Thursday, 11 April 2013

An Awfully Big Number


If I read his comments correctly, my brother was commiserating with me for my misjudged hubristic choice of not one but two BMWs (consecutive not concurrent), as against a VW, Peugot or Daiwoo.  The following anecdote will I’m sure further boost his self-esteem.  Bear with me, this could take some time.

The car, a BMW 335i coupé, was only a few days old when I went the wrong way down a hill in Bradwell, Derbyshire, and heard a crunch ahead of me.  The bend was too tight and there was an invisible raised kerb.  As is my wont, I took it on board, made sure it was still driveable and carried on back home to Reading.  My usual approach to such situations can be summed up as a simultaneous ‘oh shit’ and ‘oh well’.

Over the next few years, the beemer’s front bumper acquired a few more scratches and scrapes, until about eighteen months ago I decided it was becoming embarrassing and took it in to the garage.  I was directed to the Body Shop, where I discovered that they didn’t use Tea Tree Blackhead Exfoliating Wash but instead simply scraped the skin off and repainted it, at a cost of £450.  I made my excuses and left.

So, one day last week, I’m parking up at Waitrose when I accidentally pull six inches too far over what proves to be my second, fatal, high kerb nemesis.  I have no choice but to reverse off, knowing what’s coming.  Sure enough, a familiar crunch sound.  The man parking two slots along shakes his head.  “That’s why I always reverse in.”  But then I wouldn’t be able to get the trolley to the boot; and what’s a kerb doing there anyway? and several other thoughts flash across my mind, before I splutter “Why do they make the kerbs so high?”  He shakes his head again.  “They’ll just say BMW make the cars too low.”

So it’s back to the Body Shop.  It’s the same man as eighteen months ago.  “You again?” he doesn’t say, though I can hear him think it.  We take a look.  By now I’m getting used to people shaking their heads at my car.  “The bumper has to be replaced.”  He doesn’t say ‘this time’.  He doesn’t need to say how cheap it’s going to be.  As we walk away, the £ meter ticking up by the step, he does a double take.  “Oh dear.  It’s cracked the wing too.”

So here’s the awfully big number, which will make my brother glad he chose a VW.

£1,637.64, plus VAT.  I really like the .64. 

It went in this morning, and will be ready Tuesday.  I have a nice little Citroen loan car, which I shall hammer the guts out of over the next few days.  And I had a polite call at lunchtime, advising me that they’d found a wee dent in a door sill and a scratch somewhere else, and would I like them to fix those too, for another £500.01? 

12 comments :

  1. Golly. That's about what I paid for my whole car.

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  2. Motoring is an expensive hobby, isn't it?

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  3. Z - Do people still say, "Golly"? Well, obviously, you do. I was just wondering if it was still acceptable given the marmalade scandal of a few years ago.

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  5. Look at it this way. It's a lot cheaper than buying a new car. Plus they'll probably leave it all clean and shiny (I love it when they do that).

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  6. Is it just us lot? The kerb capture thing? I have done it twice with my past car which was admittedly stupidly low off the ground. The Co-op car park in Malborough is a prime example, so be warned. Is there a website identifying high kerb car parks? Or an app? Anyway I think I sympathise (am I meant to?) That's one of the reasons I changed to a Tiguan. Also the snow likely to be encountered on Dartmoor, from what I remember.
    Is it a 2CV loan car? You do still see them around. Dinky.

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  7. I'd rather have a Citroen as a courtesy car than the horrid Vauxhall I had while my car was being repaired last year.

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  8. It's a C3. Quite nice actually, and it apparently has a panoramic sunroof, whatever one of those is. The windscreen wipers are incomprehensible, though, especially the rear one, and it doesn't have rear parking sensors - amazing how you get to rely on those!

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  9. Ooh I quite fancied a C3, if I ever get to change my 11 year old Fiat Punto but .... no rear parking sensors? Glad you told me as I couldn't consider it! I had a Citroen Dyane once in Kermit Green - loved it.

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  10. A friend used to have a 5 series bmw. His winter tyres with alloy wheels cost half the price of the Nissan I was driving then, seriously. When you really do not care for the money, take an Alpina, a steel fist in a velvet glove, a joy to ride. Meself would always prefer a C6.

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  11. I'm sure Citroen would do sensors at a price, if you asked them nicely, Sue. I haven't managed to reverse into anything with the sensorless C3 yet, though.
    Mago, you're right, beemers don't do cheap. They, or at least mine, tick all the boxes of fast, comfortable, solicitous (it warns me when the temperature falls below 3C; what am I supposed to do about that??) and, importantly, intimidating. Which a C3 isn't, I find.

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  12. so pleased you're having it made to look nice, keep it that way until June please.

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