WHO remembers Right Said Fred? They had a couple of hit singles in the early Nineties, but other than that I’m going to say they’ve fallen off most people’s pop radar. I suspect it’s been ages since you stuck I’m Too Sexy into your CD player (or, more accurately, streamed it on Spotify).
So I think it’s fair to say that the person who’s just paid a staggering £93,500 for a Jaguar Mk2 – more than £30k more than the auctioneer selling it expected it to make – didn’t buy it because it used to belong to the band’s lead singer. Nope, they paid a deeply dippy price (sorry) because it was just about the best Mk2 anywhere on the planet – 3.8 litres of fully restored, low-mileage Browns Lane loveliness, with a full history and bills for every job imaginable racking up to an eye-watering £60,000. All this for a 59-year-old car that could still conk out when you least expect it.
The point is that if there are people prepared to bid this much money in the middle of a pandemic for an old Jag, there are almost certainly plenty of you who won’t mind spending £16,280 on Citroën’s freshly facelifted C3, which went on sale on Monday. That earned it the dubious accolade of being the first new car launched here since Boris Johnson bravely declared that car showrooms could reopen, although it’s worth pointing out that if you order one it won’t actually arrive until August.
Not only is a good deal cheaper than Jaguars owned by blokes who think they’re too sexy for their shirts, but it’ll also be considerably more reliable, better on fuel, and you can order it in no fewer than 97 exterior colour combinations. It also comes with a little alarm to tell you when you’ve been driving for too long and, best of all, those bonkers ‘airbump’ panels on the side of the door to stop it getting clobbered in supermarket car parks. Try getting that on your Nineties pop star Jag.
The point is that people still want to buy cars – whether they’re small Citroëns or old Jaguars – but in most cases they simply haven’t been allowed to, but I reckon that allowing showrooms to reopen is a thoroughly sensible move, provided it’s done in a safe, socially distanced way. We’ve all become accustomed to two-metre gaps and cleaning everything religiously at Tesco – I can’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be equally achievable at your nearest car showroom.
If you were on the verge of snapping up a new supermini, give ‘em a ring, ask what measures they’ve brought in to prevent infection, and pay them a visit if you judge it’s safe to do so. You never know – you might help Britain’s new car market, which last month was down by 97 per cent, stage a welcome comeback.
Alternatively, you could spend a tenner on Right Said Fred’s Hits album. I’m sure the lead singer’s probably saving up for another old car…
David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly