1979 Volkswagen Derby L 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland
Rock solid build, excellent reliability - unbeatable quality and service
The bodywork started to show its age towards the end, but the mechanicals were as tough as old boots.
The interior started to wear away with age, but apart from that everything was excellent.
I bought a 14 year old Volkswagen Derby for £350 in 1993. The bodywork was still shining like a diamond and the engine ran as smooth as silk.
The ride and handling were hardly exciting, but they made the driving comfortable enough. The engine gave good performance and good economy.
The interior of the car was solidly screwed together, but the standard of comfort and amount of space were not too good.
My previous car had been a 1974 Austin Allegro which failed its MOT due to rust. The Derby was far better, only towards the end did a few spots of rust start to appear.
I finally sold the Derby for £20 in July 2002, by when it had covered 190,000 miles and was 23 years old. The bodywork was starting to get slightly rusty, but the mechanicals were as good as new.
My next car was a 1991 Ford Escort 1.4 LX, which had covered 118,000 miles and cost £500. It had been my mother's car and had given her years of reliable service, but was now starting to show its age. The bodywork was rusting and the gearbox and brakes starting to go wrong. But it lasted a whole year before I sold it to a mechanic for £250. I'd used it a lot for driving around the country, and it had clocked up 135,000 miles - 17,000 in one year! I bought a 1994 Volkswagen Golf 1.4 CL for £900, the car had covered 114,000 miles. The Golf had so far been an excellent car and the Escort was reasonable, but the Derby was the best of the four cars I've ever owned and I wish I'd kept hold of it even longer.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd April, 2004