Here's a thing: while our backs were turned, it seems the Volkswagen Lupo GTI has got rather expensive. It wasn't too long ago that a good'un could be had for as little as three grand; however, these days, if you're after a low-mileage example, you'll have to spend more than double that.
Perhaps blame can be laid at the door of the Up GTI, reinvigorating interest in pint-sized hot VWs. Or perhaps it's simply that the Lupo has become a much-loved cult hot hatch in some circles; the sort of car people once had a strong penchant to own and are now able to afford.
We can't really blame them. The Lupo is a terrific-looking thing, after all, with all the miniaturised aggression of a terrier who knows he's about to be castrated. With its projector headlamps, chunky alloy wheels, central twin exhausts and fat bumpers, it looks like a contemporary Audi RS would were it hit with a shrink ray.
What's more, the Lupo's power-to-handling ratio is of the sort that makes us such big fans of the Suzuki Swift Sport - that is to say, enough to have fun with, but still not so much that you can't use every last ounce of it on a British B-road. It's a car whose neck you can wring with abandon, its diminutive size and relatively thin soundproofing making you feel as though you're doing a million miles an hour when you're barely knocking on the door of 60.
Trouble is, does all that good stuff make it worth the price? This one, for example, actually looks like one of the better-value Lupo GTIs out there at the moment. It's on privately for £5,500, has covered just 59,000 miles, has had two owners since it was new, and seems to have been maintained meticulously. What's more, there's a sheaf of history with it, and the owner (well, the owner's brother in law) has written an essay of an advert detailing every flaw. Just what we like to see.
Nevertheless, it's still an awful lot of cash for a car with just 125hp - especially when a Renaultsport Clio with similar mileage shouldn't cost you any more. And you can't even man maths your way out of this one - it's hard to imagine values rising any more than they have done for the foreseeable future, so you can't pull the investment card when asked why you've dropped so much money on a tiny, relatively old, Volkswagen.
But keep in mind that the Lupo will likely still feel tight and reassuringly solid long after the Clio's interior - or that of a Swift Sport - has started to fall to bits. Remember, too, that the Lupo will sip fuel, and that should help take a dent out of your extra outlay. And then, finally, let your eyes come to rest on its cheery little face. How can you resist?
SPECIFICATION - VOLKSWAGEN LUPO GTI
Engine: 1,598cc 4cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 125@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 112@3,000rpm
MPG: 38.7 (NEDC combined)
First registered: 2002
Recorded mileage: 59,000
Price new: £12,980
Yours for: £5,500
See the original advert here.