An early morning start and a wander down to my local high street, saw me rooting round the local bomb-sites in search of a Bangernomics bargain in an impromptu kerbcrawling session. I must be well on the road to recovery now, because my juices soon started flowing at the sheer number of wacky – and not so wacky – sheds are out there within walking distance of AROnline Towers for well under a grand. Okay, a quick flick through the gallery won’t exactly set your hearts a-fluttering, but me for me – it’s great to see such a variety less than a ten minute stroll (well, hobble) from home.
I’d been kerbcrawling before for AROnline. Last time, about 18 months ago, took me to the Southend-on-Sea golden mile, and we unearthed some amazing cars, including an SD1 Vitesse for £700, but came to the conclusion that the day of the £500 bomb-site motor was well and truly over. And that may well be the case in sunny Essex, but further north, where money is scarcer, and dealers are less like bare-knuckle boxers, there’s plenty of sub £500 action, if you’re into getting your hands dirty and don’t particularly care what your neighbours think.
But the dealers up here can relieve you of £1000 or so and hand you the keys of something truly, er, interesting. Our first bomb-site owner obviously seems to have a thing about topless models. As well as the outwardly solid (brush-painted) MG Midget that he promises a fresh MoT for the (lucky) buyer, you could experience the joys of a Bertone bodied Vauxhall Astra cabrio (with at least half a sill gone) for a stickered £595, or an after-market chop-top Corsa for around £1000. What price dryness? MX-s seem to be the flavour of the month up here, with at least four on offer in a two-mile radius, all for under that magic ‘bag of sand’.
For the more sensible, there’s lots of mid- to late-1990s rep fodder to choose from. There was a delightful pair of cheap diesels could be yours. A Peugeot 306 which had everything going for it – except its colour – for £700, or the Ford Focus estate, which we couldn’t get a straight answer to our question of the missing MoT for £375. Would you? In contrast, I think we spotted the most expensive N-registered boggo Ford Escort in the world. £995 for a sexy three-door sporting Mexico badges. Nice.
Good MG ZR105 for £1495
Bad Renault Lagunas and Daewoo Leganzas.
Ugly The £700 Nissan 100NX. Ugh.
Tragic The 90K Citroën Xantia 1.8i SX estate, that hasn’t moved for at least two years, and is still up for £700.
But in the grot there were a couple of cars worth a punt on for the brave. We like the Toyota MR2 T-Bar, which could be yours for £1000. We’d need a close under-body look, and want to be present at the MoT test, but for an emerging classic – and one that’s so popular in the Japanese scene, this mid-engined bundle of fun looks like a bit of fun. But maybe only if your name is Kaff. And the low-mileage £700 Vauxhall Omega 2.5TD – years of minicabbing awaits you.
And the conclusions from this jaunt? Only one – you really don’t need to spend much money to enjoy interesting motoring times. Stay tuned for more kerbcrawling jaunts from around the country.