The eBay advert had ‘bad news’ written all over it. Drift Ready in the description, hard pipe kit being called out on a non-turbo car, matte black rattle can paintwork and an owners admission that the clutch was ‘a little high’. It had also been on eBay for AGES which given the asking price of £2999 meant that it was either overpriced or rougher than one of Jeremy Corbin’s mistresses.
As you can see from the spec above, it did seem to have a number of redeeming features. After a bit of back and forth with the owner over text we arranged to make the trip from Oxfordshire to Telford to view. We were given instructions to call when we got to the post code, which we duly obliged upon coasting into a random road in the middle of nowhere.
Then some heavily tattooed looking bloke in gumball looking modified Audi R8 V8 with a smashed windscreen turned up and directed us to follow him in a spirited jaunt down duel carriageways and country lanes. Now, page one – paragraph one – line one of the ‘how not to get shafted buying cars handbook’ clearly states:
“Don’t buy from dodgy looking people in damaged supercars who take you on a ten minute jaunt from the location you agreed to meet to apparently view the car”
Upon pulling into a single track country lane and driving for another minute or so, we pulled into a driveway and were presented with the Supra.
I’d set my expectations accordingly and I was expecting it to be a ‘bit shit’. In all fairness, it didn’t look as bad as I was expecting. Yes, the paintwork had been done by a one eyed partially sighted person under the influence of ketamine. However, unusually the car wasn’t rusty anywhere. Keeping in mind that this car is an Japanese Import manufactured in 1993 and has been in the country since 2010.
It was however, filthy and totally not as described. The ‘Work Wheels’ were actually XXR’s (but with brand new rubber). There was no fire extinguisher system, it didn’t have coil overs (just factory Toyota Bilsteins) the exhaust was a Blitz Nur Spec (bonus) and there were a whole heap of nice little bits on it that hadn’t been listed. It also seemed to have been totally re-bushed underneath.
Now, if you were in the mindset to sell a car you’d kind of expect the buyer to want to hear it running. Right? Well we went to turn the key… Dead. The owner (James) was apologetic and went to get a jump pack only to get back to the car and realise that there wasn’t even a battery in the car. (he had both the jump leads in his hands before he realised there was nothing to attach them to!) We then managed to locate a battery out of a BMW which was the wrong way round on the back of a recovery truck (so accessing the boot was a challenge) and get it hooked up to start.
Also no documents for the car.
Line two of the ‘how not to get shafted buying cars handbook clearly states’….
So, twenty minutes later the owner (who we now found out took this car in Part Exchange for a Soarer) turns up with 75% of the V5c and some fuel. We start the car and it rattles on idle.
I can hear you all thinking. Why are you still here, an hour later looking at this piece of crap Supra? Well, call it intuition and experience. However, i know what big end rattle sounds like and THIS ladies and gentlemen was no big end rattle. It only rattled at idle, when revved it went away. Also, upon listening it didn’t sound like it was coming from the bottom end.
Now that it was running, there was also a whole tirade of other issues. The dashboard looked like Darth Vader’s bath tub. Literally every warning light was on. It stank of oil and the clutch was actually slipping rather than high. Also, did i mention that i was filthy? I mean it was FILTHY. Inside and out.
Given all of that, i did a few mental calculations about what the car would be worth to break and made the owner an offer. With a bit of a haggling I walked away with the car for a little over £1900.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, as our American cousins might say…
The trip home was somewhat eventful, very quickly we realised that the windscreen wipers didn’t work and it had no front indicators what so ever. Did I mention that it was filthy inside? The heater (for some reason) was blowing air in random directions and neither the speedo nor the fuel gauge worked. The exhaust also ground out on EVERYTHING.
Other than that though, it was fine. The car had 10 months MOT don’t you know?
When we finally got back into Oxfordshire and close to home, I got a call from Mat who was following me to say that it was blowing smoke from underneath but it wasn’t coming from the exhaust.
Smiling to myself broadly I simply said ‘I know what’s wrong with it’ and hung up. (dramatic, eh?)
When I finally got it back home and into the workshop I decided to tackle things in priority order. So I got to pulling of that fucking god awful spoiler. But honestly. You won’t believe what we found when we got it up on the ramp. More of that next time.
This was the R8 by the way, turned out the chap was James Cannon. Nice guy by all accounts, even if he did try to sell me an absolute nail assuming I didn’t know.
Click for the next chapter: Part Two: The Plot Thickens