There's a reason why I'm going to start with my car history, but I'll explain this later. Being as brief as I can...
MkIII Escort Estate - Crashed it
Another MkIII Escort Estate - Crashed it
Mk1 Mondeo - Px'ed it
Mk1 Vectra 2.5 v6 Estate - I was 21 by then and couldn't afford to run it - sold it
Citroen ZX Volcane - Spent EVERY weekend for 2 years fixing it.
Alfa 155 WB 2.0 T-spark - 1st Alfa, hence the user name. Crashed it. But we (my Dad and I) bought it back off the insurance company as it wasn't my fault.
Alfa 145 QV - Sold it after putting a new head (from the 155) on it and eibachs, konis, leather and speedlines.
The 155 incident kicked off the purchase of over 35 Alfa's (we've lost count) which we bought with broken engines, rebuilt them and sold them. Taking them out of the equation, cars I would call mine....
'00 Alfa 156 V6 - Sold it
'00 Alfa 156 2.4 JTD - Written off (thankfully - needed expensive bits)
'01 166 3.0V6 - broken cam belt - was a PITA to fix, sold.
'98 156 V6 - fully rebuilt and converted to GTA spec (engine, brakes, gearbox, suspension)
Citroen BX GTi 16v - Awesome bit of kit, lent it to a form member to get some thread lock whilst I fixed his car and he wrote it off (not his fault).
'03 156 V6 - bought with a broken cam belt. Rebuilt the engine, sold the engine. Put a 3.0 in it, sold the engine after running it in. Then put the 3.2 Engine etc (transplanted from the 98 v6). Put another rebuilt 3.0 into the 98 v6 and sold that. Ran it for 18 months as a 3.2, put a rebuilt 2.5 in it and sold it.
'04 GT 3.2 - Bought without an engine, put the same 3.2 in it.
145 1.6 T/S - Bought as a non runner, had plenty of rot which we worked hard to sort out, sold
'90 75 3.0 V6 - Spent month s on end fixing it. Sold it when it was running right.
147 GTA - Still got it.
156 1.9 jtd - Bought as a non runner, was a daily drive instead of the 145 for 2 years sold it
156 2.4 - current daily drive, another project car, when we first got it but runs well now though.
In between all of that my parents, brothers and their wives had all kinds of kit - Brera, 156's 147's various Mini's, many other BMW's and an Audi (just one!) And a Maserati.
I'm sure I've forgotten about 1 or 2 but the point is, we (Father and I) should know what were doing.... If I can't fix it, chances are my Dad can.
But I?m not trying to blow my own trumpet here, I?m just trying give the latest purchase context because I could be accused of madness.
This is it;
, on Flickr
, on Flickr
, on Flickr
I very nearly didn't buy it. I was one wrong word from the seller away from telling him to keep the £250 deposit and to keep it.
The car was advertised on gumtree, by a guy active for 2 months using the name "Jay".
I ring him up before going and he seems confused by the name Jay, he only really placed the call when I told him I was ringing about the 159. But I arranged to go and see it anyway.
The car appeared OK, full service history was there at the 20k (!) intervals and loads of recipes in no particular order. It?s also a 1 owner car from new.
But it is stone chipped at the front;
We've not seen or heard it start from cold;
There's a slight tapping from the top end of the engine;
Rear tyres are on the wear bars, all tyres being very special ditch finders;
Under tray is missing;
Evidence of an oil leak from the top of the engine;
Gear leaver was loose;
Filthy steering wheel / interior;
All wheels are kerbed
Dint in passenger door;
Rear bootlid has corroded stone chips...
We had a look round the car and despite Jay's assurances of the car being "spot on", we spot the above issues.
Issues are fine, to be expected, but what I expect, in order to avoid a wasted 150mile journey is a degree of honesty from the Seller and not lies or a refusal to accept that a car that is less than as described.
Then we took it for a test drive. After asking if the seller had trade insurance (but no trade plates
) I had ask to drive it.
First thing I noted, despite it being a hot day so he had the windows open was that he'd been smoking in it. There was fag ash in the rear corner of the drivers footwell, ash tray clean, unused as was the lighter. (So he's bought the car as a trader, from a non smoker and decided to smoke in it?!)
The rear parking sensors weren't working, there was some vibration /knocking from the front suspension, but that's all I could gather from the drive as it was all of 2 miles down some cobbled back streets, despite there being some major roads in close proximity. Didn't get it above 40mph. But ?Jay? was most instant about directions which took us back to his "home", raising more suspicions.
I checked the vins, v5 and window etchings and found that that the registered keeper was 100's of miles away. I was about to pitch an offer based on the lack of a test drive when my Dad spotted this;
, on Flickr
I hit a bump / pot hole on the test drive and didn't think much of it, but Jay reacted with real concern that seemed out of place, a strident over-reaction - I think that he knew the wheel was bent (I've bent enough to know what it feels like) before we went out.
So he said to me he has a guy who can fix it for 50 quid. (******** I thought) but we settle on a price £150 less than asking on the basis he doesn't valet it or sort out the worn out rear tyres. Then he changed his mind and says he won't sort the bent wheel out so were back at £100 less than asking price.
I gave up at this point and agreed as a bank transfer on collection the next weekend.
But he wasn?t happy with that, he wanted COC during the week. - Wed/Thurs. I only agreed to the time out of work because I'd forgotten I had weekend commitments, he's wasn?t happy about the bank transfer but that's the only option I was willing to offer.
We agreed a pick up Thursday last week with payment by wire and that He's to fix the bent wheel.
I get a receipt for the £250 deposit in a generic surname and the the first initial M. The signature is illegible, he complained when I asked him for his address on the receipt. It's not completely legible and I have some reason to question it's legitimacy.
Then I sent him a text on the Wednesday, asking if he had sorted the wheel, explaining we were good to go...
He responded, yep fine. before sending me a text saying his man couldn't fix it. "It was much better though".
I tried to renegotiate, but he told me he was out of pocket, it's (the wheel) fine.
We turned up, (another 150 mile journey, 30 quid spent on a day's temp insurance) I knocked on the door and an old man answered, it took him a couple of minutes to figure out who I am, who Jay is, and he then told me he was on his way. The car was parked outside though.
We found that the wheel was untouched. No finger marks in the brake dust to bare witness, just the car jack left in the passenger footwell as "evidence" of an attempt.
I kicked the tyre in temper and very nearly said to my Dad that I want to ditch it.
When "Jay" turned up and offered the key I also noted an increase in accumulated cigarette ash in the drivers footwell. Which annoyed me.
But we went through with the deal and I drove it home....
So what's the problem, I'm hoping you're now asking, having trawled though that lengthy post...
It's a 1750 TBI with 208000 miles on it.