Is it too much to ask?

For some years now, I’ve revelled in the world of bangernomics. Sure, I’ve had moments of grimness. A Volvo 740 that had a knackered idle control valve and occasionally dumped loads of rainwater on my other half’s pretty and also quite angry head, an Austin Metro that dropped a valve and a Citroen BX 16 valve that managed to be as quick as it was awful – and it was very quick. However, my rule has been to make sure that I have plenty of motors about the place. That way, I’m sure to get to where I want to be.

Below is a typical shot of how the fleet looked a few years ago.

Lots of cars

Rather too many cars (two are not visible in this shot!)

The Honda Civic cost me £195, the Volvo £150 and in the garage is a ‘free’ Dyane, while a ‘free’ and also dead Metro lurks out of shot behind the 2CV. Seven vehicles, five of which were running. If I needed to get somewhere, I knew I could. In fact, the little Honda was a superb car which, if it was not horribly rotten, I would probably have owned a lot longer.

I seem to have got something horribly wrong at the moment though. I’m down to four cars, and only two of them are behaving, one of which is a Mini that I don’t like driving and therefore doesn’t really count (well, it is my wife’s car really). The Peugeot 309 is proving to be a poor buying decision. I was meant to be replacing the complexity of the Rover 75 with the joyful simplicity of the almost-Talbot. Yet instead, I’ve just replaced one problem with another – albeit scoring a decent hit of cash in the exchange.

The BX is just not usable at the moment. That’s fair enough. I have to keep reminding myself that I got it road legal to make it easier to get work carried out on it. Much easier if you can drive the car to the various places it needs to be for work to be carried out. It’s a long term project. Fair enough.

The Peugeot is the problem. It should be the load bearer, eating up the miles and saving me from having to service the 2CV every five minutes (grease every 1000 miles, service with oil change every 3000). It should also be the dependable motor that I can use when there’s crap weather and lots of salt about. It has pretty much categorically failed and after refusing to start this morning, left me with no option but to use the 2CV for a quick 130 mile round trip. It’s very frustrating because once started, it does a reasonable job of doing what I need of it. But starting it is the problem! I simply cannot find the right spot for the choke to be at. Too much and it won’t fire at all. Not enough and it’ll splutter and that’ll be it. Anywhere in the middle can give either result! It’s ridiculous. The 2Cv and Mini have a manual choke and behave themselves entirely. How can it be so wrong on a car dating from 1991?! Especially as the carburettor is new and also fitted with anti-tamper screws to stop anyone mucking it up. Perhaps that’s the problem. Perhaps the anti-tamper stuff needs tampering with?

Whatever. I’m now lumbered with recalcitrant Peugeot (which wasn’t even built in Coventry, it’s French!) and selling it is not going to be very easy. I understand the going rate for scrap is quite good at the moment though. Do you think the bloke in charge of the big claw will let me use it?

What are your thoughts? Do share them!

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