Everyone this is Florence, Florence meet everyone.
Florence is our classic 1972 Fiat 500. Freshly restored with new trim, we've been saving us for her for nearly three years ever since we went to the local launch of the new Fiat 500. As much as we like the new style 500s, we knew that they would do what every new car does - depreciate with age. Starting at £15K, that's not a wise investment really. Even the secondhand ones are really too much money for what they are, and there's a startling number of new Fiat 500s on ebay advertised as 'spares and repairs'.
The classic 500 has increased in value over the last few years, taking a big jump after the first "Cars" film featured little Luigi who ran the tyre shop. That's part of the problem of why it took three years - they kept jumping up in price!
But why did we want one so badly?
The price of petrol. We realised a few years ago that the cost of living was going to sky rocket, and petrol and utilities were going to be the worst offenders. So we hit on a plan. We buy a small car which runs on a teaspoonful of petrol a week, gives us 80+ miles to the gallon, looks great and will hold - if not increase - its value. Ideally, it should also be mechanically simple so Martin can do repairs. Martin has owned and restored six Fiat 500s in his time and it ticks the box in every other respect, so a Fiat 500 it was.
But no loans to get it. It had to be cash. With a recession just biting, we didn't want the burden of a liability.
It took three years but we finally got her!
We have a few very minor mechanical bits to do to get her running really nicely and reliably, so it will be another week or so before we do the work commute. And as she doesn't have a radio or a clock so for a while it will our wind up solar radio and an alarm clock, but hey! Florence is worth the sacrifice because she's going to help us with our next money saving purchase.
The money we save on petrol is going towards a log burning stove for the living room to bring our gas bills down.