I have had a fairly unhealthy obsession with cars all my adult life. Ever since passing my test as a cocky seventeen year-old, then being given a lairy Ford Escort for my eighteenth birthday, I have spent much of my spare time watching motoring shows on tv, reading online car websites and following YouTube channels where men with spiky hair, beards and luminous trainers gurn at the camera in their latest piece of exotic or outrageous hardware. Sooner or later, all this attention inevitably ends up feeding a desire in me to buy something I hitherto had never realised in needed so much. Women tend to display a similar trait with shoes and handbags, but in men it manifests itself in cars. Particularly if you live in Essex or work in the City. Or both in my case.
The pattern then follows of impulse buying, then convincing myself I don’t drive enough to justify having such an expensive car outside my house, calculating the depreciation, deciding to sell (usually at a loss) and then the cycle starts again when I spot something shiny and new and feel I must have it at all costs. An irrational and sad state of affairs. I dread to think of how much money I have lost down the years on cars and the financial ruin is tempered by many happy memories, but hindsight compounds the pain, because, almost without exception, if I had hung on to the cars I have owned, I would have made a killing, instead of pouring money down the drain. You see, I have always had a good eye for a good car, not necessarily a bargain, but always something that. stood out. A limited edition, a discontinued model, a future classic, a head turner. Buying these cars was always easy, selling always proved tricky. Both were always impulsive.
In the. old days, you’d place an ad in the classified section of the local paper, or maybe Exchange & Mart. Then along came Auto trader, who revolutionised things by sending someone along to take a photo of your car, to adorn the ad on its pages. All of that has been set aside by the internet and now you take your own photos and write your own words in the hope of securing a sale. This has always been a fine art, because your chances of success depend on how you word the description of your pride and joy. Colour, mileage, optional extras, service history, etc, etc. It’s long been viewed that “lady owner” was always a sign of a good car, when mentioned in a classified ad. I saw this recently, when trawling the internet and it made me think. You see, the term is made to convince the potential purchaser that the car is a pristine example and has not been ruined by some boy racer, who has thrashed the engine and burned the tyres. In my experience, it’s the opposite that is true.
A man’s house is often a tip, with piles of discarded takeaway cartons, vying for space on the carpet with old newspapers, dirty trainers and smelly socks. Doors hanging off their hinges, dirty dishes piled in the sink and nothing in the fridge. His car, however is a shrine to cleanliness, always waxed and polished, kept away from the elements and fastidiously vacuumed, dust free and fragrant inside. A woman’s home is spotless, but her car….
Women may like to give their car a name, put eyelashes on the headlights, paint it pink and play Taylor Swift non-stop on the stereo, but inside it will always be something a first year university student would be proud of, with rubbish on the floor, sweet wrappers and empty milk shake cartons in the door bins. Lip sticks and mascara pens in the centre console, foundation fingerprints on the gear knob and the mirror. Chewing gum in the ashtray and lolly sticks stuck to the carpet. And don’t go looking in the glove box…The array of lights on the dashboard show the car has never been serviced, the oil never topped up and there is more water in the Sahara Desert, than is present in the radiator. The tyres are flabby and a selection of dents and scratches serve as parking sensors. Years ago, I remember an ex-girlfriend arriving at my house complaining that her car was making a strange groaning noise and emitting a nasty burning smell. It turned out she had made the half hour journey over to mine with the hand brake on the whole time. Another one had caused an accident, because although she indicated right, of course she really meant to go left.
So here’s some good consumer advice to all you would-be car buyers out there; if the ad says. “One Lady Owner”, avoid like the plague!!!