It has air conditioning, too

Monday July 18, 2005

Graham was right of course. So was I, though I reckon I had the harder job of it. All he had to do was to be right. I had the job of checking every car in our price range and zeroing in on the right choice.

So, it had to be a Fiesta. I did a jolly good deal, swapping the old Fiesta for a brand new Fiesta 1.4 Zetec Climate. All the specification I wanted except for automatic transmission. It’ll be stick shift for for me for another few years, I’m afraid. Britain hasn’t really caught on to automatic transmission yet, except on big cars. Oh, it’s available on smaller models, but at an extra cost. A big extra cost.

But, it has good, highly effective, low-CFC re-circulating air-conditioning. And I am so looking forward to that.

Actually, I was sold the minute I sat in the driver’s seat, adjusted it for height and rake, tilted the steering wheel to the angle I find most comfortable, adjusted the mirrors (all electric, heated) and turned the key in the ignition. Clever design. Has all the wrap-around snug feel of being in the pilot’s seat of a small modern jetplane. The drive was superb, tight, controllable, plenty of power but docile as a kitten after a big meal when simply pootling along.

I walked away from it in the dealer’s yard, with regret, thinking that it’d be over budget, out of reach, and resigning myself to a nice nearly-new alternative. The salesman went away to consult with his boss, leaving me with a fair-to-average cup of coffee in a large saleroom empty excpet for gleaming new automobiles and one gasping-hot old poet almost but not quite completely out of his element.

To my great delight, when he returned he told me I could have a new one, exactly the same as the one I’d just driven, to the same specification but in ‘moondust silver’ and with a slightly newer level of trim. We shook hands, I slapped my bank card on the counter for the deposit, he disappeared again, to return with the forms and all the details, completely satisfactory. So, ignoring the pounding of my heart, I signed on the dotted lines, and committed.

“When will it be ready?” I asked.

“End of this week, beginning of next. I’ll put the chasers on for you.”

“Fine. Can’t be soon enough for me now that I’ve made my mind up.”

Twelve years ago, when I bought the little blue Ford, that was it. Today, you have to have a meeting with a Ford UK business manager before they’ll let you go. By video conference, yet.

“Hi, Gareth,” I said, breezing in to the private consulting room and taking a seat on the sofa in front of the screen and camera.

“You’ve done this before, haven’t you?”

“How do you mean?”

“Video conferencing.”

“Oh. Yeah. I worked in computers all my life. I was one of the people who invented this.”


I do like being ahead of the game.

So, anyway, Gareth and I went through all the fine print of the financial side, much curtailed because I’m paying cash, and the protection required by law in favour of the consumer, and to detect money-laundering. I have one decision to take before collecting the new car and paying the balance and that’s whether or not to opt for an additional bit of insurance, called ‘Guaranteed Asset Protection’ which, for a single up-front premium, means that the write-off payment made by my insurers in the event of a serious accident will be made up immediately and without question by UK Ford to the full amount I paid originally. This guarantee last for three years and, given the design of modern cars with all their crumple-zones and the current standard of British Driving Lunacy, appeals greatly. I shall consult my pillow on that one.

When I told him the news Graham was surprised and delighted. I got a well done! which was greatly appreciated. Dolly seemed happy enough, too, when I told her that our trip down to Somerset would be in a reliable car, with lovely cool airconditioning.

And then, completely and utterly knackered by my day’s work, I toddled off for a late and extended siesta.

I got it done, though. And that in spite of it being yet another stinking hot day when all my instincts urged me to stay home in the cool.

Ok. Here’s to another decade of trouble-free motoring. I shall be in the region of seventy-six years of age when the new car comes to the end of its maximum practical life and I need once more to face the problem of choosing another new car. I’ll tackle that one when, and if, I come to it.

Oh. Did I mention? The new car has air conditioning, too.


2005 Fiesta 1.4 Zetec Climate; manufacturer's brochure photo
…just like the pilot’s seat in a small jetplane


2005 Fiesta 1.4 Zetec Climate; manufacturer's brochure photo
The little silver Ford



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