Steve Berry talks about his im­pulses and our Let­ter of the Week is cov­et­ing the Tri­umph TR7. The cross­word's here too.

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - STEVE BERRY

‘Please, I’m beg­ging you – save me from my­self.’ Clearly this was a cry for help. Mine. It was on one of my Face­book posts (yes ‘my Face­book’ – it’s what the young peo­ple say). I’d been look­ing at a down-on-its-luck Ital­ian car of around 30 years’ vin­tage of­fered for sale on a pop­u­lar in­ter­net auc­tion site.

It was a ‘barn find’ Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia, blessed with an in­te­rior and ex­te­rior that had left the fac­tory in shades bet­ter suited to the 21st cen­tury than most cars of a sim­i­lar age. What struck me about this ‘barn find’ was that you could ac­tu­ally see the barn it was found in – a bit of a nov­elty for this mod­ern phe­nom­e­non. I wanted it.

I had ex­pected the so­cial me­dia equiv­a­lent of a glass of wa­ter in the face or per­haps even a short, sharp slap to bring me to my usu­ally un­flinch­ing Man­cu­nian senses. Or at least some­thing re­ally hard-hit­ting like: ‘Stop be­ing so bloody daft.’ Or words to that ef­fect.

The com­ments came in thick and fast from as far afield as Bolton, Pre­ston and Bury, but also from Los An­ge­les, Van­cou­ver and Dubai. ‘You have to save it, Steve. Don’t let it die.’ ‘It’s an Alfa (that bit was right). It’s not a car, it’s a work of art!’

Peo­ple mean well, I think, but there’s a rea­son they’re so en­cour­ag­ing and I be­lieve it’s as sim­ple as this – they won’t be do­ing the work. An­nounce you’re climb­ing the Mat­ter­horn, swim­ming the Straits of Malacca or buy­ing a pre­vi­ously unloved mo­tor­car sight-un­seen based on a sin­gle small pho­to­graph taken at 10.34pm on an eight-year-old Nokia and peo­ple are aw­fully en­cour­ag­ing.

But I have pre­vi­ous, hav­ing earned my cer­tifi­cate from the School of Hard Knocks and my Masters from the Univer­sity of Life. So I went to the best pub in Sal­ford – The New Ox­ford on Bex­ley Square – and qui­etly sipped a pint of Out­stand­ing Stout while some­while else took the leap of faith. But as I sat in the pub­lic bar I had an idea that might help oth­ers.

There are peo­ple whose job it is to con­vince peo­ple that los­ing weight is no more com­pli­cated than eat­ing less and mov­ing around more, ad­vis­ing their chubby devo­tees to at­tach un­flat­ter­ing pho­tos of them­selves to the ‘fridge door. I’m ad­vo­cat­ing a sim­i­lar pol­icy but with your PC, lap­top or hand-held dig­i­tal de­vice. Find the worst pho­to­graph you can of a car you’ve bid on. Yes, the one that seemed to be in fair-to-av­er­age con­di­tion but when work be­gan proved to be con­di­tion ‘L’ – ie land­fill. Scan and make it your screen saver. I’m not promis­ing it’ll stop you, but it may give you cause for a pause as your mouse hov­ers over the ‘con­firm’ but­ton…

For­mer Top Gear pre­sen­ter Steve’s Speed­shop is on Wed­nes­days (7-8pm) on FAB Ra­dio In­ter­na­tional.

‘As I sipped a pint I had an idea that might help oth­ers’

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