The Focus saloon on holiday in 2008. Notice the Ford badge missing from the front grille.

IN July 2003 we bade farewell to the Astra saloon and switched to a Ford Focus Ghia saloon. At £6,400 it seemed quite expensive, especially with over 41,000 miles on the clock. But I really liked the look of it and felt, as with the Astra, that the saloon version was a lot more attractive than the popular, and far more common, hatchback. What’s more, it being a Ghia, it had a heated windscreen – a first for us, and one I really appreciated on frosty mornings! We got a measly £200 part-exchange allowance for the Astra.

We got it in time for our 2003 family holiday to Devon, and enjoyed the extra space. It served us well for the next five years; or, in any case, I don’t remember any breakdowns or disasters. Unless you count the evening some drunks ripped off the Ford badge from the front grille, which was really annoying.

And then, in October, 2008, the Focus’s time with us was brought to an abrupt end.

car_damageReturning from an exploratory visit to  Southampton University, the Focus was involved in a low-speed (or, in our case, zero-speed) shunt in a service station. It wasn’t our fault, guv’nor, but, annoyingly, we were held responsible and lost our no-claims bonus. And the damage turned out to be so severe that it was deemed a write-off.

We were vehicle-less for a few weeks, relying on my generous in-laws to lend us their car.

And our next chariot? Another Ford. Watch out for the final (for now) installment in the series, AutoMemory #10, coming to a blog near you soon!