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The Grand Tour season 3 review: if you like it, watch it. If you don’t, don’t

The Grand Tour season three episode one

I’m going to come straight to the point: I’ve never really seen much value in a review of a television show. Which might seem like a strange admission at the beginning of a piece focused on examining the first episode of season three of The Grand Tour, but hear me out on this.

The return of the #amazonshitcarshow – clever hashtag, guys, very clever – will guarantee at least three things. The Guardian will post a largely negative review. The tabloids will revel in the show’s silliness. And Prime Video’s viewing figures will shoot through the roof.

I was asked to watch the first episode and then provide my thoughts. There are clicks at stake here and everybody is hoping to hitchhike on the back of the bandwagon that will be streamrollering online viewing figures for the coming weeks and months.

There ain’t much room on this wagon, so be prepared to get cosy with your neighbour if you’re taking a ride.

Detroit Spinners

May Hammond Clarkson

Which brings me back to point about being asked to review The Grand Tour. I’m not complaining – spending the first hour of a Friday morning watching Clarkson, Hammond and May mess about in Detroit was fine by me. But, honestly, do you care what I think?

Put it this way. If you enjoyed the first two seasons, you’ll undoubtedly love series three. As teasers go, the near-on two-minute montage at the beginning of episode one is pretty conclusive. And it scores points for the use of Do the Strand by Roxy Music.

If there’s one thing The Grand Tour does very well, it’s delivering a balance between the sensational and the incidentals. The muscle cars in Detroit segment is a feast for the ears and eyes – the sound of Hammond’s Demon echoing off the crumbling walls of ‘Motor City’ is a particular highpoint.

But the smaller reference points remain at the heart of what makes The Grand Tour tick. Even the demise of the celebrity segment is brushed aside courtesy of a sharp but cruel reference to Howard from the Halifax ads and Adrian Chiles. Not that the global audience will have a clue who they are. Google it.

Which is something you’ll be doing a lot following the first episode. Whether it’s watching footage of rock concerts at the Michigan Building on YouTube, trawling through images of the Conner Avenue assembly plant in its heyday, or wandering through the suburbs of Detroit on Google Street View, you’ll almost certainly lose another hour or so on the net.

So that’s your Friday afternoon sorted.

Happy little plants

Jeremy Clarkson in Detroit

I’m sure the detractors will make some wisecracks about three old farts hurtling through a once rich and powerful town as some kind of metaphor for The Grand Tour’s tried and tested formula. And that’s their prerogative.

But if, within the first few minutes of the show, you’re not enjoying it, why not switch it off and watch The Man in the High Castle? Or The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.

The Grand Tour exists to make people happy. “Shoot, if you want bad stuff, watch the news,” as the painter with the big hair once said.

Happy birthday, Land Rover Discovery: 30th Anniversary Edition revealed

Land Rover Discovery 30th Anniversary Edition

Land Rover has unveiled a 30th Anniversary Edition of the Discovery to celebrate three decades of its capable family 4×4.

There will be 400 examples of the Anniversary Edition, based on the Sd6 SE and available exclusively in the UK. It will feature a full-length panoramic glass roof, Meridian sound system and 22-inch wheels.

Anniversary Editions will be available to order in Corris Grey, Loire Blue, Indus Silver or Santorini Black, priced at £59,995.

“We have added extra value for our customers with the 30th Anniversary Edition, making what is regarded as the ‘Best Large SUV’ on sale today, even better,” said Rawdon Glover, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover UK.

“The Discovery family represents the pinnacle of versatility, and we are proud to celebrate that lineage. Discovery has evolved in its 30-year history to consistently bring technology, capability and relevance to the ever-changing motoring community.”

Land Rover Discovery 30th Anniversary Edition

The Discovery, now in its fifth generation, is a cornerstone model for Land Rover. After the rugged original Land Rover and the (what became) luxurious Range Rover, the Disco served to bridge the gap.

And bridge it has, for the better part of 30 years, and over the course of more than 1.7 million sales.

Read more:

George Harrison’s Mercedes muscle car up for auction

Anglia Car Auctions

It’s the first Anglia Car Auctions classic sale of the year, with the usual array of modern and future classics on offer, with prices to suit most budgets. The headline act is undoubtedly this 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL AMG, formerly owned by Beatles legend George Harrison All Those Years Ago. If you’ve got your mind set on placing a bid, read on to discover more about the Mercedes and some of the other cars going under the hammer in King’s Lynn.

Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL AMG – £50,000 – £70,000

Anglia Car Auctions

Of all the Beatles, George Harrison was arguably the biggest car enthusiast, owning a succession of exotic motors and declaring a love of motorsport. He bought this Mercedes 500 SEL AMG new in 1984 and sent it straight to Strattons of Wilmslow where it was treated to lowered suspension, a body kit, interior upgrades and Penta alloy wheels. In total, the car plus upgrades cost £85,000, which might explain why Harrison kept it for 16 years, before passing it on to his friend, the percussionist Ray Cooper, in 2000.

Anglia Car Auctions

It changed hands a few times since 2000, before being placed in storage in 2013. It remained there until 2017 and was sold at auction in March 2018, fetching £43,200. Since then, around £10,000 has been spent on recommissioning and a cosmetic refresh, which might explain why it’s expected to fetch more money at the ACA sale. My Sweet Lord, Isn’t it a Pity we can’t stretch to the pre-auction estimate.

Range Rover pick-up – £6,000 – £10,000

Anglia Car Auctions

ACA hasn’t supplied any details of this Range Rover pick-up, but we know that it’s powered by its original 3.5-litre V8 engine and has around 134,000 miles on the clock. According to an old classified advert, the 1987 Range Rover was professionally converted to a pick-up and has been resprayed in Masai Red. It passed an MOT in September 2018 with no advisories.

Aston Martin DB5 – £450,000 – £525,000

Anglia Car Auctions

This 1964 Aston Martin DB5 has been in the same family since 1972 and is being offered by the daughter of the third owner. The vendor explains: “I was working as a junior doctor in a hospital in London when I recognised the name of one of the patients. He was the owner prior to my father-in-law and his previous boss. I had never met him, and introduced myself. He was delighted that we still had his old car and remembered it very fondly. Needless to say, most doctors could not afford such a wonderful car these days and we are very lucky to have had stewardship of it for so long”.

BMW 3.0 CSI – £48,000 – £54,000

Anglia Car Auctions

When BMW launched the fuel-injected 3.0 CSI, it put the devastatingly attractive E9 on the top table of the performance car world. With around 200hp, the 3.0 CSI could hit a top speed of 135mph, completing the 0-60mph sprint in less than eight seconds. This Turkis Blue example was the subject of a £22,000 restoration and its last MOT was in 2005.

Ford Capri 2.0 Laser – no reserve

Anglia Car Auctions

The Laser was the last hurrah for the four-cylinder Ford Capri before ‘The car you always promised yourself’ bowed out in 1986. Which makes this 1986 example one of the last to leave the Cologne factory, although it could have been built earlier only to remain unregistered for a while, because Capri sales began to slow towards the end of its production run. There’s a stash of MOT certificates dating back to 2001, which will go a little way to verifying the ultra-low mileage of 14,018.

Alfa Romeo 33 – no reserve

Anglia Car Auctions

It looks like something Jeremy Clarkson might have created for a Top Gear challenge, but it should prove a lot of fun on a track day. It comes without documents and was last used in 2016, while tweaks include Sparco seats and harnesses, a fully-welded roll cage, detachable Sparco steering wheel and a fire extinguisher. There’s no reserve, so grab yourself a bargain.

Ford Thunderbird – £16,000 – £20,000

Anglia Car Auctions

Thunderbirds are go! If you think this Ford Thunderbird looks FAB, you’ll need to part with around £20,000. It was imported in 1999 and has spent the majority of its UK life in storage, but the vendor describes it as a “solid car”. All of this Dusky Pink elegance and sophistication could be yours for the price of a Ford Focus.

Ford Escort RS2000 – £19,000 – £24,000

Anglia Car Auctions

Thanks to its polyurethane nose, the RS2000 is perhaps the most iconic of all of the performance Mk2 Escorts, but this thoroughbred is about so much more than a nose job. This particular example was imported into the UK in 1986 and has been treated to a “no expense spared” restoration. Upgrades include a race-tuned Burton 2.1 engine, a quick-shift five-speed gearbox, twin Weber carburettors, Sparco steering wheel, RS alloy wheels, safety harness and roll cage.

