Time for the writeup then. Most of you reading this will no doubt have noticed the live collection the other day of the latest SVM staff car, a Volvo V70 SE Lux T6 AWD. I'll tell the story, document the collection then post the specs at the end.
I've been hankering after a powerful modern-ish Volvo for a few years now. Early S80s were the original target as you could pick up a T6 for under a grand. Problem is I never got on with the interior on those. A couple of years ago I even looked at various websites disposing of ex Police cars but was never brave enough to take the plunge. Anyways the desire went away until recently when I was thinking that the modern diesel Golf wouldn't be compliant with the impending Glasgow ultra low emission zone (ULEZ - min Euro 4 petrol or Euro 6 diesel) that will kick off for cars in 2022. In fairness the amount of times I drive into what will become the ULEZ is negligible so paying the charge every now and then wouldn't hurt as much as even buying a £1000 car that would be complaint. The other thing playing on my mind was the fact that the Golf was 10 years old. Now I know a Golf will hold decent resale value but not forever. If I wait another 2 and a bit years to sell then I'm going to lose 2 years of value plus another whack on top of that being non-ULEZ. Browsing eBay one night I put "Volvo T6" in to the search box expecting to find a ragged out old S80. The usual suspects appeared mostly in the form of XC90s and some reasonably modern ex-police interceptors. However one stuck out. It wasn't a cop car, it was very high spec, it had added options on top of that and it had the latest Euro 5 spec engine. It was more powerful than the older one and 20 quid a year less road tax. I hummed and hawed for a couple of weeks over it while I tried to justify it. Then the thought hit me - I don't NEED to justify anything. I don't need a diesel 'cos I do bugger all miles these days so I might as well get the car I want rather than the car I need. I drove down to Halesworth in the Golf and back in one day to view it. Deposit paid now all I had to do was wait for collection day. It needed a new O/S cargo bay window, a new front grille badge, a fresh MoT and a T6 badge. I was offered £2000 part-ex on the Golf so ideally I'd need to sell that first privately. I advertised it for £3000 on autotrader, Facebook and Gumtree. I got the usual messages - "SWOP FOR AUDI M8?", "£1500" etc. One guy arranged to see it but cancelled. Another guy arranged to see it, came round, liked it, paid £500 deposit then came back the next day and gave me a further £2300. All in £2800 in the bag - BOOM!
So that's the back story. Now, in my usual style, the collection:
13/07/2019, 1030, Glasgow Central Station
The way this was going to work was by train. The car was in Halesworth, East Anglia which is served by rail by Greater Anglia which is operated, as is ScotRail, by Abellio so the hope was that I could somehow exploit this as part of the journey to keep travel costs minimal. The main hope being that I could get a space on the Caledonian Sleeper. ScotRail and the Sleeper were both run by First Group but when Abellio won the ScotRail tender, the sleeper went to Serco however an agreement was kept that ScotRail staff could still use the sleeper for free. Yes you get a cabin with a bed and now that the new coaches are coming online, all cabins including those on the old coaches are solo occupancy. Previously you could get lumped with someone you don't know.
I went up to the booking office and asked if there was space on the 16th on the Glasgow - London portion. There was none. The man asked if I wanted to try the Edinburgh portion. I said I couldn't get to Edinburgh after finishing work in time but I could meet it at Carstairs. The Glasgow and Edinburgh portions are referred to the Lowlander Sleeper and meet and join up at Carstairs, running to Euston as one train. Still no space on the Lowlander. So I said I could get to Dalmuir and get on the portion coming from Fort William. Space available. GET IN!!!
15/07/2019, 1430, The Flat
Time to leave. I got a shift swap from one of the guys that finished at 2230 rather than the 2334 finish I had which was cutting it a bit fine. So I took a change of clothes to work and set about winding you lot up as I personally class a collection commencing from the moment you leave the house. Seeing as I was going straight from work on to the Sleeper, I figure the collection was starting. So time to finish off a brew, catch up on some Deboss Garage and head off to work.
15/07/2019, 1500, Glasgow Central Station (Again)
The best collections are the most convoluted ones and seeing as, in my mind, I had already started the collection well that must mean the trains I'm driving today are part of the journey. Namely they will be the 1520 Newton via Queens Park, the 1635 Neilston, the 1750 Cathcart Circle and the 2015 Ardrossan Harbour.
