Harp Car UK

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    Can you help me? I am looking for a car to transport a Salvi concert grand harp – and as I have spent all my money on the harp, I’m looking for an old heap! Can anyone suggest reliable older estate cars? I’m in the UK where tiny cars are the norm, it seems, so I’m not sure what’s out there – nothing looks nearly big enough.


    You might need to compromise on the size by taking out the seat part of the rear seats. When they fold forward they can take up loads of room. As a student I had a series of old bangers which my concert Salvi fitted. They were: Peugeot 305 (rare now but they went forever) Mazda 323 (tiny but fitted everything and never went wrong) fiat stilo estate (dirt cheap!) Your best bet might be the old style vauxhall astra. I think there were loads produced. Some had 3 doors so are cheaper. There’s always thd old Ford Mondeo too but they are HUGE. The VW Passat fits well and so does the mitsubishi Lancer – old style one is better than new one. Skoda Octavias are very good with a good reputation. We are lucky here because the driver side is opposite the pillar of the harp so even a car that looks short might surprise you. Spend an afternoon looking round a big dealers yard and take the harp cover with you as a rough guide. Go back with the harp if you find something that might do. I ALWAYS take the harp to check it fits when buying a car. Dealers love it!! It’s Really hard now because people carriers have meant the death of the trusty family estate. Hope you find something.

    Philippa mcauliffe

    Measure up with covers on – max height and width.


    Volvo, Volvo or Volvo ;-)

    If you want to buy very cheaply and have an enormous car, look for a 740. Built like a tank.

    The 850 / early V70 models (which I have) are slightly more pricey, but are almost immortal as long as they have been looked after. (I can fit a concert grand, PA system, stool, stand, gig bags and even a passenger in mine!)

    The 240s are just starting to go up in value as classics, but you can still get very reasonably priced examples. However, some of these lack the modern niceties. Look for the ‘Torslanda’ or the GLS varieties.

    With any older car, service history is your friend. Look for regular oil changes and servicing. Look to see when was the cam belt last changed (if it’s coming up for a change on this, bear in mind that it’s an essential job and not cheap)

    Volvos are not particularly expensive to run. I get 30mpg on average, which is not bad for such a big car. I’ve also had an LPG conversion, so my fuel is half price. (Look for a car with this, but check that it is a good quality system such as Prins) Diesels obviously do more miles per gallon, but are more expensive to buy. You’d have to work out how long you intend to keep the car and how long it would take you to earn back the extra money saved on fuel.

    Both my Volvos – a 40 year old 133 and a 12 year old V70 went straight through their MOT tests this year. Reliability like that is priceless, especially when you need to be on time for gigs.

    If you’re not confident looking under the bonnet, it’s well worth asking a company such as the AA or RAC to look the car over for you. It costs a few quid, but is well worth it.


    Thank you so much for such valuable advice and suggestions – you have given me a great start! Brilliant idea to take the cover round with me – I’d never have thought of it myself! It’s great to have so many suggestions of models and makes, so that ringing round is so much easier. And thanks for the advice to get the car checked, too. Now I can start looking in earnest, armed with the collective wisdom of you kind people. Thank you so much!

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