eastwood has caught up with a robber and has got a Magnum 45 to his head. and in this instance the seller is Dirty Harry and your the robber (“well punk, do ya feel lucky”) So if I haven't managed to put you off buying one, what things would you want to consider, that I haven't already mentioned, when looking for a Boxster. Well to start off with its fair to say that all the horror stories of those reliability issues are starting to have an effect on prices and there are now a lot of older 2.5s and 2.7s kicking about pretty cheap. Of course what you must remember when looking at a bargain basement Boxster is that these a basically budget super cars with repair and servicing costs to match. And don't think you can just pop the car down to your friendly local mechanic, these car are seriously complex and even a minor under bonnet twiddle about can upset them in a way that only a specialist will know how to sort out. The 3.2S, which came out in 2000, does seem to be slightly less problematic as far as the engine is concerned though the gearbox can get up to it usual sticky second gear tricks. On the positive side, its worth considering when buying that a lot of the problems will have been fixed buy previous owners and as I said a lot of cars have had no problems at all, so there is something to be said for a higher mileage car that has left the gremlins behind, so ask for any evidence of work that has been done. I have been very hard on the Porsche Boxster and I know there are going to be some very angry owners reading this, but not as angry I'm sure as the person who drops £4k on one only to have to pick up a £5k bill a few weeks later. In summary the Boxster is a great car that has been let down by reliability issues that Porsche seemed reluctant to address, issues that are now hurting their values on the second hand car market, which are at present still dropping (March 2016). Of course there are many good ones out there that have, for instance, had the IMS bearing and RMS seal upgraded, and possibly even the gearbox rebuilt (see note below)and will now have the makings of a real future classic. Alternatively, and as I said earlier, cars with a higher mileage may well have proved to be one of the lucky ones that just sailed happily passed all the problems that have afflicted others. Though you will have to consider the fact that high mileage cars will never have the collect-ability that low mileage ones do. You pays ya money, you makes ya choices. Note: There are some suggestions on forums covering the Boxster that Getrag, who make the gearbox for Porsche were fitting incorrect shims in some of the gearboxes hence the problems with second gear. Both Getrag and Porsche firmly deny this though it would suggest why some boxes throw up problems after only a few miles, where as others have no problem at all. Certainly the Boxster that I know of developed second gear problems after only 26k.... just saying. Prices (March 2016) 1998 2.5L 123k miles Black £4000 2004 2.7L 126k miles Silver £5200 2004 3.2L 48k miles Grey £11000
The Mondeo ST220 is one to look out for. The second generation Mondeo came out in late 2000 and was a significant step up from its predecessor in design dynamics(especially the diesel) though Ford had learnt their lesson with the Sierra and kept the styling cautious. One of the big improvements was the dodgy Americanised interior which was ditched for some think with a much more Germanic feel. The bits that were carried over were the good bits, like the suspension which had won the mk1 many plaudits and remained virtually unchanged for the mk2. The ST220 came out at the same time as the standard car and featured an enlarged 3.0L V6 engine producing 226bhp. Performance was good though acceleration times can vary depending on who's word your believing, but is roughly in the seven seconds bracket, and the top speed... well that's something your never gonna do, right! In 2003 the Mondeo was given a light dusting of a make over, there wasn't much to see on the outside but the improved dashboard does make the later models worth looking out for. Overall the reaction from the motoring press and public alike was very favourable regarding the whole range though the ST220 received particular praise for its tractable engine, subtle sports styling and firm but supple ride quality. Sadly its now time to broach the thorny issue of reliability. Although the Mondeo got good reviews in its early years, sadly time and mileage do creep up on the old girl and rob her of some of here youthful allure. The main problem is that she is a Ford and as is the case with all Fords, they ain't quite German! That is to say that the 100k miles self destruct button was never made an optional extra (it always came as standard) in the Ford range. I'm not saying that all Mondeo's are going to fall apart at the stoke of 100k miles but it does pay to be extra vigilant when buying one with higher miles. A list of things to look out for are as follows: Rear subframe bushes, they wear out usually about 100k and can be identified by a clonking noise and sloppiness in the steering. They are a garage job to replace. Handbrakes like to stop working, usually to do with the cable get gunged up, which is a hassle to replace. Front springs break a lot and the dampers can become noisy. The engines seem to hold out well but a general feeling of wear does start to make itself felt through out the drive train on really big milers. One last thing, sapphire blue seems the colour that commands the best resale values when buying a fast Ford so bear that in mind. The prices for early 2001-2003 models appear to have stabilized and the value of the car is mostly dependant on its condition rather than age. We would advise a sub 80k mileage car to really guarantee future values. Dealers are asking upwards of £6k for low milers though there are some private examples for sale around the £3.5k mark for one with 80k. Example for sale: Sapphire blue 53 plate 49k miles excellent condition £3999 ono (Feb 2016)