OJX 35T. My first car. I bought it for I think £1,000 which, in hindsight was a little high. It came from a garage and was in good condition. I don't recall any big problems with the engine - it was just the bodywork rusting which was a problem. I ended up taking it to a scrap yard and getting £25 for it after discovering that it would need a lot of welding work doing to it to pass its MOT.
AKM 178T. This was a quick buy after having to get rid of my Escort. I think I bought it from a private seller for £350 which was reasonable. I checked that there was no rust at an advanced stage and that the engine appeared ok. These were my main concerns. Again, it turned out to be a relatively reliable car. Again, I couldn't stop the inevitable onslaught of rust but it wasn't structural.
I ended up giving it to my brother. It had this annoying problem of not wanting to start on very cold mornings. I tried everything I could think of but to no avail and so I decided to get rid of it. At the time my brother was without his car and so I gave it to him. I joked he could give me £50 for every year it lasted. To my amazement, my brother actually ran it for another year, but I never claimed my money!
E833 LCK. Bought for £2000 from a private seller, this was the fruit of a lot of thinking and a lot of searching. I knew exactly what I wanted. I liked Fords for being easy to service and parts were easy to find and cheap. However I was clocking up 22,000 miles per year and the 1.6 diesel engine's claimed 70mpg at 56mph was appealing. I wanted the GL because of it's touch of luxury compared with my previous cars.
This car served me very well. I couldn't fault the fuel consumption. It was a comfortable car and tidy looking. But just like my other two Fords, it too suffered from rust. I used to let a Ford garage service it once a year and give it an MOT but the other 3 services it required in the year I did myself. I think these 'intermediate' services worked out at costing on average £30 a time - which was less than half what a garage would want. I did have other expenses which crept up throughout its life but I think you have those with any car over 3 years old.
In the end I changed this car because something must have gone in the engine. Not a big thing but just after Christmas 1997 I noticed that it was not accelerating quite as good as usual. Not by a lot and I tried to convince myself I was imagining it but then my mpg chart confirmed my suspicions. I didn't try hard to find the problem because when it had its MOT in Jan 1998 it needed a new steering rack and J.A. Taylors in Rossendale did a very poor job at fitting the replacement. The steering, when parking felt very 'restricted' and on inspection this looked to be because the rubber bellow on one end of the rack appeared to have been fitted incorrectly. I should have gone back and got it fixed but by this point I was starting to loose interest in the car and I started looked for its replacement. When I did eventually trade this car in though (and got £750 for it), I felt a little sad because it had been such a good car.
I wasn't hesitant to buy another diesel but I was willing to sacrifice a few mpg's for a little extra acceleration. And again I like a few electrical gadgets in my cars and so I wanted a 'top of the range' model. The 306 XTdt fitted the bill perfectly. The 306 was acclaimed for its good handling and the 1.9 turbo diesel engine had good reviews. I could expect petrol-like performance and anything up to 60mpg - it just depended how much I used that turbo!
It was a sensible yet modern looking car, had a cheap insurance group and my budget would mean I could buy a 3 year old XT. I could have got a lower spec model for less or a slightly newer model but I wanted an XT - it looked smart and was a little exclusive. I hadn't realised quite how exclusive it was until I tried finding one. I got my Dad looking in the papers in Bradford and I can't recall the number of times I had to explain that it was an 'XT'dt I was after and an 'XL' or 'XR'dt, no matter how similar sounding, just wouldn't do. Even when you did find an XT you had to be quick because they didn't hang around long. I ended up buying one from Ashton Lyne Motors in Ashton-Under-Lyne for £8,750, £750 of that coming from my old Escort.
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