When I left England back in November 2007 I sold my car for £250. That’s around $400 in Aussie money. Not a lot, was it?
But I loved my old car; I’d had it for about seven years. It was a Volvo Wentworth 940 Estate, 1991. It had done a few miles, around 170,000 if I remember, and it had a slight oil leak that nobody could fix.
But it never let me down and I thought it was worth a lot more, but old bangers in England are 10 a penny. You will see them parked in the streets or on people’s driveways with for sale written on them. They will be in the local free papers, where I lived it was the Standard Recorder or the Yellow Advertiser. They will be written on postcards in newsagents windows.
And, of course, there is the Exchange and Mart and Auto Trader, both in paper form and online.
Second hand cars were everywhere in the UK and they were cheap.
But what about Australia?
For nearly 3 years we have got by with just one car between me and my wife. But just lately we have been thinking we need a second car. An old banger.
But there’s not much on the streets here; there are a few cars for sale in the local free papers, but not very cheap ones; not much happening in newsagents windows; very rarely you might find one for sale on a free ad in a supermarket; but on the Internet we have:
So that’s where I went shopping. After several hours browsing, I had identified a few vehicles I was interested in. And I can assure you, none were as cheap as that old banger I sold back in England.
1) 1998 Toyota Rav4
Auto, 2.0L, 245,000 kms. $4,990.
I checked for a similar vehicle online in England and found one priced at £1,450 with just 61,000 miles on it. That’s less than 100,000 km, so not only had this vehicle travelled half the distance, but it was all so half the price. £1,450 is about $2,500 AUD at today’s money.
Anyway, I phoned the owner of the Rav4 here, and he was no longer the owner. It was sold.
2) 1999 Toyota Rav4
Auto, 2.0L, 170,000 kms. $7,999.
I found several similar models in the UK priced at between £2,000 and £2,500. Again, that’s about half price and many of them were lower mileage.
I phoned the Australian seller here (on a Saturday) to see if I could go and view his car. “I’m out all day, but I am in all day tomorrow. Call me then.” I did. “I’m out, be back around 4:30 PM to 5 PM. Call me at four o’clock and I’ll be able to tell you when I’ll be back for sure.” I did, almost. I actually phoned him at 4:55 PM after viewing a car about 10 minutes from where he lived. I asked him if he was there, “Yes, I was. But I’ve gone out again.”
“Oh fugeddit!” I said.
And the car I did see 10 minutes from his house…..
3) 1996 Toyota Rav4
Auto, 2.0L, 214,000 kms. $6,500.
Yes, yes, we fancied a Rav4.
Again, I checked for a similar vehicle online in England and found two, one priced at £1,250 and the other at £1,295. That’s under $2,275 so both are almost a third of the price of the Australian equivalent.
As I said, I saw this vehicle and it wasn’t too bad. But it wasn’t great either. A little bit scruffy, a little bit sluggish. Yes, it’s an old banger… ish. I offered $5,750, they wanted $6,000. So I passed.
Other cars that I had picked out but never saw were…
1994 Mitsubishi RVR 2.0L Turbo with 79,000 kms (yes, sure) at $4,990. UK equivalent was a 1995 version with 80,000 miles (yes, sure, again) and that was for sale at £895. Again, about one third of the price here in Australia.
Then there was a Ford Fevista, 1998 with 123,000 kms and a 1.5L engine. The UK doesn’t sell Fevista’s but the Fiesta looks pretty similar to me. And you pick those up, similar age and mileage, for around £600. Here the car was on sale for $2,990.
When I phoned this one up, the guy was very apologetic because he’d made a mistake. It wasn’t an auto. But apparently he did have another car, a Mondeo, that was an auto. He asked me if I was interested. I wasn’t. Seemed to me this guy wasn’t a private seller at all, surely he was a dealer?
So I just said “no” and moved on. Two minutes after we ended our conversation, he called me back. “I’ve just remembered, I’ve got another auto if you’re interested?” “Are you a dealer?” I asked.
“No” he said. “I am a private seller, I just have a lot of cars.”
“Oh, that’s okay then, for a minute there…..”
Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything from him.
I’ve already mentioned before here on this blog that second-hand cars in Australia aren’t cheap. Having gone through this real life exercise to buy a cheap second car for us has reminded me just how much more expensive cars here are. Here, cars without a Road Worthy Certificate (equivalent to the MOT) can actually sell for $1,000 or more.
Yes, there are cheaper cars available here in Australia if you look hard. I found a 1991 Holden Commodore Executive with 303,000 km on it and a Road Worthy Certificate for $700. I just didn’t fancy travelling all the way to South Australia to check it out.
So did we buy an old banger in the end? No, not really. But we did end up buying our Rav4, a 1999 auto, one owner, full service history, 179,000 kms, one full years rego, worth over $600 and four new tyres.
So certainly not an old banger, I really don’t know where to buy one. Everything half sensible that we looked at was approaching $5,000 or more. So it’s only a small leap to $8,000 from there.
But perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places. Do any seasoned Aussies know the trick?