Donald MacInnes: Carlos has served us well, but we're selling him on Gumtree


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The Independent Online

It just occurred to me that I haven't publicly congratulated my high-flying wife on her new job. She still works in corporate travel, but this new role represents a major step up for her.

More important than her career trajectory, of course, is the fact that she now qualifies for a flash company motor. She recently took delivery of a very nice, top-of-the-range Ford Focus. This is very good news for two reasons. First, I get to drive it and pretend I have the kind of job that, well, gives you a company car.

Second, the name of the model means that, should I ever let my concentration lapse for a few seconds as I change tunes on the bowel-juddering stereo system, whichever irate driver is behind me can scream "Focus!", thereby both alerting me to the fact that he is, in fact, addressing me and also giving me a metaphorical slap around the ears to force me to concentrate a little harder.

The other result of all of this sparkling new automobility is that we had to get shot of our old car. So, last week I posted an advert on, including some suitably sexy pictures of "Carlos", to sharpen the appetite of any prospective buyers. In case you're wondering, "Carlos" is not our high-cheekboned, snake-hipped, inordinately sweaty Mexican gardener, but the nickname we gave the car, which is a Daewoo Kalos. We did this because we are silly, predominantly, and should probably grow up a little.

Although AutoTrader recommended that we ask for £650 for the car, I was convinced that its amazingly low mileage of 26,000 miles – on an 11-year-old motor! – was worth more than this. I thus priced it at £1,100, even though there were many identical cars on the website for around £700, but they all had mileage of anything up to 100,000.

Adopting a belt-and-braces approach, we also advertised the car on, as a little marketing experiment to see which produced better results (but mainly because it was free). Mind you, we would have much preferred the successful buyer to have seen the car on AutoTrader, as it cost £45 for a three-week run. Anyway, we were soon fielding calls from people wishing to come and have a sniff around Carlos's exhaust pipe.

Gratifyingly, the first viewer had seen the advert in Gumtree, but offered a derisory sum. Plus, he gave me the creeps and smelled of oxtail soup.

Eventually, a bloke turned up last Monday and proceeded to examine the car like he was a skydiver checking his parachute before a jump. He clearly was a pretty skilled mechanic and soon had the hood up and was just about climbing into the engine to make sure I wasn't selling him a lemon.

Satisfied, he offered £900 cash. I figured £250 above the AutoTrader valuation was acceptable, so the deal was done. The only decision we have now is what nickname we should give the Focus. Suggestions to the usual address. But keep them clean.

Twitter: @DonaldAMacInnes

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