Me And My Car: This financial planner believes in stretching the dollar for car purchases

Financial planner, Andy Ng, 30, resprayed his Hyundai i30 to a battleship grey colour, just one day after buying his car. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Financial planner Andy Ng believes in stretching the dollar - a philosophy he applies to his car purchases.

The 30-year-old bought his first car, a Kia Cerato Forte, three years ago. He co-owned the nine-year-old manual sedan with his then girlfriend and they paid $12,000 for it.

After doing the sums, they found that a car with one year left on its certificate of entitlement (COE) was an affordable way to own a set of wheels.

The car was scrapped in 2018 and made way for an 81/2-year-old Kia Cerato Koup which cost $19,000.

Because the two cars shared similar parts, Mr Ng had relatively new items he bought during repairs for the Forte transplanted to the Koup.

Both Kias were practical budget cars, but Mr Ng has also been nursing a passion for performance cars, ignited by a steady diet of Initial D anime films in his teens.

Last August, after the Koup's COE expired, the bachelor bought a Hyundai i30 hatch, which he reckons is a fun ride without him having to break the bank for it.

He had considered other cars, including the BMW 118i and Volkswagen Golf, but decided on the i30 because it "offered good value for money... and its 128bhp and 242Nm of torque were respectable figures".

He adds: "Korean cars have come a long way in terms of durability and are now packed with features that can give their Continental rivals a run for their money."

The i30 was then retailing at around $90,000, but Mr Ng got "a great offer" because the Hyundai agent was clearing stock of the 1.4-litre to make way for a new 1-litre variant.

He declines to say how much he paid, but hinted that the amount was slightly above the price of a two-year-old second-hand unit, which cost around $70,000 at the time.

The only thing he did not like about the car was its champagne hue, which he felt was an "uncle colour". All he could think about was what colour to respray it.

He wanted a unique hue without coming across as too flamboyant and settled on a battleship grey, which he felt had "an understated masculinity".

In the boot are a car vacuum cleaner and a bag containing a set of cleaning kit. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

After he collected the car, he sent it for respraying the next day and also bought a new set of 18-inch wheels and tyres.

Other modifications include a Bastuck exhaust system, which gives the i30 a "low throaty note". To improve handling, he installed a set of BC BR Coilovers, along with a strut bar, anti-roll bar and cross bar.

The petrolhead has spent about $10,000 on the modifications and is pleased with how the i30 looks and drives.

He thinks it is money well-spent as he can enjoy the improvements for at least five, if not 10 years, before he buys a new car.

And that could very well be his dream car - the Nissan GT-R, one of the cars featured in Initial D.

What's in the boot?

- A car vacuum cleaner

- A car cleaning kit

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