Advertisement

"Is it worth buying a used luxury, performance or supercar?"

Prices for used cars in the classifieds can be tempting. But it could also be a financial time-bomb, as Mike Rutherford's been investigating

The question I'm asked most - what's the best thing you've ever driven? - is instantly answerable. It's a Tyrrell F1 car I piloted - when younger, braver and slimmer!

Second most-asked question is trickier; is it worth buying an old luxury, performance or supercar costing a fraction of its original price? If the vehicle has a bulletproof reputation, respectable, verifiable history (including service stamps plus receipts) and you've got the cash, go for it.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Auto Express Used Car Awards 2016

Do what I did and spend around £10,000 on, for example, an ageing Mercedes priced around £100,000 when new. But, ideally, keep another ten grand up your sleeve for servicing, repairs and parts replacements which will, inevitably, be high. It's less a case of if you'll incur such 'unexpected' bills, more a case of when.

If you don't have a lump-sum contingency as backup, at least try to put a minimum of £100 away each month to cover those 'unexpected' expected items. Alternatively, a hundred quid or more could be the monthly warranty cost on, for example, a well and truly second-hand supercar.

Stop the Service Secrets campaign

No need, I hear many a defiant car nut cry. I'm not so sure. Especially as a leading firm, Warrantywise, has just told me that electrical repairs or gearbox and engine rebuilds/replacements on some 'exotic' used cars can easily cost £6,000 - £15,000. That means £9,500 for a Nissan GT-R gearbox (selector), £9,997 for a Ferrari 550's major electrical fix, and £15,000 for sorting an obviously serious mechanical issue in the engine bay of a Lamborghini Murcielago.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Such eye-wateringly expensive jobs are inexcusable and surely impossible to justify. For heaven's sake, what sort of lovely jubbly profit can a garage enjoy when handing a hapless customer a £15,000 invoice in return for mere 'mechanical' work beneath a bonnet? 

Postcode lottery over car repair bills

A one-off bill that's as obscenely high as this is enough to buy a brand new car or two (Dacia Sandero plus VW up!). Or a legendary and modestly specified used sports car (Porsche 911 or Mazda MX-5 anyone?). Alternatively, 15 grand might cover the fuel and car insurance bills of many a real-world driver for a decade.

On the above evidence, it appears that 'exotic' car repair costs can be a scam, while asking prices for quality new and used cars, fuel, insurance and warranty cover can be a steal.

Have you ever bought a used prestige car? Let us know your experiences in the comments below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"
Opinion

"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"

Mike Rutherford recounts some significant stories that may have passed you by in recent weeks
12 Jul 2020
'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020
'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'
News

'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'

Just because premium brands can offer cheap finance deals, it doesn't mean that they can fob buyers off with poor customer service, says Deputy editor…
15 Apr 2020
“UK motor industry – your country and its people need you”
News

“UK motor industry – your country and its people need you”

Mike Rutherford thinks the motor industry can still do more to help provide life-saving medical kit
12 Apr 2020

Most Popular

SEAT Leon vs Volkswagen Golf vs Ford Focus
Family hatchbacks

SEAT Leon vs Volkswagen Golf vs Ford Focus

The Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon are all long established hatchbacks - we find out which is best among the latest crop
11 Jul 2020
New Skoda Octavia vRS 2020 ride review
Skoda Octavia vRS Hatchback

New Skoda Octavia vRS 2020 ride review

We get our first taste of 242bhp Skoda Octavia vRS with Skoda tech development boss Christian Strube in the driver’s seat
10 Jul 2020
Suzuki Jimny axed from Europe over emissions regulations
Suzuki Jimny - off road
Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki Jimny axed from Europe over emissions regulations

Tightening emissions rules mean the Suzuki Jimny will be pulled from the European market in the coming months
8 Jul 2020