You might think that after driving this Vauxhall Omega all across Europe, and breaking down in the middle of Germany I'd be sick of this thing.
But you'd be wrong. Even as I sat there waiting to get on the ferry I was almost wondering why I wasn't fed up with it yet? In the last couple of weeks we have travelled over 1600 miles, and gone as far south as Stuttgart in Germany, and with the exception of breaking down by the side of the road, it's been a pretty good drive. Even on the long parts of driving where we would spend pretty much all day driving, by the end of the day the seats still felt comfortable, and I never got up the following morning with a stiff back. I'll admit that possibly the heated seats helped a little, but even after driving all day I wasn't tired when we reached our destination for the evening.
What I will say however is that since breaking down, and running out of electricity the Omega has developed a couple of small faults. They're nothing major, and nothing that will stop my enjoying this car, but they're faults never the less. I'm sure that the problems occured due to flattening the battery, but now, when you unlock the doors, as soon as you open them the alarm sounds until the car is started. Not the end of the world admittedly, but a little inconvenient early in the morning, or late at night. Of course, despite the horn blaring away, absolutely nobody bats an eyelid while I'm getting into the car and starting it. However, it would seem that there is a way around this. For some reason when you open the tailgate it doesn't set off the alarm. So we have developed a new method for getting into the Omega, and driving away without setting off the alarm. What we do is simply unlock the doors, then open the bootlid. Then my littlest Monster crawls in over all of our luggage, climbs through the cockpit until she's sitting the in the drivers seat, then while I'm stood by the drivers door, she pops the key into the ignition, and starts the car. Then I open the door and she jumps in the back and we all get in. Simple. It is quite funny to watch her going through her little preflight checks, she obviously watches me because she always checks the car is in park before giving me the thumbs up, and turning the key! She looks pretty pleased with herself when the car starts, and I think she actually quite likes her new job as chief car starter upper! The other fault is that the radio doesn't go because I don't have the code for it. Something that I was sure could be fixed once we got home, and until we did so my little family got to enjoy the delights of me crooning as we drove along! Stupidly once we got home and I contacted the previous owner to ask him if he knew what the code was, he said he couldn't remember off hand, but it was written on the inside of the glovebox door! Sure enough when I looked, there it was. I typed the number in, and the radio sprang into life! Of course I told Mrs Clint that the previous owner told me the number, and now the radio works again. She'd probably murder me if she realised that we had the code all along, but instead she had to listen to my tone deaf renderings of popular songs for hundreds of miles! Ah well, all's well that ends well eh?
Since having the alternator fitted I must admit that I have become more paranoid than usual about something going wrong, although it's safe to say that once we were back across the channel in England the paranoia has started to subside a little. I think that while we were abroad, my worst fear was not breaking down again, but having to actually phone the RAC and try to convince them to help us again. I must admit that the two times I have had to use them I have been very unimpressed with their service, as instead of jumping to our help as I thought they would, they seemed to do everything they could to not help us at all. I'll admit that I have not been with them for very long, but to my way of thinking joining them and taking out their full breakdown cover was not money well spent. I shall have to look into other breakdown cover companies for the future I think, as I think the RAC could have done better than leaving us stranded by the side of a busy autobahn with two small children and a diabetic adult for nearly nine hours. But I guess in the end they did finally get us picked up, so perhaps I shouldn't complain, and I wonder how quickly I'd get recovered here on home soil. Hopefully I'll not need to find out, but with another nine cars to go this year, not to mention the other shitbuckets on my fleet I wouldn't rule it out!
But despite all the breaking down fun, it has to be said that as a mile muncher this Omega estate is an absolutely lovely car to drive. I'll admit that it's not a particularly exciting car to look at, and if I'd honest the previous Rover 416 was a far better looking car in every way in my eyes. But as comfortable as the Rover was, and it was comfortable, I can't help feeling that it would not have been so comfortable after I'd driven that 1600 miles. My feeling is that what made this just that little bit more bareable was its a bit bigger, and dare I say a little more luxurious. Not just that, but having a larger engine I think also helps, as it just makes the ride feel a little bit more effortless. When you drive this at motorway speed the engine is barely going over 2000rpm, and this means that you don't hear it roaring away under the bonnet as you drive along, and I think that this in itself makes it feel just a bit nicer and more relaxing to drive. By the way, incase you're wondering, yes that is the same shed that I wrote about delivering to my friends house in episode 9.
Still more or less in the same place, however now filled with his garden tools instead of his household stuff and regular tools. As sheds go, this must be one of the most highly travelled sheds in the world! I wonder if when he moves will I be going back to Germany to pick up all his stuff in this very shed and bring it all back to England? I'll be honest, I kinda hope so!
Anyhoo, back at the plot... Of course now we're heading towards the middle of the month its time to think about putting my fabulous Omega up for grabs. I've given it quite a lot of thought as I actually like this car a lot, and I've even considered selling one of my other cars, and keeping the Omega instead, but after consulting with Mrs Clint, and our two little Monsters it has been decided that we should sell it as it was only ever meant to be part of the 12 cars in a year saga. Having said that, if it wasn't for the little Hitler at the DVLA office, it wouldn't even have been part of that! I was pretty mad at this fella originally when he was stopping my taking the Jaguar because of my lack of documents, but now it turns out that he might have actually done me a favour. Without his intervention I may have never experienced this lovely car... Every cloud has a silver lining!
I know that I've said this about the first two cars as well, but I really like this car! It is so far my absolute favourite car of the year for me! I can't imagine that it will be too difficult to sell as everyone I know who has had one has nothing but high regard for them, and to be fair, like I said before, I reckon it's a superb car! I have a slight inkling that actually it may not be going too far when it sells, as one of my friends has seemed to be very interested in having it, so I'm sort of hoping that he has it so that I can keep an eye on it for when its time for him to sell it on. But until he comes to me with the cash soon, I guess its going to head to the bay of E. I really hope he can convince his wife that this is the car they need in their lives, but only time will tell! I know I've got my fingers crossed, because if the truth be told, I'm pretty sure that I'm really not finished here!