Time the continuum always seems to be against all of us – a profound statement with the car-related point being that viewings should be undertaken before a purchase although I have bought many simply by viewing and clicking online. As I become more business-minded, physically-seeing the object becomes more essential. A case in point is a Toyota Aygo that I bought recently; I had intended to view it but like I said, time was against me but I bought it nevertheless for £824 all in. Online research disclosed that it had a long MOT with advisories about gaitors, tyres and other perishable parts. Only on the day of collection did I notice one glaring anomaly: the notes on one column to the side of the photos stated that it did not start and did not drive – oops and one big one. A sharp intake of breath then or a few. One photo though, showed the position of the semi-automatic shift in the ‘E’ position – it will not start unless in ‘N’ and with your foot on the brake so hopefully this provided the non-starter reason. Gingerly approaching the sales counter, I enquired whether there was any way of cancelling my purchase and was told a resounding no followed by ” it doesn’t start or drive” that was preceded by some finger pointing at a computer screen to verify. Okay then, so reluctantly off to see my purchase. A reattachment of battery terminals gave a click to prove there was life and the shift was moved to neutral – deep breath and … it ignited. Exhale and relax.
Luckily, it seemed to drive fine after inflating one rear tyre although paintwork looked bodged after a poor respray and one wing was badly scraped which I knew about. Furthermore, there were mould spores over the rear seats including a baby seat and carpet – there was fortunately no baby found. The first generation Aygo/C1/107 seems to suffer from poor window seals and if you park them up over the winter, leave a window gap for air to circulate otherwise you’ll find a mottling of mould spores over seats, carpets and even seatbelts.
That tyre had a fast puncture and I had thought of over-inflation prior to driving it away but I aborted that idea on safety grounds as I would have to drive it back on the motorway. Doesn’t the Aygo have a spare tyre? It does provided you can get it out of the wheel well! Unfortunately, my Aygo had had a rear end shunt that compressed the spare tyre against the rear panel. After some heaving and levering with the aid of a jack handle, it wouldn’t budge so I then decided to remove the rear seat backs to create further room but gave up on that attempt as there were were two bolts that were awkward to access because of that stubborn spare wheel. Plan C was to use two car jacks end on end to provide a gradual expansion and the slow process did create some ominous creaking as I attentively focussed on any movement of jacks. One did spring off from the other showing that one side of the wheel had raised and with more pulling and heaving enabled the wheel was freed from its forced captivity – success! It was a good tyre as well so in its place went a fourteen inch space saver.
Time to move on and tackle the dodgy paintwork and damage. Did you know that carburettor cleaner is ideal to remove any poor touch-up attempts as well as rubber marks? A front wing was bought from Euro car parts for £35 with an accompanying aerosol in the matching “Chilli red” paint from Halfords. Aside from keying the surface with a fine grade of abrasive paper, also remember to apply lacquer after the base coat – on the same day otherwise you will have eventual lacquer peel that affected the front and rear bumpers with mirror cowling. I’ll have to tackle that and hope to blend lacquer in rather than re-do the whole bumper. Aygo automatics are worth their weight in gold and it’ll be interesting to find whether this example sells quicker that the Peugeot 107 that took an age to sell despite the latter being in better overall condition. I suspect the Aygo will sell quicker because of its badge.
Advice to myself for the second time: match paint to the car. In my haste before the car had been delivered, I bought an aerosol can and discovered after that its shade was far from what it should have been. Furthermore, be persistent when searching for matching panels to save time and money – I recently found a matching Aygo sat on top of another – after mine had gone!
The Aygo sold for £1375 even though the buyer offered £1300 – a quick sale with only two days of work.
Words and photos are copyright of Sotiris Vassiliou