TVR Chimaera – £8,000 – £10,000

Anglia Car Auctions

Production of the TVR Chimaera began in 1991, and by the time it bowed out in 2003, some 6,000 units had been produced. Its design was influenced by a dog, with Peter Wheeler’s German Pointer taking a bite out of the polystyrene model created during the car’s development. This Salmon Pink example is described by the vendor as driving extremely well and remaining in good order.

Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen – £15,000 – £20,000

Anglia Car Auctions

Before the G-Wagen became all ‘Pimp My Premier League Ride’, this is how it used to roll. It’s a 1985 280 GE LWB with just 22,930 miles on the clock. Having spent its early years garaged in London, the owner drove it to a West Norfolk farm estate around 10 years ago, where it has remained ever since. Forget the new and expensive G-Class – this is where it’s at.

Mini Cooper – £6,000 – £8,000

Anglia Car Auctions

A 2005 Mini Cooper might seem a little modern for a classic auction, but this one-owner car has a remarkable 3,488 miles on the clock. Supplied new by Listers of King’s Lynn, it comes with five main dealer stamps and a full set of MOT certificates dating back to 2008. You could spend up to £5,000 on a 2005 example with more miles on the clock, so the lower estimate isn’t totally unreasonable.

Lancia Fulvia Zagato – £24,000 – £27,000

Anglia Car Auctions

Messing with the disarmingly pretty Lancia Fulvia Coupe might seem like a sacrilegious act, but in fairness to Zagato, the styling house got this one spot on. This 1972 example was stored from around 2000 to 2016, covering just 450 miles during that time. It was featured in a magazine in January 2018.

Austin 1300 Countryman – £7,000 – £9,000

Anglia Car Auctions

Back in the day, the Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300 were among the most popular cars in Britain. It’s not hard to see why, because the ‘big Mini’ was cheap to buy and run, good to drive and, thanks to its Pininfarina styling, rather good looking. The estate versions, known as the Morris Traveller or Austin Countryman, added a dash more practicality. This 1972 example looks like a little gem, with just 16,200 miles on the clock. It has spent 45 years in Guernsey, where the milder climate will have contributed to its “lovely condition”. It’s cheaper and more appealing than a new crossover.

Jaguar E-Type V12 – £37,000 – £42,000

Anglia Car Auctions

There are no fewer than eight Jaguar E-Types on offer at the ACA sale, including seven left-hand-drive examples from a private collection in Denmark. Which makes this one the only right-hand-drive E-Type in the sale. It was supplied new in 1971 by Henlys, London, but it’s far from original. In 1985, it was treated to a restoration, including a colour change to period Willow Green. In 2005, around £13,000 was spent on an engine overhaul and fuel injection conversion.

Triumph Dolomite – £2,000 – £3,000

Anglia Car Auctions

This looks like a presentable and ready-to-use Triumph Dolomite 1500 automatic. The vendor recently spent £1,000 on a service, new hoses, alternator, battery and conversion to unleaded fuel. According to ACA, everything works, which is reassuring.

Buick Riviera – £14,000 – £16,000

Anglia Car Auctions

The Riviera name dates back to the 1940s, but became a standalone Buick model in 1963. This is a very late first-generation car – the Mk2 Riviera arrived in 1966 – and as such, it features headlights concealed behind clamshell doors. Sales in 1965 totalled 34,586, contributing to a total of around 112,000 for the first-generation model. This car comes complete with the ‘4 RXY’ number plate and has been in the UK since 2012.

Lotus Seven – £21,000 – £24,000

Anglia Car Auctions

We could say they don’t make ‘em like they used to, but in the case of the Lotus Seven, that’s not strictly true. But while a new Caterham would be nice, an original Seven is somehow more evocative. Or maybe we’ve watched too many re-runs of The Prisoner. Whatever, this 1965 S2 spent some years in Australia and has covered 68,201 miles.

Chrysler Wimbledon – £15,000 – £20,000

Anglia Car Auctions

This Chrysler Wimbledon was formerly owned by the late Keith Moon, but we don’t believe it ever ended up in a swimming pool. It does, however, come with a logbook confirming Moon’s ownership, including the drummer’s signature. If you fancy this huge slice of Americana – Who wouldn’t – the Anglia Car Auctions classic sale is taking place on Saturday 26 January 2019.

