Over the years, like I suspect most of you, I have owned quite a number of cars. Some I have loved, some I have hated, some I have been indifferent about.
Ford Escort Mk 1
My first car after passing my driving test. It was a 1300 Sport (2 door) in white. It was a decent car, but in those days (early 1970s) cars were pretty basic. Manual windows. The wing mirrors were just that, on the wings, not on the doors as now. No heated rear window, I fitted a stick on one. A previous owner had fitted a medium/long wave radio as only the top of the range models came with one and the radio electrics were a real bodge which I had to sort out. Only after I sort out the electrics did I realise that the radio aerial was electric and went up and down when the radio was turned on and off. Prior to that, it was permanently up! The windscreen washers worked from a pump in foot-well and were rubbish. I remember the car fondly but on reflection probably because it was my first car. However, I vowed never to have another white car as I was forever having to wash it.
Ford Escort Mk 2
An improvement on the Mk1 and it was my first 4 door car and came with metallic paint (this one was blue). Whoever owned it before me had ordered a fitted radio, still only medium/long wave, but this one had push-button presets and an electric aerial that worked. For some reason, despite this model coming with door-mounted mirrors it also had wing mirrors. It also had a fitted heated rear window and an electric pump on the windscreen washers. Mind the washers were useless are the nozzles clogged up regularly.
Decent car, I never had a serious mechanical problem in the whole time I owned it.
Ford Escort Mk 3
I went to trade in my Mk 2 and had found a nice newer model car at a local main dealer. It was two years old, low mileage, in good nick and priced right according to Parker’s Guide. The salesman asked me if I had seen the new Mk 3 in the showroom, we were on the outside lot. I had to admit I hadn’t even considered a new car as it was out of my price range and the Mark 3 had only been launched a couple of weeks before. Anyway, to cut a long story short I got a mid-range Mk3 for £100 more than the second-hand Mk 2. It was metallic gold. Ford UK’s first transverse engine, front-wheel drive car and a hatchback. electric front windows (manual rear), heated rear window. Radio cassette player. Washer jets were still a pain. A week after picking it up it broke down. A plug fell out of the carb. It was sorted quickly by the dealer and a month later was subject to a recall to replace the carb as I wasn’t the only one to suffer this fault. A nice car.
Vauxhall Cavalier (x2)
I actually went to buy a Corsa but found that due to various deals and haggling I could get a special edition (blue again) Cavalier for less. Nice car. Also a hatchback but with several fitted extra liked it so much that when it came time to swap it I bought a second one. Mind it might have had a bit to do with the credit card that I had at the time that gave me money off Vauxhall cars for every pound I spent on it. If I remember it rightly, I got over £4,000 off the negotiated price from that card. The dealer I got that first Cavalier from was a bit tight, when I went to collect it as they brought it around from the back of the garage it ran out off fuel! The salesman when off and came back with a metal jug and poured in about 2 pints of petrol. It was just about enough to get me to a filling station. I only ever used that dealership for free things after that, first service was in the price and getting comparative quotes. Whenever I buy now I insist it includes a full tank of fuel.
When I came to get another car the Cavalier had morphed into the Vectra. Not my favourite car but not my worst. It was pretty much a re-badged Cavalier with a few of the top of the range Cavalier bit drifting down to the more basic levels.
I was made redundant, but got a new job almost immediately but I was travelling a bit further so I did some calculations and decided a diesel would be a good bet. I got a decent deal and blew some of my redundancy money on a new Carlton. As a car, it was roomy, comfortable and cheaper to run than the Vectra it replaced. At first, it performed well but at about 18 months old it suddenly decided to go into limp home mode. The dealer couldn’t find any fault. A month later it did it again on the way to work. The independent garage over the road from the office had a look put it on his electronic diagnostics and told me that the part that was failing intermittently would cost £4,500 to replace! Next time it cut out I went back to the main dealer I had bought it from and insisted they put it through their electronic diagnostics. They wanted £5,000 to fix it! I had a long discussion with them and Vauxhall who eventually said as it was out of warranty they could make a £2,000 contribution to the repair.
