James Ruppert: How to net a modern classic


I adore early Boxsters but, for so many people, the only real Porsche is a 911. You need deep pockets to buy and run any Porker, but the 996-generation 911 is still relatively affordable, although they are starting to go up in value. As with Boxsters, care is always required and buying purely on price is a mistake. We do have to dodge the Tiptronic ones, which rules out roughly two-thirds of those on sale. Still, £9995 gets you a 2001 Carrera 2 cabriolet in a seemingly decent condition and with a history. Personally, I prefer a roof and a 1998 full-service-historied Carrera 2 at £10,995 seems like an excellent way forward – classic and affordable enough to make sense.

As for BMWs, the choice of models is immense. There is, though, only one M. Dodging the seemingly colossal amount of cheapish cabriolet M3s, I settled on a 2003 coupé with 103,000 miles, for which £10,000 seems very reasonable. Then again, trading up to a 2007 V8 with 110,000 miles costs not much more, at just over £11,500. Is it a classic yet? We’ll never see a V8 M3 again, so it probably is.

A 5 Series? Obviously. I’d be inclined to go for an Alpina for the added rarity. A 2000 B10 3.3 manual with just under 90,000 miles for £10,995 seems like a very sensible place to put your classic-car-buying money. Estoril Blue, too. Manual, when so many seem to be automatic.

Finding something classically German from the past 20 years is easy enough, then, and we didn’t go near an Audi or VW. Maybe next time.

What we almost bought this week

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Vauxhall Nova 1.2 Merit Saloon: Described as a ‘garage find’ and owned by the same gent since 1995, this 1989-reg Nova saloon is just £850. It’s a budget classic with an unmarked interior dressed with brittle plastic and clothed in a body that’s only superficially rusty. It could be your passport to a happy summer spent trophy hunting at concours d’inelegance events up and down the land.

Tales from Ruppert’s garage



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