Part Three – 2000 onwards
Mercedes C-class coupe (black) Reg: RSD 800
Earlier, while living in Bedford I had visited Aerofone on Saturdays and helped out with their press advertising campaigns, it seemed as if the mobile market changed every week at that time.
Jo Marks and her brother Roger ran Aerfone, and in 2001 they were planning a reverse takeover of a fixed-line operator. Jo asked me to become their Deputy Group Managing Director to help them through these major changes. We moved back to Biddenham in Bedford.
I thought it time to try Mercedes and with my company-subsidised car deal bought this new C-Class coupe. Bad decision, on my first trip, from Bedford to Kent, I filled up in a Sainsburys service station and it started pinking, the computer said take to dealer. I limped back to Bedofrd and did so. They claimed I had filled it with diesel, yet the receipt I had showed clearly that it was Unleaded. Mercedes argued that it was therefore not claimable under my warranty and charged me £300. I fought this but Sainsbury’s insisted there had been no problem with their pumps and Merc that I had used diesel. The car never felt right after this, and I have never considered buying a Merc since. However, I did get a Merc included in my second Spanish villa purchase (see below).
Honda CRV Spanish (orange/bronze)
We bought a holiday-home villa in Spain and decided the best approach to stem rental car costs was to buy a local car, we picked the Honda CRV. We then used a service at Alcante airport, to store it when not in Spain. When we, or the kids, went down they could simply call up a courtesy car to take them to the park and drive off the Honda. However in 2005 we sold up in Spain and drove the car back to the UK.
One odd thing was that half-way across France in a service station we were stopped by two CRS men who wanted to look through the contents. The contents were pretty boring, but we’d covered them with two Moroccan drapes, perhaps that’s why they searched us.
We used it for some months in the UK then sold it privately to some likely lads from High Wycombe. Much later I got a call from the guy who bought it from them, he had it in Greece by then and was asking what I had sold it for, I wasn’t interested in getting involved.
BMW 520 (blue) Reg: RSD 800
Throughout my time at Aerofone I never lost touch with Apple exhibitions, first contracted by them to do an Apple Expo, this was cancelled, the exhibitors then asked me to do The Expo, then Richard and I bought that to make it MacExpo. I dumped the Merc for a BMW 520.
Hyundai 2.8i V6 (black) [Jane}
Matt confesses that he talked us in to this next car for Jane, the Hyundai – it left such an impression that neither of us remembered buying it, until Matt reminded us that we bought it from High Wycombe. It had a great engine, pity about the body.
Mini Cooper S All-4 (silver)
Jane had decided to get a Mini Cooper S which ended up becoming one of our longer-term cars. When we moved to Spain in 2007 we took it with us. It helped that the Xenon lights were very simply switched for continental operation. We then registered it as a Spanish vehicle while there for five years, then brought it back and Anglicised it. It was still quite low mileage.
Mercedes C280 AMG (silver)
MacExpo was sold to Expomedia and I briefly joined them as Global Managing Director for Exhibitions. But it wasn’t for me, working for others, and we decided 2007 would be a good time to retire and move to Spain for five years.
The previous villa owners were moving off to Thailand and so abandonned an incorrectly SORN-ed Mercedes in the garage as part of the deal. I did a couple of airport runs in it but it had this annoying habit that its petrol gauge plummeted, when there was still plenty of fuel in it.
Considered the local scallywags who could get you any UK documents for a price. But in talking it over with Matt, he established that a non-MoT-ed vehicle could be legally driven to a test centre, so he booked an appointment back in the UK, insured it and drove it the 1700 miles to the test centre on that pretty loose legal basis. He got it MoT-ed and sold it back there. Thought that was it, except the next year I was billed by the Spanish authoriites for it, I consulted the Guardia Civil who suggested I formally write it off to scrap, which they promptly helped me do.
Mitsubishi Outlander (black) – Spanish Reg
Bought this Spanish Mitsubishi and this became a great little workhorse for our five years in Spain. I became the Bar Manager for the Javea Bridge Club (sampled, negotiated and bought wines and beers), and was constantly off-loading my purchases with Mike, the barman. He always admired the car, so when we left Spain, I proposed a low purchase price so that he readily bought it – and is still using it today!
BMW X5 (silver) [Matt/us] Reg: RSD 800
We kept a house in the UK, first at Risboro, Matt lived there on a low-rent (in return for repairing/ updating it) and we used it whenever we were back in the UK (every six weeks or so to visit Jane’s Mum). But it proved far too small, so we bought Longwick. By now Matt was living in Dubai and came back regularly to see his kids. So we did a deal with him that in return for his usage he had to keep a car there and pay for a Sky subscription. He did so, the car being a BMW X5 and we put my RSD 800 plates on it, the Sky subscription was ‘multi-room’, one room being in Bucks and the other in Spain!
BMW X3 (silver) Reg: RSD 800
Mini Cooper S Countryman (grey) [Jane}
Reg: OY13 VJD
We moved back to the UK in 2012, and bought Chinnor almost immediately, renting out Longwick for three years. The X5 was just too bulky, so we switched it for an X3. Jane switched her old Mini Cooper S, once Anglicised (old though still low mileage), she went for the Mini Cooper S Countryman.
BMW Z4 (blue) Reg: RSD 800
I was then seduced by a Z4.
Triumph T20 Tiger T20 – silver/black
Reg: 990 TTJ – Before
I had a surfeit of garage space which Matt sought to fill with Hillman Imp Californians, on the excuse they might be for Dan as he passed is test. There are fewer than forty of them left, and I had two in my garage! But he also made good on a promise to buy me a ‘basket case’ bike project. This was a Triumph T20 Tiger Cub a 1964 bike, like one a friend had had, and I lusted after, at 15 years old. It was a great project and I was proud of the finished object – as you can see in the bottom pic.
BMW 520D M series (black) Reg: RSD 800
520D outside Chinnor
Now safely over my late-life crisis, I switched to a, then, very sensible diesel BMW 520D M series – who knew? I drove it to the south of France and it proved too big for several multi-storey car parks, then Paris suggested a levy for taking diesel cars into the city, and London was making the same noises – it had to go while it stiall held some value.
Mini Cooper S Countryman (red) [Jane]
Reg: OE67 HLC
BMW M240i coupe (blue/black)
Reg: RSD 800
Jane decided she would upgrade her car to the latest Mini Cooper S Countryman, we remember her plate as meaning Hot Little Car.
Of course the BMW showroom is attached to the Mini one – I ended up falling for the M240i – now that is hot big car, with a beautiful purr.
Nissan Micra (silver)
We had problems with a neighbour who kept blocking our driveway, or just impeding our view, when we went in or out, with his many vans. So I bought this £299 (ex-write-off) Nissan Micra and parked it as you see in the right hand picture. It was taxed, insured and MoT and sat there for two years – and I made next-to-no loss when I sold it. Despite sitting immobile for two years it started well and ran perfectly.
BMW X2 M (silver) Reg: RSD800
We moved to Thame and I was finding that the 240 was just far too easy to speed, and I’d already had my second speed awareness course, so I switched to the X2.
So there we have it, depending on what you consider the Bond represents
– that’s 60+ cars and seven bikes!