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The Worst Car you've ever owned


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Renault 16TS, 1969.  My first car, bought off father Squirrel in 1980 just after I’d passed my test and wanted to use to drag my sailing dinghy around to events as it had the tow bar I’d fitted.

It was terminally rusty, had a pile of engine problems probably caused by a lack of proper servicing in its eleven year 100,000 mile life, the worst of which was its ability to overheat if driven at more than 40...

I soon got rid but it didn’t put me off Renaults; I had kept the towbar and it was soon bolted to LUE 62P a 16TL that soon became one of my favourites despite the nagging rust problems these cars seemed to have built-in 😳

Squirrel2 

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RS Turbo.

Used savings and bank loan (Dad as guarantor!) to buy it.

Paint was metallic grey with some dodgy 'smart repairs' that looked great until I was 800 yards from the garage!

Had adjustable boost control fitted by previous owner, if you turned it up to 10 you could burn clutch out in a box junction

Previous owner had cross threaded No.3 spark plug, snapped 2 manifold studs and 'fibreglassed' battery tray together

Had 17" TSW stealth wheels so used to destroy track control arms within weeks.  Rears would catch the arches.

Used to have to clean oil off rear before washing it because all that oil used to get trapped on sponge.

It wasnt as fast as I hoped, didnt sound that good, girls just saw it as an Escort.

Fixed everything I could and left it sitting until it sold (6 weeks).

Never owned a Ford since (20 years ago)

Ran about in £30 Micra instead!

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It has to be, without any doubt, the Lada Samara I foolishly bought from new. It was hideous! The drivers seat wore through as it had a bar which pushed  you  in the back. It was unreliable, clutch went at 11,000 miles! The fuse box went leaving me without and rear lights or brake lights. Apparently there was a known fault that these sat in a pool of water as it didn't drain from somewhere. ECU packed up within a very short space of time. It was so bad I gave up driving and took to cycling everywhere! In four years I did 28,000 miles in it. Did not feel like a low mileage car, felt like the heap of shit it really was. Traded it in for a Skoda Favorit estate. Really liked that car.

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Worst condition/equipped? Corsa B. Its only feature was a cassette player and some alloys nicked off an Astra, it was half rotten and well worn.

Least reliable? Megane Mk2 - while only leaving me stranded once in 31k, I did have a few expensive bills that really should've seen it scrapped.

Least favourite? The 206 SW I bought to flip - in the end we only made £50, had a lot of hassle and drama, and for the little distance I drove it, I just didn't get on with it.

Honorable mention to our most hated family car, the Zafira B we had for 3 years. 1.6 almost base spec in doom blue. My folks never liked it, I always found it very uncomfortable. It never gets mentioned favourably in car-related discussions unlike the Tacuma before it and the C3 Picasso that followed.

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Without doubt this Renault Laguna II was the worst car, I have ever had the misfortune to own! 

It spent more time at garages an the local Renault specialists, having ££ spent on it than I did driving the bag of shite..  Highlights include, a minor dashboard fire whilst driving, the doors not locking not except when it felt like it. The boot wouldn't open, except from the inside using a hacksaw blade to push on the latch! ECU died a death leaving me stuck in the middle of Warwick high street, a week before Christmas. Making me the least popular person there that day, the rear axle bushes failed. Giving me unpredictable rear wheel steer, an the center dashboard vent broke. Which involved taking the dashboard to fix it, alloy wheels made of chocolate. So replaced two of those, and the gearbox mount went.  Which caused the air con pipe to snap, almost immediately afterwards. In the middle of the summer... naturally! It tested my love of cars an my sanity to the very full, I got to the point where I hated the very sight of it.

So when the power steering went, that was the final straw for me. I sold it as it was for £350 just to get rid of it, lost my arse on it. But never was I so relieved to see the back of a car! bought a high mileage Ford Focus for £100 off a work colleague. Which I still have, needless to say I will never ever buy a Renault again.

