Autocar and James Ruppert are celebrating 25 years of the bangernomics concept. And the 406 gets some publicity.
For those who don’t know, bangernomics is Ruppert’s term for a car buying philosophy where the aim is to find a really cheap car with a long MOT. I first came across the concept in the early ’90s when reading Car magazine. At that time Ruppert had a column on used cars. He also ran a series called the Crap Car Cup that required the contestants to get the best, cheapest car possible and run it and race it.
I used this bangernomics philosophy when time came for me to get a car when I lived in the UK. Out of a field of contestants that included a Renault 25, Ford Granada, Vauxhall Omega and Peugeot 605 I landed on a 9-year-old Citroen XM for seven hundred pounds that ran reliably for four years. A truck wrecked it.
More interesting is that among the contenders for Bangernomics listed in the article, the Peugeot 406 gets some recognition for the excellent and inexpensive car that it is. I have bemoaned the 406’s lack of renown in my recent 20th anniversary essay on the model. Ruppert nominates the 406 as a good candidate for consideration among his list of low-priced used-car stars. Among them are the 1990 MX-5, the 1991 Saab 9000 (I think he means the 9000 but the article says 900 in the header) and the 1995 Honda Prelude, all under 800 GBP.
This is what Ruppert says about the 406: “Here’s the last time that a French car was any good, in Bangernomic terms anyway, because it’s relatively straightforward. The 406 had it all: smooth ride, bags of space and great diesel engines. The 2.0-litre petrol engine is refined and powerful too, while the frugal HDi 110 LX is the pick of the bunch for a workhorse estate.”
The rest of the article is well worth a look. The price he lists for one of these is four hundred pounds which is a complete underestimation of the car’s quality, value and utility. It says more about the deluge of used cars on the market at any one time than it does about what the car is and can do.
Perhaps this article won’t move the 406 closer to the position on the podium of great saloons now occupied by 70s and 80s Benzes, but maybe it will alert some more people what a fine and underestimated car the 406 is.
Happy 25th, bangernomics!