For a few years I was bangernomist. I had a car I bought for £700. A £900 car replaced it. What went wrong then?
The key to bangernomics is in finding a car with a lot of remaining value in it and then depleting that value mercilessly. That means you buy an unloved car that someone has foolishly cared for long after the repair costs exceeded the market value. The classic bangernomic car is a 17 year old Vectra which is worth about €500 but is still as shiny and nice as the day it left the showroom.
It might have about €2000 of value locked inside it. It was the last car of one of those sensible, cautious old guys who understood deferred gratification and respect for resources (or just their own money). I don’t think these chaps will exist in four decades.
The other bangernomic car is one that is undervalued because it is in need of a costly repair but is otherwise fine. If you can do that repair without the help of an over-charging crook styled as a mechanic then you can liberate a lot of value from the car and then run it into the ground mercilessly. The classic model for this is a nearly worthless BMW 7-series in need of a gearbox change but which is mostly fault-free. Value of car: €1500. Cost of repair at a dealer: €3000. If you can do that repair for only the cost of the material (say a ‘box from a scrapyard for €250) you can lever the car’s value from nearly nothing to more than most people might think.
I fell into class 1 bangernomics when I got my well-cared for 14 year old car. It had bags of value left in it, as demonstrated by the fact it needed nearly no repairs for almost six years. The probable use-value was about €5000. I changed the suspension bits on schedule and replaced a timing belt. Apart from that, all the work I chose to have done was voluntary. I could have lived with a lot of niggly faults had I so decided.
My big mistake was to go further than this at the point when the car ought to have been sent off for crushing. It needed work all around on the steering, ´box, suspension and bushings. And I had this work done to the tune of €2000. Then I blew €1000 on a new paint-job. I had fallen in love with the car and lost the run of myself. Thus I ended up sinking a lot more than the value of another good second hand car into the vehicle and inadvertently shifted from bangernomics to classic car owner. That is the way of Gorfe. I have not recovered. I need to order a pinion valve now, so please excuse me. And there’s some underbody rust too…