i hope you get cancer™

Friday, August 12, 2005

A car for less than a round of drinks

Regular readers will know that Hell Is Other People's car recently exploded. This is just the latest in a catalogue of misfortunes that are being detailed over at our sister blog The Laughing Academy, and so needn't detain us here. But I took delivery of my new motor this week, and I'm ready to spew the thoughts provoked by the transaction. I've always loved cars, ever since I was tiny. So with the advancing years, and material success, I was able to indulge my twisted desires to some extent. From the 10 year-old Ford Escort that I shared with a mate back in 1981, through a Beetle convertible in my mid-20s, various Golfs, estate cars etc., in recent years I enjoyed a Chrysler Voyager, an Audi A6 and a BMW 530d. When things started going tits up a few years ago the Beemer went, and was replaced by a lesser beast, an Alfa Romeo 156. Thought One: Alfa Romeo is in inverse relation to Skoda. That is to say, Skoda is overcoming a lousy image with some decent cars, while Alfa Romeo is pissing a way a precious image with shitty cars. Item: my Alfa had 42,000 miles on the clock, looked lovely, tan leather, blah blah. The tiptronic gearbox didn't work, the climate control AND the ventilation stopped working ABOVE a certain temperature, a minor shunt to the rear disabled the central llocking, it stalled in traffic, changed gear when it felt like it, and the engine blew up. Thought Two: If driving a car is like making love to a beautiful woman, then I have just left Claudia Cardinale (top) for Helga, my elderly German cleaning lady (bottom). On Tuesday, having been forced to sell the Alfa for scrap, I bought my new car. A 1990 VW Passat estate. For £360. And you know what? I love it. It goes (which the Alfa didn't). It changes gear when I want. It doesn't stall in traffic. The brakes don't squeak. The doors lock. The ventilation works. And I don't end every journey tense and fearful of the next failure. What's not to like? And, it costs peanuts to insure. As someone who has been painfully weaned off new, expensive cars that smell of leather seats, this is a revelation, a liberating experience. And if I get a year's motoring out of the VW, if it then deies, I just get another banger!