The impending fate of a second old car

Never buy a cheap old car. At least, not unless you either know its provenance; fancy messing around with it, shelling out loads of money for new bits on a not-infrequent basis; or have a penchant for classic vehicles, in which case make sure you buy a really old one (which certainly won’t be cheap).

When we moved to Devon last year, we decided to buy an old Ford Escort the garage in our village as a run-around for me. It was great – only 2 previous owners, not many miles: ideal. Until I crashed it on Dartmoor, unable to stop on a sheet of ice on a back-road. We hadn’t anticipated my getting a job with an 80-mile round trip each day.

Fortuitously, my brother was selling a similar car (another Ford Escort, in fact) so it seemed ideal to buy another one. I’ve since discovered a truth which I’m sure is readily apparent to you: all old cars are not created equal.

In the last 4 months, I’ve needed to replace:

  • the catalytic converter
  • the battery
  • the spark plugs
  • the spark coil
  • the HT leads

The garage were looking at another problem yesterday. The mechanic called me, and—with a nonchalance I’ll remember for a while—said, “it’s probably not worth fitting a new engine to a car of this age”.

New engine? Hardly.

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