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Memoirs from the Hard Shoulder: REPRIEVED. 20/05/19

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This week, for the first time ever, I felt old. I have sciatica which swaps from one side to the other, arthritis in one hand and what I think is the beginnings of IBS. On top of that it took me 2 weeks to remember a registration number that once would take me 2 seconds, and I forgot my parent's wedding anniversary.

I'm only 32.

Shit. No I'm not. I'm 33. I forgot that too. (Genuinely)

So, it's about time I committed some of my tales to paper. Well, a shonky server... but that's the best you can do in 2016.

First up, a list of the cars I've owned (as best as I can remember) in chronological order.

Main Cars
1985 VW Polo Formel E. C158 TRT. This was given to me even before I passed my test.

1991 Rover Metro S. J801 TAC. Bought about 3 months after I passed my test as I was convinced the Polo was about to shit its gearbox.

1987 Volvo 360 GLT. D781 ___ Managed three months in a Metro before the small car and smaller petrol tank became a bore.

28343168063_aef51f330f_z.jpgFord Mondeo and Honda Civic Coupe by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1999 Ford Mondeo Zetec. V384 DBJ. Still the most I've ever spent on a car. It was 3 years old and cost, from memory, about £8,000. Just think of the Rover R8s you could buy with that now!

28673944450_fed0905c87_z.jpg1987 Volkswagen Golf GTI 8v by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1987 Volkswagen Golf GTI D79 CVV. I very nearly bought a MK1 Golf 1.1 but was persuaded, by my father amusingly, to buy this one from a different friend. From memory I gave about £500 for it, and sold it to some racers later that year for about £300. Amusingly, 16 year later I'd sell the Hartge wheels that came with the car for £530.

28927619766_5ab360b14f_h.jpg1999 Toyota Avensis CDX by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1999 Toyota Avensis CDX. V781 GDP. By far the best car I've ever had. Bought in 2002 for £5300, it had previously been a company car at British Telecom. I ran it from 62,000 to 174,000 before it became surplus to requirements. A German chap bought it on ebay for about £500 and drove over to collect it. Hero.

28927664766_dcf93df335_z.jpg2001 Ford Mondeo Zetec by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
2001 Ford Mondeo Zetec. Y821 EEB. I should have loved this car. I gave £500 for it in 2008 which was stupidly cheap by anybody's standards. It needed 4 tyres (which actually was nice to pick good ones for once) and a coil spring. Sadly, it was just bill after bill after bill. I sold it and promised to never own another Ford. I nearly succeeded.

28674046270_cd0f083b0c_b.jpg1998 Nissan Almera by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1998 Nissan Almera GX Auto. S58 NLO. My late Grandfather's car and, upon reflection, my first proper attempt at bangernomics. I bought it for £500 in 2008 from the estate and ran it for well over a year and 30,000 miles. It was also my first automatic which, whilst a bit dumb, did lock up into overdrive and give a good 36 mpg no matter how it was driven.

28855340172_8de43906a6_b.jpg2004 Ford Fiesta 1.25 LX and 2006 Ford Focus 2.0 Ghia by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
2004 Ford Fiesta Zetec. AG53 BWL. My wife's car which I ran for a couple of years when I bought her a Focus as a wedding gift.

28959548855_8bc77a5883_b.jpg2003 Rover 75 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
2003 Rover 75 Club SE. AX53 BFA. This is where my career as a serial car buyer really began. Ignoring all of the warning signs I decided to press a K Series into a daily 100 mile commute, which it did with aplomb. This wasn't actually the car I set out to buy, the one I'd agreed to buy OVERHEATED ON THE FORECOURT whilst I was doing the paperwork. Consequently I couldn't leave fast enough and bought a different car later that day.

28343570193_39c619e654_b.jpg2004 Toyota Avensis T30-X by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
2004 Toyota Avensis T3-X. KT53 DWZ. Sensible head back on, I decided to get back into something I trusted when my 3rd son was born. This was a lovely car, but not without its problems. The VVTi oil burning issues are well documented and do frequently occur. Ironically, this was less reliable than the Rover it replaced! Despite fearing the worst and 3 months off the road, the new owner has just MOTd it.

