September 30th, 2008

Profiting from the misfortunes of others

I visited So'ton on the weekend and my choice of car attracted some attention - a little while ago I chopped in my (now massively devalued) 325ci sport for a (also massively devallued) 911.

The reaction from my friends in London was either "well, obviously, what else would you buy" or "huh, why would you buy anything other than a slightly battered 3 year old hatchback" depending on the quantity of petrol in the veins.

The combination of fuel price rises and the lack of bonuses given to city boys this year caused a huge slump in the price of GT cars, and as London is stuffed with 911's prices took a big hit.

We're not talking bargain here, but I fancied a new (to me) car, and made this mistake of testdriving a 911. After that there was no other choice. I could have got a new, top-spec Ford Focus for less, but really - who cares about comfort, convienience, quietness, luggage space, running costs, being able to carry 4 people, ease of use or any of that other stuff when you can have a worryingly lively car based on a 40 year old design with it's engine in the wrong place?

Also, Jeremy Clarkson hates 911s, which automatically makes them good.

It's is truely amazing to drive, I mean, obviously it's fast, but it also does all that sports car stuff where you can tell what kind of road surface you're driving on and feel the levels of grip when cornering, blah, blah.

But, ontop of that, it's actually pretty easy to live with - it's got a fairly exotic oily bits, but they put loads of effort into making it not anoying: you only have to service it every 12k miles, you dont have to let it idle for a while after parking and so on. Plus, you can actually drive in town without it overheating, stalling, stinking of burnt clutch and nearly crashing into things all the time, unlike certain Italian makes I could mention. You can also drive at 30 and 40 mph without modulating the throttle or using the brake, which is a bonus.

Fuel consumtion is an issue, I get about 21 mpg, and it runs on 97+RON but it's not really that big a deal compared to the other running costs of something like that. Tyres work out at something like 10p/mile for example. Servicing is fairly expensive, but no more than a fast Merc/BMW, way less than Ferrari/Lambo/Aston etc.

As gnommi pointed out the speedo is a bit of a joke, it goes from 0 to 175-and-a-bit (the car does 177, so the speedo goes to 177, very german), with marks every 25 mph in about 120º, but there's a digital speedo below the tachometer. At 75 a spoiler comes up from the engine cover to stick the back of the car to the road (you can hear and feel it rise, which is a little disconcerting the first time it happens) and there's loads of aerodynamic stuff in the nose to keep the front on the road at speed.

I find that I get let in and out of junctions much more often than I did in my drug dealer special BMW, and even get thumbs up from van drivers and the like, which is odd given how common 911s are here.