I have mentioned before my little Scoobi car, a Subaru Justy. It is a nice little car, economical to run and quite nice to drive. It is a bit tatty, but looks do not detract from the ability of a car to get me from where I am to where I want to be. And this car has four-wheel drive, which was very useful during the snows last year.
But I have been offered a Peugeot 306, 1998 model. It is a year newer than the Scoobie, a bit bigger, more comfortable and a lot tidier. It has been standing for over a year, so there is no MoT, VEL and the battery was rather non-responsive.
I now have the car at home. The battery is charged but the car misfires occasionally. The electronic odometer doesn’t work and I need the code to get the in-built radio working.
Being a 1600cc petrol engine, the car attracts a higher rate of VEL than the Scoobie and I guess the fuel consumption will not be as good. Insurance may be higher as well.
But, it is a lot tidier, much more comfortable, and that little bit bigger, meaning that I do not have to struggle to get Mum’s wheelchair in the boot.
So, this is my dilemma. Do I keep the very cheap-to-run Scoobie, or go for the newer, more comfortable and more expensive-to-run Pug?
Oh yes, and the Scoobie has a non-standard exhaust system which I have to weld up from time to time, whereas the Pug is standard in every way.
I always dread the sound that precedes the Scoobie’s exhaust falling apart, but it is not worth getting a new standard system. It would cost more than I paid for the car!
So, I could sell the Pug for the owner and receive a 10% commission on the sale, or sell the Scoobie and pay for the Pug for myself.
Of course, the Pug might fail the MoT big time, in which case there will be no decision to make, but I cannot find much wrong with it, so I think it will get through.
We have snow! Not a lot of snow, but as the temperature has been hovering at or below 0°C all day and will plunge to -9°C tonight, getting about is not too easy.
But my little Scoobie, with its clever all-wheel-drive system is brilliant. I was a bit dubious at first, but it will get up inclines covered with compacted snow where other classier cars have failed. In fact the only problem I have is weaving through abandoned cars. Another advantage is that it is not too powerful, so it cannot put a lot of power to the wheels when pulling away.
The Subaru Justy, it goes where other cars fear to tread (except Land Rovers, Pajeros, Troopers, Discos, Hilux, etc).
I am still running around in my little Subaru.
In the UK, cars over 3 years old have to be submitted for a road worthiness test. The Subaru was submitted on 30 September and it passed with no real problem. OK, the tyres won’t last another year, but the mechanics and bodywork did not pose any problems.
It is the best £100 I have spent on a car in a very long time!
If you have read previous posts, you will know that I swapped my Mazda Bongo, 8-seat MPV for a Subaru, not a rally-winning Impreza, but its smaller brother, a Justy.
Although it has been well abused by previous owners, this brave little machine is still going strong. In fact, we drove a 200 mile round trip last weekend.
It is not the most comfortable car in the world, having a very short wheelbase, rather stiff suspension and small wheels, but it did not cripple me in the same way as some small cars do. The exhaust is noisy, due to the non-standard rear box fitted (and re-fitted after it fell off). But it is at its worst at 3,000 to 3,500 rpm at full throttle. I rarely use full throttle.
It cruised happily at 70mph down the many motorways I drove along last week, and most important, is used less than £20 of petrol. When I had previously done this same trip in the Bongo, it cost me £40 in diesel, so I am happy.
Most importantly, I checked the oil level at the end of the trip and the car had not used any.
There are still little DIY jobs to do on it, which I will get around to one day, like fixing the dash lights, which don’t work at the moment, fixing the driver’s door window, which doesn’t work properly, and getting some more fixings to stop the interior trim from vibrating.
So, after a couple of months, I am still very pleased with my little car.
I’ve had it for a few days now and I am happy to say that I still like this little car. It is not the most comfortable car I’ve ever driven, nor is it the quietest – but then it does have a non-standard, large-bore exhaust fitted.
I’ve had a fiddle around with it, changed a few illegal bulbs for legal ones, fitted a few interior panel fixings to reduce the rattles and it has had a good clean, after which I realised that the paintwork is blue metallic!
A friend with a dent puller has pulled out the more serious dents and I have given the interior a serious vacuuming.
I haven’t finished. There are five air horns fitted to the car – with cable ties, not very secure. And do I really need five? I will be pruning them and fitting them with real nuts and bolts. The compressor needs to be fitted properly as well. It needs to be oiled from time to time but it is impossible at the moment. But that will be for a nice warm day, which it isn’t today.
I have been monitoring the fuel and engine oil consumption. It is returning about 36 miles/gal. which is not bad as most of my driving is on very short trips, and it has used no oil since I topped it up when I first acquired it, which is good news.
And finally, I have stuck my little Kenyan flag in the rear window – now I know it is my car.
… or my new old car.
I have just bought a banger to run around in, a 1998 Subaru Justy, not a bad little car … except that this one’s previous owner was a 19-year-old, and we all know what a 19-year-old can do to a car in six months, don’t we?
And this car is no exception. The exhaust is so big, I could park a Smart car in it. It has air horns, and the interior trim, where it is attached to the car at all, is held on with cable ties.
But mechanically, it is sound, brakes, steering, tyres and even the all-wheel drive. When I have replaced the cable ties with the proper trim fixings, it will look almost decent.
So why did I buy this old heap? Firstly, it cost me a mere £100. Secondly, the fuel consumption is about half that of my other vehicle, as is the vehicle excise licence. Barring any major breakdowns or failures, I should recuperate the cost of the car in six months.
So now, I have something else to tinker with. I already have my two Allen scythes. I have two 75cc four-stroke engines to fit on them, and now I have the car.
Then, when I am in Kenya, I have the anaerobic digester and all the other gadgets to play with.
It’s a good life.