Plymouth to Dakar in a Car Bought For £100 – Part 2 of 8 (Andrew)

In 2004 a friend and I tried to to drive from Plymouth to Dakar in a car bought for £100. In August 2022, Livejournal sent me an email to congratulate me on my 18 anniversary of starting a journal with them. When I checked the link I discovered they still had all my old online journal (not called a blog then!) entries. I thought it would be fun to publish them again.

27 July 2004Crossing the sahara: The first warning

Despite careful planning, despite all his claims of undying love, Arbroath Smokey failed to turn up and meet our fine, fine lady.

Was she upset? Did she care? 

She’s not said anything, she taken on that whole indifferent ‘couldn’t care less attitude’ but Mr Bandit said that in the days running up to Mr Smokey’s visit our lady had thrown away the mouldy (and rather smelly) foot mats and acquired some rather funky new indicators. 

Yet despite these signals Mr Smokey failed to appear.

What was his excuse?

He says he was stuck in the desert. Well, a metaphorical one, anyway.

Attending a management seminar in London, he had to classify 15 items (such as water, a knife and a large orange kite) in order of importance for surviving being stranded deep in the heart of the Sahara.

Just your average typical office problem.

Mr Smoky considered the options and thought he’d chosen wisely. He is after all a Plymouth/Dakar rally driver in training.

At the session’s end the instructor asked if anyone had ever been to an actual desert before.

Mr Smokey said no, but that he would be crossing the Sahara in a £100 car in just a few short months.

The instructor looked at Mr Smokey’s results. He compared them with the correct answers recommended by the US air force. After reading Mr Smokey’s first answer he started to shake his head. After reading the last one he said: – 

“You’re not going to make it home, are you?”

28 July 2004The full spa treatment…

To help our beautiful car get over the disappointment of not meeting Arbroath Smokey last week, the Bandit decided to go to town and give her the full luxury spa treatment. Every girl loves a nice bath, but most girls would baulk at the thought of a sweaty man (I was just out of the gym) rubbing them down with a big yellow sponge lathered up in Fairy Liquid. Not our lady though – she loved every minute of it.

Sparkling like a diamond in the rough, it was time to get handy with the wax. Turtle Wax, that is – no need for a ‘Brazilian’ where she’s going. A quick polish and buff, and she’s as good as new. Tomorrow she’s getting the car equivalent of a nail-job: we’re going to start polishing up that Chrome until we can see our reflections in it. Actually, on second thoughts, we might stop just before that point.

As every Miss World contestant will tell you, however, real beauty isn’t just skin deep. So we’ve got a bit of work to do to the interior – we’ve already had to rip out the carpets from the front, as they were just too darn smelly. It’s not a huge loss, though – inch thick shag-pile carpeting is not such a good idea when we’ll be tramping in and out with sandy boots. However, fear not – we have a cunning plan to replace it. We’re going to put in some wood flooring. No, trust us, you know what that car really needs? More wood…

31 July 2022 – Happy Birthday, Mr Bandit!

Today, Mr Bandit turns the ripe old age of 27. With a £100 – well, £205 to be exact – car, scant knowledge of the inner workings of an automative engine, nevermind the clutch, the gears or the mystery that is the camshaft (wasn’t he the private eye who got all the girls?), and the whole of the Sahara desert to cross, will he live to see his 28th? 

Only time, and a lack of updates around Christmas, will tell.

To be continued….

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