James Ruppert: Grab a big French saloon for low-cost luxury

When it comes to Renault, the Vel Satis and Avantime are the two oddities that always spring to mind, but the firm’s last proper traditional barge was the Safrane. These seem to be almost obsolete. You can find some real cheapies, but I rather liked a 1998 2.5 V6 automatic with just 42,000 miles and a seemingly optimistic £2500 asking price. Another option is to hop over the Channel, where the choice of left-hooker Safranes is far bigger. What I really loved was a 1994 Biturbo in the Netherlands, a properly rare super-saloon as only 806 were built. So the almost £16k asking was probably fairly reasonable for that particular big French car.

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

BMW 320, mileage – 85,555: I did the decent thing and went online to print off my MOT and look at the recent history. Oh, yes, and make a note of the advisories, if any. Well, it is an old motor, but actually the garage fixed all the outstanding bits, such as the ball joint. However, there was a report on the front jacking points last time and I know they are still a bit crumbly. I’m not quite sure how far to go with the old girl. Meanwhile, I booked the Flying Pig in for an MOT and a once-over but the garage’s new mechanic had heart failure when I said it was a Cayenne. Essentially, doesn’t he know who I am? Apparently not.

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