Some folk started to get suspicious when I posted the pics at Ardrossan with folk wondering why it had taken me the best part of 7 hours to get to Ardrossan Harbour - a 50 minute journey from The Central. Anyways I finished that particular shift at 2230, got changed, had some chat in the bothy and headed to Queen Street to get the train to Dalmuir.
15/07/2019, 2334, Dalmuir Station
So after nearly 9 hours after leaving the flat, I'm now at the point furthest away from the car that I will be. The train is due at 2353 and will stop at Queen Street (had I remebered this I would have just booked it from there), Edinburgh (only to join up with the Aberdeen and Inverness portions of the Highlander), Preston and Crewe.
Once on board the man showed me to my cabin and took my complimentary breakfast drink order - tea of course. I could have ordered breakfast but I knew I was going to have some hang-about-time at station in London so I figured I'd just get brekkie there. The rooms are very bijou but comfortable with it.
I'm not going to sleep straight away so off to the lounge car for a refreshment. The lounge car gets taken off at Edinburgh so I had to go to bed then but that was my plan anyways. I wanted to witness the train going through the east end suburbs of Glasgow (Bellgrove, Carntyne, Shettleston, Easterhouse etc) non stop.
So off to bed about 0100. I've never done the sleeper train before. It's quite odd lying in your bed while the train gets shunted about with carriages taken off and two whole other portions being put on and finally the locomotive. I wake up at about 0640 and do my usual routine of getting out of bed immediately. Which is of course complete lies. I lie about until about 7, go to the toilet and return to a cup of tea in my cabin. The roller on the roller blind is fucked so I managed to jam it on to the luggage rack to get an outside view.
16/07/2019, 0745, Euston Station
Arrival. Next phase is to get to Liverpool Street station so that means navigating the Tube. It was fairly easy. One tube to Moorgate then another to Liverpool Street.
Luckily the Tube at Euston arrived about 2 minutes after I got to the station and similarly at Moorgate, it was only about 30 seconds.
16/07/2019, 0805, Liverpool Street Station
It's only about 2 miles from Euston to Liverpool Street so it didn't take long. My route from here will be a Greater Anglia Intercity service to Ipswich then a Greater Anglia local service to Halesworth. First though, my phone said there was a Wetherspoons in the station so at least it's somewhere that definitely serves breakfast. Found it in the corner and proceeded to watch the world go by for a little while.
16/07/2019, 0845, Liverpool Street Station
Breakfast completed it's time to find a train. After wandering about the station doing some train twitching, it appears platform 9 is the order of business so let's head that way. As expected it's one of the Intercity sets. A Class 90 electric locomotive with 9 Mk3 coaches and a DVT. The first leg of the journey is about an hour.
16/07/2019, 1006, Ipswich Station
Time to change. Not much time to go exploring, sadly but needs must. The last leg of the journey will be in a Class 153 multiple unit. Again about an hour. The class 153s are a 155 that has been split in to two single cars. The 155 being the Leyland built units for the Super Sprinter program whereas the 156s were built by Metro-Cammell to a different spec.
16/07/2019, 1110, Halesworth
That's the public transport done. Time to go get the car. It was paid via bank transfer as soon as the Golf was sold so all I had to do was sign the paperwork, tax it and pay for the new plates for my cherished reg that I has asked them to make up.
Thumbs up to the various guys at M R King and Sons. So much nicer working with a dealer that isn't part of the Arnold Clark group. The man I dealt with, Adam, knew the answer to every question I asked about the car and was generally all round a good egg. Not dead pushy and genuinely helpful if I asked to get something done. He was also genuinely pleased at the fact I'd said (two days previous) that the train gets in about 1110 so I'll be there at 1115. He told me of numerous times they had folk coming from nearby Lowestoft who still managed to be hours late.
16/07/2019, 1145, M R King & Sons (Halesworth)
Everything's done to set off. skattrd of this parish had said to pop by if I was in the area so that was my first target. There was about 3/4 of a tank of fuel in the car when I got it so I knew it would get a decent way. Cue 2 hours of swerving all over the road while I figured out what all the buttons do. I arrive at skattrd_acres about 2 hours later and proceed to have tea, chat and a tuna sandwich. Thanks skattrd. Thattrd!
---This is where the pictures stop so I shall just summarise the journey---
16/07/2019, 1600, skattrd_acres
Time for the off as it's about 6 hours home from skattrd's place. First target was a petrol station, preferrably Shell so I could use my loyalty card. Markham Moor was the chosen candidate so I filled up and headed north. I did consider bombing as much of the journey as possible but the radio kept mentioning an accident on the A1(M) northbound somewhere in Yorkshire so I gave in and stopped for dinner. Car going very very well.
