On December 10th 2005 I collected my Marlin Roadster from Jude Performance Services where the clutch had been changed, within a mile there was a significant engine fire and the result was that the car was completely written off. For 4 months I searched around trying to a suitable replacement. Something which was sporty, cheap to insure and run, not a run-of-the-mill car and something which is relatively modern meaning a minimum of weekly maintenance. I went through a load of different cars, some of which were relatively sensible options (Porsche 944) and some which weren’t (Alfa Romeo GTV V6) but the problem was always insurance and running costs been so high. Then I went back to the start of the list and realised the right car was staring at me all along, the GTM Libra and so the research started.
I spent several months reading up on the cars and asking advice from owners and eventually decided that I was making the right choice, all without actually sitting in a car! On April 30th 2006 I went down with my dad to National Kit Car Show at Stoneleigh and made a beeline for the GTM Owners / TeamGTM club stands. Wandering around I spotted a bright Yellow, 1.4MPI for sale by a gent called Terry, who turned out to be the membership secretary and treasurer for the GTM Owners Club. We spoke at length about the car, had a quick run around the show ground, had a bit more chat and parted ways so that Dad and I could have a discussion. Wandering round the show gave me time to think and we went back later in the afternoon to say we’d take it subject to insurance and another check over the following weekend.
MSM Insurance came up trumps and the policy was arranged to swap over on Saturday 6th May subject to a call from myself on the day. Terry and I continued to chat throughout the week about the car and come the designated day my parents and I jumped in their Citroen and headed down. Terry had a list of things he wanted to show me and mention which took a hour or so and we headed into Chesterfield to sort the money out. I have never been more nervous than that day – not only was I buying a new, pretty much unknown car, but was having to walk down the road with all the cash in my pocket! It was all conducted with me pouring of sweat and feeling slightly worse for wear due to the nerves, but it all went without hitch mind.
After money was sorted we went back to Terry’s house where we all chatted for a while whilst Terry’s wife made us lunch and we said our farewells around 2ish for the ride home. Driving the car for the first time was fun, the Libra was flew without any drama, unfortunately the same can’t be said about the Citroen – it blew the power steering pulley up on the motorway 🙁
Within the first fortnight I’d managed to rack up 1000miles on the clock and came up with a list of things that needed to change fairly quickly – namely changing the steering wheel (I couldn’t operate the pedals easily), adding an alarm and fixing the idle on the engine (it doesn’t like cold starts & has trouble idling when the alternator is generating a hefty current e.g. lights and heater on). Other than that, the car was fine the way it was, for a while at least 😉
Overall, it was a fantastic little car. It fulfilled every criteria I had, easily. It’s a testament to the way that Terry built it that it looks this good and whilst there are issues I’d like to tinker with, most are to do with personal taste or personalisation rather than necessity or repair, that is no bad thing! My thanks go out to Terry for his hospitality and help during the sale – it really was a very painless process.
I kept the car for nearly 2 years and apart from a hefty accident which saw the car off the road for 6 months used it pretty much every day. The car was a bit of a cruel mistress in that I was always having to spend money on it (the biggest cost came as a result of the accident and the insurance assessor screwing me over), but I look back at ownership fondly.