For the last decade I have been one of your less affluent readers, which I think qualifies me to answer the invitation (p. 661 June Motor Sport) to give hints or tips about reducing the financial liability of running a car.
I should explain that I am one of those for whom your present-day road tests will only become relevant in a few years’ time: lack of capital means that I have bought and run cars whose depreciation had reduced to about 5% p.a. or less, but thumbing through back numbers of Motor Sport has helped immeasurably to choose what would offer the greatest performance and driver satisfaction for a given price.
For curiosity’s sake, I have worked out what my first ten cars have cost me in terms of depreciation over the past decade. The result is rather interesting. The total purchase price works out at £1,681 (my first, a 1938 Sunbeam, actually cost me £1 and had four gallons of fuel in the tank and a sixpence under the seat!) whilst the total eventual sale price of all ten amounts to exactly £1,685. Obviously I’ve sold one or two for more than I paid (in particular a 1934 M.G. L-type that I rebuilt) but in most cases I bought cars that were holding their values well because they offered the best all-round performance for the money (e.g. TR variants). I advocate this cost-cutting policy only to those with well-equipped toolboxes.
C.G. Masterman – Capel Llanilltern.
P.S.—My ideal pair? A 4.2 f.h.c. E-type (my present transport) and an identical car in case the first is off the road . . . .
Vintage Postbag, September 1959
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