A lot of people have a mini crisis when they hit 30. “Youth has finished” or “I haven’t done as much as I should have by this point in my life”. I’m a petrolhead. I’m having a far different crisis.
I haven’t owned all the cars I wanted to.
My problem here is I have got a fair few marquees under my belt. But in doing so, I have revisited things when I maybe should have moved on to other pastures. I don’t feel bad about this, for example the AW11’s I have owned have netted me a great deal of experience, and as such my current MR is in prime fettle, and has been modified perfectly (in my mind).
Other examples have left a nostalgic residue. This is perhaps less constructive. My first E30 was so basic, a white 316 more-door, that I loved it to bits. It was a rust free steal at 80 quid with a full MOT, but my neglect caused it to snap a timing belt. I felt that there was more to be had from this marquee, so I revisited it with a red 318 touring. That was not such a smart buy. I should have left it well alone.
So as pass my first decade of motoring, I feel the need to rethink my strategy. I have owned a marquee from all corners of the globe. Every country that produces a car has been tried. Some I have learned from and I stay clear, others I haven’t learned a lesson from.
Take Fiat. My first foray into the Italian stable was with a Cinquecento (no snickering up there), and although it got me back on the road after a license loss, it was a pain in the arse.
The wee 900cc was not up to the rigeurs of commuting 100 miles a day perhaps, but it soon died. That coupled with the rumours and scaremongering that Italian cars have caused me to bodyswerve them for near on a decade. It was only the need for a newer and more reliable backup car that saw me purchase a yellow 500. Touch wood, its been reliable so far!
I think the 500 has made me re-evaluate a lot of things. Have I been biased for the wrong reasons? Has it been my constant bangernomics that have led me to poor cars rather than the cars themselves? Have I not gave less common marquees a fair shot? It is a question that I will soon need to answer, as I find myself on the edge of another purchase. The logic goes like this:
500: This is a reliable backup car, but also predominantly the good lady’s machine. If both of us need a car at once, I have to fall back on to….
AW11: Perfect little sports car, economic, reliable, but not practical. Plus its increasing classic status means I’d like to take the strain off it mileage-wise to protect my investment.
Camaro: This is a proper project, and is at best halfway through a restoration. In fairness, it should be viewed at present as a hobby more than a car.
So that leaves the 500 and the MR2 in regular duty. I’m soon to be taking a move up north, and a practical car could be useful for this. As such I have started to ponder what I could get on a budget of about 1k.
At first I pondered the Swedes. I had a Volvo 740 turbo many moons ago.
Fantastic load lugger, good torque, took all the abuse I threw at it. Tremendous value but I have to strike it off for a number of reasons…
- I’ve had one. This needs to be an exercise in originality. Experiencing new things.
- Its RWD. Normally this is a big plus for me, but as I am moving to somewhere that is a bit more rural than before, I need something with a bit more versatility should the weather get nasty. 4WD has now become a big box needing ticked.
This places some other as-yet uncharted marquees in my criteria. First off, the Subaru:
No, not that. I have neither the budget to ensure that I will get a decent one, nor the inclination to own what everyone in Aberdeen uses. This is despite me loving that addictive noise and character. Make no mistake, the Impreza has been on my to-do list for many years. No, for now if I venture near the starry badge, it will be for one of these:
Crazy good value, more practical, less yobbo, but I have heard they are sore on the juice. To be honest, a practical 4WD is never going to be economical, but I figure if im going to be stung for petrol, I might as well have the torque to justify it. Therefor, the left field choice is……….
The Jeep Cherokee. Proper load lugger, Volvo looks, great torque, and not all that common. Will get me out of most sticky wickets weather-wise, and most if not all of the old ones are sub 1k.