Bye Bye Bella :-(

Adelaide Travel Blog

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Bella and Spike... my bike :-)

I knew the time would come when Bella and I would have to part, and I wasn’t looking forward to it because I knew it was going to be a tall order to try and flog her off to another backpacker.  I’ve had several problems during my journey and a few times I even wondered if she would make it all the way to Adelaide.  So I thought up a plan; along my trip I started to collect as many free items as I could fit in the boot, with a view to sell everything as a package and make it more appealing.  It’s a trick you see, I envisage my self spending half an hour showing a buyer all the little useful bits and pieces diverting the attention from the main attraction, a busted up old Commodore as reliable as an Italian brick layer!


I gave my self 4 weeks max to get rid of her and as soon as I arrived in Adelaide, I pulled out all the crap in the back and staged a few photos.

All the gear that I sold with the car
  I spent an entire morning writing the ad and paid $15 to print 10 colour copies, I wanted my ad to stand out from the standard black and white poor effort ads.  Then I posted my bait on the message boards of 9 backpackers around Adelaide CBD.


It worked, the enquiries started coming in.  The first was a South African chap, I arranged to meet him outside his hostel.  Much to my horror, 3 hours before the viewing I noticed an unusual hissing noise coming from the engine.  I stop the car and discovered water trickling from the bonnet like a busted shower head, oh no!!  Stop crying Bella!  Almost as if she knew I was going to give her away… I drove back to the house, search on the web for the nearest wrecker and paid him a visit.  I ended up replacing the expansion tank for the cooling system, as mine was badly cracked (I did think about using some good old Duck tape, but it would have been obvious).  I made it to the viewing on time, but it turned out that the chap only wanted some of my gear.

The new proud owners
  On my way back Bella stopped right in the middle of a 4 lane road in the heart of the CBD.  God, what now you old cow?  This happened on our way to Penshurst, where I had to call the road side assistance guy.  He said to poor cold water and un-plug a sensor if this happened again.  I popped the bonnet, and did what I was told, whilst angry drivers where shouting all manners of insults at me.  I must say, Adelaide drivers are the worse in the country!  Bella stopped twice more on our way home, and the only thing that would prevent her from stopping was to keep my right foot on the revs and use my left for breaking.  I thought about tweaking the idle.  Next morning I had two more viewings.  I put a spanner and a few more tools in my backpack and drove to the YHA.  Did the usual routine of pulling all the useful bits and pieces out, then went for a short ride… I was shitting my self!  Pardon my French, but I was really worried that she might stop and I would have to ask the buyer to give us a push!  No, she was a good a girl and both viewings went well.


To cut a long story short, both buyers made an offer and I played them against each other.  Not only I managed to make what I originally paid for her, I ended up taking home a whopping profit of $1000!  Unbelievable, I can’t stop blowing my own trumpet!


Here’s a few figures for anyone who is thinking about repeating my trip, ie driving from Fraser Island to Adelaide in the comfort of your own vehicle:


Cost of car:                  $1800

Repairs:                        $ 800

3 lots of Rego:              $ 532 (registration for 9 month, though I had her for 7)

Extra Insurance:            $172 (year cover but you can get a prorate refund)

Road side Recovery:     $62 (year cover, but you can get some refund)

Petrol:                          $1470

Length of trip                4400km


Total                             $4836


Considering I sold her for $2800 and I had petrol contributions of $300 from a few lifts I have given, my final balance is $1736.  I also slept 20 day in the car, saving a further $500 (at $25 average per night) and I could have slept a lot more but it was blooming winter time!  I had Bella for exactly 214 day, so she cost me an average of $5.78 per day.  That’s much cheaper than any hire car you can find, so I’m happy with that!   


Here’s a few tips I have learned:    


1)  SA and WA are the best places to buy a car because you don’t need a safety certificate to register the vehicle.


2)  A great number of backpackers will buy a car in Adelaide around Sept-Oct and will drive north over 6 months.  They will sell between Brisbane and Cairn around Mar-Apr time.  I did exactly the opposite so I was able to buy cheap and sell for more.


3)  If you find one, buy an LPG converted vehicle.  It is much, much cheaper.  My old Bella covered 4400km with $1470 of unleaded petrol.  A full tank cost $80, so she averaged around 240km per tank, that’s really poor, believe me… even the engine of an oil tanker is more efficient than that!


4)  Buy Holden Commodore, instead of Ford Falcon.  Commodore are easier to repair, there’s more room around the engine and you can do some work your self.  Spare parts are available everywhere and they are cheap.


5)  A car sells better if you add a load of useless accessories and items.  Besides the bike, the bed and my screwdriver, I hardly used any of the other things, but they sold the car!


 Incidentally, I just happened to find the safety report from the Garage up in Brisbane, where they inspected Bella just after I had bough her.  It reeds 35 different faults!  They quoted $3000 to fix her up and couldn’t believe how much I had paid for her.  They laughed at me when I said that I planned to drive to Adelaide and said she wouldn’t even get me out of Brisbane… Arseholes!!  I just had to have the final word, so I sent them a postcard from Adelaide with my regards, signed Rubbertoe and Bella! :-)

alicegourmet says:
Roberto, you did a great job in marketing your Bella! I know it's hard to say goodbye to Bella since you guys have been together for 214 days...but life moves on, right?!
Just wondering if my "luck transfer" worked by sending through internet? LOL!
Posted on: Oct 31, 2008
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Bella and Spike... my bike :-)
Bella and Spike... my bike :-)
All the gear that I sold with the …
All the gear that I sold with the…
The new proud owners
The new proud owners
photo by: shirlan