No matter how careful you are when checking a used car’s history, it’s impossible to know exactly how difficult its life has been. For example, just because your car has been regularly serviced, it doesn’t mean it was never drifted around an airfield by a bloke who had literally no interest in being careful since he got to give the keys back at the end of the day. At least, that would be impossible to know, unless, say, it was drifted around an airfield by the bloke who hosts the world’s most watched television show.
Rob Willis, 27, encountered exactly this problem recently, after buying himself a lovely looking Yas Marina Blue BMW M3. The IT operations manager told The Sun:
“When I bought it, I was told it was an ex-demo which one of the managers had been driving. The brakes were constantly squeaking and the steering wheel made a clunking noise every time I came off the motorway.”
Then, about a month after picking up the car, Rob was watching an old episode of Top Gear, when his girlfriend spotted that the M3 being hooned by Clarkson was wearing the same number plate as the car he’d just bought. Obviously unimpressed by the fact he’d been sold a car that had been abused in such a way without disclosure of that fact, Willis took his M3 back to his local dealership: “The dealers told me it was a mistake and the car should never have been sold as it was unfit for the road.”
The life of a press car is a rough one. The cars are handed around from publication to publication, and driven by people who grow no sense of attachment to the car. Most of us are careful to treat cars properly, but there will always be those who use and abuse their privilege. Furthermore, making cool content often involves driving these cars hard, repeatedly for the camera; no matter how careful you are, that’ll take its toll - and occasionally these cars come with delivery mileage, and we simply don’t have time to get the engines run in before enjoying them. So when these cars exit service and are sold off, it’s no surprise that occasionally they might seem a little rough around the edges.
Fortunately the cars are looked after and serviced by dedicated teams, so there’s very little chance of people encountering an issue like Rob has. Still, I’m not entirely sure I’d want to drop big money on a car the likes of Chris Harris or Jeremy Clarkson have had on camera, no matter how carefully it’s been serviced in the meantime.