It went up there under its own steam, I swear. The poor ol’ Merc was still running very well – 200,000-plus miles on the clock, engine still ticking over nicely – but its minor electrical malfunctions and failures were getting irritating. When the rear air suspension packed up (two new spheres needed) I decided it was time to cut my losses and get into something a bit newer with two much-wanted features – air conditioning and a manual, not automatic, gearbox.
But what to do with the Merc? Didn’t want to see it go to the crusher; it has a lot of useful new/new-ish parts on it and would make a good spares-or-repair project for someone more mechanically-inclined than myself. However, I’ve done the eBay/Gumtree thing with old cars before, and it’s been immensely time-consuming and time-wasting – for the little I’d get for the car, it wasn’t worth dealing with the tyre-kickers.
Here’s (I believe) a good no-hassles solution to getting shot of an old banger, which has the most excellent side-effect of benefiting a charity of your choosing: car donation. Giveacar works with big-name charities such as Oxfam, Shelter, RSPCA, Cancer Research etc., as well as much smaller ones (over 800 in total: plenty of choice as to where the cash goes). Even the ropiest of old heaps can raise a couple of hundred quid in scrap-metal recycling value – better/running cars get auctioned off – and by the time you Gift Aid it, it can add up to a worthwhile donation. Phone ’em up, and they’ll send a trailer around within a week or so.
There’s also CharityCar in the UK, and the Car Donation Network – the latter also a social enterprise in which cars are, says the website, “collected, dismantled and processed by volunteers and people being supported by charities. Folks who have fallen on hard times get training, work experience, new skills for their CVs and the support they need to regain their independence.” Warm glow all round.