I'm big enough, old enough and ugly enough to know full-well that if something sounds too good to be true, it very probably is. But one always lives in hope that one might come across that elusive exception to the rule, the veritable four-leaved shamrock, the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow. That's what I am very much hoping is the case here.
I have been planning to change my car sometime about the end of this year. By then, or very soon after, I will be looking at about £1,000 of expenses to keep it running and quite honestly I don't think it will be worth spending that sort of money as the car will be approaching the possible end of its reliable life. Granted, it could go on quite a bit longer, but that's not a risk I am willing to take given the sort of journeys I do.
My preference, when buying a car, is to find one less than 12 months old and with under 10,000 miles on the clock. That saves me a considerable sum of money and means there is a good chance that any niggling glitches have been sorted. So I have been looking around to see which cars are being sold now that will be of interest to me in January next year. So it was that I spotted just what I will be looking for - on a forecourt now. An estate car with a 2 litre engine and cruise control, just over 6,800 miles on the clock, registered just 9 months ago - and (the clincher) priced 25% below the list price for the same model brand new. What's more, that price is only £200 more than I paid for my present car some six years ago.
I went to look it over, drove it, liked it. I was offered £500 less for my car than I would have liked but the salesman hinted strongly that he could probably increase that offer by £250. I went away to think it over.
The following day I went to one of those "we'll pay cash for your car and save you money" web sites. The valuation I got there was only just above the possible higher part-ex figure. I rang the garage and told the salesman he had a deal - provided he increased his offer by £250 and supplied and fitted a dog guard - which I knew would cost a bit over £200. And he agreed, and threw in a year's road fund (although that's only £30) and will treat the seats with a scotch-guard-like thingy which would normally cost £200 and which I had declined.
I pick the car up on Wednesday, just in time to take it to my cousin's farm in Somerset for Easter. A pig in a poke or a pot of gold? Hardly the latter, but I just hope it doesn't prove to be the former.