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The Legacy Continues - My Japanese Import Story (#2)

Well, a mere seven months after initially buying it, the Legacy is finally registered and legal for use on the UK roads. I'll be honest, the lengthy wait is mainly my fault, but finally getting the logbook through the door was a frankly glorious moment.

The main hiccup in getting it registered seems to have been my sheer incompetence when it comes to actually reading instructions - as a result, I didn't send a copy of my ID with the application documents, which led to a roughly six-week delay in proceedings for something purely down to my stupidity. Trying to get the insurance company to understand that it wasn't a 138hp automatic family wagon wasn't easy either, in fact it took about half an hour to convince them that, yes, it has a turbocharger and it is, indeed, a manual transmission vehicle.

It must have worked though because last week, with all relevant documents on hand for what I felt was an inevitable police stop, I went on my first proper drive with it.

Turns out, though, that when you drive a car roughly five miles in the space of five months, you don't really get much of an idea for exactly what is right with it, and what is wrong with it. So, unsurprisingly in hindsight, the Legacy decided that the best present I could wish for on my first drive of more than five miles was an engine light - and boy, that wasn't the end of it. When it appears, an engine light is a horrible thing. What's worse is when you decide to break out the eBay OBD reader only to find out that hiding behind the engine light is a list of codes that would be enough to bring any car owner to tears. We had heater circuit errors, lean running errors, rich running errors, idle speed errors, sensor errors - it genuinely seemed that everything on the car that could have gone wrong had decided to go wrong.

Now, using what pitiful amount of mechanical knowledge I have, I decided the best course of action would be to wipe the codes off the car and see what decided to come back - sure enough, about ten minutes into the post-deletion drive, we got an engine light and attached to it was just one code, referencing an O2 sensor that wasn't exactly putting in a shift, to say the least - £22 later, I've got one on the way and judging by how accessible everything is, it shouldn't be a particularly hard task to complete.

Negatives aside though, I'm still extremely happy with the car. It handles surprisingly well for an estate car sitting the wrong side of 1.5 tonnes, and even with the O2 sensor not doing enough work to avoid the engine running a pretty outrageously rich mixture, it actually has a significant amount of poke - if it's pulling a pretty easy sub-7 second 0-60mph time now, I can't wait to see what it can do when it's fuelling right and running at full potential.

Apart from the O2 sensor, a small puddle in the bottom of the rear light cluster and some minor damages to the dashboard seem like the only other issues I'll need to sort out to make it a very saleable car - how much it makes will most likely be the tipping point as to whether I decide to take the plunge and make this whole Japanese importing thing more than just a casual hobby - but at the rate that I'm getting things done at the moment, it could be a fair old amount of time until we see that happening.

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