NEAR MISS

CLOSE SHAVE

Guy Allen

CLOSE SHAVE is probably the kindest way to describe the situation, though there is just a hint of regret that we (or I) didnít end up bidding on the Bimmer.

You see, as I may have mentioned before, one of the biggest dangers in working on this fine family organ is the constant temptation being waved under your nose. It may be an auction, a classified thatís just come in, or youíre shooting a car and the owner casually mentions it might be for sale.

Then you go through the mental gymnastics of speculating on what it would be like to have the thing in the shed. My spectacularly patient wife has got to recognise the signs over the years. Muggins will be sitting there with a magazine or an iPad, displaying a picture of some unfamiliar transport of delight, and have that suspiciously vacant look on the dial. The lights are on, but there really is no-one home as Iím too busy imagining cruising down the highway with the latest acquisition.

Of course itís human nature that Iím not imagining the just as likely scenario of lying under the sodding thing, by the side of the road, wondering where all the horsepower or electrickery has escaped to. And whatís that funny smell? Why is it leaking something that looks suspiciously like dinosaur vomit? Nope, itís the curse of the car nut to only imagine the good stuff instead of the likely harsh reality.

The object of the latest fantasies was a BMW 7-series, with a relatively rare manual four-speed and it was up for auction. It was a bit tatty Ė the paint was tired, the interior definitely needed some tidying up, and it had about 250,000km on it.

Iíve owned a couple of 6-series from the same era, with closely-related mechanicals, and they donít scare me as an ownership proposition. While they can swallow money in alarming quantities, there are ways to minimise the damage. And theyíre very engaging cars.

But hereís the thing: we already have five cars lurking at home, plus a sixth Ė the project VK wagon Ė taking up space in my daughterís garage. So we need another little project like we need an additional hole in the head.

However I instantly regretted the noble self-discipline when I saw the Bimmer go for a mere $1000. Maybe next time...

Guy ĎGuidoí Allen

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