Beetle Life: Warning, Nothing Is Wrong.

Red VW Beetle Cabriolet

Red VW Beetle Cabriolet

I’ve realised I’ve not updated this at all with the beetle. In fact, 6 months in and we’ve only done about 1,500 miles so far. With my good lady wife now having a job within walking distance from our home, the mileage will probably drop even further. But, thus far, the car has been great.

One issue so far, which is with the drivers door latch, which is creaking as you open it and you can see that there is excess play in the mechanism. I’ve booked this in to be looked at and hope/expect it will be covered under warranty as the car has only been in our possession for 6 months.

Everything else has been great. Its fun to drive and it looks great! Its a chunky thing though – care needed when putting it in the garage as those wheel arches really jut out!

Beetle Cabriolet Interior (Red)

Beetle Cabriolet Interior (Red)

“WARNING! Nothing is Wrong”
The strange thing about the Beetle is how it will warn you about nothing being wrong. Whenever you turn off the ignition, the dashboard flashes up “Check SAFELOCK!”. This is simply telling you that the deadlocks are enabled when you lock the car. Fine. Why wouldn’t they be? Why do I need to be told to check it every time I turn the car off?

It will also light up the amber airbag light for about 30 seconds when the car starts saying “AIRBAG ON”. Yes, I know, this is what I expected, why are you telling me?

Whats next? “Warning: Driver in the drivers seat”. “Warning: The boot is closed”. “Caution before you drive off: The Engine is on!”.

Its a bit stupid if you ask me and detracts from real problems.

Everything else though, fine and dandy! 🙂

Cayenne Report: Things I Don’t Like…

Things I don’t like about the Cayenne

Given my reports are generally filled with glory and happiness at the value-for-money proposition that the Cayenne now presents to the modern world, I thought I’d balance it with things which could have done with some more R&D. These are small things, but irksome nonetheless.
  1. The Boot. On all of the Cayennes that I looked at, the boot only raises up by about 85% of its allowed height. If you want it up at maximum level, you need to give it an extra push up with your hand. Now, that might not sound such a big deal, but the amount of times both me and the wife have doinked the ol’ noggin on the top of the flippin’ thing when getting the shopping out is embarrassingly more than I’d like to count. Silly design.
  2. The AirCon. This blows icey cold upon request – and it really is cold. Great. However, no matter what I try, I can’t seem to get it to cool the air around the car. It is either freezing my t*ts off (literally), blowing a gale in my face, or the car just stays warm. Its as though the only way to make it feel cold is to blow it right at you. No matter where I swing the vents, its either offering zero effect, or chilling you to the core. I wonder if this is simply due to the size of the car and that it can’t push enough air about the place to make the whole environment feel cool?
That’s about it really. Everything else is more ‘what you see is what you get’.
In other news… Service Time.
Again. Blimey. That’s come around quickly. I thought that the servicing was every 20,000 miles as per the handbook. John at Porsche Euro told me otherwise and that they require an oil change at the 10,000 interim, but I just hoped he was misinformed. Of course he wasn’t misinformed, its what he does for a living! Anyhow, the computer is telling me that I’ve got a thousand miles left before its time for a check-up at the 111,000 miles mark. I’ll keep you informed.
Average miles per gallon by the way is around 22mpg on a long run, and about 18-20mpg on local runabouts. This is pretty consistent over the duration, if anyone is wondering.

Cayenne Report: Sat Nav Update

I looked into updating my Nav a while ago but was told that I’d need a software update from Level A on the PCM to Level C, which would then accept the new maps, which sounded too much like hard work as it would require time at the OPC. I didn’t want new maps that much.

However, a chance encounter a recent car event and I got talking to a chap who was very knowledgeable on the subject – and he had the discs to perform the update.

And so the update was done! I had to put Level B disk in the head unit, then C into the Nav unit, and finally my new Map DVD into in the navigation drive. Voila! I am now up to 2015 maps. This is great, it now knows about various motorway link roads which weren’t around in 2005, and also recognises that my street is finished!

It brings additional extras too, such as the traffic reports and auto-diversion for major issues – something which I had on my previous 911 and it was very useful. It also has improved display on junctions, the nav will zoom in on a ‘target’ showing when you need to take action. It’s a small, but useful improvement over the standard nav of 2005.

No postcode search still – and that will probably never change, but at least it now knows the majority of street names.
All in all, it gives me the confidence back in the product and that I can now put my google maps away on the phone and be relatively sure that the nav will take me the best way home possible. Don’t get me wrong, it is still not as good as the Google Maps that you may have on the phone, the PCM simply doesn’t know about every minor delay (I still don’t know just how google knows about these so precisely, very clever tech!) and therefore isn’t as intuitive for the best way home all of the time – but it will avoid any major delays during travel.

The only thing (aside from postcodes) that is really missing now from the PCM is Bluetooth for the phone. Integration is possible via Dension and similar adapters, but it really isn’t worth the expense. There are also aftermarket stereo systems available which look very similar to the Cayenne Gen2 model PCM. These systems are bang up to date with tech, but for what I use it for, I think I’ll stick with my stock system and its updated maps.

