The Pig Yard

What are cars for?

To get from A to B or a symbol of affluence?

In December 2011 we took possession of a brand new Skoda Yeti 4x4 178bhp diesel car after a 6 month wait. It is only the second brand new car we've ever bought and we intend to keep it for as long as it gives us good service. The layout and quality is very similar to the Audi TT but much cheaper. The car sits on a VW Golf platform but has very good off-road capability even if it is a little lower than a Land Rover Discovery. It drives well on all road surfaces taking the potholes of modern roads in its stride and returning about 42mpg on a fast run. When travelling the M1 through a long 50 mph section we actually achieved an average of 50mph.

It is amazing how the reputation of Skoda has been lifted over the last 20 years since VW took control of the company and we are now proud owners. Steve doesn't feel as though it's a come-down from the Porsche and enjoys driving it just as much.
One year on we continue to enjoy the Yeti and makes light work of snowy winter weather.
Skoda Yeti 4x4 178bhp
Honda CRV sale

The Honda CRV has been an incredible workhorse over the past 5 years whether it was towing the hot air balloon or our small trailer carrying wood. It wasn't brilliant off-road and the 4x4 only kicked in when it lost traction on the front wheels but it got us through most situations and made light work of the recent heavy snowfalls over the past two winters. It has proven to be very reliable with never a breakdown or major repair required.

Selling it through Autotrader was an odd experience as the previous recent car sales had been sold to acquaintances and therefore we hadn't advertised a car for several years. A number of people were just after getting our bank account details so they could attempt to raid our account however commonsense prevailed and if someone is offering to buy the car without even seeing it then there's got to be a scam going on. Eventually we sold it to a dealer who offered a fair price and certainly more than we would have got in part exchange.

Almost two years to the day Steve put the Porsche Boxster up for sale. He'd enjoyed driving it tremendously, he even enjoyed cleaning it, but his logical side wouldn't allow him to keep it alongside Jane's Smart Car and the Honda CRV so his head over-ruled his heart and he sold it. Thankfully it went to a good home and the new owner, who lives locally, is getting as much pleasure from it as Steve did.

The number of miles he'd put onto the car since retiring was minimal and it just wasn't worth taxing and insuring it any longer. He still looks longingly at other Porsches as they drive by but it was time to move on.

Porsche Boxster goodbye
Jane and her Smart Car

In March 2010 Jane bought a brand new Diesel Smart Car. Her old one was still going strong but she really fancied a diesel to get even more economy. The new car has a number of features that the old one didn't have such as a MP3 connection so she can play everything on her iPhone through the car's sound system. It also has SatNav and although she doesn't go on very long journeys in it there are times when she is going to a local area that she's not familiar with and the SatNav gets her there without any hassle.

As can be seen from the grin on her face she is delighted with the car and loves the ease with which the roof slides down, even when she's going along. A great summer car, excellent around town and it has stolen her heart.

In June 2008 one of Steve's dreams came true. As a reward for getting through the stress of applying for his own job we bought a second-hand Porsche Boxster.

Steve always thought the Audi TT was a superb sports car, what he didn't realise was that it was a mere sheep dressed in wolf's clothing. The Boxster is a bit of a wolf, probably not a werewolf like the Porsche Cayman but undoubtedly a wolf. This is a drivers car that expresses it's power every time the throttle is dabbed with a deep, throaty note.

For a four year old car with less than 30,000 miles on the clock it is in very good condition.

In April 2007 Jane had one of her dreams come true. She has yearned to get a more economical car for day to day use and the Smart is both economical and stylish. She fell in love with it instantly and it has become a difficult choice between cycling to work or taking the Smart.

It's proving to be a great town car and although you see them on the motorway Jane is concerned that it is affected too much by side winds to be safe at high speeds or exposed roads.

We purchased the Honda CRV in May 2006.

We looked at the Toyota Rav4 and the Honda CRV as possible replacements, we considered new and second-hand. We looked at colours; at deals; at wheels, different sales techniques and pondered all the options over a two month period.

Eventually, we opted for a second-hand Honda CRV in silver. It has a slightly larger engine than the Freelander but still manages, in theory, to give the same fuel economy - hopefully 40 mpg. In fact on motorway journeys the Honda will return close to 42 mpg.

Eventually the Terrano became a bit tired and ragged at the edges so we started to look for an economical 4x4. It had to be diesel and one of the most economical was the Land Rover Freelander. The colour was not our choice but it isn't offensive. It proved to be a good vehicle on and off road.

After 3 years the Freelander was getting to an age when Land Rovers become notoriously unreliable so in a very short space of time we sold it and purchased a Honda CRV.

Steve's dream became a reality on 16th March 2001. We were the embarrassingly proud owners of an Audi TT in Nimbus Grey. This car is the "dogs b****cks". 225 bhp, 0-60 in 6.7 seconds and enough computer wizardry to satisfy the most boring nerd. Suits Steve down to the ground.

The Terrano proved to be such a reliable work horse that this was the second we owned. The first was petrol and the fuel consumption was very poor but the diesel is proved to be very good.

The arrival of the TT meant the VW Lupo was sold. An excellent car in terms of speed and economy. It was quite happy cruising the motorway as well as the side streets of town and Jane managed to get a speeding ticket. Parking was very easy


The Mazda MX3 was fast and looked very special but its V6 engine was not economic. Jane was looking to save the planet and opted to buy the VW Lupo.

The Golf GTi must've been one of the best cars we ever owned. It was fast, reliable and had plenty of street cred.

The Porsche Boxster was OK as a hire car but the Audi TT is a much more attractive car.

A drive from Saratoga, California, up into the hills was an exhilarating experience and the Porsche sticks to the road like it's on rails. Even ignoring speed limits didn't get me into sixth gear.

On Steve's 57th birthday we took the car across the Golden Gate bridge and up the coast to Point Reyes lighthouse

Cars We Have Owned (not the actual photographs but similar)

Morris MinorOur first car was a Morris Minor and Steve bought this in his first year of college. After its first journey from Essex to Darlington it needed a clutch change which Steve completed in his brother's garage over Christmas. The job was achieved by driving the car up scaffolding planks and then dropping the gearbox from underneath. It was freezing cold and Steve found the whole exercise an wonderful introduction into the grotty world of car mechanics. Triumph HeraldAfter the original Morris Minor we had a mini van that gave us nothing but problems and in our first year out of college we abandoned the mini van and bought a Triumph Herald convertible similar to this one.
We loved the convertible and managed to keep the car on the road for several years before we sold it.
Triumph SpitfireThe experience of the Herald Convertible lead us into buying the Spitfire. It was a sports car and it was great to drive but it didn't last long.
There must have been a reason for selling it but it escapes us now.
Hillman ImpWe must have been at a very good point in our lives and felt quite affluent so we went out and bought a brand new Hillman Imp.
This was a substitute for a Clan Crusader which was a sports car based on the Imp. Looking back, it was a good decision to stick with the Imp because the Clan Crusader was unbelievably ugly.