I’ve always wondered what it might be like to buy and actually own one of the cars that we’ve thrashed to within an inch of its life during a road test. What happens, for instance, if you buy a car via the dealer network in good faith, then click on YouTube and see a video of it basically going sideways for five minutes?
Do you recoil in horror then reach for the phone and demand your money back? Or do you sit back and think; wow, that’s my car, then feel a strange sense of wellbeing about owning a mildly famous ex-press demonstrator?
Although I’m not 100 per cent sure I’d like to spend my money on a car that’s done the rounds of the various magazines, the truth is that these particular cars are more likely to have been looked after than most. They are inspected and prepared for the next thrashing between each and every road test, and when their time as a press car is over (usually within 10k miles) they are often rebuilt and readied for their first genuine customer like no other cars would ever be.
So although they work hard during their brief but exhaustive lives as press demonstrators, these are not necessarily cars to shy away away from secondhand. Which is why it was nice to get an email from a proud Cornishman recently who just so happens to have bought the BMW 1M in which I did 11,000 miles last year.
He’s “66 years young and still enjoys the buzz of driving well, getting the corners right and making progress.” And despite watching numerous videos of YH11 GOX going sideways through various corners, on various roads, and on all sorts of different test tracks, he seems to be delighted with his new car. But then that’s not surprising considering he’s also owned 911s, several Capris, a Lotus Esprit, a Lotus Sunbeam, three Audi quattros, an E36 M3 and numerous rather terrifyingly named motorbikes.
We’ll keep in touch to see how life progresses with GOX, but in the meantime, has anyone else ever knowingly bought an ex-press demonstrator? And if so, how did it go?