Blog: Ah, the curse of the free car

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists


I CAN see next weekend being one full of another Rover-related caper. You see, one of the delightful side-effects of running this website is the sheer number of free cars that get offered to me in the course of my day-to-day life. So when old friend, Achim Kuepper, got in touch saying that his recently MoT’d Rover 827 fastback was going begging, I thought it would be rude to turn down the chance of owning such a magnificent car for such a knock down price.

Yes, that’s right, Achim has offered me – or should I say AROnline – this car for free.

His missive gave me a clue… ‘After having spent £300 to get it through the MoT just two months ago, it has now developed some more bad habits – fuel leak, brake and ABS warning lights on, one tyre goes flat over the course of about one week, too sporty noise after being driven fast, A/C stopped working etc. I’d love to see the 800 going to a good home as it’s far too good to be scrapped.’

So I’m going to have to have it, aren’t I?

Of course, free cars are rarely free at all, and there’s pretty much always a catch. Take the M-registered Nissan Primera 1.6 I’m running around in at the moment – it’s trouble-free and pretty much faultless and probably has years of service left in front of it. But because its clutch is on it’s last legs, there’s a pressing need to put that right. But because it was free, the economics of a £35 clutch kit, and a morning in the workshop seem to take on a whole new slant. I mean, it’s not a lot of money, but it’s vastly more than I paid for it – so should I do it? Especially as I don’t really have any feelings for this finely engineered car…

I had decided to take the plunge and get it fixed, but when Achim made his kind offer, I knew that there was no way the Primera would be going anywhere near the workshop – as a V6 powered Rover with a barrel load of Heritage issues seems a damned sight more enticing. And because of that, I’ll be heading to Newcastle next weekend to pick up this sight-unseen 800… there’s nothing like a little of the unknown to get that excitement switch flicked.

So that leaves me with a Primera that I just don’t know what to do with. Because it was free, and given to me by a friend, the usual rules (see above) don’t apply. But at the same time, there’s no way I could let this car go to scrap because of the clutch – and as well as that, it was a present. So, what to do?

Head says weigh it in, but the heart clearly couldn’t let that happen…

So before I can take on one free car, I need to decide what to do with another one. Any suggestions?

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

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.
Keith Adams

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