Cayenne Report: New Ditchfinders

I have somehow ended up with a slow puncture on one of the rear tyres, which was halving its pressure every few weeks. A repair was needed and so I took it to my local ATS. They do a standard check across all wheels and noticed that the tyre on the opposite side of the axel had hit the replacement wear markers. I always replace my tyres in pairs, and so there was little point in continuing with a puncture repair. Instead I asked for a price to replace the tyres, requesting the budget variety as this car doesn’t do any extreme sports – be that seat-of-your-pants driving, or cliff mountaineering.

The tyre fitter came back a few minutes later with a price on the Simita tyres that I also have on the front, at a very reasonable £89 each. Ever the bargain hunter, I checked Black Circles who were similar in price for a set of budget tyres and so I elected to book directly with ATS for the Simita models.

The next day, they had arrived and were fitted. I’m a few hundred quid lighter in the wallet, but I knew I’d have to replace these, this year, when I bought the car anyway.

Onward for more happy days of motoring in the Cayenne beastie!


Cayenne Report: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

6,000 miles and 6 months on the Cayenne has been our chunky trooper. The time has certainly flown by and so far, overall, so good. Here is a reflection on our time with the Cayenne, along with some recent updates:

The Good.
I have a new spare-key! Hurrah! Porsche Euro ordered the key for me and it arrived a few weeks later. Not cheap at a few hundred quid, but I decided it was a price worth paying should my only key suddenly develop a fault. Whilst John was coding the key, I mentioned to him the flickering lights and the fact the car seems to rock itself when stood idle. A quick check with his expert eye and a confident declaration that the alternator was knackered. A new one from Porsche was an eye watering £800, with a pattern part coming in at £400ish for the parts only. However, John had a third solution: “I can have the existing part refurbished for much cheaper”. Let’s do that then! A week later, and a full on door-to-door collection and return service of my car within the day and John had fixed all of these problems with the refurb of the alternator. The cost? £220. Superb value!! I’d highly recommend Porsche Euro.

In other news, everything else is working fine so far, and the interior is holding up well. Very relaxing to drive. I love it. The Mrs would still like a Discovery Sport though…

The Bad.
MPG? Christ. It drinks the stuff! DRINKS it, I say. I think it sniffs petrol even when turned off.

I’ve also got a puncture. I need to get that fixed.

The stench of smoke is still making an appearance too, despite the big valet that I had done a few months ago. I purchased a bottle of AutoGlym odour eliminator to try and that seems to be really good. I suspect the headlining is the main issue, but a good squirt every week or so and it seems to be sorting it. It’s certainly nowhere near as bad as when I bought the car.

I think I do want cruise control; it is something I am really missing on the monthly 160 mile round-trip. That’s probably the only thing that’s missing really from the actual driving experience.

The stereo is a strange one. It sounds absolutely fine, and it is incredibly bass-y if you want to crank up the choons. However, it lacks the clarity of the Bose system from my Cayman, and definitely much worse than the Meridian system in the Evoque. It’s not unpleasant by any stretch, it just sounds a bit ‘dull’ on high volume. But I’m being picky. And I don’t listen to loud music very often either.

The Ugly.

Cayenne Scratch

Cayenne Scratch

Oops. My own stupid fault. I decided I wanted to see if I could get the Cayenne into a single width garage by myself without anyone watching. Heading nose-first was a no-no, impossible to see around the sides of the car, so I reversed in instead. All was going well until I got the front wings, when I heard a crunch. I thought this was merely the wheels landing on the drain grates in front of the garage, but as I continued back, the ongoing crunching suggested otherwise. I looked out of the window to see the wing attached to the bricks. Fek!! Next job: Chipsaway.

Meeting Heroes! ‘Ferrari’ and Bret Hart

It started like this:

(Video to be placed here)

Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s I was just entering my teen years and back then I had two heroes in life at the time. One was the holistic brand of Ferrari, and the other was Bret Hart.

Bret "The Hitman" Hart

Bret “The Hitman” Hart

As with many a youth of the time, I was really into Wrestling. We’d just got the recently launched Sky TV and I had discovered the World Wrestling Federation. The glitz and drama and well-made production made for compelling viewing as a youngster. Was it real or not? I didn’t know. I didn’t care. Bret Hart was a major player in the circuit at the time and he was the ultimate cool in the world of Alpha Male. Women went nuts for him, blokes wanted a physique like him and kids loved him. And he always worse those shades and gave his pair to kids in the audience when he made his entrance. A man so cool, he made ice look slightly boiled.

At the same time that the Superstars of Wrestling were becoming an exciting part of life for me, so were cars. Back then, you just didn’t see a Ferrari. Ever. I had all the books and posters but I had never seen one in ‘real life’. Even Porsche’s were rare. My school friend at the time went abroad a few years later as part of a school programme and he brought back a photograph of a Ferrari 348 that he had spotted and duly pap’d at the side of the road. I still have that photo. I couldn’t believe he had actually seen one, I recall being mesmerised by the almost perfect shape in automotive design.

Fast forward twenty-plus years and somehow (I’ve no idea how) my friend, fellow car enthusiast (and Ferrari owner) Mike and I got talking about WWF wrestling (now known as WWE). Neither of us had watched it since our early teens. The conversation rekindled past memories of some of the sporting stars of the time. What had happened to all of those superstars? Where were they know? Through the joys of social media, I discovered that there was a Wrestling Convention being held in the centre of London just a few months’ later. Lots of the stars from yesteryear were lined up to be there, including our fan-favourite Bret Hart.

