I seem to have got it all wrong. The way my fleet works is that there’s my 2CV, then some cheap bangers that are knocking on the door of classic-dom. I have a high turnover of these vehicles and it isn’t just down to boredom. Really, the best way to avoid major expenditure is to buy a pretty good car, then sell it before anything major goes wrong.
This has enabled me to own some pretty dangerous bangers, such as a VM-engined Range Rover, a Citroen CX, a Rover 414 (with the K-Series engine) and several Citroen BXs. All are capable of going wrong in expensive ways, yet I’ve only caught the bullet once – with the latest BX.
The problem is, somewhere along the line I decided that the ultimate car for ‘every occasion’ use is a Citroen BX. I had a stripey estate, but that was too rotten and several bullets were threatening to strike. I sold it for £250 and the new owner is tackling the jobs as he can, while trying to revive a beige wedge Princess. The man has impressive ambition and good skills judging by progress so far!
I thought the perfect BX for me might be a Mk1 diesel estate. Sadly I could only find one, and it was far from brilliant. I got it back on the road, but bullets were almost falling from the sky with that one. I sold it to an enthusiast who knows how to weld. And repair broken engines…
Then I found a silver BX turbo diesel. It was a great car, but it did prove that the hatchback just wasn’t practical enough. I sold that when I should have kept it. It was a good banger. So much so that I did throw a decent chunk of cash at it repairing things like worn balljoints and knackered rear arm bearings.
So, I convinced myself that the perfect specification would be a turbo diesel estate. I found one pretty quickly. Surely this would be the perfect vehicle? Well, no. Not really. I think my problem is that the BX is moving out of ‘cheap banger’ and into ‘classic acceptance’ at quite a rate. People are starting to spend a LOT of money on their upkeep. That’s necessary or they just rust to bits or wear out. I’m trying to follow the crowd in treating the BX like more of a classic. But is that really compatible with both my income and what I actually need?
By taking the hit from (expensive) bullets, I’m going from bangernomics into the world of preservation. That’s fine, but combine preservation with daily use and things get expensive. I’m happy to take the hit with the 2CV because it’s a car I have a strong bond with. I can’t see me being without a 2CV any time soon and I’ve been investing in that one long enough to know the resale prospects don’t even come into it.
I’m not sure I want to do that with a BX. I’m trying to use what is fast becoming a classic vehicle as everyday transport and I’m not sure it’s going to work. I can try to keep the rust at bay, but it’s going to catch up with the car sooner or later. Sorting it out properly will costs hundreds if not thousands. Nor do I want to just simply run the BX into the ground. This is turning into quite a dilemma.
I think what I’d prefer to do is just keep on buying cheap old chod and then getting something else a few months later, though that has its own downsides – like the need to sell vehicles. I’m going to have to grin and bear it though. I simply MUST own a pre-facelift, Mk1 Land Rover Discovery. I’ve mentioned this craving before but it isn’t going to go away. I need to do it before there aren’t any left. I’m not saying I’ll keep it forever – that would be a silly thing to say – but this craving isn’t going to disappear until I buy one.
I will keep the BX for a bit, but I do need to try and rein in the expenditure or at least get some use out of it. I can’t get a Land Rover until other things go. Anyone want a Mercedes? The green 2CV is definitely going to have to go as well.