16/07/2019, 1800, Ferrybridge Services
I had stopped here on the day round trip to see the car in the first place. It's quiet so I knew I'd get peace to have a humble Burger King dinner. I check on Google maps for traffic problems but there didn't seem to be any. Traffic must have cleared. So I scoffed my dinner and headed about 1830. Not a single hold up was encountered on the way home. I stopped at Gretna services for a pee and leg stretch before making the final push home.
16/07/2019, 2200, Shell Fullarton Petrol station
Seeing as Markham Moor was just off the A1(M) and Shell Fullarton is just off the M74 I thought I'd see what the fuel economy was like. I had the cruise control pegged at 70mph all the way up the road and correctly followed the various 60, 50 and 40mph limits on the A66 using sensible acceleration between those - not flooring it but not driving like a sedated nun. Going by the numbers I averaged 34mpg on the nose over the journey. About what I had hoped for in such a car.
The car is everything I'd hoped it would be. A proper mile muncher and motorway cruiser while at the same time turning in to a ballistic weapon when you stamp on it. It's going to cost a fortune to run but I don't do many miles any more and with potentially 3 pay rises this year, I can easily offset it. I'll miss the Golf - I had it 7 years - but I think the time was right for it to go to someone else who will appreciate it for being a well maintained, economical cruiser that's still as tight as it came out of the factory. Like I said at the start, my current car owning situation means I can have the car I want rather than the car I need. The Golf was bought at a time when it was my only car and I was doing 32 miles daily round trip to work along with any of the big motorway journeys I ever did back then.
Model : Volvo V70 Mk3 T6 AWD
Trim : SE Lux
Engine : Volvo B6304T4, Inline 6, 2953cc, turbocharged. Petrol. Peak power 304ps (299bhp) at 5400rpm, peak torque 440nm from 2100 - 4200rpm
Gearbox : Aisin Warner TF80-SC, 6 speed fully automatic with sports program and manual mode. 5th and 6th gear are overdrive (0.85 and 0.65) giving you 2000rpm at an indicated 70mph which is between 68 - 69mph on the GPS.
Transmission : Electronic All Wheel Drive. Norm 95% front, 5% rear
Added extras as specified from new : Electric adjust passenger seat, heated and ventialled front seats, DAB radio, 6 CD autochanger, USB and AUX inputs, BLIS (Blindspot presence detection), front and rear parking sensors, foldaway dog guard, tilt and slide sunroof, twin sided cargo bay floor mat, retractable load cover, spare wheel, detachable tow bar, electric tailgate, auto tilt door mirrors, and built in sat nav.
Score - 112%/10 would buy again
I'll get some more detailed pictures when I get home from Festival of The Unexceptional this weekend.
That bumper looks like I've accidentally scuffed up against it in my jeans, It's taken the top layer of dirt off and not much else 😃
Is your neck OK? Have you been airlifted to Holby City? How are you managing to post from beyond the grave?!
Fuck me 🙄😁 Put some t-cut on it and you'll be fine. Infact, put a bucket and sponge over it and you'll probably be delighted,
After giving up the Duster at the weekend, some good fleet news was needed.
I set off in the Audi to pick up 320T before viewing a white MK1 'One'. This would have the combination of the Chrysler engine and Getrag gearbox, reportedley the one to go for.
Turns out that the car was tarted up crap. No coolant, oil way below minimum, body damage all over and valeted and detailed by Stevie Wonder. The guy was right on the phone to his garage as we left to no doubt complain about the recent service it was supposed to have had.
Without so much as starting the car we took a sharp exit and reconsidered our plans.
Parked up in a side streed like a couple of half-gram peddlers in the Audi we searched all available media for a new candidate.
We found a facelift model not too far away and after a quick call to the vendor we were on our way.
Although it was a later Prince engined model, the car was clean, honest and drove without issue.
It needed 4 tyres in the near future together with new discs and pads so I did my very best 'awldaahtyeraand' rendition and managed to secure myself a decent enough margin to replace the stoppy and grippy stuff.
Its a 1.6 Cooper and my wife is absolutely delighted with it.
Audi performed faultlessley as expected, its a guid tub.
Also meams I get my 172 back as my wife was very much getting the hang of it!
Many thanks to 320T for helping with the search and assessment of this one together with driving it back to my bit!
