Merry Shednesday. Did you know Baleno is a municipality in the province of Masbate in the Philippines? It’s also a car built by Suzuki and the subject of this week’s Facebook Marketplace rummage.
I’m not concerning myself with the more recent Suzuki Baleno as it’s not remotely in budget. The 1995 to 2002 version (AKA the Cultus Crescent) is, however, within budget, in all its hatchback, saloon and estate glory. Conveniently I have also found low mileage options for each shape, all with MOTs and a 1.6-litre petrol engine. None of them are rusted projects, like some of the previous Shednesday cars.
The sportiest looking of the three is a 1997 1.6 GS three door hatchback. It’s manual, costs a grand, has an MOT and is in Eastbourne. It’s done 88,000 miles.
Alternatively, for half the price, there’s an automatic version with overdrive and powershift in Coventry. It’s done 67,000 miles and has an MOT. It’s listed on Facebook and Gumtree. You can argue among yourselves if it’s purple or blue; I’ll get splinters in my bum and say its indigo. Sadly, it is missing the go-faster pinstriping of the white car.
Three years newer and one door larger is this 2000 1.6.GLX saloon. It also has an MOT and a manual box. It’s based in Sheffield and costs £695. It’s done 51,000 miles.
The final and largest option is a 1998 1.6 GLX estate. As before it’s got an MOT and a manual box. It’s £1,080, in Bradford and has covered just 38,000 miles. Yes you read that right: it is 23 years old but has been driven just thirty-eight-thousand-miles! The seller suggests that it’s the only one in the UK. It’s a handsome beast, especially with the rear roof spoiler.
Put your feet up, Ben, and take the rest of the day off. This week’s Shednesday is a cracker. I’m a big admirer of the Suzuki Baleno – one example has pride of place in my eBay watchlist. I’d love to find a ropey saloon (Shatchback) and create a homage to Saul Goodman.
I’m also worryingly fond of the ‘new and improved’ Suzuki Baleno. I was sent to Northern Ireland to share a car with Robin ‘PetrolPod’ Brown, and I wrote a rather gushing review of the 1.0-litre Boosterjet version. To paraphrase Telly Savalas, the Baleno is my kinda car.
Look: no mention of the Proton Coupé.