Evoque Blog: Broken lock and a flat tyre

Door locks.

In recent weeks, the drivers door has developed a fault, in that when unlocked from the keyfob it only partially unlocks the door, with the locking mechanism on the inside only moving slightly. So to allow the door to actually open, you have to pull the lock from the inside.

I called the Land Rover Wakefield and from my description believe they know what the issue is. I just need to get it booked in, looking at about £150-250 to fix it. Ouch. We are three and a half years into ownership, the car has done just over 40,000 miles now, so I guess we’ll be starting to see just how hard-wearing these new Land Rover cars really are.

Evoque Flat Tyre

Evoque Flat Tyre

Flat Tyre.

Upon arriving at work, I noticed that the front drivers-side tyre wasn’t looking its optimum. I went back a few hours later to find the tyre as flat as a pancake. Not wanting to use the tyre-weld, which turns your tyre into a one-time use only and therefore an expensive repair, I borrowed an electric pump from a colleague, restored the tyre to good state of pressure and drove the car immediately up to a local, recomended tyre repair shop. They were very efficient too; fifteen minutes later and £10 lighter, my car was good as new. Happy days!

Event: UltraCon 2015

Another year, delving into the world of make believe with a mixture of replica cars from famous TV shows and films, and costumers dressed as famous characters. This is the evolution of the original Knight Con gatherings, which started five or six years ago as a Knight Rider event in the UK.

This has grown over the years and become a full scale event, with a lot of displays, traders, characters and cars, this year at Magna in Rotherham. Disappointingly only one Knight Rider replica was on display, providing the only source of reference to the events roots. Perhaps interest is waning on the 80’s cars? Certainly the icon of The Hoff and his talking car seemed to be lost on the next generation as they passed by the display stands – excited parents trying to explain the significance of what is now a very old car! Nonchalant, the reaction was far greater to the commanding display of Transformers movie replica cars – including the Optimus Prime truck. The road-legal bat mobile was pretty jaw dropping, as was the guy dressed as Frankenstein’s Monster; the makeup and masks were really eerie.

Overall, it was a great event. The only spoiler was the traffic problems when leaving the event, which was a total nightmare, caused in part by roadworks on the entrance road to the event, and then exasperated by a subsequent lack of contingency planning by the venue. A secondary exit was eventually opened up, but it was far too late and very poorly communicated. A shame, as this was the final memory for many people as they left what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable event.

Roll on the next one! 🙂

Event: Fleur-De-Lys, Thornes Park 2015

This is a great little event. It seems to be held each year, but with little advertisment and so we missed last years event. However, my father in law caught wind of this years event and so we headed over again. A really relaxed ‘cars and bikes in a field’ type event, but the diversity of the displays is phenominal. From the old, to the modern classics, sports cars, big cars, US and Euro cars and everything in between, its a great way to spend an evening. Here are some point-and-click pictures of the event! 🙂

The Mini Adventure: New Roof.

Ah. When doing my research on the Mini, I read carefully about the most common expensive fault in these cars, namely the gearbox. With cars prior to 2004 likely to need a ‘box rebuild at some point in their lifetime, even the newer cars were not free of the problem – moreover a more expensive repair, if anything.

Put, with the cost of this being around £1,000 at most, and the risk of having a faulty car being almost undetectable it seemed a total gamble as to whether you would get a good one, or a bad one. As such, I thought that it would be worth the risk. To date, all good.

What I hadn’t considered though, was that this being a convertible, it might have issues with the roof. Lo and behold, in May the roof stopped working. Another venture to Porsche Euro and after much research by both of us, the answer was a completely new roof mechanism was required. There was simply no alternative in the market place and, being a BMW direct part, it came with an eye watering bill. All fitted – and with much comical swearing and cursing from John for about an hour, I had a fully working new roof at the cost of £672.

This ‘cheap-as-chips’ car, that replaced our Porsche 911 is turning out to be a rather expensive purchase!

But, with everything now working as it should, hopefully we won’t encounter any more issues. Its a fun car to drive, not particularly comfortable with the rock-hard lumbar of BMW seats, but for smiles per mile with the roof down, it is hard to beat. 🙂

Here it is, back in the garage. 🙂

2004 Orange Mini Cabriolet

2004 Orange Mini Cabriolet

The Mini Adventure: Service, Check Straps and Baffle Rattle.

