Roy Lanchester

Roy Lanchester on used cars

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RoyLanchester14Seasoned car journalist turned blogger ROY LANCHESTER on the experience of buying a second hand motor

As a motoring journalist I’m often asked what I drive myself and the answer, of course, is ‘press cars’. Recently, however, I have found myself ‘between loans’ for rather longer than I would care for, as a result of misunderstandings, errors, arguments, accidents and, in one case, what a grumpy fleet administrator called ‘a ridiculous amount of sick in the glovebox’.

With no bookings forthcoming and at least one legal action pending whilst my solicitor explained to a well-known German car maker that the fuel was legitimately mine to syphon, I found myself in the ludicrous position of having to buy my own car! Happily, my dear friend eBay has been kind to me recently and my cashflow was looking relatively healthy. Who knew miscellaneous spare wheels and parcel shelves were so sought after! Happily, selling all 21 items meant  I could set my budget at a heady £500 and set out to purchase a runaround to tide me over, at least until a certain Japanese company accepted that the driver’s seat ‘stank of urine’ when I got the car.

In the past, if I needed a used car I would have headed straight to Boroughbridge and my old mate in the motor trade, Chris Gritley. Unfortunately Chris is now dead, probably for tax reasons! Instead, I took a stroll via The Rifleman’s Arms to a second hand car dealer not far from Lanchester Towers where my interest was aroused, firstly by The Royal Oak next door and then by a reasonable looking Toyota Yaris on the forecourt. Appraising an old motor like this is a simple matter for those of us seasoned in the car business but it’s vital to follow a visual inspection with a thorough test drive and not to get fobbed off if the salesman refuses because you ‘fucking stink of booze’. Upon encountering such a dismissive attitude, I immediately turned tail and headed smartly back to The Oak to reflect on the shabby attitude of certain used car traders!

The next day I approached a different dealer, the excellent Dengham’s Used Car Centre on Adley Road, just off the A59, only one mile from Harrogate town centre, directly opposite The Brown Horse pub. The latter is strictly off limits to yours truly following an argument with the very rude landlord over which of his kitchen items might reasonably be used as a lavatory. The welcome I was given at Dengham’s Used Car Centre on the Adley Road, just off the A59 could not have been more of a contrast, however, as their excellent salesman Mark Spright gave me an excellent tour of an excellent 51-reg Kia Rio in an excellent bright green which he had excellently received in part exchange and which, to his excellent credit, he was happy to let me drive away for an excellent discount off the £500 asking price, in return for a brief mention in this column for Dengham’s Used Car Centre on Adley Road, Harrogate, just one mile from the town centre, where the pre-owned car of your dreams could be just waiting for you!

If there is a moral to this tale it’s that buying a second hand car doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you buy from a reputable and excellent outlet, such as Dengham’s Used Car Centre of Harrogate, the pre-driven car dealer you can trust! I must say, I am delighted with my excellent new car, not least because it rather disproves the claims of a senior employee from a certain well-known Korean car manufacturer who said ‘after seeing the amount of damage to the carpet, I promise you will never drive a Kia again!’ Well who’s laughing now, Mr Kim!? I am. In my £485 Kia. Excellent.

Roy Lanchester is motoring correspondent for Hedgehog Enthusiast magazine and founder of the blog Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester.  (