“Let’s go and make a weekend of it!” laughed Mike. This sounded like a plan and so the idea was put forward to our better halves. And with our bemused wives giving the green light on a mad, lad, geekfest weekend, Mike suggested that we book the same hotel that the convention was held in. “I guarantee you, they will all be in the bar later,” he said, with a rather curious confidence. And so rooms were booked at the posh London hotel. “We’ll go in the Ferrari”. “I’ll insure you on it and we’ll share the drive” he says.

F*ck yeah!

Ferrari 360 TDF Blue

Ferrari 360 TDF Blue

Fast forward a few months and we are primed and ready to go. I arrive at Mike’s house early on the Sunday morning ready for what will ultimately become a fantastic weekend. The TDF blue Ferrari 360 spider was eased out of the garage. Luggage loaded and I’m in the driver’s seat.

Sitting in this Ferrari and with a completely un-objective tint of ‘dream realised’, everything immediately feels just right. They are really wide cars, lots of power and lots of noise and yet, despite this being someone else’s £70,000 pride and joy with a reputation for going sideways if not driven carefully on public roads, the car it isn’t as intimidating as you might expect. It feels like just ‘a car’. A very, very cool car. A dream car.

Standard car-like features are all present and correct: An auto ‘F1’ gearbox, stop and go pedals around my feet and a steering wheel in front with a Ferrari badge staring back at my face. My big, grinning, happy face.

Ferrari 360 Interior

Ferrari 360 Interior

We set off down the road, tentatively at first until I get used to width and the accelerator travel and then it’s time to press the loud button and have some fun. Yes, this car actually does have a ‘loud’ button. Press that and the exhaust valves open up. Couple that with a push of the right foot and the blue 360 screams, wails and thunders up to the redline, before I grab the right paddle for the next gear to have the same thing happen again. It really makes you giggle; the noise seems to be directly controlling my facial expression. On deceleration, dropping down a gear, the F1 style throttle blips make themselves heard and provide more reasons to grin like a Cheshire cat. After a short blast on the country lanes, we hit the M6.

The motorway journey was interesting; one thing I found really noticeable was just how much attention a Ferrari gets, even in this subtle shade of dark blue. As you travel past other motorists, you see windows drop down so they can hear the noise as you go past. Car after car with kids in the back, faces pressed up against their windows, presumably having been given advance notice by driver-dad spotting us in his mirror, anxiously waiting to hear the engine note as pass by. And did I drop the gears a few cogs and go screaming past like my inner 10-year-old would have given anything to see and hear? Of course I did. Every single time! The child in me was just imagining what those young chaps would have been thinking as we drove past. Inspiration? Future owners perhaps? I hope so.

Driving a Ferrari in London

Driving a Ferrari in London

Any they weren’t the only fans. As we later cruised along the M1 motorway talking about this and that – simple chatter you understand as the majority of the time my inner voice was just repeating “I’m driving a Ferrari!” over and over in my head – Mike spots a car full of ladies as we drive past. “The fans, Paul! The fans are here!”, he laughs, clearly seeing something I hadn’t. “Slow down, they’ll speed up to come past us”. And they surely did. With the noise on loud and the gears on low, the blue Fezza was making all kind of racket as the car packed full of women momentarily arrived adjacent to us. Big smiles everywhere, heads and arms all out of the windows waiving, haha!! So much fun. An obligatory burst down the highway under a crescendo of noise took us shortly to the service station where it was time for a break and a swap of seats. We are nearly in London and with its narrow roads and busy traffic, if anyone is going to be scraping up’side a black cab, it’s going to Mike rather than me.

Whilst we crawled in traffic with the roof down, more requests followed to rev the engine for awestruck back-seat kids and we eventually arrive at our destination. After parking out the front of the hotel – and learning that in most cases hotels don’t mind exotic cars parked in drop-off spaces – we check in and head down to the Wrestling Convention. Geek mode on.

The lifts in the hotel became our rather co-incidental place for meeting wrestling stars. As we entered the lift to head to the show, we were joined by a female wrestler of the modern era, someone who neither of us knew. Pleasantries were passed and we entered the main hall where, after getting our bearings and turning around, we spotted Bret Hart, who was sat signing autographs for a line of people. It looked like we had just arrived at the right time as the line was short and he had almost completed his session there. We queued and got our material signed, said some hello’s and a shake of hands before we moved on, quite satisfied at finally meeting him almost 25 years since he first arrived on our respective tellies, but now equally excited at who else we might see.

Meeting Bret The Hitman Hart for signature.

Meeting Bret The Hitman Hart for signature.

We entered the main hall, bypassing the utterly enormous queue for a photograph with a couple of other modern female wrestling stars (whom we also didn’t know, but would coincidentally meet in a lift later that day) and into the main hall where the stars of yesteryear were in abundance.

We met and had photos and memorabilia signings with Davey Boy Smith Junior (the late, great, British Bulldog’s son), Diana Hart (British Bulldogs ex-wife and Bret’s sister), the Nasty Boys and then we met Tatanka.

