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I had some bad news recently: our new flat is one of London’s ‘car-free’ properties.
That means, aside from the one car parking space that the Volvo will claim once it’s back from the garage, the RenaultSport Clio 197 masquerading as our ‘practical’ reliable modern won’t be eligible for a parking permit and must go.
It was on the way anyway, in favour of more doors and a car to take the family strain off the Volvo. What this all means is the vague trawling of car sale classifieds and auction lots is even more pointless than it was before.
Hear me out. It’s ULEZ exempt, like the Clio but unlike the 30-year-old Volvo, and free from congestion charge – unlike both.
It might only be a two-door model – obviously, being a Herald – but it would be much more accessible than the Recaro-seated Clio. It supposedly has a later 1.5-litre engine (though it’s taxed as a 1.2, so viewing most certainly advised, as usual).
And most importantly, it’s well priced, with a £1750-2500 estimate. Plus if anything needs fixing, it can usually be done with a spanner and not much else.
Alas, my domestic situation – or rather the council’s rules – means I can’t possibly find space for it without selling the Volvo. And that’s not going to happen.
This isn’t my first Herald near-miss. Sat one evening in a previous life on a picnic table outside a bar near Spa-Francorchamps after the WEC’s 6 Hours, an expiring eBay ad just happened to land on my phone and a cursory £1000-max bid was made. Sight unseen, a six-hour drive away.
As the clock counted down I kept expecting a notification to pop up saying I’d had been outbid. Still nothing. Minutes flicked to seconds. Still nothing.
It wasn’t completely on a whim, we had wanted one. Whether we should have been wanting this one was another matter, though. In fact I can’t even remember whether it was a good one – and I doubt it mattered.
Still winning. Then, mercilessly/fully, with one second to go, we were snipered. Outbid by single-digit pounds, and with no time to return fire on ropey Ardennes signal. Chance and Herald gone.
And the itch remains unscratched, not helped by the triple test in the current issue of C&SC (on sale now), in which Herald tackles Ford Anglia and Austin A40, and looks very appealing as it does so.
Naturally, knowing we were trying to sell the Clio for a family-suitable car, the link to the Herald’s auction listing was sent straight to my partner in the hope that the memories of that Belgian-beered evening could be vanquished.
But the borough’s strict rule was the perfect ammunition to slam shut that idea, and she remains staunchly unmoved. Had there been the possibility of a parking pass…