Opinion : Is the second Bangernomics era upon us?

Ford Focu ST170

Do you remember about five years ago when Big Ben rang in 2020 and, beyond the New Year euphoria, we were all worried about the impending financial uncertainties for the economy ahead? There were bleak forecasts for jobs, trade and retail performance, and for many it felt like we could be about to enter a period of belt-tightening like we did following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. It wasn’t a definite outcome for what was about to happen – some thought we’d do very well, but there was at least some uncertainty about the times ahead.

Then Coronavirus (COVID-19) happened and, along with it, the last scintilla of doubt that we were in for some serious economic headwinds once the worst of the pandemic had passed. With Governments across the globe spending trillions in order to keep systems working, while industry and commerce shut down, the threat of mass unemployment is beginning to look like a reality. Add to that a serious mistrust of the public transport system as long as this pandemic is with us, and you can already see why used car sales are rising – and why demand for sub-£1000 motors is also on the up.

A few weeks back, I bemoaned a lack of any new car purchases in my life during this tumultuous year on Twitter, and that rapidly sparked a search to see what the state of play was in the sub-£1000 car market, where I like to hunt. On a first scan, things were looking pretty grim for an enthusiast buyer like me. It seemed that anything vaguely modern classic in shape had shifted gear, and vaulted right out of my price range, leaving a remarkably unappealing choice of cars to pick through.

Where were the nicely-specced Saabs or Rovers that I usually gravitated towards? Where were the large cars with non-premium badges? Or the big, petrol saloons and estates? Picking through countless knackered Jaguar S-Types didn’t (and still doesn’t) appeal, nor does one of a billion diesel-powered Audi A4s, Peugeot 307s or Vauxhall Astras. ‘Am I getting too old for this lark,’ I wondered to myself?

Anyway, within a few days of posting this plea for interesting car ideas, I bumped into my old mucker Tom Barnard at the SMMT Electric Car Day, and caught up with him about the state of play in the Bangernomics end of the market. Clearly, Scrappage has taken lots of interesting cars from us in the late-2000s, but there’s still hope if you think more laterally, he told me. Then I asked him how he was getting on with with the Ford Focus ST170 which he’d recently bought to feature in the now-defunct Retro Cars magazine…

Ford Focus ST170

Anyway, to cut a long story short, a deal is done (we don’t haggle, he says a price and I think it’s a good one) and, a few weeks later, I’m down at his place picking up a very tidy 53-plate Ford Focus ST170, after my son delivered me there in another recent purchase (that’s neither Bangernomics, nor likely to appear here as it has four rings on the grille). Looking over the car, it looks absolutely fine, completely stock with a new set of Michelin Cross Climate tyres on it – and I’d say a session with a clay bar and wax polish away from being an absolute minter. It fires up and works, there are no lights on the dash, and I’m happy to take it away after bumping elbows and bank-apping him the amount we agreed upon (yeah, it’s 2020, so no wads of cash nor shaking of hands).

Driving back, son in tow, it soon hit me like a hammer blow that Ford really did understand what made a good driver’s car with the Focus. The controls are brim-full of feel and the weights are absolutely spot on. The gearchange is pleasure itself, with a beautiful short throw and one of the easiest (and positive) actions I’ve come across since my last Focus owned back in 2014. The driving position is spot on, visibility is great and, even before I’m out of Tom’s village, I’m smiling at the cleverness of my latest purchase. ‘I own a Ford Focus ST,’ I chuckle to myself. ‘I’m one of those guys now…’

By the time I get home, I’m convinced that it’s a perfect car for our times. It’s small, drives really well, revs to almost 7500rpm, attacks corners like a true hot hatch and didn’t cost me much money. Although it’s expensive to tax and fuel, this can be measured positively against the typical monthly PCP payment on a brand new family SUV. Will it work as a winter hack remains to be seen, but the signs are good. After posting pictures of the car on Twitter, a former owner got in touch and filled me in on some of the history that Tom didn’t have, while agreeing to post me the spare key, which he found. Let’s see how it goes.

Ford Focus ST170

As for Bangernomics and the state of the used car market right now, there are some brilliant cars to choose from if you’re prepared to look beyond what you’d normally consider. Equally, if you live in the country and don’t need to go to the city (where ULEZ is now a way of life), why not take a punt on a diesel? These are getting cheaper by the day as they’re increasingly being demonised in the media. Yes, they’re not good for particulates but, out of the city, at least fewer – or no – people will breathe them… And if you keep them well-serviced they need not be that dirty anyway.