Tatanka was a great guy. He was really approachable and open about his life in wrestling, and extremely happy talking to us as his fans for as long as we wanted. As we got into the conversation, the crowd started to grow around us with others wanting to hear his stories too. No ‘queue up in line, quick sign, and leave’ here as with most of the others, Tatanka was open, relaxed and very talkative. And huge! These guys are still big pumped-up fella’s! We duly purchased photos and signatures from him and not wanting to outstay our welcome, we moved on for a brief meet and signing with Shawn Michaels.

Signed memorabilia by Bret Hart!

Signed memorabilia by Bret Hart!

Later in the afternoon, we had the opportunity for a professional photo with Bret Hart, with Mike getting a big grin out of the main man declaring “For the fans eh, Bret!” with a shake of hands and a final reprise “for the fans….!” as he left Bret’s photo area. We are nerds and we know it. As the day drew to a close, we attended a Q&A session with both Bret and Shawn Michaels, hearing their stories of behind-the-scenes from the time period that both Mike and I watched the show. A superb insight into the world of wrestling and was hosted by WWE commentator “JR”.

Time for a quick change of clothes, food and back downstairs to the bar, where hotel security was checking and refusing access to anyone without a hotel room key. Like something out of Wayne’s World, we flashed our room keys proudly and bounced into the bar for some beer. Tatanka was already in there and one by one the wrestlers arrived.

A short time later I realised that my phone’s battery had almost run out of power and I returned to my room to put it on charge. As I headed back to return to the bar, to my disbelief, there stood Bret Hart next to the lifts, waiting to head down also! Now, what exactly do you say to one of your childhood heroes at an impromptu one-to-one without any pre planning of things you might want to voice or ask? Maybe ask for a photo? I couldn’t, my camera-phone was on charge. So instead I said hello, he shook my hand and asked if I was enjoying the event as an opener and we passed the time of day. Being somewhat taken aback, I said absolutely nothing memorable or inspirational but he was good enough to accommodate my ramblings graciously until we arrived at the bar, where he went to meet his friends and I went back to tell Mike. Top tip: always have something ready to say in your head – you never know!

Bret Hart and Family

Bret Hart and Family

By the end of the night, moreover the start of the morning, everyone in the bar was drunk and the laughter was in full flow. We listened to the stories of old and generally looked on at all of these superstars from our childhoods. We had a great chat with Diana Hart, who told us stories of her time with the British Bulldog and we bought some of the wrestlers a few drinks. We had a quick chat with the host of the event too who was at the bar for a short time which was very insightful.

And then, somehow, at about 3am this happened….

Mike and the Wrestling Legends

Mike and the Wrestling Legends

That’s Mike in front along with the wrestlers of the evening, left to right, Blade Hart, Chavo Guerrero Jr, Papa Shango, Bret Hart, Nasty Boy Nobbs, The Mountie, Davey Boy Smith Jnr (background).

And so that’s how it came to pass that we ended up in a bar, listening to the TV superstars of our childhood regaling stories of their own best-days on the road. I’m not particularly phased by – or particularly interested in – celebrity, but this was an exception and such a fantastic experience. A childhood dream come to life.

Ferrari 360 Interior badge

Ferrari 360 Interior badge

The next morning – very hung over and sleep deprived we got up for breakfast. As we entered the lift, Shawn Michaels joined us at the next floor and we said hello. The lift really was the place to be. We wished him well on his trip up to Manchester that evening and headed for breakfast. Sat at the table across from us was a number of the wrestlers along with Shawn. How cool.

Mike didn’t want to drive back after a heavy night on the tiles, and despite the awesome prancing horse waiting for me in the car park, neither did I. My head was thumping and sleep was drastically missing from my day. So, as we hit a stalemate we elected to walk into central London to go all touristy and see some of the sights. Later that day we headed home, tired but happy.

Bret Hart. Ferrari. There is a saying “Don’t meet your heroes, they will only disappoint”. I’m pleased to say that I’ve now met both of mine and, together, they produced one of the most memorable weekends of my life. Awesome!

The Mini Adventure: Adios, Mini

Hot Orange Mini Cabriolet Convertible

Hot Orange Mini Cabriolet

Well, after 18 months of mini ownership and, admittedly, nowhere near enough updates on here I should have, its time to say goodbye to the Mini.

The lack of updates also reflects the lack of miles, in that the Mini has been used for high days and holidays and as such only covered a few thousand miles – all of them a real hoot, and my little lady (now 4 years old) really enjoyed being in the Mini, roof up or down!

Aside from the new roof requirements in the previous updates, this has been a fantastic little car to own. It has always started on the button, it has never faulted and provided smiles-per-mile unsurpassed for such a low cost car. It would be left in the garage for weeks and the battery never so much as hinted at a problem, unlike its previous Porsche stable mates who needed continual life support to keep them in operation after an extended period of hibernation.

The reason for sale was that, as we have no swapped the Evoque for the Cayenne, things are not all rosy in the automotive satisfaction stakes, in the Motorcloud household. The Cayenne has polarised opinion, in that I really love it and my wife really hates it. What to do? Well, accepting that the Cayenne was going to stay (and admittedly, its a perfect family bus for lugging all of our daily junk around in comfort), my wife wanted to start driving our other car more often (the Mini) – but the problem was that the Mini wasn’t really big enough for daily family shopping duties.

