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11/07/2005

  Buying the Scorpio

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How we saw it - the photosheet from Carland

In July 1998 my wife and I popped into Carland at Thurrock, Essex. We were just looking around, but there we saw it, the most beautiful 24V Cosworth Scorpio Estate. It was in the Ultima trim, in what was then called Black Ash metallic and Pumice Leather interior with dual climate control, ride-height control, parking radar, and CD player. It had 54K on the clock, (and the Scorpio is like the Jag, it cannot be wound back - the speedo reads the mileage from the engine module. Could this be why the Trade didn't like it?) It was what I wanted, but I had just bought an M-registered Granada Scorpio five months before. That had only 45K on the clock and was supposed to last for at least 4 years, so it had cost a lot more than we usually spent.

The Ultima was also too expensive. The salesman saw me drooling, took us out for a spin and then we talked some numbers. The offer he made on mine was derisory, so we got up and walked. Within a minute the salesman was dragging us back to the office and raised his offer another K! My wife talked me into it, for she loved the car as well - not that she had to try too hard to convince me - so we bought it.

But the car was far from perfect when we collected it from Carland. The programmable remote control was missing and this had to be programmed, (45 + 12 and VAT). When I first drove it on a fast road it steered like a pig, wandering all over the shop and I was horrified with the handling on bends and roundabouts. I took it to a tyre place to check the tracking but they tutted, pointed to the tyres and shook their heads. I was horrified -there were four completely different tyres, all mixed on each axle. One V rated directional tyre with an old non-directional Z rated on the front, a new Pirelli 6000 and a weird foreign job at the rear. I bought three other Pirelli 6000 tyres to match the good one, Z rated for cruising in Germany, and the bill was 500! These boots are big; they are 225/50 16s on those beautiful 12-spoke alloys, which have four wheel nuts instead of five! But it was worth it; she now steered and handled beautifully. The grip on these tyres is collosal; I've not once felt the ABS come on in the Scorpio, even in the wet. The tyres are quite noisy though, and now due to damage I am going to try two Michelin MXVs on the front.

No Ford is ever 'serviced' properly when you buy it from a non-Ford dealer, and Carland was no exception. When I checked under the bonnet, the oil was filthy, the plugs hadn't been touched and there was a large hole in the air-filter! The air-con belt screamed when the engine was cold, and the power steering belt slipped during parking. I took it to Ford for a full 12-month service. Would you believe they charge 8.70 each for the 6 spark-plugs? Apparently, they are platinum! The full service was 180.

Ford notified that there was severe corrosion on the auto-box fluid cooler-pipes leading to the radiator. The pipes are just above the engine bay under-panel and are prone to salt corrosion. I had them replaced (about 70) because I didn't fancy dropping all my gearbox fluid onto an autobahn at 120mph. They had to be ordered specially, so I took the car back the next week for the work to be done.

For the other details of expenditure, see the Running Costs page.

Note: Carland has now changed hands. They are called Carland Concept now, and their prices are supposed to be lower. They aim to sell a car every 8 minutes! You no longer get free insurance for the first year.

EricR

 

 

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