Sold as (not) seen

| 24 May 2011

Further to my last blog, I’m delighted to say that our beloved(ish) Mercedes-Benz 200 has found a new and happy home with long-term C&SC subscriber Simon Stokes. Now Simon is our kind of enthusiast: truly passionate, with suitably eccentric tastes (the Merc will join a Saab turbo and a Trabant chez Stokes) and a sucker for a bargain. So much so, that he broke rule number one of car buying: never hand over the cash until you’ve seen the car. “It’s a policy that has served me well in the past,” said Stokes. “I bought the Trabbie over the phone and that was great, so I thought I’d do it again. Actually, I was reading your ‘101 things...’ supplement the other day and I realized how many I qualified for – I even forgot the number of ’bikes I owned and where they were all kept until my girlfriend reminded me. It was eight!”To be fair, Martin Buckley’s warts ’n’ all story in the June C&SC gave Simon a fair idea of what he was getting himself into, and I did my best to talk him out of it when he called by listing all of the trouble-spots so that he was fully armed before forking out – further proof of what an awful car dealer I would make. In fact, I think I undersold it in the end. “I’m pleasantly surprised,” Stokes enthused as he took his first tour around the car, “you made it sound much worse than it is!” And he isn’t even bothered about the Merc’s inability to worry rice-pudding skins away from the lights: “I’m buying this because it’s interesting and it has four seats – I’ve got motorbikes if I want to go fast. I toyed with the idea of buying an S-Class before I spotted the ad for the W115, but sadly I was £62k short of the £62,500 asking price.”What was that you asked? How much did we make? Er, well, if you ignore the cash that we spent on the car while we had it, then we broke even... No, I don’t think we’re going to make our million just yet.