28927903526_c82e81f214_b.jpg1999 Toyota Avensis SR by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1999 Toyota Avensis SR. V263 GDP. Back into bangernomics territory again. The last MK1 Avensis I had was the best car I'd ever had, so I hoped to replicate it with another T22 Avensis. This one came up for sale in my favourite (and rare) colour with a numberplate sequential to my previous car - so it was meant to be. I still have this now, and tomorrow it will tick around to 185,000 miles having been bought by me at 100,500.

Side Bitches

28340942624_eb03d558b8.jpg1974 Morris Mini 1000 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1974 Morris Mini 1000. GEL 517N. Well, I always wanted one - and was young, free, single and well off at the time (2003). A memorable trip to buy it when I called my new girlfriend by my ex girlfriend's name 20 miles into a 200 mile weekend away. She's never forgiven or forgotten but we're still friends. Oh - and married.

28927768746_0b425ac038_z.jpg1977 Ford Capri II GL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1977 Ford Capri II 1600 GL. SMY 675R. I can't remember why I bought this, other than I thought it'd be amusing. It was bought from Norwich for £350 and was perfectly well behaved for the 8 months that I had it (other than a flasher unit expiring). I remember being shocked just how much the windscreen would ice up inside, and duly sold it in November to a guy who was going to drive it daily! It's still alive and now, apparently, black! (Update - it's now silver!!!)

28854977262_5a173cc0e4_z.jpg1989 Volvo 340 DL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1989 Volvo 340 DL. G67 AVN. I bought this for £80. Unbelievable. It was utterly bloody perfect. I wanted to do a banger rally which is why the guy gave it to me so cheap. I'm still yet to do that rally, but no longer have the car. I sold it for about £300 to a family who were clearly down on their luck who, I hope, still have the car.

28246436494_1a6b520b5c_b.jpg1996 Toyota Granvia by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1996 Toyota Granvia. N775 JEV. My wife and I decided to increase our numbers further and, with our 4th son on the way, larger transport was required. We quickly realised you can either have 4 children and no apparel, or apparel and no children. After trying a very tired Mercedes Viano, the Granvia was found for 1/4 of the price and it's still here 2 years later. I can safely say that we'll never sell it - it really is another member of the family.

28674308470_791ed2a155_b.jpg1993 Mercedes 190e by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1993 Mercedes 190e. L795 COJ. I've admired these cars since I was a child. In fact, one of the very few toy cars I still have from my childhood is a Mercedes 190e. Regular readers of "Memoirs from the Hard Shoulder" will know what a PITA this car has been since day 1, but I get the feeling it's a keeper. We'll see!

26427549733_4e56a0a2f6_h.jpg1983 Ford Sierra Base 1.6 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1983 Ford Sierra Base. GVG 510Y. Not explicitly my car, but it should be documented here for reference. Oh - and the V5 is in my name. The story is online for all to read as to how five of us acquired what is believed to be the only remaining Ford Sierra Base. Make a brew and read it, it's a fantastic story.

26425197603_cbaf075108_h.jpg1982 Ford Sierra L by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1982 Ford Sierra L. LCR 503Y. I accidentally won this on ebay for £520. Upon reflection, I shouldn't have sold it - but short stop of saying I regret it. I could never get truly comfortable driving it and, in fairness, I could scratch my Sierra itch with the base if I wanted. Sold it at a stupid profit of £1250. It is believed to be the oldest remaining Ford Sierra in the UK.

28309364775_ece85920b4_h.jpg1979 Volvo 343 DL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1979 Volvo 343 DL. DBY 466T As you'll see above, I'd had a 360GLT as a younger lad and fancied one of these earlier cars. The variomatic is, frankly, terrible but amusing. This car has just 8000 miles on the clock and inside was absolutely timewarp. Sadly, the huge bill for the Mercedes 190e cylinder head rebuild meant I had to sell this car shortly after acquiring it. Since then I've had a bit of money luck, and now realise I didn't need to sell it after all. Typical.

