Confessions of a serial car tart. Is it time to settle down?

It sounds like the name of a comedy caper from the 1970s, up there alongside films like ‘Confessions of a Window Cleaner’. OK, maybe not, but still, it’s time to face the truth – I need to present my confessions of a serial car tart. And at my age, it’s really time I settled down.

Maybe I haven’t found my true love yet. They say you need to kiss a few frogs before you find your princess. And the reference to frogs has nothing to do with my love of French metal from the 1980s and 1990s.

I’ve held a driving licence for 22 years now and in that time – excluding company cars and vehicles that are more Mrs MajorGav’s than mine – I’ve owned in excess of 30 cars. I rarely keep cars beyond six months and this is highlighted by the fact that I’ve gone through at least one car a year since passing my test.

I did some calculations and I really wish I hadn’t. At a conservative estimate, it turns out I’ve spent over £130,000 on cars. It’s the kind of figure I need to keep away from my wife. On the plus side, I’ve managed to recoup £100,000 of the fee during the sale process and – given that I still own four of the cars on the list – I don’t think that’s too bad.

Heck, it’s no worse than the depreciation on a brand new Citroën C6.

Worryingly, I appear to have spent a grand total of £40,300 on three Vauxhalls – two VX220s and a Viva HB. It won’t surprise you to learn that – even in Deluxe trim – the Viva only accounted for the £300 of that total.

I’ve only bought one car brand new, which was a 2001 Ford Puma. It was subsequently traded-in six months later when I discovered the joys of the Ford Racing Puma. Not the best piece of business, but I don’t regret it one bit.

And just occasionally, I’ve managed to make a profit. My first car, a Daihatsu Charade XTE was bought for £30 and sold a year later for £150. That’s a small but healthy return.

Daihatsu Charade Avanzato

I also made money on my Daihatsu Cuore Avanzato, Volkswagen Corrado and Golf Rallye. Amazingly, I even managed to break even on a dealer purchased Skoda Octavia vRS.

But the fact remains, I now long to settle down and get comfortable with a car for life. I want to be that old chap in 40 years time who is able to recount four decades of unwavering loyalty to a single car. To be able to throw a box file load of receipts down on the table and say, “you want history, there’s history”.

Breaking a habit of a lifetime won’t be easy. I enjoy the whole of process of buying a car. The search through the classifieds, the boyish excitement of travelling to pick up your new purchase and the joy of returning home and getting to know your new toy.

I’m also acutely aware that I get bored very easily and could easily be distracted by a potential suitor.

But I also believe the right car is out there, so I’ve already started to draw up a shortlist. And when I say shortlist, I really mean a short list. The new car has to tick a lot of boxes, which means it may be easier to start scouring the local haystacks for wayward pins.

It needs to be relatively obscure. Be as adept on a B-road as it is on an early morning airport run. Have enough room for the family and the new dog. And – perhaps most importantly – it needs to have proper staying power.

It really is time for this serial car tart to settle down. Applicants should form an orderly queue outside the lock-up. No pushing at the back please.

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Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.


  1. May 15, 2014

    I feel like an Audi RS2 would tick most of those boxes…

  2. May 16, 2014
    Darren Leslie

    I think Ants got it in one. No need to look any further…

  3. May 19, 2014
    Darren Leslie

    Thinking a little more, if the RS2 is a little small (the S6 you had should give you a clue on how much space you need), then I’d be looking towards BMW 5 Series Touring (540 of course), maybe a Merc E class with suitably silly engine or a T5 Volvo. If it were me, I’d also be looking at Volvo 200 series……

  4. July 16, 2014
    Paul Allen

    Although I love cars, I seem to keep them for an age… 4 cars and I’ve been driving almost 14 years… I just like getting a feel for a car and knowing it inside out.


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