Regrets – we’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. Actually that’s not strictly true – it seems we all look back on our catalogue of car purchases with some degree of regret. There are cars we regret selling. Cars we regret not buying. And cars we regret buying. PetrolBlog’s latest feature has certainly struck a chord with many of you, leading to an outpouring of tales of regret. Here’s regret number three and it comes from PetrolBlog regular, Antony Ingram.
I realised, reading through the esteemed Major’s report on his old Corrado VR6, that regrets are a subject close to the heart of many a petrolhead.
My car history isn’t quite as long, with only ten years behind the wheel; nor as plentiful, with an ownership roster topping five cars, but in that time I’ve owned quite a spectrum.
There was the first car, a 1998 Ford Fiesta. 6.5 years passed before I swapped the hard-working Ford for an MX-5. I have no regrets about buying it, but I do regret trusting Newcastle’s pond life enough to leave it on a street with no security systems to protect it.
That was then replaced by my Fiat Panda 100HP, reviewed on PetrolBlog not so long ago. Excellent car, but for a while one I regretted buying as it didn’t have the character of my Mazda. I do now partly regret selling it, as the newest car I’ve ever owned (with the creature comforts that brings) and a barrel of laughs on the right road.
It was joined by my 1974 Beetle, bought to restore some of the old car goodness of the departed Mazda. I don’t regret the Beetle at all, though in hindsight I’ve decided that restoring something is actually a bit boring and time-consuming, and I’d prefer something I can drive from day one.
But no, it’s my most recent, and most recently departed car I regret.
That car was my Rover 75 CDT Club.
I regret buying it, for plenty of reasons.
The 75 is a lovely car. When brand new, it would have been even lovelier. It was built better than any other car I’ve owned, including the Mazda. It had the best ride quality of almost anything I’ve ever driven – Jaguars and Mercedes-Benz included. The 75 simply sailed over bumps on its sensibly-sized tyres and ripple-absorbing springs.
It was also relatively quiet, had remarkably rust-resistant bodywork, perfect chrome trim and a pleasing colour combination – metallic maroon with cream innards.
But sadly, it was also a money pit.
I paid over the odds for it, during a brain-fart in which I forgot the first rule of car-buying: Walk away if you’re not happy with anything. After buying, it soon needed new tyres, a new rear spring to replace a snapped unit, a service, and an ABS sensor fixing.
It also had broken seat height adjustment, leaving me in a driving position I never really felt comfortable with. And the interior was grubby.
The costs added up. Worse still, the clutch didn’t feel quite right. I know now this was a master cylinder issue and not too expensive to deal with, but the thought of changing a clutch, and possibly a dual-mass flywheel to go with it (a combined job topping a grand or more), filled me with dread.
In fact, it sapped my confidence from the car. I didn’t want to drive it, and a car you don’t want to drive is as fulfilling as dating a supermodel with no libido.
So I put it on sale, after only two months of owning it. And waited, and waited. I kept dropping the price, and eventually I got bites.
I won’t divulge what it sold for, but suffice to say I lost a lot of money. Money I could have better spent elsewhere, or ideally, given my poorly-paid job, saved. My fingers are well and truly burned by the experience.
I will be a lot more careful buying a used car in future, and I’ll haggle like a demon if I feel I can save a bit more on the purchase price. I did neither anywhere near well enough with the Rover.
And yet… that isn’t the extent of my regret.
Really, I regret not buying the right Rover 75.
I didn’t do it properly. I bought a diesel, manual, in middling Club trim. That’s just the wrong spec for a 75. It’s a bit too minicab for a car which could offer so much more.
Perhaps, when I have the money, I’ll buy another. In the absence of being able to run the V8, I can still do better. It would be the V6, for a start – the 2.5, if possible. It would be an auto, as a manual 75 just isn’t cricket.
It would also be the best example I can find. And it would be in Connoisseur spec, with leather seats. Then, it might be an example to be proud of – and by buying the best out there, I could also avoid the pain of having to put everything right myself.
I have no ill feelings towards the 75. I just now know I bought the wrong one.
Car: 2001 Rover 75 CDT Club
Regret: Buying the wrong one
Reason for selling: Money pit
Strength of regret: 9/10
Possibility of buying another one: 6/10
Follow Antony Ingram on twitter @antonyingram.
PetrolBlog wants to hear your regrets. Get in touch with us at the usual address and fill PetrolBlog with regret. You know it makes sense.