The Failures

Five cars we should have kept…

Ever let one of these go? Join us in our misery.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Over the years I’ve had a lot of things said to me. “Oi, get out of the bushes” or “why are you in my house?” immediately spring to mind. A soundbite in which someone calls me intelligent, however, well that’s simply a case of ‘file missing’. It’s never happened. Especially when the conversational foundation is my car history.

You all know I’m a bit rubbish at buying cars. No, actually, that’s not right. I’m brilliant at buying cars. However, my taste is and always will be somewhat questionable. But even so, there has been the occasional gem. But because I have the attention span of a gnat, I sold them on far too quickly and for far too little money. Join me, won’t you, as I walk you down the road of some of my failings…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”4327″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”img_link_large” css_animation=”appear”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Capris…

I have had many Capris. Five I think. I can’t be too sure. And all of them were unspeakable heaps of junk. Even my 1977 Mk2 2.0L was a wreck. It was mechanically sound, but it had a face for radio. My first £40 Capri was… well, it was £40. And my £200 1.6 Laser was… quite good actually. But the council took it away and made it cube-shaped.

There was one, though. My 1976 3.0S. A rare car then and an even rarer car now. I pulled it from an actual, real life barn for the meagre sum of £500. I had a mechanic friend get it on the road, which took very little work, and then I used it, lots. I absolutely adored that car. It was a bit rough around the edges, but fundamentally it was a nice car. Until I put a gold roll cage in it, of course. Silly.

And what did I do? I sold it in 2008 for £1,000. I was going through a divorce at the time, so it needed to go. But why oh why did I not squirrel it away somewhere?

Value now – £7,500+

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The Minis…

Again, this is a case of many being shite, but one being stellar. I owned about four and a half Minis (yes, literally a half) and while one will always remain dear to me, given that it was my first car, the rest were all just cheapo parts whores. I think I bought two for £20 a pop. One was a bit more, but it’s still a sore topic nearly fifteen years on. Humph.

But look at Minis now. Man alive have they gone through the roof. I’d be willing to bet that my £20 wrecks would still be worth £500 on today’s market. And I’m also willing to bet that there are a few of us who have used and abused a Mini or two, only to look at the 2018 classifieds and gasp.

I was once offered a Sport Pack Cooper for £1,500 once. I turned it down. I know, I’m a moron.

Value now – £500 – 5,000

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The Mk1 Golf GTi…

Singular because I only had one of these. And it never made it to the page of my motoring stories because, frankly, there isn’t one. I bought it in the morning and I sold it in the afternoon. That’s about all there is to it.

But man alive, look at them now. Prices have gone do-lally for old ’80s hatchbacks and the Golf GTi is no exception. Even a rough one is worth a cool five grand now. How many of you have had an early Golf GTi and bailed on it because of rust, or a minor bump, or because you crashed it into the drive-tru window at MacDonald’s after executing a handbrake turn in a bid to impress a girl?

Still, do a regret not keeping mine? No. It was rotter,it had been modified by someone with all the design acumen of a goose and it ran like shit. I regret nothing.

Value now – £5,000 upwards

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The Astra GTEs…

I’ve had four of these. The C-plate one I had first was a wreck and only suitable for car parties (click the blue bit for some much-needed context). The second, my H-plate 8-valver was in with a shout of being something decent, but that went the way of the 1275 Mini mentioned above, so again, it’s a sore subject a decade-and-a-half later. Then there was my red (or should I say Vauxhall Racing Pink) 16-valver that was a rot box.

The one that really hurts though? That would be the C-reg, red, FIVE DOOR, 1.8 GTE. You can’t begin to imagine how rare such a thing is these days. Hell, it was rare then, because everyone bought the three-door.

Look at the prices now. They’ve gone absolutely bananas. Again, it’s a case of the mid-thirties generation now having the money (and NCB) to actually insure the buggers, so the market is strong. It hurts thinking about the GTEs. So many digital dashboards.

Value now – £4,000+

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The W126 S Class Mercs…

I’ve had two of these. One was a £100 500SEL that has more greenery on it than Alan Titchmarsh’s wellies. It was a derelict wreck and I sold it for £500. Zero regrets. Which is something I can’t say for the other one, namely my 1989 300SE. I got that thing for a steal at £200 without the wheels (don’t ask), and it went straight through an MOT and after that, it cleaned up real nice. Then a cooler line for the gearbox went and I had it scrapped. I could have fixed that. It’d be worth few bob now.

But happily, the W126 is a car that still flounders within the financial territory of this website, so it might be something I can revisit. There’s unfinished business there. If I’m quick, I might get in there before the prices go truly bonkers.

Value now – £2,000 +


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