I love the experience of buying and collecting a new car. When I say new, I actually mean used, but it’s new to me, you know what I mean. I get so excited about driving it and imagining all the adventures I can have in it.

Anyway, when my brother, Leo, told me he had bought a van to travel round Scandinavia in, I knew that exciting feeling he had. He asked me to help him collect it. It was in Bristol and had been listed as having an intermittent overheating problem. Obviously the best way to get it home was to drive it back. So, armed with enough tools to service a jet plane, sleeping bags and a flask of tea, we jumped on the coach from Northampton.

We arrived in Bristol 4 hours later and grabbed a cab the rest of the way. Dave, the seller was a great guy, really honest and friendly. He told us all about the overheating problem but said it would sometimes be fine and other times overheat. After Leo discovered he shared a love for all the same bands as Dave, who is a DJ, we paid the money and made off in Leos new purchase. We stopped just down the road to assess the situation. Leo was over the moon with the van. I’ve got to admit, it is in very good condition for the price he paid and is such a funky little thing.


It’s a Daihatsu Hijet MPV. It has 6 seats and is absolutely tiny! It has a 1.3 twin cam petrol engine and is rear wheel drive. As a result, it is a HOOT to drive. It’s surprisingly quick and pulls well. The turning circle is ridiculous and there is tons of space inside. I love funky cars and this is right up my street.

Unfortunately for us it got rather hot almost straight away. We went to check the radiator to discover it literally taking a piss out of the rad cap.


We had come armed with spare radiator caps and a thermostat but after a few fault finding minutes we determined that coolant wasn’t getting around the radiator. The most likely culprit was a blocked rad from a head gasket failure at some time in the past. Dave had told us he’d had the head gasket done twice, so the likelihood of crap still floating around in the coolant system and blocking the radiator was high.
I think deep down, we both knew we would end up calling the RAC. So, we gave them a ring and Ian came to our rescue.


It took him a few minutes of fiddling to determine that the waterpump wasn’t pumping water round the system. Well, we were close with a blocked rad. There was nothing we could do to fix it by the side of the road so we had to get recovered home. All 137 miles. At least we’ll save money on fuel!


Ian could only take us to the edge of his area, so he had to leave us at Chieveley Services and then we had to wait for another recovery truck to pick us up and take us the rest of the way. All of a sudden the lunch and flask that we had packed seemed like such a good idea. We sat in the lorry park, in a tiny little Hijet van, eating granola and drinking tea.


After a couple of hours we were picked up and taken home by a friendly recovery driver. All in all, a great day out!