To most people, buying and selling cars is a straightforward and rational procedure. A decision to buy or sell is probably driven by either a change in lifestyle, financial loss or gain or the simple fact that the current car is broken. When buying a car, a shortlist is drawn up, a means of payment is agreed and the car is bought. Simple. As long as the car is reliable and does everything is expected to do, then no more is thought of it. The whole process is completed with about the same level of emotion as you’d expect when buying a sofa or a new fridge freezer.
But for petrolheads, the scenario is completely different. Buying or selling a car becomes an event – something to look forward to and something to cherish. It is said that men think about sex every seven seconds, but when it comes to petrolheads I happen to know that this is bunkum. There’s simply no time for such thoughts when virtually every spare minute is spent fantasising about cars. And when a petrolhead is not fantasising about cars he, (or for the purposes of balance, she), is checking out the for sale ads on Auto Trader, eBay or Car & Classic. There’s a schoolboy mentality to it, like checking out naughty mags behind the bike sheds. A petrolhead could easily while away a couple of hours simply perusing the classifieds. It has even migrated on to the social networks, with the simple act of a linking to a for sale ad resulting in replies of “phwoar”, “oh yes” and “sweet”. It isn’t normal, but it is good to know that there are similar people out there.
But the act of casual perusal sometimes transcends into a genuine requirement. I stumbled across this very same scenario this weekend, but it didn’t go exactly according to plan. Let me explain.
There are three cars in the household. The Audi urS6 is my commuting toy. It does the daily grind to and from the office and is also used for long trips. It has a very large boot, seven seats and a delightful 2.2 litre 5-cylinder engine. I love it. Then there’s the Land Rover 110. It is as close to a people carrier as I’ll ever get, with 12 seats, bags of charm and an ability to soak up pretty much everything we throw at it. I love it. Finally there’s the little Citroen AX GT. The ‘classic’ 80s hatchback that comes out for weekend and evening blasts. Again, I love it.
But things aren’t well on the PetrolBlog fleet. The Audi is fast becoming a ridiculous choice of commuter vehicle. First there’s the small factor of thirst – it struggles to deliver 20 mpg on a good week. Needless to say with petrol prices heading up, this isn’t good enough. I’m not about to move my home or office, so I’m stuck with the 250 mile a week commute. Secondly, as I spend 95% of my time at the wheel alone, I really don’t need a car the size of a small island. This is bad news for the S6 and I’m thinking the unthinkable and have uttered the dreaded ‘s’ word – sell.
There’s also the small issue of the Land Rover. At the weekends it is brilliant, tackling household and family duties with ease. But during the week it is less convincing. Being a V8 means it isn’t exactly cheap to run. OK, so it does have an LPG conversion, but with our local garage deciding to stop selling LPG, we’re now faced with a 20 mile round trip to get some. The Land Rover only manages 120 mile on a full tank, so it is mildly depressing to use up a fifth of it simply to fill up. Also, the Land Rover isn’t the most nimble of vehicles when you want to nip out for a pint of milk.
For rational people the decision would be easy. Sell the Land Rover to buy something a little less tank-like and also move the Audi on in favour of something smaller. Heavens, even the AX GT could be moved on to free up some cash and complete a much more manageable two-car scenario? Simple.
Well no, not exactly.
The thing is, the Audi simply cannot be sold. OK, it is 15 years old and has travelled more than 170,000 miles, but I cannot bear to part with it. I’ve already bought it back once after selling it the first time. It comes from a time when Audis were beautifully engineered and the general condition of the car belies the fact that it has effectively travelled around the world seven times. Even if it was put up for sale, the current petrol prices dictate that it wouldn’t reach a price that I’d be happy with it, so it stays put.
So the Land Rover can go then, right? Er, actually no it can’t. We searched high and low for a suitable 12-seat 110, so we’re not about to give up on it now. It just sailed through another MOT with no advisories and it is clear that Lord Sainsbury gave it a very good start in life. It also adds so much to family life that selling it would be tantamount to showing the dog the door. If we had one. So no, the Land Rover is staying put.
Right, so what about the AX GT? Well seeing as selling it would deliver no benefit to either of the two issues facing us, I’m not even going to entertain the subject of selling it. So that’s that.
Of course, the sensible resolution to this would be to stick with the status quo and move on to other things. Such as deciding on the choice of a new fridge freezer. But no, that’s not the case. Instead, we’ve agreed to buy two new cars – one for the commute and one for nipping to the shops. That’s petrolhead logic right there. Sit down to discuss reducing or streamlining the fleet and end up agreeing that we need five cars. Logical, surely?
Now where’s that copy of Auto Trader…