Top new car colours 2018

The top colour choice of Britain’s best-selling cars right now

Top new car colours 2018The colour of their new car is one of the biggest choices motorists can make. It’s something most of us spend ages agonising over, staring endlessly at brochures or clicking constantly at the online configurator. For years, the top colours have therefore been seen as a reflection of the mood of the nation.

And in 2018, it seems we’re feeling rather glum and sober, based on the choices of our new car colour as ranked by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Let’s run through the favourite shades of Britain’s best-selling cars, then, before looking at the best-selling new car colour overall at the end.

Kia Sportage: white

White Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage was the 10th best-selling new car in Britain last year, with over 35,000 new models finding homes. The top choice of colour was white – perfect for bringing out the facelifted car’s crisp lines and LED-accented front end.

Ford Kuga: grey

Grey Ford Kuga

Another SUV in the top 10, Ford Kuga buyers preferred grey. Called Magnetic, it’s interestingly a so-called ‘exclusive’ colour, costing £750 – regular metallic paint on the Kuga is £600.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class: black

Black Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class was launched in 2018 and, like many a Merc, the favourite new car colour pick for Brits was black. Because any Mercedes-Benz looks great in black, we fully approve of this.

Mini: grey

Grey Mini Clubman

Mini buyers are cheery sorts, but even they seem to have been swayed by the glum mood in Britain last year. There are umpteen bright shades on offer in the range, but our favourite was still grey.

Volkswagen Polo: black

Black Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo is another new car for 2018, and another model in which Brits preferred it in black. We must say, though, based on the image above, it does look pretty good in black, doesn’t it?

Ford Focus: blue

Blue Ford Focus

The Ford Focus was also new in 2018 and we also fully endorse Brits’ pick of blue as their favourite colour. Chrome Blue is a more subtle shade but we particularly like the Desert Island Blue pictured above – it really pops.

Nissan Qashqai: black

Black Nissan Qashqai

Back to black for the Nissan Qashqai. The Sunderland factory has an excellent paint shop so it looks just as rich as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, we reckon.

Vauxhall Corsa: grey

Grey Vauxhall Corsa

The ageing Vauxhall Corsa is currently being sold in special edition Griffin guise, in which the feature colour is red. This may sway things for 2019, but for 2018, the moodier shade of grey was top choice.

Volkswagen Golf: grey

Grey Volkswagen Golf

The sensible, sober-suited Volkswagen Golf was yet another car that was most popular painted in grey. VW offers two shades – Urano Grey is actually free, and Indium Grey metallic is £580.

Ford Fiesta: grey

Grey Ford Fiesta

Our favourite new car by far in 2018 was the Ford Fiesta. And the colour we chose above all for it was, yes, grey. Again, Ford’s grey is called Magnetic, an exclusive colour that costs £650, as pictured here on the exceptional new Ford Fiesta ST.

Grey day

Grey McLaren 600LT

And the best-selling new car colour in 2018 overall? It’s perhaps no surprise to read it is grey. Perhaps reflecting the mood of the nation, the many shades of grey beat the previous top colour, black, into second place. It’s the first time grey has topped the charts, reports the SMMT.  

So let’s cheer things up a little: we may all be feeling a little grey, but if it means picking a racy McLaren 600LT like the one pictured above, we reckon we’d soon cheer up once we got behind the wheel…

 

Experts warn new diesel car slump may lead to secondhand shortages, rising prices

Used Fiat 500XNew car buyers are now so out of love with diesel, future used car buyers may experience stock shortages due to a lack of vehicles passing through the system.

Although new car diesel sales have plummeted in recent years, secondhand demand has remained firm. And the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA), whose members sell 1.5 million used cars each year, says such a fast rate of new diesel decline is likely to cause issues.

Over the past two years, it explained, more than half a million fewer new diesel cars have entered the used car market. VRA deputy chair Philip Nothard says the situation is becoming “acute”.

“The speed of decline in diesel has been much more rapid than the overall market, but demand for used diesels has not really fallen very much at all.

“Used car buyers tend to take a much more practical view. They have bought diesels over many years because they are tough, economical and practical – and these factors haven’t really changed.”

This, he predicted, could lead to some types of used diesel car starting to carry a price premium.

Used car forecourt

“This could easily occur in, for example, the large SUV sector, where the running cost difference between petrol and diesel derivative are very much in favour of the latter.”

