Cars available to me
1: philmophlegm 's recently purchased purple Porsche
2. Helga my hound-carrying Saab.
The roads to North Devon are largely empty and entertainingly winding for much of the way, so the drive would have been more fun in the Porsche. And as I was leaving philmophlegm working at home with the hounds, it would have made sense to leave him the car that would most easily transport dogs if necessary, which is definitely Helga. Percy does have rear seats, but to be honest, they are not designed for maximum sighthound carrying capacity.
Admittedly, Percy Porsche would have used more petrol, with an average 23 mpg he's not economical. But then the Saab is not hugely better at 31 mpg. I think I would have probably used roughly an extra gallon of petrol - so about a fiver probably. The difference might be less - the Saab is much more economical at the sort of constant speeds you can't really do if you are liable to find yourself intermittently driving on mud or behind horses. She is a large heavy sort of car that uses lots of fuel to speed up.
The real reason that I took Helga was that I knew that my customers would see me arriving in the car I chose, and that I would get a negative reaction if I turned up in the Porsche. People would see it as expensive, and assume they were paying me too much. Whereas for some reason people approve of the Saab. She is seen as 'sound' I think.
If I'd turned up in a two year old Saab, or a new Ford for that matter, I think I would still get that more positive reaction, even though either would cost more than a 10 year old Porsche, and not be anything like as pretty. Or, say, a Range Rover, which would have been both more expensive to buy, and thirstier on the petrol, but somehow would still be more acceptable (this is of course a very rural area, so 4WD cars tend to be considered practical rather than impractical).
It's the label people react to. Which makes me sad, because I genuinely think the Porsche 911 is a very very beautiful car. If it is dug up by future archaeologists, I'm pretty sure they will be impressed and display it prominantly with signs saying something like 'beautiful high status object. Probably ritual'.
Unfortunately, I think there is only one client that I can reasonably borrow Percy Porsche to visit, and that's the guy that sold it to philmophlegm. We got chatting to him about websites, and he bought some consultancy and if I ever finish the quote I should be working on rather than writing this, I suspect he'll buy a website as well...