Cars James Ruppert: Cars built for a crisis

08:45  14 april  2020
08:45  14 april  2020 Source:   autocar.co.uk

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

  James Ruppert: the appeal of limited-edition cars is anything but limited Just because a manufacturer only made so many of them, not all special editions carry a premium. Some are now in bargain territoryRecently, 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.

Traditionally the car market, both new and used, doesn’t respond well to any sort of crisis . Certainly the new car market is far more volatile when it comes to world events. It has a few choice dents (perhaps acquired during a bungled getaway), but what do you expect for £500? Tales from Ruppert 's garage.

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I don’t have to tell you that we live in very uncertain times. Traditionally the car market, both new and used, doesn’t respond well to any sort of crisis. Certainly the new car market is far more volatile when it comes to world events. The used car market is rather more reactive, and the people dealing in it have to be responsive indeed to changes or they will go out of business.

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James Ruppert has 23 books on Goodreads with 762 ratings. James Ruppert ’s most popular book is Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native American Lit 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars. The British Car Industry: Our Part in Its Downfall by. James Ruppert .

What’s going on right now, then? Well, at least one dealer I know sent me a text the other day with the revelation that he’s added 43 ‘cheap’ cars to his stock. He hasn’t exactly got a pound, just quite a big garden. This dealer is betting on people needing emergency cars that work. Substitutes for the inevitable and undesirable public transport shortfalls.

All this begs the question of just what should be in stock at times like these. These cars won’t always be pretty, interesting or clever; this is Bangernomics at its most visceral.

There are still loads of old Toyota Corollas in circulation, and it’s easy to see why. There are even bug-eyed ones from the 1990s for peanuts that will run all day long. If you don’t want to go back more than 20 years, how about 18 years? About £400 will get you a 2002 1.6 VVT-i but perhaps with 150k miles, which is fairly academic. There may be rusty wheel arches and an interior that has seen better days, but never mind, because it will start first time every time.

James Ruppert: Rover 75s are tempting but treacherous

  James Ruppert: Rover 75s are tempting but treacherous Classic? Banger? Rover's last luxury car starts at a poxy £350, though absent a service history. But a grand plus can net you a trouble-free oneThe 75’s BMW diesel engine helps matters and, despite limited space in the rear seats, the car has over the years made a living in the rural private-hire game. First off is a 2004 CDTi Connoisseur SE at £350 with 130k miles. Foggy headlight glass and not much in the way of detail suggests that perhaps things are not going to be easy. Mind you, for £50 more, a 2003 CDT Club with almost 200k miles and a fair whack of MOT seems not half bad at all. Better still is a £595 2003 Club SE with just under 110k miles and a full service history.

Currently reading: James Ruppert : Subscription cars ? We'd rather a banger. They all work in their own mysterious ways where you end up paying a rental and swapping between models. Or something. Let’s imagine for a moment that you don’t want to be involved in such a scheme: what are the options

On today's show we have James Ruppert . He's one of Britains longest serving car journalists who writes for Autocar, Freecarmag and has published fantastic

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The Volkswagen Golf is an absolute constant. I was surprised to come across a 2004 1.4 FSI model at just £900. Some might see the 140,000 miles as off-putting, but this did at least have a dealer warranty for reassurance. It looks surprisingly modern and I have first-hand experience of the engine, which is tough and will deliver a comfy 40mpg, if not a bit more. When times get better, it ought to be very resellable on the basis that it is a Golf.

Ford Mondeos have been fantastic since day one. There are sensational ones about and I came across a victim of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone that was being sold at £275. A 2003 1.8 manual with 130,000 miles, it had a set of new tyres and 12 months’ MOT, which one hopes has no significant advisories. Apparently a full history, too. This is a family car for nothing that’s roomy, practical and fixable if the worst happens.

Just three examples there for the forecourt of doom. A dealer will make money, a private seller will unload something they no longer need and a motorist becomes or stays mobile, hopefully with cash to spare for fuel.

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Award winning journalist James Ruppert gives us some top tips on how to clear our car of ice, both safely and quickly.

This week, James Ruppert runs down the best cars to buy for an apprehensive first-time driver. I was challenged to find the ideal car to soothe a really nervous first-time car buyer, the sort who I told the person asking for my advice to go and take a few driving lessons to build their confidence up.

What we almost bought this week

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Jaguar S-Type: Purring around the seamier parts of London in an old Jag sounds like fun, but if you can’t stretch to a Mk2, how about this X-reg S-Type? It’s a 3.0 V6 that’s done 93,000 miles and has an MOT until October. It has a few choice dents (perhaps acquired during a bungled getaway), but what do you expect for £500?

Tales from Ruppert's garage

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Innocenti Mini, mileage - 7235: I still have the adorable Italian car but haven’t been using it much due to… commitments. Well, insurance specifically: I hadn’t bothered to upgrade the cover to ‘agreed value’. I went through all the hoops and took photos, but sometimes I wonder about valuation departments. I know it’s a difficult one, but we agreed on what I paid for the car in euros plus what I’ve spent to fix it.

Anyway, I got sent the fantastic badge pictured above by Steve Bennett. He had it lying around and posted it on. That wonderful fellow car enthusiast gesture is more important to me than what this stylish little Mini may be worth.

James Ruppert: Get pumped for used German diesels

  James Ruppert: Get pumped for used German diesels The used market is crawling with bargain buys, and oil-burners are especially good value. Take your pick of Mercedes E-Classes and Audi AvantsThe good news, if there actually is any, is that at the moment used cars remain legal currency for infinity. That means we can and should go out and buy what we damn well please.

Reader's ride

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Rover 200 VI: Rover enthusiast John recently acquired this wonderful 1997 200 Vi with only 52,000 miles. One family had owned it from new, looked after it very well and kept it garaged. When the son took on the car from his father in 2008, he added some of the then-available MG ZR parts, such as 17in wheels, half-leather seats and larger front brakes, as well as a BRM mesh grille. The plan has been to restore the car to its original condition, using all the parts removed and carefully stored. The Vi is rare now, with only 30 on UK roads.

Readers' questions

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Question: I’ve seen a 2004-reg London taxi on sale for just £1250. It would seem to be a great family car, but are there any laws against private owners driving a black cab? Ken Jones, via email

Answer: Be in no doubt: an old taxi is slow, noisy and, aside from its tight turning circle, not much fun to drive. But there is a lot of room for passengers and luggage – and if the kids get too noisy, you can always slide the glass partition closed. Anyone can buy and run a black cab, but you should remove any operating signage. If it gets hit, spares and repairs are cheap. Insurance is reasonable through a specialist such as Adrian Flux. JE

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Question: I’d like to see the new Skoda Superb iV but, being an elderly gent, am concerned about catching a certain bug. How can I go about it? Doug Scott, Chepstow

James Ruppert: A bitty but spacious classic for £6k? Step this way

  James Ruppert: A bitty but spacious classic for £6k? Step this way Alfa Romeo Mitos, Citroen C4 Cacti and Fiat 500 Ls are what you're looking forShe wants a fairly small, ideally left-hand-drive car that will carry five and is around four years old, classic-looking like a Beetle or Mini, automatic, Ultra Low Emissions Zone-compliant and economical – all for around £6k.

Answer: Try Skoda’s live tour service at skoda.co.uk. Click on the ‘take a tour’ button against the Superb iV and then enter your phone number in the pop-up screen to the right. A Skoda expert will call you back and relay images to your computer from a handheld camera as they walk you around the car. I tried it from home and didn’t sneeze once. JE


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