James Rup­pert

Make the plate change work for you

Auto Car (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

Given time – an­other decade – a £2k BMW Z3 2.0 may well seem like a steal

It’s 67 plate time. Old peo­ple like me miss the let­ters but, even more than that, we miss it not be­ing 1 Au­gust. That was a proper time to do the changeover and it pro­vided the mo­ti­va­tion and money that oth­er­wise-bored show­room staff needed to get up in the morn­ing.

Never mind, be­cause the stam­pede of the masses to the show­rooms to buy 67-plate mo­tors presents plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for more savvy shop­pers. I’m talk­ing about part ex­changes, and there are loads of them, even if the new car mar­ket isn’t quite as buoy­ant as it was a year ago.

I should be point­ing you at sen­si­ble three-year-old, just-out-of-war­ranty peo­ple movers that have just been chopped in for a 67-plate new­bie, but it is far more fun to take the rise out of the un­wanted part ex­changes that deal­ers think they may be stuck with.

A 1999 Vaux­hall Vec­tra must now be in the ironic ‘clas­sic’ cat­e­gory, and £475 for a 170,000-miler sounds rather steep, but it is a 2.0 LS model with a full ser­vice his­tory. I am sure if you of­fered the dealer £300, they would pull your arm off.

In­deed, also for £300 I found a 2004 Honda Jazz. With one-care­fu­loap-owner, such a pur­chase should be a no-brainer. It does have 140,000 miles and a very hon­est de­scrip­tion by the dealer as ‘scruffy’.

It looks okay in pics, as they al­ways do. The tyres need re­plac­ing but, oth­er­wise, it is a Honda, so you would think that it would keep on work­ing (al­beit quite scruffily).

1999 is quickly be­com­ing the go-to year of un­ap­pre­ci­ated fu­ture, but cur­rently ironic, clas­sics. A pig-ugly and rather point­less BMW Z3 2.0 is an un­wel­come ad­di­tion to a dealer’s in­ven­tory. Just £2000 will buy it, and from the pics it seems to just need a bit of T-cut to shine in the Septem­ber sun. Given time – well, maybe an­other decade – and that £2000 may well seem like a steal. Right now, it is sink­ing into a gravel fore­court and be­ing con­sumed by weeds.

A Land Rover Dis­cov­ery I spied not only has the mis­for­tune of be­ing a 2005 model, but also one with a 200,000 mileage. There is a colos­sal amount of ser­vice his­tory ev­i­dence, which is very re­as­sur­ing, and the the­ory would be that any of the is­sues that are com­mon on this it­er­a­tion of Dis­cov­ery will have been ironed out by now. It’s a 2.7 V6, of course, and the ask­ing price is £5000 on trade terms. Go and kick the tyres, though, and I reckon the dealer will melt a few hun­dred off that fig­ure, if only to make a Dis­cov­ery-sized space on his fore­court.

It’s Septem­ber, then, and used car op­por­tu­ni­ties are ev­ery­where. You don’t even have to look too hard.

Vec­tra: per­fect for those in the mar­ket for an ironic ‘clas­sic’

Disco 2005: worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing, even with 200,000 miles

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