The Range Rover Velar illustrates the fuel savings diesel still offers. A 250hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol version averages 30.5mpg, while the 240hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel returns 40.7mpg – that’s over 30 percent more miles to the gallon.

For value-seeking secondhand buyers, that’s a huge advantage in diesel’s favour…

Here are the cars the new Toyota Supra has to beat

Cars the Supra has to beat

The Toyota Supra is finally back and it’s caused quite a stir. We break down exactly what the fifth-generation A90 Supra is up against.

Part of what fortifies the Supra legend are the challengers it has stood against over the years. From the ‘964’ Porsche 911 that the previous-gen Supra was launched to battle, to the Ferrari F355 it raced in the first The Fast and the Furious, to the countless supercars tuned-up versions have dispatched with a whoosh, a chirp and a pop of flame, the previous generation had to earn its stripes in flat-out combat.

2019 Toyota GR Supra A90

The fanfare around the Supra can easily be confused with general hype for the era from which it hails. The Mk4 was but one of many now-legendary Japanese performance cars to emerge from the 1990s.

While the new car doesn’t find itself flanked quite so closely on the home front, Toyota has positioned it in what might just be the most exciting class of 2019.

2019 Toyota GR Supra A90

The head honcho at Toyota, Akio Toyoda, knows exactly what he’s doing, too. When you’re being told to understand a car in terms of golden wheelbase/tyre ratios, you know it’s got a fighting chance of being a corking driving machine.

The car it was conceived to battle is also on the back foot. The Porsche Cayman was once heralded as all things to all driving enthusiasts: a singing flat-six for the tunnels, a slick-shifting box with which to work it, plus world-class handling made it an impenetrable force in the sports car class.

Now, the Cayman has been lumbered with a much less exciting flat-four, and faces a battery of very competent rivals gnashing at its heels. The latest of which is the Supra.

All these cars are united in their defiance of the Cayman, then. So what? Classes of cars exist, right? Not quite like this. We’re not talking paint-by-numbers executive saloons. We’ve got four-cylinders, six-pots, front-engined, mid-engined, manual, paddle-shift, lightweight, not-so lightweight – so many variations in the mix, all sporting very similar numbers across the board.

So where does the Supra sit among its competition? And what does it need to beat on its way to immortal sports car glory?

Porsche 718 Cayman S: 244hp/tonne, from £53,030

Cayman

We start with the long-standing sports car king that rendered all others outsiders. Yes, it’s as talented a car as ever chassis- and handling-wise. It’s also got that badge and the associated level of engineering and quality. What it’s lost, though, is the deal-maker – that spine-tingling flat-six.

In its place comes a 350hp 2.0-litre flat-four that’s won itself all of zero personality awards. Still, that should be enough power to shift the car’s 1,430kg. The Cayman has a power-to-weight ratio of 244hp/tonne.

BMW M2 Competition: 258hp/tonne, from £50,975

M2

Next, possibly a curious car to compare? Given the Supra was developed alongside the new Z4, should that not make this list? Well, not really. The Supra has been touted by both parent manufacturers to be the harder-edged sibling. More in line, in character, with the M2.

What does the M2 bring to the table? In refreshed Competition spec, serious punch in the form of a 400hp inline-six borrowed from the M3. It also uses that car’s carbon strut brace and boasts a stiffened chassis. It’s almost unique in offering a manual transmission, too. It weighs 1,550kg and therefore has a power-to-weight ratio of 258hp/tonne. In this company, a bit of a sharpened muscle car…

Alpine A110: 225hp/tonne, from £46,905

Alpine

Right at the other end of the spectrum, the A110 delighted many in 2018 with a lesson in lightness. Great weight distribution, slim tyres and an expertly judged chassis make the A110 the antithesis to ‘more power and more stiffness’ approach.

Sat amidships is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 249hp, going to ground via a dual-clutch paddle-shift transmission. That’s a fair wad less than the Beemer, but it’s only got 1,105kg to move. All told, it’s only 33hp down on the M2 Comp’s power-to-weight at 225hp/tonne. That four-pot is more characterful than the Porsche’s flat-four, too.

Toyota GR Supra: 224hp/tonne, from £52,695

2019 Toyota GR Supra A90

Now, for comparison, the new boy. With its 335hp BMW-sourced straight-six and paddle-only transmission, many dismissed it as meek and mild. Maybe you could forgive them, given there’s no power increase versus the Mk4 Supra of 25 years ago.

