A new wish list

The past few days have been rather busy, hence less bloggage. In fact, I can deploy one of my favourite phrases. It’s been batshit mental.

I’ve been working exceedingly hard to fill the news pages of Classic Car Weekly to cover annual leave. I take my hat off to news journos. It can be very hard going at times, watching the clock tick while people who promise to get back in touch with you just don’t. I finally escaped the laptop at about half eleven last night. It’s probably the hardest I’ve worked since I was in the office – producing an 80 (or more) page newspaper every week requires a lot of effort. Especially when bank holidays reduce your working week…

It’s been enjoyable though and I like that I can break up the working day by doing things such as shifting our latest load of logs and selling a car.

Oh yes. The Green Tiger BX estate is off to a new home. Deposit received, collection to occur at some point in the next few weeks. Mojo has run out on that one and finances were looking worryingly tight. As it happens, some invoices that got a bit bogged down have cleared and the money panic is over for a bit, but it’s definitely time for that BX to find a new home. One is enough. Well, it is for me!

That sodding turbo diesel has spoilt me rather. I’ve clocked up tens of thousands of miles in the BX estate quite merrily, but now I’ve gone turbo, there really is no going back. From 71bhp to 90bhp doesn’t sound much, but the way the turbo diesel delivers a huge wall of torque from around 2000rpm becomes very addictive. Too addictive. I don’t actually drive it that quickly by my standards – I probably push the non-turbo diesel harder because momentum is so difficult to get back. This is a skill I learnt with the 2CV. Don’t slow down if it can be avoided!

The latest fleet change means we’ll be down to two vehicles again. This is probably enough really, especially as my long-suffering wife is actually happy to drive both of them. I can’t see two vehicles being enough somehow though. I live for cars and there are a great many that I have not yet owned. There’s always the argument that there’s safety in numbers too. Surely at least one car must work!

The problem is, I don’t actually know what I want. I don’t need anything for long distance work as the BX covers that off nicely. It’s also massively practical and decently quirky. If I want more quirk and character, then the 2CV fits the bill. So, what is it I actually want?

I don’t like sports cars, but if I ignore the fact that the tax man wants a huge chunk of cash in July, I could probably stretch to a car that’s long been on my radar – the Suzuki Cappuccino. In fact, prices seem as low as they’ll ever be at the moment – I could probably get one for a spend of £1500-2000. I still regard that as an enormous sum of money though, and they rot like anything, so one probably isn’t ideal for sitting outside (2CV gets the garage now!). But I love them. They’re tiny, with a 660cc three-cylinder, turbocharged engine, entertaining handling and a weird, many-format convertible roof.  They’re also incredibly cheeky. I like that in a car.

Cute, perky and not expensive. And the car’s not bad either. Arf Arf.

But there is the problem that I don’t like sports cars. I don’t actually enjoy sitting that low. Therefore, maybe it’s time to tick another must-have off the list. The Vauxhall Senator. It’s much bigger than a Cappuccino, with a mighty 3-litre, six-cylinder engine and the cheesiest grille ever fitted to a car. I love them though, since I first clapped eyes on one as a nipper. One reason I love Inspector Morse is not the clapped out, bottom-of-the-range Jag MkII he drives around in, but the Police Senators lurking in the background (earlier ones had Rover SD1s). It’s a perfect motorway Police car. It looks menacing and powerful. I hope I haven’t missed the boat as values seem to be rising.

Phwooaaaar! Senator gets this scribe’s vote

I have also considered a Reliant Robin. They’re huge fun, but the jokes would get tiring. They certainly did when I got a 2CV. I hate Only Fools and Horses, so it could get very annoying indeed.

I could be this cool. I want a Robin. Very much.

Otherwise, I’m really struggling. There’s the possibility of a Jaguar XJ40, but I’d rather fight the tide of inevitability which says that all classic car journos must own one at some point. It’s the same reason I refuse to have anything to do with Volkswagen Golfs. That and the fact that they are massively overrated. People seem blind to just how dull they are…

I dunno. I’m sure the right (or wrong) car will come along at the right (or wrong) moment and I’ll end up with something. I’m desperate to try and make it something vaguely sensible – I did well last year – but who knows. Knowing me, I’ll end up with a bright pink, Volvo hearse.


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