Shiny new test cars are all well and good, but they don’t offer a lot of opportunity for Sunday afternoon tinkering, nor are they brilliant for loading to the brim with rubbish or dirty dogs when required.
These, then, are our prides and joy: the new and used cars we’ve added to our own driveways and garages this year:
Skoda Superb iV Estate Mike Duff – bought
I’m rarely accused of being fashionable, but a Karmic coincidence meant I took delivery of a new plug-in hybrid Skoda Superb on the very day that the government’s plan to bring forward the ban on new ICE cars was formally announced.
For a self-confessed PHEV sceptic, this purchase was a decision of head rather than heart, and one influenced in large part by the current incentives promoting the uptake of electrified vehicles. The Superb iV isn’t electric enough to get the government’s £3000 grant, but its sub-50g/km CO2 emissions mean that, as I registered it before March, I can legitimately claim 100% of its cost as a first-year tax writedown. Rock ’n’ roll, huh?
In conjunction with a generous discount through a broker, that means, providing I keep the Superb for the long haul, I get a new car that will cost less than the three-year-old Mercedes E-Class diesel wagon I was otherwise considering. With around 30 miles of electric range, it should stay ahead of emissions standards and ULEZ zones for a few years.
The government is closing the tax window for PHEVs (only pure EVs will be eligible from next April), and that’s causing a rush for cars. A sixmonth wait for factory orders meant my choice was limited to the three unassigned iV SE L estates already in the UK. I went for black. And I fully intend to plug it in sometimes, too.BMW 520i Felix Page – soldKeen readers might recall the sub-£1000 E39 BMW 5 Series that I bagged back in the hazy days of summer. My initial enthusiasm for the car didn’t fade over its first few weeks under my stewardship, and a couple of long runs were dispatched with barely a cough from its 120,000-mile six-pot motor.
It had a fresh MOT, but I chucked some new tyres on to be safe – what a transformation – and hastily topped up the oil when a lifter started clattering. The car then continued to disappoint my more sceptical friends and relations who were just waiting to laugh at me when it all went wrong.
As a move to a one-car flat approached, I faced facts and prepared the 5er for sale. A thorough wash and some decent pictures were well worth the hour spent, with the car moving on a fortnight later and landing me a (tiny) profit. Bangernomics in action.Austin Allegro 1500 Richard Bremner – sold
My online salvage auction habit led to the bold purchase of this 1978 Austin Allegro. Bold not because of its minority appeal but because this otherwise tidy example apparently had a non-working clutch. The fix, however, was potentially simple: the release arm sticks if the car is unused.
What arrived on a flatbed was indeed tidy and idled sweetly, but the release arm wasn’t seized. Further burrowings eventually led to power unit removal and separation of the gearbox to reveal a cog, a mauled lock-washer and a big nut huddled beneath the oil pump. Sourcing the lock washer was challenging, but the job is now done and the Allegro has been sold on to an enthusiast for a modest profit.
That windfall, however, was soon blown on a pretty 1966 Simca 1000 Coupé, its Bertone design shaped by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro. It has issues, but they’re gradually being licked. The Coupé was never sold in Britain, and this one is apparently the only runner here.