A Mostly British Obsession

I’m So “Helpful”

My track record is so bad with “helping” people buy ye olde English cars that I wonder why people even consider having me along. My theory is that they want to buy the car in any case, despite any flaws we find, and know that they will meet no negatives when I weigh in with my studied opinion.

Part of the problem is that I like nearly everything with wheels on it that was made in England (maybe not the Austin Allegro). I also consider types of problems seen–I believe mechanical stuff is easy to deal with, whereas paint and especially rust is not. So I may think of a car like the ’74 GT I had last year as a hidden gem because it had no rot in it, despite otherwise being utterly worn out. No one else seemed to share my enthusiasm when it came time for me to sell.

My tolerance for idiosyncrasies is high, especially early in a relationship, so I overlook things like soggy clutches, door handles that are missing, etc. Others may find these “details” ruin their enjoyment.

I also try to keep things in perspective. If an MGB is $1,000, it’s not going to be very good, so you can forgive a lot of problems. Other folks may have a different expectation of what a $1,000 MGB might be, and so when they ask me if it’s good value, I might say “sure” but be completely out-of-sync with their definition of the term.

So bring me along if you’re going to buy a British car, just don’t expect me to be rational about it.


  1. chuck goolsbee

    Reliant Robin?
    Triumph TR7?
    Morris Marina?
    Ford Anglia?
    Daimler SP250?

  2. Roger

    While the TR7 isn’t my kettle of fish, it’s an interesting period piece. Sorta. The Reliant and the Marina are pretty terrible, but I once knew a guy who was really enthusiastic about Marinas.

    I’d gladly own an Anglia or a SP-250. The “Dart” is ugly but the alloy V8 is a beautiful little powerplant. And you certainly look like nothing else on the road.

  3. chuck goolsbee

    OK, it has been confirmed: You’re hopeless. =\


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