When we purhcased the Mini, there were a couple of minor niggles that we wanted to get fixed. The first was an exhaust rattle on idle, the other was the check-straps on the doors (the things that wedge the door open at intervals), as our doors just opened and closed too freely, and I wanted to get the car serviced as I didn’t fully understand the ‘service when required’ indicators in the Mini, so wanted to be sure it was in tip-top shape.

I took the little cabrio to John at Porsche Euro, my local Porsche specialist, who also works with many types of Euro cars – the Mini being one of his specialities.

He took care of the door straps without a problem, and undertook a Service 2 inspection, along with the brake fluid change, but the exhaust was rattling on the inside of the baffles and would require an expensive repair. John tried to strap the exhaust to the car, as the original straps had become broken. This made a difference to start with, but the baffle rattle soon came back. As the car isn’t used enough for this to really be annying, we are going to leave it.

With the service indicators now reset (and I now understand how they work!) we probably didn’t need a service for a while yet, but its good to have it all sorted and I suspect it’ll not need another service for years given the mileage we will be doing.

Costs to date:

March – Service (Inspection 2) – £190
April – Brake fluid and check straps – £157

Evoque Blog: Third Service

Three years and one day and the car had its third service and first MOT. Both were completed without issue and I was provided with a FreeLander as a courtesy car. I have to say that, although the car is quite similar to the Evoque, as a package it is miles apart from the Evoque, which feels more luxurious, refined and responsive.

The dealer (Wakefield) also noticed my key fob was starting to peel, so they replaced this at no cost and gave the car a thorough external clean, completely removing the rubber/key marks from the paintwork. I valeted the interior myself last weekend and at 33,000 miles, our red Evoque now looks like a brand new car again.

The dealer service was fantastic, I received another video update of my car too and whilst I was collecting my car, I renewed my Service Plan, so I have another 3 years of servicing in the bag for about £36 a month. I think this is really good value, and at only around £100 more than a Specialist Independent I see no reason to use them over the main dealer. I get a free MOT, courtesy car and the obligatory theft of a few cans of Diet Coke from the main-dealer fridge and a mooch around a rather nice showroom. What’s not to like? 🙂

Evoque Blog: Possible Jeep Swap?

jeep-cherokee

So, we took a look at the new Jeep Cherokee as a possible replacement to the Evoque. A car that hadn’t even entered our consciousness became something of a desire after sitting in one in a local shopping centre and finding the seats really comfortable. They look quite funky and different too, whereas the Evoque is now ubiquitous up and down the country.

However, after crunching the numbers – even with some extraordinarily generous offers on at Jeep presently, we felt the cost-to-change wasn’t worth some of the sacrifice in ergonomic design. If we were to change, the new Discovery Sport would probably be the strongest contender instead.

 

Evoque Blog: Keyed!

Evoque Scratch

Evoque Scratch

Well, at first glance, I thought it had been keyed, but on closer inspection it looks like some moron has got too close to the car and scraped all down the side of the car with a bag, or handle bars from a bike – or something similar. Inconsiderate buffoons.

Evoque Blog: 3 Years and Counting

An ownership update.

Three years. Blimey. It’s hard to believe that we’ve owned this car for getting close to three years now. It has been a great, reliable car so far – and contrary to Land Rovers legendary ‘reliability’ of the past, nothing has fallen off yet – great stuff!

The boot is back to squeaking again when you close it, so I wonder if that was missed on the last service. It’s a minor point though and something that I’ll get looked at on its three year service in a couple of weeks’ time.

On that point, it’s time for a little reflection and recap. We bought our TD4 in 2012 and we spec’d bigger wheels, panoramic roof, front fogs, black headlining and nothing else. We also purchased the 3 year servicing deal, so this years’ service will be the last before we start stumping up the going rate each year.

I was looking a few weeks ago at the price of a possible replacement Evoque and there are still only two things that I would spec if we were to ‘upgrade’. Those options are front parking sensors (not because we’ve hit anything – quite the opposite, we are always miles away), and an automatic gearbox – purely because I’m getting older and more lazy on the commute.

