adventures in car buying

Buying a car is becoming a Saga.

The Mitsubishi Colt we intended to buy turned out to have a 1.6 litre engine, which in this very strange country is considered high performance, and is taxed and insured accordingly. We did not wish to pay a third again as much in insurance as we were paying for the vehicle, so after discovering this exciting fact we went back to the dealership to look at a Very Tiny Daewoo (with a .8 litre hamster engine).

The VTD was just in and not yet prepared to be driven. Instead they offered us a Daewoo sedan of some sort to drive. We drove it. I wasn’t especially keen on it. We said we’d come back to drive the VTD when it was ready, and we did. The VTD proved to be *too* small (I feel like Goldilocks) in that Ted’s and my shoulders touched when we both sat in it, and in order for him to shift (because most vehicles in Ireland are manuals), I had to physically hold my right arm out of the way. As it happened, my shoulder has been acting up, so it was actively uncomfortable bordering on painful to do that, which indicated to me that this was not a good choice of vehicles.

So then we drove a somewhat larger but still quite small Fiat Punto, which was a lot more comfortable than either of the Daewoos and noticeably smaller than the sedan. (Size is an issue in Ireland. The roads are all about ten feet wide and full of hairpin turns, and as the roadsign (in countryside England) said, “Beware of oncoming traffic in your lane,” so I really prefer smaller vehicles.) Then we went away again to call to find out about insurance for the Fiat, which is still expensive, but not prohibitively so. All of that arranged, we went back to the dealer today to buy the car.

There are roadworks going on in Carrigtwohill*, and have been for the last ten days or whatever that we’ve been going out there to look at cars. Today the roadworks had moved to directly in front of the dealership, where the road was completely torn up and the way in and out utterly blocked. There is literally no way to get a vehicle in or out of the lot. There will not be for at least another day, possibly two or three more days.

We did not, as you might surmise, come away with a car today.

Possibly Wednesday.

*pronounced “Carrigtool”, or sometimes “Carrigtwool”

ytd wordcount: 44,300
miles to Dunharrow: 132


  1. bellinghman

    a 1.6 litre engine, which in this very strange country is considered high performance

    “It’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it!”


    To some extent, of course, it’s displacement times rpm that matters. Formula 1 cars are the real demonstration of this, having an insane number of horsepower per cc. Your big US engines tend to be bigger, but run slower, and the result is impressive torque, but not so impressive power.

    (Having driven Irish roads in a 2.5 litre Audi, I’m not actually sure what you’d use performance for over there. On the Ring of Kerry, for example, a lowered suspension just means you get overtaken by the white Ford Transits while you creep along afraid you’re about to ground again.)

    Oh yes, good luck with the car hunting.

  2. sammywol

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Punto driving! So long as you are aware that you are driving a machine that will turn out to be made of tin foil should you graze against anything and that it has the resale value of a dead cat there’s not a lot wrong with them.

    We managed to get our hands on a 2003 automatic Punto so perhaps, one day, we will sell it on to you.

  3. hawkwing_lb

    In this country, 1.6 litre is high-performance. I mean, on most roads, what would you use it for?

    Sure, you might get to use all that performance on the M1 or the M50 in the dead of night, but otherwise? I doubt it. :)

    Right, I’ll go back to lurking now.

  4. mizkit

    Well, *yeah*, it’s just that I come from a country which doesn’t regard engine size when it comes to insurance, so the whole method of determining it that way is mind-boggling to me. :)

    Are you going to be at PCon?

  5. captainlucy

    “This is just a saga now!”

    See, that’s one of the many reasons I don’t drive. Too much hassle just getting the frakkin’ thing, let alone the actual driving it! Much though I berate Belfast at times (sometimes deserved, sometimes not), it does give me an occasional sense of enormous well being (read: smugness) to live in a city where it is (just about) possible to walk virtually anywhere within an hour, hour and a half tops. :)

    As for cars that could have been built with Ireland specifically in mind: The Suzuki Wagon R. Teeny-tiny-wee (it’s an SUV for hobbits!), 1.2litre engine, but enough space inside to happily carry four of me (6ft3, 230+lbs) and a half-dozen bags from a Tesco run. Unless you have livestock, or are the designated driver for a Rugby/Gaelic team, it’s the business. :)

  6. hawkwing_lb

    No doubt I would be equally boggled in the states. Moreso, probably. :)

    Are you going to be at PCon?

    I hope to be, at least on the Saturday. Don’t know what the story is about buying memberships at the door, though.

  7. bodhifox

    Couldn’t you just get a pony and a jaunty cart? The Amish down the road from us all do well enough with their buggies. Well, around their farms that is. Other than that they hire people with great hulking vans to drive them around.

  8. mylescorcoran

    “Carrigtwool”? The lisping Irish strike again.

    And a Fiat Punto ain’t too bad. As said, we’re driving one of those and it’s fine for city and suburban needs. It gets us to Dublin on occasion too.

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