Mini and Beetle

Mini and Beetle

So, time to look at alternatives and the Beetle was chosen as its successor. The Mini was put up for sale and within a few weeks it had sold to a young lady who was already a Mini owner looking for a convertible version. A short time later, the deal was done. I kept the car for a week in my garage whilst she sorted out her insurance and then we said goodbye to our little friend.

It was brightly coloured, very highly spec’d, it was fun, ramshackle-y, but gave as much driving pleasure as sports cars costing ten times as much, at far lower speeds and was cheap to own and run.

I’m sure the new owner will love it as much as we have. They are fantastic fun and as a car for enjoying at weekends with little outlay, or if you are not in need of space and want something a little sprightly, I can’t recommend one highly enough.


Beetle Life: Pointless Features

I noticed last night when wifey came home that the beetle has that irksome modern feature where it turns on the fog light in the direction of travel. That really makes my teeth itch, one of those modern, hopelessly unnecessarily features that some moron decided was a good idea. FFS! I fear it’s going to be the norm with most cars now. But for me it just looks crap as a car winks at you as it heads around a corner. Grrrr….!

But that’s more an irritation with new car stupid features than the beetle itself, which is great.

Dear car designers, please place this utterly stupid, unnecessary, pompous over-engineered feature under the heading “shit we don’t need”. Thanks.

Beetle Life: Welcome Beetle!

So here is our new summer steed! A 2014 VW Beetle Cabriolet Design. This spec gets you a DAB radio with Bluetooth telephone and USB inputs, a colour co-ordinated dash and the retro look wheels. The car has all the standard kit you’d ever need like air conditioning electric mirrors, windows and remote central locking. The boot is a decent size for a convertible and is has a manual gearbox and cloth interior. After years of leather interiors in our cars, the cloth seats are a hugely welcome change. They are supple, comfortable, will look great even with three million miles on the clock and don’t suffer the hot and cold issues of their moo-cow counterparts.

The fit and finish is lovely, and makes our 2005 Porsche Cayenne feel positively ancient. The tech is bang up to date, the doors close with a soft, yet reassuring thud and open easily with a welcome lightness that makes the Porsche feel like a ham fisted tank.

The engine is a 1.4 Turbo and it certainly has some poke! You get into sixth gear pretty early on in speed cycle (the on board display tells you the optimum time to shift up) and has lots of low down torque resulting in fewer gear changes.
Why is it here?

My wife cannot get on with the Cayenne, try as she might. She thinks it is too big, too clunky and absolutely hates the automatic, citing it never feels like you are in control. We have a Mini Cabriolet as a second car, but this is too small to use as an everyday car really, a bit too ramshackley for longer journeys. As a B-road blaster though, the Mini is stupendous fun but as I utterly love driving the Cayenne and want to keep it for a while longer, we needed to upgrade our occasional car to something a little more practical and comfortable. Enter the Beetle.

The Dealership Experience

We found our car at VW Leeds. My good lady didn’t know what she fancied next so our first stop was a car supermarket to look at options and ideas. A Renault Captur made the short-list as she likes the look of these, as did a Jeep Renegade(later discounted from choice as we already have a 4×4). Ideally though, we both wanted to retain a soft-top car in our lives and I suggested we look at a VW Beetle. They are unusual, quirky cars and we like cars that are different to the norm.

As soon as we got to the dealership, the beaming smile on my wifes face as she sat in the front seat told me that we were buying one. I have to admit, it does look really striking and a Beetle is also on my ‘to own’ list so I was happy too. And what about my 4-year old daughter? Well, she had set up shop with the very amenable receptionist who had her perched at the desk next to her, showing her the ropes! All the signs were good. The friendly sales guy came over to answer all of our questions and took us out for a test drive, all good. We left to consider it and I called the next day to seal the deal. A crap deal mind, as he flatly refused to discount the car. Initially I was offered the tax for free, but this was rescinded when it transpired I wasn’t taking out VW finance at a ridiculous 10.9% APR.

This prompted a brief look at a new car rather than this two-year-old model. Using there are some awesome buys to be had and it was a strong contender until the declaration of a 22 week wait time killed that idea stone dead.

Come collection day and the car had been prepped, a few scrapes I had noticed on the bumper had been removed and a scuffed hub cap replaced. The car comes with one-year warranty and £70 towards any repairs required for the first MOT. Nice!

So far, so good!

The Beetle has only covered 10,000 miles and still drives as good as new. It has two services in the book and I expect we’ll cover about 3,000 miles per year. As the car is big enough and comfy enough to use for long journeys, I expect that we’ll use this car more in the summer with the Cayenne bidding a warm welcome to the garage until winter, being occasionally called upon for long distance cruising and holiday jaunts over summer.

Our car collection for 2016 is now complete. We’ve got a big comfy Cayenne tank for cruising and a wonderfully funky Beetle for summer and local outings that we can all enjoy as a family. Perfect! I am still missing a sports car in our fleet, but I’m not missing the hassle of owning a sports car, so I’ll defer purchase until 2017 for one of those – perhaps a 40th birthday present to myself?

