After 6 years of happy motoring in my rally and supercar slaying Ford Ka, the Ka’s lack of outright poke and numerous Alfa Guillieta JTD hire cars helped me decide that it was at last time to buy something a bit faster and a bit better looking.
And so the search began; little did I know that it would take quite so long (5 months), that my “non fussy”, non-driving girlfriend would have quite such strong opinions on what to buy, or that I’d end up with a Celica!
Alfas, 3-Series, Z3M, Z4, A3, S3, S4, Evo’s, Imprezas, 200SX, S2000 and R32, 33 and 34 Skylines all took my fancy but failed to pass muster with the other half. Strangely, sometimes the actual car I was looking at was ruled out after she’d seen another car the same “in an uglier colour”. I won’t even start on the EP3 Civic Type R, which she threatened not to get into if I bought it…It took real effort not to test her on that.
On a visit to relatives in Newport and having visited the horrible CarCraft and MotorPoint, I chanced a visit to Toyota World and parked the Ka next to a Thunder Grey Celica in the customer carpark (you can see where this is going now can’t you?!). After asking the dealer about Celicas in general we were walked back out to the carpark. The car, an 2005 ’05 T-Sport had been part-ex’ed about 4 hours earlier and still had all the documents etc in the passenger footwell. After a quick hoon around the conveniently located Ring Road, I was set on the car and even the girlfriend had a massive grin on her face. This was the car we wanted and it was immaculate and very well cared for.
After a bit more of a chat with Richard the dealer, we disappeared to run the numbers and return for another look the next day. Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night…
The next day after another test drive and going over the car with Dad and some light haggling, I signed on the dotted line.
£7500, gone. £1100 via the part ex of the Ka, the rest from the bank. For that I’d get the Celica with a fresh 6yr service and MOT (£450ish), a year’s tax (£245), new discs and pads all round (£450 fitted) and a tank of petrol (£65) and a year’s warranty from Mr T (more on that in the next entry!). I left a happy man having totted up those things and realizing that I was actually paying closer to £6500 and not having to sort all of those things myself afterwards.
Two weeks later, I picked the car up, Richard the dealer again proving his salt, taking me around the car, explaining more about VVTL-I and bedding in the new brakes. He’d also got the very, very lightly kerbed wheels refurbed without prompting!
Off I went, wearing a big beaming grin to show off the new wheels to all and sundry. Only to see another identical T-Sport 300 yards down the road. A big wave from both cars and off back to Bristol.
Next time: First Impressions, detailing, having your car chase you home and the warranty.