Rather than get the Carlton repaired I decided to trade it in, and hope I got through the purchaser’s test drive without it going into limp mode. I fancied a Rover 620 but to get what I wanted meant going to the top of the range and putting extras on it. A friend suggested I look at the Honda Accord. Built on the same chassis as the 620, with much of the same electrics and engines but with a different style body it initially looked more expensive. But when I looked harder the cheapest model was almost what I wanted, I could upgrade it with a couple of extras or go up a level and get a lot more. Both options were cheaper than the 620. I loved that Accord, definitely the best car I ever owned. It was comfortable, smooth, drove like a dream, never put a foot wrong and held its price well.
Vauxhall Corsa (x2)
When the time came to swap my Accord I had moved to a job nearer home and was doing a lot less mileage so I wanted a smaller car. I looked around and decided on a Corsa, but from a different dealer. Even if the one I got the Carlton from in Worthing hadn’t now closed I wouldn’t have gone there on principal. I wanted a top of the range model and had a good haggle with the salesman, got a decent discount, but the final price depended on the trade-in. I knew my car was in A1 condition and I was asking for the very top of the Parker’s Guide price but the salesman was reluctant. However we went on a test drive, he raved about the car and wanted me to trade it in as he wanted to buy it for his wife! That Corsa was quite a good car I liked it and bought another so it must have been OK!
Peugeot 208 (No 1)
My next car was a Peugeot 208, I was thinking of another Corsa, but the range was in need of an update and there didn’t appear to be one on the horizon. The 208 had recently been updated and offered a number of desirable bits and pieces, like a reversing camera and a digital radio. I suspect the local Peugeot dealer had a budget to convert customers of other brands to Peugeot because I got a good price. Interestingly this dealer played around with the agreed numbers so that the discount, trade-in and extras all changed but the agreed final price remained the same. For a three-cylinder engined car, it worked very well and I was pleased with it.
Peugeot 208 (No 2)
I decided to stick with the 208 for my next car. This time my local Peugeot dealer offered me an awful deal. The trade-in was pathetic and he bluntly refused to do a deal on a new car. I had already done a bit of preparation and knew what my existing car was worth and three other Peugeot dealers had offered me between 10 and 12% discount but these were all over the south of England. I pointed this out to the salesman who went off to talk to his manager. When he came back the deal was the same but he would throw in a set of carpet mats! I said if he couldn’t do better than that I was walking, he said he didn’t believe me so I walked. I found a suitable 208 on an on-line dealership at a 20% discount and sold my existing car to “webuyanycar.com” for more than the offered trade-in. I have not set foot in that dealership since.
Citroen C3 (x2)
The C3 is much like the 208. It is built on the same basic model as the 208 was (before its recent move to a new model) and has the same 3 cylinder engines. The car is a little quirky in appearance and may not appeal to everyone. My first C3 was red with a black roof and trim. It came with all mod cons, digital radio with AirPlay, Bluetooth phone connection, proper air conditioning, automatic braking (proximity sensors), built-in traffic camera, air bumps, you name it, it had it. Apart from that, it was economic and comfortable. When the time came to replace it I was so happy with my C3 and Citroen’s service that I went back to the same dealer. This time I got another really good deal with both an excellent trade-in price and discount. This is my current car and is a slightly upgraded model to my previous C3 and has one or two extra electronic bits and bobs over the previous model. It now has folding door mirrors when the ignition is turned off, upgraded AirPlay, automatic dipping headlights and even a panoramic glass roof. This car is orange and black and most distinctive, so much so that the 15-year-old over the road told me he loved my “cool car”.
Where will I go next? Well, that depends on just what is available at the time I am looking and the state of my finances. Things that it must have as a minimum, reversing camera, digital radio with AirPlay, Bluetooth for my iPhone so it can be used as a satnav, proper air conditioning, electric heated mirrors, automatic braking and a traffic camera. One thing I don’t think it will be is electric.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file