The European: Everything old is new again - The European
used v new

It’s not older, it’s been aged.

So, I have fifty grand burning a hole in my pocket or at least sitting in my bank. Technically my share portfolio. Technically I don’t even have it. I’m lying again. Let me explain.

If you’re as much as a car bore as me then you’ll have played this mental game yourself, and for the amateurs it usually starts with a million dollar budget but the pro’s will set a much tougher budget for themselves, typically less than a hundred grand. The task is simple: set your limit and then go on the hunt for something to satisfy your inner driver.

In days gone by I used to only ever really exercise the Arthur Daley hemisphere of my brain when sat on the throne with the latest copy of Classic and Sportscar, the seat having to be surgically removed from my rear bumper as I pondered whether to go for a mint 1984 930 Turbo or a shoddy looking E-type (it was always the German that won out).

Now though, I can sit quietly tapping away on the laptop, wired into carsales, whilst Lady European watches reruns of Oprah. Sometimes my “OHMYGOD” coincides with that of a shrieking audience of middle aged women with white teeth 15,000 kms away. Like when I find a – ooh, here we go, a Ferrari Dino. Not the good one, the shit one that came out in the Seventies, but a Ferrari nevertheless and having undergone a restoration worth somewhat more than the asking price. Oh my God indeed.

Would I buy it? Would I bollocks because I’ve just found a tidy Porsche Boxster that would have me topless for summer instead and not have me up to my arms in sump oil at six thirty in the bloody morning or trying to understand the finer details of Italian electrical ingegneria just so I could go and buy some bread. No the Porsche wins.

Until I spot a 4 year old BMW 530i with all the options you’d ever need. A current shape and looking resplendent in dark blue over cream leather interior, this is the sort of car that would have the neighbours talking. Especially considering that if you were to buy the same spec brand new would strip you of over a hundred grand. A hundred grand car for less than half? Arthur would be proud.

So how come no car mag I read ever includes used cars in their group tests? To conduct new car comparisons without the these alternatives is akin to comparing the wine list at The Fat Duck and not going next door to the bottle-o to see how much their Moet is instead. It seems to me to be totally unrealistic to compare only new cars with each other when the same dollars can chase some more interesting metal, yet this happens in every car mag, every month.

Why? Lack of vision. So please, join with me and petition the editor of whatever car mag you read to include at least one older car for reference. With enough pressure it may become a reality, the same reality as our car buying exists in.

Like that other Chicagoan all it takes is a little hope. Say it with me “Yes we can!”