Article excerpt


I'VE made a terrible mistake. I broke the golden rule: Never drink and eBay. I know' how could I be so stupid?

Now I'm stuck with yet another hopeless car and a dent in my bank account. But I have worked out a way of turning it into a good thing, for you as well as me.

It happened like this. A week or so back my wife Mindy and I, having enjoyed a bottle of wine, found ourselves surfing the internet auction site.

We had no intention of buying anything' we were just looking at interesting stuff. So when, the following morning, I found a message in my inbox congratulating me on winning the auction of a 1972 Vauxhall Firenza, I was both surprised and a bit concerned.

Now the Firenza was, I should explain, quite the desirable car in its time and I have always wanted one. The curvy, coupe lines were latterly enhanced with the addition of the famous "droop snoot", which looked great, and you could get it with a 2.3-litre V6 engine, which meant it was fast, too.

Yes, you could get all those things, but I hadn't. Mine, it turned out, had the rectangular headlamps and grille from the Vauxhall Viva.

Worse still, it also turned out to have the Viva's 1,259cc engine. None of these were good things to discover, particularly with a red wine hangover.

When I finally got hold of my new machine things didn't look any brighter.

Someone had, it seemed, painted it dark blue using a roller and left it to dry near a sawdust factory. So, the wrong model, the wrong engine and the worst paintwork in history. What I should do is throw it away. But I'm not going to. I have had a brilliant idea. I'm going to restore it.

I'm not going to pay a man to do it for me. The car is worth about pounds 500. To pay thousands to restore it would be madness - almost as mad as buying it in the first place. …