This is a long post so please bear with me. It details yesterday – a day of adventure, discovery and reckless blind purchasing!
I left home at 9:30 and headed to Telford. The day started badly when I miscalculated how long it takes to drive to Telford. I was aiming to be there for 11am, my sat nav just laughed and said “no chance!” I was determined to prove my sat nav wrong, as it can be a little too smug. However, traffic conditions on the A470, A489 and A483 conspired against me. I was in the Maestro van (I’ll get to why later) and enjoyed the overtaking grunt it, rather surprisingly, possesses. However, every time I got past a truck, there was another one. Or a tractor. Frustrating.
There were two reasons for going to Telford. One was to check out a Volvo 940 I’d spotted on Ebay. The second was to meet someone who’s assisted with a feature I’m writing. I was half an hour late for the Volvo visit, and apologised for such tardiness. However, the car wouldn’t start. That was the end of that. I headed off for my other appointment, which ended up including a short spell of greenlaning.
After that, my plan was to go and check out a Rover 600 diesel I’d also spotted on Ebay. I’ve never owned a 600 before and it really must happen at some point. Perhaps this was my chance. It was a marvellous opportunity. The Maestro van buyer, who’d already paid a deposit, agreed to meet me at Birmingham International station. If the Rover was alright, I’d ask the buyer to give me a lift to Coventry or get a train. Then I’d drive home in the Rover. Sorted!
It was an ambitious plan. Perhaps too ambitious. I didn’t want to believe my sat nav when it directed me to a particularly dishevelled looking car sales yard. I couldn’t see another one though. I bravely wandered in. The car was in their overflow yard. One of the chaps jumped into my van with jump leads and we proceeded up the road. The car had clearly been sitting for a while, which was odd as the Ebay ad said it had an MOT from June. The jump leads were knackered and eventually we gave up. Even a Mitsubishi Shogun failed to provide enough juice through the frayed leads. So, back in the van, grab a jump pack and finally, the thing ran.
I drove it around the yard and found it was ticking a lot of boxes. Then we drove back to the main sales plot – the chap driving my van. The Rover had a wheel wobble but seemed ok really. The airbag light flashed occasionally and I reckoned the nearside rear arch would need some welding before too long, but not bad. That’s when we discovered it didn’t actually have an MOT. I was a bit annoyed by this stage. When the bloke said “I’ll put a fresh MOT on it but won’t take a penny less than £500,” I considered the entire lack of any service history, the 181,000 miles, the engine bay piping held together with cable ties and decided to go for a drive.
I drove aimlessly in search of tea and wi-fi until I remembered my friend Charles lives in Balsall Common. He duly took a break from tinkering with Citroens to provide the required essentials and we sat down together and browsed Ebay. A 200,000 mile BMW 316 coupe (E36) was very local and only £400. Sadly viewing wasn’t possible.
I’d tried messaging a chap selling an ex-Banger rally Rover 416 with no joy via Ebay. Then a friend tagged me in a post on the AROnline Facebook page, where said car was being advertised. Communications ensued but by now I had to meet the van buyer. Off to Birmingham International I drove with a deal still not done.
The van buyer was delayed. This was very helpful! I sat in the van and phone conversations were held. “Hello. Can I buy your Rover? I’ve just sold my van and need to get home to mid-Wales!” The man from Stourbridge, he say yes!
I now had a frantic search for train details on my BlackBerry. I’d just about concluded such investigations when the van buyer arrived in a friend’s Mk2 Golf. Birmingham International has never looked so cool.
There then ensued a bit of a panic as the rear doors refused to close. Frantic tool-less tinkering then followed with no success. In the end, the Golf provided a bit of string and the rear doors were tied shut. Quality! With paperwork completed and cash in my pocket, I rushed off to catch a train.
That’s the selling and failed-buy capers, stay tuned for what happened next!