Why I’m saying ta-ta to the Nano - I’ve decided to stick with my t-rusty old motor

BEING a skinflint – not to mention apparently having a tendency to grumpiness when it comes to Russian holidaymakers – I am not known to change my car very often. If I was driven to it, I might have to admit that the majority of the vehicles owned by me h

BEING a skinflint - not to mention apparently having a tendency to grumpiness when it comes to Russian holidaymakers - I am not known to change my car very often.

If I was driven to it, I might have to admit that the majority of the vehicles owned by me have gone to the scrapyard at the end of our association.

One memorable example had flowers growing through its rusted floor when it was dragged from the front garden on the end of a hook.

My current car is going very nicely, thank you, so it is surprising that my thoughts turned this week to splashing out on a new motor.


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What attracted me to the idea was that it would not be much of a splash, just a drop in the Indian Ocean so to speak, to replace my five-seater with another five-seater.

There, sadly, the comparison ends, apart from the fact that each has a steering wheel and four road wheels not counting the spare (assuming that this contender for my heart has one).

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What I have in mind of importing is a Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car, which has just been launched in India.

First the good point - it costs just 100,000 rupees which sounds a lot but in our money is only �1,366.

Now the not so good points - although it is said to be able to accommodate five people, the Nano is only 10-foot long, in the basic model there is manual steering (remember the muscle-busting effort to get round corners in the old days?), no air bag, no air conditioning, wind down windows, bodywork made of sheet metal and plastic, and welding replaced by plastic and adhesive.

The Tata company owner has described the Nano as a "milestone". Perhaps he was thinking of how long it would take to get to a milestone, considering that his pride and joy has a 624cc two-cylinder engine which can power up to a maximum speed of 43mph.

There is talk of a slightly bigger European version appearing in 2011 which might cost nearer to �4,000.

I don't know what the projected miles per gallon are but I have already decided to say no, no and ta-ta to this Indian creation. I'll stick with my old rusty pal as he progresses through old age.

I could mark the decision with a glass of champagne but I must admit that I do not particularly like bubbly, so I was not put out when I failed to receive an invite to a tasting of the world's oldest champagne.

One of just three remaining bottles of the 1825 Perrier-Jouet was uncorked to be sampled by 12 of the world's top wine tasters.

My knowledge of wine enables me to make such comments as "that's nice", "that's very nice" and "yuk, that's horrible".

But experts don't talk like that. One of them said the 1825 had "notes of truffles, caramel and mushroom" while another detected a "slight nose of the sea".

If I was offered something which smelled like the sea I think I would refuse it.

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