According to the online Urban Dictionary ‘Bangernomics is the art of buying the cheapest car/vehicle possible so that it does not lose value and waste money’. I suppose that’s okay, although I would much prefer to hear what the Oxford English has to say.
Yes I coined the word, but I certainly did not invent the concept of minimal motoring. I am sure that in 200 BC there were chariot buyers looking at the seriously pre-owned end of the marketplace to save a few sestertii.
Fast forward to 1947 when my Uncle Charlie bought a Humber Super Snipe for 15 quid. It was a massive 1930s barge of a car that he ran for a few years and when it stopped for good, he broke it up and got more than his money back. That seemed like a pretty sensible way to approach motoring.
So my first car was a £50 quid Mini in 1977. Although I never called it Bangernomics, it was all I could afford at the time, which sums up what Bangernomics stands for very well.
By 1990 I was a motoring hack and the idea of buying and running a car that would be cheaper than taking the taxi or train and more flexible than the bus sounded like a great idea for a story. I rashly bought an FSO Polonez for £80.
In retrospect that sounds like an awful lot of money for a very rubbish car. It was damp and smelly but worked and got me from A to B and back again for a month. I told Steve Cropley – now of this parish, but in those far off days the proprietor of a brilliant magazine called Buying Cars. He liked it and a feature entitled 'Better Than Walking' was born. I did a calculation of the costs and called it Bangernomics. Steve put the new word and a small picture of my FSO on the cover.
The article went down very well and I thought the subject could be fleshed out a bit more. In 1993 a book called, well, Bangernomics came out. It wasn’t exactly a best seller, but if I had a quid for every time someone had said that they had bought an old Golf/Polo/Volvo after reading the book I wouldn’t be working for Autocar, I’d be a gazillionaire.
Which brings us to Shed 7. As the direct result of an appeal in the blogs on this website, I was offered a great big BMW 7-series for £500. It proves just how far Bangernomics has come in the last few decades, as build quality and the relative simplicity of 1990s motors means that it is possible to get lucky and run a comfy car for peanuts.
Bangernomics is a big, important sounding word for something very simple, which is buying and running a car on a shoestring. It means not worrying about depreciation or cosmetics, and gives you a nice warm feeling in the pit of your wallet.