October the sixteenth 2000: jpoc buys a car! the jpoc journal



Well, the main news from this week is that I bought a car. Having decided that we were going to stay in Germany for the foreseeable future, it made sense for us to have a German registered car with left hand drive and all the trimmings. But what to get?

Well, I didn't want to get tied in to a lease or long term credit deal so that ruled out a new car. But what to go for in a used car? I wanted something cheap but exciting and reliable and practical. Now, the most reliable and practical car that I have ever bought was my old Toyota Celica. In ten years, I racked up over a quarter of a million miles in that car and had very few problems. It has four seats, a huge boot and, when you fold down the seats and make full use of the hatchback, it has the ability to swallow substantial quantities of kit. The only reason that it is not the most exciting car to grace the jpoc stable is that it's not a match for a Lotus Europa.

So, I knew what I wanted but they are pretty thin on the ground as used cars in Germany. I'd checked out autoscout.de and located one or two but nothing that was exactly what I wanted and when I phoned up, they had always sold. So, when I was cycling to work and I spotted a black '89 Celica in a garage, I had to investigate.

It was perfect. It had a long TuV and a Cat which reduces the tax in Germany. It was a manual model and had ABS. Apart from the colour and the left hand drive, it is just the same as my old one. I took it for a test drive and agreed to buy it on the spot. Of course, having driven one for so long I knew exactly how it should behave and I was confident that I could spot any serious problems but all appeared well. It had 163,000 km on the clock so, I figure that it must have at least the same again to go before things wear out.

Now, I just have to learn all about insurance and paperwork for buying a car in Germany.

The other thing that I bought was a set of very long bladed screwdrivers. They came from an electronics shop on the far side of the town centre. They are not so interesting in themselves but I bought them so that I could fix some speakers and that led to an amusing discovery. The speakers are the active kind that are commonly used on PC sound systems. When I bought them back in '95 they were at the upper end of the PC speaker range. I didn't use them on a computer though. I was living without a proper hi-fi but I did have a decent CD player. I just needed something cheap and portable to make some tolerably good noise and they filled the bill. However, after a couple of years, they developed a dreadful distorted buzzing noise in one of the drive units. I figured that I had blown it up by playing it too loud but perhaps I could take the drive unit out and replace it. When I took it apart, I discovered that the fault was in a dry solder joint. When played loud, the speakers vibrated and the dry joint made intermittent contact and thus caused the distortion. Well, it was easy enough to fix so they are back in service!

After that, I tidied my desk here at jpoc towers and I can see the surface again! How long will that last? Should we run a sweepstakes or hold a poll?

I noticed that tripod has stopped taking new members for the builder bucks program and also the papers are full of stories about hard times for advertising on the 'net. but my traffic keeps increasing and I'm not giving up yet.

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