Bertha In The Garage

Bertha Benz was the wife of Carl Benz and a very determined and enterprising lady. She was the first person ever to make a long distance automobile journey (and the world's first car thief, since she took the car and drove it without the knowledge of her husband!). We wanted a suitable name for our car and this one seemed like a good one.

On another level, why did we end up with Bertha?

Back in 2015 I had an Audi A4 3.0l Cabriolet and was looking around for a weekend car. Initially I was considering an Audi 80 Cabriolet with the 2.8l engine but this didn't seem terribly exciting in the end as it wouldn't be very different from my main car. Then an acquaintance in the village where we lived mentioned that there was a classic car dealer in the village and I visited their web site. (Said dealer shall remain nameless for reasons which will become apparent in the next post!). Spotting a Signal Red 280CE for not a lot of money I called them and arranged to go and have a look at her. She was in a pretty sorry state and had actually been the subject of an offer from someone else who had gone in quite a lot lower than the asking price as they didn't want the dealer to get the necessary work done. An incredibly wise move on their part...

Disappointed that she was considered sold, we left it at that. However, a couple of weeks later she was still on the dealer's web site so I called them to see what was going on. Apparently the previous person hadn't been in touch so we made the same deal - £1300 off the asking price without the work done. So far so good...

We did take her on a test drive before we finally agreed to take her and this nearly stopped us from buying her. Neither my wife or I understood what was so special about this car (it probably didn't help that she had no carpets in her at the time and that there was a bit of a squeal coming from the engine bay somewhere!). We just didn't 'get' it. However, neither of us wanted to disappoint the other so we both said 'yes'.

This decision turned out to have far reaching consequences at which neither of us could even have begun to guess!

In between agreeing to have the car and her finally getting an MOT (of sorts!) we had been told that our rental contract was not being renewed after all and that we would have to move house. The MOT was finally obtained the day before we were due to move so in addition to picking up the car we had the nausea of a house move!

Anyway, after a long and trying move it was time to get the car to the new house. This was without a doubt the worst journey that I have ever made in Bertha!

Bertha At The Cattery

We had put our two cats in the cattery while we moved so as to spare them the stress of the move (and to prevent them disappearing!) so all I had to do was go to the cattery and and then drive to the new house....

This was when we discovered one of Bertha's major vices: she would NOT tick over when stationary. The route involved a single track road with passing places - and the rest of the county appeared to be going in the opposite direction! Every time I had to stop to let someone go past the other way the car would stall. Tired, with stressed cats in the back and faced with this problem I have to say that my own stress levels were rising considerably! Was this car going to turn out to be worth having?

Anyway, after a perfectly foul drive we arrived safely at the new house. I can't remeber exaxctly, but I have a strong suspicion that a beer was required once I had parked up for good for the day!

Bertha At The New House

Starting The Investigations