I have just been through my first experience of buying a car for my eldest daughter. Now, you have to bear in mind here that her dad i.e. me, is a major petrol head and loves cars. So, problem number one is dad. Truth be told I already had a list of cars in my head that I had shortlisted for my darling No.1 kid – but would she feel the same?
So, onto problem number two. Eldest daughter. I love her to bits but I had a feeling that she would be overly explicit with regard to what she wanted for her first set of wheels. My mind went like this… New car (fat chance, my budget all in with insurance was only £2000), Bling (Mercedes, BMW…err, not on my watch), Pink with mirror flake paint (you kidding? This thing has to sit outside my house…) and kick ass stereo (again, no, I want her to appreciate the sound of a car, identify noises and possible problems by ear, hear emergency services coming up behind her and so on).
Problem number three? Insurance. We’re based in the UK so insurance is a big (financial) deal. I had heard horror stories talk about first time drivers costing as much as £4000 for the first year (admittedly for chaps – girls are apparently less risk. Little do insurance companies know…only kidding Mr Insurance Man). Anyway, insurance costs are crazy so this was a major consideration.
So, the day of the discussion was upon us. It was the weekend. I had walked down to my local Pub at lunch time to have a pint of my favourite Ale (a pint of ‘Sheredrop’ if you are asking) and then returned home. That evening I opened a bottle of Merlot, poured a glass for my wife and a larger one for me. I thought I might need it. I went through in my head the ‘fallout’ scenario if the eldest ‘kicked off’ about the available choices I was about to propose. Unfair I realise but I was scared – very scared. She wants a Ferrari and I was thinking Austin Allegro….
So, there we were. Sat in the lounge. Eldest sat on the sofa with her mobile phone in hand. Me on the opposite sofa, wine in hand sweating profusely. This could get messy.
“So young lady, your first car beckons. I promised you one on your 17th birthday…so before dad kicks off on his ideal list of possible cars what are you thinking of? What, in an ideal world, would you like?”
“Well papa, it must be red, or white or black”. “Fine” I replied. So far so good. “And what else?” I asked nervously.
“Don’t mind” she replied. Silence. Could I believe my ears? Red? That’s it? God I love this kid…
“Er, okay…do you want to see the list of cars I have made…?” She came over and sat next to me. I had a folder on my Mac with some photos of the cars I was looking at. We had a browse.
Now, as I said earlier, I am a petrol head at heart. I knew what I wanted in an ideal world for my girl. I was not worried about high mileages providing there was a full service history with it. It probably had to be Japanese with a 1.0 litre engine, chain driven ideally, and with five doors (cheaper to ensure you know). A car club presence would be good (again, cheaper car insurance) and ideally it would be devoid of most electric things – less to fiddle with and less to go wrong. Not ‘slammed’ and not ‘tuned’.
I showed her my list all from around mid 1990’s to early 2000’s; Subaru Justy, Suzuki Swift, Daihatsu charade, Nissan Micra (K11 model) and a VW Lupo (the only non-Japanese offering).
“I like those” she said pointing at the Lupo and the Micra (the Micra I must say was my favourite choice from the start – a cracking little car). We chatted and I managed to steer her away from the Lupo simply because it only had three doors (and the general electrics, door locking and windows on them are prone to expensive repairs).
So, there we were. In ten minutes we were on the same page. I was gob smacked. Eldest was smiling…she thought the Micra was cute and retro. Result. I downed my glass of red and hit eBay, autotrader and the classifieds.
A stroke of luck – I stumbled across a red, 1997 1.0 Micra at a car specialist about 15 minutes away. 121,000 miles with full service history and local ownership since new. Gave them a call and arranged to go and see it the following day. A deal was done there and then after the test drive. My daughter was over the moon and dad was a very happy chappy. Car is pictured below.
As a footnote the car was for sale at a fantastic local dealer specialising in all sorts of cars from Ferraris to Red, Nissan Micras. They were easy to deal with, very friendly (even replaced the original radio-cassette with a nice upgrade CD player unit) and I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone looking for a car in the Surrey Hills/West Sussex area (between Guildford and Horsham). Give Ollie or Taylor a call at O.Davis Cars if you fancy a look. Their website with contact details is at:
I’ll certainly be back…I have fallen for the gorgeous M5 that they have for sale currently.
Sssshh. Don’t tell the wife.