What those people don’t understand is that Toyota has done exactly what is constantly asked of those supplying 600hp sports saloons and 700hp ‘mid-level’ supercars – it has ducked out of the horsepower race and built a car for fun, rather than for blind and blunt numbers. At circa. £50,000, it’s not “more than you can afford, pal”, either – the Mk4 was a pricey beast from new, especially for something with a Toyota badge.

What we have, then, is a 1,495kg 335hp sports car with a power-to-weight ratio of 224hp/tonne: almost exactly the same as the featherweight Alpine. The Supra completes the Cayman-baiting trio, the sports car warriors-three. They’re all well within 50hp per 1,000kg of each other and in a sector where driving quality is currency, all bets are off. 

Other rivals

Honourable mentions also go to the Jaguar F-Type P300 (not focused enough), Nissan 370Z (too old), Lotus Elise Sport 220 (too uncompromising) and Audi TT RS (too compromised). If any are your flavour of fudge, power to you. They only serve to diversify the sports car market even more.

This will surely be a great year if you’ve got £50,000 to burn and great roads you want to explore…

Read more:

A perfect 1990s Toyota Supra will now cost you £390,000

Toyota Supra $500,000

With the new Toyota Supra now revealed, a renewed spotlight has been shone on one of the most legendary names in Japanese performance cars.

Now, the previous-generation Supra may have officially hit classic status, given that a US dealer is offering a pristine example for a cool £390,000 ($500,000).

Toyota Supra $500,000

The car previously sold on January 3 via US car auction website, Bringatrailer.

The 1994 twin-turbo Supra is the most desirable iteration of the model, having a 320hp 2JZ engine and manual gearbox.

Toyota Supra $500,000

The Renaissance Red over tan leather interior is a very ‘Miami’, but it’s in absolutely immaculate condition, with just over 7,000 miles on the clock.

That’s probably part of why it crossed the block for a heady £94,000 ($121,000).

Toyota Supra $500,000

That’s not the end of the story, though. The car is now listed with a Toyota dealership in Chicago for an absolutely eye-watering half-a-million dollars.

According to Road & Track magazine, however, the car is most certainly not priced to sell. Instead, it’s something of a showroom museum piece, bought to get people through the door.

With the new Supra arriving in dealerships soon, a previous-gen model in this condition would be the ultimate display piece for comparison purposes.

2JZ GTE $500,000

Regardless of that ridiculous price, what it sold for on Bringatrailer isn’t exactly a pinch. Values are on the up, with good examples usually nuzzling £62,000 ($80,000) on the auction site.

Cars in such perfect original and low-mileage condition are in short supply here in Britain, so it’s difficult to gauge values. A well-maintained moon-miler in a good spec (manual, twin-turbo) will easily breach £20,000. But wouldn’t be surprised to see a low-mileage example go for more than £60,000.

Read more:

Vauxhall offers servicing and breakdown cover for £19 per month

Vauxhall service and breakdown

Adding to the list of things we can pay for monthly is Vauxhall, with its new car care package. It starts from a reasonable £19 a month.

The scheme includes three years’ servicing and roadside assistance cover, with the first MOT also thrown in. It builds upon the existing three-year warranty and one-year Vauxhall Assistance package when you buy any new Vauxhall.

The roadside assistance includes both home-start and recovery – good peace of mind for your first three years of motoring in your new car.

While the package costs £19 per month for petrol-powered cars, diesels are a little pricier, at £22 per month. Overall, you’ll end up paying £684 over three years with a petrol car, or £792 with a diesel. A one-off up-front payment for the total is available.

Given servicing is quoted on Vauxhall’s website as ‘£159 for interim or £259 for a main service’, you can expect to pay £567 just in servicing over three years. That means three years of breakdown and home-start, plus the car’s first MOT, costs you £117. Not too bad, by our reckoning.

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Why this retro Peugeot 309 GTI will smash its pre-auction estimate

Peugeot 309 GTI

In 1991, this Peugeot 309 GTI would have cost, as near as makes no difference, £10,000. It’s expected to fetch a similar amount when it goes under the hammer next month, although I wouldn’t bet against it selling for significantly more.

