Just a few years back, you'd have paid through the roof for, say, a 996 Porsche 911 or Mercedes SL. Which got us thinking - how much moolah would such a car cost today? After all, they've been around for a while now, won't be great on fuel and have been replaced by leaner, meaner and (arguably) better looking machines.
In the spirit of finding you awesome cars at cut-throat prices - and as a nod to the depreciation gods - below are five cars that would have set Mr. Fat Cat back £70k or thereabouts, but that can now be picked up for the price of a used Ford.
1. Mercedes SL500
The SL 500 is probably one of the most capable and best value-for-money monsters you can buy today. The 500 was the most popular engine variant and with its meaty 306bhp, timeless looks and stunning performance to match, it’s hard not to see why this is a bargain buy.
New: £70,000Now: £7900
2. Porsche 911  Carrera 3.4
Mid-life-crisis-mobile or not, the 996 911 is still a hugely capable performance coupe with genuine everyday usability. Most cars have been well cared for throughout and are known to last longer than a Bon Jovi concert (that's really, really long). Thanks to its clever lightweight construction and 300hp 3.4-litre flat-six, the Carrera will canter to 62mph in a very respectable 6.0sec. You can pick up a 1998 S-reg 911 for just £7k.
New: 58,578Now: £7000
3. Volkswagen Phaeton 6.0 W12
Built as Volkswagen's answer to the S-class and 7-Series, the big Phaeton was arguably just as luxurious, but too expensive and not dynamic enough to compete with the big boys. Engine choices ranged from a 3.2-litre V6 petrol, a 3.0-litre TDI and V10 TDI, and topped out with the monstrous 6.0-litre W12 petrol with 4MOTION and 450bhp.
Starting from just shy of £70k when new, the VW badge and poor demand meant that the big 'P haemorrhaged money. Look in the small ads and you'll be amazed how cheaply you can get your hands on one.
New: £68,260Now: £6,400
4. Maserati Quattroporte
The Quattroporte is a pretty rare sight in the UK, but nonetheless a stunningly tempting car and one that you can bag for the price of an entry-level Kia. Early versions came with a silky-smooth 4.2-litre V8 with 400bhp on tap and a 0-62mph of just 5.2 secs.
New: £69,995Now: £10,000
5. Range Rover 4.4 V8 Autobiography
The Autobiography is the ultimate Rangie as it comes packed with the biggest engine available and the highest trim level on the list. Today, the price of a Volkswagen Up is all you need for your wedge of automotive luxury. What’s more, there's still decent demand for these cars - even with their thirsty petrol engines - which means you should get most of your money back come resale time. Plus, it’s absolutely loaded with next to same level of kit as the all-new model, so you’ll feel just as well off. No brainer!
New: £66,008Now: £8,500
This post was written by freelance motoring journalist Rory Mackenzie.
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