As we write, the sun is out, the weather looks good for another week or two, and there’s a good choice of car-related stuff to do both on the telly and out in the real world.
One of those things might be to pop along to Anglia Car Auctions in Kings Lynn this weekend, June 11-12, where you see how well you can resist temptation. The car sale is open to the public, with auctions for the car lots starting at around 12:30pm each day, so you can laze along on a full stomach if you wish.
That might be wise actually, particularly if you’re planning to bid. There’s real variety in the metal on offer, and to prove it we’ve selected a dozen cars that caught our eye while scrolling through the listings. Plenty of bargains to be had too, particularly if you’re fond of models you really don’t see on the roads any longer…
1999 Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 TS
There was a time, not so long ago, when a cursory search of the classifieds world turn up dozens of generally well-kept Alfa Romeo 156s. Then, suddenly, they all disappeared. Perhaps the stricter MOT rules a few years back had something to do with it, but it should certainly galvanise anyone with an interest in the 156 into getting one while they still can.
ACA’s car looks like a good one, and its £1500-2000 estimate suggests it’ll still be very affordable too. It’s MOT’d until May 2023 and the colour combination – Amazonia Green with grey leather (and a wood-rimmed factory Momo wheel) is pure class. A cambelt and waterpump change in the last 10k miles is most welcome too.
1987 Alfa Romeo Sprint Cloverleaf
Okay, it’s another Alfa, but how could we skip this late Alfasud Sprint? With a factory Zender bodykit it’s a vision of the 1980s, and while these late Sprints weren’t as pretty as the earlier cars, the Giugiaro lines are still eye-catching.
Silver perhaps isn’t the most evocative colour, but as a Cloverleaf you do get a set of traditional multi-hole alloys, and the green spotty trim gives the cabin a lift too. The engine – always a boxer in the Sprints, just like the regular Alfasuds – has been upgraded to a rebuilt 1.7 litre unit, and there’s a healthy folder of receipts too. An £8k-10k estimate is in line with a “good” example in the Hagerty price guide.
1973 BMW 2002
Is there a bit of a blind spot for older BMWs like the 2002? The E30 3-series is rightly heralded as a BMW high-point, popular in its day and today serving as everything from a great starter classic to a genuine collectable, but only dyed-in-the-wool BMW types seem to focus on the earlier E21 3-series and the 02 series that preceded it.
With a £12k-14k estimate though, this Verona red example seems to represent decent value for a bona-fide classic – just think how much its contemporary rival, the 105-series Alfa Romeo Giulia GT, can command these days. Spot-on for a car in good condition, too, and the seller apparently uses this one daily, which is reassuring.
1962 Chevrolet Corvair van
There are a few Corvairs in the Anglia Car Auctions June sale, all of which are surprisingly affordable. The sporty rear-engined machine is an acquired taste, certainly, and that’s doubly the case for this Corvair van – apparently imported to the UK in 2011 by Pinewood Studios.
There’s no evidence as to whether it made any silver screen appearances, but with a healthy (or is that unhealthy?) patina, you’d think it’d be easy to spot. There’s no MOT, and its last one expired in 2013, which might explain the £4k-6k estimate. But put in the work and you’ll have a characterful alternative to the usual Volkswagen vans.
1996 Ford Mondeo Verona
We’re in prime Festival of the Unexceptional territory with this 1996 Mondeo Verona, and it’s the dream specification too: a low-end special edition (based on the 1.8 LX), one-owner from new, and only 23,584 miles – a real survivor then, and not a strip of duct tape to be found on any of its bumpers.
Verona trim did bring standard air conditioning which is a nice touch, and those seats have a jazzier pattern than the regular LX. There’s a chunky history file, the original spare keys and various other items of literature. The Mistral Blue paintwork still glimmers and the MOT lasts until March 2023. Maybe this is the car to kick off the UK Hagerty fleet…
1986 Lotus Esprit S3
Want to be like our very own Nik Berg? This 1986 Esprit is probably the easiest and most legal way to do so, looking not dissimilar to Mr Berg’s 1983 car, right down to the red paintwork – though Nik is having other thoughts about that as we speak.