However, my daily commute has shrunk significantly in the past year or so and so the want of an Auto is nowhere near strong enough to justify the exuberate cost demanded by both shiny-new-thing and our evil friend ‘depreciation’. The latter however, hasn’t been too nasty when it comes to Evoque ownership. We Buy Any Car are offering strong money for quick trade-in, and a quote last month was (if memory serves) actually higher than what Land Rover offered me as a part-x almost a year ago. Something to think about there.

When it comes to not crashing into things, the front sensors don’t warrant the hefty uplift either. So, basically, the current car will be staying for now. I find it is very comfortable and on long commutes – a monthly 6-hour round day-trip is a killer, but I arrive there and back relatively relaxed – a stark contrast to doing this same journey in my 17 year old Audi A4 Shed, last year.

And if you are planning on buying an Evoque too – my recommendation is the Panoramic roof is a must. It’s great. And don’t forget the front fog lights too – they are truly fantastic on dark country lanes at night.

Lights out

One of the headlights has blown. And my word that’s a mission and a half to fix. You have to remove the grill, and take out the headlight in order to put in a new bulb following what appears to be some back-of-the-fag-packet type instructions. So much for the Euro requirement of having a spare set of bulbs in your car, when it comes to the Evoque, you need a full spanner set and tool box too. Ridiculous, Land Rover! Another job for the upcoming service as we rarely use the car in the evening so I’ll avoid an afternoon of swearing at the car and several cut fingers and let LR bask in their own misery on that one.

Blind Spot monitoring – Retrofit

Now, this is one option that I flatly refused to pay the Land Rover Ransom. Hundreds of hard-earned Great British pound notes of an electronic ‘blind spot’ monitor was, at best, ridiculous. Most – if not all – other cars these days come with the divided wing mirror, where it elongates the field of vision towards the outer of the mirror, thus reducing or eradicating any dangerous blind spot for the casual, unsuspecting motorist.

Unfortunately, I have found that, despite having mirrors so large that it would put a superstars dressing room to shame, the Evoque features a gargantuan blind spot in which comet landings and earthquakes have been known to occur at the side of an Evoque driver, without him even having the slightest hint of the cataclysmic chaos engulfing the world around him. OK, perhaps not that extreme (perhaps), but I have noticed that it is entirely possible to join a motorway from a slip road onto lane one and that elements of traffic in both lanes two AND three are completely absent from your field of vision. And as the flow of the road continues along as you join, if you wish to momentarily join lane two you can easily find yourself parked on top of an unsuspecting fellow motorist if you don’t check over your shoulder.

In an effort to remove this issue once and for all, I have chosen to retrofit a blind spot monitoring system. The great news is that you can save hundreds of pounds from Land Rovers finery – a trip to Halfords is all you need:

Evoque Blind Spot Retrofit

Evoque Blind Spot Retrofit

OK, it might be a little nineties, I agree. But I’d much rather listen to “2 Unlimited” than hang out with Dick Turpin.

Event: Porsche Sheffield Meet

Another social gathering with the Supercar Driver club this month, a visit to Porsche Sheffield, where they had a number of special cars on display. As well as the latest and greatest, including GT3 models and the new 991 Targa and GTS, there was also a few classics – including the legendary Carrera GT.

A fun morning indeed. Here are a few pictures:

Event: Autosport International 2015

Fantastic looking greenery

Fantastic looking greenery

It’s an annual pilgrimage for me and a couple of lifelong friends, both equally as fanatical about cars as I am, to the Autosport International show, which seems to grow gradually in size year on year.

Once again in Birmingham at the NEC arena, the show featured all manner of weird and wonderful motorsport related cars, sitting alongside customer cars and small-production car makers which provided a refreshing confirmation that the niche motor industry is alive and well, confidently catering for those who want something different to the normal mass produced factory cars.

There were lots of trade stands too, where you could buy a variety of products, from model cars to a new set of wheels or suspension. And then there was the attached Performance Car show, which displayed all manner of sports and supercars, from old and new – with the Coys auction display at the centre, showcasing some of the most impressive past masters from the automotive era’s.

