Do you want the Road Tax system to change? Do you have thoughts on the potential changes to the Road Tax system? | No thanks
James Ruppert - SLO76
Always enjoyed reading James Ruppert’s ramblings in Autocar over the years, I’ve even had a few of my bargain banger appear on his pages but I do often disagree with him regarding what constitutes a good bangernomics buy.

This week he has written an article about buying a car for the price of an annual bus pass (£625 from memory) but instead of suggesting a list of robust, simple, reliable petrol engined mass produced cars for which parts are cheap and available he’s went off on one with a list of the worst cars you could possibly buy on such a tight budget from a turbo diesel Renault Espace to big BMW’s, Mercs, Jags, a V8 Audi through diesel Volvo estates with interstellar mileages and Saab Convertibles even an Alfa Romeo. It is in fact a list of cars you shouldn’t buy for £625. The slightest thing goes wrong with most of them and it’s a write-off.

His list should’ve contained nothing complex at all. No turbos, no diesels, no gadget laden prestige metal or SUV’s. It should’ve been something more like the following but then what do I know?

Ford Focus 1.6 petrol
Ford Fiesta 1.25 petrol
Mazda 3 1.6 petrol
Honda Jazz
Honda Civic petrol
Honda Accord petrol
Toyota Yaris petrol
Toyota Corolla petrol
Toyota Avensis petrol
Vauxhall Astra petrol
Peugeot 207 TU series petrols only
Fiat Panda (sub 70k miles)
Kia Picanto
Hyundai i10



Edited by SLO76 on 18/04/2020 at 16:22

James Ruppert - Engineer Andy

I do find amazing how peope recommend big 'prestige' (mainly German) saloons as 'reliable' cheap old cars to run on a budget. As you say, one breakage and you could be down for well over £2k. I mean, even replacing the tyres will set you back best part of £600, minimum, which may only last a year, never mind the fuel and insurance costs.

How do some of these 'journalists' get a job with recommendations like Mr Ruppert's?

James Ruppert - bazza

Although I would always go with SLO logic and recommendations, a lot of people are gamblers and buy with the heart rather than the head, and take the view that the biggest bill possible is in fact £625, anything more than that scrap it and the gamble didn't pay off! It's not for me but it makes for an interesting year of fingers crossed motoring and deciding what needs fixing and what can be lived with. I've known friends have fantastic bargains but also some true money pits, but usually when more cash is spent, making the fix or scrap dilemma much more awkward. Some interesting ideas in that list if you're a risk taker! He also does not mention that it helps enormously to have decent DIY skills and a set of tools, which I suspect isn't the case these days. I'll stick with our civic and Corolla and Panda!

James Ruppert - Engineer Andy

If that person was a real risk taker, they'd bet that £625 on a horse.

James Ruppert - SLO76

If that person was a real risk taker, they'd bet that £625 on a horse.

Far safer bet than almost every car on that list.
James Ruppert - Terry W

I find some attrraction in the idea of a large complex luxo barge if all you normally drive is a somewhat tedious low power low gizmo hatch.

As a weekend toy (1-2.5k pa) only - strike lucky and you may get several years out of it before a significant failure or expense. Only works if you are not reliant on it and have other cars in the household.

Alternatively accept that for every 2 or 3 you buy, one will go seriously wrong in a month or two. The others may give 1,2 or 3 years fairly normal motoring.

This isn't bangernomics but possibly good fun.

James Ruppert - SLO76
I can see the appeal of a cheap luxo barge, it can be a very cheap way to buy comfort on wheels. I know a few very wealthy individuals who run such cars and while repair bills can be eye watering there’s none of the big five figure annual depreciation costs involved in having a new or nearly new one. These guys can afford to bin or fix them when they go wrong however and unless this is a known truth with any potential buyer I wouldn’t be recommending such cars to people.
James Ruppert - Engineer Andy

My contention was that if the buyer can only afford a £625 car, they certainly cannot afford the much higher cost of fuel, insurance, VED and (routine) maintenance and consumables (tyres, etc) that come with owning a big luxury barge or 4x4.

