The most expensive car I’ve ever owned

I once bought a brand new Daewoo Matiz. This was a silly thing to do. IIRC, it was about £6500, though naturally finance was used to seal the deal. I traded in my first Citroen BX for all of £560. I was young and foolish. But not as foolish as I was about to become.

You see, after doubling my pay with a job change, I got a bit carried away. The Matiz, at only 18 months old, found itself being traded in for a Subaru Impreza Sport. I think that was £6000. I got £3300 for the Matiz if I remember rightly. Two days later, I stuffed the Subaru into a tree after a particularly exciting lift-off oversteer moment, that saw us at one stage skidding sidewards on the wrong side of the road. On two wheels. I don’t recommend every experiencing this for yourself.

The Subaru was bodged back into something approaching straightness, where I promptly traded it in for a Peugeot 306DTurbo. That cost £6495 and I got something like £3100 for the Subaru. Yet another finance deal saw all the previous finance get included and my new £6495 car had a figure of over £10,000 hanging over it once I made the mistake of working out all the finance costs. Bloody hell.

Thankfully, it was a lovely car, and I didn’t stuff it into any trees.

A very expensive car. And an MG TC

A very expensive car. And an MG TC

‘Satine’ was a 1997 Peugeot 306 DTurbo 3-door in silver. I still rate the 306 as the last attractive car Peugeot ever made. It possessed lovely, clean lines that were replaced by the bloated hideousness of the 307. Satine had the 1905cc XUD turbo diesel engine, producing 90bhp. It was almost a sensible purchase. Surprisingly cheap insurance, good fuel economy and good reliability in no way made up for the crushing financial woe though. Fortunately, while I owned it, I met a very sensible young lady who would one day become my wife. Almost as importantly, she pointed out what a fool I was to give in to the world of finance. The debt was consolidated, and eventually paid off (thanks to yet further income rises as I ploughed the rich furrow that is the world of Information Technology – I’m not sure how. I didn’t know anything about IT). I have never used debt to purchase another car. Which, as I’m now a penniless writer, means you now have a reason for me always driving around in crap cars. Yes, they may be dreadful, but no bankers are getting rich because of me, and this gives me a very happy feeling.

Satine survived a good couple of years in my ownership. The mileage went from 46,000 at the point of purchase, to over 90,000 by the time she moved on. I can’t remember what I sold her for, but needless to say it was a good chunk less than £6495.

Sexy rear

Sexy rear

The best thing about this money pit was the ride-handling compromise. Really, there wasn’t one. It was great fun to drive on twisty roads, yet was also composed and comfortable. Yes, you had to think a bit to keep the engine on boost, but it was properly swift but didn’t punish at the pumps. I even liked the alloy wheels, and I usually hate alloy wheels. Deep seat bolsters kept me pinned in my seat, even with heroic levels of hooning. I don’t remember a moment’s discomfort.

It wasn’t all good though – the clutch was always too heavy and the windscreen wipers annoyed me (that ‘triangle at the top of the screen’ issue). Then the central locking started playing up and it would randomly unlock itself.

On the plus side, I still fondly remember when Rachel had her first drive of it. It was the first turbocharged car she’d ever driven, and possibly the last. I did chuckle when it first kicked in and we were propelled along a little more swiftly than expected.

I sold Satine back in 2004, which it appears is a good ten years ago. Sadly, she seems to have left this world in July 2011. Even more sadly, Peugeots since then have just got worse and worse, and the British factory in which she was produced has been flattened. None of that is quite as sad as the state of my finances at the time though. I imagine my automotive exploits back then paid a good few bankers’ bonuses.

So, heed my message. Avoid the world of finance. It tricks you into thinking you’re getting cheap motoring, but you’re really not.

2 thoughts on “The most expensive car I’ve ever owned

  1. Ian,
    Largely, I’m against finance, at least I always was. However, I’m sure you remember my white TR6. Bought via a reasonable rate graduate loan of £5k, topped up with what if managed to hold onto during my first year of getting paid to write for a living. No way would I have been able to save up that amount if money.
    Despite having to sell the car due to a change in circumstances, I’d have to say that the decision to buy my (dream) car was the best one I ever made. During three wonderful years of ownership, I quite literally lived the dream, and went further than I ever imagined. Then being able to make the surprisingly mature decision to let the ‘6 go due to concerns that I didn’t have the wherewithal to keep it in the condition it deserved was an unexpected one, but maybe a sign if my unanticipated maturity in the intervening years.
    Long story short, I’d never advocate rooting yourself in debt, but at the same time, borrowing at a level I could comfortably cover opened me up to pleasures I could only dream of previously. I lusted after a TR6 before I hit 25, and I made it with a year to spare, nobody will ever take that away from me.

    • I must concede to a little envy when you turned up with the TR6. It did seem a very good buy. However, my wife would have argued that it would take less time to save five grand than it would to pay back – and saving doesn’t cost you anything. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at saving up!

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