Over the last few years, I have been slowly creeping towards having a smaller collection of cars, but only recently have I really begun to rationalise my collection. There’s only so many projects I can handle and a limited amount of indoor parking so I figured it’s time to shed some of the dead wood and replace a few projects with a couple of nice usable cars. The first car on the hit list was my Rover SD1. The Rover has been an enjoyable car to own, despite having more faults and breakdowns in a year than the average Japanese car seems to have in about ten years! It’s comfortable to ride in and give respectable performance but it was seriously uneconomical on fuel for a 2.3 litre. A good inspect of the car determined that whilst it’s not a bad example, it would need a lot of bodywork and a respray in order to remain so. Too much of a project, I figured so it went up on eBay and got sold to a chap from the Northeast. It’s very short MOT and a power steering leak meant it only fetched about half of what I paid for it but sometimes that’s just the way it goes with auctions and I’d had my moneys worth of enjoyment out of it. The Rover was the first of five cars to leave the collection…
Next out the door was the 1981 Datsun Sunny estate. It was always touch and go whether anything would ever actually happen with this car and I finally decided I didn’t want it enough to do the work, even though it was ultra low mileage and quite solid. My initial intention had been to save it from being scrapped as it was the earliest example of a B11 I have seen but the lack of interested parties when it I offered it for sale at scrap value made me realise that I’d maybe saved it for no good reason. Oh well! It went to a friend who already has another B11 Sunny van.
Another project in waiting was the next to go. The Mitsubishi Colt 1400. This actually didn’t need much work, just the sills replacing and some paintwork but when I had the opportunity to buy an identical one with an MOT and 25,000 miles on the clock for £700, I declined. This made me realise I maybe didn’t really want one of these that much as realistically the work needed on mine was worth more than £700 of my time. So, off it went to the same friend who took the B11 Sunny. He plans to do the work and return it to the road so I think it’s at least found a good home. In exchange for the Colt I got a somewhat rusty Hyundai Pony pickup which although rather horrid, is road legal and quite a bit more useful than the Colt!
Next on it was was the Daihatsu Charade XTE. This was a more regrettable sale as this really is a little gem of a car. I think the primary reason to send it packing was the very poor parts availability more than anything else. It has proved to be all but impossible to find parts for which renders it quite unusable, for if some major component was to wear out it’d be off the road indefinitely. Subsequently, it had clocked up only a couple of hundred miles in the last year. Much as I like the car I couldn’t justify owning it purely as a museum piece. It was advertised on the excellent Car and Classic website and was sold to a chap from Ireland. Very sad to see it go but there’s plenty more interesting cars out there to own!
The last to fly the nest and another one I am sorry to see go is the 1969 AMC Javelin. Admittedly, I have had almost no enjoyment out of this car in the 6 years I have owned it but the memory of driving it, with it’s purpose built drag race 6.4 V8 and ladder bar mounted Ford nine inch rear is unforgettable. Then again so were it’s horrendous brakes, ridiculously heavy clutch and lack of power steering! This was a fearsomely fast car when I got it but an ultra high compression engine built in the 70’s and modern low octane unleaded do not mix and it wasn’t long before it developed terminal engine problems. It’s laid unused in my yard for the past four years but the chance to buy a nice example of another car I’ve always wanted spurred me on to fix it up and sell it. Awesome though the Javelin might be, practical it is most certainly not. With our crazy fuel prices and narrow roads this car isn’t ideal, however it’s replacement will certainly suit both. More on that soon!