Better Buy Bigger?

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Sir,

Anybody who is interested in motor cars will know that the secondhand value of big engined, specialist vehicles has hit rock-bottom. Consequently there are some very attractive-sounding buys on the market at the moment; for example, 1969 Jensen Interceptors at £1,400 to £1,600. However, mention this fact to a variety of people and you will get a similar response: “the running costs are exhorbitant, the insurance premium, if you could get cover, would be prohibitive, etc., etc.” Now, I am asking, is this true?

I believe, if the facts were known, there could be a market for specialist cars amongst enthusiasts who, whilst not wealthy, are not completely stoney-broke. Enthusiasts who, like myself for instance, clock an average yearly mileage of only 3,500. Work that out in terms of petrol costs using, if you don’t mind, the Jensen Interceptor as a yardstick; at 15 miles per gallon, with petrol at say £1 per gallon, the answer is £234, for the year. Looked at on an average weekly basis, that it £4.50 for 67 miles. Expensive, yes, but what a way to travel!

However, before we get carried away, let’s look at other costs. Road tax, insurance and sundries for routine maintenance; shall we say £200 for the year? That boosts the running costs so far to £8.50 per week. A lot of people pay that amount in HP charges for bread and butter cars and think nothing of it. So, provided the Jensen was paid for in cash, we are ahead of the field.

It all sounds nice and simple so far, but problems there must be. Repairs, that dirty, very often filthy, word. What do they cost? A new clutch (not for the Jensen, of course), faulty transmission, braking problems; are they a practical proposition for slightly above average do-it-yourselfers? If not, what about the price of parts? Too wicked even to consider? Perhaps this is where we could hear from some of our fortunate fellow motorists who own Jensens, Astons, Ferraris, etc. Maybe we could get some facts on the kind of problems that a 40,000-mile-old Jensen could develop?

A friend once told me that if he could afford to buy a Rolls-Royce, he could afford to run it. Food for thought, I suppose. Provided the reliability of a vehicle is unquestionable though, this could be true of other exotic makes.

I feel sure that many dealers, whose showrooms bulge with such cars, would dearly love to see this section of the market revitalised. How about a word from them also? Give us the benefit of your experiences with such makes and tell us the facts about ownership. It might even help the situation a bit. If nothing else, it would make interesting reading. Anything would be better than the many fathoms of nonsense about Citroen Clubs, Fiat 126s, etc., that we wade through each month! Not that I have anything against them, they obviously serve a useful purpose, but in MOTOR SPORT? Yerck!!

One last word. Can anyone donate £1,500 or a Jensen Interceptor!

PETER FREDRICK de FRERE East Kilbride.

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