Buying and selling

High-mile club: Are you brave enough to buy one of these mega-mile classics?

by Nik Berg
28 January 2021 5 min read
High-mile club: Are you brave enough to buy one of these mega-mile classics?

Why is it that a good number of classic car buyers are obsessed with low mileage? Just because a car has been parked doesn’t guarantee it’s been cared for. So why not be bold, and seek out something that’s been around the block – and its clock – a few times?

We’ve scanned the classifieds to find these 10 interesting modern classic gems – varying from 4x4s to sports cars – that have covered around 200,000 miles. That may be a scary sum for many buyers, but it suggests that with ongoing TLC there’s no stopping some cars.

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And when you consider how much energy goes into producing a new car, buying one of these, giving it a good home and keeping it in tip-top condition is not only a fun way to get from A to B but also, whisper it, a greener approach, too.

Would you be brave enough to take the plunge into mega-mile classic motoring? And have you been a member of the high-mile club yourself? Let us know, in the comments, below.

1989 Volvo 240 DL – 228,000 miles

Perhaps the ultimate family wagon this 1989 Volvo looks incredibly sprightly considering it’s pretty much covered the distance between Yorkshire, where it lives, and the moon. The paintwork seems in good shape, with only a few nicks and it appears to be rust-free. With more than 30 stamps in the service book and the cloth trim holding up well it looks like it’s barely started on its journey. No wonder someone has just snapped it up for £2,850.

1994 Rover 220 Coupe Turbo – 225,000 miles

A lot of work appears to have gone in to making this Rover ‘Tomcat’ Coupe look as good as new despite it covering well over 200,000 miles. Fully restored in 2020 it was fitted with a replacement T16 turbo engine with upgraded ignition system and a stainless steel exhaust. The suspension has been refurbished and the brakes are borrowed from an MG ZR160 to provide improved stopping power. These good-looking and rapid Rovers came with crazy torque steer back in the day, which is one feature that might feel rather alarming or amusing, depending on your sense of humour. It’s for sale in the Midlands for £7,850.

2000 Land Rover Defender 110 – 199,200 miles

Twenty years old, and with just shy of 10,000 miles for each one of them, this nine-seater Td5 diesel Defender has earnt its keep. The exterior appears remarkably clean with the white paintwork only seeming to need a little attention on the front doors. It’s just had a big service to keep things running sweetly which included replacing the headgasket, the injectors and fuel pump, plus various hoses. The interior has stood up pretty well with no tears or undue wear on the seats. At £7,495 it could be the perfect post-covid adventure vehicle when we’re allowed to get out and explore again.

1995 Volkswagen Corrado VR6 – 197,000 miles

The gorgeous green Golf-in-a-sharp suit isn’t quite fully buttoned up. Described as an unfinished project that requires some interior trim panels to be refitted and a repair to the sunroof, it does at least have 18 stamps in the book for its 2.9-litre VR6 engine. However, there is no MOT. The cream leather interior of this limited-run Storm edition is in good shape and sets it apart from the crowd. For less than £6,000 it could be yours, but further work will be required.

1987 BMW M5 – 191,000 miles

Just 187 right-hand-drive E28 BMW M5s were sold in the UK so this is a rare beast. With its pukka BMW Motorsport M88 3.5-litre straight-six 24-valve engine and dogleg manual gearbox it’s by far the most collectible of the mega-milers on this list. Fresh out of ten years in storage it has scrubbed up beautifully. For a fiver under £55,000 it’s not cheap, but the only other E28 M5 we found for sale is asking almost double that.

1981 Mercedes-Benz SLC 380 – 186,000 miles

Imported from California by the original owners in 2000 this 3.8-litre V8-powered SL coupe has been well-loved and well-used. As a result it could do with some tidying. There are rust scabs on the doors and the air conditioning is kaput. Having been in one family since new it has a full history and the original tool kit and first aid kit are both present. The big bumpers fitted for US safety regulations are a bit ungainly, but they do seem to have done their job at protecting this Benz for 186,000 miles. The asking price is £6,350, but offers are invited.

1988 Porsche 944 Turbo – 184,000 miles

Of course pictures can be deceiving, but looking at the shots of this 944 Turbo it’s hard to believe that it has driven beyond the dealership’s car park, let alone 184,000 miles. The red paintwork glistens, the interior seems immaculate. The rear seats look like they’ve never been used. Imported by the current owner from Switzerland, it’s left-hand-drive and we’re not big fans of the black wheels. At £13,500 the price is maybe a little optimistic, but it does appear to have lived a cherished life.

1999 Lexus LS400 – 183,000 miles

Hands up who remembers top Gear’s Quentin Wilson eulogising the original Lexus LS400? He liked it so much, he bought the LS400 with his own money, later declaring, ‘…if you want a car that rides as smoothly as unrolled silk and is quiet as a monastery, you should buy a Lexus. Of one thing I’m sure. Sitting in my drive is a 1995 Lexus LS400 with 100,000 miles on the clock. The Mercedes, the BMWs and the Range Rovers come and go, but the Lexus stays, because it is quite simply the most reliable car in my life.’ This 1999 example for sale at £3250 has travelled 183,000 miles, has Lexus service history, a long MOT and appears ready to do another 100,000 miles.

1996 Bentley Turbo R – 180,000 miles

When it comes to getting some serious metal for your money it’s hard to beat a Bentley. Fitted with a turbocharged version of the venerable Bentley 6 ¾-litre V-8 this Turbo R has travelled 180,000 miles in speed and style since 1996. The cream Connolly leather seats are offset with a French Navy blue carpet which looks as fresh as the day it was fitted by hand at the Crewe factory. It comes with a full service history and is even being offered with a 24-month warranty for £13,999, which suggests its sellers believe it has plenty of miles of marvellous motoring left.

2001 Alfa Romeo GTV – 175,200 miles

Alfa Romeo has always had a reputation for building fabulous but fragile cars, but this 2001 GTV bucks the trend. Not that it isn’t fabulous, with its wonderful three-litre Busso V6 and its wedgy Pinifarina body, but the fact that it is still going after over 175,000 miles does rather put pay to the fragility argument. Having said that the car did have a new engine from Auto Delta 40,000 miles ago. Its one owner has definitely gone beyond the call of duty to keep this car going and all paperwork for 19 years is available. At £4,750 this modern classic Alfa proves that a little care can go a long way to keeping a car running.

Tell us about your experiences of clocking up high mileage. What have you owned and how far have you taken it round the clock? Share your stories in the comments, below.

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Comments

  • PCrowe says:

    As the owner of two high mileage older cars (1988 Volvo 745 with 485000 km & 2001 Lexus IS300 with 345000 km) being used as daily drivers, I fully recommend acquiring high-mileage vehicles. Well maintained ones are often running impressively well and will give many more miles of enjoyment.

  • David Woods says:

    My father had a ford escort 1970s that did 110000 miles old ford Kent engine only ohv but man quite fast after what was out there at that time and it handled well too

  • Andrew western says:

    I have a 1999 SL500 currently sitting on 211000 miles and still drives as smoothly as ever
    Cars are to be used as intended more miles The better

  • David Mcbride says:

    I have an sc430 thin nearly 400000 miles still drves great

  • David Mcbride says:

    I have a lexus sc430 with 392000 mls. Still in fare condition, very good inside still runs well will be a cheep car for someone lot of money spent on it

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