Sunday, 31 August 2008

Thinking of buying something different

I know my trusty Citroën BX will not last forever and the prospect of promotion at work has set my mind to thinking of buying a different car. Watching the historic motor racing at Oulton Park last weekend and a passenger ride in a friend’s MG Midget has left me hankering for a classic.

A Midget probably wouldn’t do, I would like something that is capable of sustaining a decent motorway cruising speed and that I can drive for a couple of hours at a time. Although I don’t need to use a car for commuting I would need something happy to live outside in all weathers that could be used every weekend without demanding too much maintenance. Such maintenance as is required should not be so complex as to be beyond my modest mechanical ability, nor too expensive if I ask others to carry it out. Other practical considerations should, I suppose, include reasonable fuel consumption – ideally no worse than 20mpg. Emotional considerations, for want of a better expression, are that I would like something good to drive. A decent turn of speed would be good but not necessarily essential; what is more important is tactility; steering that is slop-free, accurate and if possible high-geared; similarly I’d like a gear lever that moves with slickness and speed, ideally controlling a well-spaced set of ratios; pedals should be well-spaced for heel-and-toe action and hopefully not needing either excessive pedal travel or undue effort. I’d also like something stylish – foolish, I know.

I imagine a two-litre Bristol would be perfect; sadly, such things are beyond my pocket and possibly require more specialised care and attention than I could give. Only one car in my experience has come close to meeting my requirements; the MGB roadster. I don’t think I’d want a roadster, a GT would be better for my needs, leaving only a few doubts about whether I could cope with just two seats. Other possibilities I have considered, without knowing if they are sensible or not, are the Triumph GT6 and Volvo Amazon.

There are two questions I need to answer. Firstly, is it a mistake to subject a classic to the sort of treatment I’d give it; i.e. using it twice a week whilst keeping it outside when not in use? Secondly, what cars would you suggest, given a notional budget of about £2,000?

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