It seems my major decisions throughout the course of my life have gone one of two ways ... Either I have taken my Mum’s advice and not doing something, which has led me to be extremely relieved and thankful down the track, even if her wisdom was not always happily accepted. Or, I have gone against her advice and regretted it years on.
One of those regretful decisions occurred in 2012. Despite my parents’ advice to ‘‘never buy a car you haven’t seen’’, I was so convinced I had found a winner that I went ahead and bought a Holden Astra convertible that I had found on eBay. It was located in Sydney so I had it brought on a truck down to Melbourne where I picked it up. As a young 17-year-old having bought my first car, my excitement was soaring.
Then I saw my new car.
Regret took over me as I inspected the unexpected dints, scratches and wear and tear.
With no option but to drive it home, I spent most of the drive home convincing myself and my Mum into believing it wasn’t actually that bad.
In coming months, I discovered some extra fun little facts about the car — like that the speedometer worked only 75 per cent of the time.
And that whether the music was on or off when the car was turned off at night, the next morning the stereo would play at maximum volume without fail.
These were not fun, but it was the burst hydraulic hose that sprayed oil all over my leather seats and left the roof permanently stuck open that knocked me off the edge.
From there, I got the roof fixed up and sold the Astra for next to nothing. I sucked up my silly decision and moved on. I bought a little red Suzuki Swift and looked ahead. While I thought my bad car luck had come and gone, it seemed I was only getting started.
Having visited my sister a little out of town about 18 months after my new purchase, I was headed home one night when I collided with a kangaroo — or more accurately, a kangaroo collided with me. I was gutted — my beloved swift was written off.
The disappointment was real.
Until I found another red Swift — only this one looked even better. Decked out with mag wheels, a body kit, LED lights at the foot wells and a muffler that sounded like a powerful V8 on one of the tiniest cars in town, it was the dream. But continuing on my bad roll, again about 18 months after taking it home, I lost control on a wet road and rolled a little deeper into my unimaginable run — writing off my second Swift.
Ready for a change of pace, I made the change from a manual to an automatic purely for eating purposes only — how are you supposed to eat on the run when you’re forever changing gears? — and I went from my little Swift to a Holden Cruze. This one had lasted me nearly two years. It was in fact a record for my longest-lasting car — until earlier this month when it was added to my collection of write-offs after I was T-boned on my way home on a dark night.
Shocked but not shocked, the biggest dilemma I faced as I became car-less once again was to know what car to get next. After keeping up with every car that came up for sale on our side of the country, my options were almost endless.
But in the end I found myself defaulting back to my old favourite.
As I drove my third Suzuki Swift out of a Footscray dealership earlier this week, I felt right at home. Here’s hoping this one lasts longer than my last four.
Laura Briggs is a journalist at The News.