I think that's it. My arthritis is playing up even more now. I've left out a few cars that were actually my wife's, but if I find pictures will add them in at a later date. I'll run this as an ongoing thread on cars and what's happening.

Current SitRep:

Purple Avensis: Just about to click over 185,000. Minor drama this week when an HT lead split but otherwise utterly fantastic, fantastically boring and boringly reliable.

Granvia: Just done 1000 miles in a month around Norfolk, 6 up with suitcases. 31mpg achieved on the way up which is good for an old tub with a 3.0 Turbo Diesel on board. ODO displaying 175,000 which is a mix of miles and kilometers. Say 130,000 miles for argument's sake.

Mercedes: Being a PITA. It's had the top end completely rebuilt after the chain came off. Now needs welding to pass another MOT and the gearbox bearings are on strike. It's about to go into the garage for winter until I can stomach it again. 151,000 miles on the clock.

Sierra bASE: Still on sabbatical with AngryDicky who only took it bloody camping in cornwall! Legend.

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1977 Ford Capri II 1600 GL. SMY 675R. I can't remember why I bought this, other than I thought it'd be amusing. It was bought from Norwich for £350 and was perfectly well behaved for the 8 months that I had it (other than a flasher unit expiring). I remember being shocked just how much the windscreen would ice up inside, and duly sold it in November to a guy who was going to drive it daily! It's still alive and now, apparently, black! (Update - it's now silver!!!)

 

Was this by any chance burgundy red with a bit of rot under the surface?

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The reg is very close to one I was going to buy for mrs fp i cant quite remember the exact numbers, my mate used to break capri's and sat there was a mk2 GL in burgundy bit of rot in the a posts, i was going to buy it because of the reg mrs fp's name is Sammy so SMY***R would have been cool for her

 

I'm going to text my mate now because the reg is annoying me

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The reg is very close to one I was going to buy for mrs fp i cant quite remember the exact numbers, my mate used to break capri's and sat there was a mk2 1600L in burgundy bit of rot in the a posts, i was going to buy it because of the reg mrs fp's name is Sammy so SMY***R would have been cool for her

 

I'm going to text my mate now because the reg is annoying me

I sold it to a chap from Harlow in what was probably 2005.

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Sympaties with the sciatica, getting old and becoming forgetful. It all seems far to familiar.

 

Because I'm a Honda fan boy, what was the Civic couple like? It's one of the cars I'm considering to replace the Accord Coupe when it finally stops talking to it's second gear.

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Now just you go and wash you mouth out young man!

It's a really simple and really bright idea when you think about it but...to quote Dr Seuss's Grinch...: "And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!".  I genuinely struggled to hear myself think when trying to pick up speed, but the novelty of accelerating whilst the revs dropped never got boring.

 

Nice list of chod BI, the Sierras and Volvo 340's are very nice, but I'm sure you can guess which ones my favourite. That blue mk2 Capri!

I know it's a cliché, but can you imagine picking up a Mk2 Crapi for under £400 now?!  It was a good car in fairness so I'm not that surprised it's still going today.  What does trouble me was, when I bought that car, it was 27 years old and seemed ancient.  When I see a 27 year old car NOW it's wearing a J plate and I'm all like "I learnt in one of them!".  Harrowing.

 

Loving that early 340, you never even hear about these much in here!

They're good little cars, but not to everyone's taste.  Now they appear to be the cheapest way to go sideways, expect numbers to diminish quickly over the next few years.

 

Sympaties with the sciatica, getting old and becoming forgetful. It all seems far to familiar.

 

Because I'm a Honda fan boy, what was the Civic couple like? It's one of the cars I'm considering to replace the Accord Coupe when it finally stops talking to it's second gear.

That was Mum's - she had a good few jap cars growing up including an early Corolla and a Prelude which I think these Coupes tried to replicate.  Dad said build quality was shite, and I guess that's why it lived for just 9 years.

 

 

Great read.

I have considered doing one of these but i don't have any pics of earlier cars :-(

I've not got pictures of all of them, which is a great shame.  But don't let it stop you writing - we're all here for a good yarn.

