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The Artful Bodger 9 - Disco Fever!

The DriveWrite Archives

The Artful Bodger 9 - Disco Fever!

Stan Potter
February 9, 2014

Land Rover
Stan Potter tells of a police mugging and other tribulations:

Sometimes the cars we buy are not necessarily the one we would choose for ourselves. I have two daughters both of whom are mad about horses. In fact the youngest studied Equine Management at College. Her car at the time was a Citroen Saxo VTR with all the usual modifications (body kit, lowered, LOUD stereo and Lexus style tail lights). The main problem with this was that most stables and other venues associated with horse riding are usually at the end of unmade roads or in the middle of fields. This does not go well with a low slung exhaust, and I found I was spending a lot of Sunday afternoons reattaching a silencer. We decided a 4x4 would be a good idea.

One of my friends had an old Discovery for sale at a low price. I purchased it to see how it would fit into the fleet. It had a number of problems, the driver’s window did not work, the spherical bearings had some movement in them, various lights did not work and the bodywork left something to be desired; but it would show if my daughter could cope with the much larger vehicle and would easily cope with the unmade roads and the approaching winter. Fixing the problems was quite interesting as I had never worked on a four wheel drive before.

Things were made a little bit easier as the parts that needed replacing came with the car. I tackled the window first as it was something I had done before. I stripped out the door card and replaced the whole window motor mechanism. The sphere joints were something I have never even seen before. But I work on the principle that if I have taken something apart then I can put it back together. I took the joint apart and laid out the components carefully, substituting the parts that came in the refurbishing kit.

The spheres were reassembled using a spring balance to achieve the correct torsion settings. Changing the bulbs presented no problems. I decided to leave the bodywork for another day as it did not affect the driveability of the vehicle. One Friday night we went to bed, Next morning - no Discovery! I called the local police and reported our loss and one of the local constables came and took a statement. Later on the same morning we received a phone call to tell us they had found the car in the next village.

I said, “Where is it I will go and collect it?”. I was told I could not do that as they needed to complete a forensic examination. I would have to collect it the next day from the company employed by the police to tow it away and it would cost me £153! I had just been mugged by the police! I was told to claim it from my insurance company, but as I had a Third Party only and a £200 excess, I would still be a loser. We had the minimal insurance cover as all our other vehicles utilised all the no claim bonuses we had. In France all the vehicles registered in your name receive the same discount. In fact the car I have in France enjoys the 17 years no claim bonus I have earned in the UK. All it took was a note from my insurer that I had that number of years no claims bonus.

There was no alternative I had to pay. I went to the specified place and protesting loudly paid the ransom. The thieves had pulled out the lock core so I had to use a screwdriver to start the car and drive home. When I got home I was amazed to find my SatNav, about £4 in change, various tools and the general detritus common to most cars were still there.

From this it is obvious that the car was taken just as transport it being cheaper than a taxi. I looked on Ebay and bought a new ignition lock for £10 and bypassing the security screws holding the old broken unit replaced it. I sold the Discovery a couple weeks later and my daughter’s Saxo was replaced with a Suzuki Vitara so everybody is happy and hopefully a bit more secure.

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