First some background:
I was brought up with no car interest, a car was transport and nothing more which resulted in a selection of poor cheap cars being the cars of my youth.
Fast forward many years (just over 9 years ago) and I have a wonderful* Vauxhall Vectra estate to carry us about. Unfortunately it is crap and throws fault codes at us with nothing being there when it is checked (even at Vauxhall)
As Mrs T is the main pilot of this chariot with the two little miss T's on board, it has to go.
The hunt is on for the new steed to safely and comfortably carry the family around. I have a company car at the time so big journeys are not an issue.
ebay is my weapon of choice to find the new family car. It has to be good value cheap for no other reason than I am tight.
Weeks of research with lots of cars that are too expensive and too far away for easy collection end up in my watch list.
Finally a possible is spotted in Fife. I go and have a look and find a poor looking but solid car. One previous owner and lots of history.
The auction was to end on the Saturday at midday, we were going to be out! I decided on how much I was willing to gamble on it and on the Saturday morning I put in my max bid but straight away it went to my max bid, I was winning but it had three hours to go with no room for me to go up! We went out anyway.
I spent the next three hours kicking myself for not bidding more while we were out as it was the first car I had seen that fitted my criteria. Fate was in charge.
On returning home I go straight on ebay to find 'Congratulations.............'
For the grand total of £500 I had just won this fine vehicle!
It has 5 months MOT and after fitting seat belts in the rear for the girls car seats it is pushed into daily service.
My gamble and subsequent use results in a perfectly reliable car that actually does what it is supposed to do.
Even more importantly Mrs T loves it so a win all round.
All my cars have names (most are earned over a bit of time) and this one is called 'Gwendolen' ( G reg car and from Wales originally. I hate the name but I am not going to argue)
That sums up part one, more will be along later (probably much later)
To mark the genesis of my fleet project thread I here present my new car: a 1997 Nissan Micra Shape-
It really looks that good. There is a reason for this: its previous owner was an old lady who loved the thing so much so she made every effort to keep it in good shape. It originally came from Fleet in the GU postcode which suggests to me it was bought by the present dealer at auction, hence arriving down here in Kent. Before seeing the car I checked its MOT history and its only fails were thanks to broken stoplights, which shows me that it was very well cared for. I suppose an example of this was that on the last MOT, an advisory was a corroded rear silencer. The silencer on the car when I saw it was new. Methinks the lady wanted to keep it as good as possible. It was kept in a garage and so all the bumpers and black trim are very black and the tyres are in very good condition. Spare never used! Also included a free Dettol first aid kit from 1997.
This car has 15000 genuine miles on the clock. We clocked over 15000 during the test drive! The lady owner really only trundled around her village in it and the MOT shows that it only did some meagre miles between tests. This, of course, came at a price. We saw a cherry red Micra from 2002 at the same dealer. Paint was shoddy and when they washed it the boot had massive sections of bare metal and it wasn't very happy. This car, however, is in fabulous condition and there was no contest between the two cars- it really is that good, inside and out. Immaculate interior, driver's airbag, cassette player... all there and all functioning (apart from cassette thanks to new battery and failed display). This meant that I bought it for £1600, £100 over what was my uppermost limit, but I knew I wouldn't see another like this that was in as good shape for a fair while. It was priced very ambitiously, at £1990, so I'm content in the fact I managed to slash a few hundred off the price. There wasn't that much paperwork though. All the dealership received was the logbook with 3 service stamps from 1998, 1999 and 2000, the radio key pass, a National Trust sticker, and the original paperwork holder. I suspect the old lady died and had her car auctioned, and the massive file of paperwork is now someone's egg carton, along will everything else she owned.
As always, this car isn't exactly in showroom condition. While the inside is great and the floor is solid, and the underseal is in great shape, the not undersealed parts need a small looking at. Mainly the rear of the driver's side sill. It's really the only bubbling on the car. I suspect a well aimed stonechip managed to fester over the wintery salted roads, making it rust even more. It's around the size of a 5p piece, and will give me the opportunity to spray the insides of the sill with some chain oil to prevent any further corrosion. Behind the fuel tank there are a few rusty joints- places where the spraygun cannot get paint onto- which some Vactan and Dynax should put to rights. Alternator belt looks original because of the cracking and Nissan badges and will need doing soon as well as the front plate. As much as I like the 90's font and original dealer surround, the dishevelled R and general water ingress is a persistant MOT advisory. It could be the MOT station being strict (and most likely is considering there's a Saxo down the road with far worse blackening), however for the sake of peace of mind and all that, I'll get a new one made. The rear has already been replaced indicating this has happened before.
All in all, I think this is a nice plucky motor. I'll have it by the end of the week; just got to sort out tax, insurance, and it's going to have an MOT. As part of the deal it's getting the MOT and an oil and filter change which will be something ticked off the list. It has some love scratches and chips here and there, but it drives well, is stiff and controllable, and should make out to be a nice summer project!
That bit hiding up behind the air filter and infront of the turret
made a prolonged, loud, farty vibratey noise (loud enough to be clearly audible in the cabin with the radio on) twice today, both times it did it the nose was pointing down a steep hill and we had just parked and turned off the engine.
It goes on for best part of a minute, so managed to track it down. Initial impressions are fuck knows what it is but it's clearly been bodged in the past. The yellow hose has clearly been disconnected sometime, by someone, for some reason, somewhere.
Thats the blighter.
Does someone want to tell me why it's blowing raspberries at me?
Just about an hour ago I went to start my car up, had Mrs Dustman with me, to go and pick Miss Dustman up from work. Turned over fine but took a while to fire up.
Steering felt heavy. Thought maybe as it's currently -5 + wind chill it's just cold & the fluid is thick.
Started reversing out my bay then I was greeted with:
"DING DONG" - ABS fault.
"DING DONG" - ESP fault
"DING DONG" - headlamp auto levelling not working, contact service.
I shut the car down straight away and we went in Mrs D's Corolla.
Alternator is less than 2 months old, it's a recon unit from Alternator Man in Portsmouth. Hoping the cold isn't killing the battery and it's taking the 'nator out with it (battery passed the drop test last time the no-charge warning came up). Looks like a session with the multimeter after work tomorrow.....