There was a time back in the annals of motoring when cars were built to last. They had coach makers, leather seats and walnut dashboards. They had fitted carpets, and quality chromed fittings. The trouble is those cars were prone to breaking down, a lot. Still they were worth getting fixed.

Then the 1970’s came along with a new breed of cars. They were badly designed and were painted horrible colours. They had plastic seats, and they also broke down a lot. These cars, with one or two exceptions, were not worth repairing. And if you did, they simply rotted away.

Then Japanese car manufacturers changed the world. They gave us Honda, Nissan, Datsun and Mazda. They gave us Toyota. From small shaky beginnings, they changed the world of motoring. Japanese cars became the by-word for reliability and then practicality and then racing and then design. These cars were practical, economical, comfortable and they didn’t break down. They started every morning, and they ran forever. Not only that, they didn’t rot away, and they were cheap to insure.

Pretty much that is the way it still is today. If you own one of these cars, it will simply run forever. It may not set the world on fire. It may not even be worth very much. But on the other side of the coin it will start every morning, fit everyone you ever need inside, be perfectly comfortable and never break down. If you own one of these cars, you will be very happy. You will be one of the sensible people for whom motoring, or driving as it is called today, makes perfect economic and financial sense.

You are not one of those foolish people seduced by the perils of owning a new car. One that loses half its value the moment you drive it out of the showroom. In ten years time, this will be the equivalent of your car. It will be worth next to nothing, run for ever and owe you nothing. Spares will always be available for it and you’ll never have to worry about it breaking down because it will not.

Your Toyota will probably see you out. You may pass it down to your son quite comfortably. Likewise your Honda. Nissan spare parts are so easily available that running a Nissan is almost the most financially sensible thing you can do. If you have ever been swayed by new car rhetoric, stop right there. Scour the market for a good used Toyota or Nissan and you will be in a car that will run for life. It will be eminently repairable and reliable. It will be your best friend.

It may not turn heads, but then you won’t want it to. It might look like every other Nissan on the road, of which there are quite a few. This will suit you even more because they will still be selling parts for your model when hell freezes over. And when the joy riders come past, you’ll sleep better knowing that they’ve made off with next door’s BMW.