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A lot have been bad. Just shagged out really. 

1) A reg metro auto didn't even make it back from the sale. All drive lost. Bought for £25 daan the pub M8. Sold for £0. Police squashed it (I hope)

2) C reg astra GTE. Cool car, lasted 2 weeks before buzzing it's ECU. Found collection of ECUs in the spare wheel well. Bought for £100 daan the other pub m9. Sold for £0 stolen by gypsies. (Shell was found on their site once they had moved off)

3) R reg Mondeo. Bought as low mile engine doner. Clean car. Plate had been doubled with something in London so I got all the tickets and there was absolutely nowhere to put anything on or in the dash without it flying out the window at the first bend. Bought for £300 ebay, sold for £0, engine and electricals removed, shell given away free to good* home.

4) Current 635csi. Hateful thing insists on being broken, good parts are hard to find, unjustifiably expensive or junk, ride is horrible, it eats tyres, steering is as soggy as a wet marshmallow and rot appears out of nowhere. It literally destroys itself before your very eyes. I cannot fathom why I insist on keeping it, but to get rid of it would be like shooting my pet cat. Bought for £1500 daan the cafe somewhere in hackney from someone I hardly knew.

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Bonus Derek and Clive reference, for those of us old enough...

I lay awake thinking about this question last night. 

I don't have one. 

Out of the seven cars I've owned, I would give my right nut to be able to drive any one of them again (but not my left or middle one).  So I dug out the Oujia board and got on to my grandfather who died about 20 years ago.  His worst car ever was an 1985 Mark 2 Fiesta in artic white.  It was an utter dog-egg.  It was cramped, the gearstick stuck into his leg when it was in 4th.  The seat coverings were itchy, it was slow and the radio couldn't get Test Match Specials (important for him)  The throttle cable kept sticking and it generally pissed him off.  He made it go away after seven years of putting up with it and got an Orion, which however flawed, felt a lot better car and out-lived him until well into the 2010's.

Then I though about it a bit more, the Mark 4 Golf, (often heavily derided on AS) of mine was by far the worst.  It was noisy, uncomfortable and unreliable.  It was expensive to insure, buzzy at motorway speeds (3,500 rpm in 5th at 70mph) and poorly equipped.  It had an insatiable thirst for coolant and the contents of my wallet.  In the space of 18 months, it needed continuous fettling to keep it usable.  In the end the ungrateful fuckstick developed an intermittent misfire, I went through the obvious suspects and I genuinely just didn't want to fix it.  I wanted it to die.   I didn't have the know-how to resolve the issue and with no guarantees of a permanent fix, I broke it for parts.  I was happy to see it's shagged-out carcass being dumped onto a low-loader, I would have wanted to chop the bastard up myself. 

These are my opinions and are formed from the two cars above, they might not have been representative of those vehicles.  My MK4 Golf was probably the most offensive thing to have been shat out of Wolfsburg, but others must have been OK, I guess?

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2004 (or something like that) Renault Megane II SW with 1.6 16V engine. The bugger tried to kill me on the very first snow when I thought I could drive it like 1999 Focus SW I had before.

And that was long before the radiator fan went to see its creator in the middle of a long trip in hot summer, one of the key cards decided it was high time for a strike to show the bloody bourgeoisie who is the true boss in the workshop, electric system went through several infarctions etc. etc.

And I do not even want to start talking about the infamous dephaser.

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Hate or dislike?. I couldn't get on with the TF or the Rover 200 (bubble) due to the small size of the pedals and being a size 10 boot wearing fat bastard.

The Fabia VRS (bought new in 2010 - 1.6 TSi version) drank oil at an alarming rate and that gearbox was a right PITA. I have to reverse uphill into my drive, too little revs and it wouldn't, too many and it would smack into my 53 plate diesel VRS Fabia ( a far better car).

