Emotional Rescue

Old car

Temptation comes in many forms, and for me it’s currently rotting in neigbour’s front garden.

I have a weakness for rescuing cars, and am strangely drawn to a 1994 Mazda MX-5 which said neigbour bought four years ago and hasn’t used since. The tyres are flat, the brake discs rusted, but despite a light covering of greenish mould the body looks good. Even the sills by the rear arches haven’t gone rotten. It’s probably a money pit, and I must resist, if nothing else for the sake of my marriage.

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I’ve given in before. About a decade ago I ran a Saab 900, went to the local car breakers for an interior light fitting and came back with a Renault 4 van. My wife was not impressed. It was red, had a blowing exhaust and a dented rear door. Scrap metal prices had gone through the floor and car breakers were charging to take vehicles. “I’m not spending £50 to get rid of it,” I heard the owner harrumph, and found myself offering to take it off his hands for nothing. I fitted a piece of exhaust and straightened the rear door with a couple of bits of wood and a G clamp, got it through the MOT and thoroughly enjoyed bouncing around in it. My wife did not. “It’s like a biscuit tin on wheels,” she said.

I sold it to a friend who used it to move house, then he sold it to a man who restored it as a present for his daughter. Hopefully it still survives, and if it does it’s now a collector’s item and worth real money, so I have no regrets.

A trip to the same breakers resulted in my returning home with a heroically ugly Nissan Cedric. This was an ungainly, very square early 1980s big saloon with a rather lovely 3.0 V6 engine, and a wonderfully tacky interior, like a scaled down American car. It had big, grey velour seats with buttons, plastic wood on the dashboard and a little bell that chimed to remind you about putting on your seatbelt. The steering was both very dead and very light, so it could be steered with two fingers. It was one of the most relaxing cars I’ve ever owned, but my wife hated it too.

“It’s too big and I don’t like automatics,” she said. I didn’t like the fuel bills, but was still sad to see it go. Now, a Mazda MX-5 would be much more economical….




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