Suzuki SJ410I haven't been around for a while, I finally sold my house in Spain last December, and we bought a Finca in the Colombian countryside. I have spent the last nine months solidly working on the house, because Colombian standards of housing are not the same as ours, no disrespect, it comes down to culture, they spend more time outside, so the house is only for shelter, and sleeping.
However, being out in the country we needed two vehicles, my Colombian Wife, is starting up a business, so had more or less commandeered the car, and I rashly bought a motorcycle, but driving here is downright dangerous, and I wasn't using it, so consciously made a decision to retire from biking, and buy an old run about.
I found a 1982 Suzuki SJ at a reasonable price, one of my local family has his own garage, so he gave it a once over, and said it was OK!
I have had it a month now, to start with I couldn't even get it up the mountain to the house, without it boiling dry, going down the mountain was even more scary, because the brakes were just about shot, brake hard, and you nearly left the road... You get the picture, a good car here, is one that still has four wheels and the engine runs.
Anyway I had all these problems sorted, fortunately labour here is ridiculously †cheap, replacement thermostat, new brakes, radiator flushed, handbrake dealt with, £36
The next job was to get the soft-top repaired or replaced, all the zips were broken, and it leaked like a sieve, it didn't take long to find a place, so I went for a quote, and to replace all the zips, stud and fasteners, reweld all the rubber seals £40!!! within 24hrs I had it back all the work done.
However I still had three issues I wanted to get sorted, I had seatbelts fitted, but they didn't work, it had the original wheels with 6.00 x 16 tractor tyres on it, and the seats are not original, and are ready to collapse.
Bearing in mind that the car is nearly 33 years old, I was looking secondhand, and this presented another problem, because the only place to get secondhand in Medellin, is to go to a part of the city, where you might not come back out! and my Wife who was born and bred in Medellin, did her best to put me off, however we went, and I have to say I felt no more threatened in that part, than in the back streets of Manchester, or any other city, that's not to say I was safe, just that the hairs did not stand up on the back of my neck!
We managed to do a deal on wheels, by trading in mine and paying an equivalent of £110, I had another set of 5 wheels fitted on my car, I also bought a 'brand new' set of static seatbelts for the front for £15, and another four to fit them. I had no luck with the seats, I will have to try again on that one. But I left the area, feeling I had got a very good deal, I am sure there is someone elsewhere in Medellin wondering where his wheels ended up, but that's Colombia, and it's for them to change that, not me.
So as you can see, when people ask me if I would ever return to the UK, I never say 'Never', but at the moment I couldn't afford to return, and at the prices over here, I don't think it will be anytime soon, in the mean time, work on the SJ continues.
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