The Spotted Week That Was | GT4, 328i, Celica

It's been another busy week on planet PH – these are the cars we couldn't stop thinking about…

By PH Staff / Sunday, November 15, 2020

Porsche Cayman GT4 (981), 2015, 9k, £66,995

Dan's Cayman GT4 vs 718 GT4 video had me thinking this week about 981 prices. This is not exactly new. A preoccupation with GT4 prices is relatively common among lowly car hacks. But I realised it had been awhile – in fact, we hadn't covered the topic since January when Matt presented a breathed-on 2016 example with 12k miles on the clock and a £77,900 sticker in the window.

Nearly a year later, and it would seem that the passing of yet more time and a (relatively speaking) plentiful supply of nearly new 718 GT4s has finally taken its toll. Well, I say 'toll' – residual values for lower-end 981 GT4s are apparently now hovering around the £65k mark. A moderate drop, perhaps (especially when you consider that the model started at £64,451 when new) but significant enough to get the old cogs turning.

This one isn't actually the cheapest in the classifieds – and I'm not convinced that white is the Cayman's colour – but it's only covered 8,500 miles and boasts an extended Porsche warranty. Given how much its previous owners likely paid for the car, you'd like to think that its lightly used status is evidence of a high standard of care. The vendor says it's immaculate, and it looks it. Sure, you could wait another year – but as we found out last weekend, the 981 is still well worth its original price tag.

BMW 328i (E46), 1999, 28k, £7,990

God, it’s tough being a BMW fan in 2020. Almost every bit of good news seems almost immediately undone by a dismal revelation of one kind or another. A handsome new design is then followed by something awful; a welcome concession to the enthusiast is soon undermined by another leap towards autonomy. For every M2 CS, M3 Touring and M550i, there are cars like the X6 M, the X2 and, just this week, the iX to go and spoil the perception of that hard work.  

Being old enough now to worry about the future, I’ve done what any enthusiast would do in a time of crisis: reverted to what I know, and immediately begun coveting the familiar in a period of great uncertainty. So here’s a nice old 3 Series. It has a straight-six petrol engine in the front, a five-speed manual gearbox in the middle, black leather, four electric windows and rear-wheel drive. It has just turned 21 years old, just passed 28,000 miles and looks better now – especially in light of the past week – than it ever has. The E46 was the class of its field for yonks, redefining expectations of the compact exec, and sold handsomely as a result.

Nowadays, they’re hard to find in this condition. For £8,000 it looks a lovely reminder of a simpler time and the appeal of a lusty straight-six in a small saloon. Next time BMW is revealing something new, I’ll watch from behind the sofa – or the wheel of this. 

Toyota Celica 2.0 ST, 1984, 3.9k, £23,450

It’s so good to see Toyota back making cars to get excited about. No longer is the GT86 set to be a one hit wonder; we’ve got a Supra. and the excellent GR Yaris to get our teeth into. Consequently, Toyota is no longer a brand name I scroll right past when perusing the classifieds. Today, I actively sought out something cool and old from its extensive back catalogue. My pick? A 3,900-mile-old Celica 2.0 ST from 1984. It’s not the GT-I 16, granted, but it’s a proper time warp back to the early eighties, when pop-up headlights were almost as mandatory as infotainment screens are today.

This is the pre-facelift car, so it’s got proper retro charm front and rear. And there’s decent performance on offer, with about 150hp produced by the front-wheel drive four-cylinder two-door. 60mph comes in about 8.3 seconds and top speed is 130mph, and the car only weighs 1,250kg – that’s 30kg less than the lightest GR Yaris spec. And this being an oldie, it’ll probably ride lovely, too.

There’s a catch, though. The price. Obviously a £23,450 Celica is priced for its investment potential, and given how spotless every panel, wheel and inch of trim look, not to mention the immaculate engine bay, this might just be the best 2.0 ST out there. The seller reckons it even “still has the smell of a new Toyota back in 1984”, something I’d love to sample. Bet it smells better than 2020.

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