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Selling Old Cars: Just Because It’s Retro Doesn’t Mean It’s Good

Selling Old Cars: Just Because It's Retro Doesn't Mean It's Good
Top Gear Garage

TG snapper Mark has gone to the market… but this time he’s getting rid of his ships, instead of buying more

Internationally renowned photographer Mark has been working with TG for many, many years. If he doesn’t take pictures, he buys inappropriate cars. Here he shares his addiction with the world…

Recently, I’ve been treating car buying as an extreme version of pokemon go, and while this isn’t exactly normal, it’s been some good stuff here. But what I find most amusing is the fact that people don’t question your sanity until you start selling them.

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Not if you send a stranger thousands of euros for an armored BMW in Bulgaria. Or buy some kei cars on Facebook Marketplace, unseen and unregistered. Then there was the barn find Brabus W126 (non-runner) quickly followed by an identical Brabus W126 in Belgium (runner). Picked up by a friend in Germany as travel was not allowed then.

In the land of social media, this behavior seems admirable. But do they sell? ‘What happened to Ricci? Is everything okay at home? I heard he made a Jimmy Carr.”

It is clear that everything is in order. Apart from the fact that – in the picture above – those four cars together have 40 cylinders and 21.5 liters. In a world of downsizing, green energy and waking up, they might as well be a comedy gala hosted by Jim Davidson with special guest Roy Chubby Brown.

So… what has shifted? The ragged Brabus W126 recently went all the way to America. I’ve owned an R30 Skyline, but I’ve only been able to drive it for 150 miles despite spending a small fortune getting it to work properly. Shortly after, the Pajero kei car followed; I hadn’t actually driven it on the road. And then the Suzuki Alto Works was the last to go, having made it uncontrollable with a set of jazzy Impul wheels.

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I’m still not sure if I’ll keep the armored 7-series, but that could also be affected by white smoke billowing under the accelerator. I think maybe eight of the 12 cylinders will fire so the good news is it will be a cheap fix.

At some point I’ll regret selling them all, but at least I got to have some fun while I still can. There are too many interesting cars that I still want to get my hands on, and unfortunately that doesn’t mean keep everything. Because in reality, these cars are often best enjoyed vicariously through someone else. They are expensive to run, temperamental and a bit rubbish. Retro doesn’t mean it’s good right away.

But what makes something good is if it comes from Stuttgart, has a naturally aspirated six-cylinder and a rev limit of 9,000 rpm. Admittedly, its 3.8-litre engine may have had a slight tendency to set itself on fire, but I think it’s a good compromise between sensible and foolish to get going after this.

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