It was a great day out, topped off with the “Live Action Arena” show. A similar affair each year but it is a grand display for what is a small oval circuit with various motorsport demonstrations. I found this all the more interesting this year as it opens up your eyes to the different types of motorsport that you could take part in, or spectate, over and above the standard Rally and F1 affairs.

Pictures below, unfortunately there aren’t many as I only intended to take ‘snaps’ and unfortunately ran out of space on my phone.

Short video of the arena demo coming soon…

Feature: The Lamborghini Family

Originally published in the supercardriver.com members magazine, May 2012. Photos by Dom Fisher (dfishpix) and used with permission.

The Lamborghini Family

The Lamborghini Family

Lamborghini came to being in the early 1960’s, after the owner reportedly had a disagreement with Ferrari, following a fault on his own Ferrari 250GT. Wanting to produce a grand tourer to compete with his rivals, Ferrucio Lamborghini launched with the now legendary Muira supercar. Lamborghini grew in popularity and fame and in 1971, the Countach concept was born. And this is how our story begins, with eight of our favourite Lamborghini’s since the Countach, right up to the latest Aventador.

A line of Lamborghinis.

A line of Lamborghinis.

Our meet point for the photo-shoot is in a hotel car park and as photographer Dom and I arrive, the party is already in full swing with all but the Murcielago in attendance. Scanning the array of cars, you can’t help but grin when you see any Lambo. Those mad shapes, curves and creases which look like they serve no other purpose than being shouty and ‘because we can’. Even the Aventador, with all of its mod-con’s and legislative safety design features still looks as angular and bonkers as its older brethren. They all look stunning and all are pretty mad colours, save for the Countach which is a reassuringly calm blue. Until the engine is fired up and in doing so, wakes all of the gods – but more on that later.

Will arrives just a few minutes after us in the Murcielago. We hear him coming, as does the rest of Yorkshire. Brief “hello’s” over with and it’s time to head to our shoot location, over at Revolution Specialists in Brighouse, just a few minutes drive away.

We set off in convoy – beaming from ear-to-ear and a long line of brightly coloured Lamborghini’s snake their way down the road to our destination. Heads are craning everywhere we go as this colourfully loud spectacle passes through the otherwise sleepy town.

Yellow Lamborghini Murcielago

Yellow Lamborghini Murcielago

Steve is in the Gallardo Superlegerra and he has reverted back into a 10-year old child. “This is brilliant!” he says excitedly, as we arrive at the shoot location. He points back at the main road; “Driving down that dual carriageway, I had Lamborghini’s in front of me and even more in my rear view mirror. It’s like a big kids dream come true!” There was a moment I had wondered if he’d forgotten that he actually owns one himself and is indeed driving it today, but not wanting to curb the immense enthusiasm we go along with it as he springs step-forward to look at the cars again and chat to the owners. These Lamborghini owners are a mad bunch.

Lamborghini Countach Blue

Lamborghini Countach Blue

It’s time for some photos. Photographer Dom loves the Countach, he’s never photographed one before and so job one begins with the ultimate poster pin-up. The car you see here might actually have been a poster pin-up too; it was the one used by the press in several motoring magazines and, as was customary in those days, had been fettled with slightly to make the car even more appealing. To that end, this car has straight-through exhaust pipes and makes one hell of a noise!! It is also the stereotypical 80’s supercar – a real handful to maneuver and you can never be quite sure if the Countach is in the right mood to start or not. I collar owner Tim and advise him it is time for some photographs. “OK, what’s the plan, it needs to be one maneuver.” he advises. Dom provides the logistics and Tim heads back to the car.

The sprightly conversation being held by the other owners dissipates to a silence as Tim climbs into the Countach, ready to fire it up. The anticipation in the air is almost palpable as we all stand, motionless waiting for it to start. The key is turned and the ignition turns over. It turns over a bit more. And then a lot more with no sign of igniting the 5-litre V6 engine. The anticipation turns to prayer. “Please don’t let the iconic depiction of the ultimate Supercar fail to start”.

