I woke up on Wednesday with no intention of buying a car any time in the next 12 months.
36 hours later I was signing the contracts for a new car. So uh, how did I get here, sitting in a beastly new (to me) Toyota Prado?
My old car, a trusty old Mitsubishi Magna was beginning to show its age. A few costly repair jobs were done on it earlier in the year, and a few more are just around the corner. It wasn't getting any younger - it was 19 years old this July - so I planned on replacing it sometime in 6-12 months.
With lots more snow trips in the future as well as job prospects in regional areas, I wanted a 4-wheel drive. Ideally a Landcruiser, finances permitting.
On Wednesday I was sitting in a very boring class being taught something not related to the assessments in that class, so like everyone else I had tuned out. I started casually browsing carsales.com.au, seeing what a used Landcruiser was worth.
My heart sank. Most were above $50,000 - a figure uni students only ever see in their HECS debts - so the dream seemed out of reach, until one entry. A 1998 Landcruiser Prado, just as old as my current car. The listing showed low kilometres and barely any use, enough to pique my interest.
And then I noticed who was selling it - Melbourne City Toyota. Their used car sales manager, Steve Atto, is an old family friend who sold me the Magna all those years ago! What are the odds...
I show up at the lot the next day to check the car out. Steve and I got reacquainted and then down to business. Hoping they have cars like this show up every now and then, I asked him how often a car this old and in such good condition come through the dealership.
He responded, "Mate, never. We never get these sorts of cars in."
At that point I knew this car was mine.
Everything else was just formality. I looked at the car and everything was immaculate, I don't think anyone has driven it this century. We took it for a spin around North Melbourne and it ran beautifully.
Back in Steve's office, he offered a generous discount on the list price and threw in a set of new tyres. He offered to take my old Magna for a paltry sum, a favour to take it off my hands more than anything.
So with contracts signed and all the paperwork in order, I am the proud owner of a new (to me) Toyota Prado. I'll pick it up Tuesday, almost five years to the day that I got my license.
I'm no superstitious man, but everything seemed to fall into place, to the point where even the rego plate is perfect - SBS 186 - you couldn't get a more auspicious plate for a journo!
Over the weekend, I'll take the Magna for one last drive. Saying goodbye to my first car has left me feeling sentimental, might make a blog post later in the week about it.
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