The reality is that people are going to need cheap wheels going forwards, but please don’t think that just because you do, you need to be a second-class citizen. There are great cars to be had out there and, if you find yourself financially straitened, do not worry about the car. You’ll find a good one for very little money, thanks to the rampant consumerism of the past few years, and the way that lots of perfectly usable cars have become near-worthless on the back of cheap and easy new car finance.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising people for financing new cars. Oh no, not at all. If they’re in secure employment and choose a car that’s easily afforded within their monthly finances, then why not? But for those who are not – and there’s no shame in that – there’s another way. My Focus shows just how good – and relevant – Bangernomics motoring can be right now. Fingers crossed…

Ford Focus ST170

Keith Adams

53 Comments

  1. Can’t argue with that Focus. Great buy. Takes me back to my version of Bangernomics in NZ buying and selling repossessed cars in the early 80s with a mate, purchased by tender from finance companies for c. $1200 apiece. He was ace on paint and panel touch up, we both could do a gearbox or rings and bearings and, if the engine really was shot a mate would put it through his semi-automated engine reconditioning shop in return for a couple of cases of amber fluid and a good-as-new short block went back in, topped by a reconditioned head if necessary. I specialised in the minor details – all lights and accessories, heater, etc, working and the ready-for-sale WoF – Kiwi equivalent of the MoT.

    Trouble is, you get attached to the odd car which is why we both ended up with a giant Australian Chrysler Valiant Safari (estate car). Each. Hang on too long and any profit goes out the window.

    I returned to old heaps after moving to England and buying first a friend’s dad’s 13-year-old, owned-from-new-with-full-history ‘83 Renault 18 (£250) then his mum’s last-of-line ‘93 Renault 5 (£1100). Both needed only minor repairs and routine maintenance – the 18 sold eventually to a local student to replace a dead Morris Minor and the 5, displaced by a company car, was part exchanged (£800) for the newest car I ever owned – the dealer already had a buyer who wanted it for a student to take back to uni.

    Banger motoring, done right, is great fun and provides transport at minimal cost.

    Enjoy the Focus.

  2. Now I am sure I am going a bit deranged, but have I missed out on the last five years, did BIG BEN really ring in 2020 five years ago? LOL

  3. Well Keith, if it lasts and is as good and reliable as yours and my last focus your into a winner. That car was fan bloody tastic, even though I did say the st170 was expensive to tax and likes a drink I am secretly keeping an eye out for a decent for one

  4. Enjoy while you can is my message, I fear Bangernomics will be killed by taxation that will target vehicles with higher emissions, in the coming years, which will make running a car that 2 or more behind the current standard both expensive along with being denied access to an increasing number of urban areas.

    • Precisely. I have just retaxed my 57 plate VW Fox Urban 1.4 – a whopping £205 because of the 159g/kg emissions and CO2. With 70,893 on the clock, why should I trade it in for some expensive but low emission new wonder car? And at 5,000 miles in a ‘normal’ year – maybe a thousand this year – where’s the sense?

    • This is my objection to low emissions zones. An older car met the emission standards of the time and to move the goal posts by imposing additional charges and taxes on drivers who purchased the car in good faith is simply not just.

      It is also pointless because the natural wastage in the vehicle fleet is eliminating polluting cars anyway. Many of the pointless ULEZ have been abandoned because people have bought newer less polluting cars without the schemes ever starting.

      • The sucker punch is the fact that the authorities used the manufacturers rolling road NEDC data for emissions and not the independent real world test figures. We know the test figures are bogus and fraudulent. One of the Fiat 500 diesels is rated as Euro 6 compliant thanks to a Fiat 20 minute ECU defeat device, the Fiat passes the Euro 6 test on the rolling road then switches off emissions control and Nox skyrockets to 18 times the Euro 6 limit, without the ECU trickery it would not meet even the ancient Euro 3 standard. We should have had the USA legal action, give the driver his money back and take the deficient cars off the road

  5. I had a 1999 Focus 1.6 Zetec for 6 years (2000 – 06) and it was by far the best driving car I’ve owned. And never really cost anything other than routine servicing.

