Author Archives: Toby White

About Toby White

I'm a doer!

The true cost of mods / the last car I will ever buy…


You’re likely to spend at least 1/2 as much on parts as your used car, or double if you are looking to modify it. This being in wheels, exhaust, suspension (coilovers, springs etc). If you start modifying the engine or turbocharging etc this will be even more. Modifications are not cheap and they will NOT increase the value of the vehicle when you sell. You have a higher chance of making your money back by selling the performance or modified parts separately and converting the car back to stock.

I have learnt this, noteably, the hard way. With my turbo Mazda I have been building the car for 2 years. Yes, you could do it much quicker by spending more and getting someone to start from scratch. It now has a custom exhaust system on it that has cost well over double what I initially paid for the car or the turbo kit on its own. Am I mad? Yes, probably, but this is something that I can build in my spare time now. It does need some welding to finish off, and then tuning from ground up again. I still need to purchase an oil catch can and some other bits but all along I know that I’m doing this properly. Modifiying a car is not cheap if you want to do it properly. I aim not to cut too many corners on this and I want to complete it. The majority of cars I do want are well outside my budget anyway. And let’s face it, smaller turbocharged engines are the way forward until electric vehicles become affordable.

This leads me on to say that my Mercedes 190 is the last car I will buy. If it lasts me as long as I need to take to finish my MX5 then that will be good, but I have good memories already in it, have already spent a lot more than I bought it for to get it through its last MOT, and don’t particularly wish to purchase another car. Modern cars bore me. I own two cars both 25 years old. Personally, I think their design is timeless. Not one new car particularly interests me. And the ones which do, Porsche 911 Turbo (circa 1970…) or ’66 Mustang Fastback are too expensive for me to even consider right now.

I’ve done V8s, convertibles, four bangers. I haven’t done motorbikes yet but for now I prefer life on 4 wheels.

I’ll hope to maintain this resolution for 2016 at least!

Year 2015 – a quick roundup 

As the end of the year is rushing up really fast I thought I’d post what I normally do toward the end of the year…

So what have I achieved this year:

  • Continued work on my house
  • Bought a car
  • Sold a car
  • Spent too much money on cars
  • Climbed Snowdon
  • Drove a lot of miles
  • Walked a lot
  • Kept on with my 5BX workouts, and mission to stay healthy
  • Not taken 1 sick day in over a year
  • Chopped down some trees
  • Planted some trees
  • Made new friends
  • Maintained a relationship
  • Learnt to love my self
  • Learnt to slow down and enjoy life more
  • Continued to work hard on freelance projects

Mission for 2016:

  • Don’t buy new cars
  • Pay back bills
  • Go on holiday somewhere warm
  • Complete my turbo Mazda no matter what it takes!

To be continued…:

Have I grown up too fast? Becoming a homeowner at 24.

House and keys

Not everyone knows but I own a 3 bed, end terrace house with garden and two-car driveway in Northampton.

I always knew renting was a waste of money and I’ve always been sensible with my money. Some people called me tight for not choosing to go on holiday or out on the lash every week.

I always wanted my own space to do my own thing, I didn’t want a middle man to get in the way and slow things down; at the end of the day if I’m paying £500+ on rent a month I’m not saving it. Albeit my parents were kind to put me up until a year or two ago, but I always knew that I wanted to spread out and have my own space.

Why Northampton? You can’t get a 1 bed flat in for £114,000 within 20 miles of Hitchin… I could have opted in for the Government’s Help to Buy scheme,  but the initial outlay was always a lot more. I had worked for 15 months doing shift work (4 days on, 4 days off) which enabled me to save a shed load. My parent’s were kind enough to match what I had saved, and that enabled me to take out a standard mortgage. I found a mortgage advisor (will update with details of the site I used), who was very helpful and got me a good deal. That is very important. Ultimately I am paying less per month at the minute than it costs to rent a similar sized property in the same area.

Since moving in it has been a nightmare to manage paper work. I am not going to lie on this, I am still updating details with various companies.

I found out around 8 months of moving in that I could be fined up to £1000 for not having the most up to date address on my driving license. Stuff like that people don’t tell you…

I am getting there now, but even after a year and a half I am still selling/throwing out/rehoming belongings that I had from my parent’s house. You soon realize how much junk you keep hold of.

I am beginning to settle in now, my girlfriend has moved in and it’s starting to feel more like home. Next year we’ll look to decorate and start modernising the place. Since moving in I had the storage heaters removed and gas central heating installed (not everywhere has this as standard, even though the house was built in 1985 – so remember to keep that in mind when looking). I let my girlfriend get a cat, but now the house is around as big as can be, and for me personally, a garage would be a necessity for the next one as I am currently renting one in the area.

So have I grown up too fast? Maybe, maybe not. I know I have full control of my living space and can’t be kicked out by the landlord, that’s for sure. Am I short on cash? Yes, quite a bit, no home is perfect and you soon realise that everything costs a lot of money. I would probably have a little more if I wasn’t a petrol head too (see garage)!

There’s probably a whole load I’ve missed, so I’ll wrap up and add bits when I come to think about it. If you have any queries feel free to ask me, and I’ll do my best to get back to you.

For anyone else who thinks saving is boring, check out what these “kids” did:

‘I’m 20 and I own a £250,000 four-bed house’