Cayenne Report: Hello, Ladies…

I bring surprising news! This car seems to turn more than its fair share of heads. Admiring glances can be spotted on many occasion when driving about in this car. I certainly hadn’t expected that, but perhaps this aging SUV still carries a degree of cache, with Father Time having softened the appearance somewhat as SUVs are now ubiquitous on our roads.

…Except my lady.

Unfortunately, my good lady wife cannot get on with this car. At all. She doesn’t like driving it, doesn’t feel in control with the automatic, and it’s too big and too clunky. Something has to be done. In fact, something has been done in that we’ve bought another car to go alongside the chunky Cayenne. Never before have any of our cars divided our opinions so extremely. I love driving this car, its cheap to buy and relaxing to drive. The Mrs hates it. We are typically somewhere off centre with our opinion of cars. Some of our previous ones she has loved, I thought were OK, and visa-versa. Not with the Cayenne. This is a love-hate relationship. But since its staying for the time being, we’ve added another car to the fleet. More on this soon… 🙂

The Cayenne will remain as our family car for long hauls and holidays as it is really comfortable for all of us, and for my commutes to the office when needs must.

Cayenne Report: Certificate of Authenticity

Example Certificate from the internet.

Example Certificate from the internet.

It’s arrived! Hurrah! In a nice little cardboard folder, it comes with a nice Porsche letterhead and hand-signed by the managing director of Porsche Cars Great Britain. Cool!!

The certificate of authenticity confirms a number of things about your car, but perhaps most interest is the options that were supplied at manufacture. For my car the list is as follows: 19” Cayenne Design wheels, Tiptronic S, Coloured Wheel Centres, CD changer, Park Assist, PCM including telephone.

That’s it! So I guess these cars are really well spec’d from new as it also has air conditioning, leather, full electric seats and automatic folding mirrors. Love those mirrors. All automatic light some robot rabbit autonotron pulling its ears back.


As mentioned previously, I took the car to a local detailer to give the interior a full shampoo clean everywhere and set off one of those deodoriser explosives in the car. When I collected it, it had a neutral smell about it, with a hint of floral. A week on, it now smells of nothing really, which is kind of the point of these. They remove any odours engrained into the headlining, plastics etc. and leave car ready to add your own scent. My preference is Auto Glym’s AutoFresh, which smells lovely. The detailer (OJB detailing) said that sometimes it might not get rid of the smell completely as smoker smell can be really stubborn, if that’s the case to return it and he’ll do it again. He also cleaned the car outside complimentary so it looked as good outside as it did inside.

Whilst I ordinarily use Spearsy for all of my work (Spearsy is top-drawer detailing), he was just in the middle of moving premises when I needed it doing, so thought I’d try OJB for this job and am happy with the results.


The To-Do List Update

  • Certificate of Authenticity. I’ll get this from PCGB. COMPLETE
  • SIM card for the Phone unit. COMPLETE.
  • Some CDs. COMPLETE
  • A good interior clean. COMPLETE.
  • Private number plate. COMPLETE. I purchased a new plate with both mine and the wife’s initials on it. I had the plate made up at the local Porsche dealer. Free coffee, browse around nice motors and the Porsche dealer title on the bottom of the plate. Finishes the car off nicely. 🙂 Update of sat nav discs. NOT DOING. After a few months with it, no in-car SatNav can even compare to Google maps on the iPhone, so seems little point. The Cayenne PCM is great as a ‘get you home’ tool, but the pain and problem of updating it doesn’t seem worth it when the iPhone can do the job for free.
  • Spare Key. On Order for this month.
  • Side Steps. Still to buy. In plan for this month.
  • Blacked out rear windows. Not Done. In plan for next month
  • Duff parking sensors. One for me to keep an eye on as they are still intermittent!
  • Pulsing lights. Still not tested this properly.
  • Retrofit of cruise control. Possibly.
  • A Porsche badge for the rear. Not Done.

Cayenne Report: Smelling Good.

Today the Cayenne has had its interior bath. Performed by Oli from OJB AutoCare, who also does home visits, he gave the car a full interior clean, including shampooing the headlining and all of the hard plastic interiors, cleaning the leather and shampoo/vacuum of the carpeted areas. He also let off a disinfectant canister in the car, which works its way into the air conditioning and vents to deodorise the smoke smell.

It now smells of a combination of disinfectant, lemon and floral, whilst the former works its magic over the next few days. After that, we should have a neutral smelling car. Hurrah! If not, Oli asked me to let him know and he’ll order another canister. Smoke smells are the worst apparently, as the stench gets into everything and can be difficult to remove. But fingers crossed this has done the job.

Either way, it certainly smells fresh and looks great. Oli treated it to a nice wash on the exterior too. Awesome!


Cayenne Report: It talks!

I’m sure the car is trying to communicate with me in Morse Code. The amount of beeps this car makes is quite astonishing. I have tried to decipher these for the benefit of all those good readers out there. Note that all of these are ‘beeps’, I’ve tried to spell the beep sound so you can hear it in your own head! 🙂

  • beep-beep-beep : Parking Sensors active.
  • BEEEEEP : Parking Sensors say you are about to hit something.
  • BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP: Parking Sensors have gone faulty.
  • boop-boop-boop: You have a text message.
  • ANGRY BEEEEEEEEEEP: You have left the door or boot open.
  • High pitched short-Beep: You are running low on fuel.
  • Bong-bong-bong – You’ve left the lights on.
  • blong-blong-blong – You’ve left the door open.

