Market Watch: Why buying used is the best way to go bespoke

​Sometimes, personalisation doesn’t go well, because some people’s taste is awful. Think bright pink Range Rovers and you’re on the right lines. But those cars are the exception, and it can add so much to your ownership if you opt for something a little different.

When buying new, opting for something bespoke can add a lot to the list price, but with it comes the comfort and indulgence of enjoying something truly yours – manufactured to the level you want. A car made just for you. See those wheels, that colour, that leather? You chose them. But you also had to pay quite a bit extra. Give it a year or two, though, and that car makes a great buy in the used-car market.

Those once-expensive extras – like a £6,000 paintjob or a £10,000 stereo system – add only a small percentage of what they were priced at new.

Car manufacturers are pushing their personalisation services hard – just look at how much Jaguar Land Rover is investing in its Special Vehicle Operations Technical Centre (£20 million, by the way).  BMW has Individual, Mercedes-Benz has Designo, Porsche has Exclusive, Ferrari has its special projects division, and Aston has its Q department – for an example of their handiwork, just look at the one-off Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Roadster.

Every manufacturer wants their customers to spend that little bit more on extras because it is, after all, a good way to earn some extra money. It’s created a change in the way customers view bespoke services, from slightly fanciful and ‘one day’ for many, to being achievable, easy and a case of, ‘why not?’

The knock-on effect for used-car buyers is greater choice than ever before. In our showroom we’ve got a beautiful Aston Martin Vanquish V12, and its first owner did a fine job in speccing it. The rich blue paint finish; the sharp 20-inch diamond-turned alloy wheels; the carbon-fibre seats, side strakes, roof panel, mirror caps, shift paddles and exterior door handle; the yellow brake calipers – few cars have caught the eye of so many of our customers. Or staff.

High-spec, second-hand cars might cost a little more than others, but they also represent even greater value for money. So, why not?