Tag Archives: cars

How not to buy a second hand car.

There are a lot of do’s and don’ts to follow in life. Don’t run with scissors, don’t slurp your food, do remember your manners and, don’t do that, its unhygienic. Many of these are tried and tested and enable you to avoid the pitfalls and cockups that others have previously fell into before you. Continue reading

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Who wants a new car anyway?

Mini One DI have been driving my Mini for about 18 months now and I have come to a few conclusions. The first is that BMW make a very good car and the second is that I don’t want a new one. A bit of a contradiction? Maybe, but my reasons are firmly fixed in my personality, let me explain a bit further. Continue reading

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A trip to the Nurburgring, and virginity lost

Error code 10 on a Vauxhall Insignia is a hard one to pin down. A quick google doesn’t turn up much and a bit of off tangent clicking can get you into all sorts of dark corners of the internet (bookmarks updated) although I am sure that there are a few of you reading this from the Vauxhall community either yelling at your screens or emailing me the answer. Continue reading

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Wow! It’s a Peugeot Focus 318i RS VXR!

I’m very rarely surprised these days, I seem to have contracted a  state of mind that has grown over my psyche, encompassing it in a hard shell of cynicism and grudging acceptance. Sex, violence and swearing on TV hardly raise an eyebrow, but I remember back in the 1980’s when Channel 4 tried to advise the viewer that their late night movie might contain a flash of breast or the odd profanity, by putting a little red triangle in the upper corner of the screen. You can imagine how the ratings soared when that little symbol flashed up. Continue reading

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You can’t fuel me!

I have said in the past that owning a car and then moaning about putting fuel into it to make it work is proof enough of the stupidity of some people. Its like buying a cat to keep you company and then being astonished that it needs feeding and taking to the vets once in a while. Since the dawn of time (well since I started driving) people have been moaning about the price of petrol. I remember when we all went nuts as it hit 50p a litre (yes I AM that old) and again when we all fainted as it tipped then infamous £1.00. Now its heading for £1.50 and I think all of us will just keel over and die. Continue reading

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Stig quits, Clarkson hurt and TopGear Damaged!

Stig

Ah the Stig, cornerstone of Top Gear

Now that summer is over and we have all had too much sun, spent too much money and only have the damp short days up to Christmas to look forward too. What a miserable way to start this entry. Doom, gloom and sadness.

Jeremy Clarkson

Our Jeremy, hero to all

Well perk up readers! If you want to laugh then look no further than our own self appointed guru of cars, Mr Jeremy Clarkson! How I laughed when I read how the ultra secretive, key stone of Top Gear, beloved by all, Stig had finally been unmasked! Just in case you don’t know who it is, I wont spoil it for you. Just get on Google and have a poke around. You wont be that surprised because most Petrolheads had their suspicions anyway, and most of them were right.

So what of the fallout? Clarkson spat dummies, threw toys and gave interviews on minority TV stations* (Show 17 fast forward to 27:10 to skip the Belly vs Morris dancing…) saying how hurt he was, how he and the Stig had drinks together, only to find out that crazy Stiggy had been writing a book. Greed is bad said our  Ferrari driving star to camera in the piece, before heading off into the night back to his tiny house.

If you like Top Gear, you will be horrified to know that Clarkson feels that its been ‘damaged’ by this, and he has been doing nothing for the past three weeks except thinking “what on earth to do.“ Well I can see his problem. Good old TG haven’t had a decent fresh idea in the past 3 series, Stig was fun and all that, but did we really care if he didn’t know anything about ducks? Or that his nipples were shaped like the Nurburgring?

If you were over seven years old and actually enjoyed cars and driving, you probably couldn’t care less who he was or what shape his nipples are. As long as he got that supercar around the track as well as he could, and as fast as he could it didn’t matter. An hour long show held together by a minutes worth of  track time by a bloke in a Simpson helmet listening to Morse Code while and old bloke tries to do funny commentary? Really? Is everything else filler then?

I used to love Top Gear, some of the films that were made were very good. The Vietnamese trip springs immediately to mind. Even if it was all scripted, the fact that you saw the country as a place and not a war was a brilliant bit of TV. But now it seems that its being hosted by people more at home on Saturday morning TV for kids, Timmy Mallett would be a refreshing change.

James? The Stig?

Even James May, my favourite presenter has fallen foul of this insane thought that the show is ruined because we all know Stig’s name. May has suggested that one of the shows next stunts should be “driving to the Stigs house and nailing his head to the table.”

