You Can’t Be Serious –  Bangers and cash beats boastful and flash. …

Jim Bourke is a fan of YCBS, but he won’t like this one; and chances are he won’t be calling Bridie to read it either! Bourkes are in the business of selling cars, which they do very well – including shifting a lot of new cars. This week we are going to make a case for not buying a new car. Take me for example, (ah Lads … Lads, please, this has nothing to do with that …!)

I purchased my first car in 1963 and my first new car in 1973. From ’73 until 2008, I changed to a new car every one to three years. What a waste of money! Money that was often a scarce commodity and could have been put to better use. I would regularly meet cars on the road that I had traded in one or two cars back. As soon as I thought about a new car … I was gone!

There is a certain intoxication in the feel and smell of a new gluaisteán, but is it worth it ‘the morning after?’ I know a wise and wealthy Scotsman who did things differently. What Sam did all his life was to buy a top of the range new car and then drive it until it was about to give up. Even old cars don’t do breakdowns on the road anymore – something which was very different ‘back in the day.’

The car I currently drive is fourteen years old. When it was 2, 3 and 4 years old, I only taxed it for six months at a time, whilst I contemplated changing it. Now I pay the road-tax for a full year, because old ‘Beemer’ and I have bonded into a close-knit relationship which will remain until either one of us gives up!

In a nutshell, I drive an old black car which like myself, looks as good as new after a bit of a wash. The instruments are simple to understand and it drives along beautifully. Turn off the radio and you wouldn’t hear a rattle or a knock anywhere. We just glide along as if floating on air and she purrs like a kitten.

You wouldn’t know you were moving – so much so, that I am the new owner of three penalty points! (Watch yourself near Tullamore hospital!)

Road insurance on a ‘banger’ is lower than if the car was worth say another fifty grand. There is much less risk of an old car being stolen and the fear of getting a scratch or dent is non-existent. Not only that, but when it does get the odd little scratch, I just give her time and I swear it gets better by itself!

Every new car showroom looks so inviting, which makes the thought of ‘changing’ so enticing.  The latest gleaming models all lined up and the risk is high that if you drive onto the forecourt, ‘only asking, like’, you are done for! But if your present car is driving like new, why would you need to change?

If I bought a new black car, all that would change is the number-plates and a lightening of my pocket. It’s hard to believe, but my best friend, Beemer, is now only worth about three grand. Just think of what a buyer would be getting for that price – and doing the same performance as a ‘222.’

All the built-in components, electronics, engine, steel, seats, glass, lamps, tools, radio, heater,  wheels, tow-bar, wiper-motor, mats … and all that for three grand …? Well, you can look for another one – because my buddy, Beemer, aint for sale!

The day of the ‘guzzler’ is gone. Smaller, more fuel-efficient cars are the future; with special emphasise of course on the electric car. But naturally enough, there is still a bit of ego involved in driving a new model car. Much has to do with the fact that Irish number plates loudly proclaim what age of car you are driving.

In Canada, you hold onto the same number-plate every time you change your car. I suspect that if we had a similar system in Ireland, a lot less new cars would be sold!

New cars and new models hit the market constantly, which means that temptation is only the thickness of a showroom window away; but if you have an old black friend like mine, you might think twice of betraying her for a younger model!

Having said all of the above; if you deserve a new car and the pleasure that goes with it: If you have earned it and want to treat yourself: If you are like Oscar Wilde and can ‘resist everything except temptation’…. well, then go for it.

Tell Jim I sent you …!

Don’t Forget – The two places that cars have brought closest together are this world and the next

Bernie Comaskey Books