Tim looks up with a knowing nod that suggests “It is ok, this is normal”. A couple more rotations of ignition and the engine awakes from its slumber with an almost deafening roar! It’s hard to describe in words just how extremely loud this Countach is, but I can’t imagine it would be a great ambassador for neighbour relations. It’s extraordinary and once again those smiles on all faces return. It’s a car that was well deserved to be the poster on every petrol-head child’s wall in the 80’s.

Lamborghini Diablo Black

Lamborghini Diablo Black

The Diablo followed the Countach production, it launched in 1990 and was originally designed by Marcello Gandini, who had also designed the Countach.

However, under the now Chrysler ownership his design was softened considerably, much to the dissatisfaction of Gandini who ultimately went on to produce a more faithful version of his original design under his own brand a few years later (called the Cizeta-Moroder V16T).

But that’s not to say that the years haven’t been kind to the Diablo. Quite the opposite – it looks superb, blending retro with modern exceptionally well. It’s almost a dateless design and rapidly becoming a classic.

“Diablo” is, following tradition, named after a fighting bull from the 19th Century. In terms of power, the original Diablo came with the 5.7 litre engine developing 492bhp and a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. The top speed is 202mph which went pleasantly over the original design brief of 196mph.

The original Diablo was built until 1998 along with several other special edition models and in 1995, the SV model was launched alongside it, bringing a return to the Super Veloce title previously seen on the Miura.

It has an adjustable rear spoiler and is based on a 2WD version of the Diablo with added power taking it to 510bhp. Tony owns this everso-mental Diablo SV (that’s the bright yellow one with “SV” written on the side, in case you were wondering).

Yellow Lamborghini Family

Yellow Lamborghini Family

The car sits lower than the standard Diablo (which is already very low) to the point where its passage to our makeshift photo studio today is almost foiled by a dropped kerb.

With a few back-and-forth attempts we find an angle that suits the car and owner Tony creeps over with millimetres of ground clearance to spare.

Tony loves this car, he’s had a few sports and supercars in the past, but nothing quite as extreme as this one. Does it get a lot of attention? “Yes, it does”, he laughs, “but that is what you expect when you buy something like this”.

Lamborghini has had several owners in the past and following Chrysler it changed hands again and Audi ultimately bought the company in 1998 and gave the Diablo a facelift and most notably dropped the pop-up headlights of the previous model.

The engine was upgraded to 6 litres and 529bhp and a carbon fibre centre console was fitted amongst other German niceties.

Tim’s black Diablo 6.0 is a 2001 model and is complete with these additional mod-cons. He bought this car recently to replace his Ferrari 456 as he wanted something more special for a weekend car.

“The Lamborghini was a poster on my wall as a child” he says (there’s a theme building here!) so the Diablo is a dream fulfilled.

The car you see here is one of the last Diablo’s to be built, being replaced the same year by the Murciélago.

The Murciélago, which we will come on to shortly, shared the same sales era as it’s baby sibling and another product of the Audi ownership years – the Gallardo.

Lamborghini Gallardo

Lamborghini Gallardo

Production started in 2003 with a simple, yet potentially conflicting remit; to be a true sports car worthy of the Lamborghini name, whilst also being comfortable enough to allow it to be driven on a daily basis. The result was a Lamborghini of relatively compact demeanor, but with strong performance that would allow a driver to use it on either a track, or on long distance journeys.

The mid-engine layout provides a 42/58 weight distribution, with short body overhangs, independent double wishbone suspension system and permanent all-wheel drive.

Lamborghini Family

Lamborghini Family

The Gallardo has been a hugely successful model for Lamborghini, with more than 10,000 sold to date. Throughout its lifespan we have seen many iterations of the Gallardo, which started with the standard model in 2003 for the 2004 model year. Steve owns such a vehicle with the 5 litre manual engine, producing 492bhp, reaching 60mph from standstill in 4.2 seconds and top speed of 192mph. Not too shabby for the ‘baby’ of the Lamborghini family!

For Steve, this purchase was the realisation of a long held dream. “I’ve owned several Porsche’s and a raft of other great cars over the years”, he says “but in 2009 I finally had the opportunity to tick the ‘Lamborghini’ box – and I’m very glad I did!”

