Monday Long Termer: 10/02/14

(Editor’s note – Apologies to both Nathan and his loyal readers. This entry is a day late. I’m working crazy hours at the moment, and, to top it all off, I’m getting ill. Please bear with us. Now, let normal service resume)

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By Nathan Green

Firstly, good news- the Corsa passed her MOT. No advisories. Nailed it.

I’m actually relieved, for some odd reason. I think if she had failed I’d have been a bit, well, disappointed. As some of you may have read in my previous ‘Long Termer’ pieces, it wouldn’t personally cost me anything to make the car roadworthy again, however, I would have lost just a weeny bit of faith in her. When you lose faith in something, you lose confidence. When you lose confidence, you worry and when you worry, you make mistakes.

With the weather we’ve been experiencing this week, worrying about the strength and structural integrity of the components keeping the car on the road and under my control is not something I would welcome. Happily, not one single piece of this electro-mechanical, plastic-and-metallic puzzle is missing or damaged. Vauxhall should be proud. I am.

Unfortunately, the experience of actually having the car MOT’d was not so positive. The convenient, cost-free MOT experience I predicted last week didn’t quite come to fruition. For starters, I had to drop the Corsa at the dealership due to them needing proof that I am legally entitled to drive on UK roads i.e. have a photographic UK drivers licence and the paper counterpart. Check. No problem. I was also supposed to take proof of company car insurance. Not check. Problem.

I had requested a certificate of insurance via email when booking the MOT last week. It was not forthcoming. For whatever reason, my request was overlooked. No insurance means no courtesy car. No courtesy car means sitting in the dealership for hours, drinking machine coffee and reading out-of-date magazines. I did that when I sold cars for Renault, I will not do it again.

I asked the polite Customer Service Advisor lady to set up a one day insurance policy for me at a cost of £20. “Stick it on the bill please m’love.” And that was that, all sorted. Or so I thought.

Having previously worked in various car dealerships, I should have known better than to think everything would go to plan. For a moment, I genuinely expected to jump into another Corsa, maybe an Astra, and be on my merry way to work. Not so lucky.

I know first-hand that supplying courtesy cars can be a nightmare for some dealerships. The parking structure is chaotic and there are never enough cars available to fulfil the number of requests from customers who need to borrow a car while theirs is unavailable. As a salesman, I was regularly asked to lend my demonstrator vehicle to a service customer, so I understand the problem. It took the lovely lady a few minutes to find me a car. The car that she eventually found was a petrol engine Vauxhall Zafira Tourer with seven seats and, you guessed it, no petrol.

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My company fuel card only allows me to refill my cars tank with the lesser-refined commercial fuel, diesel. So I had to pay £10 sterling to top up the Zafira’s tank with unleaded and stop the fuel light from flashing. Not my £10 of course. The lovely lady at the Vauxhall dealership gave it to me. I like her, she’s very lovely.

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The new Zafira has a fantastic 100,000 mile ‘Lifetime Warranty’ and is considered to be an effective mode of transport for a large family. However, it is big and slow. It is completely out of its comfort zone with me at the helm, driving enthusiastically along a wet, 60mph       B-road that snakes through the countryside between Stroud and Uley.

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It would have been a much better choice the night before, though, when I was awoken at 2.30am by a phone call from my dear cousin, Thomas. He needed a lift to the hospital with his partner, Kate, who had gone into labour. Of course, I obliged, Tom is one of my best friends, plus I was to be the Godfather of his yet to be born daughter. Saying no was never an option. I just wish I’d had a larger, more comfortable vehicle to transport us all to the hospital. I swear Kate’s contractions were getting stronger throughout the journey- maybe his daughter had felt an added sense of claustrophobia being in the womb, in the back of a small hatchback. The relentless speed bumps didn’t help much, either.

The Zafira would have been perfect for a labour intensive hospital run, or for transporting the family that Tom has now started. It excels in maximising interior space, it’s comfortable, it has lots of well-placed, family friendly amenities and it has way more techno-gadgetry than the Corsa. I’d also have cared much less if Kate’s waters had broken in the back of the Zafira because I wouldn’t have had to clean it up myself. Luckily we made it through the contractions and over all the speed bumps without incident, arriving safely at the hospital where a new life would soon be delivered into this world.

So, another memory created in the lowly Corsa, a memory that Tom and I will recall for the rest of our lives. His daughter, my Goddaughter, Lilly May Baker, will surely enjoy hearing the story of how she was taken to hospital in a Vauxhall.

With Tom being her dad and me being her Godfather, it’s safe to say she will benefit from a lifetime warranty just like the one Vauxhall offers on its new cars, only without the distance stipulation.

Mileage- 334

Fuel Cost- £33.00

Repair cost- £60 MOT and one day insurance

Repair costs (2014)- £809

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