It is, after all, one of the greatest hot hatches of the era  good enough to give the Mk2 Golf GTI a bloody nose and (whisper this) arguably a touch better than the fabled 205 GTI. And we know how much they’re worth these days.

Put it this way: there will almost certainly be at least two people who have the desire to own an as-new 309 GTI and, assuming they have the required funds, the price could soon skyrocket if they engage in a bidding war.

Peugeot 309 interior

A price of £20,000 therefore doesn’t seem unrealistic. Maybe even £30,000, if you use the 7,986-mile 205 GTI as a precedent. Or, heaven forbid, £40,000, if you consider the 5,726-mile example. I might be pushing things a little…

Joyride

Rear of Peugeot 309 GTI

Sure, the 205 GTI is the darling of the motoring press, and the 309 GTI doesn’t have quite the same level of kudos or universal appeal, but those who know, know. And where are you going to find another one-owner car with just 131 miles on the clock?

The vendor bought the car new in 1991, but a job overseas meant that the Peugeot was barely used. So it sat in a garage like a caged animal. Out of sight and out of mind. 

A sacrilegious act, you might think, and you’d be right. But at least the 309 GTI was safe from joyriders, outdoor ravers and, more recently, engine transplants to keep another 205 GTI alive.

I don’t buy into the thing about Peugeot not building a great hot hatch since the 205 GTI. The 106 and 306, in both Rallye and GTI guises, are up there with the best of them, and the 208 GTI is good if a little more soft-focus than its forebears.

Dressed for success

1991 Peugeot 309 GTI

The 309 was destined to wear a Talbot Arizona badge, but changes at a corporate level meant that it ended up sporting the Peugeot lion. You can read a little about the history of the 309 here.

It was based on a lengthened and widened 205 floorplan, and shared its doors with the popular supermini, so its breeding is in little doubt.

One contemporary review likened the 309 GTI to a 205 GTI with more space and greater refinement. And given the fact that the 205 GTI is the best hot hatch the world has ever seen (discuss… ), this might be one of the most desirable auction cars of 2019.

Listen to your heart

1991 Peugeot 309 GTI

Sadly, thanks to the ultra-low mileage, this 309 might end up in a private collection, returning to its slumber like some French sleeping beauty. It would certainly need recommissioning before it can return to the road. 

There’s also an oil leak to fix, as highlighted by the MOT test of 2016.

Peugeot 309 interior

So, go on then, how much will it sell for? The pre-auction estimate looks terribly pessimistic and my guess is that it will fetch at least £25,000.

I have the desire but not the funds required to secure this slice of hot hatch mastery. If you have both, head along to Barons’ Classic Winter Warmer sale at Sandown Park on 26 February.

Goodwood Breakfast Club 2019: dates and themes revealed

Goodwood Breakfast Club

Goodwood’s free-to-enter Breakfast Club car events are a must-attend for anyone with a drop of high-octane fuel in their veins.

Now, the dates and themes for the 2019 events – based at the famous Motor Circuit where the Revival and Members’ Meeting are held – have been released.

Estate Car Sunday – 3 March

This one is not so far away, is it? March 3 will see a fleet of 700+ estates descend on Goodwood for Estate Car Sunday. This is a celebration of all things big-booted and wagon-shaped.

All Wheels but Four Sunday – 5 May

Bit of an odd one this, but it does what it says on the tin. If it’s motorised and has two, three, five, six or more wheels, it’s welcome. It just can’t have four…

Supercar Sunday – 2 June

Supercar Sunday is the big one. All things fast, expensive, rare and exotic from Italy, Germany, the UK, America and beyond. This is the date for your diary if there’s a supercar you want to tick off your ‘spotted’ list in 2019.

Goodwood Breakfast Club

Classic Car Sunday – 4 August

The perfect Revival pre-amble comes in the form of Classic Car Sunday. All cars and bikes are welcome, as long as they were manufactured before 1978.

Eighties Sunday – 3 November

Seeing out the year will be Eighties Sunday – a celebration of all things automotive from the decade that subtlety forgot. From Quattro to Countach, Testarossa to 205 – this will be a monster nostalgia hit.

So there are Goodwood’s five Breakfast Club events for the year. You can apply to enter by clicking this link. You’ll need to acquire a ticket for entry, although that’s free. We hope to see you there…

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