You really don’t need to be loaded to buy yourself a limousine
Lounge in a limo for very little loot
I've just invented autonomy Level 6: chauffeur level
Cars with the ability to drive themselves haven’t filtered down into the used car realm I inhabit. So it isn’t surprising that it has taken me a while to get my head around the levels of autonomous driving, as devised by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
On these pages, we are really only interested in Level 0, which is a car with no hint of driver assistance whatsoever. We remain fairly agnostic when it comes to cruise control, although we have to admit that anti-lock braking can do a job and electronic stability control has its moments.
We could live with Level 1 autonomy, which relates to driver assistance functions that don’t have to be used. Level 2 means automated systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist but, again, they don’t have to be switched on.
The levels beyond that just get increasingly more dull in my opinion, although I’ve just invented Level 6: chauffeur level. This is where we look at second-hand limousines in which you can choose to drive or be driven.
The great thing about used limos is that they can be cheap. I found myself looking online at a Vauxhall Omega Statesman Corporate 3.0i automatic. This one has been overhauled for use by a funeral director so it has six doors and a roof rack for floral additions. Omegas are cool again and this one has eight seats. All for £1850. It has done just 58,000 miles and is on a 1998/R-plate. Immaculate, obviously, and rather black. The only 1990s saloon that’s more desirable might just be a Volvo 760. A 1997 3.0 FS with six doors and eight seats at £1995. There is lots of leather going on inside and, as an alt-mpv for an extended family, it makes some sort of sense. Alternatively, there is a Mercedes-benz E-class spin on this, but no chrome roof rack. I found a Coleman E240 Classic. The description said four doors, but I counted six. It is a 2000 example and didn’t seem rusty so maybe £2650 is reasonable money.
Just to prove that not every limo needs six doors, these sorts of searches throw up a proper oddball in the shape of a Chevrolet Astro van – not so much a limo as a Yankee day van. The sellers claimed it as a 2006, but that must have been the import date. It seems to have an electric bed, Playstation 2 and DVD, so there is a proper infotainment system that makes it better than any limo, and £2800 seems like a laugh.
Rather than go up into the rarefied Rolls-royce Phantom atmosphere for limo life, it can be sampled much lower down the scale. The money you save can be spent on one of those autonomous driving systems: that’s what we used to call a chauffeur…
A Chevy Astro, an electric bed and a PS2, all for £2800
Eight-seat Omega for just £1850 is a deal to die for