I accidentally bought a car

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.

The old Magna, just before picking it up in 2012

The old Magna, just before picking it up in 2012

If you'd like to know about new posts on this blog, as well as all the other stuff I do on the internet, why not sign up to my weekly email newsletter?