Kicking tyres

Tuesday March 22, 2005

This evening I strolled along the lane to the used car lot up by the main road to inspect a bright red Nissan truck we’d seen when driving off to the dump. Four-wheel drive, 2.8 litre diesel engine, complete with a removable box top over the truck bed at the back.

Can’t remember the last time I went to kick tires in a used car lot. Must be twenty years back, perhaps more. The Nissan was nice enough, and there were several more there, some better, some worse, along with a good selection of Land Rovers. I very soon found myself being depressed by the experience, just as I remember. There were some good looking vehicles there, particularly among the Land Rovers. It was damp, though, from the evening hose-down, and there was that old familiar chill about the place. I really do not like used car lots, never have, never will.

When I got home and sat down to recover, Graham said: “Well?”

“The Nissan’s good, and there were some really nice Landrovers.”

“Prices?”

“Nothing we couldn’t afford. Trouble is, it’s rather like looking at second-hand AGA cookers.”

“How do you mean?”

“You know, very nice, but I’d rather have a new one.”

“Ah. Anything else?”

“I could certainly see myself driving something like that, and enjoying it. It’d have to have automatic transmission, though. I don’t fancy wrestling with manual shift on a great chunky vehicle like that.”

“So it was worth looking, then?”

“Oh, yes. Though if we were to buy one I’d want to get it from a reputable dealer, not some dank hole-in-the-corner operation.”

“Interesting.”

I’ve owned two such vehicles in my time—a clapped-out old Range Rover, and a smart but very clunky old Land Rover. The Range Rover was too heavy on my pocket, seeming to need some major work or other once a month or so. The Land Rover, while fine mechanically, was simply too heavy on my arms and shoulders to be practical.

So, I don’t know. In the right place, and in the right circumstances, out in the wilds, I can see the sense of having an all-weather, go-anywhere vehicle. I do not approve of those people who think it necessary to drive such automobiles in the city, though, where the nearest they get to off-road work is a run through the car wash once a week. It’d be a wrench, though, after all these years of driving a reliable, ready for anything except deep snow little blue Ford.

Typical of me, when I was looking at them, one thought was foremost in my mind. They’d make great, elevated all-weather sketching stations, parked by the side of a lonely mountain road.

I don’t enjoy kicking tyres, however. There’s a lot more to selecting a used car than kicking tyres, and I’m not knowledgeable enough to do anything else. It’ll have to be a new one, I’m afraid, or nearly new, and from a proper dealer with a good reputation to protect.

Hey ho. Who knows what the future may hold? I don’t, and I don’t want to. Knowing the future would take all the fun out of the present, that’s what I say.

 

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