My worst car: I had a fire extinguisher with me. A pity, really

Glen baxter's peugeot 405 gtx estate
Click to follow
The Independent Online
My worst car is parked outside my front door. It's a Peugeot 405 GTX estate which is now worth about 50p and I've resolved to drive it into the ground, which is the very least I can do after all the trouble it has given me.

I knew that something was wrong almost as soon as I collected it fresh from the showroom seven years ago. I made the mistake of opening the sunroof and switching on the indicators, which blew a whole load of fuses. I ended up without any indicators. People must have been wondering why this eccentric in a brand new car was using hand signals. I tried to get home to Camberwell by only turning left, which meant driving via Norwich.

Just as the Peugeot was out of warranty a cyclist stopped me and said that there was a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust. According to the garage, it needed a rebore. After just 32,000 miles I had to pay out pounds 2,000. At the time I'd booked a holiday in France and could not cancel, so I ended up smoking through France and cursing every Peugeot sign I saw.

Of course Peugeot themselves weren't that interested and all I got was a snotty letter from their called customer, couldn't care less department. I got the same response when the car needed a new engine at 62,000 miles, which cost me pounds 3,000.

By this time I'd had enough and wrote to the Peugeot in France enclosing examples of my work in the Liberation newspaper and hinting that I could get some anti-Peugeot propaganda into their media. They weren't impressed and just sent back a snotty letter with a French accent.

Me and the Peugeot reached the low point in our relationship last year when the electrics caught fire. I opened the bonnet and inside was Dante's Inferno. Unluckily as it turned out I'd bought a fire extinguisher and managed to put it out. I lost my no-claims bonus and the car was just a few pounds away from being written off. So I'm still stuck with it.

Fundamentally it isn't a bad car. The bodywork is still in good condition, it's roomy, comfortable and has nice upholstery. But when it comes to minor details like the engine and electrics, the car is rubbish. That is why I will never, ever buy another Peugeot.

Glenn Baxter's `Gourmet Guide' is published by Bloomsbury at pounds 12.99 A selection of Glen Baxter tableware is available from Poole Pottery.