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Side Bitch: 2005

 

Unlike some, I remember vividly buying this.  My fiancee and I had had some very sad personal news, and in an effort to put a smile back on her face decided some chod would be a good idea.  By now her 53 plate Fiesta was living in Aberdeen whilst her Dad was working there, and a 2nd car was necessary with me commuting each day and a 3 year old son.  We bought this from a trader in St Neots and I still remember thinking "you're not supposed to console the love of your life with a shite car".  Still, she'd had a 'BeBop' limited edition Clio as her first car and this actually was a very good steer.  I remember using this as a station car for a number of months, and also using it to transport 18 rolls of turf from a garden centre 10 miles away! (Slammed YO)

 

I've spent years trying to work out why a perfectly good car seemingly just disappeared off the road back in 2010.  Then the penny dropped about 5 minutes ago.  Gutting.  Still, it's probably sat at RAF Thurleigh (10 minutes from home) patiently awaiting its fate.

 

28868600702_a6b8e93617_b.jpgRenault Clio Rl 1.2 Versailles by Bornite Identity, on Flickr

 

28354352954_09ce05b0e3_b.jpgRenault Clio Rl 1.2 Versailles by Bornite Identity, on Flickr

 

28941118786_0fd4280688_b.jpgRenault Clio Rl 1.2 Versailles by Bornite Identity, on Flickr

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Nice list of chod BI, the Sierras and Volvo 340's are very nice, but I'm sure you can guess which ones my favourite. That blue mk2 Capri!

 

Couple more then.

 

28357418653_b43e231da7_k.jpg1977 Ford Capri II GL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr

 

28688047140_67d4a782b4_k.jpg1977 Ford Capri II GL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr

 

I hope that, wherever the car is now - and WHATEVER colour it is, that weathered set of metal number plates are on the car for 364 days of the year.  Just awesome.

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Sit rep.  Current fleet comprises

 

2 x Daily.  1999 Toyota Avensis SR (now on 188,500) and 2006 Ford Focus (82,000).

1 x Big Green Fun Bus.  1996 Toyota Granvia

1 x Mercedes 190e (Now for sale)

1 x Ford Sierra bASE (Still with AngryDicky - how his parents must love him!)

 

Then on Friday, this happened.

 

post-19618-0-60917300-1475408724_thumb.jpg

 

post-19618-0-04849300-1475408726_thumb.jpg

 

post-19618-0-47629200-1475408723_thumb.jpg

 

post-19618-0-03462100-1475408722_thumb.jpg

 

post-19618-0-00512300-1475408721_thumb.jpg

 

post-19618-0-74970700-1475408719_thumb.jpg

 

post-19618-0-46689400-1475408718_thumb.jpg

 

post-19618-0-77351600-1475408726_thumb.jpg

 

 

First of all, thanks to JW for being the absolute perfect seller.  He was so accommodating when I came to view, wasn't interested in rushing me into a deal, and went above and beyond to make it the smoothest transaction ever.  When I raised concern about a couple of areas of rust, he went and had the car MOT'd (gratis) to ensure the future of the car and that, above all, I wasn't disappointed. He then left the keys in the car, the V5 in the glovebox and trusted me to post the money through the door so that I could collect the car at my convenience rather than his.  On top of that, I couldn't withdraw enough money from the ATM on Friday so I still owe him £50.  None of this alarmed him in the slightest, and I couldn't be more grateful.

 

The car is really sublime to drive.  The STRAIGHT six 3.0 engine is very lazy but so smooth with power on tap if you want it.  It makes such a musical sound, ranging from burble to warble to an absolute WOLF CRY at anything above 4,000 rpm.  It really is addictive!

 

Confession time.  The original plan was to buy the W124, smoke around in it for the winter, then rob the 15 hole wheels in the spring for my 190e and then sell the car.  However, one small problem has blown that idea to shit.  The 190e isn't even half the car this is.  So there's a man coming to look at the 190e tomorrow night, and hopefully he'll buy it.  The money from that will offset a lot of this year's expenditure, as well as give me some funds to attend to the trivial issues with this car.

 

So, I'm over the moon.  A well sorted Mercedes is truly a glorious thing indeed.

 

Thanks Col.

