When I told my mum about my plans to go drive around Europe for several months, one of her comments was something like “You need a boyfriend”. Who doesn’t, but the thing is you can’t really sit and wait for the right one before you start doing what you want to do. If I don’t have anyone, I can do it alone. Perhaps I don’t even want anyone right now, because it’s so extremely hard to find a person who wants the same things as you do. In my previous relationship I knew that if I go abroad for a year to see how I like it there, I would most likely lose him. So I stayed, because I loved him. On the other hand what I didn’t know then, but maybe realized towards the end was that if I stay, I would lose him anyway. Because no one wants to live with an unhappy person, and if you can’t fulfill your own dreams, if you feel you have to stay by someone’s side, then that doesn’t sound like a wise solution either.
So now when I don’t have those worries anymore, now is the time when I need to just go.
With that said, I am soon leaving Helsinki behind me and going on the road trip. Without any idea where I will end up, and I like it – I have a feeling it is going to be Italy or Spain over next winter at least and then next year I can ask myself again what I want to do now, but if it’s somewhere else, or if I meet the man of my dreams in France and stay there, that’s fine too. You don’t need that many plans. I don’t know yet if it’s a permanent move, but you can’t appreciate something you have if you haven’t tried something else. If you’re constantly on your way somewhere and home doesn’t feel like home.
But now when I am looking for cars, I’m getting a headache. Major headache. From experience I know that on long road trips it’s great to have a car you can sleep in. Another thing is obviously fuel economy – especially with the current fuel prices – but in this budget range I am looking at the less thirsty ones are those in the size class supermini and I wouldn’t want a tiny shopping bag either.
When I had a look at what I can get with my wishlist and this budget, I almost said fck comfortable and practical (trust me, the cars I found were not pretty) and started looking in the complete opposite direction. So now I have my eyes on 70′s and 80′s “poor man’s Porsches” (I know some of you will say the Porsche 924 is practically a Volkswagen/Audi – I have cheap non-turbo 944:s as an option too). Can you sleep in them? With my length, comfortably, probably not. Are they cheap to drive? I’ve read used car reviews online about them and not as bad as you could think, 8-10L/100 km averages they say, but on the other hand these cars are so old that they are inexpensive to fix if they break down and that’s a bonus.
Porsche 924, photos by Daniel Boros via Flickr
But they look quite nice, they are from a good company making driver’s cars and I have a feeling they would be a lot more fun to drive on the European mountain roads than any basic Renault, Citroen or Opel. They are decent sports cars of their time, now they’re obviously old, but if I find one in good condition we could probably have fun together. Another thing I think of is that I’m not sure if I could ever sell the first car I buy, I’d get too emotionally attached to it (I’m a woman), so would rather take one I could have fun with after the trip too (rebuild it and get more power… maybe) and not just a “temporary solution”.
Porsche 944, photo by Kenneth John Brown via Flickr
But now it’s your turn to possibly stop my stupid plans and tell me if a poor man’s Porsche is a very bad idea. But if you say that it is, you obviously need to come with a better idea instead – so in the same price class, what would you buy? I’ve been looking at some old Japanese “sports” cars too, but my principle is that if you rebuild a car you do it with quality parts… and if you can’t afford quality parts, you just don’t do it. So there’s a risk that you really don’t know what you get with them. Ford Probe GT is actually also an extremely cheap car, but same problem here, I’m afraid these cars come from guys who have tuned them up with crappy parts and I won’t even get to Germany before something breaks down.