Cars James Ruppert: the appeal of limited-edition cars is anything but limited

08:40  11 february  2020
08:40  11 february  2020 Source:   autocar.co.uk

James Ruppert: Declining car sales? Not on the nearly new forecourt

  James Ruppert: Declining car sales? Not on the nearly new forecourt Recent surveys show that new car buys are dying, as more and more customers switch over to second-handFord’s Fiesta remains one of the constants at the top of the new car hit parade whether you are looking at the year-to-date or monthly sales figures. Why do you buy a Fiesta? Because it is small, reliable and very good value. Easy to fix and all that. So a 1.25 Zetec is economical and just about perfect. Old ones are easy to buy, but I would target a 2010 example, with the pre-‘Aston Martin’ upper grille, which can be bought for £2500 privately.

There are times when you wonder whether car manufacturers actually like cars, let alone their customers. When it comes to their old models, most are not that interested.

Limited-run Jaguar XE Reims Edition revealed

  Limited-run Jaguar XE Reims Edition revealed Special edition of Jaguar's smallest saloon will be limited to 200 unitsThe XE Reims Edition is named in celebration of the Jaguar D-Type’s maiden victory in 1954 at the 12-hours of Reims and uses the maker’s French Racing Blue paint, previously only used on extreme models such as the limited XKR-S and XFR-S.

Recently, though, Honda went above and beyond for a reader who wanted to know the provenance of his car. He owned a CR-V 2.2 i-CTDi Executive registered in 2006 and finished in white. The colour is important because these were apparently courtesy cars for the McLaren Formula 1 team. Sadly, the pernicious secret-squirrel influence of data protection laws didn’t help and the results were inconclusive, but Honda’s people tried and are still asking around, so good for them.

Limited editions aren’t always worth a premium but they can sometimes be easier to resell. Mazda has gone to town with limited-edition MX-5s over the years to the point where they’ve became meaningless. Never mind: they are such brilliant sports cars that whatever they are, it doesn’t matter. So a 2004 1.8 Arctic Limited Edition Blue I saw, with rusty arches, 100k miles and very average paintwork, was £750. A great project for less than a grand. It came with 15in alloy wheels, what looked like special sunlight silver paint and some chrome on the quarterlights.

Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TSI R-Line Edition Estate 2019 UK review

  Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TSI R-Line Edition Estate 2019 UK review Not easy to justify for BMW 330i M Sport money, but likably understated and rare-groove all the same. One for VW diehard with a family – and the means.There is less that’s special about the car’s interior that you couldn’t also get on a regular Passat R-Line, although that doesn’t mean it’s not a very comfortable, pleasant and reassuringly classy driving environment. The car’s driving position is a touch higher than you might like but its part-leather R-Line sports seats juggle support with cushioning well.

However, we are in the middle of winter, so a 4x4 would be useful. What could be better than a Jaguar X-Type? I stumbled across a 2003 Indianapolis with 140k miles, which was up for grabs at £1250. It had one previous owner and seemed very tidy and didn’t have rusty wheel arches. But it did have special platinum paint, xenon headlights, reverse parking beeps and 18in alloys.

Then there was a 2006 Mini Park Lane with bonnet stripes for £1400. That is nothing to pay for a runaround. It had done 110k miles, which were all accounted for, and had no advisories on the MOT. It was leathered up inside, too, with heated seats and full-on climate control. What’s not to like?

Obviously, everyone adores Peugeot 205s, so a 1.6 Mardi Gras from way back in 1994 would be worth having. Especially with just 64k miles. The downside was an automatic gearbox, but I am old and getting tired so that seems fine to me, plus it was priced just below £1500.

James Ruppert: Overlooked and undervalued, the BMW Z3 is a prime used buy

  James Ruppert: Overlooked and undervalued, the BMW Z3 is a prime used buy It's more characterful than a Mazda MX-5 and can be picked up for under a grandIt has had a pretty average press over the years. When it was new, some thought it looked like nothing more than a slightly more purposeful and less soft-soap-styled MG F. I don’t think that’s the case now. They look like fabulously heroic, long-bonneted roadsters and are great to drive as there is enough old BMW underneath to make them huge fun.

