Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 24 July

Most of us have been nobly distancing from family members, but it might not be too long before we’re together again, and the potential for arguments could be all too great.

How do you protect yourself when words alone aren’t enough to placate? Well, you could do worse than buying a pre-owned armoured car. Once the preserve of high-ranking officials and the incredibly paranoid, such a vehicle would be perfect for beating a retreat from Nana’s wrath.

One of the major players in this field is Mercedes-Benz. It has been so ever since it took a special order from Emperor Hirohito for a 770 Pullman in 1935. That limousine set down the template that has been followed by every armoured car since, although those such as the 2002 S-Guard here are obviously far more sophisticated.

Much like that 1935 car, the W220 S-Guard has a reinforced body lined with armoured steel and thicker glass, but it was developed to a much higher standard, so it can withstand the worst your relatives can throw at it – even if that’s armour-piercing bullets. There’s even underfloor protection to deflect explosives. And all these armaments are so neatly integrated that you would have to be a real anorak to notice them.

The mechanicals were also beefed up to negate the extra weight of this mobile fortress, of course, enabling it to drive in a similarly relaxed fashion to the standard S-Class. Don’t expect spare parts to come cheap, however, because plenty of them are bespoke.

Even though this is an 18-year-old S-Class (albeit one that has done just 28,000 miles), it’s up for £24,995. But then it’s safer than any SUV, and you can’t really put a price on protection.



MP: Nonsense: you made that up. My Octavia is a sparkling diamond – just what James ordered.

MA: Not with those ugly gold wheels and that dubious window tint it isn’t.

Verdict: I’ll take the old-school hot hatch Golf.