But this wasn’t any old wardrobe, oh no. The item in question was one of those hideous mock wood chipboard affairs that MFI used to knock out in the late seventies. It looked nothing like wood and weighed a ton.
It had been screwed into my spare bedroom wall by some unseen hand many years ago and didn’t seem inclined to detach itself again very easily.
As I took a claw hammer to it and watched the damned thing rapidly turn into a pile of dust and debris I began to have some feelings of sympathy for that unknown man or woman who had created this Frankenstein’s monster of a furniture item. It seemed to be made of a thousand bits of board and the creator had even left the instructions on top, no doubt to help out if anyone ever wanted to move it and build it again somewhere else.
There was page after page after page of details – it must have taken a week to put it together.
Finally, it was gone – but now came the problem of getting rid of the pile of boards in my back garden. And of course that is where our trusty Transit comes in.
Using a car, even an estate, would have been impossible as some of the pieces were a good seven feet long. If we had not had this van on test, it would have meant hiring a commercial vehicle for the purpose.
The Transit swallowed the boards with no trouble at all and off I went to the dump with a smile on my face.
But my problems were not yet over – at the householders’ waste site, I was confronted by a sign which said: ‘Commercial vehicles must have a permit to tip here’, no doubt to stop local businesses using the site as a way of getting round paying the council to have their rubbish removed.
I had a few quiet words with the manager and finally persauded him that my load was in fact a private one and the wardrobe was gone. This little story is typical of the sort of thing our testers get up to at weekends and shows why the Transit has become the most popular and sought-after vehicle on the long term test fleet at present.
OK, so no-one apart from me exactly wants to drive it as day-to-day transport but when you need a vehicle like this, nothing else will do. I have started using the Transit most days now and it is surprising how quickly I got used to the extra bulk of the van. At Sainsbury’s on a Friday night when the car park is busy, I simply leave the vehicle in the far corner where no-one else bothers to park.
And in the car park at Fleet Towers, there is always space in the furthest lane. Apart from parking, the Transit is so car-like to drive that it is just as easy using it as a smaller vehicle.
Price (OTR): £19,100 ex-VAT
CO2 emissions (g/km): n/a
Company car tax bill (2004/5): 22% tax-payer £9 per month
Insurance group: 13T
Combined mpg: n/a
Test mpg: 29.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £6,075/31%
Expenditure to date: nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles