It’s an undeniable fact that most people my age will not be driving a brand-new car. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining about this one bit. The depreciation on your modern Eurobox is just horrific, and for the same money you can often get something stronger or more prestigious secondhand. By looking at the used car market, you’ll get a much more varied choice of rusty/uneconomical moneypits to ceaselessly hoover up your wages, compared to the safe-bet Fiat 500 or Vauxhall Adam on the dealer’s forecourt.
What’s more, by going old you’ll not have to worry about voiding your manufacturer’s warranty if you want to alter or modify the car. The only real worry is that by the time things do go wrong, your manufacturer warranty is by this time a thing of the past. Imagine my face when, having amassed some money and spare parts for my beloved 320i, I came across a problem within the engine room of my trusty German battleship.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, with impeccable timing my Valeo alternator had decided to die just before I bought my new alloys. As I type this, I can see the old saloon in the car park (still unlowered, despite the presence of Eibach springs in my bedroom). As I wait for a new alternator to arrive, I’ve decided not to subject myself to any more ‘mystery drives’. These ‘mystery drives’, as I term them, are just mundane commutes livened up by the prospect of extremely low idling voltage and – to really keep you on your toes – random stalling. Nothing wakes you up more than the prospect of stalling and having no voltage to restart right in the middle of a roundabout.
Perhaps this is all a test. Maybe this is BMW’s underhand way of telling me that their cars should not be tweaked with? ‘Nein, don’t spend your money on things you like, Herr Owner. Buy me new OEM parts with the money you laid aside for such frivolous excesses like food.’
Still, at least I know it’s a simple fix. I’d recently rediscovered the joys of my mountain bike as a cheap method of transport, until somebody stole my front wheel. Once the BM is back up and running, I’ll at least have something to run the thief over with, if I ever catch them…