Justin Time got in touch with PetrolBlog to see if he could add his Toyota Celica to the garage. Figuring that one can never have too many Toyotas, PetrolBlog said yes. So here's Justin making his PetrolBlog debut, with some words on his Toyota Celica T-Sport. He confirms what every petrolhead knows: buying a car is good for your mental health.
If you're reading this in the year 2030, we made it out of 2020. Phew. Not sure what I’m on about? You must be a teenager... Google ‘2020’ now before you read on.
Hang on, do you still have Google? Or is it called Amazonet? Back yet? Good. Now we can get on to talking about the latest addition to the PetrolBlog garage.
We have just entered 2021 and thus far it's all looking a bit like 2020. And we are all going a little bit stir crazy. So we’re all trying to find stuff to distract us. Now if you are reading this, you clearly like cars. I do (of course).
So there was only so long during 2020 that I, as a car nut, could stand taking the family MPV (that means ‘Multi Purpose Vehicle’ by the way, I guess you don’t have them in 2030) to work and back. Oh yes, I am what they called in 2020 a ‘key worker’ – and one that can’t work from home.
The other thing: it isn’t far to my workplace. Two miles, I guess. I guess, because I usually cycle there. But as 2020 came to a close, and the days closed in, and the winter winds starts to blow off the North Sea where I am, I wanted to jump onto a magic carpet when I left work and go into an alternate timeline to get home.
‘Outnumbered by tractors’
Failing that, I started looking at automotive sales websites a lot more. I know you do this. Type in a budget, tick the ‘0-60mph less than eight seconds’ box, then see what comes up. I am sure all 2020 car nuts spent hours doing this rather than talking to their wife and kids, as in 2020 we all had plenty of time to do that for once. Family overdose.
But I already have a car. Well, it’s an MPV I am forced to drive due to having offspring. The wife has her hewn-from-granite German hatchback. It’s a big step to becoming a three-car family. So budget-wise let’s go for £2000, I said. Why that? Well, my bike is worth that – yes, it’s a good bike.
So it would be fun to see what I can buy for less than my bike. Also it seems the right amount of financial outlay given I’ve saved about that much from all the restaurants and pubs I didn’t go to the last year. It didn’t take long to get an answer – especially when you check the ‘less than 20 miles away’ box– as I live on the edge of nowhere, cars are outnumbered by tractors.
‘Proper local car’
What caught my eye was an old love of mine. Well, she was a crush in those days. I never actually dated her. And in that blue dress I always liked her in. And sporting the heart I like – the 192bhp T Sport version. The last generation of the Toyota Celica. For less than the cost of my bike.
After exchanging emails with the owner, it turns out it’s a proper local car, owned by a car enthusiast for the last decade, with horses and chickens strolling around his rural smallholding. The Toyota Celica is unbelievably clean, and on test driving, I start to grin, despite the 103,000 miles she is wearing. Sure, it feels dated, but then again my MPV is a diesel which has a DPF (Amazonet it...) which I can already feel clogging up with all those short journeys I am making to work.
I see myself justifying this new and totally unnecessary (apart from reducing my insanity) addition to the family to the wife. “Darling, 30mpg won’t be an issue given I drive so little at the moment”. “Petrol engines are more likely to handle the recurrent short journeys, given long journeys are currently off-limits”. “I can make our diesel MPV last till they ban them” – which I think they have where you are?
In the end, I didn’t need to justify this to the wife. “Will it stop you looking so glum all the time and shouting at the kids?” she asks. It might help I think. Anyway, the car’s already on our drive. I bought it. She can see me inanely grinning and walks back into the house.
The nice owner has cleaned it so it sparkles. The interior looks pristine. All the switches work. The exhaust growls when that engine fires into life, first time despite the morning frost. I have called her ‘Chica’, a Japanese name which can mean many things in the language, but I like the version that says ‘wisdom’. I glance back over my shoulder towards ‘Chica’ as I enter the house, smug. My mental health is picking up already. Who needs a shrink?