James Ruppert - Avant

Indeed so. Buyers need to remember that the cost of repairs and parts is roughly in proportion to what the car cost when new - not what they're paying for it now.

James Ruppert - SLO76
My elderly neighbour has a very nice 2003 Jag XJ6 3.0 V6 which is a fine example. It just cost him £350 for a sensor relating to the air suspension as me was quoted the guts of £700 for two brake calippers which he politely turned down. It is however losing nothing in value and he loves it. I’m kinda keen on it myself and may attempt to hoover it when he sells it. I will be buying with the capacity to repair or scrap it though.

Edited by SLO76 on 19/04/2020 at 17:02

James Ruppert - Alby Back

Hey Slo, while I wouldn't for one moment argue with your advice if it pertains to someone to whom a grand or so is a significant amount, there are exceptions.

When I was sales agent, I needed something that would ferry me, and loads of samples around in comfort, and pretty reliably, for up to and occasionally beyond, 40,000 miles a year.

Some guys doing that kind of work take the view that they'll stump for something expensive and new, while I took what I think was a middle ground approach, and had a succession of mildly second hand Mondeo estates which served me well, and each gave me approaching 200,000 miles of almost entirely trouble free motoring.

What I was doing was pretty lucrative, and I suppose I could have been more generous to myself, but as a fellow Scot, you'll maybe understand that I wasn't about to waste money unnecessarily. ;-)

Anyway, one guy I know who still does that kind of work, has never spent more than £2000 on a car. he favours old but well kept 5 series estates or E Class estates. Goes for cars that have starship miles but full service histories. Looks to get 12-18 months or 40-60 thousand miles more out of them and then, in effect, bins them.

He's never been caught with a massive bill, although he'd admit to having had to spend a bit on some of them to keep them going, but he still reckons he's way ahead versus buying new or nearly new.

Attitude to risk thing I guess, coupled with ability to afford the risk of course.

James Ruppert - bazza

Back in the 90s a friend of mine would only buy ex repmobiles with over 100k on them, usually 2.0 petrol cavaliers. He then ran them to 200k and ditched them. He only had one failure, a snapped camshaft at 200k odd. Great cars and engines.

James Ruppert - SLO76

Back in the 90s a friend of mine would only buy ex repmobiles with over 100k on them, usually 2.0 petrol cavaliers. He then ran them to 200k and ditched them. He only had one failure, a snapped camshaft at 200k odd. Great cars and engines.

The Mk III Cavalier was a great used buy especially the simple 8v engines and the Isuzu 1.7 turbo diesels. Tough, simple, cheap to fix and practical. I’ve flogged plenty and ran a 1.4 base model to 122,000 miles.
James Ruppert - SLO76
Good friend of mine bought a 2006 BMW 520d SE Touring with 160k around the same time as I bought my Toyota. He always buys stuff like this and always gets stung by it. Fine enough in that he can do most of the work himself but the big BM is always stinging him. It’s currently dragging its backside around as the pump for the rear air suspension has failed and he can’t afford to fix it. I like to smugly park next to him in what he should’ve bought.

Loads of guys at my work have older heavy mileage prestige and performance metal and they’re always having trouble with them. The suggestion that they should reign their ambitions in a bit and buy something more mundane is met with horror. One of them has a Range Rover Sport 2.7 TD that’s just a ticking time bomb. Don’t wish any misery on any of them but none of them can afford to run stuff like this.

