7 cars you're too late to buy

07th March 2023
James King

This list is quite a tough one for me to put together because it's fair to say there I have a hefty chunk of personal experience in regularly missing the boat. I’m naturally a procrastinator and not one to rush a big decision, so when it came to buying my latest car, many cars’ price ranges quickly exceeded my budget. I’m aware that a lot of our budgets will vary, so for clarity, I was working with a budget of around £4-5k and I wanted a nice example, not a project. So I don’t want to hear that you could have bought a Ford Escort Cosworth for £5k, but it had a family of rats in the boot and was located at the bottom of Lake Vyrnwy.


Honda S2000

This is the big one for me. I need to get it out of the way early. I nearly pulled the trigger on a few Honda S2000s around the £5k mark and bottled it at the last minute. Now, you won’t find a decent example for less than £9k and that’s being generous. Some are closer to the £20k mark. My 9,000rpm dreams have never been further away.


Fiat Coupe

The Fiat Coupe took a while to really pick up in the classic car market. Most likely due to the reliability reputation of Fiats in this era not being that positive. This did it a disservice as it really is a cracking car, especially in 20v guise. What was recently a £2k car is now regularly fetching closer to £10k in good condition.


BMW Z4 Coupe

I’ve always had the BMW Z4 Coupe down as a decent investment proposition. Even though the Z4 lacks a little bit of the charm of the Z3 (a bona fide Bond car… ish), the coupe looks like a (clown) shoo-in to follow the rocketing prices of the Z3 M Coupe. The Z4 Coupe was steadily priced at around £4-5k for a while, but those prices have started and continued to rise with nice examples above the £10k mark. Fine margins, but it firmly puts it out of my budget. I still think these are a good investment as Z3 M Coupes are fetching ridiculous numbers.


Audi RS4 Avant

Now this one never really dropped down in price to my budget, but if I told you the RS4 B7 (2006 era) with over 100,000 miles on the clock is now fetching £20k, you’d be a little shocked right? Great cars? Yes. £20k great? I’m not entirely sure.


Honda Prelude 

The Honda Prelude probably wasn’t on many of your dream classic car lists, but I do have a big soft spot for them. My grandad had a 3rd gen 1987 Prelude, complete with pop-up headlights and was basically the knees of a bee to me. I am a big fan of the 5th gen 1996 model and for most of my teenage years, it looked like a cheap and interesting car, despite never getting that fabled Type R badge. Suddenly, a global pandemic happened and everyone started buying classic cars like they were the last toilet roll in Asda. Even the humble 5th gen model moved with the market as the formerly £1,500 Prelude is now a £7,500 Prelude. If you want the special edition Motegi, you’re looking at £10k+. Madness.


Ford Focus RS mk1

Fast Fords are always going to be hot property on the second hand market. Arguably the most sought-after in recent years has been the Focus RS. The first Focus RS released in 2002 has aged beautifully. It’s a fantastic car to drive, if a little twitchy, but that’s part of the fun. As is usual with fast Fords, finding an example that hasn’t seen every corner of Tesco car park is going to be a challenge. If you’re looking for a sub-£15k example, even in average condition, you’re going to struggle.



Anyone even keeping a side-eye on the classic BMW market will know that M3 E30 prices bolted a long time ago. Even the 325i E30 has reached house deposit prices. However, I hate to break it to anyone who thought they could pick up a 316 or 318i for pennies on the dollar, you’re now looking at close to £10k for the basic models in good condition. Silly.

There are many cars that have been omitted, so let us know which cars you’re gutted to have missed the boat on.

  • list

  • Ford

  • Focus RS

  • Honda

  • S2000

  • Audi

  • RS4

  • BMW

  • Z4

  • Fiat

  • Coupe

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