Really James? Well I hate violence in all its forms but when it comes to stuff like this there is only one solution. GOOGLE FIGHT! As you can see from the results, Stig kicks May’s arse all the way back to Top Gear Towers.
The show is weak because of the content around the minute or so of track time. The car is what we all want to see, not the driver. Yes he is very talented, we all applaud that, and root for him to smash the times on the board. The reason we love the Stiggy bits is that we see a car we will never afford driven to the limit. Even if we COULD afford any of the cars he drives there is no way we would be brave enough or talented enough to drive it to that extreme.

So what’s going to happen to old Top Gear? The diehards will still watch it endlessly on Dave, the first episode will have them glued to see what Clarkson’ three weeks of  intense creativity have come up with. Don’t forget, he has done this little stunt on TV before with his old mate Schuey. Stig took his helmet off to reveal that it was Schuey all the time right? What? Wasn’t it? Oh and the death of Black Stig, what would we do? TG should really look hard at itself then switch over to watch Tiff and Vicky Butler Henderson for a bit. Tiff can drive the doors off most things and who wouldn’t want to be Vicky’s seatbelt? Turn off the Saturday morning cartoons and turn on some cars!

Oh! I just had a thought! We don’t know who Stigs African or American cousin is! And what about Mrs Stig? Surely she could have his job now he has been sacked?

Stig and Mrs Stig on Holiday

* Credit to my colleague Darren Moss of Moss on Motoring for pointing this clip out to me.

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Restoration, a stupid idea

A good mate of mine has just bought himself a new toy. He parted with quite a few of his hard earned pounds for something to have some fun in, a tweeked Peugeot 106 Rallye. It has a tuned engine, a weird differential and suspension that makes it go on three wheels at every corner. Surprisingly he has had it for a fortnight and has traveled less than 50 miles in it.

Now this is how you work on cars...

You see, as soon as he got the thing home, before the engine could stop its ticking cooldown after the, let’s be honest, enjoyable-with-spirit drive from its former owner, he had the spanners out and was taking the thing to bits. A phone call later and another friend arrives with an angle grinder and more spanners and set about pulling whatever he could out of it. This includes seats, trim, carpets, and even the rear wiper. Brackets, bolts and bits of the wiring loom that are no longer needed succumb to the grinder and manical eye of the new bloke, until we are left with a box with two seats and an engine that is capable of pulling it all along at a speed that would make most sane people faint. This car is so empty and light that it has to be kept tied to the house on windy days.

Why do all of this to a perfectly good, functional car, that’s already a light, nimble, sporty model as good as Peugeot could make it? Apart from the obvious power to weight gains, this car becomes his. There will never be another like it, and the car will be used to its full potential which suits my friend very well as driving on the edge round tracks is what he loves best. Curious about this, I asked ‘What if you crash it?’ Theres quite a lot of cash tied up in this, and I realise  its relative, but money is money! ‘Meh’ he shrugged his shoulders ‘Then we fix it’

Emptier than a hermits address book

All of this got me thinking. There is a guy who also has a little Peugeot that he has as a project, and again its being stripped and fiddled with but this time its being done to such a standard that makes OCD look normal. Every nut and bolt is polished or painted. Custom made, bloody expensive wiring looms make everything neat, the paintwork is perfect on all surfaces, including the engine bay. The whole thing somewhere stopped being a car, and become a very expensive work of art. The guy is obviously getting a huge amount of pleasure from this but I wonder how long lived that pleasure will be? Car restorers are similar people. Here are a bunch of guys that trawl autojumbles and Ebay to find the exact toolkit to finish their 1961 Mini Cooper, that has been restored exactly how it was when it rolled off of the production line. I’m not sure about these types of people. For one, this perfect Pug will be great until it rains, or someone bumps it in a carpark or a seagull craps on it.

These things can be avoided if he chooses never to take it out and keep it under a sheet in the garage like those dreadfully boring blokes who buy Ferrari’s do, and whats the point of that? What about that restored Mini? Dull I’m afraid, whats the point of spending a years salary to make something the same as everything else that came out of that factory? If you go to a classic car show, you will see rows and rows of the same restored marque but your eye will be caught by the loony that decided to make a monster truck out of a Mk2 Jag. My old VW is great, It has dings, dents and scratches but It has one thing a sterile ‘perfect’ show car doesn’t have and thats character.

If my mate bins the car at a track, I bet that if the damage isnt life threatening to the car, he would beat it out with a hammer and then spend the next two years telling everyone the story of how the power caught him out on that nasty hairpin at some track somewhere in Europe, and then, probably with a beer or coffee in hand, they will crowd around it and offer opinion and ridicule in bucketloads, probably from the bloke with the grinder.

Telling someone your showcar once got pooped on by a seabird is just dull, wear your dents with pride.

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