What are they worth now? Read on to find out.
Quentin Willson, writing in Buying Cars (March 1992) offered his “dealer’s choice” of the best 50 cars. It would be a work of enormous tedium to examine the fate of his entire listing. I’ll focus on his first choice in each group. Which car turned out to hold its value most?
Willson liked the Ford Fiesta 1.1 LX most out of the small cars. “Friendly, economical and well up to Ford’s usual standards and they have this endearing wrap-around quality”. He cites £6500 for one from the Channel Islands. Today a 1993 car is yours for £500 here: but if you want something a bit nicer, you can have one for £700 here. Interestingly, a low mileage 1980 Fiesta is asking £2500.
Best of the lot is a 62,000 mile 1988 Fiesta Ghia for £2200 here . To keep things conservative, let’s say a 1993 Fiesta is about £700, give or take.
From the family saloons Willson opted for another Ford: the Sierra 1.8 LX. A 1991 was worth £7000 then. Today such a car is worth £2200, in this case a 1992 Sierra Saphire 1.8 Azura Limited Edition. That’s worth a photo (see above). The Peugeot 405 GRi 1.9 diesel stood next to the Ford as runner-up, crying into its pastis. Willson dodged the price issue on that one. For what it’s worth, £1400 is what Jake wants for this low-mileage but rather white car, destined for export, no doubt.
The ominous thing I noticed is that in advert for a 405 estate the seller said the car could be converted to a 7-seater in Africa. That’s where these cars are going. In brief £2200 is the price of Willson’s favourite here.
Now we get to performance cars. To my vast, vast, vast surprise, Top Gear’s Quentin Willson chose the Porsche 944 Turbo as his favourite. For £10,000 in 1992 you could get an example with 40,000 miles on the odometer. Today a car with rather more miles than that, also a D-plater will set you back 4250 of your Earth monies. I don’t like these cars.
Rushing past that sector, we find ourselves now in the “prestige” district. Top among all the cars on sale then, the Alfa Romeo 164 finds itself blinking on the winner’s podium. Why, Quentin?
“Fetching, fluent, fast and frugal, that’s the Alfa Romeo Twin Spark, one of my favourite luxury liners, and another car I would be proud to own. Breeding is the attraction with the 164. It’s like every other Alfa Romeo you’ve ever driven rolled into one [I assume he left out the Arna and the 90], a sort of distillation of all the best bits. Easy on the gas, nimble on its feet, dauntingly handsome and from the pilot’s seat it feels like a hotshoe hatchback”.
Getting to the delicate matter of the cost, one of these cars in 1992 would cost you £7500, on a G-plate (1998, I suppose). I couldn’t find any 2.0 litre twin sparks in my short search. The closest comes in the form of a 1991 3.0 Lusso for five quid short of four grand. That’s £3995 to you, sir.
Wilson’s number two: the S-Class: big, impressive, head of state material, he calls it. Second place though. “They ooze solidity and last like ancient monuments”, he says. That’s archetypal automotive prose, isn’t it? Did you also notice that the Alfa we mentioned earlier was “dauntingly” handsome?
Last and least, a “cheap car”. Mr W’s premier cheap car is the Citroen 2CV followed by the Ford Granada which, as we all know can “really last”. “The 2.3 and 2.8 V6s are solid reliable motors” he writes. A 1988 Citroen 2CV in good order (the first I found, note) costs £5250 “as stated” (a lot of ads use that term).
So, what have we discovered? A punchline, it seems. The most expensive car out of Wilson’s collection is the 2CV which in 1992 counted as a cheap car. How remarkable. That’s a scientific finding exclusive to DTW.