Car Throttle contributor Lewis Kingston is a used car expert who spends an unhealthy amount of time trawling through car adverts and auctions listings. Here are the cars that caught his eye this month…
Looking to tick that naturally aspirated V8 ownership box before such things get legislated and regulated off the road? Well, take a look at this LS1-powered Vauxhall Monaro. It’s been in my saved adverts list for a while, primarily because it’s up for just £7,950 on Autotrader – a price at which it’s almost worth buying for its engine and manual transmission alone.
That said, it would be a shame to break this Vauxhall up, especially given that it appears to be in good order. With a little TLC, you could have yourself one compelling and collectable V8 coupe.
Just remember to carry out a full history check, such as a VCheck, to make sure there’s nothing ominous lurking in its past.
You might baulk at the looks but this compact fibreglass sports car probably weighs in at some 600kg and packs around 120bhp. Exhilaration, as a result, will not be in short supply.
This is no standard Crusader, as you might have guessed; it’s powered by a BMW motorcycle engine and benefits from myriad high-performance upgrades. In short, it’s a sorted example. The asking price of £7500 on eBay also doesn’t strike me as much for an interesting, uncommon and exciting car that someone’s been through from tip to tail.
The only thing I’d be inclined to change or remove – if you’re considering using this as a fun road car – is the roll cage, to reduce the chance of head injury when driving without a helmet.
A lot of Japanese performance cars command stratospheric money these days. Tempted by an R32-generation Skyline GT-R, for example? Even a tired and hellishly corroded one can cost north of £20,000.
And then there are the running costs, which can make such a car hard to enjoy and take the edge off the ownership experience further. Not all hope is lost if you fancy something of that ilk, though; take this Nissan Pulsar GTI-R, as a case in point. It’s claimed to be in excellent condition and appears to have been well maintained.
Classic Car Auctions has placed an estimate of £15,000-£18,000 on the turbocharged all-wheel-drive hatchback, the lower end of which – based on past results – feels sensible. Not cheap, by any stretch, but far more accessible and enjoyable than a ruined R32 GT-R, and at least half the price of a clean Skyline that you might actually want to own and live with.
This Ford Puma on eBay is well worth a gander if you’re in the market for something affordable and a hoot to drive at sensible speeds. It’s got the desirable 1.7-litre VCT engine, for one, but – more importantly – it’s reputedly free from corrosion, which is the common downfall of many a Puma.
The description also indicates that it has been properly maintained, although you would need to check when the timing belt was last replaced and factor that into your costs if required.
Nevertheless, this appears to be a Ford that could be a joy to own. It’s also a far better bet, and no doubt cheaper and more enjoyable in the long run, than a rustier and less cosseted example.
You might justifiably raise an eyebrow at the upper estimate of £50,000 for this unassuming LJ-series Holden, especially given its condition. However, this early and storied XU-1 - available via Classic Car Auctions - is claimed to be one of the cars built to homologate the model for motorsports use.
There’s a lot of demand for these collectable Holdens, too; in the past few years, at least three have broken into the six-figure sale price range, with the last clocking in at north of £180,000. Collector cachet aside, there’s a lot for enthusiasts to otherwise enjoy – including a triple-carbed straight-six engine and a host of other performance upgrades.
Provided it’s all as claimed, this would be one worthwhile project car. Not many LJ-series GTR XU-1s were ultimately built, either, boosting this Holden’s collectability and notability further.
It’s also up for just £6995. That’s not a lot of money for what appears to be a usable American classic with a lot of aftermarket support. More to the point, think of the potential: sling in, say, a used 6.0-litre LQ4 from the LS family, along with several other choice upgrades, and you’d have yourself a proper muscle car with a modern heart.
You’d be starting from a good base, too, so you could quickly set about enjoying the car and cracking on with mechanical upgrades, rather than tackling tiring and costly metalwork.
Brightwells has a fair few interesting BMWs coming up in its 16 February auction. This was the one that caught my eye, though: a 1993 E36-generation 325i saloon, which has an estimate of £5,000-£7,000.
It’s covered just 30,303 miles, it’s a manual, and it’s got the 2.5-litre M50 engine that we all know and love. Crucially, unlike a lot of E36s, this example seemingly isn’t full of grot. It has some MOT test advisories for odds and sods, such as worn discs, but there are no corrosion-related horrors.
You’d want to check it over carefully but, with a bit of fettling, this could be a neat low-mileage example of an increasingly desirable straight-six BMW. A shame it doesn’t have air conditioning, though.
Yes, this really is an S15-generation Nissan Silvia with a retractable hardtop. No, it’s not some aftermarket hack job; these were offered by Nissan and built by specialist Autech. Only 1143 were reportedly produced, for the Japanese market, so they are far from common – and this particular car appears to be in excellent condition.
It’s a bit of a niche choice, for sure, but it’s an interesting one to see. Morris Leslie Auctions has put an estimate of £13,000-£15,000 on it, but Historics sold this same car for £7,728 in September 2021.
Any of these take your fancy?