Top Gear

I’m not sure if it’s karma for breaking my car purchasing ground rule (never spend more than $5000 on a vehicle) or just stupid bad luck. M asserts that it is our fault for never checking the water level in the radiator; my theory is that the radiator was stuffed – which is why it fractured, drained all the coolant, which then overheated the car and trashed the head gasket…and possibly the head itself. (There’s a $1000 difference between those scenarios – but who cares, when the car is basically ripping money from you in any way it possibly can?)

The Delica came home from M’s Solo-Man adventure on the back of a truck after I hurriedly joined the RACT. M came home in the front of the truck. It was with extraordinary foresight that I’d purchased a block of land next door to a mechanic. The tow truck deposited the Delica next to the shipping container and all I had to do was lean through the tiny side door and wail.

“Roger…. M killed the Delica….” (Which, while not strictly true, was an accurate representation of what was going through my head at the time.)

Roger is already friendly with the Delica, having replaced the starter motor in it three weeks before. Six hundred dollars. Jesus. He came out, wiping his hands. Listened to it once, and like an ornithologist identifying a rare bird, cocked his head to one side and said,
“Head gasket. No compression in the engine.”
He bade one of his minions to put a hose in the radiator and fill it up, but this proved impossible as it leaked out as fast as it went in. Like a mocking automotive sieve.

By this time I was in a foetal position. There was little option. I either sell the dead Delica for no money, spend $3500 to save it and then sell it and by a reliable $5000 HiAce, or trust that the massive cash injection into it will mean that it runs like an angel for the next ten years…

“Tell me,” I begged Roger. “Is this car just a piece of crap? A disaster car?”

“Well, I look after about four of them, and generally they just tend to go and go. Until they don’t.”

I exhaled. The credit card is going to take a beating. I’m trusting that the repairs will encourage to live a long and healthful life.

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