Ha. Well. Sold the GTE rag top when the novelty wore off pretty quick. Missed the air con, quietness and rust free-ness of the Saab, but not the fuel economy. Wanted something modern, with air con. Nippy, but not thirsty, usuable every day with the usual Vauxhall traits of reliability, cheapness to run, service and buy parts for etc.
So, what with me being Astra Dan, there was only one choice, a Mk4 Astra. Specifically the 2.0 SRI. A 2.2 was considered until after a few searches on Auto Trader and eBay turned up just as many dead timing chain related ones as runners, so I chose to stick with the tried and tested X20XEV. I had about 2k to spend, the strict critera was air con and under 100k mileage (for once!).
Not an awful lot about. First one we looked at was a two hour drive away and was frankly a bit dissapointing. OK it hadn't been valeted yet, but it was on the verge of scruffy. Some patchy paint work (it was black), laquer lifting on the spoiler, passenger seat broken, 96k miles.
Left that one. There was a red 2.2 in a garage literally down the road from me. A little more pricey, but only 55k miles. Engine seemed fine, A/C worked, but it was a little scruffy, too. Crease in driver's door, spoiler had faded, bumper dislodged, crap tyres, knackered brakes.
Left that one again. Then on Auto Trader there was a stunning dark blue 2.0 with 64k miles, Irmscher kit, trip computer and cruise. Again, a little pricey, but with those options and that mileage I was prepared to pay a little more. It was about 60 miles away, so took a while before I had the time to get there in opening times. First impressions were good. The car shone like new. Dealer was polite and knowledgeable, until I opened the driver's door. There was a new bonnet cable on the seat. "Oh yeah, I've not had that fitted yet, they always go on Astras.". Confused, I opened the bonnet and pointed to the clamp on the bonnet cable. "Why don't you loosen that bolt and take the slack up, then do the bolt back up?"
He looked a little sheepish and mumbled a bit. Things got worse. Broken o/s fog, n/s of front bumper had obviously hit something and broken and fallen off. One wing mirror had almost totally faded. Rear o/s arch had filler in it. A pretty good job, but a tiny bit of paint that hadn't been flatted off gave it away. The trip computer's display was a bit corrupted. Four holes in the dash from stupid phone kit. CDR500 in SAFE mode. Most annoyong was, dispite the low mileage, the driver's seat was totally worn through on the bolster, one the things that gets me the most. I totally fail to understand how that happens. Well, I know why, because people just don't think or care.
So left that one. I was getting a little disheartened by now, despite only having seen 3 cars. But so many were either very badly modified, had things wrong with them, or had really high miles so weren't even worth looking at.
Then this one appeared in my almost daily Auto Trader search. Sharon phoned the dealer up, checked the car was still there and that they were open on a Sunday. They were. Little village called Melmsbury, near Castle Combe off the M4, 104 miles. Black, one owner, FSH, 86k, totally standard.
The weather was good, and I had a good feeling. So did Sharon. We found it in the car park outside the dealership, so cold have a good poke about before disturbing the dealer from his flower arranging. We couldn't fault it. Paint was all good, drivers seat in perfect condition. With high sprits we went and spoke to the dealer, a very nice chap. He opened it and went off again to let us poke about some more. And we did. The back seats looked like they'd never been sat in, fronts looked as perfect as I first thought. Boot looked like it's not even seen heavy shopping. Tyres matched pairs, exhaust good, brakes newish looking. Engine grubby, which I like unless I'm the one doing the cleaning. Last service stamp was 3k miles ago in October. Had the car pass, too. On the road the car was faultless. Quiet, smooth. A/C worked which was nice as the dash said it was 22 degrees outside.
The dealer said he'd not take offers, so I duly gave him the asking price, quite happily. 3 months warranty too! Never had that before. Tempcover.com to the rescue again, and the drive home was superb. So quiet and easy to drive.
Here it is:
Future plans may be a total rip off of Steve Flatley's old one. Which means Irmscher kit and Omega MV6 wheels. Maybe 308s too.
Lets see if this makes it past 6 months!