Blog : What CHPD means to me

Keith Adams

I know what you’re thinking – what the hell does CHPD mean?

If you’re not a regular reader of AROnline, then the chances are that you’ve not come across the term, and that’s probably a very good thing. It’s an acronym for Compulsive Heap Purchasing Disorder, and it kinda sums up my car buying life – and is the affliction that has dogged me for a very long time. In essence, it means that, during my 30 years of driving, I’ve now owned well over 200 cars.

CHPD is no laughing matter, and I put out this blog as a grave warning to all of the site’s readers in the vain hope that you can see the signs early and get help. If you don’t, you could end up like me. Or worse…

Here are ten things to look for – tick these boxes and you have CHPD:

1) Watching repeats of Life on Mars, you’re more concerned about the appearance of a Series 2 Allegro police car being in 1973 than looking at Annie’s legs.
2) Your close family’s driveways are full of your cars.
3) The combined value of all your cars – more than five for hardened sufferers – is less than £1000
4) You don’t know what your kids are doing at school, but you’re intimately familiar with the A-post rot on your latest bargain
5) Your local scrap yard proprietor knows you by your first name
6) You have specific eBay searches for your favourite old heaps bookmarked
7) There are car magazines, books and manuals in the bathroom
8) You care more about your garage than you do your kitchen
9) When someone asks you what car you drive, you have to think a moment before saying, ‘I have, um, a few to choose from”
10) Despite earning plenty of money, you never actually have any spare…

If you see any of these symptoms in yourself… run… run as fast as you can, before it’s too late.

Alternatively, buy a new Focus.

Keith Adams


  1. A few out of the 10 apply, my ‘new’ runabout, an 07 Saab 9-3 estate, mot till Dec 17, no advisory’s only 107k, its got a few dents and scrapes around it, its pig on the 1st start of the day, I have run it for a couple of months and 1500 miles, its always started in the end,the price for all this pleasure £200.00, if it really breaks I haven’t lost much have I. A new Focus, no thanks, give me the cash and I fill a small car park

  2. Latest manifestation of my affliction: a £151 Cityrover with 4 months MOT and no problems save it is a bit more juicy than expected but this may be due to endless motorway thrashes at 90MPH.

  3. How true about the Focus Brasic. That would be at least 15 cars I’d want, like the City Rover, which I would like if only for the entertainment value.

    A Rover 75 V6 is our latest and that’s arriving this week with nowhere to store it, but a 1.3 Maestro generates more, ‘My dad had one before it fell apart’ conversations’ than anything we’ve had so far.

    There are just too many and so little time 🙂

  4. Hate to disagree with Keith but whatever you do, don’t buy the Focus.
    At 32000 miles and on its 4th birthday, on the Motorway without warning, sudden and catastrophic engine failure. Ford’s amusingly named customer service dept as interested and helpful as my cat, but slower replying to emails and phone calls (even with the benefit of opposable thumbs).
    And the cause?
    HGF. My son would probably have been better off saving his cash and buying a ten year old k series heap. Or, better still 50 of them, for what the focus cost as a 2 year old.

  5. Well, having had a 2003 Jaguar (the aluminium one) from 2010, I traded it last November for a 2007 Sovereign on 54k miles. An immaculate car in every respect as was the previous car, and it should last me a few more years. These cars are absolute bargains but keep to the petrol version if you don’t want EGR, turbo, and DFPF problems. Mine is the 3 litre Ford engine, same as in the S-type.

  6. Keith… taking your comments about a series2 Allegro featuring in the year 1973 of Life on Mars – I also am sure the bronze Cortina MkIII featured was a GXL (hence the twin round headlamps). But the rear boot badge was off a 2000E – which came later in 1974 and with oblong headlamps…

    • Glad it’s not just me that notices and is a bit bothered by such things.
      Maybe a bit ‘sad’ in modern parlance, but I’m comforted by the fact that too much knowledge about old motors is at least useful for dating films/TV series – usually to the exact year within moments of watching a street scene…

      • Same here, I also notice what cars are about in street scenes, especially the ones you won’t see outside a car show these days.

        • One of my bugbears is when a US drama is “on location” but doesn’t have the budget to actually film on location, so they just use a few random country-of-origin cars with US spec lights/sidelights and numberplate surrounds, fit fake not-quite-right numberplates and film on some studio lot with an appropriate backdrop (eg. eiffel tower = Paris, big ben = London).

          On the flip side, I appreciate attention to detail. The Man In The High Castle, the occupied east coast a lot of the cars have German-style plates, the west coast a lot of the cars have Japanese-style plates.

          I was impressed by Line of Duty, filmed in Belfast, however I have watched them switch the plates of filmed cars (eg. S class Mercedes) from NI reg to GB reg, as it is set in an unspecified midland English city.

    • The RHD Quattro was out of place in Ashes to Ashes, but without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen either series, was it not explained by how the series was resolved, in that it didn’t really matter? (I’m not sure how to explain it without spoiling it actually)

  7. When I was daily commuting from my parent’s home to University, work and until in permanent work back in the 1970’s all I could afford was a series of heaps, usually for the equivalent of $400 – 1500 today. They would have rust, used quarts of oil, ran just enough to get me around, needed frequent repairs (working or with access to a garage or a driveway and tools helped)but it meant no car debt. When one beater was running with only 7 of 8 cyls., or had a major failure or just needed too much work to make it worth while, it went replaced by another beater. Sad part was that some of them were better than some newer but used cars I bought in the early 1980’s.

    • Buying and running old/cheap cars because you’re short of money is perfectly rational.

      Buying and running old/cheap cars when you’ve got a nice Citroen C6 on your driveway, as well as any number of brand new JLR press fleet cars, that’s an affliction 🙂

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