“The Lamborghini brand seems to bring out the best in people from the very young to the very old, 99.9% of reaction that I’ve experienced has been very positive. I spent literally years hoping that each time I went to an event or out for a drive that I would see a Lambo and very rarely did. Now and for almost 3 years all I need to do is to open my garage door and there it is! That gives me so much satisfaction.”

“All that remains now is to do the European road trip and to take the car back to Sant ‘Agata. I visited back in 2001 for the Murcielago launch and have also hoped to return one day in my own car”.

In 2005, Lamborghini launched the Gallardo SE with a limited production of 250 cars. The SE comes in two-tone colouring, the example here today [photo on the previous page] brought along by Elliot is black and yellow. For the exterior, the black roof colouring extends to the rear deck and spoiler, with the interior being a luxury blend of the same colours. The leather stitching, centre console, instrument covers, even the doors and floormats match the exterior of the bodywork and really brighten up the Gallardo’s interior.

The SE Model also comes with extra toys as standard including a reversing camera and sat-nav.

The final model in our Gallardo photo line-up is the latest, and most extreme derivative to date – the LP-570 Superleggera. A lightened, more powerful version coupled with lashings of carbon-fibre give the “SL” 70bhp more than the original Gallardo and it will get from 0-120mph a staggering 5 seconds quicker than its older sibling. Top speed is more than 200mph.

Steve (a different Steve!) has brought the SL today, having previously owned the original Gallardo spider. That model was in black but he wanted something a little more outlandish this time around, something that provided a more hard-core driving experience to boot. I think we can say with confidence that the SL certainly achieves that remit!

Like all of the owners here today, Steve finds that people warm to the eccentricity of the Lamborghini brand; “I like the fact that people seem to really like Lambo’s and always come over and ask questions” he says. “You also get let out into traffic and get loads of thumbs up when you are driving it. Oh, and you are always asked to rev it!” he laughs.

Murciélago

Murciélago

Moving on to the modern day giant of Lamborghini; the Murciélago is big in more ways than one. The powerhouse of its time, launched more than 10 years ago (has it really been that long?) this original Murciélago has a 6.2 V12 engine, developing 572bhp.

This is Will’s toy, as subtly described on his registration number. He’s owned the car for four years so far with no immediate plans to change – although could be tempted by a convertible version!

The car follows the Lamborghini tradition and is named after a famous bull. This particular bull reportedly survived 28 sword wounds, and the matador chose to spare its life and gave the bull to a local breeder. The lineage of this bull is still around today.

The Murciélago car was produced until 2009, and spawned a number of special editions – and increased its engine and power output over time to 6.5 litres and 661bhp respectively. The Murci’ also formed the basis for the limited edition Reventon – an extreme (and extremely expensive) edition of an already bonkers car!

Fast-fact for you – the fastest ever Lamborghini was actually a derivative of the Murciélago – a Le Mans edition dubbed the R-GT with a reported top speed of 370 km/h!

But even the road-going version of the Murciélago does everything to excess. From Will’s custom wheels, to the extreme sound, the low-wide stance and the bright yellow paintwork; it is all unmistakably Lamborghini!

And of course, being the V12 Lamborghini it has the trademark scissor opening doors – themselves made all the more dramatic when open as the car itself stands less than four-feet tall!

And now we present the latest and greatest from the Lamborghini stables – the mighty Aventador!

Orange Lamborghini Aventador

Orange Lamborghini Aventador

In appearance, he Diablo was a more ‘rounded’ representation of the Countach, with the Murciélago being rounder still. The Aventador looks like it has gone back to the days of the Countach, with angles and creases all over the place. You could imagine that the prototype was fashioned from rocks and then honed with chisels into a shape that resembled a car!

Yet despite the multitude of angles, the car still looks very sleek – it certainly makes a dramatic statement and even more-so on the road with a rear spoiler that adjusts to three different angles depending on your speed. A real work of art, this car.

In terms of performance, the Aventador is a large step beyond anything that has come before it with 690bhp. That’s good for a zero to sixty time of just 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 217mph.

This bright orange version is owned by John and had his order in place for more than a year. He was one of the first to put the deposit down and it has been a long wait!

“I have been offered substantially more than list price to sell it on”, John admits. “But there is no chance of selling yet, it has been well worth the wait!”

