A DTW Writer Seeks Professional Help
I’ve tried in a previous piece to put forward the many logical reasons for secondhand car ownership. I’d like to think I am that logical person but there’s another side to it. There are people in this world who have trouble with relationships. Playing The Field, Commitment-Phobic, Philandering, Flirting, call it what you will. People like that get a bad press. Love Rats, Don Juans, Tramps – there are so many nasty names. But I know exactly how those people feel.
They walk into a room, see someone and they fall in love. For that instant they are totally honest in their feelings. But tomorrow they meet someone else and …. well. The problem with having that attitude when dealing with other people is, unless you really are both playing by the same rules, someone usually gets hurt and someone else ends up looking abominable.
That’s the good thing about cars – they don’t hold grudges. Some people are marque loyal. They look at every Alfa Romeo that appears and, however mundane and disappointing it is, they’ll defend it as if it was a Zagato bodied 1750 6C. I don’t really feel that loyalty. True, I have a car that I have owned for 19 years, and I really like it, but I can’t pretend that I’m always faithful. What can I do?
The problem is the way they flaunt themselves at every opportunity. Take the London Road, coming South out of Streatham and Norbury. I frequently drive down that stretch and there they are, almost falling off the pavements, trying to tempt me. Dealer after dealer, lining them up, all shiny and valeted, their windscreen banners shouting at me ‘One Careful Owner’, ‘Low Mileage’, Full History’. They might not look much to you – I mean we’re not talking exotica, maybe the odd mid-range BMW or MX5, but to me …. I just want them……all.
Oddly, new car showrooms don’t have the same allure They lack variety. To labour the above analogy, they are a bar full of blondes. Not like a proper forecourt where a Clio sits next to a Galaxy sits next to a Volvo 850, sits next to an Astra Convertible, sits next to a Picasso 7 Seater, sits next to a Toyota Avensis, sits next to a Fiat 500. Now, when these cars were new, I never wanted most of them. Polished and prim in their main dealerships, they seemed sadly ordinary and dull.
But here, in a real street, their noses pointing out, they just say ‘take me’. And I would. I crawl along in the traffic and I wonder how that Galaxy feels. I want to sit in that driver’s seat, fiddle with the switches and drive it. But then, maybe that Astra Convertible … I mean it’s a sunny day. I’d really like to see that hood go down. Did they all have electric hoods? Mind you that Avensis has a sunroof. I’d be invisible in that – invisible is good when you’re driving.
Even when I get home, you’d think that itch would stop, but it doesn’t. There’s the bloody internet, crowded with sites. I promise myself not to, but then I’m on mobile.de. Admittedly, on the net, my tastes often get a bit more exotic. My God, a Lancia Flaminia Berlina for 12,000 Euros – and the pound’s strong. Or what about a Mercedes GLK – unavailable in the UK, it actually looks pretty good for a modern-day Merc. I could import one.
Then the romantic in me trips in. There’s a Tatra in a field in Poland that really needs saving by someone. I am that man! Except, maybe first I’ll go and look at the Skoda Yetis on Autotrader. And how much would it cost to ship that Lincoln Continental from Florida?
And don’t even get me started on magazines. Classic & Sports Car has two used car sections, one after the editorials, another at the back. How bloody irresponsible can you get?
Car, Cars, Cars and More Cars still. I really do want them all. Until tomorrow.