Saturday, April 21, 2007

My old bangers #3

Following the disappointment of the Bucket-mobile, I was determinded to not get ripped off and find a car that lasted this time. Since the financial write-off I had had some good news that I had landed a well paid job in Luxembourg so the bank was willing to lend me some money to buy a new car. This time I was not holding back and my budget was £1500-.

Since my last purchase a good friend's brother had set up a 2nd hand car business in Stockton so my first stop was to ask him some advice. Instead of advice I left an hour or so later with a car. My criteria was : cheap, reliable, MOT-passable, and will get me to Luxembourg in one piece.

I came away with a maroon Ford Sierra 1.6L with about 80,000 miles on the clock. I was reliably informed by the salesman that this car would more than likely go twice round the clock before it packed up. So the trip to Luxembourg should be no problem. It ended up doing the round trip about 5 times.

The car lasted me over 4 years with almost no major problems in the whole time. When it came to change to a newer model it was indeed almost approaching 200,000 miles.

The Goodbye Trip

We set off to Brockham in Surrey, where a friend was going to sell the car in the UK for me as it was not possible to sell in NL. I should have actually registered the car on arrival in Holland but it was too much of a plus point that I never had to pay a parking fine over the last 4 years.

The plan was to spend the evening in Ostend before driving down to Calais and on to Brockham.Unfortunately the car decided this last trip was going to be the one time it decided to be petulant. Approaching Ostend it broke down on the motorway. As I didn't have any breakdown cover at the time and was not too worried about the oil spray all over the engine we waited 30 mins and it started again and we made it to Ostend.

After sampling many Belgian Beers the next day we apprehensively made our way to Calais in Force 7 gales down the Belgian and French coasts. I don't think the constant spray of sand against the car helped it's present fragile state.

The crossing in the ferry was the worst I had ever experienced. The waves were coming over the top of the ferry and I feared the worst for the car taking this beating down below. Sure enough my worst fears were realised and the car gave up totally on the motorway out of Dover.

The car was taken by a tow truck company, who informed us there was a hole in the side of the engine and they then recovered us from the roadside. We made our way to Brockham by the tow truck driver, a bus, another bus, a train, another train and a taxi. A 12 hour journey that should have been about 4.

The next day I called the recovery company and was told the bill would be about £300-. I suggested they take the car instead and they promptly agreed. I hope they never received a huge bill from Luxembourg and Maastricht City councils for 4 years of unpaid parking tickets.

The next day we ceremoniously threw the car keys into Brockham beck. Surprsingly the car was never scrapped as I recently found out from a HPI check it has now had 6 owners.

Bought: 1994
Price: £1500-
Mileage: 80,000
Costs: minimal
Sold: £300
Max Speed: 115mph
Mileage obatined: 110,000
Overall rating: 8/10


Glynn said...

An emotional journey for a Ford Sierra. Was that the one that you ran without oil when you took me to Brussels that time?

Polarbear said...

yep, that was shortly before it's demise