I waved goodbye to the Ford Focus today. That’s been an interesting experience in many ways, not least because in my lifetime, this is the first Ford I’ve ever owned – and it’s been a surprising experience, all round. And not for the reasons you might think.
I bought the car in July, and not really with anything in mind, really. My Facebook friend – and US-living, LeMons-loving, Brit-car fan – Peter Barrett was in a bit of a pickle. He lives in Texas, and his mother, who’s in High Wycombe needed rid of her Ford Focus. She didn’t want to sell it openly, and she felt bad about an apparent intermittent loss of power it had been suffering from. So, Peter offered it on Facebook – he had no takers, and I sauntered in to buy this car, even though I didn’t need it.
And I can honestly say as cars I’ve owned, this has been one of the very best. It goes, it starts, it stops, and drives absolutely fantastically. If you want a warm hatchback that will cost buttons to buy and run, I can’t recommend highly enough. It flew through its MoT in August, it whisked the family down to central France this summer, and never once failed to start. As back-up cars go, this really was the bee’s knees.
So why get rid of it? My usual problem – it’s too damned good for me. In driving it to and from work, never once did it make me feel special in any meaningful way. That’s despite its dynamic brilliance. It’s also too competent, and simply makes too much sense. So instead, I replaced it with a leaky Citroen Xantia Activa, which in just about every measurable way, is inferior to the Ford.
But I suppose that’s what it’s all about. How the car makes you feel. And in the case of the Focus, as good as it is in every way, it leaves me feeling… well, feeling nothing. Not cold, not warm. Nothing. I know this car’s historic significance, and just how it moved on the car market as a whole, and its position as the UK’s best-selling car is completely understandable. So, in summary, it’s just not me.
Thanks to Peter Barrett for offering the car, and for the great insight, though.
So, in the end, it’s gone to my old mucker, Mike Humble. He’d agreed to sell his pristine Rover 214 GSI (below) to my other mucker, Detroit man Richard Truett. I arranged the sale, the deal, and a year’s storage (at Richard Kilpatrick’s place) so that he can ship the car legally to the USA in 2016 as a 25-year old classic. Mike had a look round, declared it fit for purpose – and today, he drove his 214 to Richard’s and collected the Focus to take home. A deal that I think everyone wins in.
That I wasn’t there for the handover speaks volumes for the Focus. After six months of sterling, unstinting service, I was prepared to let it go without a backwards glance.