I am a twat. Went out earlier to do a couple of bits on the Mazda, went to put my tools away afterwards and couldn't find my 8mm socket anywhere. I knew I'd put it down on the ground so assumed I must have caught it with my foot and kicked it somewhere or something. Spent half an hour searching for it, using my big fuck off work light that I'd been using to light the underside of the Mazda, in the hope that the light would glint off the socket and make it easier to spot. Couldn't find the poxy thing anywhere, so eventually gave up and came back inside to charge the work light up. Turned it upside down to plug the charger in.
And there was the 8mm socket, stuck to its magnetic base.
Brrrrring brrring, brrrr (click)
”Morning, Appropriate Number Plates for you, Nick speaking, how can I help?”
”Yeah alright mate, got this car yeah and wondered if you had anything that accentuates is features, you got anything?”
”Heh heh, oh yes sir, I think I might have the very thing!”
Bet you cannot guess which vehicle made the day a full on twat of a day!
Day started well, dry for a change, but received an email with the possibility of some work. Spoke to the agency and they require a list of all the vessels/fields/workscopes I have done over the last 30 years! Hahahaha. Fortunately I can provide details for the last 10 years from my discharge book (fnarr) but prior to that will have to remain a summary as my last discharge book is still residing off the coast of Africa onboard the ship that sank beneath me. Happily this will be acceptable but it will take a few hours to put into a spread sheet. Started on it but the sun came out so left it til this evening to finish as I am away on Thurday for a month for SF19, Le Mans etc and the grass needed cutting. Of course the Disco of Doom was blocking in the Kubota with the brakes dismantled, so stuck the wheel back on and carefully backed out of the shed.
Grass cut, I decided to start packing the car. First task was find the tent, poles and pegs. The tent itself was spread over the BSA car (where it was drying when put away 18 months ago!) and I had an idea where the poles were. Fortunately they were where I hoped and as a bonus the pegs were in the same area. Checked all the poles were in the bag (been caught out before) and placed them in the boot. Got the tent outer off the car and spent ages folding it neatly and into the car. Got the inner tent and started folding that when I realised nearly half of it was now several mouse nests. Aaargh! Tent out and into the bin, ordered a new tent online and will pick it up in Carlisle on the way to SF on Thursday.
By now it was about 1400 and I received a text saying my Carriers for the Dof D would arrive between 2000 and 2100 so back into the shed with it and remove the old carrier. One bolt (LR in their wisdom* use a stupid 12 point bolt so I have limited 12 point sockets to fit) came undone, but only after my top of the range windy gun failed to release it. Eventually, a breaker bar jacked up on a trolley jack got it moving. Tried the same on the second bolt and the result was one snapped extension bar! Decided to try an extended effort with the windy gun and after no movement for over 30 seconds, it resulted in a second snapped extension, this one from an impact socket set. At this point I had several new lumps out of my hands and then the DPD driver arrived with the new carriers, dead on time at 2030. As I checked they were the correct ones, the phone rang and it was the owner of the other Discovery I mentioned a couple of days ago. Decided I was getting nowhere with the bolt, so did the proper thing and left everything to go and look at a potential purchase. The Discovery is a TD5 without MOT, it expired last week as the ABS/TC/Hill Desent lights are onso it did not go in. The owner is only the second owner and has had it for many years but a divorce means he cannot afford to do the work. It has been replaced with a Rover 620.
Underneath it seems better than mine, is a few years newer (53 plate) and has less miles at 144k so a deal was done. I paid for it but will not be collecting until the end of the month. It must also be the only Discovery of its age that does not have a tow bar, so will have to source one. From there I went to see my friend and borrowed his rather large 3/4" drive socket, ratchet and breaker bar for the calliper bolt. I can hear it whimpering from here, it will be off tomorrow! Got back home at 2315 and decided it was a bit late for lunch so opened a beer. I really should do the spread sheet now, but it can wait until the morning, but there will be no lie in tomorrow!
Rover is fixed, for now anyway. I am still in Spain but spoke to the garage today who have replaced that main engine to rad hose, flushed the system, refilled and bled with new coolant. They have been running it up and monitoring it over the last two days and it’s behaving itself, no sign of oil in the coolant at this stage so they haven’t replaced the oil cooler because they obviously don’t want to carry out hundreds of pounds of unnecessary work. Will use it and monitor over the coming weeks and months and will check both oil and water levels. Can’t say fairer than that!