Lambo Countach and Aventador

Lambo Countach and Aventador

All Lamborghini’s are mad, it would seem. It’s a company with a sense of humour. A company that goes out of its way to always make sure they are nothing like anything else out there.

SCD Lambo Shoot Web (28)And surely that is their alluring attraction – they aren’t making a fashion statement, they are making a ‘fun’ statement and forget what everyone else thinks. Not that you need to though, because the amount of heads turning and smiles created whilst doing this photo-shoot it is pretty clear that just about everyone loves a Lamborghini.

Our sincere thanks go to Revolution Porsche Specialists, for allowing us to do the photo-shoot at their premises.

Audi A4 Blog: Unsold, then Sold!

Timewasters. They are everywhere, but seemingly gravitate towards online sale websites. Anyone who uses eBay as a selling tool with any degree of frequency will fully understand this. And so, with the Audi on Gumtree, attracting enough attention from people from all over the country asking me for my “best price”, I thought that, as my previous post attests, I had stumbled upon a genuine buyer.

Unfortunately, it was not to be, and after holding the car for a week, the buyer backed out, with some excuse about his car breaking down a few days prior. So, back on the Gumtree merry-go-round we went but with a much lower price and some stern words that it was heading to scrap if it wasn’t sold by the weekend (the scrap yard offered a surprisingly good deal). What followed was a repeat of previous “best price” calls, before I received a text message from a gent asking if he could view the next day.

I happily obliged and a soldier medic turned up, currently posted in York area and wanted something to last him a few months – the long MOT ticket beign a big draw to the car. I explained in full all of the faults I was aware of with the little orange Audi, and he was happy with these, informing that his mechanic friends on the base will sort those out for him anyway.

Ten minutes later, the deal was done. A very straightforward transaction, restoring my faith that there are genuine people out there who genuinely want to actually buy a car.

And so here ends the “Shedlife” experiment. It has been fun – and it has been a very cheap way of motoring over the past three years, working out at around 31 pence per mile – including petrol and all costs – and a spectactular 10 pence per mile if you don’t include fuel.

With the Porsche 911 also sold and the Mini just purchased, the fleet is undergoing something of a refresh. I hope you enjoy my new motoring blogs into 2015. 🙂

Audi A4 Blog: Sold!

Following a change of the fleet (see the final post in the 911 diaries), and a new car being purchased in the shape of a Mini (running report coming soon), the Audi is now surplus to requirements. A friend of mine recommended Gumtree as a great free way to sell cheap cars.

I put the Audi up for sale, detailing its problems, and the phone was like a hotline for several days. I had a lot of offers, but they were too low and I chose to wait for a little while longer (although the local scrapyard offered £160, which I found surprisingly good).

And a few days ago, I had a visit from a young chap who immediately liked the car, despite its issues with the breaks and the vibrating type noise from the front wheels. The car was up for sale at £350, and we negotiated to £300.

It will be collected next Tuesday, so I’ll give it a quick wash and clean in advance of that. I’ll post again once the deal has been done to close the A4 blog, but as of this moment, the writing is on the wall for the Shedlife blog. But fear not, readers, the Mini will be starting up a new blog in the very near future. Stay tuned for more updates, and of course, plenty more reviews of sports and supercars…

My Mini Adventure – Starts here!

Mini Convertible in Hot Orange

Mini Convertible in Hot Orange

And so, here we have it, the latest addition to the Motorcloud fleet; a 2004 Mini One Convertible – in orange!

Over the past 6 months or so, whilst contemplating what to do with the fleet as we approached 2015, I started to think that I was missing something in motoring-life by having not owned a Mini. My Dad owned one ‘back in the day’ and everyone of his generation seemed to have owned one too.

This, then, is the Mini of the new generation – my generation I guess and the more I thought about it, seeing so many of them zipping about here and there, the more I wanted one. Once I’d decided to sell the 911, this became the next car of choice. The Audi wasn’t running right and I wanted to run two cars for a while, rather than three to make the driveway look a bit neater (I’ve never been a fan of ‘full’ driveways, it just looks so untidy – some weird OCD going on there I’m sure). Plus the cost saving is always a bonus.

