PC’S market expert Russ Smith rounds up the latest trends.
Auctions can be a great place to buy, but you must take care not to be suckered into bidding on something you have done due diligence on. And it’s an easy trap to fall into. Usually when a car is about to be hammered away so cheaply you almost feel duty-bound not to let it pass by and raise a hand.
A friend was recently saved by thankfully hesitating at just such a point when the hammer went down on a mid-seventies V8 Merc S-class with no reserve for little over £2k.
And it was a tempter, with the catalogue describing Merc specialist care and a two-year resto completed in 2000. So later I fired up the laptop to see what he’d missed, which is easy with so much online info now available, and what I found was pretty scary. For a start, government records have it down as a completely different model of Mercedes. Euro Car Parts’ search engine denied it existed at all. I accept this could be an administrative error, but that’s rarely easy to clear up, and as it is it casts a cloud of doubt over the car.
Then there was the sketchy MOT history, which showed just five tests passed in the past 12 years, and the mileage figure going up and down like a yo-yo and way off what the car currently shows. But most tellingly it revealed that just 11 years on from that claimed two-year restoration, the car had failed its test on excessive corrosion front and rear, along with a raft of other flaws that didn’t speak of a loved and well cared-for motor.
All in all it smelt strongly like a wrong-un. To be fair, the buyer can probably recoup the price paid by breaking it. But it remains a cautionary lesson.
‘Records have the Merc down as a completely different model’