Dark days of despair

I fear I may have wiped myself out somewhat over the past few weeks. Work has been very busy, the community bus driving thing I’m involved with has been very busy. Then I was ill, which did little to help matters. Then cars started breaking. The 2CV was discovered to be quite rotten. The new BX sprung a hydraulic leak. The Mercedes is still pretty rubbish. This was all just after I sold a perfectly working BX. I’m starting to think that this was a bad decision.

This brought on a very mild spell of depression. The problem is, when I get depressed, I get on Ebay. You can’t beat a dose of retail therapy. It’s a shame that retail therapy for me involves buying big, expensive things. I know some women would happily spend what I spend on one car on a ‘nice’ pair of shoes, but I can’t play that card. Sure, my wife recently did spend several hundred pounds on a pair of shoes, but they’re destined for a long life and can even be returned for repairs during their lifetime. Sensible shoes.

And ‘sensible’ was the word that sprung to mind as I headed to Ebay recently. Fed up with knackered, old, worn-out cars, (the Merc has covered least miles at just 174,000) I thought I might buy something more modern. Something with lower mileage and boring enough to work most of the time.

This is how I found myself weighing up the pros and cons of Ford Focuseseses, Citroen Berlingos and even Toyota Avensiseseses. Mainly, I learnt that making plurals of some modern cars is a pain in the arse. Clearly, I was in a highly dangerous mental state if I was seriously contemplating Toyota Avensis ownership. £449 didn’t seem a lot for a low mileage, clean example though. Very sensible indeed.

I wanted a Focus, but I think I’m ok now…

And it certainly makes sense to get something newer. My classic insurance policy is great for anything 20 years old or older. It doesn’t seem to matter what it is, it can go on that policy and it costs me about £200 a year. For several cars. Brilliant. But there is no No Claims Discount. I have 9 years, accrued on other stuff, that I could use on a modern car. In fact, insuring a Ford Focus diesel would cost me only £166 a year apparently. It would also allow me to drive other vehicles third party…

All very sensible stuff. But is it a good idea? I’ve been trying to make the case for some time that the Citroen BX is the ultimate practical classic. Economical, capacious, comfortable, swift yet also interesting. It manages to be many things that many cars can’t be. But the one I have now is frankly a bit worn out. Not surprising after 306,000 miles you might say. The engine is tired, the gearbox is tired and it seems some suspension pipes are tired. I think I’ve stopped that leak now but it still loses quite a lot of engine oil. The turbo sounds dreadful and it smokes like a tyre fire. Contrary to earlier opinions by this author, it isn’t a brilliant car. Once I get it sorted out, I’m sure it will be, but it’s not there yet.

Frankly though, perhaps the most sensible thing I could do would be to buy back the silver BX. It is on the market again as the new owner has realised that it isn’t a Porsche 924. This is accidental vehicle purchasing that I thoroughly approve of, seeing as how at one stage, the car that eventually became a Mercedes-Benz 300E was actually meant to be a Suzuki Cappuccino…

It is true though that sometimes I do want a car that isn’t exciting. Sometimes you really do just want to hop in a car and go somewhere. The silver BX was that car. I went all over the place in it. If I needed to nip out, I’d invariably use it as it doesn’t leak water into my shoes if it rains, always starts (apart from when the new owner found one day that the ignition barrel had seized…) and was still jolly to drive. Why did I sell it? Sometimes I am very stupid.

2 thoughts on “Dark days of despair

  1. If you can break the 20 year rule, you can always take on the 1994 Rover 220SLi. Good running order most of the features of a modern car for just £100. 33mpg local 36mpg on a run, MOT’d 4th November, tax end of July at cash in value. Remember it is a bit tatty and does have a cracked windscreen. Chris

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