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Nice. The biggest problem with the 300E is that you only get first gear if you really hoof it from a standstiff. The bad news is that this is quite addictive. Remains the only car I've driven for six hours solid, purely because I was so comfortable I felt no need to stop. (In theory, I could drive the 2CV for six hours, but it's only a theory, as it'd run out of fuel after four hours). I do think you've made the right decision there.

 

Nice tales all-round really. Some worked, some didn't. I'd say you're doing above average though!

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Side Bitch: 2005

 

[Renault Clio]

 

I've spent years trying to work out why a perfectly good car seemingly just disappeared off the road back in 2010. Then the penny dropped about 5 minutes ago. Gutting. Still, it's probably sat at RAF Thurleigh (10 minutes from home) patiently awaiting its fate.

RAF Thurleigh you say?

 

My work sometimes takes me into Thurleigh so I can ask about if you like?

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I didn't like selling this car, as it was great to drive, but sitting on my drive for weeks at a time wasn't doing it any good in some ways.

 

I was secretly hoping you would keep it and sell your 190e, and it seems that will happen - good on you! It's lovely for wafting about in, and has a surprisingly goog turn of speed, although economy may suffer a little (and where the he'll was that petrol station?).

 

Incidentally I sold my 9-5 on Saturday, so two cars sold in two days. Have my eyes on another bike now, and cash on the hip........

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(and where the he'll was that petrol station?).

 

Birchanger Green.  The fuel needle started wobbling quite amusingly on the A120 and, seeing as I wasn't sure how accurate it was, thought I'd better put a couple of gallons in.  I think I used most of it up on the slip road joining the M11 though!

 

Thanks again, chap.  I've come to work in the 190e this morning and still love it also.  Perhaps I'll just make up a load of phantom viewings and convince the wife we're better off keeping it.

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Guest Hooli

Nice. The biggest problem with the 300E is that you only get first gear if you really hoof it from a standstiff. The bad news is that this is quite addictive. Remains the only car I've driven for six hours solid, purely because I was so comfortable I felt no need to stop. (In theory, I could drive the 2CV for six hours, but it's only a theory, as it'd run out of fuel after four hours). I do think you've made the right decision there.

 

Nice tales all-round really. Some worked, some didn't. I'd say you're doing above average though!

 

I used to love that fact in the 260e I had.

 

Perfect for wet weather fun, boot it off the line balancing the throttle just where the tyres are struggling & then at 20mph it'd shift down & step out sideways. I never got bored of that :mrgreen:

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Had a bit of a reduction over the last month with both Merc's now off to new homes.  The Sierra bASe is coming home to hibernate in the next few weeks, so that'll get numbers back to a more respectable 4.

 

Interesting problem has developed with the unburstable Avensis.  Yesterday I went through a puddle, and lost all use of power assisted steering for a couple of minutes.  It then came back in Mono (Left working, Right not) and then seemed to start working again.  The car has never liked going through water, and will ocassionally refuse to move above 2000 rpm and sounds like a tractor until it's dried out.  I'm sure under engine panels would help, but they didn't come with them.

 

Any ideas? I'm now pushing 192000 miles and I'm damned if I'm giving up now.

 

Hope to hear!

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Sit rep.

 

  • 2 x Daily. 1999 Toyota Avensis SR (now on 197200) and 2006 Ford Focus (84,000) - this is likely to be replaced by an S-Max 2.5T (just got to find one!)
  • 1 x Big Green Fun Bus. 1996 Toyota Granvia. This is doing far fewer miles nowadays, and will probably just be "high days and holidays" soon.
  • 1 x Ford Sierra bASe. Currently hibernating, just doing the odd trip for LOLs.
post-19618-0-50044300-1485444533_thumb.jpg

post-19618-0-60747900-1485444693_thumb.jpg

  • New addition for 2017, Rover 75 2.5 Connoisseur (Dealer launch specification). It's an early Cowley car spec'd in wedgwood blue with the neptune blue personal line interior. Only one private owner after the supplying dealer.
post-19618-0-08095200-1485444790_thumb.jpg

  • AND - a very interesting development that really, REALLY shouldn't have happened. More soon!

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