Fleet reduction: Something has to give

When we moved to Wales in October 2010, we did so knowing that our income would reduce. It did by around a third as I work nowhere near full-time hours (out of choice) and my wife Rachel doesn’t work at all (also out of choice!). We enjoy more time spent together but have our own projects to work on to stop us developing cabin fever. I have lots of fettling time for my fleet, while Rachel makes the garden produce food and leads the many DIY projects our house needs.

I’ve loved having the time to work on my own cars. It’s the first time I’ve really felt like I have enough time to tackle many of the jobs I’ve done. I’ve become quite good at rebuilding brakes and have learnt new skills such as how to change a cambelt. However, our goal has been to become more self-sufficent and to drastically reduce expenditure. The fact that we currently own 5 vehicles between us rather goes against this new philosophy!

Take our Mini. It’s Rachel’s car and in the past two years, it’s done about 4500 miles. That’s about 187 miles a month. It’s not really enough, especially given that a Mini exposed to Welsh weather will simply corrode. We can’t afford another bodywork restoration for it. That’s why it is currently on Ebay. Rachel doesn’t really need her own car as she doesn’t often have to drive far. I don’t drive the Mini as I generally prefer pretty much anything else on the fleet. The money will come in useful for house projects and it’s one less car to tax, service and insure.

The other car on the ‘must go’ list is my BX Mk1. Incredibly, I’ve owned it for almost a year now, but the project to restore it has rather stalled. Again, it’s a cash thing. Restoring a car requires a lot of money and at the moment, I simply don’t have it. The writing market has got tougher during the year and I’ve spread myself rather too thinly in attempting to run so many vehicles! It’s not an easy car to sell, being exceedingly rare but also worthless and of interest only to a very small group of enthusiasts.

With a reduced fleet, I hope to be able to focus on getting the 2CV and BX Mk2 into a less rusty state. The BX Mk2 is a much better car than the Mk1 but does need some welding and possibly a clutch. The 2CV has many faults, pretty much all rust related but also needs a kingpin and possibly a suspension arm bearing. With the Mk1 gone, I’ll be able to reclaim my garage. I’m going to need it.

It’s always sad selling cars, especially when the Mini has been with us for so long. We bought it in 2006. The Mk1 is also a bit sad. It was my dream BX specification – diesel, estate, Mk1. Sadly the dream has been rather tainted by its condition and my discovery that actually I think I prefer the later BXs after all…

What are your thoughts? Do share them!

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