Retail Automotive Therapy

I hate to admit it, but the girls are right. There is nothing like a bit of retail therapy to put a smile on your face. Even better when indulgence is with the support of ones spouse. Better still when it involves motor cars.

And so it was that yours truly was able to purchase not one, but two cars this weekend. Pure hedonism.

So, what did I buy? Well, one at least ticks the ‘sensible’ box, so it almost doesn’t count, as one of the pre-requisities of pure retail therapy is the purchase of the frivolous… so that was the Second purchase.

First, the new family wagon. We’ve been agonising over this for ages – and for once had a purpose in browsing the automotive weeklies – and we’re settled on a mid sized MPV that drives like a car, has 7 seats when you need them and a decent boot when you don’t. Diesel is a must and the two top contenders are the new Mazda5 and the new Vauxhall Zafira. Both have been well recieved by the press, but just try and get one.

Both are launched in July, but when could I get my mits on either? September. At the earliest, as I want a ‘special factory order’. Apparently a ‘special factory order’ constitues any car other than what they have in stock. So, what will they have in stock? ‘Don’t know it depends on what the factory send’…. which sort of begs the question of ‘Why don’t you tell them what you can sell…?’ Don’t start me – it’s all too hard. And by the way, if you are thinking I want zebra covered seats and pink paint with yellow spots, then you’re wrong. My ‘special order’ amounts to metallic paint, leather seats, climate control and parking sensors… hardly the stuff of dreams.

Sorry for the digression, but it does lead to the logic behind the sensible acquisition. One of our other requirements is a vehicle with off road ability… but we don’t want this to be the main transport so we were thinking of getting a Land Rover Defender for the mucky stuff and the family bus would tackle the school run and longer trips. Sound logic. So, in the short term I’ve plumped for a Land Rover Discovery 300 tdi. Epsom Green with tan trim, 7 seats, a/c and very tidy it is too. But I’ve always been so rude about 4WD cars?? Sure, in the urban jungle of Hong Kong I still am. Or in London. But not when you live on a farm in Wiltshire: so there.

Now, what of the frivolous? Well, with the long term plan of entering the odd classic rally and the Midget ruled out on the basis of too small and too fragile if we stack it, an MGB GT was on my shopping list. Big Mike sent me a contact for one in Swindon and after a bit of haggling, an inspection by a local garage that provided a few more bargaining points (OK and some bills in the near future too) a deal was done and LWD 359E was mine. It’s a 1967 BGT in British Racing Green with black interior. It’s tax exempt and has a fitted trip meter for rallies as well as harnesses and other than that is unmolested.

And I’m a happy camper. Or recently recovered retail therapy patient, take your pick.

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