IT’S NOT often Tinie Tempah and I agree on something. It’s true that – like our rapper friend – I’ve been to Southampton but never to Scunthorpe (but I wonder if Tinie’s ever been to Southport). But other than that we move in very different circles.
But Britain’s best known Lamborghini Huracán owner does, as it transpires from watching the telly the other night, have one weird passion in common. I’m wondering if he can be appointed honourary president of Classified Adsaholic Anonymous.
I’ve always been an addict, hooked on the idea that a lightly used Audi S8 for four grand or a laggy-looking Porsche Boxster for about the same is only a phone call away. Sometimes I’d act on my impulses, picking out obscure-looking deals I’d found on the internet or through scouring the classifieds pages in The Champion.
For a while I thought I’d kicked the habit, content that a daily fix of a £1000 Mazda MX-5, a Toyota Avensis that cost £900 and various classic cars that always seem to cost more money than you’d imagine would be more than enough.
But then I downloaded Tinie Tempah’s recommended legal high for used car junkies – the Auto Trader app – and I have to admit it’s on the verge of ruining my life. The giddy, childlike thrill of flicking through coarse pages chock-full of reasonably priced used cars, so cruelly robbed from us when the weekly magazine went out of print four years ago, is back.
But whereas the joy of used car classifieds used to come from spotting the obscure bargain buried within 20 pages of blurry pictures, FSHs and ONOs, nowadays it’s all about setting ridiculous search parameters and seeing what the internet comes back with. Want to know what the best four-door saloon for under £1500 is within a five-mile radius of Skelmersdale? Or Ormskirk’s best five-grand sports car? Bet you do now.
It’s weirdly addictive, but it does have its plus side; the more you do it the more likely you are to end up with a corking used car bargain. You end up getting to know the prices, what the faults are with various models and which dodgy brand of alloy wheels owners end up fitting to them, and ultimately knowledge is power. It’s much harder to get ripped off by an unscrupulous seller when you’re a Classified Adsaholic who knows exactly what a 2003 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 Match with five doors, service history and 99,000 on the clock is worth.
So give it a go – you won’t regret it. If you end up buying something, blame Tinie Tempah.