Edited by SLO76 on 19/04/2020 at 22:24

James Ruppert - SLO76
Buying a well maintained car is the correct thing to do but you can’t eliminate the risk posed by a badly built or designed car no matter how well you maintain it. A 2.7 diesel Range Rover Sport for example is a mobile liability that will go spectacularly wrong at some point despite a glovebox full of paperwork. A far better bet would be a more mundane petrol engined Jap SUV that has also been looked after. Do agree regarding some more prestige models such as Lexus, and some Volvo’s but again a mega mile Volvo estate won’t be a reliable or cost effective as a normal petrol engined Jap model which has also been looked after. I’ve seen too many people fall foul of expensive to repair premium brand cars.
James Ruppert - Alby Back

Guess it depends on the order and importance of the boxes you want to tick when you buy a car, and indeed your ability to afford any potential eventualities.

If your only criteria are functionality, low cost and a higher chance of reliability then fine. But, if you are keen on a particular model and can afford to maintain/repair it when necessary, then buying a cheap one with your eyes wide open to the knowledge that it may cost something to keep it going is ok too isn't it?

Horses for courses as they say !

;-)

James Ruppert - Avant

You're right Alby: we can give any amount of sensible advice on here, but if Arthur Punter has set his heart on, say, a BMW or Range Rover on a limited budget, there's no stopping him.

Still, it keeps people in business. Where would yours be if everyone just wanted boring feet-shaped shoes?

James Ruppert - Steveieb

James s article has achieved what it set out to do and that is to stimulate debate.

I’m absolutely sure he would agree with SLO that the best bangers are Japanese but readers like Me like to dream of owning a Range Rover for less than £5k.

i suppose the only way of narrowing the odds is to buy off some old git like me who has religiously maintained the car and has a genuine reason for sale.

Thats why it would be wonderful if SLO would set up business as a broker and find me a bargain!

one broker I used claimed that he had only bought one lemon in the whole of his career by sticking to Golfs as eight out of ten people would make the Golf their first choice.

James Ruppert - SLO76
“ Thats why it would be wonderful if SLO would set up business as a broker and find me a bargain!”

Thought about setting up officially offering a used car buying service where I find and check a car then negotiate and advise on the deal but sadly 99% of people I spoke to wouldn’t pay for this service. They generally know nothing about cars yet they’ll buy without seeking any advice at all. You used to see it advertised in car mags a buyer who would source cars at auction for you but huge increases to fees (unless you’re buying dozens of cars a month) and the massive growth in PCP’s and leasing killed these guys off.

I did do it for free to locals when I was trading if the person had a car I wanted. I’d find then view the car plus negotiate a deal then I’d buy their own for the trade value which is where I made my money. It worked well and everyone was happy. Though some dealers took exception to it but others were very keen as it was an easy sale if the car was good. They didn’t need to do any selling, I did that then was fair on the deal I offered as I knew what was realistic. It gave the punter a more relaxed experience too.

I wouldn’t be able to sell or source something I wouldn’t recommend and a five grand Range Rover would top that list.
James Ruppert - pd

There is massive pleasure in "beating the system" and driving some old expensive barge for peanuts. If you do it you have to accept you may get caught and be philosophical about it and generally get shot before they go wrong.

Last year I spent most of the year driving a Volvo V60 with every single option known to man I paid £2400 for. It was absolutely spot on except it had 203,000 miles on it when I bought it. I took it to about 215k and all I did was put two new rear tyres on it at purchase point. When I sold it late autumn I was quite sad that a Latvian chap bought it to drive back there and break for parts. It drove fine.

I then randomly bought a 2010 Jaguar XF 3.0d with 158k on the clock with no history and no docs. Paid £2300. Again, it drove fine and I found history via MOT check and found it had received a recent service and had the belts done a couple of years previously. Ran it all winter and sold just before lockdown for £3200.

The Friday before lockdown I bought a Volvo V70 with 163k again with no history. Phoned Volvo and it had full Volvo history! 2013 model with absolutely every option again, paid £3500. Only done 150 miles for obvious reasons but drives like new frankly.

Luxo "shedding" can be enormous fun but can go wrong. I am not going to talk about the A8 I once bought or the Merc which ate it's gearbox on the A12.