Vauxhall seems to have cornered the market with limited editions, but they don’t excite me. I’d much rather have a 2004 Audi A4 Limited Edition, a 1.8T saloon. The one that caught my eye had done 125k miles, had all the mod cons and cost £2495. Details on the ‘limited edition’ part were rather sparse but, hey, this is a seriously cool German-built saloon.

a red car driving on a road © Provided by Autocar

What we almost bought this week

‘Must have service history’ but what if it hasn’t, like this 2007-reg 9-3 1.9 TDi with 120,000 miles for £500? Perhaps the service book has just been lost. At least it has a year’s MOT. Dip the oil, check the coolant level before and after the test drive, look for exhaust smoke and warning lights, and listen for rattles. What else can you do?

Tales from Ruppert's garage

Porsche Cayenne - 106,645 miles: After the Flying Pig’s headlight bulb went ping and we replaced that, it conked out again when we were on the move. At least it was only the nearside light that perished so we could see where we were going.

When replacing the bulb, there is a clever little access flap and a nut you twist to release the entire headlight housing. Brilliant. The trouble is, it doesn’t seem to grab the housing very securely and, although I have had a tinker, this needs a quick shove each time I drive the car.

James Ruppert: Gong in sixty seconds

  James Ruppert: Gong in sixty seconds Here's a quick-fire glance at our used car award contenders for the 2020 Autocar awards. Which will you vote for?The Ford Fiesta is no ordinary small hatchback – it is a best-seller, both new and used. Fiestas are great to drive, easy to own and fantastic value for money. Here’s a one-owner 1.0 Titanium from 2014 with a full Ford history, new cambelt and 160,000 miles on the clock. Proof if you need it that they go the distance, and all for just over £3000.

a car engine © Provided by Autocar

A-Z of Bangernomics

L is for Land Cruiser: Quite easily the best working 4x4 that anyone can buy. Never cheap – with even mega-milers from the mid1990s still commanding solid money – but worth every single penny. Not flash, just very hard-working, with the ability to tow anything and pack in lots of bodies and the stuff that comes with them.

What to watch out for? Copper injector seal problems, and suspension and gearbox damage if used hard. Farmers only sell when it’s worn out, which is worth remembering. A 2003 150k-mile 3.0 diesel with history is £4300.

a red car parked on the side of a road © Provided by Autocar

Readers' questions:

Q. I’ve been told I can be fined £5000 if I drench a pedestrian by driving through a puddle. True? If so, it seems unfair, given the number of potholes.

A. Soaking or splashing a pedestrian with your car is only an offence when it can be proved you did so deliberately. The offence is driving without due care and attention and the fine is a fixed penalty notice of £100 and three points. The £5000 everyone talks about is a worst-case one that could be imposed by a magistrate were your case to go to court. The best advice is to keep your speed down.

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by Autocar

Q. I plan to buy an emerging classic this year but how do you spot them and which ones do you think I should be looking at?

A. Generally speaking, ‘bedroom wall’ cars that people had posters of as kids, a car your generation lusted after when it was new but couldn’t afford until now, genuinely innovative cars, rare and worthwhile special editions of sought-after cars… These are the motors to look for. Many have already been identified but, as their prices take them beyond reach, more will emerge. Our hot tips? Keep reading our Future Classic section each week.


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Vauxhall Astras, Insignias and - if you're hankering for a bit more style - the Mazda 6 all fit the briefFirst off, there are some colossal-mileage estates around for a few thousand pounds, and it just depends on whether you want something that has been properly maintained or with low mileage. Otherwise it could be poised to deliver an awful lot of diesel particulate filter and simple old-age issues. I think Ian needs an estate with a bit of life left in it, so I’ll stick with motors below 70,000 miles.

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