Long Journey

Yesterday was the first long trip for the Cayenne, with 140 miles covered in a day. It handled the trip flawlessly and was remarkably comfortable. Usually when I return home, the continual motorway trudge leaves me with ringing in my ears – even in the Evoque. But not so in the Cayenne, I arrived home as fresh as a daisy. Whoop!

The To-Do List Update

  • Side Steps. Still to buy.
  • Duff parking sensors. One for me to keep an eye on as they are still intermittent!
  • Pulsing lights. Still not tested this properly.
  • Blacked out rear windows. Not Done.
  • Retrofit of cruise control. Possibly.
  • Update of sat nav discs. Not Done. I tried to get an update disc from the t’internet, but am told I need the dealer to do a software update first. Hmmm, sounds expensive.
  • SIM card for the Phone unit. COMPLETE. PAYG SIM card now in the car and working fine. No mute button though arrrghhh!! Useless for conferences!
  • Some CDs. COMPLETE
  • A Porsche badge for the rear. Not Done.
  • Certificate of Authenticity. I’ll get this from PCGB. On Order
  • Spare Key. On Order
  • A good interior clean. Booked in!

An Afternoon With A Lamborghini Urraco

Yellow Lamborghini Urraco

Yellow Lamborghini Urraco

The message came through at around 2pm. “It’s a nice day today guys, want to meet up later? Paul – you can have a ride in old yellow”.

The message was from Lee and ‘old yellow’ is in fact a 1970’s classic Lamborghini Urraco. A car from a bygone era and completely different to anything that I’m used to. It’s mechanical. Old.

Urraco Front Compartment

Urraco Front Compartment

It’s an offer that is difficult to refuse as a petrol head and so a call was placed to the management (my wife) to ensure I had enough man-points in the kitty for a last minute exertion. The answer came back positive; happy days.
With other-friend Mike joining us a few hours later, I set off to Lee’s house. Upon arrival some sixty minutes later, I was greeted by a man-with-gloves, who was just about to commence the “pre-flight checks” on the Urraco. I joined him in the garage where the car was waiting, moreover a workshop with a VW bus in a state of operational repair at the rear, and tools lining every inch of the walls.

Transfixed at the wholesomeness of this man cave, with a Lamborghini at the helm, Lee offers a word of caution “Everything in here is dirty and you….are not” he smiles, referencing my office suit attire. It didn’t matter, this is a proper petrol head grotto and nothing in here that a good washing machine can’t sort if I was to touch anything too apparel damaging.

Urraco Rear Slats

Urraco Rear Slats

The black-slat covered engine lid was up, displaying an old-school carburettor engine. The complete mechanical ensemble joined together by a few wires and not much else. “It’s a very simple engine”, Lee informs. “There is an engine management system over here,” referencing the type of electronic box you’d see in an 80’s computer hall, “but that’s it, everything else is mechanical”.

There was also a fire extinguisher in the boot. A cautiously wise investment for old cars, I’m told.

I step out of the garage, as Lee clambers into the driver’s side and beings the start-up process. A few moments pass and the world remains silent. “What I’m doing now,” he shouts from behind the wheel, sensing my waiting tension, “is pumping the accelerator to get fuel into the engine before I turn the ignition”.

The whole activity is somewhat comical but also adds to the occasion. After a few moments, the engine splutters in to life in a magnificent growl that only a car from the 70’s can. The wide Lamborghini is tentatively driven down the driveway, where I open the door and climb inside. Immediately noticeable is that people weren’t tall in the 70’s. This car doesn’t have much room for a 6’4” bloke. I look around for the seatbelt and notice it is affixed to the ceiling. “These are the basic seatbelts, which fix you in position, rather than extend and retract on demand,” Lee laughs. But that’s fine, my head is wedged to the roof so I’m pretty firmly in place.

Urraco Boot

Urraco Boot

We set off down the road and the sense of occasion is still apparent, even in an old car like this. The dials and speedo is from another era entirely, the seats are supportive only of my backside, but it feels classic. Classic and special. It is after all a Lamborghini. As the v8 grumbles down the road I ask Lee how it compares to his previous Ferrari 360 in terms of head-turning abilities; “It still get appreciative looks,” he tells me “It’s an unusual, old-school shape and those ‘in the know’ will give it more than a second glance. Plus, it is yellow, which is more obvious on the road than the silver 360. The 360 attracted more attention from kids, where the modern shapes are more what they want to see, but enthusiasts definitely watch you go by”.

The drive through the sheets of Manchester comes to an end all too quickly, but the added perk that we stop at a friend’s house to admire Lee’s other Lamborghini (the epic Gallardo), before departing back home. It has been quite an exclusive, if not entirely comfortable, ride: The extremely rare Lamborghini Urraco is an experience that few car enthusiasts will have ever enjoyed.

