We consider a quality new or used car.

There are lots to choose from, and the sheer variety makes things confusing.

“What are our criteria?” I ask.

(NB note I have used the correct ‘are’ and not the common ‘is’, as ‘criteria’ is a plural word. That is why I am such a good writer.)

I regret my question immediately. Apparently our criteria are that it should be cheap and should get from A to B without using any petrol to speak of, or breaking down. Furthermore it transpires that I am not allowed to come up with any criteria myself, as I was in the Village Pub with Short Tony and my mobile switched off whilst she was being towed from the A148 to the garage on Friday night.

“Oh,” I say.

We do some detailed research. After our detailed research, we have come up with a shortlist of suitable cars to investigate further.

Her list:

  • Suzuki Pootle
  • Kia Ninky-nonk
  • Daewoo Pinky-ponk
  • Fiat Molecule

My list:

  • Jensen Interceptor

“What the fuck is that?” she barks, when I show her the picture on the website.

I explain that it is a Jensen Interceptor, and that it was basically the best car ever made, and that I always wanted one when I was a kid.

“It looks like a stretched Ford Escort,” she says. “Is it economical?”

“Yes,” I lie. Small flames start licking up painfully from the area of my pants.

“We are not getting a Jensen Interceptor,” she says.

“But that one is unbelievable value!” I argue. “For six grand, wouldn’t you surely rather have something like that? Or some sort of Daihatsu Twinkle?”

We browse the Daihatsu Twinkle web pages.

I have a resigned feeling about all this. It does not help that Mrs Short Tony has just taken delivery of a new small car. And whilst it doesn’t go very fast, and the back seats would only really be useful for storing priests in should there be a repetition in the Village of the 16th-century enthusiasm for persecuting Catholics, it is the sort of thing that the LTLP is after. I suspect they are in it together. There is a hidden agendum somewhere, and I am not fooled.

Brochures are ordered from the major tiny-car manufacturers. I am not going to win this one.

33 Comments

  1. The mistake was in the use of the word “our”. Or, rather, in asking any sort of question.

  2. See, starting with the Jensen Interceptor was your big mistake. Start with a Lamborghini (which she will also view as a “stretch Escort”), watch her eyes water at the price, then gently draw her towards the much more reasonable JI. Job done

  3. The Jensen is a good start. From there you can segue smoothly towards an XJ-S, which is both cheaper and more economical (well anything is more economical than the Interceptor). Failing that, an interesting old saloon will have the same lack of ABS, radio, airbags, etc that the Daihatsu Chihuahua does, and the LTLP will look much cuter in it. Or something. Good luck

  4. Speaking of poorly hidden agendums, Jonny, the solution to your tiny-car anxiety is in your hands. Why don’t you just get on the bloody Stairmaster occasionally, and then your fat arse wouldn’t get wedged in the door of her tiny car every time you try to get out…

  5. I am prepared to admit that legroom was not a major priority for us. You, however, will need to consider headroom carefully.

    Kia Eunuch?

  6. Er, not to be picky, but following your criteria/criterion comment (absolutely correct), surely you mean agenda, not agendum? Presumably you’re referring to a hidden plan, or actions (plural) on a list (agenda), rather than a single thing that needs to be done (agendum).

    Also, as has been mentioned, I think your mistake was saying “our car”.

    Incidentally, in terms of impact on the planet, you might do better getting a second hand small car. All these carbon measurements don’t usually take manufacturing into account, or the extraction of raw materials etc blah zzzz oh God, I’m boring myself.

    Anyway, point being: blag yourself the same budget on a nice second hand car that provides practical space with a bit of poke under the bonnet, rather than a cheap new thing that sounds like an angry wasp.

  7. Mini Cooper.

    It’s got that little girly “wun-awound” thang going plus it is packed with Michael Caine “Oi! Shut it … ” blokieness.

    Granted, since BMW bought it up they do cost £1m and are about the size of the average German, but she’ll get a lot of shopping into it.

    I’ve driven a Renault Twingo before and it is a sad experience, like driving a box made from Bacofoil(TM).

  8. Isn’t this a fine opportunity to gain fame and fortune by producing the ‘Norfolk Pimp My Emasculating Ride’ webcast? Opening shot of small, offensively practical car with Norfolk bloke hovering reluctantly nearby (extra points if he has a tiny dog on a leash); scene of over-enthusiastic ‘pimper’ describing how THIS week they’ll be fitting flame throwers on the bonnet and a little box in the back that flashes rude messages at the press of a button (a: ‘if you’re going to ride my ass at least pull my hair’; b: ‘tailgaiters can fuck cheerios’ etc); scenes of exciting, sparkful welding with ‘pimper’ shouting a lot and kicking things, end with dramatic shot of working flame-thrower and high-fives all ’round the shop; reveal to Norfolk bloke and significant other; end on your choice of still shot of divorce lawyer’s office or circled ad stating ‘for sale: one pimped Kia. Will trade for gently used Honda Civic.’