What was really, really, really hateful was the departmental Astra GTC (about a 57 plate). It wasn't just me that was cheering when it departed in exchange for a Mondeo, but everybody that had been forced to drive this utter pile of shite. Hundred mile trip to Teesside, shagged out Transit or the GTC, pass me a set of hearing protection and I'll see you tomorrow. The bastards even rebuilt it after it got rammed in a very snowy winter. Truly hateful pile of shit.

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We'll start with a (relatively) low mileage Audi 225TT. More history than the British empire, looked the part, posh couple owned it. What an absolute pile of wank. It rattled it's tits off (they have a chain AND a belt), there's some fucking steering angle sensor behind the dash that threw it's hand in and then it started playing up when driving. It just seemed to cost money at every given opportunity.

The only thing to compare it to at the time was my 180,000 mile diesel Vectra with no history and that was probably last serviced when  Harold was pulling an arrow out of his eye. It was a much, much better built and more reliable car.

 

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Was trying to decide between the 2005 C3 Pluriel and the 2012 Fiat 500 twinair, both bought brand new for the missus....both bought blind and were utter pieces of shite! To be fair, the pluriel looked good and had a decent spec, but all that crash and rollover protection weighed a ton, and it had zero power as a result. Sold after 6 months at about 6 grand loss. 500 twinair lasted 4 weeks with us as i rejected it under sale of goods act. Supposed to do 70mpg, but in the real world struggled to get 30. Then i remembered the bastard 2005 berlingo hdi, again bought brand new. Kept it for 2 and a half year until it was handed back to finance company as half was paid. It spent more time in the workshop for warranty than it did on the road, and the bill for warranty work exceeded the price paid for the car. It soldiered on for a few month after being sold then disappeared off the dvla system....

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1994 106 1.5 xrd. utter dissapointment in a car. had 200,000miles on it, was tarted up to look like a xsi. first car i had, i put a clutch, 2 gearboxes, a rear beam, and disks and pads into it. 3 tyres delaminated as it had sat for 4 years... had a full mot when bought....

spat the diff out and i stuffed a saxo petrol box in it, then the rear beam went again and the bolts stripped out in the shell. finally the central locking developed a fault where it would unlock the car and turn the ignition on. if left for more than an hour like that it started cranking over.....sold to a mate who reshelled a gen xsi into it, then buried it into a bus. 

 

only upside it ran on veg, back when 20L was 9 quid from asda.  and did 60mpg

 

its replacement, an ex motab vauxhall nova 4 door 1.2i trip, in stunning miami blue* that cost 25 quid was a far better and more reliable car.

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2003 MG TF 160vvc MP03ETJ - i think, i think its dead now anyway (hopefully)

 

what a horrible, horrible little car. Metro front end (great) the throttle cable felt like it was about 3 mile long, there was that much delay from pressing the pedal and the car making noises (and it was stiff) It wasn't fast, the driving position is THE worst of any car i've driven (you sit on them rather than in them) This had done 36k from new at the time. everything was rusty on it, it had had a replacement head-gasket before i got it, and it started getting hot in the 5 days i owned it. HATED IT!!! Would not recommend 1*

mg tf.jpg

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2 hours ago, chancer said:

 500 twinair lasted 4 weeks with us as i rejected it under sale of goods act. Supposed to do 70mpg, but in the real world struggled to get 30.

They get a lot better when they loosen up, But even still..... only to a level that you'd have to argue they lied a little harder.

I know of several people who binned off mega MPG diesels for them with the promise these would be almost as good or maybe even marginally better. None of them had the twinair long. They were getting MPG akin to that of a straight 6 BMW. The people who did persevere ended up getting mid 50's if they really, really tried. Generally mid-low 40's was where they were. Which was pretty much the same as the boggo 1.2.

