Buying the perfect car can be a lot like finding the perfect man. Some go to the pub or a car yard for a broad selection on offer in one location. Some rely on the recommendations of family and friends. While those of us who are most brave dip our toes in the murky waters of online dating.
As I search for my next car after the sale of Kandii, I trawl the seedy, frigid seas of Facebook, Gumtree and eBay. They look handsome in their profile picture. They read well offering all of the features I am looking for. And then it is time for that first nerve racking blind date. Over this weekend I have driven more than 4 hours searching for my next car.
The first was a 1950s era Humber Snipe. A cool old car that promised to need work. I was prepared for the work but there was not enough preparation or work in the world that could resurrect the old Humber. I was concerned that with that much rust it would bend in half and snap if we tried to move it at all.
The second was a 1973 Toyota Crown and more than hour’s drive away. The guy had said it had a small amount of surface rust but was in good order otherwise and with a little charge to the battery I could drive it home. He was wrong. So very, very wrong. The rust was like a cancer infecting every panel. It didn’t start and the seats had been pulled out.
Just like every blind date that turns out poorly, I was simultaneously filled with a sense of disappointment that this was not the one and giddy with a sense of overwhelming relief that I didn’t take home a project to fill my shed with regret.
The third potential romance this afternoon was advertised as a 2008 SR5 Toyota Hilux. He said that it needed a few things but was a good ute. I drove half an hour there to find a battered beast tucked up under a carport. The seller couldn’t be there but he said to have a good look through and get back to him.
Popping the bonnet, I found that the Hilux was built in 1998 not 2008 and the battery was nonexistent. There were leaves piled up throughout the engine bay and parts of the car were heaped in the tray. I lifted the floor mat on the driver’s side and touched the carpet – oh so icky. Moist was not the appropriate word, goldfish could happily inhabit the floor of the Hilux. The registration sticker was nearly 3 years old implying that it had not been driven on the road for at least that long. I was left with the impression that the Hilux would make a rather ordinary dog kennel but not much else. Once more I drove home with a mix of disappointment and relief.
As I drove home in the Chev today I thought of the lessons of car shopping that apply equally well to dating.