Ok, I lied. I saved myself £119,000 by buying another old Volvo - this one. I also saved myself some petrol as this one should do about 30 MPG, as opposed to the 8 that the Bentley would have done. Since I have just picked up a speeding ticket, I should save myself some licence points as well, because - unless the seller knows something I don't - I will have a hard job to do about 200 MPH in this tub as well, let alone 0 - 60 in 3.5 seconds.
It's always a lottery buying any car that is less than brand new, so I tend to rely on a sort of 6th sense, which involves having a chat with the seller, whilst wired up to a lie-detector on the phone. He seemed like a decent sort of bloke, so I agreed the price without looking at the car itself and semi-arranged to pick it up from Devon soon, about an hour's drive from here.
I just wouldn't have felt right when loading blocks of stone into the back of the Bentley anyway, and I hate feeling precious about cars. I don't get too emotional either, so when I waive goodbye to the old 850, I might choke up a little, but I won't look back. How people can see pigs off to the abattoir is beyond me.
The last car that H.I. actually owned was a classic Citroen CS Pallas. It was very tatty on the outside and the inside (people seemed to use it for target practice in car parks) but it still had those feminine lines so beloved of Citroen fanatics, and the engine was amazing - it was an extremely fast car.
The trouble with Citroens is the maintenance - EVERYTHING runs off a single hydraulic system, including the speedometer! They all develop leaks, and this one had such a serious one that I would have to top it up with fluid about every two days. Once the fluid level drops below a certain point, the car becomes undriveable, so I used to buy a gallon of green oil about every 6 weeks.
Late one night, after she had gone with a friend to Bristol in it, H.I. called me to tell me all the red lights were on, and asked me to pick her up. I pointed out that I did not have the car to hand at that point, but she insisted, so I borrowed a car from someone and went - but not before I had suggested that she top the system up with the fresh gallon of fluid that I had bought that morning.
"I already have", she said.
"Well put some more in then".
"I can't - I used it all up and the lights are still red."
"ALL OF IT?! YOU CAN'T HAVE!"
She had. I arrived an hour later to find the car forlornly sitting over a lake of green fluid on the road. She had poured the entire gallon into the top, and it had simply come out of the bottom and onto the tarmac.
The next day I called up a local scrapper and he arrived with his lorry. He opened two windows, put a chain through the cabin and picked up the Citroen to the back of the lorry. Before he drove off, he stowed the massive hydraulic lifting-arm by ramming it through the windscreen and pinning the whole thing to the lorry bed. Brutal, but effective.
Even I felt emotional - I'm glad H.I. wasn't there to witness it.