Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 19 April
An HR-spec Nissan 350Z is a 308bhp drift missile that can be had for under £6500
Nissan 350Z, £6499: The Nissan 350Z caused a real stir on its launch back in 2003.
Arriving first as a coupé, it was powered by a 276bhp 3.5-litre V6. From 2005, the year the convertible landed, the engine was uprated to 296bhp, although this more powerful motor was a tad troublesome, so in 2007 a revised version, producing 308bhp and codenamed HR, arrived to save the day. You can spot its presence by a power bulge in the bonnet. By this time, standard equipment included Rays lightweight alloys, bi-xenon headlights and Bluetooth.
We saw a 2008/58-reg HR convertible GT with 65,000 miles and full Nissan history advertised for £6499. Finished in Midnight Blue metallic with black leather it looks a real eyeful. It’s had a lightened flywheel fitted, too, which is no bad thing since original dual-mass items can fail expensively at 60,000 miles.
If we were serious, we’d check around the oil filler neck for fresh spillages: it’s a sign the engine is using oil, which they can do. We’d peer under the rear end, too, looking for corrosion on the ‘W’ brace.
On the test drive, try to detect play in the diff mounting bushes. The suspension bushes are fragile so we’d expect some looseness and possibly knocking. Most folk upgrade to tougher poly ones. Our example looks like a cracker, though, and given its history it’d be a surprise if it has subprime tyres, but even so, check it’s wearing OE Bridgestones or similar premium rubber.
After the run let it idle for some time, checking to see if the fan cuts in (they pack up at around 80,000 miles). On a cold day, the hood can take an age to fold away.
MG TF 1.8 Sunstorm, £1495: MG Fs and TFs are bargains now, like this 50k-mile, one-owner 2004/53- reg TF Sunstorm with full history. It’s had a new head gasket and cambelt and a hardtop is included. TFs had coil springs in place of the F’s Hydragas set-up. Check for uneven shutlines.
Maybach 62 5.5, £47,995: Optional extras lose value quicker than the car they’re fitted to, so fully loaded used cars, like this 103k-mile 2004/04 Maybach, are a lot of fun. Its electrically operated partition and panoramic glass roof cost nigh-on £30k new; here they’re thrown in free.
Fiat Punto 1.9 JTD HGT, £989: This rare Punto 1.9 JTD diesel is the sporty HGT. Shame it’s not the 1.8 130bhp petrol HGT, but still, we’ll take its 192lb ft and sub 10-second 0-62mph time. It has full history and, says the seller in time-honoured fashion, ‘looks and drives superb’.
BMW 530d SE GT, £7799: BMW’s now defunct saloon-cum-coupé-cum-SUV oddball never caught on, so it’s now a bargain. This one has done 100,000 miles but it’s got the gung-ho 3.0-litre diesel engine under the bonnet with almost 400lb ft of stump-pulling grunt.
Volkswagen Corrado 2.9 VR6: This 1996 Volkswagen Corrado with 113,000 miles and only one owner since being sold as a nearly new ex-demo made £6270 on the block. It had a heated leather interior, refurbished Speedline alloys and a good history. The bid looks a little strong given that it probably needs a thorough overhaul, but good, unmodified Corrados are rare. Tempted? Check the timing chain. They can let go at around 100k and it’s an engine-out job to replace. Headlights are hard to source and the heater matrix can be troublesome (a tell-tale sign is a damp carpet).
Get it while you can
Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 AMG Line Edition Shooting Brake, price new – £28,260, price now – £22,980: It’s change-time for the Mercedes A-Class and its various spin-offs. First to arrive was the hatch and now there’s a new CLA coupé, although you can still get the old one with around £3500 off list price. Later this year the CLA Shooting Brake arrives. Time, then, to ponder a deal on a nearly new current model while they’re being cleared out. We found a zero-mile 2019/68-reg 180 AMG Line Edition for £22,980 – a saving of more than £5000 off list price.
Clash of the classifieds
Brief: Find me a quick Mini with a reasonable mileage and a solid service history for £6000.
Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works, £5999: Specialist tuning companies have long been associated with the Mini, but the best known of all is John Cooper, named after the legendary racing ace. This is a fully factory-backed version with the R56-generation Mini and gets engine and exhaust mods that turn the wick up to 208bhp, better brakes and an electronic differential. This 2008 example is slightly under budget and only has 65k miles on it. There are no advisories listed on the MOT check, so it should be in pretty fine order, too. Max Adams
Mini 1.6 Coupé, £5937: For some very personal and, I admit, totally irrational reason, I’ve always disliked the BMW Mini. This has nothing to do with my being a huge fan of the Issigonis Mini, by the way, because I wasn’t keen on that either. So before I make myself very unpopular, let me fulfil the brief by offering up this 2012 Coupé version, a car that shares all the normal hatch’s qualities but is at least unusual to look at and quite rare. It’s quick enough, plus it has a low mileage and a full service history. Mark Pearson
Verdict: Power aplenty, an electronic diff to keep me out of hedgerows and that evocative JCW association to bore my mates with. Max’s Mini wins.
Source: Autocar Online