Saturday, 6 September 2014

Buying a new car

For quite a while I have been looking to buy a new car. My 1997 Mitsubishi drove well, but I did rarely use it after I got that Peugeot Expert camper van conversion. But the Peugeot Expert ("MrPercy") does have a few flaws which prompted my search for something different: the engine keeps to let out traces of oil through its breathers, and then the smell of burning hot oil surrounds you when the window is open. This flaw had almost been away during my summer travel to Europe; it seemed that the long-distance motorway driving helped to consolidate this somewhat. But after a few days of travel in urban traffic the smell was back. Also, the whole spatial arrangement of the van conversion amenities appeared to me very space-wasteful. It is difficult to travel in this Peugeot Expert with lots of luggage and still use it as a camper. So it is basically an either-or - either using it as a camper with only little luggage, or use it as a van with giving up staying overnight in it.

So I kept my eyes open for an alternative, which also could be used as a daily driver. I had decided that the Citroen Berlingo would be a good choice. Alternatively the Renault Kangoo or the Peugeot Partner. My main requirements were: air-conditioning, CD-player (some older vehicles still had cassette players, and the radio/cassette is integrated with the vehicle and difficult to change), sunroof (even though these Berlingo/Kangoo/Partner roofs are only fixed and cannot be opened. In spring 2014 there were several reasonable Berlingos on Autotrader, which conformed to my specifications, but I was not ready to buy yet. Then in summer, there were suddenly only fewer models with my specs, and so I kept widening my search and included Fiat Doblo.

And then, after returning from my summer trip, I saw the ad for that 2005 Fiat Doblo JTD. It had been converted for wheelchair use, and did have a ramp in the back. Fortunately the body had not been modified for this, and all original seats were still in it. This was the high-roof version, with an additional sunroof window in the front. Silver, reasonable price and specifications. 88k miles. It was a big far from home to travel there twice, for looking at it and then picking it up later in case I liked it. So I got £2000 in cash from my bank account and travelled on the earliest morning train to Luton.

I had spoken to the seller on the phone, but he was still surprised when I rang him at 9:00 and threw him out of bed. He came to the station with the car, I drove it to his home, and decided that I would take it. MOT was new; it just had to be taxed, then I could go.

So the first travel of this vehicle was the 3 hour long journey back home, mostly on motorway. The car drove fine, no problems at all.

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