on cars, dreams and bad hair days

apparently i have been beeming lately, largely induced by a lack of a roof over head.

 

2 weeks ago today i bought myself another cabriolet – and i do love cabbies – the wind in the hair, the fresh air, the sun on your head, the feeling of space…

 

it’s been 6 years since i made a dream come true with a peugeot cabriolet, which i only had for 7 months. it was a fancy car that i also didn’t fel comfortable taking on the dirt roads to the cederberg for example.

 

i’ve always had my eye on a vw golf cabriolet – a great mix of toplessness and practicality. 4 seats and a decent sized boot.

 

so after a recent cederberg camping trip i was on a mission to find myself one of these cars. they were now about 13-14 years old, so second-hand enough for me to be able to afford one.

 

i spent an hour on the sunday afternoon when we returned driving up and down voortrekker road looking in at all the second hand car dealers. at the time i ws shocked to see how many of them had closed down – a clear indication of the economic times.

 

i eventually found a dark blue golf 3 cabriolet tucked away at the back of a dealership with a price tag of r65’000 in the window. i took down the details and started dreaming. about the wind in the hair and feeling of space…

 

on the monday i called the dealership and arranged for them to bring the car to me. this is something i haven’t always got right in the past – but with negotiation and trying to get the best for me and my company being an integral part of me new job (and the second hand car dealers’ need for business i suppose) he agreed to bring the car to my office for me to look at. i had this with every car i looked at over the next week, even one coming from as far as the strand!

 

i was of course very excited when i saw the blue golf parked under the tree. i brought 2 colleagues with me who know about cars and second hand car dealers.

 

at first glance the car was ok. it had a few nicks on the outside and the inside good have been better, but the car was 13 years old i told myself. the bubbling fluid on the engine block did cause concern. driving it though, with the roof down on a sunny day made me realize that i was traveling down the right path – a roofless wonder is definitely what i needed.

 

michelle immediately told me though that i should keep looking – don’t buy the first one you see.

 

so over the following week i saw several more cars that were brought to the office – from one that only had 110’000km on the clock, but came with a weird wooden steering wheel and no air-con at a huge price, to one with badly fitted after-market leather seats to one with a spoiler that i was going to take. until…

 

i’d seen about 5 cars (they kept creeping up on gumtree!) including a golf 4 that looked like an elephant had sat on it, that’s how bad a shape it was in.

 

until michelle told me that there is one in the basement at work.

 

and that’s when i saw it. a white one without any funny kits or spoilers or stuff. just the standard golf 3 look, and one of the few cars i actually like in white. i quickly stuck a note under the windscreen asking if the owner would be interested in selling.

 

the next day i came in to work, and the note was still there.

 

at this point i was so excited about this potential that i was quite disappointed. but after i gave it some thought, i figured out who the owner could be. i went up to his office on the top floor and asked if he was indeed the owner of said golf cabriolet, and after an affirmative answer, i asked if he would be interested in selling it.

 

long story short – after a tentative yes from him, leading to quiet mass excitement in my gut, to an aa test with pretty good results, i had a deal in principle, and just needed to sell my current car.

 

so it was that on a sunday afternoon, as i was returning to my car with some friends, i had a (black) man with a baby in his arms approach me in the parking lot as i was going to open my door.

 

my instinctive reaction was to say “not today, sorry” and keep moving to my door. his reply, which i only momentarily thought was odd, was “what do you mean not today?”. as i closed my door, m leaned over from behind and whispered, “i think he wants to buy your car…”.

 

slowly, with a smile on my face, i rolled down the window, and said “hi” in that friendly, i’m-ever-so-embarassed tone of voice.

 

i’d forgotten about the sign in the back window, that had been there so long without a response.

 

he confirmed that he did indeed want my car, and as it was urgent, could he have it tomorrow please?

 

knowing what it takes to get the money, and not having a replacement car just yet, i said he could take it for a drive the next day and then decide.

 

which we did – he drove it, and we shook on r25’000 (the price in the window had been r26’500).

he talked me into doing the roadworthy for him, which i did, and even repaired 2 things for him which cost me a little over a grand.

 

the next afternoon (it’s wednesday by now) he called and said that he had spoken to friends of his and they told him the car is not worth 25, but only 20. that’s what the book says they told him.

 

!?!?!

 

i was confused… we’d agreed on a price, and i’d done repairs… “so what are you saying?”

 

i can give you r19’500, or 20 max.

 

double huh???

 

by now i was livid. i’d done all these things, that strictly speaking i didn’t need to. i was not yet in possession of my new car, and now the dude was arguing about a price we had shaken on!

 

i was seriously unimpressed, and told him that i would have to think about this, as this was not what had been agreed.

 

the next morning i sms’d him and told him he could have the car for r22’500, considering i had done all the repairs and roadworthy.

 

i wasn’t going to be the nice guy anymore – no more favours with this chap.

 

he replied, “ok, i’ll pay you 22 today”

 

aaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

so i agreed, so that i could just get the car sold and done. he wouldn’t come to my office to collect the car, so i had to go into town to bring it to him, and go into the bank together to make sure i get the money 100% before i hand over the keys.

 

he dropped me at the office, and that was that.

 

but at least i had sold it, and after the weekend i was going to get my new car J

 

and that is how it is that i am in possession of 2 bad hair day vehicles – a motorbike called skynin that gives me helmet hair, and a cabbie called geronimo that knots my hair in the wind!

 

but i wouldn’t want it any other way.

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