There is something magnificent about old cars that is simply lost in the new-world of automotive. The active-maintenance ethos, the expectation of breakdown, the surprise and delight of not breaking down and perhaps more importantly in the speed obsessed world that we live in, the sheer joy of cruising in such a car at low speeds. At 30mph the sensory excitement of something which suggests significantly more. The smell of petrol, the heat being dissipated from the engine onto your arm as you sit in the cabin, the noise of the engine, popping, coughing and spitting along with raucous intent as you drive along at 30mph. Perhaps now, more than ever before, these old cars actually make sense as a weekend experience, on roads without traffic.

Great fun. I’ll be back again in the future, you can count on that.

Urraco Engine Bay

Urraco Engine Bay

Cayenne Report: 1 Month On

Evoque and Cayenne

Evoque and Cayenne

The Cayenne is going strong and I absolutely love it. LOVE IT. It is really comfortable with a lovely engine noise that is silky smooth on the motorway, but resonating sporty undertones when you kick down the gears for more power. I’ve said it before, but it is so much car for the money. Luxury motoring for bargain prices.

He says, she says.

This car is intended as a replacement for our Range Rover Evoque for a year or two, so I’m comparing a lot between the two cars.

Comfort – I think it drives better than the Evoque but the wife isn’t quite on the same page. Whereas you seem to feel more bumps in the road in the Cayenne, it softly glides you over them. My other half however, thinks that it bounces over far too many compared to the Evoque. I’m not sure who’s right, maybe both of us? The steering has more feel, but the Mrs thinks it is just “heavier”. I think the seats in the Cayenne are lovely with great lumbar support, whereas my good lady prefers the huggy-seats of the Evoque. The latter having better side bolsters and thereby feeling sportier, whereas the Cayenne is more sofa like, but the lumbar is hugely lacking in the Evoque – something you realise when you swap cars and drive the Cayenne.

Size – Its massive. We are both pretty used to driving it now, but parking it – well, you have to choose your space carefully. It is not so much the width, which doesn’t seem much bigger than the Evoque, but the length makes getting into busy small car parks quite a challenge with the parking sensors going crazy at all corners. We both like the space inside. Rear space is great, boot is huge.

Whilst my wife doesn’t dislike it, it’s definitely not her dream car. It’s pretty close to being my dream car though for a few reasons: Seating comfort, badge, smoothness, size, auto and (being a Yorkshireman)… price! Andy my 4-year-old daughter, she loves it!! Daddy has got a Porsche again!

Handy Features!

Once you have got into that teeny, tiny, space in the centre of town and you’ve backed up to the bushes with the sensors screaming red at you, the front won’t be protruding out, but you can’t open the boot either. A-ha, great feature – you can just open the back window! Whoop! This is a ace as you can just lean-in, grab your bags (or drop them off) and close again. Superb!

Yesterday I also discovered another cool feature; you can turn the wing mirror knob and lo! the mirrors will fold themselves in. Waaaahay!! I’ve never had that before in a car. That’s right, the wing mirrors close in, by themselves. Modern tech, eh. Love it!

Booming Choons. I think this car has just the standard musicality and its really good. So good in fact that I’ve reduced the Bass into the minus option as it’s really banging. A sign of decent quality if it can cope with the bass as well as the tweets. Super!


The auto is fantastic. Anyone who does long, laborious commutes should buy an automatic car. It’s a pain in the ass riding a clutch continually through stop-start traffic. The auto gearbox makes things much smoother and it is far more relaxing to drive.

Motorway driving in the Cayenne is good, but with the lower powered 3.2 engine, the auto has to drop gears frequently if you want to make quick progress, for example when accelerating from lane two to lane three in busy traffic. The lack of torque here is noticeable. It’s still fast and you have no problems in keeping up with the flow of traffic, but a personal view – with my wife as a nervous passenger – the drop in gears makes it more apparent that we are about to pick up the pace. That becomes a cause for earache so we tend to live in lanes one and two now in busy traffic to keep the peace.

Overall, compared to the Evoque I definitely prefer it, but I think my wife still prefers the Land Rover brand. We’ll probably swap for a new Discovery Sport in a year or two, but there is no urgent rush (at least whilst the Cayenne doesn’t start making itself a problem). A big plus for me is that we are no longer slaves to rampant consumerism. Gone is the finance and wasteful interest payments, and I no longer need to worry about new-car depreciation, which has cost tens of thousands of pounds over the years. That said, the Evoque held its value really well, relatively speaking but as of right now, everything that parks on my driveway is ours. All ours.


I filled up again yesterday at the pumps and we’ve covered 318 miles with 80 litres of fuel. That calculates to just a nudge over 18mpg and has consisted of a typical few weeks consisting of commuting, traffic, local roads and both busy and quiet motorways, so I think 18mpg is going to be our average. And boy do you feel it. I didn’t expect the difference from 32mpg to 18mpg to be so noticeable (head-in-sand-syndrome I guess), so visits the pump are now fortnightly rather than monthly. But, that’s still only going to be about 5,000 miles a year as come summer time, our convertible will take up residence on the driveway for plenty of top-down fun this year, with The Hulk being retired to the garage for the most part during the sunshine season.

Next up…

More to come soon! Next up is a new spare key, interior clean, private plate, pimp tints and side steps! The Evoque has sold this week, so the Cayenne is now our sole daily driver.