To introduce my latest car to you properly, I feel the need to compare it to the one it replaced.
I'd had a couple of Saabs for a few years and the combination of the qualities of those cars and the professional attention of the garage that sold them to me, saw me back for a third time looking for another Saab from them. My budget this time though was sub-€20K and I was led around a yard of pretty sad looking specimens from the now defunct Swedish car-maker.
Motivation is a funny thing though. The bus that dropped me down to the garage was the first one I'd been on in nearly thirty years and the thought of returning home on another one saw me asking, "Have you anything else I might like?" As the salesman, (whom I knew outside of his job), led me back down the road to another yard, he slyly asked, "Would you consider a BMW?"
In short, I handed over sixteen big ones for a 523 and it cost me a grand a year after that just for road tax. The thing would practically refuse to go to the end of the street without a €100 of petrol in the tank and I was even penalized by the insurance rip-off merchants for my choice. The monthly cost of running my four-year-old six-cylinder beamer was twice what my mortgage was costing me.
"When it was good it was very, very good and when it was bold it was horrid." It ate up the Cork-Dublin Road effortlessly and when you floored it and knocked the 'tiptronic.' It responded by kicking you up the arse and then sling-shooting past 100MPH in seconds. The speedometer needle went one way as the petrol needle went the other. It was a big car that loped along confidently. But all of that good stuff happened when it was going!!
For three years it broke my heart. The day I bought it, my local publican introduced me to a guy in the bar, (I'll call him Mick). He was the head mechanic at Cork's biggest BMW dealership, had twelve years of BMW experience and was trained in Germany. He asked me what I wanted to know so I said that cars from different makers tended to have their own quirks so what had BMW cars got in common. "The pricks who drive them," was his answer.
It failed the NCT three years in succession so I drove it anyway. At it's fourth test they told me there was a part in the front suspension that had too much play on it and when I brought it over to Mick, he said that the play in that particular part was a safety feature unique to 5-series BMW's. Incidentally, the part cost €1,100 before it was fitted so I said, 'fuck it,' that's one step too far. Including all of the bits I reckoned the BMW was costing me just short of €4,000 a year to keep on the road illegally. A Polish guy gave me €400 for it and he didn't need an NCT because he was driving it home, (to Poland).
Seeing my predicament, an older sister told me I could have her old Ford Fiesta that was sitting outside her country home unused for a couple of years. I insisted on buying it and after some haggling, she accepted a single Euro in full and final payment for the Fiesta. After jump-starting it I drove it away and booked it in quickly for an NCT, (National Car Test). I wanted a full list of things from them that were wrong with the car and I could hand both over to the garage. Incredibly, the NCT passed it as roadworthy. Two NCT's later and I can report the only outlay was a new battery and three separate service jobs.
I use about €40 of petrol every three weeks, comprehensive insurance is €300 and car tax about the same. It is terribly uncomfortable, passing maneuvers have to be planned a day in advance and a lot of stuff rattles even at low speeds. But it isn't a worry under any circumstances. The Gardai don't even give me a second look, she starts everyday and I don't try to keep it clean inside or out. It is what I always wanted – trouble-free motoring. I never find myself thinking, "I'd love to just go for a burn in the Fiesta." But when I have to get from 'A' to 'B' it's there, always ready to go.
So I've come to like my Fiesta. Think of it as appreciation rather than love though.
I'm still going to get an Audi when I win the Lotto soon!