Date purchased: 30/03/2016
Mileage at purchase: 132,414
Current mileage: 133,084
Fuel economy: 25.5mpg
Life is full of disappointments. Take bespectacled and bottom baring Britpop hero Jarvis Cocker and his 1995 hit Disco 2000. Only recently I discovered that not only did he fail to meet up with Deborah by the fountain down the road, but Sheffield City Council had the audacity to demolish said foundation in 1998.
Talk about shattered dreams. Worse still, Deborah’s walls were said to be free of woodchip.
Then there’s my Volkswagen Corrado, now back in my care following a seven-year hiatus. Cutting a long story short: she’s not well.
I thought I was doing everything right. Having spent a few months in hibernation, she emerged a month before the MOT and was treated to a new set of tyres. It was sent to Volkscraft with time to spare, with the knowledge that she would require some prep before the MOT, including some welding on the nearside sill.
The trip to Exeter included a Sunday morning dawn raid, including a fresh tank of V-Power for good measure. While at the garage, a chap in a new E-Class wagon shouted across the forecourt, complimenting me on my choice of car.
“Lovely,” he said. “You don’t see many in that condition.”
I thanked him and with a degree of modesty advised him not to look too closely. Turns out that was a bit of an understatement. A day later I received a call from Matt at Volkscraft, which began with the dreaded phrase: “It’s not good news.”
Five minutes later I had filled a page of A4 listing the things that needed addressing, some to get through the MOT, others in the longer-term. Matt’s root and branch examination had revealed some horrible and dirty secrets.
The winter hadn’t been kind to the Corrado. A mouse had taken a bite out of the wiring loom, allowing water to get in, causing untold damage. A big, labour-intensive job to put right.
Other issues – some not necessarily urgent – include corroded brake pipes, coil springs and power steering pipes; various leaks, a number of worn bushes; engine mounts; and a melted retrofitted headlight wiring loom.
But worse still – and this is the biggie – worn piston rings. I knew she was down a cylinder, but I wasn’t expecting oil to be fouling the plug in cylinder two. The solution: an engine rebuild. Great.
Annoyingly, aside from the small patch of rust on the sill, she’s structurally sound. And, ignoring the lacquer peel on the driver’s door and bumper, she’s more than presentable. But having such a lengthy list of problems to sort is a tad deflating. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
So what now? I’ll be honest, my first reaction was to give up, cut my losses and move on. The £1k estimate simply to get an MOT was OK, but the prospect of spending a further £3k, possibly £4k to make her perfect, that’s a different story.
But then I considered the bigger picture. Thanks to Matt, I know everything that’s wrong with my Corrado, with a checklist of things to put right. Buying another Corrado – with no sentimental value – would be like venturing into the unknown.
And with a new spark plug in cylinder two, along with a fresh set of matching tyres, she is running better than ever. She behaved impeccably when driving her home the night before the MOT expired.
Now, she sits in the garage, with a trickle-charger acting like some kind of life support machine. Her future is undecided, but right now the feeling is that a rolling restoration project is the best way forward.
Either way it means the AX GT must take a back seat… again.
On the plus side, the Citroen Xsara VTS recently sailed through the MOT with nothing more than an advisory for the rear number plate.
French coupe upstages German coupe in reliability shocker. Who’d have thought it?
The recent puncture presented the ideal opportunity to source some new wheels and tyres for the Corrado. One tyre was (obviously) damaged beyond repair, while the tyre on the opposite side was getting low on tread.
It took a while, but a set of refurbished Speedline alloys and tyres were sourced on eBay and delivered via the excellent Paisley Freight.
In truth, the wheels aren’t as brilliant as expected. The ‘refurb’ appears to be little more than a layer of paint with the tyres still in place. Not ideal. But they’ll do for the winter and at least two of the tyres are good enough for the Corrado. Weirdly, the other two are a different size (195/55), so will probably be moved on.
In the meantime, the now-removed Speedlines will be sent off for refurbishment. At least two parties have recommended South West Wheels in Exeter, so that will be the first port of call.
Special delivery for the Corrado. pic.twitter.com/aERLV9dfaO
— Gavin Big-Surname (@MajorGav) November 4, 2016