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worst heap i ever own were 2 astras mk5 i had 2 off them, one think it was 1800 diesel other 1300 diesel both leaked oil from day i owned them,had one striped off engine new gaskets still leaked oil i was told it was a fiat engine what the hell was a fiat engine doing in a vauxhall mad ,and both daulmasters clutches went well under 100k ,from that day told myself no more vauxhalls,had one reg 2000 estate early shape looked dog rough but was brill car,later ones keep away,

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Probably more a tale of hate/ grass isn't always greener than a truly terrible car. 2006. Enter the 04 Corsa C 1.8 SRI.

Being 19 at the time this was the quickest fastest newish car I could get with reasonable insurance. (The MG ZS180 I had my eye on was just a wee bit too pricey). So I sold my 00 Fiesta Zetec-S (Imperial blue) and visited Mr Arnold. 

Pulled over by the police about 5 minutes into ownership for my first(and so far only) horti from an officer with a right bee in his bonnet. 

I only had it for a few weeks before trouble started. On a 8k mile car the TADTS plastic gear linkage was worn, the metal frame of the seat started to come through the foam on the lower squab wearing the material, the dash plastics had a spot that literally began to crumble (like it was made of plastic shavings).  It blew about 5 headlight bulbs, would occasionally buckeroo whilst accelerating and to top it for me it handled like a bag of w**k and felt no faster than the fiesta after about 5 minutes. Mind made up I needed rid, car cursed etc.

Got the bits fixed by arnold shark. I sold it sharpish within 2 months privately and lost about 2k on it (a bloody lot for a 19 year old me) ....I went back to another Fiesta Zetec-S! 

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1974 VW K70... bought in 2005 with one day's MOT, sold in 2019 with me literally having driven it twice. Honestly, wouldn't have been a bad car except it had been heavily bodged by its previous owner. Very heavy rust in the floors, front bulkhead and sills covered with that weird pink fibreglass paste and painted over. Me being 19 at the time, and blinded by its rarity, how cheap it was, and my own inexperience with buying cars... got taken for a mug. Which I was.

For years I kept telling myself I'd be able to get it sorted but in the end I admitted it was beyond my capability and sold it to a restorer. Happily, he's just finished buying the necessary panels for it and he's hoping to get it roadworthy by the end of next year.

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Rover 75 CDT Tourer. Owned by someone I knew, seemed not bad on paper and had a decent record. However, it was diesel (what you mean you didn't already know that? Yes I walked into this with my eyes open. I knew I hated dismal cars but this tested my I'll buy anything that drifts across my transom approach to buying cars) which immediately set me against it. Then the clutch failed in the middle of Pontefract which left me at the wrong end of a very long rescue home. Quite how a clutch could have failed so badly in only 20,000 after the previous change is lost on me.  Worse, replacing the clutch necessitated the almost complete removal of the front of the car. Then the pump in the fuel tank failed late one night on the M74 leaving me standing on the banking with a 11 month old baby on my back. Finally, a headlamp bulb failed and it only seemed possible to change it by removing the front wheel. All the time the thing simply refused to stop being a diesel car. It was chopped in for a 9-5 the following week.

I loathe diesel cars.

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After having 2 Mk2 Cavaliers as company cars (both run to over 120,000 in my care with not one issue) I chose the then relatively new Vectra GLS as my work lease car.

Loved the look of the door mirrors and interior, and liked the music played on the TV ad (very similar to David Arnold's "I Play Dead". Plus, as I was doing lots of miles, it would be as reliable as the Cavaliers I had.

Picked it up from Longbenton, Newcastle in March 1996 with just 9 miles on the clock. Didn't take long (not even out of Newcastle!) before the car started cutting out and the warning light came up on the dash.

Had so many issues with the car, with exhaust systems snapping, gearboxes losing gears i was on the third gearbox by the end) both driveshaft seals failed at different times, both times soaking the front brakes in oil (exciting). Then the paint started coming off of the bonnet when i was washing it. It needed a full respray too, as the paint shop said they could not match the colour it was painted! It was in for warranty repairs at least once every 6 weeks. I really did treat the car well, so why there were so many failures was anyone's guess.

