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Suits you, sir. Or maybe not... : credit: © JLR
LRM market guru, Tom, gets to go Land Rover auction shopping for his neighbour

There was a bit of drama in my sleepy village this week. Just as I was brushing my teeth and preparing to tuck myself in for the night, there was a huge ‘whump’ followed by a horn and lots of shouting. Peeling back the curtains revealed a chaotic scene as my neighbours’ cars were scattered at odd angles over the road and pavement and a Qashqai was embedded in the side of an innocent Discovery Sport.

Without going into too many details, the driver had legged it, tossing a bottle of vodka into a garden as he went. He left behind three passengers and a trail of destruction. A parked Fiesta had been relieved of its offside wheel and suspension. The Ford had then hit the back of the Disco, which had then hit a Kia. The Kia was resting gently on a Volkswagen.

I felt most sympathy for the man who owned both the Discovery and Kia, as it was his 80th birthday and he had lost both his cars. I looked at the damage and assured him that he was unlikely to ever see them again. As I’d sourced both for him a few years ago, I knew what was coming – he gently suggested we might have some shopping to do.

I love a challenge, so we talked through the options. The Kia was only used on the occasions when his wife was using the Discovery, so he was happy to have another cheap runaround and there is a reasonable amount of choice available for the unfussy. For the Land Rover though, only another Discovery would do.

His 2016 car had just clicked over 100,000 miles so I reckoned the insurance company would come back with an offer of around £13,500. They surprised me with a £14,500 bid, presumably to prevent too much negotiation and get my neighbour out of his rented loan car – which was ironically a Qashqai.

My neighbour hated the Nissan too, so happily accepted the offer. Adding in some of the £3000 he was given for the Kia allowed us to look at an upgrade and I took him through some of the candidates from dealers and the auction sites.

His requirements were any colour but white and petrol, as he might need to go into the new extended London ULEZ zone.

This is when I needed to do some gentle recalibration and education, as petrol Discoverys of our target era – 2017ish – are virtually non-existent and the diesels are ULEZ-compliant anyway. The fuel saving from having a diesel on the occasional longer trips would be worth paying the occasional toll for, too.

Range Rover Evoque – £2000 less than a Disco Sport with similar miles

We also dismissed a bigger ‘full fat’ Discovery as they were too big and he hated the offset rear plate. There was nothing which quite floated his boat until I had a bright idea – Evoques. He admitted he didn’t need all the space of a Disco Sport but had assumed the smallest Range Rover would be more expensive because of the posh brand.

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A quick click through the auction listings proved him wrong and his £14,500 would buy him a nice 2018 ED4 with 25,000 miles – the Discovery Sports with similar miles were at least £2000 more.

As a result we clicked away on the auction site one evening and he is now proudly putting his Range Rover keyring down on the pub table at every opportunity so everyone can see.

One of the reasons I love buying at auction like this is that there is no messing. It’s a done deal, the car is legally yours and you don’t need to trudge around to someone’s house and haggle. I was reminded of that this month when I was gazumped while attempting to buy a Discovery 2 for myself.

The Td5 was a lovely Oslo Blue ES with just 82,000 miles and a nice history. It popped up on a local Facebook group and it looked underpriced at £1850. My thumbs were fastest and I said I’d like to come and take a look, even offering to leave a deposit.

The vendor said I could ‘consider it mine’, but that he was away for the weekend. I could come and collect it when he got back on Monday night. So, I transferred some savings into my other account, paid for an HPI check and waited like an excited schoolboy until the Monday.

When I contacted him again, I was ghosted. No answer to calls and messages ignored. Shortly afterwards he posted on the Facebook group saying: ‘Thanks everyone for your interest but the Discovery is now sold’.

My knee jerk reaction was to reply with something unpleasant, but life’s too short. Someone else got the deal and I contented myself with secret musings that the gods of rear floorpan rust and cylinder head cracks might even the score for me.


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