Cavalier Success - Paul Robinson
Just returned from a two week tour of France. For reasons too complicated to explain, we ended up taking my wife?s Cavalier (1994, 90K bought for £1,700 about a year ago). It gave faultless service, accommodated four adults and luggage with ease, was smooth and comfortable, had adequate performance and achieved about 37mpg.

Would somebody please remind me why I bother with more ?sophisticated? transport!

PS I know HJ will say that a Mondeo would have been even better
Similar Xantia success also. - David Woollard

My thoughts exactly after a weeks hols in our 1993 92,000ml Xantia TD of a similar value, also packed with people/luggage in every last inch. 44mpg with lots of work through the gears on B-roads.

There can be real value/satisfaction in this price/age range without going to the extremes of purchase price advocated in some quarters here!

Re: Cavalier Success - Ian Aspinall
Cavaliers are great cars! I recently sold my 11-year-old, 155,000 miler Cav, and it was still running like a dream - coincidentally, its last big trip was also a trouble-free tour of France. And its elderly 2.0 8v engine still used to break the 40mpg barrier on the motorway.

On the offchance that your Cavalier gives you any trouble, check out for some excellent technical advice.
Image can be an issue - John Slaughter
I don't doubt what you guys say, and yes, I would have no practical problem in running an older car. However, sometimes image can be an issue. I'm sure some will disagree, but when I visit clients, it sometimes helps to look as though I'm doing fairly well - Not only do I want to convince them that our daily rates are reasonable, but it helps to look as though others are paying us too!


Re: Image can be an issue - Paul Robinson
I?m sure you?re right that the reason I bother with more ?sophisticated? transport is mainly image. The Cavalier is my wife?s car and as a teacher she doesn?t need to concern herself with thoughts about image. I probably chose my Audi 100 thinking it looked like a proper accountants car.

I know there is a general opinion that to be successful you need to look successful, but I do wonder if this is something of a myth. Do we do our customers a disservice by assuming they are so shallow? So long as your car is clean, neat and tidy do they really take any notice?
Image for clients. - David Woollard

There is a lot in what you say. I wonder if we often justify the image of our new car by thinking the image to clients/contacts is important, in reality it may be the image we perceive for ourselves that is more important.

And John this isn't meant unkindly, I know you are far from a guy who just looks for the latest motorised cup holder!

When I was in a career position (a past life) with a respectable major industry we were mainly running middle/high spec Cavaliers/Sierras and thought as you did John. I remember many arguments over the merits of "own car on mileage vs company car". Mostly those who ran their own cars would have older ones with a slightly naff image. The worse was a mature guy with a 15 year old Granada covered with rust and the vinyl roof peeling away at the edges. It looked terrible and yet he was responsible for meeting major clients and selling our product to large developers, to be honest it was never a problem to them. I remember having arguments telling him he was a disgrace to the company and would lose business at every turn, in reality he was such a character just the opposite was true.


Re: Image for clients. - Paul Robinson
Thank you David, interesting to have some evidence to support my doubts.

I think my doubts about emphasis on image may have been influenced by my two weeks in very rural France where things seemed very simple from my observations - Cars come in small medium and large, if you have a large family you have a large car, if you have a young family you have a medium car, everyone else had a small car. The local doctor and the village post lady drove identical small cars.

Perhaps a native will tell me that I got it completely wrong!
Re: Image can be an issue - Perky Penguin
I often drive past the home of a solicitor who works from home. The Red Bentley Mulsanne Turbo on his drive would put me off using him on the basis that I'd be subsiding his lovely car. Similarly I wouldn't be too happy buying anything from a 'salesman' with a very smart set of wheels - who is paying for them?
Re: Image for clients. - Stuart B
I'm sure image is not necessarily as important as we all think, though I must admit I am always wary of the salesman who shimmers in about a foot off the ground complete with Rolex and Armani suit. Give me a technical engineer with Casio watch, sports jacket and safety shoes any day.... oh dear we are back into social stereotyping and profiling again. ;-)

Having said all that....... in our last place late 80's we had someone in to build us a new fireplace, when he came to give us a quote he arrived in a Ford Capri, not too old, not too new, nice and clean.

Did a bonzer job, and at a price completely happy with .................................. until he collected the cheque driving a brand spanking Porsche 944 Turbo.... hmmmm.

Still good job, on time, right price so cannot complain really.
Re: Image and fashion victims - Chris Wood
Keeping up with Jones', designer labels, peer pressure, fashion victims, etc. - all these are things are for people with more money than sense and only benefit the sellers of the image. Value/quality for money is generally the better (not best as there may be exceptional cases) criteria for any purchase decision. I know a senior exec in an international company who gets £8k per year car allowance (chosen in place of the Company car) who drives a rusty old Honda Civic banger. No body minds and they have more orders than they can cope with.
Re: Image and fashion victims - marko
I have my doubts about the suitability of 1993/4 cavaliers etc for higher mileage users - I drive 40,000 privately funded miles p.a. because I choose to live 100miles from the office (bright idea - it's a long story) and would be concerned about the number of winter nights on the hard shoulder with such a car.

So what do I drive, a Mondeo of course, by em 12 months old and sell at 36, works every time.

Re: Image and fashion victims - honest john
We run an 86C Jetta GT, basically for getting to and from work. It's worth nothing at all, so isn't depreciating and doesn't break down much. Okay, it offers no status at all in the supermarket carpark, but who cares about that? Next day I might show up in a brand new Jag or Merc. But I haven't minded losing £1,500 or so a year in depreciation on a '98 Mondeo because it's a good drive, is averaging 37mpg and has been 100% reliable. When I've got to catch a plane 80 miles away at 7.00am in the morning I need that.

Re: Image and fashion victims - Chris Wood
As always, HJ is the voice of reason. That is what distinguishes millionaires' (except those who did not work for their million) spending habits from the rest.
Re: Image and fashion victims - Colin Standing
Yes, and how satisfying when the 'image' thing rebounds to the general amusement of all.
In a former life, I was asked to host an annual national meeting of the Road Transport I.T.B. (now defunct I expect).
Each year, the big-wigs from the Board were afterwards photographed with the host in front of the venue, to be reproduced in the RTITB magazine.
They wandered out after a few good wines and lined up in front of what they assumed was my motor and shuffled me on one end.
NOW - do I keep quiet and tell them it's my secreatary's car they're in front of or do I keep quiet....what would you have done ?

p.s. That day I was in a Chevette Estate two tone bright blue and rust. parked nearby and looking smug. But my secretary wasn't half pleased with the photograph.
Re: Image and fashion victims - crazed idiot
on the image thing i though gary numan was funny in the press recently

"if my car was based on what I'm really like as opposed to my self image I'd by driving a Volvo estate, however its not and I've got a TVR"

or words to that effect...

Value my car