Selling old cars: just because it's retro, doesn't mean it's good | Top Gear
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Selling old cars: just because it's retro, doesn't mean it's good

TG snapper Mark’s gone to market... but this time he’s getting rid of his barges, rather than buying more

Internationally renowned photographer Mark has been working with TG for many, many years. When not taking photos he’s buying inappropriate cars. Here he shares his addiction with the world…

Recently I've treated car buying like an extreme version of Pokémon Go, and while this isn’t exactly normal it has been good material for here. Yet, what I find most entertaining is the fact that people only question your sanity when you start selling them off.

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Not when you send a stranger thousands of euro for an armoured BMW in Bulgaria. Or buy a pair of kei cars off Facebook Marketplace unseen and unregistered. Then, there was the barn find Brabus W126 (non-runner) quickly followed by an identical Brabus W126 in Belgium (runner). Picked up by a friend in Germany because travel wasn’t permitted at the time.

In the land of social media this behaviour seems admirable. But selling them off? “What’s happened to Ricci? Is everything OK at home? I heard he’s done a Jimmy Carr.”

Obviously, everything is completely fine. Apart from the fact that – in the image above – those four cars have a combined 40 cylinders and 21.5 litres between ’em. In a world of downsizing, green energy and being woke, they may as well be a comedy gala hosted by Jim Davidson with special guest Roy Chubby Brown.

So... what’s been shifted? The ratty Brabus W126 went recently, all the way to America. I’ve owned an R30 Skyline yet I’ve only managed to drive 150 miles in it, despite spending a small fortune getting it running right. The Pajero kei car followed shortly after; I’d not actually driven that on the road. And then the Suzuki Alto Works was the last to go, having made it undriveable with a set of jazzy Impul wheels.

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I’m still undecided on whether to keep the armoured 7 Series, but that may also be influenced by the fact that it’s billowing white smoke under throttle. I think maybe eight of the 12 cylinders are firing, so the good news is that it will be a cheap one to fix.

At some point I will regret selling them all, but at least I’ve been able to have some fun while we’re still allowed to. There are too many interesting cars that I still want to get my hands on, and unfortunately that does actually mean not keeping everything. Because in reality, these cars are often best enjoyed vicariously through someone else. They’re expensive to run, temperamental and a little bit crap. Retro doesn’t mean that it’s instantly good.

But what does make something good is when it comes from Stuttgart, has a naturally aspirated flat-six and a 9,000rpm rev limit. Admittedly, its 3.8-litre engine may have had a slight tendency to set itself on fire, but I reckon that’s a good compromise between sensible and silly to get into next.

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