Life as a final year student is not easy, living day by day on pot noodles and coffee dust around my squat in a part of Manchester, which beats to the sound of the police siren. The main lessons university has taught me over my 3 years here have been how to fool a smoke detector with a plastic bag and also what it’s like to be the lowest on the food chain, all money coming from handouts and going straight to greedy landlords. Money doesn’t stretch too far, especially with necessities like Fosters costing so much in a city. Somehow though through frugal-ish living and begging I managed to scrape enough cash together to get out of my overdraft that I’ve been stuck in for 2 years. Everything’s sorted, I’m on the home straight: just a few pieces of coursework and a handful of exams, then I can say goodbye to this horrible mess that is student living. A pleasant thought to help me get to sleep in my sleeping bag and under the duvet. Well that’s what I thought anyway, but looking at my insurance documents on my last policy by chance I realized it’s almost been a whole year of not being the main driver on an insurance policy. In two months time, to the eyes of many insurers, I will have to wave my two years no claims goodbye, putting a spanner in the works for leaving uni in a car that’s worth driving (to me). My local supermarket
In a panic I did what I always do, run to eBay and look for a solution. I realized I’d not been out in a while and my family were very generous over Christmas meaning that I could realistically (according to my rudimentary man maths) afford a grand car and be able to pay out of the draft using future loan surplus and birthday money (worrying about tax and insurance later). For a grand there’s a very good choice of dull but dependable euro hatches and slightly older, but even more dependable Jap boxes. Frugal enough to even contemplate the odd Asda trips, and allow the plastic bag cuts on my hands time to heal. Honda logo – Almost interesting?
Yet again everything seems to be sorted, but the internet is never a friendly battlefield and the mind is even worse. Could I really live with a Cuore, Logo or Cordoba in my life? A man who was pretty much born into a Little Tikes car and didn’t leave it till comprehensive. After all the years of apex chasing on Gran Turismo 2 to be seriously contemplating a Daewoo? Its blasphemy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a badge snob or anything, I just like my cars interesting. I mean, I’d be happier rolling about in a Reliant Robin than a new Fiesta, cars that make sense just leave me cold. You sure can’t!
Ebay has a great function where you can check market trends and get a feel for how much everything’s really wort , no more of these dreamers’ “pristine” Maestro’s being put on Car and Classic for 3 grand! You can also be green with envy at the absolute steals people have found as well. Knowing this, I sat down for a good afternoon doing what I love to do most while procrastinating, setting a budget and scrolling through the classic cars category on old fleabay. When scrolling through at the lower budgets, two things become apparent: no one can spell spares and repairs to save their lives (“spears”?) and the amount of ‘pristine’ car ads that end with “will need a trailer”. But, if you sift through the crap, there is a lot you can buy for a grand! Plenty of really good Triumph Acclaims, Peugeot 205’s (not GTI), Saab 900’s, Ford Pumas, Mx5’s and Mk2 Mr2’s are out there with money to spare. It all gets really exciting and every one of those cars has investment potential for the future. Kitsch cool?
All of the cars I see, if viewed carefully, could arguably make sense from a running point of view, nothing ridiculous in costs. But the problem with Ebay is it doesn’t discriminate, and it’s not long until you see the real bargain basement classics come out to play- the Luxo Barges. There is a real strange appeal to a car that is extremely thirsty, wasteful and with the potential to go bang in a horrendous and spectacular way. You’re drawn to what you shouldn’t have, luckily for me being young there is an advantage to greedy insurance companies, I’m priced out of such dreams. Well, that’s what I thought but some harmless dreaming dragged me to my Go-compare account and for a bit of a laugh I thought I would see how far I could push the prices. Well, to my horror, it did not go as planned at all as shown below… Yes, for a whole 130 good English pounds cheaper than a miniscule Twingo and a whole 260 less than an Mx5 I could be bombing around in a Jaaaaag, being the unelected king of Rusholme. I went further looking at e34’s and ls400’s and the news was all the same, and in the case of the V8 Lexus even cheaper. I put it down to the ‘clever’ computers finding no one my age in a hedge in such motors (probably due to them not being able to afford the fuel to reach the hedge in the first place). It’s been a tough realization, religiously reading the pro’s and cons of Lpg (no one on the blogs seems to agree) and looking at the value of the ruble on a daily basis to work out if the £1 Litre is here to stay (08/02/2015). It’s hard to be excited by 205’s anymore knowing that I could be very miserable trying to keep a grand Jag on the road. The grand Jag has been around since the days of Ramses and also there are too many about to ever be thought about reaching the heights the mk1 Mx5 will inevitably reach one day. It may be a silly dream, but it’s a powerful one- the image in my head of me arriving at Asda in my XJ with the Sex Pistols blaring out is too hard to get out of my head. Who needs to know it took me 3 weeks to afford to get there anyway? Get ready HSBC overdraft, I’m coming home!