Well, that was another dull weekend!
It started with a ‘phone call from Mike ‘Swiss’ Humble last week. ‘One of my neighbours is selling his Citroen Xantia TD, and he’s not after a lot of money for it. The problem is, it’s LHD…’
And as always happens, this one simple had got my cogs turning. Oh yes – I’m a Citroen fan, I like Xantias having run them regularly as company cars in the late 1990s, and I reached a natural end point with the Rover 75. So, I ended up doing the usual thing I do – finding justification for a swap to a ‘new’ French car. I know you’re already telling me it’ll end in tears. It always does.
So, I said to Mike that he should tell the guy I’ll have it. And then just as quickly put the 75 on eBay for a quick and honest sale. What could possibly go wrong? It was a nice plan – the 75 would pay for the Xantia, and I’d end up with a more economical car into the bargain. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m always looking for something new…
That’s why on Saturday morning – and with frenetic bidding on the 75 meaning it had reached its reserve – I found myself at Mike’s place (also known as Swiss Towers) looking over one very tidy, straight and honest Citroen Xantia with the cleanest interior I’d ever seen. With the Rover looking to have paid for the Citroen, this was a no-brainer – especially after a quick drive revealed that everything mechanical and hydraulic was in top order, while it rode on a full set of near-new Michelins. Always a good sign…
So, the deal was done. I was now a Citroen Xantia 1.9TD SX (LHD) owner. Nice.
Before heading off into the sunset though, I thought it would be nice for Mike and me to head towards his local recycling centre to see if I could pick up a pair of RHD Xantia headlamps, and to also see what else we could see. The Pease Pottage yard is huge – probably the size of Wales – and it is chock-full of scrap cars. The selection is eclectic, to say the least, with the ages ranging from 1960s to 2010s; the sizes from ‘Axiam’ to ‘Mercedes-Benz’. Surely we’d find my headlamps there.
Besides, with an onsite cafe, it’s a fun day out for all the family.
We weren’t there long, though. I drove the Xantia there, finding a quiet place to park it. Then we entered. Looking around the first couple of yards, it was clear that facelift Xantias just aren’t as common as I envisaged. And soon, boredom was setting in. I found an interesting Proton Coupe in there, and decided to have a poke around – especially as it had Recaro seats inside – and as I pulled the interior door handle to open it up (a little too roughly, it transpires), I felt a massive pain at the top of my right arm – the one I’d felt before, in Romania last year.
I turned to Mike, and whimpered, ‘I’ve dislocated my arm – take me to hospital please’. I think the look on my face convinced him I was being serious.
So off we trotted to Crawley Hospital, with Mike driving and me ouching away in the back seat. And thanks again to the wonderful NHS, and one very understanding doctor, within half an hour, my arm was reset as it should be and I was under the influence of some very powerful opiates. Clearly I’d not be taking the Xantia home after all that.
To cut a long story short, the 75 did end up selling on eBay, but so far the winning bidder hasn’t been in touch. And that means I have a new car 150 miles away that I can’t use, and another one that’s sold, but isn’t.
I guess that’s just another weekend in my boring, uneventful life…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.