I read with interest Mr. Jennings’ letter in June’s Motor Sporrt headed “The Pitfalls of Used Exotica”.
I was in the position described by him (no thanks to Ernie) about a year ago in having £3,000 to spend on a used car. There was absolutely nothing to interest me in “run of the mill” vehicles and after much searching through old road tests I began looking for a used 911IE.
The car I bought privately, which incidentally was sold as a 1969 2-litre 911E, was a 1970 2.2litre 911E with 55,000 miles on the clock, a noisy engine, a few specks of rust and half a dozen minor faults, and cost me £2,000. These minor faults, e.g. one headlamp not working on full beam (fuse blown due to water seeping past a perished rubber rim seal) were cleared over the first week-end of ownership. I decided to strip and rebuild the engine and over a period of several weeks completed the job on the kitchen floor (it was January and an understanding wife helped a lot!) and the car is now back on the road.
Returning to Mr. Jennings’ letter the obvious pitfalls are cost and availability of spares, insurance and unless one is a competent mechanic, garage labour costs.
Taking spares first, items like wiper blades, points and even spark plugs are not readily purchased at the local “Motorshop” and major items are normally available only from main agents e.g. complete engine gasket set £70 plus, but I personally have had very good service and advice from “Autofarm” at Amersham.
Insurance in towns could be a real headache, but “out in the sticks” I had very little difference in quotes from various companies. The time it can take to do basic jobs e.g. tappet adjusting, could run up enormous garage charges and my engine rebuild took around 150 hours of near surgical skill and cleanliness, plus over £390 for parts.
Do not despair Mr. Jennings and others, there is a lot of joy as well! Accelerating hard to around 110 m.p.h., changing into top and still feeling that relentless push in the back is indescribable, driving round corners glued to tramlines and having to consciously hold your body against the g force is an experience not to be missed, the very feel of being in control of such a car may tempt you towards poetry! Personally I have never felt as safe in any car knowing that its capabilities exceed my own by so much. One further point which always amuses passengers, there are no more traffic light GPs, the boy racers don’t trouble me at all and the way cars move aside on Motorways (even at 70 m.p.h.) proves that some motorists use their mirrors from time to time.
In conclusion I would say, if you have the time, the money and the inclination then “jump in the waters lovely”. I’ve not regretted one moment or one penny of the experience.
Appleton P. DOWLER