Martin Roberts

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Martin Roberts' "My home from home"’ written by Martin Roberts
   
We have another light-hearted blog from Martin Roberts, but behind all the wackiness, it's a good illustration of why tow car matching can be so tricky

I was very inspired by this year’s Tow Car Awards.

Is it now time to trade in my 1957 Trabant Cold War import? It certainly made me think.

The two-stroke engine has never let me down, but navigating the country avoiding any road with an incline of greater than 1-in-4000 is getting a little tedious.

Thankfully, there are lots of kind folk around who give me a push-start at traffic lights, so that’s OK, but it’s actually the carbon emissions that have got to me.

Industrialised Eastern Europe pre-1970 clearly did not put ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ high on its design criteria.

She’s fine when she’s warmed up, but starting her 500 cubic centimetres is like setting fire to an old mattress. My conscience has been pricked and I’m looking to upgrade.

What tow car?

So, yes, I was interested in the kerbweights and 85% match figures of all the tested cars.

I compared star ratings and highly honed comments, and I’m now cross-referencing those with the past six years of various car magazines’ annual tests and used-car price guides.

Then I’m factoring in the trade-in value for my Trabbie from ‘www.webuyanypieceofrubbish.com’ and triangulating that with the requirements of my caravan...

Now hold on, there’s a whole different set of calculations looming.

How heavy is my van? I don’t know! With or without the guinea pigs? And before or after the shopping trip to re-stock the kitchen cupboards with tins and malt loaf?

I’m worried that if I drive onto the bathroom scales, they might break.

Doing the maths

Anyway. My purchase process for this new tow car is starting to require the calculating capacity of a Cray supercomputer, and my brain is set to burst.

And that’s without deciding on interior trim colour and whether or not I want metallic paint.

What colour should I get anyway? And how will that subsequently affect resale values? Plus yet another cross-reference with insurance-industry data on which colour of car is most likely to be involved in an accident.

Also, how many seats do I need? For goodness’ sake, it used to be taken for granted that cars had four seats: two in the front, and two in the back.

Can’t you even relax into that decision? No way José! Four seats? Five seats? Split seats? Seven seats?

Seats that fold down? Fold up? Fold back? Removable? Is any part of this decision-making process sacrosanct?

Too much choice!

The final straw is that they’re back to offering a choice of steering-wheel shapes. I mean, obviously round, right? Nope!

They’ve returned to square steering wheels as an option. What? I thought they died out with the Austin Allegro!

I don’t have enough hours in my life to deal with this decision. Come on Trabbie, you’re safe for another 10 years or so...

Visit Martin’s website for information about him, his books and his property training weekends, and follow his adventures on Twitter.
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