Meet Smudge. No less than 14 years old, 86,000 miles, four seats in velour and a mis-matched wing mirror. Why is this car in Nobull Towers’ car park, on this blog or allowed anywhere near my driveway? Simple. Cost.
At £500, this car fits perfectly in with the mantra of bangernomics: buying a car for as little as possible and running it until, well, until it dies. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, buy right at the bottom end of the market and see what happens.
Searching Auto Trader, eBay, Gumtree and local papers, you can get all sorts of metal for under a grand. The choice is immense, but you have to be careful and quick. Good, cheap cars are rare and get snapped up.
Friday night, with pint in hand, the search began. Within 45 mins, two cars were lined up for weekend viewings. Both were Vauxhall Astra convertibles, and both turned out to be dogs. The first had been dropped so low, the sump had smashed into a jigsaw puzzle of metal. The second had a fishtank for a boot.
Desperate, I whipped out the iPhone and started searching the nearby area. Just 10 minutes later, I’m behind the while of this stunning Jaguar XJ40. At £800, it was a bargain. Owned by an elderly gent for the last 20 years, it’s straight six had me sold. However, the insurance company wasn’t convinced so the weekend passed without success.
Then, a random mid-week check threw up Smudge. Full Vauxhall service, MOT till April 2015, Tax through to June, it seemed too good to be true. A quick call and it had only just gone up. Viewing was arranged and after a thorough going over and lengthy test drive, a deal was done at £500.
So far, Smudge – so called from the number plate ‘SMJ’ – hasn’t thrown up any issues. That silver paint work does well to hide the marks and dirt, and comes up well with a quick wash. The journey, then, has begun for Smudge. Time will tell how long it goes on for…
You can follow updates from Smudge and Our Tim on the Nobull blog or on Twitter @Our_Tim