Ownership, 26 years in the making
In July 2022 I picked up the car I had to ring my local Suzuki dealer about, in 1996, after driving past and seeing one up on ramps out the front. I was stopped in my tracks by the Vitara-based targa-topped X-90, but couldn’t afford it at the time.
I’ve kept an eye out for X-90s for over a decade and come close to buying many times, but things never worked out.
They did this week: after selling
my Land Rover, what should pop up on Gumtree? An X-90 with a low price, some dents but a seemingly strong engine.
I rang the owner in northern NSW and it had been in his shed for 4 years, not on the road. He bought it locally, but never got stuck into it.
My daughter joined me to look at it, leaving it idling for quite a few minutes, without any cooling problems. The roof panels were out, as was the driver’s glass due to a problem with the window regulator. So it wasn’t perfect – I figured if I could look past the dents, it seemed like a good buy.
After a test drive on the front lawn to test the brakes and agreeing on a price, we discovered that an unregistered vehicle permit wasn’t a quick online form like in Queensland – I had to line up at a “Service NSW” shopfront for one. Thankfully, they’re open on Saturday morning. The permit itself cost a fraction of the Queensland charge, so the wait was worth it.
With the permit on paper, it was time to drive 165km home. Clouds were rolling in, so I put the glass panels back in the roof – and then discovered a nasty bit of rust on the trim of one. There’s also a tiny bit of rust on the passenger side C-pillar.
As I left the driveway, the engine made a bit of a racket, but after some fresh fuel and running time it drove home just fine.
The window will be the first order of business, to seal up the interior.
I’m not sure I’ll be keeping the “sexy lady” devil and angel mudflap adornments. They were already out of date, 26 years ago.
50 days of sitting still – will it start?
Decent proposals – should you say yes?
The 1993 movie “Indecent Proposal” might have starred Warren Beatty as the man who buys a night with Demi Moore for a million dollars. But as imdb reveals, Robert Redford got the role, and he “walks better than anybody on Earth”, according to director David Lyne (who also made Flashdance and Fatal Attraction).
Twice in as many weeks, I’ve received very “decent proposals” to buy my cars, straight up from strangers who are admiring them.
The first was at Cars and Coffee with my Suzuki Mighty Boy. Friends beckoned me over to it, as I looked at other vehicles. A man standing in front of the little yellow ute was eagerly awaiting my arrival. He said “I like your car, how much would you sell it for?”
I said “I’m not really interested in selling it, as I’ve only had it a few months!” That seemed to put the brakes on his plans. He repeated how much he liked the Boy and moved on.
Then the following week, as I drove to the petrol station to fuel up the Subaru Vortex XT for a different car meet-up, I had another decent proposal.
As I waited to pull out into traffic from a business car park, a man in a 4WD pulled over and motioned to me. I thought he was saying “you leave the driveway and I’ll pull in.”
Once traffic cleared, I got onto the road and drove 200 metres to the servo. The driver followed me on the road and into the forecourt. Then as I filled up, he came over to chat.
Turns out, he used to own a Vortex XT, but sold it some years ago. He just happened to be driving down the road as I was waiting in the car park driveway, in the rare car he regretted selling (I know what he means). Surely a million-to-one chance.
This time the proposal was more direct: “I want to buy your car, how much would you sell it for?”
I gave him my usual response to family members, asking about my plans for the fleet: at the right price, anything is for sale. So it would have to be a very good price – many thousands – to tempt me.
In the end, he gave me his card and asked that I call him if ever I was selling it. But seeing as he was really looking for a turbo XT, I gave him some leads on a couple for sale online.
He’s a local mechanic who’s worked on the Subaru’s EA82 engine, so I said I’d give him a call the next time it needed work.
So, he may yet get to experience my Vortex XT like Robert Redford with Demi Moore (well, not exactly like that), but without a million dollars changing hands.