"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.

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.

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...

Most Popular

Exclusive: banned 71-reg number plates released
Number plates

Exclusive: banned 71-reg number plates released

Latest DVLA list of banned UK registrations reveals which 71-plates are too rude for the road
21 Sep 2021
Volvo to ditch leather in all cars by 2030
Volvo interior

Volvo to ditch leather in all cars by 2030

New C40 Recharge will be first Volvo to be offered without the option of leather upholstery
23 Sep 2021
New MG HS plug-in hybrid 2021 review
MG HS PHEV - front

New MG HS plug-in hybrid 2021 review

We find out where the new MG HS PHEV fits in the highly competitive plug-in hybrid SUV sector
21 Sep 2021