By Nathan Green
Before beginning my career in advertising, I earned a living by selling cars. Over a three-year period I sold new and used cars for Ford, Renault, Honda, Vauxhall, Fiat, Mazda and Alfa Romeo.
One of the perks of being a Car Sales Executive was the ability to pick your own demonstrator from a fleet of brand new cars. Being a petrol head, I would always choose what I thought to be the best car offered by each respective manufacturer, regardless of how much it would cost me to run. I drove some brilliant cars- Mazda MX-5 Sport, Honda CR-Z Sport, Renault Clio RS, Alfa Giulietta Cloverleaf, Ford Focus ST and a Vauxhall Corsa VXR to name just a few. My friends would often ask, “So, what chariot awaits us today Nath?” because I’d rarely hang onto each car for more than a couple of weeks.
Now, this may seem like an exciting lifestyle, and, indeed it was, for a while. However, I eventually became frustrated by the lack of familiarity. You see, in my opinion, cars are very much like women. One can have a great deal of fun enjoying a different car every couple of weeks, or getting your hands on one for a few hours of palm-dampening fun but, ultimately, you crave something or someone you can grow to love.
Changing cars so frequently denied me a sense of ownership/partnership and never allowed me to determine the depth of character one can only truly discover with the passing of time and the sharing of experiences.
When something is an integral part of your daily life, you cannot help but become fond of it. This was highlighted earlier today during a conversation with a friend, during which I repeatedly referred to the Corsa as ‘her’ or ‘she’.
Personification of an inanimate object usually occurs when that object enchants us, or rouses an emotional response. This car, the oldest and lowest specification car I have ‘owned’ for a long time, is working its way into my heart, if only through familiarity.
So, it may be true that I am beginning to love her, however it would be wrong of me to suggest she is perfect. Due to her low specification, the Corsa ‘Life’ has no auxiliary input for my iPod. I find this very frustrating. I spend many hours in my car each week and without music these would be very mundane indeed- it’s not like I have the aural delights of a roaring V8 to keep me entertained on longer journeys.
Last week I decided to pick an eclectic mix of my favourite tunes and burn them onto a CD. I inserted the disc into the Corsa’s CD30 infotainment system and awaited the arrival of the thumping beat from track one. Unfortunately, the CD player decided not to play my music. Instead, it chewed on the copied CD and spat it out in a completely unreadable state, leaving me with an urge to thump and beat the centre console. I calmly rubbed my ear lobes and whispered ‘woooosaaaaaaah’ until the desire for violent action dissipated. I guess I’ll have to stick to using my iTrip FM transmitter for now.
The next day, while designing an advertisement for a client, an e-mail dropped into my inbox. Sender: Amanda- Fleet Manager. Subject: MOT required. It seems the Corsa is due her annual health inspection, something I have to organise but don’t have to pay for. I logged into our fleet management system and selected a place, date and time for the MOT to be carried out. I also requested a courtesy car as I have to remain mobile throughout the day due to the nature of my position. Within an hour I received another email, this time direct from my local Vauxhall dealership (the same dealership that replaced the turbocharger a few weeks ago) confirming my MOT had been booked for the exact time I had requested. On Friday 7th February my car will be collected from my place of work and at the same time a courtesy car will be delivered to me.
If all goes well, my car will be delivered back to me later in the day at a time that suits me. I’m very impressed with the convenience of this system- the mandatory MOT can be a financial nightmare and a waste of precious time. With the fleet management system in place, very little time is wasted and none of the financial burden falls upon my shoulders. I can hardly moan at that. Unfortunately, a broken CD player does not constitute an MOT failure. However, it will impact my enjoyment of the car almost as much as the lack of turbocharger boost did. So, I shall request they fix it and will do so with a fervent plea for sympathy. Maybe I’ll ask for a Bluetooth hands-free music player and a power-hiking remap of the engine control unit as well. After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get and if there’s one thing about me that nobody would contest, it’s that I’m not afraid to ask.
Total Mileage- 379
Fuel Cost- £37
Repair Costs (2014) – £749
Next week- a full MOT report and another attempt to make a blog piece about a basic Vauxhall Corsa as interesting as possible.