A first this month. After four years of testing cars for Fleet News it’s the first time I’ve had to record an “expenditure to date” in the fact file panel at the end of this report.
I’m not happy about it as the damage to our MX-5 was caused by an unknown yob who was either bored, jealous or plain stupid.
I’d parked the car in a sleepy Lincolnshire village while I attended a friend’s wedding.
During that time the Mazda, along with three other cars behind it, had been keyed, a deep scratch about 60cm long scarred the nearside rear side panel and the door.
As there were no witnesses, CCTV cameras or suspicious characters in sight, I drove home fuming – I always thought things like this happened in the less desirable parts of city centres, not in quaint villages.
Monday morning back in the office I tried to find a smart repairer who could fix the damage.
Apparently, as the scratch was so deep it was impossible and a trip to the bodyshop, which would be more expensive, was required.
After a quick call to the Mazda garage – Donalds Motor Group in Peterborough – I was asked to call in with the car so they could provide a quote.
An hour later, the car had been assessed and it was booked in for repair a few days later.
As the scratch spanned two body panels it took two days to repair. I collected the Mazda and was pleased to find it looking in pristine condition again.
The bonus was that Donalds had given it a full valet inside and out. Even some of the prestige garages don’t provide this service. It’s little things like this which make you want to use a manufacturer again in the future.
The total cost of repair was £515 which, considering the vandal also keyed three other cars, means it was an expensive night out for us wedding guests.
Aside from vandals, the late September sun meant a last chance to drop the top down before winter.
Although one great thing about the hard retracting roof is that it reduces the cabin noise usually found in soft-tops, it’s still fairly rowdy at high speeds compared to a conventional car.
But, it’s nothing the Bose sound system can’t drown out.
Sad to say, I’ll be handing the keys over to another member of the team this week.
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy what little summer we’ve had but at five months’ pregnant I’m beginning to struggle to get in and out of the low chassis.
Like many owners of two-seater sports cars, an impending family means a change of transport is needed.
Price: £21,265 (£21,590 as tested)
CO2 emissions: 193
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £86 per month
Insurance group: 13
Combined mpg: 34.5
Test mpg: 30.3
CAP Monitor RV: £8,325/40%
Contract hire rate : £407
Expenditure to date: £515 (repair)