  6. Looks really good all performance Ford RS/ST vehicles are excellent drivers cars and this one looks really good it should provide maximum fun for not that much expense,a bit of elbow grease on the bodywork will primp it up no end. The only quibble I’ve got is that it’s silver,I’ve always thought that the Blue Oval’s hot cars should have a big lairy colour like Orange Fury or the new Puma ST’s Mean Green if you’ve got that much performance flaunt it!!!!!

  7. Great little article. I’m not a snob and even if I was don’t have the budget to drive a new car but, at the same time, I don’t want to drive something too raggedy to the school gates.
    Between jobs in 2017 I ran a 1979 Manta for a year, probably leaning more towards the classic than banger (in my opinion) but the costs of ownership beyond tax MOT and fuel were zero. Once you are in that territory you are kind of depreciation proof- your Focus will never be worth less and with the interest in warm Fords will probably start to climb out to classic status shortly.
    I now have a ten year old four-ringed car. No finance, most of the depreciation is done and I stand to lose in the next three years what a one year old leased Audi will lose in three months.
    I come from the generation that doesn’t chuck things away so smoking around in a 17 year old Focus that is still clean and faithfully doing it’s job of conveying its occupants and giving them pleasure at the same time is a fine thing.
    Enjoy

  8. My problem with the new era of cheap cars that we’re entering is that I find most things produced after the year 2000 to be deeply unappealing – I’d go as far as to say that I don’t wish to be associated with the 21st Century.

    It’s why I made hay when the sun shone a few years ago and bought my two current classics at bangernomic prices (Pug 405 and Rover Sterling) and have clung onto them.

    True, not really bangernomics when you’ve “invested” £dontwanttothinkaboutittoomuch.GPB into them but for me, the age of cheap cars I actually want to drive are over.

  9. Go back to 1980, probably the grimmest equivalent year to 2020 with a huge recession, hyper inflation and a feeling some days a nuclear war could suddenly break out and Bangernomics meant picking up a 7-8 year old car made by the British Big Four, who dominated the banger marker then. Your local paper was usually full of 1972 Cortinas, Morris Marinas, Hillman Avengers and Vauxhall Vivas that while probably rusty in places and coming apart inside, were still mechanically reasonable and available for a couple of hundred pounds. Get one with a year’s MOT and you’d get a car that would get you to work and back for next to nothing, and repairs were usually simple and very cheap.

    • I agree, in those days a car with 50k on the clock was very tired and so most fleets would swap out their fleet cars at 50k and expected next to nothing for them. If you weren’t going to be doing many miles you could get a tidy little runner, that though it had been worn smooth on the motorway had been maintained with no expense spared and was still young enough to not fail a couple more mot’s with rot issues.

      I contrasted this in 2001, when I recall early one Sunday morning at warp factor speed on the M40 in my then company car a Volvo T5 Estate, watch it click round to 50K and looked around the car and realised there was absolutely nothing wrong with it and it looked and felt no different than when it had left the showroom.

      • Also in 1980, with the second energy crisis still being felt at the petrol pumps, it was an ideal time to buy a bigger car if you could afford to run one. I can remember values of cars like later Mark 1 Granadas and Triumph 2000/2500s being low due to their high fuel consumption and being superceded by newer models. You could still end up with a decent executive car that wasn’t at the end of its life and had another five years left in it.

        • In 1976 when I was looking to buy a Viva HC, I came across a nice Rover P5 in turqouise blue , Rostyles and cream leather interior for about £795. Ex Directors car… looked great, if only I could have afforded the fuel & insurance costs back then!

          • Speaking of directors’ 3.5s – about 1972, my father showed me round the paper mill (Brittain’s of Cheddleton, Staffs) where he worked. They had a garage for servicing directors’ cars, and I clearly remember a blue Rover 3.5 on a four poster lift. I also remember several substantial buildings between the garage and the road past the side of the works. If you go there now, you can see the garage from the road! Most of the paper mill has been demolished and replaced by a glue factory – I guess that’s more likely to stick around.

  10. I evolved from mcs to cars c1974.

    I drove £50 bangers for many years.

    Now I live in France and things are different. Used cars with an “MOT” are very expensive, so I’ve moved into a new cheap motoring mode.