James Ruppert - edlithgow

I think quite a lot of posters above are mis-interpreting what the Bangernomics Bizniz model involves, or involved.

I'm fairly sure the original definition, on the original website, emphasised disposability.

(I couldn't find a defrinition on the current website, which is irritatingly twitchy)

https://www.bangernomics.com/bangernomics-rebooted/

In THAT context, a luxo barge not only makes sense, its probably the only context in which running a luxo-barge does make sense. The "If they can only afford 650 quid, they cant afford...." jive misses this point.

Although a founder member of the (now defunct) bangernomics bulletin board, I've never really followed this principle, preferring to fix things if I possibly can, BUT with newer and/or luxury cars, DIY repairs might not be a realistic option.

If the simple bangers involved in the genesis of the idea still exist, they are now "classics" and expensive appreciating assets with a restricted supply. No one is likely to apply "true" disposable-car bangernomics to those if they can help it, nor should they.

James Ruppert - bolt

I think quite a lot of posters above are mis-interpreting what the Bangernomics Bizniz model involves, or involved.

I'm fairly sure the original definition, on the original website, emphasised disposability.

(I couldn't find a defrinition on the current website, which is irritatingly twitchy)

https://www.bangernomics.com/bangernomics-rebooted/

In THAT context, a luxo barge not only makes sense, its probably the only context in which running a luxo-barge does make sense. The "If they can only afford 650 quid, they cant afford...." jive misses this point.

Although a founder member of the (now defunct) bangernomics bulletin board, I've never really followed this principle, preferring to fix things if I possibly can, BUT with newer and/or luxury cars, DIY repairs might not be a realistic option.

If the simple bangers involved in the genesis of the idea still exist, they are now "classics" and expensive appreciating assets with a restricted supply. No one is likely to apply "true" disposable-car bangernomics to those if they can help it, nor should they.

I know a couple of people that buy bangers for around £500 to £600 and drive them until they go wrong, they then scrap it and buy another car, thats what they call bangernomics, they get the most out of whats left of a car and scrap it

I was daft enough to buy a new car in 2016 expecting it to last me 10 years and the diesel injection system went wrong, as it was out of warranty it would have cost in excess of 4k to fix so sold it and bought a petrol 6 years old

James Ruppert - Alby Back
Different approach, but similar result I suppose, a friend of mine in Edinburgh bought a then new Merc 190E in 1992. 1800 petrol manual I think. Navy blue.

He doesn't do big miles but it's been his daily driver ever since. It has just gone over 200,000 miles but he's happy enough to keep going with it as it has never cost him much in repairs.
James Ruppert - SLO76
Bangernomics for me is the art of running a car as cheaply as possible and the best way to do this in my humble opinion is to buy a well maintained older car for less than £2,000 at private sale money then look after it. I’ve ran cars thatve cost me little or nothing beyond fuel road tax and insurance.


V - Toyota Avensis 1.8 SE - Paid £1250 kept for three years and sold for £850. Only repair was a £50 ignition switch. Approx £100 a year for servicing. Total cost around £250p/a

W - Peugeot 306 1.4 LX - Paid £500 needed a clutch which cost £240 then sold it after a year for £750 total cost of repairs and depreciation minus £10p/a

T - Mazda MX5 1.8 - Paid £1475, spent £350 in repairs and maintenance over two years then sold it for £1600. Total cost of repairs and maintenance £112.50p/a

52- Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SXi - Paid £1,000, spent £300 on service and timing belt change, sold it after a year and a half for £1,100. Total cost £200p/a

53- Mitsubishi Carisma 1.9 DiD - Paid £700, spent around £300 on maintenance and repairs then sold it for £1,000 a year later. Total cost £0p/a

07 - Ford Mondeo 1.8 Edge - Paid £3,000, spent £100 on a service and sold it for £3,500 a year later total cost £-400p/a

Current car 60 - Toyota Avensis 1.8 Estate - Paid £4150 18mths ago, spent £150 service and Mot and worth today around £3,500. Total cost £588p/a but will level off as time goes on.

Bangernomics to me is about doing it cheaply but without having to suffer an unreliable or rot riddled bucket. All of the above were in good condition and in full working order even down to a/c. All survived for years after too. I like selling cars to locals so I get to see them still running around.

Edited by SLO76 on 24/04/2020 at 10:53

James Ruppert - bolt
Bangernomics for me is the art of running a car as cheaply as possible and the best way to do this in my humble opinion is to buy a well maintained older car for less than £2,000 at private sale money then look after it. I’ve ran cars thatve cost me little or nothing beyond fuel road tax and insurance. V - Toyota Avensis 1.8 SE - Paid £1250 kept for three years and sold for £850. Only repair was a £50 ignition switch. Approx £100 a year for servicing. Total cost around £250p/a W - Peugeot 306 1.4 LX - Paid £500 needed a clutch which cost £240 then sold it after a year for £750 total cost of repairs and depreciation minus £10p/a T - Mazda MX5 1.8 - Paid £1475, spent £350 in repairs and maintenance over two years then sold it for £1600. Total cost of repairs and maintenance £112.50p/a 52- Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SXi - Paid £1,000, spent £300 on service and timing belt change, sold it after a year and a half for £1,100. Total cost £200p/a 53- Mitsubishi Carisma 1.9 DiD - Paid £700, spent around £300 on maintenance and repairs then sold it for £1,000 a year later. Total cost £0p/a 07 - Ford Mondeo 1.8 Edge - Paid £3,000, spent £100 on a service and sold it for £3,500 a year later total cost £-400p/a Current car 60 - Toyota Avensis 1.8 Estate - Paid £4150 18mths ago, spent £150 service and Mot and worth today around £3,500. Total cost £588p/a but will level off as time goes on. Bangernomics to me is about doing it cheaply but without having to suffer an unreliable or rot riddled bucket. All of the above were in good condition and in full working order even down to a/c. All survived for years after too. I like selling cars to locals so I get to see them still running around.

You must be fairly lucky your end of the country, as finding a good second hand car near London and south east is getting very difficult, after selling my Civic tourer diesel it took me weeks to find even remotely reasonably good cars

condition wasn't too much of a problem, it was more niggly faults that were expensive to fix that was the problem, no one would give on prices either as they knew the car would sell to someone who knows nothing about cars, which some owners mentioned, even cars that were coming to end of MOT were priced top end and no one would drop

I ended up buying from a dealer which wasn't my intention but managed to find similar spec to my old car but 2014 1.8 petrol hatch, only problem yet to sort is slight sluggish on acceleration but will sort it after this virus clears

James Ruppert - Avant

SLO's method - buying a good 'un, looking after it, and in most cases selling for more than he paid - is clearly a great one but requires the expertise that means it's much less of a gamble than it would be for most of us.

I'm very lucky to be able to do what I do - having the income in semi-retirement to sustain PCPs - but it's a matter of buying peace of mind and I wouldn't claim that it makes the financial sense that SLO's method does.

But as Bolt is finding, it's getting harder to find the 'well-maintained older car'. Fewer people are doing what my father did in the 1950s to the 80s - buy new, do a lowish mileage, and keep for 7 or 8 years. I wonder if it's the electronic complexity of modern cars that puts people off from keeping their cars too long.

I've enjoyed all my VAG cars but so far never kept them after the warranty expires. When I see myself no longer doing the part-time work I do now, it'll probably be Toyota time. Although we'll be tempted to keep SWMBO's low-mileage A3 convertible and take out an extended warranty.

Edited by Avant on 24/04/2020 at 23:43

James Ruppert - Steveieb

Is it just me that’s unlucky or is it that people who post on here are so savvy that they never make a mistake.

All I have read about is people riding the bangernomics Wave with no one admitting to buying a serious money pit. Even my broker admitted to this and he only dealt in Golfs after a lifetime working for a VW main dealer. So he knew the model in and out !

