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Oops, that 14K kms is not...

I'm looking for ideas for a newer/younger toy car. A plan 'B'. Having discussed it with one of the bosses at work that I get on with, we're both of the agreement that it's perhaps better to get a cheaper car and keep some savings, look to taking driving lessons perhaps...than to blow everything on a car. Especially given that new versions of these cars run in at €12K to €16K and the second hand ones... well, I paid €3000 for mine.

The place I got Felecity from doesn't have a particularly great website. Another dealer in the area (the other dealer in the area) is based up near Rennes someplace and it is called "VSP Full Race". Yeah, Full Race for cars that do maybe a whisker shy of 50kph flat out. Somebody has a sense of humour.

Their site would appear to be better, given that they list not only the sorts of cars that the sell new, but also their collection of second hand models.

And so I happened upon a car. A "Microcar MC1" from 2005. For a mere €4.5K (eek!). Bonus? The kilometrage is low, 14071km. Here's a screenshot:

A Microcar MC1
A Microcar MC1 - doesn't it look dated?

So I phoned up while on break asking about it. The dealer suggested that given the sort of distance I expect to do in a year (I do about 6000km/year just going to work, anything else is extra), I should look at Aixam as they are more durable. The MC1 is aimed at people who might do, maybe, 3000-4000 in a year. Oh, and by the way, it has done 48,000.
I pointed out that that's not what their own website says. "It's an error" he replied. An error? Three times as much? That's not an error, is it?
Not a great look for a potential client, is it?

They also have an Aixam 500SL (2000, €3990) which claims to have done 10488km. I've sent a message asking for confirmation, given that reality suggests that a 21 year old car is unlikely to have done only 10½ thousand in its life.

He wanted to sell me a red Aixam A721 (2005) with 59111km for €4990 but mentioned that the delivery, registration document, "and other charges" (how vague!) were in addition to that. That price is a little more than I want to pay, especially given how many kilometres it has on the clock. In a single year, that car would have more kilometres than Felicity!

Aside: I really don't know what the difference between the Aixam models is, other than gluing slightly different bodywork to the frame. I mean, they're all Kubota twin cylinder diesel engines hooked to a CVT and an inverter gearing mechanism (for reverse), and... uh... ?

So I've sent a message to VSP Ouest to ask what they have on offer. I wonder how many eternities it'll take before I hear back. The guys at VSP Ouest don't seem particularly computer literate.

But, then, I remember mom's friendly mechanic in a nearby town (before he retired). He was magical - he was a chain smoker and he used iomega Zip discs and they worked for him. It was an old computer, looked like some sort of clone AT, running a program in DOS, with the iomega drive hanging off the parallel port, and a dot matrix printer passed through. It was probably cutting edge stuff when he graduated from mechanic school and opened his own garage. Come retirement, it was still there, still working, and I guess he never saw the need for this new-fangled rubbish like Windows.
He even remembered our client number because when his wife first put the information into the database, she really had difficulty with Jane and Murray. So Jane became some weird gibberish that I think is supposed to be a Breton equivalent of Jennifer, and Murray is... Maury? Maurey? It began with an 'M' and ended with a 'y' and the middle sounded roughly correct if you mumble.
But, then, such is the fun of trying to give a 'foreign' name to Frenchies. In times when it doesn't really matter, I usually look at what they've written and say "close enough".


Amazon's idea of a center punch

Here's what I ordered:
A centre punch, Amazon listing.
A centre punch, Amazon listing.

And here's what I received:

If one's good, ten are surely better?
If one's good, ten are surely better?

And for those of you who aren't using NetSurf so can watch videos, here's me opening the envelope:



Your comments:

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Zerosquare, 3rd February 2021, 19:23
For about the same price as those second-hand cars, you can get a brand new electric car: 
Sure, it's bare-bones... but still!
Rick, 4th February 2021, 07:07
I talked about the Ami - 
My main problem with it is that it (and battery cars in general) is the distance. 
Remember, if you aren't sure about the ability to charge, you should divide the quoted distance by two (there and back) which means that going in to Big Town is just about possible, but no further. 
Zerosquare, 4th February 2021, 07:16
Ah, yeah, right. I forgot about that. 
But it still makes the dealer's cars really overpriced in comparison, especially since they are 15-20 years old.
David Pilling, 7th February 2021, 02:00
Naively it is surprising that passing your driving test would not save you money on your insurance. It may be one of those counter-intuitive things, people with driving licences are over confident and have more accidents or drive more expensive cars. ISTR in the UK there is some reduction for new drivers who take Pass Plus courses. 
Niche cars hold their value. €16K would get you a lot of common car. 
Rick, 9th February 2021, 18:55
I don't think it's right to compare car insurance in the UK with that of civilised countries. The number of times I've seen "Martin Lewis advises..." or "This one common thing can invalidate your car insurance", it seems like the entire thing is a giant con. I mean, are you really supposed to notify your insurer if you drive to work at a different time than you normally do? Why? It is apparently because different times of day are different 'risk', but it sounds to me more like an excuse to deny insurance cover. 
I believe there are also reductions for people who have dashcams? 
Yeah, niche cars are a totally different thing to "real" cars. Plus that they seem to hold their value more in France. 
Rick, 13th February 2021, 22:23
As you will have read in today's (13 Feb) article, Felicity has a problem and I'm going to be getting a somewhat pricier car from VSP Ouest. 
Why? Because they got back in touch and the sales guy sent me photos by MMS and answered various questions that I posed. 
Full Race? Never bothered to reply. 

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