4 years in a GT86 – Last to arrive anywhere; but maybe that’s a good thing?

In this GT86 focused series, we will release one article per week following my story of owning one - the good and the bad!

My name is Sam Wardega (don’t try and pronounce it out loud – everyone says it wrong), and these are some of the highlights from my ownership of a Toyota GT86. To me, a car much slower (in a straight line) than its mean face and sleek lines would suggest, and yet it was everything I wanted it to be in spite of that. But an early reveal of the moral of the story is: if all you are bothered about is flooring it up and down a motorway; look elsewhere!

Since there are rumours beginning to surface that there is a replacement just around the corner, I can’t wait to see what Toyota has in store for us. I’m using this as a chance to indulge myself and take a walk down memory lane – whilst hopefully helping some of you that are looking to buy your next used car in the process. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the GT86 or not, in this series you’ll hear some of the dos and don’ts of buying a second-hand car.

The excitement when heading over to somewhere to buy a new car is always palpable – it feels quite literally like those metaphorical butterflies in your stomach really are fluttering around. It has never mattered to me whether you are heading for the main dealer to pick up something brand new and untouched, a used dealer for an older but more varied choice in your price category, or to a private seller to take ownership of what may well be their pride and joy; the excitement never really seems to change.

So on a cold day in April 2016, I drove 50 miles to finalise a private purchase of my Toyota GT86. I had been waiting to own one since the GT86 – and it’s almost identical twin the Subaru BRZ – had been released in 2012 (in fact since they were both announced in 2010!). On this day the wait was finally over. I went to the guy’s house, checked the car over one final time to ensure I haven’t missed anything in the previous visit – I knew I hadn’t as myself and a friend had spent half an hour combing every detail from top to bottom, but that’s a different story! I then made some only minorly awkward chit-chat whilst we went through the arduous task of signing the V5, other sale documents, and transferring monies – not to mention having to sit and insure and tax the car before I left (although I had pre-prepared an insurance quote so it was ready for the trigger to be pulled, which just about got me out of there before I overstayed my welcome and drank all of their tea).

This was it. Although I had obviously had a short test-drive of the car before at the initial viewing – no test drive is ever the same as when you drive off in your new purchase and immediately start learning about the car – all of which is likely to be on roads you have never been on before. For me there was an immediate learning curve; this was the first rear-wheel-drive car I had ever driven on public roads. Now I could go on for a bit here about how poised the GT86 felt, and all of the other things that I came to understand about the car over the following months; but actually what I remember most is just a feeling of control (in comparison to the generally more wayward sensation of the front-wheel-drive cars that I was used to).

And off home we rode together – my mind already distracted thinking about all of the things that I could buy to make the car that little more ‘mine’ – the GT86 is after all a modifier’s dream! The only stop I made was just to take some obligatory ‘look what I’ve just bought’ pictures – facebook memories don’t create themselves you know!

Things I learned on that day:

  • Buying private often (not always) gets you a good price, but not always a smooth experience.
  • Taxing and insuring a car seems to take an age when you are sitting on a stranger’s sofa.
  • Buying a car that you have wanted for a long time isn’t always an anticlimax – as long as you are lusting after the right car.
  • However, despite the former point, it is often an expensive thing to do; my insurance alone would make some readers eyes water (I was 21 and didn’t have the years of experience I now enjoy)

In short, I realised that I prefer the overall experience of purchasing from a Dealership. When you are dealing with HPI checks, looking for scratches, organising test drives or even just want to chat with your significant other about the decision; doing so in the comfort of a place designed to facilitate all of those things very quickly becomes invaluable. Value is at the forefront of the mind of at least 99% of us when buying a used car, but the peace of mind you get buying from a professional is priceless – if not for the years of knowledge they offer you then for the guarantees they are often happy to provide on your new pride and joy.


About Carsnip
Carsnip is the UK’s largest used car search engine, with over 500,000 dealers sold used cars across the UK. We operate a natural language search engine, to help you find your perfect used car, and narrow down the choice by what’s most important to you.
Click here to view our results for the GT86 – and feel free to change the filters to help you find the perfect used car in your area!

About the Author
Sam Wardega is a freelance car journalist working on behalf of Carsnip.com.
A lifetime Petrolhead who started with Hot Wheels aged 2, and now just spends his life savings on owning his dream cars. As they say, boys don’t stop playing with toys; they just get bigger and more expensive!

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