I’ve a long history with buying and selling cars. I used to do it professionally, and quickly realised that it was possible to buy interesting cars, run them for six to 12 months and move them on. The cost, apart from insurance and repair bills for the occasional clunker, was minimal. 

It was fun. I loved poking around websites, forecourts and auction houses. The thrill of the chase to pin the selling down on a keen deal was wonderful. I can happily say I’ve owned some of my favourite models from the last two decades.

Not long ago, I realised that I needed a cheap family kickabout as a second car. Equipped with a modest budget and the need to hunt out a safe, reliable and spacious family bus, I started hunting around.

In my days of cycling through hot hatches and sports cars, I generally dealt with enthusiasts, but occasionally dealers too. I usually found them to be fairly affable characters. Sometimes they had a whiff of Swiss Toni or Boycie about them, but if you took what they said with a pinch of salt, they were fine.

My latest experience couldn’t have been more different. Admittedly armed with a smaller budget than before, the dealers I contacted were uniformly rude and had a couldn’t-care-less attitude.