Take cover

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Many are the horror stories about the cost of running performance cars nowadays. You wondered why it was possible to pick up a Ford Sierra Cosworth 4×4, brand new, for under £20,000 towards the !end of its career as a production car? ‘Because you could have bought a tidy second-hand VW Golf for the insurance premium, that’s why, and potential purchasers were being scared off as a result. To test current trends, we ran a fictional role model past a leading insurance company: Andrew, a 28 year-old graphic designer living in south-west London, is self-employed, and is looking to buy a yak fast hatchback, which he will leave parked on the street in front of his house at night.

He passed his driving test 10 years ago, though he hasn’t taken an advanced test, and has no convictions. Nor, having driven a company car for the previous six years. does he have any entitlement to a no-claims bonus, and he needs comprehensive cover. However, he will be entitled to a special discount upon provision of a letter of confirmation from his former employer. The quoted figures assume that this letter has been supplied and accepted. Finally, the car will be used for both business and pleasure. We received quotations for the two mildly disguised performance hatchbacks on test in the ajoining feature, and a brace of their more overtly sporting brethren.

Encouraging news for buyers is that the company we canvassed had just introduced a new range of discounts which, in the cheapest case (the Peugeot 106 XSi), knocked £128 off the annual premium. In the most expensive (the 1.9 205 GTO, the saving was worth £209. Overall, however, insurance remains a costly business. The price of covering a 1.7 Renault Clio I6v equates to 10.8 per cent of its list price; for the 1.9 205 GTi, burdened by its larger engine capacity, it’s a whopping 12.9 per cent. The 205’s panache is offset by a slightly sullied reputation. Not so long ago, a motorway patrol police officer officer operating on the north-east segment of the M25 disclosed that the 205 GTi had overtaken the Vauxhall Cavalier (all varieties) as the car he and his colleagues had needed to stop most frequently for formal discussion of traffic regulations, with particular attention to speed limits.

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