My new drive

So anyway, over the new year period, the registration on my much-loved Land Rover Discovery expired. I'd just crashed it and had the body repairs done, only to be told that to get registered for 2011 would cost me a tad more than it was actually worth.

So I cut my losses and let it go for spares money. My local Land Rover specialist took it off my hands for a fair price, and I commenced searching for a new car.

And here's where it got complex. I wanted to buy a Mitsubishi Triton GLXR crew-cab ute, a quite capable four-wheel drive with a reputation as a solid, affordable workhorse. New, that was about $37,000. So I asked for finance.

They said "no".

Long story, involving arcane finance stuff meaning I can't count a substantial chunk of my income (rental for two houses)), but they can count me as paying my entire shared mortgage.

So I asked for $20,000 for a second-hand Triton.

And they said "no, same reason as before and by the way you live in Sydney therefore you spend more than you earn and according to our computer you're currently eating your own boots and begging on a street corner in Canterbury".

So I said "bollocks", and had a sulk, as I do when I can't get my own way.

Esther got pissed off with this sulking in short order, and knowing me very well, tempted me with a car that I could afford to buy in cash. 

Now, I have a policy which I've held for four or five years now. As a closet petrol-head, I don't allow myself to buy small fast cars any more. I get speeding tickets. I get pulled over by the police and I scare my passengers. But Esther wanted my sulk to end, so she exploited my weaknesses and sent me off to look at a small, fast, red car. And I, wanting the sulking to end, bought it. I handed over the cash, haggle-free.

It's a 1992 model-year Toyota Celica ST184 SX, sometimes termed the "Mark V" Celica. It's a 2.2L DOHC, petrol injected lightweight sports coupe, and it's my second Celica, having bought a throwaway wreck of a MK IV ST162 a few years back for less than $1k.

I quite like it.

It's battered and bruised, with several dents. The paintwork is a little faded, as befits a 20-year old car, the aircon is broken and the gas struts no longer hold up the boot. But the engine was entirely reconditioned about 30,000kms ago, the suspension is still stiff yet lithe and it's been kept inland so there's no tinworm from sea air. The upholstery is intact, the stereo works and the gearbox doesn't whine or drop out of gear. It also has this "please throw me into corners very fast" feel. Which I like. Dave The Happy Singer is already calling it my mid-life-crisis car and screaming when he gets into the passenger seat.

Downsides? Well, it's as old as the hills. It has no bluetooth, yet. The cupholder gets in the way of my phone charger and it's front wheel drive. Celicas went over to FWD at generation 4, with a 4WD GT4 model introduced at the same time. Shame, because I think this car with RWD would be immense fun.

So I'm going to fix the aircon and the boot struts and see if I can keep it out of roadside ditches until next year, at which time I'll reconsider my options. Now that the small fast car rule is broken, who knows what I'll get next time round.

posted @ Saturday, February 26, 2011 10:54 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: My new drive

Left by ausduck at 2/28/2011 6:46 AM
At least it's not an '09 Harley ElectraGlide and passengers get to wear seat belts whilst screaming :)

# re: My new drive

Left by RipleyP at 3/1/2011 10:43 AM
I have a midlife crisis every 5 years. I started them when I was 20 as i felt I might not have the energy later on.

I recomend you buy a large babies passifier and should the screaming of passengers become distracting just apply it and enjoy the whiteknuckle silence.

# re: My new drive

Left by jason at 3/13/2011 7:50 PM
@RipleyP I LOOOVE the pacifier idea. It's either that or I treat my passenger like parrots and put a sheet over their heads so they can't see anything

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