Friday, January 29, 2010


Those of you that know me know that I am not a ‘car guy.’ 
You know those people that just love cars.  The ones that talk in their special code of ‘1.8’, ‘2.5’, ‘3.0’ and every now and then they add words like ‘custom’, ‘limited,’ ‘turbo’ and ‘torque.’  Each time they mention a new word their eyes get bigger.
On Tuesday I spent some time with Les (a car guy) who volunteers with ZOE looking at a few of the makes and models.  Poor Les! I got myself so confused about what we wanted to purchase that I ended up looking at a variety of cars and got no where near a decision.  
Later that day, Jessica took our family back to see the ‘missionary car’ that I had liked that morning.  We took it for a test drive. It was cheap, a bit shabby and had an old retro feel about it.  When I say cheap, it was cheap for this area, but the equivalent of $4,500 AUD.  To give you perspective, if you went to but this same car in OZ and paid more than $500 then I would say you had been ripped off.  Yes, second hand cars in Chiang Mai can be very expensive.
Well yesterday, after a few big sighs… the search continued.  
I spent the day touring the car yards of Chiang Mai with my new friend Dar (a Thai national that Graeme Smith knows).  Dar is a great guy and a man that appreciates automobiles.  Dar took one look at the ‘missionary car’ and said, “No way!”  He explained why it was no good.  It was about to fall apart and I should not buy it.  So just when I thought I was making progress, the search began again.  For 8 hours we went from car yard to car yard.  Dar (being a car guy) enjoyed the process.  I liked spending the day with Dar. He is such a nice guy and, being a local, he was adventurous enough to eat lunch from this tiny little café on the side of the road and gee it was good! 
So at the end of the eight hours I, once again, felt totally confused!
I came home last night and created an extensive spreadsheet that lists the range of model, engine size, kilometres and of course price!  I have drawn the assumption that if we spend up to a certain level, we get a very unreliable car that won’t last more than 6 months and we need to pay between 300% to 600% more than we would for the same car in Australia.  The next price bracket up, we get a car that may last a few years but is likely to require maintenance. In this bracket, you would probably pay 50% less for the same car in Australia.  It’s a 3 year solution and when sold later won’t be worth much.
The third level, means spending more money now and getting a car that, if purchased in Australia, would cost a great deal more.  I would say that these cars are great value.  However we need to spend more money now with the aim of less maintenance but better resale.
I have found cars we could negotiate on in each level.  
Tonight we got a call (praise the Lord) and  were offered some money from a very generous donor that will enable our budget to be put beyond the middle level to the third.
So now, God willing, … tomorrow we might be ready to buy!  
Stay tuned!!

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