    1) Buy ex dealer or importer cars, under 1 year old & less than 20,000 kms. Save getting on for 40% on new
    2) Buy cash
    3) Keep them 10 years – now retired I don’t do many kms
    4) Sell privately (taking advantage of the high retained value of used cars in France) before buying the next one

    I bought a 6 month old Megane estate in 2006 from Spain. From memory it was 6 months old, 10,000 kms, still had warranty which I used to replace a dodgy CD player, €14,000.

    I sold it in 2017 for €4000. The annual cost was low, and I think about those who are paying €300+ per month for lease cars.

  11. Totally agree with every word Keith. Funny enough, I’ve just bought a Saab 9-3 aero coupe with 205bhp and 97k on the clock for well under a grand. I recon it will go on for years if I need it to.

  12. It is a major asset to be mechanically minded and being prepared to get some dirt under the finger nails, thinking of the opportunities when an old car otherwise sound, needs a new clutch and the owner loses faith in the car and the dealer quotation of £750. Probably a £100 repair to a DIY motorist

  13. I had a focus for a while and like Keith thought highly of it… At first. later I found it too dull, to small and to unreliable. In the end dumped it. Think I got a nice Rover 45 diesel in it’s place.

  14. Ford Focus Mk1. The best small family hatch ever made IMO. Drove loads of them back in the day, just great cars which despite feeling a bit cheap in places turned out to be really durable. A really good one is probably wasted as true ‘drive and bin’ bangernomic fodder though.

    • Totally agree. Love my two I had as new (good old Ford employees discount), though the diesel was not as chuckable as the 1.6, nor a sweet gearbox. My Uncle has been running a 2004 for 5 years now and he won’t change it, while my grandad ran an x plate for near 7 years without any trouble. The Mk2 is not such a good buy for banger money, as they are less durable.

      Mk2 Mondeos are fab as banger mobiles, but trying to find a good one that hasn’t done over 200k is hard.

      Only prob is when a car gets to 100k things start wearing out. My old Volvo started costing a fortune to keep going at that point and is why I changed it earlier this year. However Ford’s are so cheap to repair and parts easily available.

    • The mid 90s Fiesta with the 1.25 litre “Yamaha” engine only available in the top of the range models, the rest made do with old rattlers, preceded the Focus, the 1.25 was a delight to drive, a major shift for Ford in terms of low levels of NVH (noise vibration harshness) and a new era for the company leading to the Focus and Mondeo as desirable cars

      • In early 2001 when I was between company cars, I was using a hire Fiesta Zetec 1.25 for a few weeks. I was surprised at how nippy it was on dual carriageways on route to the office. It had the white dials which looked sporty too

    • I agree, I bought a 2002 1.6 Focus when it was less than 1 year old, and it’s still going strong! I don’t do high mileage (it’s only done 54000 miles), but use the car regularly enough that I need something reliable, and it’s served me brilliantly. Great to drive, and I do like the fact that it’s more “analogue” than modern cars.

      Also worth noting that despite being built 3 years before Euro IV for petrol cars came in, it meets that standard and thus I won’t have to pay the London ULEZ charge.

  15. ‘Bangernomics’ may need renaming very soon. As the UK economics takes repeated big hits from Covid 19, Brexit, escalating unemployment, homelessness, cretinous government, social unrest, swingeing increases in taxation et al, a significant portion of the UK population are going to lose the luxury of company cars, PCP’s and so on.

    Further on, electrification, robotics and reduced new car registrations between them are going to push the cost of new(ish) cars out of the reach of all but the rich. Public transport is also going to suffer the consequences of lack of investment. Will turn-key motoring emerge from this?

    Thus, the price of so-called bangers is going to be forced strongly upwards as demand increases from those wishing to retain any realistic level of mobility.

    Personally, I’m hoping my recent purchase of an Octavia MK3 Diesel Estate for £2k will see me out. I’ve measured the back for a mattress, so that’s OK.

  16. Back in the days of my youth — late 1950’s, early 1960’s — £5 was not an an unusual usual price for a banger, I bought a 1937 Morris 8 tourer and a 1935 Rover Speed 14 at that price each, both “off the road” but made roadable and reliable — and safe — with some work and minimal exrra outlay. The paper “Exchange and Mart” was a banger goldmine. But of course all that changed when Ernie Marples mandated “Ten Year Testing” (MoT to most of you).

  17. Great article and a great car; looks well worth whatever you paid for it. You’ve said before that the secret to Bangernomics is no sentimentality: the moment something big goes pop, get rid of it. My mate has a Mk 1 Octavia diesel estate which had required little more than regular servicing in 180,000 miles. Then a load of stuff needed doing in a hurry: suspension arms, alternator, cylinder head rebuild, rain leaks, electrical issues and a few other things. He should definitely have binned it when these started coming but he has kept it and now these items are sorted, it’ll probably keep smoking on for another 100k or so

  18. When I had my 2001 Toyota Yaris it only ever needed routine servicing in the replacement of a few wear & tear items apart from repairing a handbrake cable which snapped due to me pulling too hard too many times!

    Eventually the combination of a leaking exhaust, slipping fanbelt, surface rust on the underside and worn rear struts convinced me to get a newer car while it was still running,

    • I always thought the Focus (plus the excellent Mk 4 Golf) directly contributed to the demise of Rover

      Against the horrid 1990 Escort, the Rover 200 was a cut above, a premium car you’d pay more for (giving Rover a decent return). By contrast the Focus was clearly a superior car to the HH-R, meaning that Rover weren’t able to command a premium price anymore (leading to the price reductions for the revised 45). Without this price premium, the business model started looking flaky…

      • Problem was that the HHR car was priced at Mondeo money, with the 200 being charged at Escort dosh. You were buying a smaller vehicle which could not really compete against the opposition for space. When the 45 and 25 were priced at the right money the market had moved on for the 45 – the 25 was still competitive but had small margins, while the 45 was still hamstrung with licensing fees.
        It was a shame that Rover had not gone down the HHR route and instead developed a new car from the R6 (as they had with the R3), maybe it would have been more competitive for the market?

  19. Improvements in the durability of cars has extended the service life of a car by a considerable margin. From UK vehicle licensing data, in 2019 19% of licensed cars are greater than 13 years old, in 2005 the figure was only 10%, and earlier years the figure was only 5%. Such durability of a post-2006 manufactured cars bodes well for us DIYers looking for low-cost motoring.
    With the record breaking peaks in new car sales for the years 2016 to 2018 and the falls in sales for 2019 onwards, will that mean an imminent forecourt surplus of those 2016/17 ex-PCP cars as they are returned at the end of their 3 or 4 year PCP contracts. With the subsequent owner anticipating another 10 to 15 years of service life in car, ie A car which may last in service from 2020 until 2030 or even 2035, incidentally coinciding with the planned phase out of IC engined cars (2035), are we looking at another new culture in car ownership? Driving the same car from say 40 years of age through to retirement? the same car owned for half a lifetime?

    • I had the misfortune of owning a Mk1 Focus 2.0. It cost £315 per year to tax and £30 per week in petrol. Average fuel consumption was 24mpg, even worse than a Lada Riva…

    • @cyclist, the massive improvements in rustproofing and mechanical durability mean it’s possibly now to buy a 10 year old car that has done 150,000 miles and be confident that it will run for another 5 years. I can remember having to scrap a 9 year old Montego on the nineties that was so riddled with rust and mechanically unreliable, it was uneconomic to keep it alive and had only done 90,000 miles. Prior to that, I had a 11 year old Rover 213 S that while mechanically sound, had to go as it had terminal rust.

  20. The recent lockdown and subsequently being furloughed made me re-appraise my career priorities, so I quit a job that frankly bored me silly, but which came with a brand new premium German company car every 3 years (with the associated BIK tax), and took a lower paid job in a slightly different field, with no company car. I bought a 9 yr old car for cash, so I no longer pay monthly finance payments, or BIK tax (which was frankly getting extortionate). I also get to drive a car of my choosing, and regardless of what’s round the corner, I own it, not a lease company or loan company. Considering the pay cut I took (around 30%), I’m not that much out of pocket each month…….makes you wonder whether new cars are such a perk these days!

  21. We self-sufficient motorists, “oldbangereconomisers” capable of outwitting the car makers by keeping geriatric vehicles serviceable for years and miles beyond the makers intentions, are possibly the Marxists of the motoring world. The car market in many advanced economies is simply saturated, in those advanced economies, saturation is the fact that near 100% of the population who desire a car, own a car, therefore the scope or potential for sales of new cars is constrained by the elimination (scrapping) of old cars. Sales…new cars vs scrapping… old cars tend towards a 1:1 ratio.
    As we extend the life of old cars, the factories face stockpiles of unsold new cars.
    The car makers must hate us!

