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Better Than A Goldfish - A Really Cheap Car .

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Better Than A Goldfish - A Really Cheap Car .

Geoff Maxted
December 20, 2013

Citroen Saxo
When I was a young lad all I wanted was a goldfish to call my own. One day, at a travelling fair, I won a beautiful creature swimming happily in a plastic bag of full of water. I was over the moon.

Unfortunately, we were so poor that when I got home we had to eat it for our tea. Cod was not for people like us; salmon just a hopeless dream. I mention this not because I want to elicit sympathy - although a little love on this website would be nice - but to show that dreams are just that and most of us have to live with the reality.

So it is with cars. If your unattainable object of desire is a Bugatti, or Maserati or, indeed, any car ending in ‘i’, don’t despair, because you can still enjoy your motoring in cars costing £500 or less.

There comes a point in a car’s life when it ceases to depreciate in value. Provided it is in generally good order there is no real reason why it shouldn’t go on providing reliable service. There’s plenty for sale on well known auction sites and there is even a car sales site specifically aimed at cars priced under £500.

How about the Audi 80? Built until 1996 with all the aero-dynamics of a house brick, it proved to be a reliable servant until superseded by the legendary A4. In fact, you can find early A4’s within this budget. Then there’s the Peugeot 306, which has always been the choice for people looking for an excellent car on for no money.

Don’t forget the ubiquitous Citroen Saxo. There’s loads of these little gems around. This compact car has already developed a huge cult following due to its cheap-to-buy-and-run nature. It’s good to drive too, once you get used to the offset foot pedals. With its cost-effective engine and spacious interior the Saxo is a decent economical choice. Be careful with your purchase and any of these, or similar, cars will do the job.

There are drawbacks of course. Aren’t there always? If you buy a cheap car don’t necessarily think the insurance will be cheap, so shop around. Undoubtedly, any car you buy for little money will have some niggles so it helps to have a bit of mechanical knowledge; but there is a lot an amateur can do with some borrowed tools, a Haynes manual and a bit of patience.

The point is that it is still possible to have the pleasure of car ownership when money’s tight. If you search diligently then hopefully you’ll find a clean example that you can wash and polish and take some pride in. For me, those impoverished goldfish days of yore are long gone. These days I keep Koi carp in the pond. Or rather I did. A heron ate them. I’m sticking to cars in future.

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