So let’s balance the books and who will be the first to admit to buying a lemon !

James Ruppert - bolt

Is it just me that’s unlucky or is it that people who post on here are so savvy that they never make a mistake.

All I have read about is people riding the bangernomics Wave with no one admitting to buying a serious money pit. Even my broker admitted to this and he only dealt in Golfs after a lifetime working for a VW main dealer. So he knew the model in and out !

So let’s balance the books and who will be the first to admit to buying a lemon !

I dont know anyone thats bought a perfect car, including me, made many a mistake over the years, worst was a Rover 25 which I bought from family, cost me a lot in time and parts putting it right and it only lasted a year as it developed a cracked head

James Ruppert - SLO76
“ So let’s balance the books and who will be the first to admit to buying a lemon !”

I’ve personally owned two in my 26yr driving life to date. My first car which I can surely be excused was a 1989 F MG Metro that had been an office pool car and wrecked. It apparently had done 47,000 miles but felt at least twice that. I learned much from that early mistake.

Next was a 2002 52 BMW 318 Ci 2.0 which was an approved used car bought at two years old for £15,500 at the main dealer with full history (and red seats!) and it was a pig, a total boomerang car. It was always returning to the dealer. I hated it and lost over eleven grand in it over 4yrs. This was the start of bangernomics when I replaced it with a £1250 Toyota Avensis that never let me down and served the next owner for years after me.

I did have the good fortune of growing up with a car mad dad and I made most of my mistakes using someone else’s cheque book as a salesman in the 90’s. I was a fast learner though and very interested in the subject and by the age of 19 I was the buyer if you wanted to sell a car to us and I assessed stock for other less trusted sales staff. I expect I would’ve been one of the group buyers had I stuck with it and not wondered off to flog newspapers for a living.
James Ruppert - expat

I don't know enought to be able to judge what is a good second hand car. My first car was bought at auction when I was 20 and was a clapped out dog of a Ford Consol. After that I had a mini moke which I inherited when a friend skipped the country leaving it on HP. I made the payments and drove the car for 6 months. A great little fun mobile. Then I got an Austin 1800 which I kept for two years till the rust started appearing on the doors and sold it quick after that as I knew the rust would appear everywhere very soon. That was when I wised up. I got an 18 month old Holden Kingswood ex government fleet for A$2900 and kept it for 25 years with just routine maintenance and no big bills. It cost me for consumables only - tyres, exhausts, radiator, starter motor and clutches. All routine stuff that you expect as it gets older. After 25 years I sold it for what I had paid A$2900. The depreciation was in the dollar not the car. That was 2005 and I went back to the auctions and got another ex government fleet car. A 2003 Ford Falcon station wagon for A$17000. It is still my daily driver, converted to LPG and runs fine. That is my idea of cheap motoring. Buy a good one, look after it and keep it until it is no longer economic. The crucial thing is never to skimp on maintenance.

James Ruppert - Steveieb

By far my biggest mistake was to buy a Mk1 Renault espace from a friend at the tennis club.

i had it checked over by a Renault specialist at the side of the road and he gave it the all clear.

firstly the exhaust was damaged then on its first long trip i ended up calling Brittania Rescue three times on the way to Devon.The mechanic ended up jamming the auto choke with a match which lasted about ten minutes.Replaced the choke with a manual one which was a success.

Numerous electrical faults, drive shaft snapped, engine mounts, you name it. Eventually sold it and the buyer returned asking me to buy it back.

These cars were a wonderful design but ruined by poor engineering IMHO !

James Ruppert - Steveieb

I'm one of James's ardent fans and have followed him for many years but i was surprised that he recommended the CX5 Diesel in another article view of the reputation that engine has gained.

Still not summoned enough courage to mention the possible forthcoming problems to my friend who has a three year old model which is used almost exclusively for short runs

 

Ask Honest John Right column

Value my car