The new tyres I fitted in my last entry have impressed me; much better than the old ‘Admiral’ jobbies, wearing much slower too. I can’t however work out whether or not they were any better in this year’s snow… Being young and foolish I went out pushing my luck again; East Kent had some pretty bad snow just before Christmas but that didn’t perturb me… I covered a fair bit of the coastline for giggles and found some great single track lanes surrounded by farmland covered in fresh snow and despite its depth in places we got stuck just once, and despite the useless handbrake that barely holds the car on slopes, we managed some pretty epic drifts too!
I’ll let the snowy pictures do the talking, but I’ll just say that it was great fun and I’d like to think I was learning about the laws of physics and grip etc too…
Anyway, fast forward to just after Christmas and as the snow was fading, BumCar blew its off-side dipped beam bulb, so I replaced both sides for just over £30 with Halfords Ultra Brilliance bulbs; so much better than the standard bulbs but oh my giddy aunt, what a palaver to fit!! Two hours it took me! The clamshell front end makes it impossible to access the back of the headlights from under the bonnet. Instead you’ve got to remove blanking panels from each front wheel arch and fiddle about blind. Alternatively I could’ve booked it in with my local Renault dealer and parted with £150 and they’d have done it for me. Uh, thanks, but no thanks…
At the same time I had a very minor accident resulting in the need for a replacement front bumper… Over the summer a school friend and his girlfriend moved into a farmhouse in the hills near Goodwood in Sussex. Access was via a small, hilly and winding farm track on which is a tight, downhill right-hander with a big puddle on the apex. A puddle which over the day Land Rovers and tractors splash through soaking the tarmac and coating it with mud. As the evening wears on this freezes and creates a surface slipperier than an ice rink, as I found out.
I’m crawling down towards this corner, about 10/15mph, tick-over in 2nd, I turn in, all fine, then I find myself starting to understeer, I turn the wheel a bit more and quietly swear to myself as I realise it’s not working. In vain hope I did something I probably shouldn’t have and lightly pressed the middle pedal, but it made no difference… BANG! I’d hit THE most pathetic ‘bank’ ever. I couldn’t even check the damage there and then because it was physically impossible to stand on the road, I think I managed to fall three or four times before I gave up and carefully made my way back to the house and kipped on their sofa.
In the morning I found I’d broken a clip on the side and split the bumper all the way along, not really noticeable thankfully, and made a nice hole in the near-side… I was absolutely gutted, and my parents weren’t best pleased either. Still, we planned to fix it over my Easter Holidays with some brute force, paint, filler and a soldering iron…
So it had taken a light beating, but otherwise all was good until February. I was back for reading week and helping this friend and his girlfriend move into their own, and rather flash flat in town when the car started making a hideous metallic tappety sound from the engine bay. It sounded like a 2.25 diesel SII Land Rover! I took it straight to the nearest garage who later diagnosed that a pulley had jammed and the cambelt had jumped two teeth. At this point six months had passed since the new cambelt was fitted, but I’d only covered 2,000mi so the supplying garage were invited to view the car and come up with a solution. They wanted nothing to do with it, so it was fixed up, thankfully unscathed, at a cost of £600. Ouch. Along with this a list of things that needed replacing was given, totaling £1150 and that’s when the decision to sell it was made. I needed something cheap to run, no more than about 2yrs old and with a warranty from a main dealer. The search began. I looked at Fiat Panda 100HPs first, but couldn’t find many around in the age and price range I was looking in, Fiesta Zetec Climate 1.4s were ruled out because for some annoying reason, I can’t not focus on the heating elements in the front screen and so it was left down to VW Polo 1.4s and Peugeot 207 1.4VTi 95s….
Meanwhile, BumCar was playing up. It’s steering lock was refusing to work, the airbag warning and ‘SERVICE!’ lights wouldn’t go off and the auto wipers had a mind of their own… To top this off, it needs an oil change service and its MOT was due to expire mid-April. Thankfully the weather improved, hours of fiddling with the troublesome under-seat wiring looms sorted the faults and a PX deal was made against a new car.
Our local VW dealer in Guildford offered £1000 for it against a grey 2008 ’08’ Polo Match 1.4 3dr with 38,000 miles on it. We didn’t think we’d get that much, but the Polo was still on the pricey side. Our local Peugeot dealer, also in Guildford offered £1,300 for it in part exchange for a grey 2009 ’58’ 207 Sport 1.4VTi 95 3dr with 17,500 miles on the clock. The 207 was cheaper to buy than the Polo, has a year’s warranty, 7 days’ free insurance, 20,000 less on the clock and we got a better PX deal, so we bought it. BumCar goes in half an hour (Tuesday April 12th), 2 days before it’s MOT expires and 6 days before it’s 2nd anniversary with me and I pick up a shiny shark-like Peugeot 207 Sport.
So we can relax, Dad’s wallet can take a sigh of relief and I get a shiny new car.
Farewell BumCar, I’ll miss you.