James Ruppert: Cars built for a crisis

A Golf is a sensible car to buy and an easy one to sell Corollas from the 1990s aren't past their shelf life yet Jaguar S-Type - static side Innocenti Mini - badge Rover 200 VI - hero side Readers' questions - taxis Skoda Superb iV - static front

I don't have to tell you that we live in very uncertain times . Traditionally the car market, both new and used, doesn't respond well to any sort of crisis. Certainly the new car market is far more volatile when it comes to world events. The used car market is rather more reactive, and the people dealing in it have to be responsive indeed to changes or they will go out of business.

What's going on right now, then? Well, at least one dealer I know sent me a text the other day with the revelation that he's added 43 'cheap' cars to his stock. He hasn't exactly got a pound, just quite a big garden. This dealer is betting on people needing emergency cars that work. Substitutes for the inevitable and undesirable public transport shortfalls.

All this begs the question of just what should be in stock at times like these. These cars won't always be pretty, interesting or clever; this is Bangernomics at its most visceral.

There are still loads of old Toyota Corollas in circulation, and it's easy to see why. There are even bug-eyed ones from the 1990s for peanuts that will run all day long. If you don't want to go back more than 20 years, how about 18 years? About £400 will get you a 2002 1.6 VVT-i but perhaps with 150k miles, which is fairly academic. There may be rusty wheel arches and an interior that has seen better days, but never mind, because it will start first time every time.

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