Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 31 May

“If you have been looking to acquire an NSX on a realistic budget, this is the cheapest, best-value NSX available today.” The seller’s words and not ours. It’s some claim, but there’s no arguing with that price.

Honda NSX, £30,000: There’s a sting in the tail, of course. The 1991-reg car has done 180,000 miles but, rather than go cold, think positively. Such a mileage proves an NSX is that rare thing: a supercar you can drive every day, rain or shine, without it going pop or costing a fortune in bills. It would be a flimsy theory but for the fact that, on the sales website we visited, we counted three NSXs with over 100,000 miles and 11 with over 50,000. They’re tough cars and, more to the point, their owners love driving them.

So, having been bitten, what should we look for when sizing up this particular NSX? It helps it’s being sold by an NSX specialist who claims it’s passed its MOT with no advisories, that the engine oil pressure is normal and that the transmission is in rude health. Still, you can never be too careful, so we’d check valve cover gaskets, rear cam plug seals and the VTEC solenoids for oil leaks and that the VTEC system itself operates smoothly. We’d want to know when the belts were changed, too.

Given those miles, we’d have a squint at the tyres looking for irregular wear that might point to alignment issues, and want to be sure that bushes, ball joints and bearings show no signs of track-day abuse. The NSX’s aluminium body is a devil to repair so we’d be on high alert for wonky panel gaps, filler and nonfactory panel seams. Fingers crossed it’s sound because good, affordable NSXs are rare.

Peugeot 306 2.0 XSI, £1989: This 1994-reg 306 has done 67,000 miles and has full service history. The one-owner car is totally original and has the factory-fit sports seats and a glass sunroof. The price looksa little stiff but we’ve a good feeling about tidy old 1990s motors…

Jaguar XJR 4.0, 5195: Old X300s are coming into fashion and this 1995 N-reg XJR with its magnificent supercharged 4.0-litre straight six is just the job. It’s the auto version but the GM ’box is tough. It’s done a reasonable 90,000 miles but the service history looks patchy.

Audi A5 1.8 TFSI Sport, £3649: Everyone homes in on the diesels but this 1.8 TFSI petrol is a more interesting buy. It’s done 144,000 miles but has full service history and it’s an Audi so probably feels newerthan most new cars. No scratches or dents and it’ll do 0-62mph in 8.4sec.

Land Rover Discovery 2.5 TD5, £1590: If you’ve a job for an old Disco, it might pay to be brave and take the plunge. This 132,000-mile, 2004 Pursuitspec car has full service history. The owner has off-roaded it but says it’s been rust protected and pictures of the underside show it’s graunch-free.

Auction watch

Lotus Esprit Turbo: ‘Morris Marina door locks’ was the fact most quoted about the Esprit Turbo. No matter – after a spin up the road in one, its knobs were the last thing on your mind. Hethel’s supercar still looks an eyeful and this 1985 example is a stunner. It’s a left-hooker imported from the US but that just means you’ll have a ready market on the continent if you ever want to move it on. This car has done only 47,000 miles and has had £18,500 lavished on it – including a full engine rebuild – taking it to the next level. It sold for just £23,310.

Get it while you can

BMW 640d M Sport Gran Coupé, Price new £69,345, Price now £31,500: BMW’s big sports barge slipped its moorings last autumn. Now, if you want a Six, BMW only offers the GT, although it is all new. Meanwhile, the 8 Series Gran Coupé comes out this autumn. But back to the 6 Series GC. You can’t buy a new one but there are some late-platers around including the 2018/18-reg 640d we found. The private-sale car has done 7000 miles and, given it has had two owners, sounds like it was a heavily discounted pre-reg model. 

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Find me a hard-charging V8 for £15,000, but please play nicely.

BMW M5 ‘E39’, £13,995: If ever there were a car to make enthusiasts frothy, it would be the ‘E39’ M5. Not only does it have a fantastic 400-horsepower V8 engine but the best styling out of all the M5s produced so far, brilliant handling and a wholesome manual gearbox to give your legs a workout. This one may have had a few owners, but they’ve all been careful custodians because the service history is full of BMW rubber stamps. In other words, it’ll still be fit enough to take on any V8 upstart you care to throw at it. Max Adams

Vauxhall VXR8, £14,995: Do you come from a land down under? Do I ’eck. If you’ve never driven a VXR8, your mind will already be made up: it’s uncouth, unseemly and unlikely to sway you away from an M5. If you’ve driven one, though, you’ll be forever smitten. It’s large, uncomplicated and gloriously quick, and can play the rapid cruiser or the utter hooligan with equal ease. That 6.0-litre V8 pumps out 414bhp, so think 0-60mph in five seconds. This well-kept example’s a peach, with a low mileage and a full history. Ripper, mate. Mark Pearson

Verdict: The head says M5 but the heart yearns for a bit of rough-and-ready charm. The VXR it is. John Evans