Going Used.

With the 911 gone, it was time to go shopping. We looked at a couple but nothing really jumped out as ‘The One’. Initially, yellow was the colour my wife wanted but she preferred the dark-yellow of the newer models, to the sunshine colour of the older models that we were looking at. There are a lot of untidy examples out there with clutches carrying a resistance equal to that of concrete.

Checking out New.

Inevitably, scope-creep always comes into play as a petrol head searching for a car. This started out as a two-grand runabout just for giggles and quickly became a four-grand convertible. I then looked at the price of new ones and looked at the option of leasing one as a company car – which looked to be a great deal; good residuals, cheap running costs, low company car tax.

I knew that Mini had launched a new MK3 version so wanted to see what it looked like in the metal, before investigating the company car option further and so we headed to the Mini Dealer in Leeds. First impressions on the new model? Bulbous is the word that sprung to mind. Like a Mini with Botox. But that wouldn’t necessarily put me and my good lady off the purchase if the rest of it was decent – and it was. The interior is lovely, and the clutch was nice and light. But it wasn’t any more practical than the old one – and the sales lady at Leeds Mini wasn’t great either. I was honest with her about the scope creep, starting at £2k, then £4k and then potentially a company car. She confirmed that at that low price, there was nothing she would be able to sell to us – and that they don’t deal with company cars. So, having immediately boxed this off as being nothing that would make her any sort of money she promptly disappeared, leaving some of my questions unanswered and had me wandering around the dealership trying to find her several times to see what my options were on a new car.

Granted, I might have been something of a ‘timewaster’ to her, but the dealership wasn’t exactly overflowing with customers (there was one other customer but clearly the tea-and chat back-office with the rest of the sales team took precedence). But I was buying into the brand – potentially a new car, or possibly a full retail customer in future either as another purchase, or servicing – and my mind wasn’t in any way made up. Could she have stolen a sale? We’ll never know. But if you are planning to buy new in the local area, head to Mini Wakefield – their service is streets ahead.

The Chosen One.

We left with a brochure and went back to the classifieds, convinced that the cheaper, older alternative was the way to go. The lack of extra space in the new car negated the extra cost given this is an occasional car. After a few days of checking out the Auto Trader, we found our ultimate purchase: A 2004 Mini One Convertible in Orange, with a huge option list of extra’s, chiefly the Orange dashboard and striped half-leather interior attracted our attention the most. The colour was different and striking – always a winner in our household – and my wife said that this really looked like the one she wanted – no others to date had really struck a cord like this one did.

It was a private sale, so we went to the owners home to take a look. It looked as good as the photos and the owners were relaxed and accommodating. My mechanic brother-in-law came a long to look past the shiny bling and he confirmed all looked fine, aside from a noise that could be heard from the gearbox when the clutch wasn’t depressed. A Google search showed that gearboxes are known flaws in these cars, but like the 911 and their chocolate-engines, it seemed a hit-and-miss on any used Mini as to whether this would need replacing or not. With everything else looking fine, I decided to take the gamble and with a few hundred pounds negotiated off the price, we had ourselves a new Mini!!

Driving.

The first drive home was taken by my wife, and a stop at the services I asked how it was going. “Its good,” she smiled “A bit ramshackely, but its nice and easy to drive!”. It is a bit bumpy, and definitely feels like the 911 in terms of suspension hardness (this might be the run-flat tyres, which are known for adding stiffness to the drive), but the steering is lovely and precise. My initial thoughts when I got to drive it later on local roads was that is had the characteristics of a sports car – real point-and-squirt stuff. Being a small car, it definitely feels like a go-kart and, although you feel like you are pressing on in the same way you can in the Porsche, but a look at the speedo indicated I wasn’t near the speed limits of my chosen roads. Fantastic! A real interactive experience in which you won’t loose ones licence. No wonder they are so popular.

And so with this as a second car, just for fun and short journeys, I’m looking forward to our time with this car. I’ll keep the blog updated 🙂

A few photos below of the car from the sale advert. Notice the two little cars in the boxes? They were photoshopped by someone on a car forum for me with the reply “Here, I found the box for you!”. haha! 😀