I became exasperated with the bloody thing, as I spent so much time stuck waiting for breakdown recovery, picking up and dropping of hire cars etc. I told my employers they could have it back, and I'd use my own car for business travel. They reluctantly agreed, but I had to take it to the local Vauxhall dealer for a final check over before it went back to Longbenton. The service manager there told me that the warranty work had come to just over £16,000 in the 14 months I had the car.

Goodbye you heap of shite-and this is the only photo i have of it, which is really as bad as the actual car!

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My worst car - or the one I least enjoyed owning was a Mk6 Ford Escort RS2000. Bought it after a number of tidy Mk4 Escort RS Turbos thinking it was a nicer shape, more modern, etc etc.

Hated it, felt asthmatic at high revs, handled not at all well, visibly corroded in front of my eyes underneath and every job I tried to do was faced with seized bolts, rusty fixings and general hatefulness. Never owned an RS model since.

 

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My first Audi 200T was a nightmare. None of the local garages seemed to know anything about turbocharged cars back then, and although everyone was amazed at how terrifyingly fast it was, no one seemed to work out until it was far too late that the waste gate hadn't been doing its job and the thing was overboosting to buggery - and back! There was so much wrong with it... It pinked like a bastard on anything more than a light throttle, and the autobox changed up far earlier than anyone ever expected it to with the bizarre experience of absolutely unbelievable acceleration during the  change of ratio which actually made my eyes begin to bleed. And then it began to smoke intermittently, great white clouds of smoke and then nothing, its 2.2 litres of forced induction fun could barely manage 12 mpg. The day it finally caught fire was one of the happiest of my life.

My next 200T was far superior in every respect, and although very, very fast, was no-where near as insanely rapid as the first one had been.

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I have owned some absolute shit over the years, but was happy to put up with a lot because either it was cheap transport, or it had at least one redeeming feature that endeared it to me.

Therefore the worst was one that I didn't actually own, it was a lease car provided by my employer. I admit I chose it, based on my experience with an older high mileage example bought off a friend for a couple of hundred pounds. That one was a 1986 VW Polo, with 176k miles on it it ran beautifully, wasn't rusty, never let me down and, apart from awful brakes, I liked it.

So in 1996 I had a new, base model Polo 1 litre, chosen as it was cheap enough the tax man didn't clobber me.

The first year it was fine, but after that it became increasingly unreliable. Various issues occurred with failing electrics. The two big issues either it wouldn't start at all, or it would start up but the engine would only tick over. Any attempt to rev it up to actually drive away and it would cut out again. 

I ended up on first name terms with the RAC bloke and the woman who dealt with courtesy cars at the main dealer. 

Sadly despite numerous attempts at fixing it including replacement of many parts and wiring, it was never reliable again. Every 4 -6 weeks I would end up being recovered to the garage. 

It did blow the same fuse every few weeks, they always gave me a handful of fuses to keep me going.

I stood over a year of that, in the end I was fed up and so was my employer so the car was returned early, with no penalty. It has put me off having a new VW ever again. Although the shitty 1986 VW Caddy diesel pickup I had afterwards, as a stop gap, never let me down

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considering i've been driving since 1979 you'd think there'd be some utter junk in there from decades ago but no

 

It's a modern, or it was when I had it a Honda Civic 1.4 Hondamatic , around 2007 IIRC

 

The only honda I've ever owned , given their reputation I was expecting it to be great but it was dreadful

 

No power and a gearbox that tried to kill me on a couple of occasions , you'd approach a junction , it'd be in second, you'd look and think yes, plenty of room to get out in front of that bus so you'd go , only then it'd decide no you don't want second, you want first , engage the mouse , whirr click clunk, by this time you're in the middle of the road with a bus bearing down on you.