This car also differs in its bumpers and wheels – body-colour and gold respectively, rather than the black items on Nik’s car – and the cabin, in tan rather than black. There’s no MOT, but the seller will send it through a test if it sells, while the £17k-20k estimate is in the right ballpark for a car in “good” condition.
2005 MG ZR 105 Trophy
It’s possible to get your British car thrills for not a lot of money, and there can’t be many more affordable ways than this MG ZR. As you’ll recall, the ZR was MG’s early-2000s effort to jazz up the Rover 25, itself already a spit’n’polished Rover 200, but it actually worked: MG created a fun, affordable hot hatch and genuinely brought in a younger audience.
Most affordable of all was the 105, with its 1.4-litre K-series. This is a facelift car, which got a slightly modernised… well, face, and cabin design too, and it cost little more than £10,000 back in 2005. It’s not perfect, and the service book hasn’t been stamped since 2007, but with a £1500-2000 auction estimate, it could be worth a punt.
1971 Reliant Scimitar GTE… pickup?
Your eyes do not deceive you: Someone really has taken a chunk from the normally shooting-braked rear end of this early-Seventies Scimitar. We’re not sure it’s an aesthetic improvement necessarily, but the listing says it was professionally converted and it certainly looks far from being the expected hacksaw job.
That tonneau fits quite nicely for a start. The Essex V6 has been converted to run on unleaded, which is handy, and the interior retrim – while again not quite to our tastes thanks to that raspberry/blueberry combo – looks neat enough too. If you like the idea of a Scim’ but even its estate-like back isn’t practical enough for you, then maybe this is the solution.
1997 Renault Sport Spider
Now for a car that’s meant to be missing a bit: The Renault Sport Spider. Actually, this one’s not missing the bit which originally made headlines, since it has a full windscreen fitted to all UK-sold examples rather than a low aero screen, but to our eyes it’s prettier that way anyway. In fact, the Spider’s just a great looking car full stop.
It was built at the Alpine factory in Dieppe too, don’t you know, so you might call it the missing link between the old A610 and the current A110. Sadly, the Spider had the misfortune to be launched the same year as the Lotus Elise, and we know how that went, but turn up at a trackday in this car – MOT’d until 2023, and wearing a £25k-28k estimate – and we’d wager you’ll get more attention in this than the Lotus.
1974 SEAT 850 saloon
Even Fiat’s version of the 850, its de facto supermini before superminis were basically invented with the Fiat 127, is a rare car today. The SEAT version is surely even rarer, at least outside its home country. That’s exactly where this one has been imported from, having lived much of its life in Valencia.
The alloys don’t quite suit it, but the original steel wheels and hub caps are offered with the car. It’s UK-registered now, has a full year of MOT left, and that Spanish history suggests all should be well underneath. A £3500-4500 estimate makes this a fabulous value classic.
1999 Suzuki Vitara 1.6 JX
It won’t have escaped your attention that Japanese cars from the 1990s are big business right now. High-performance sports cars like the NSX, Supra and RX-7 are all climbing in value, and it’s been a long time now since you could find a tidy MX-5 for a grand. But the country’s compact 4x4s like the Toyota RAV4 and Suzuki Vitara remain very attainable.
And if you don’t mind a slower pace of life, something like this Vitara could make for a fun modern classic. The colour’s fabulous for a start: “True Green Metallic”, apparently, with pink graphics that wouldn’t look out of place on a jetski. That’s part of the appeal of these cars: those beach-living, the Boo Radleys or Del Amitri on the stereo, Saturday-morning-TV summer vibes. As a no reserve auction, will this be a ‘90s bargain too?
1997 Volkswagen Beetle 1600
Volkswagen stopped building Beetles in Germany in 1978, but happily continued overseas until 2003. That’s why it’s not unusual to see Beetles like this one for sale, wearing 1990s registrations, imported from places like Mexico through specialists, and still in the correct right-hand drive.
Throw some chrome light surrounds and bumpers on there and few would know it wasn’t from the ‘70s either, at least until they stepped inside, where anachronistic plastics and fuzzy cloth seats look more like they’re from a Polo. A £4k-£6k estimate looks reasonable; you’d expect to pay more for a Wolfsburg-built bug now. The MOT runs until September.