So, finally, we enter the more recent chapter of my automotive autobiography. ("Thank God," They cry!)
With the urgent need for a car, I took a trip to my local auctions again. This time with a budget of some £300 I found myself coming home with a 1993 Ford Sierra Estate for a sultry £145. It was hardly extravagant, but it got me from A to B. After much hard work it was running like a new car, and was treated to some genuine Ford alloys. This was also because the new wheels with 4 good tyres were cheaper then 4 new tyres for the thing. The car lasted a lot longer then was to be expected, taking trips all over the UK. The biggest problems were getting ignition leads for it, the ones it needed were actually for a Ford Orion 1.6. The battery gave out, and left me stranded once in Gainsborough. It also twice overheated, exploding in a cloud of steam and nasty brown water. Apart from that it was a good runner, and for the first time I had a car to sell on.
An unexpected tax rebate left me with money to burn, and I got myself a car every man should have once in his life. Once again at the auction, I splurged and spent £550 on a Mercedes 260E. The car was wonderful to drive. Admittedly it needed a mortgage to do more then 100 miles, and it had been neglected by its previous owner. Such delights as not changing the fuel filter, leading to the fuel relay over working and blowing up. The death knell rang for it when the right bearing went on the front wheel, and being a Mercedes a new one would cost £330 for the part alone. I took it back to the auction some 3 weeks after I’d bought it, and a week later it sold for £350, albeit with a squeak that could be heard in another county. In the meantime I needed a runabout.
Resorting to cheap and cheerful, I got my hands on a Ford Scorpio. The car had a mileage measured in light years, but had the best interior a man has ever seen. It wouldn’t change beyond 3rd gear, and this was bad considering it was an automatic. In the end its fuel pump started to give way, and for the fortnight I’d had it it had become apparent it was a money pit. I decide to scrap the Ford, after keeping the interior. So, up turns the cheque from the auction, and I take it back to the auction
Working out my budget, I’m now becoming a dab hand at this auction business. In rolls a P reg (P REG!) Daewoo Nexia GLXi. The one based loosely on the Vauxhall Astra. It looks in incredibly good nick, the only gripe being the electric window on the driver’s door doesn’t work. I get the car home, and the following day I set about examining why the window motor was broken. Some bright spark had completely removed it, and taken a piece of finest pine from B&Q and propped the window open. I did research into the car only to find the reason why this had happened was because Daewoo have a zero tolerance on their wiring, meaning wires are constantly being pulled out of connectors. Another common fault was the Catalytic converter gets blocked. This also happened, and after failing to find one in any local scrap yards; “Yes mate, we’ve got a Daewoo Nexia. You want a Cat for it. Hahahahahahaha… Yes, he wants a cat for a Nexia, do you want to tell him?…” It had to go. I drove it into the ground.
About a week before I was going to scrap it, I got a phone call. “Are you interested in a Volvo 440 GLT?” I’d always said I’d never drive a Volvo again, but this was a chance I couldn’t turn down. I went to see the car. It was in good nick. A little old, but nothing I couldn’t cope with. He wanted £50. I offered him the (now very sick) Nexia, and he took a tenner off, saving me scrapping the car as well. So I got a Volvo 440 with MOT for £40. I still have it. I’m not sure, but I think the fuel pump is a little old, fading out at high revs. It’s done 25,000 miles since I’ve had it, which when you take into account what I paid is a truly remarkable amount for a banger.
I’ve just got my holy grail of cars, a Volvo 480, but I’m going to take my time restoring it. I’ll continue driving the 440, and when the car gives up or the 480 is ready I’ll move on. In the meantime, if I come and buy a car from you, be honest with me. I can spot a pup from a long way off now!
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