 

We took it to cornwall on holiday , 4 adults and all our luggage packed in it , I honestly thought it was going to explode on some of the big hills, shortest time I'd ever owned a car at that point , it lasted about 2 months then took the first offer I got for it

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  • 3 weeks later...

now technically speaking my xsara picasso has been questionable, but at least it's been a very good car for many months

no, the record goes to my dad

in 2012 he bought a 2008 C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi EGS...........yes you can see where this is going

beautiful looking and riding car, and it was a good car for about 3 years really

then it shit a turbo because 1.6 hdi

then another

then another

then another

12 turbo's it had in the end

then the egs box started playing up....because of course it did

many thousands putting that right

then it played up again

then the injectors started leaking

then the turbo went

then it developed a horrendous knocking noise from the engine when cold

then the turbo started howling

so, in 2015 he got rid of it for a 2010 civic 2.2 diesel

which was a fan fucking tastic car, did 200k in that time and apart from servicing it only needed a wheel bearing

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For me it's a toss up between the second two Skodas.

First I had this one.

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Which aside from the usual exploding clutch release bearing was reliable for the few months I had it, and drove lovely.  I still reckon the engine had seen some professional upgrades at some point as I've never had anything else which revved like that.  She would pull all the way to the red line without any hint of vibration, running out of breath or sounding strained.  Was so, so smooth, especially for an OHV engine.  Only ongoing complaint was the heater was useless.  However it was then written off in an RTA when a diesel tanker decided not to bother giving way at a crossroads.

Fast forward a couple of years and I picked this one up.

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Which was a problem child from day 1.  Never anything major really but there was always *something* playing up, and I never had any confidence in it.  Eventually it did strand me when the gear change linkage snapped.  Then one of the brake calipers seized up, and while working on that I discovered several areas of structural filler.  I cut my losses at that point and sold it on, especially as I had ascertained that the parts I needed to properly sort the injection system were completely unobtainable new, used or otherwise.  The losses were pretty minor though given this was still in the time where they were worth nothing.

Then in 2012(ish), this popped up relatively local to me.

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This was well into the period where they'd started commanding strong money, and I probably did even so pay over the odds for it.  However it was local, seemed pretty straight and most importantly was the correct colour.

Sadly I never really got it running right.  The vast majority of the issues I seemed to have stemmed from it having spent a long time sitting but never having been properly recommissioned.  Thanks to a failed expansion cap seal it had been overheated at some point so the head gasket had gone.  Sorting that resolved the cooling issues - for about six weeks when it returned with a new and exciting set of symptoms which were very difficult to provoke deliberately.  Between that and endless electrical issues (fun things like the one evening it decided to lose all power to the headlights when I turned the indicators on), and then discovering there was significantly more rust lurking in the inner sills than I'd realised kicked me into actually looking to move it on.  I just never had any confidence in the car so was never driving it.  Getting parts had turned into a major headache too, one I just didn't have the patience for.  As a final act of spite it blew the clutch hydraulic line in the MOT bay in the middle of the test days before I was meant to drop it off with the new owner.  With prices as they are now and ever dwindling spares availability I can't see me owning another Estelle.  Which is a real shame as they're such charming little cars and a well sorted one drives far, far better than their reputation would have you believe.  Seats are wonderfully comfortable too.

That's the only car I can think of which I actively found myself avoiding driving, and is without doubt the one I lost the most money on by a country mile.  So I'd say it's the worst car I've owned.  Especially as I paid top whack for it.

The Lada had major issues when I got it...but they were all pretty easily resolved in the first few weeks and were mostly due to old fashioned neglect and bodging and once I'd sorted them it performed the job of being a car absolutely fine.  Even if it did make the 400 mile trip home from buying it "interesting."

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^I feel your pain. My experience has been pretty similar over the years and yet as soon as one has gone we find ourselves craving another. That said, I've just sold my last Estelle and am unlikely to own another for the reasons above.

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