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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: Buying a Car

Oz by the side of the road
Oz posing in the Nullarbor

Car salesmen are the same the world over: they are soul-sucking demons from hell who should be avoided at all costs. The same seems to apply to people selling cars privately, just not as badly. I hate buying cars and everything that goes with it, I always have, and I think I always will, but it's the only way to see a country like Australia. Not long after I got back from my trip to Tasmania, I decided I was going to have to get things rolling if I didn't want to waste my entire year working in the city, so Andy and I spent a number of evenings looking at cars being sold privately, and it brought me down, to be honest. I have no real idea what happened during the first week of looking – not a lot, really – but I eventually ended up buying a car with a good engine but a knackered body for A$750 (£375). It was a bargain, but not roadworthy.

Ready to Drive

So, at last I've got my wheels, all legal and insured to the hilt. He's a gypsum green Toyota Corona, 1977 model, he's called Oz1, and he's running pretty well. The idea is to go clockwise round Australia, but I don't want to tie myself down to any particular plan; it's a long, long way round this continent, and my finances are looking pretty poor after my manic visit to Tasmania and the cash I've lashed out on the car, so we'll just have to see what happens.

1 All of my cars have had names. There was Syd (my first car, on loan from a relative), named after Syd Barrett; Colin (my Talbot Horizon), named because he was a C-reg, and 'Colin the Car' sounded cool at the time; Jefry with one 'f' (my first Golf), named after a line from a Pixies song; Floyd (my second Golf), named after Pink Floyd, for no apparent reason except he was a reddish colour, which is vaguely related to pink; and Oz (Toyota Corona par excellence), named for obvious reasons. When I buy a car in New Zealand, I'll call him Zed, after the letter Z for Zealand, with a passing reference to that great rubber-burnin' scene in Pulp Fiction... 'Where did you get the bike, honey?' 'This ain't no bike, baby, it's a Chopper.' 'Well, where did you get the Chopper, then?' 'Zed.' 'Who's Zed?' 'Zed's dead, baby, Zed's dead.' Sheer poetry...