snowgood

One that got away

In BMW, Cadillac, Europe on May 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm

I packed everything in my BMW ready for the road trip of a life time.

The aim was to visit several missionary friends in locations all across Europe, and the 135 had a comprehensive Sat nav (whilst the Caddy wouldn’t map anything east of Germany).

What should I choose?

Certainty that I wouldn’t get lost, or the comfort of knowing I’d save a fortune in fuel and could fold down the back seats if I couldn’t find an hotel for the night.

In the end the Cadillac was “the one that got away”.

Together we covered 6000 miles in two weeks, whilst motoring in 15 different countries.

Highlights?  Germany really surprised me.  What a wonderful country! so many beautiful buildings, lovely ice creams for less than a euro, it was so green.

My Saabillac (the BLS was the result of Swedish engineering and American bling) legally managed to clock 136 mph downhill on an autobahn.  It was wonderful to travel that fast and still be within the law.

But back to the “plot” the photo shows the car just down the coast from Split in Croatia, after I had spent the night sleeping in the car.

I managed to escape a speeding fine as I hugged the Adriatic  before taking the scenic route into Bosnia and checking out the beauty of Mostar.

My European map was too big a scale to be much use, but somehow I avoided getting lost apart from in the the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where all the road signs were written in cyrillic. The resulting confusion losing me about 2 hours.

Mind you the diversion meant I did get to see a kingfisher flying across the motorway, and spot a police car actually parked on the inside lane of the Croatian E70 facing the traffic to catch unwary motorists with a heavy right foot.

At times in my travels the BLS recorded 49 mpg, which on a fair sized diesel automatic estate seemed pretty good. In Austria one of my fog lights packed up, but an English speaking manager at the Innsbruck Mazda dealer kindly waived any fee when they fixed it!

In Switzerland I managed to overtake a Ferrari on the mountain pass leading to St.Moritz, but try as I might a Fiat Panda 4×4 left me for dead on a twisty high altitude  road just moments later.

All in all the Cadillac was a great car, especially as I bought mine as a “pre-reg model” saving £9000 off the list price.  It often turned heads, and earned it’s keep carrying anything from boxes of coving to grp chimneys to building sites around blighty.

Only two events soured our relationship.

The first was a minor fuel line leak, which rendered me car less for nearly 3 weeks whilst Phoenix in Wimbledon tried to get a genuine “Cadillac part”.  The AA came quickly when the problem occurred, but once the car was at a dealer I was left exasperated.

In the end a Saab part was fitted, and Phoenix took pity on me, goodness knows when the official Cadillac parts would have arrived.

At about 36,000 I thought I could detect the early signs of a worn wheel bearing. A visit to St.David’s Saab revealed it was stepping, a weird wear pattern on the inside of the rear tyres.

Buyrite Tyres in Newton Abbot said it is an increasingly common problem on front wheel drive cars, and some tyres are worse than others.  Our Pirelli P7s suffered from an irritating moan, and was I going to replace them? No way.

Why did I get rid of it?

Those niggles, and a hankering after a certain French roadster.

FOOTNOTE: Depreciation over 16 months and 37,500 miles – £8772, or a shocking 55.6%. Ouch.

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