    • @cyclist, cars just don’t age like they used to, and it’s possible for a car with average miles and a good service history to last 20 years, particularly from a company like Toyota, whose cars seem to go on forever. I still see a Y reg Toyota Verso and a 51 plate Corolla in regular use locally and the Verso has been spotted 50 miles from home, so the owner must be confident it can undertake a decent journey.

  22. I’ve just picked up a 2004 mk1 Focus in the bangernomics spirit.
    It’s a saloon, 1.6 ghia X auto. Rather a rare machine I’d wager.

    It’s got just over 100k on the dials with a book showing every service is up to date. I doubt it could have driven any smoother, quieter or more entertaining when it was brand new. Excellent car.
    It cost less than most people spend on a TV.

    • Ford got it right in the noughties with some decent cars like the Focus, Mark 3 Mondeo and Mark 5 Fiesta, that banished any old comments about Fords being bad starters and only fit for sales reps to use and abuse up to the first MOT. Thousands are still running today and mostly in quite good condition.

    • Interesting, don’t tend to see that many Focus saloons but a lot of the surviors seem to be Ghias. A well specced saloon in the spirit of Triumph or Rover?

  23. The S Type Jag never did anything for me….but Insaw a rough 55 plate one today and….are they beginning to grow on me?

  24. I don’t understand the point about the ULEZ. Only London has one. Birmingham is planning one. Nowhere else has one, or is planning one that would affect cars, only commercial vehicles.

    Even in London, something like a Peugeot 106 diesel from 1996 is still exempt from the ULEZ, so there is nothing to worry about if you buy and old school diesel.

    • @ Lucy, I think anyone who can drive into central London and get parked must either have a lot of money to pay the congestion charge and have a parking space, or be that rich, it wouldn’t bother them picking up a few parking and CC fines. Otherwise London’s traffic restrictions are meaningless to the vast majority of drivers.

    • 25th October 2021 is the formal date when the London ULEZ expands to the boundary of North and South Circular roads, that is when the 365 days/ year 24 hours/day charging will bite, millions of Londoners will face daily charges. Euro 4 (NOX) or later petrol cars, Euro 6 (PM and NOX) or later diseasel cars are exempt from the £12.50 / day charge. I know several retirees with older cars who will be giving up driving.

      • @cyclist, looks like many innocent people could be caught out if they stray into the ULEZ area by mistake. I can see thousands of older cars going up for sale in certain parts of London and probably worth a look for people who live and work outside ULEZ.

  25. There is also debate about Newcastle Councils plan to set up a congestion charge in the city and charge a toll to cross the Tyne Bridge. They are already talking of reducing the number of lanes on the bridge. Glad I don’t have to drive into Newcastle every day now…

  26. Now when electric vehicles are more common that petrol and diesel, will local authorities still have their ULEZ restrictions and congestion charges? Sadly I think they will as it’s a way of making money and they’ll find some other justification, risks to cyclists and pedestrians, hold up buses, batteries might be bad for the environment, etc.

  27. It’s a Brilliant car, the ST170. I never thought so at the time, I worked (at a Jag dealer) we also had a Ford dealer in the same garage. I looked at the STs whilst driving by in an XJR, S-Type R, supercharged XJ 308 or similar and saw them brand new ones standing on the forecourt and wondered what all the fuss was about…
    Until I bought a used one myself 5 years later…
    The six-speed box is fantastic, the handling is gripping (really responsive) and the car is deceptively fast. Although a bit of chipping wouldn’t go a miss to get it north of 200 hp.
    You can easily hum along the autobahn all day at 185+ kmh, it feels like driving a Fiesta at around 100 kmh.
    I regretted selling mine 🙁
    The ST generally onyl suffers from the typical Mk1 Focus problems – like all Ford special models – but the price of the special parts, i.e. bumpers, trim etc cost a bomb (when you used to be able to get them from Ford).
    But provided that the VVT or the complex dual tract inlet system doesn’t go wrong, you’ll have loads of fun with the ST.
    That weird looking ST gearknob traumatised me, I got so used to it that when I sold the car, I missed that ST gearknob for at least two years afterwards …

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