Lost Loves Audi Coupé

Lost Loves Audi Coupé

What’s the worst car you’ve ever owned? Maybe it was your first car; something bought for next to no money and maintained with crossed fingers and fresh air. Maybe it’s the car you have now, but that’s a fairly depressing thing to think about so try not to dwell on it for too long.

Mine was a 1992 Audi Coupé 2.0E, bought in Leeds, in the rain, and in the dark. It was a ten-year old dog, and it began to reveal clues about its canine identity almost as soon as the dealer finished counting out the piles of cash.

I found the car on one of my regular Autotrader breaks at work and persuaded a mate to go with me ‘just for a look.’ 5pm arrived and we set off in my car, a perfectly nice Mk2 Golf Driver. I had no good reason to buy another car – unless you think being a bit bored with some spare money in the bank is a good reason. Incidentally, I know some of you definitely do think this. To give you some context, the Golf’s heater had broken and I hadn’t bothered to get it fixed, so it was quite a bracing drive and we had to keep wiping the inside of the windscreen with a woolly hat to see where we were going. The car had also recently been broken into and the CD player had been pinched, meaning we had to actually talk to each other. If I’m honest, by the time we reached Burtonwood services we both knew I wasn’t coming back in the Golf.

On arrival at the dealership, I had a quick look at the Audi and noticed all the great things I’d missed when looking at the advert. It had Mille Miglia multi-spoke alloy wheels! I had no idea if this was a good thing, but it sounded like it should be. It also appeared to have a CD player and a working heater. At last, I could leave my woolly hat at home.

Of course, I didn’t notice any of the really obvious bad things, like the fact that what should have been a galvanised, rust-free car appeared to have some serious bubbling around the front wheel arches. Absolutely no warning lights appeared in my head and I accepted the dealer’s offer of a test drive. The test drive was a formality, though: I’d made up my mind. We slipped down a few Leeds side streets in the Audi and I happily parted with £2300 because I am an idiot.

The first sign of trouble came on the way home, when the driver’s seat began to dismantle itself while I was driving. This was to become a recurring issue. I would soon get used to waking up a bit early, so I could rebuild my seat before I tried to drive anywhere. There was also a weird smell that began to emerge after a few days. The heater definitely worked, but it also filled the air with the aroma of wet dog and stale cigar smoke. I began to fall out of love with the car, but I persevered with it, throwing the proverbial good money after bad.

Disaster was never far away and at one point a complete engine replacement became necessary. Fun times. The mechanic was very sympathetic, in the same way a nice vet is sympathetic when they have to impart grave news.

Uniquely in my car history, I didn’t make this car any worse than it already was: I didn’t have to. In fact, I continued to lavish money and attention on it, in a terrible downward spiral of regret and self-flagellation, until I just couldn’t continue with the whole, horrible mess. I bought all the magic trees in my local petrol station, put the driver’s seat back together for one last time and cut my losses. It was time to bring a moment’s joy and a longer period of pain to some other fool. I’m pretty bad at buying and selling cars and I painstakingly pointed out the Audi’s various ‘quirks’, meaning I received a less-than-ideal £800 for it. I can’t complain, though. It did have a nice set of wheels.

What I learned: Never buy a car in the dark. Never buy a car in the rain. Never buy a car because you are a moron who has made up his mind as soon as he sees it has frameless doors.

Apologies: Unusually, I have nobody to apologise to this time. I suffered more than anybody else, on a daily basis. I suppose, at a push, I could apologise to my mate Pete, but mostly I’m still convinced that I’m the real victim here.

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