Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 4 June

The Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition with just 10,000 miles that made £100,000 at an auction of Mitsubishi UK’s heritage fleet recently has set us thinking about cheaper, regular versions.

For instance, we’ve found a 1999 Evo VI with 60,000 miles advertised for £20,995. Unfortunately, it has been boosted to 440bhp, and anything more than 400bhp is ill-advised (factory output was 276bhp). At least the seller swears the car has a full service history. Fresh synthetic oil is essential every 4500 miles and a new cambelt every 40,000 or five years, so we would be keen to see evidence of these jobs. We would want to know who uprated the engine, too.

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The seller also claims the body is free of rust, which is reassuring, as Evos tend to suffer it around the fuel filler, around the rear arches and on the rear chassis legs. Incredibly, the turbo’s wastegate can also suffer.

On our test drive, we would listen for noisy tappets after the engine has warmed up and for a gearbox whine possibly caused by worn input-shaft bearings or a worn transfer box. And don’t forget to listen and feel for worn droplinks, springs and dampers.

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to take your newly purchased Evo to a Mitsubishi service centre that’s equipped with a Mut-II diagnostic computer, which will be able to interrogate its ECU for recent events.

This car’s price looks about right, but before bumping elbows we would check out the few unmodified Evo VIs currently for sale at around the same money. Alternatively, there’s a 2000 Tommi Mäkinen with 51,000 miles going for £37,495. Compared with £100,000, that seems a bargain.

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Max Adams: Er, I believe that voters are interested in the green angle nowadays, and a big diesel gives off all the wrong fumes. My Lexus LS 600h petrol-electric hybrid is much more on message. And it has more rear amenities, including cooled seats, so James can keep his cool when dealing with the press.

FP: Yes, nothing screams ‘woke’ like rocking up to open a new wind farm in your 5.0-litre V8 Lexus (let’s ignore the prime minister’s supercharged V8 Jaguar XJ for a minute). I would expect 50mpg out of my A8 on a run, so fuel costs won’t dent James’s campaign budget.

MA: Is that estimate from first-hand experience? I don’t believe owners (or potential voters) will agree with such lofty figures. Besides, mine will be wafting to a stop on electricity, which is exactly the right message.

FP: Well, one thing I do know is that a leader should look the part, and even with 30,000 more miles on the clock, my Audi is in a far better state than your rather tired Lexus. Can I count on your vote, James?

Verdict: I like the LS, but I’ve heard that power corrupts, so I’ll have the more sedate A8.