The car I didn’t buy


Looks pretty good here, right?

I’m in the market for a second car at the moment.  A classic Mini would be my preference, but that’s out of my price range at the moment, and after a lot of research I’m more or less settled on a Corsa 1.2 SXi.  I won’t bore you with the logic that’s led me to that particular choice.  Feel free to comment with your opinions anyway.

Anyway, today I went to see a Corsa that looked like it might be good, at a garage in Frome.  It turned out to be something of a disappointment.

According to their website they opened at 9am, so I rang at 9:15.  I’m pretty sure I woke the guy up.  He muttered various responses, some of which I had to ask him to repeat, but I eventually ascertained that the Corsa in question was still for sale, but wasn’t at his Frome branch because all his stock was in Radstock on Saturdays.  He gave me a postcode.

When I arrived at the postcode I found a garage, but with a completely different name, and no Corsa on the forecourt.  Confused, I gave the guy another call.  Apparently he was “round the back”.  Amid mounting concerns, I eventually found his ‘garage’ – a scruffy plot of untarmacked road with no signage and no office.  There were about 20 cars parked in the middle, right where the rain had collected in a large puddle, meaning that the majority of the cars were inaccessible.  The Corsa was right in the middle

Yep, that's the Corsa in the middle.

Yep, that’s the Corsa in the middle.

.  He apologised a bit and said that his wife was driving down with a pair of wellies.  So I waited for about 15 minutes in the cold and wind.  This had better be worth it.

It wasn’t.  Once the car had been extracted and driven to a dry part of the wasteland, I had a good look round.  This is a quick summary of what I found:

  • There was a hefty scratch, on the front wing, although it was plastic underneath so it wouldn’t rust.
  • The back of both wing mirrors were slightly scratched.
  • The trim along one side was falling off.
  • There was a nasty rusting scratch on the bootlid.
  • One of the rear light clusters was loose.
  • There was a nasty rusting scratch on the rear quarter above the window.
  • The alloy wheels were very scratched.
  • The strut for holding the bonnet up was missing its clip, so you just lay it down somewhere in the engine bay and hope it stays put.
  • The backs of the rear seats were scratched and rusting.
  • There was no spare wheel.
  • The passenger side electric window wouldn’t go all the way up without some manhandling.
  • The button that controlled the electric wing mirror position was missing.
  • Both buttons on the key fob were missing, revealing the circuit board underneath.
  • The top of the steering wheel was worn away.

In fairness, there were a few positives too:

  • The roof seemed to be complete.
  • The engine sounded in good condition.
  • The gearbox worked.

It may not surprise you to learn that I did not buy this particular car.  I’ll keep looking.

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