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My petrol head is ruled by my heart

Whether it's yesterday's sunshine, shaving my beard off in a misguided bid to see what lay beneath (it wasn't pretty) or the fact that, as of 6.30pm last night, I have a week off, it feels like a corner is being turned.

Tempting fate, I grant you, but a part of me - perhaps an earlobe or a mole, no bigger - remains the eternal optimist.

More likely, my mood is brightening as I approach a semblance of closure on an extended episode of car trouble that began on October 31, when my other half slammed the nose of my cherished (and rare) Saab 9-3 Viggen into the side of a private hire cab.

Ordinarily, once liability is settled, you receive a settlement cheque and buy another car - one that's more modern, or more frugal, or better suited to your needs than the last. Not me. I'd poured so much cash into the Viggen and found its marriage of flaws and phwoar so seductive that I did what technologically adept fellows do nowadays: I went on eBay to hunt down another thirsty Swedish brute.

It was there, amid a morass of hexed vehicles, that my new toy sparkled like a rough diamond: a year younger than Viggen I and predictably tatty but powered by a highly fettled engine and sporting a list of expensive mods from one of the UK's best Saab tuners. (Forged pistons, people. Think about that. Forged pistons.) The only downside was the colour (silver versus the old car's lightning blue).

As part of my settlement I had kept the dead car's wreckage, reckoning another Viggen would need parts replaced. A smart move, it turned out.

For the past 10 weeks Viggen I mouldered away in various off-road spots as I cannibalised what I could from it with my limited technical chops and awaited the availability of my friend Jim, a spectacular mechanic, whom I'd asked to butcher the choicest cuts from the fallen beast.

Progress stalled as winter gripped. Then, at 9.52am yesterday, a text arrived: "Sean saab ready for scrappy. Need V5." Music to my ears. ABBA, for thematic consistency.

So today at 10am I'm due to shod Viggen II in its predecessor's old boots (refurbed for £300 a year ago) before a man comes to cart Viggen I off to the great Saab meet in the sky. He might even give me money for the scrap, which I'll put in the pot along with the meagre amounts I've scraped together from selling bits and bobs to other Saab types.

All in all, it's been a salutary lesson in getting the best out of a bad situation. Now that the corner has been turned I can get on with my life, which, if you've got this far, you'll agree lacks any depth whatsoever. Good thing I've got a week off, isn't it?

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