  9. Haha – I like all these suggestions – are any of them real? (I am wondering whether the Daihatsu Chihuahua is a double-bluff)…

  10. “Fiat Molecule” gave me heartburn.

    Citroen Mentale Van. Plenty of space in the back for the chickens and an eye-catcher.

  11. Forgot to add: make sure it has a cute little transfer stuck on the back. E.g. “Twingo Barbados” with a shit graphic of a palm tree.

    It depresses me just writing about it. Buy a bike while there is time left.

  12. What about a Ford Siesta? Comfy for sleeping in when things aren’t going too well domestically, or on the way back from bowls matches.

  13. Just don’t get one with those stupid foot-operated parking brakes instead of a handbrake. Unless you like a pockmarked rear end to go with your fiery pants.

  14. Will this be the vehicle that the kid inherits in a short few years?

  15. Here’s what you do – get the Interceptor. Race home and park it in the driveway. Rev the engine. Listen for the ear-splitting screech of the LTLP. When she calms down a bit, explain to her that it’s a hybrid car – with the push of a button, it morphs Transformers-style into a modest economy car.

    When she asks to see this button, calmly tell her that the hybrid feature costs an extra ten thousand euros. “Can we afford such a luxury?” you ask sensibly.

    After she returns to the house, approprately mollified, you may then begin applying the racing stripes to the side panels of your new Jensen Interceptor. (If you’d rather detail a flame motif, just use your pants for reference.)

  16. My husband is always raging about the number of tiny cars on the road, represented by his name for them: “Fiat Piz”

  17. So when will you regain your masculinity by insisting on a motorcycle? I quite like the retro look going on with the Triumphs…

  18. no no, you’re all going about this the wrong way. the only way you’ll ever convince her to get a manly car that’s not the size of a sardine can is to bring up the baby’s safety.

    small cars are always given crap ratings by baby magazines. just go pick up some up and leave them strategically placed around the baby’s room

  19. Steer clear of the interceptor – the electrics were so terrible that my stepfather sued the dealer he bought his from.

    I do sympathise with your challenge though – I am struggling to convince Mrs Albion of the merits of a Range Rover over our Golf that I crashed a few weeks ago. (I did not crash it hard enough unfortunately – damn it and it’s relentless reliability!)

    Have you considered the new Fiat Cinque Cento? I drove one in Italy two weeks ago. It is small, but almost as cool as the Jensen.

  20. Is the LTLP mad? You have a toddler! Judging by the school run round here, you’ll need at least a 6 wheel drive RangeCruiser Leviathan to prove she loves the toddler more than the other mums love theirs by keeping her soooooo safe. Anything smaller than a Discovery and someone will call social services.

  21. My condolences on the Fiat. On the upside it will probably run to the pub.

  22. The Toddler’s safety is a good angle. Even without all the airbag issues and all that, it occurs to me that the more economical a car is, the more miles you will drive in it and thus the more likely you are to have a fatal accident.

    I will speak to her. Although I suspect I know what the answer will be.

  23. Use your excellent writing skills. Write her a love letter to persuade her to buy the car you want.

  24. Re “http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C104798/”

    Unusual steering arrangement!!!

    Is there a speaking tube for the captain to instruct the gimp in the boot “left hand down a bit”?

  25. Due to a slipped disc and a height of 6’4″, my boyfriend is not only uncomfortable but actively in pain, in EVERY car we’ve tried except a) a Range Rover Vogue and b) a Jag XJ Sovereign. I am attempting to compensate for the imminent arrival of one of these fuel-drinking monsters by getting a Seat Ecomotive which you might want to look at as it does 94mpg and has 5* NCAP rating to boot. Or indulge in some reckless lifting, slip a disc and insist that a range rover is cheaper in the long run than years of chiropracters.

  26. This is just the funniest thing I’ve read in ages. Tried to read it out to my husband who was ironing, something I imagine you might enjoy too, but couldn’t for laughing. Fiat molecule made me cross my legs

  27. Oh – er – golly – thank you Avril, hullo and welcome!!!

  28. Do second hand soiled ones come any cheaper or does that only apply to mattresses?

  29. Yeah, good point, tillylil – speaking of mattresses, what’s up with that storyline? At least all the marital discord will be helping keep your loaner unsoiled…

  30. Fiat Cubo – does exactly what it says on the tin. So hideous my children would rather walk up 1:2 hills rather than be seen dead in it by their new-found holiday chums. Stick that brochure on the breakfast table and I think the Jensen Interceptor is all yours…

  31. As a famous person in the blog world it behoves you to set a good example with your mini carbon footprint.
    Jensens are OK but see one you’ve seen ’em all.
    Have you considered doing master classes on grammar. I for one would happily kneel at your feet. Well I would if I could be sure of getting up again.

  32. If there is not already a small car called the Hyundai Agendum then there should be. It could compete for the lucrative economy runaround-the-Norfolk-broads market with the Toyota Criterion and the Datsun Appendix.

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