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22 hours ago, rob88h said:

Harrison’s History - #3 Nissan Micra R822 SDT

Back in partnership with my sister we got a K11 Micra, saved from being part exchanged when my mum upgraded(?) to a Punto for herself.

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Arrangements were more awkward on this one as my sister mostly took it away with her to University, which I suppose was karma for me hogging the Fiesta. She soon rectified the problem by swiftly writing it off.

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How did she write it off? 

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@bramz7 - you should definitely do it. It got to a point where how a car was registered affected whether I'd buy it or not, haha. I'm thinking of extending the challenge out into all the new style plate major area codes i.e. 1st letter. Or suffix registrations, but I fear there is too much corrosion in that game...

1 hour ago, Eyersey1234 said:

How did she write it off? 

@Eyersey1234 - This K11 suffered from monumental understeer. I later had an earlier one (confusing to type) and the early K11 drove completely different, much better in my opinion. The party piece of the 1997 one my sister crashed was it’s ability to continue in a near straight line when throwing it on to full lock in a damp carpark. It's stopping distance was equally abysmal. Things improved a bit when we took the plastic budget tyres off and went for some premium rubber but it was never great.  Finally, one damp day in Nottingham she went into the back of someone at a roundabout and the family widely accepted it as having been inevitable. Interestingly (cit?), while retrospectively looking to see if the thing had ABS I came across this press release from Nissan UK on the 1998 Model year: Restyled in 1998, the Micra looks larger and more assertive, with a new bonnet, grille and rear lights among the main exterior changes. Steering feel and stability has been improved and noise, vibration and harshness have been significantly reduced.”  It’s literally the second sentence and they’re mentioning the steering feel and stability, so maybe the 1997 one’s really were that crap! 

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Harrison’s History - #4 Ford Fiesta Mk1 PUY 622Y

My Car Life got back on track with the arrival of my student loan. I got myself a nice Baltic Blue mk1 Fiesta 1.1 “massive L badge” that had about 45,000 miles on the clock (the car was 23 years old at the time) and no rust, not even around the front lights! The thermostat was slow to react on warmup, but after changing it this car was in top condition. I particularly enjoyed having the gearbox layout front and centre in the dashboard binnacle cluster.

The only problem really was that it was too nice and travelling to and from Lancaster between term time and holidays was putting quite a few miles on it. Also, given my history with cars I didn’t want to wreck it, so I sold it and have always quite regretted it. I had two cars again at this point and only the bank account to support one insurance policy, so obviously I sold the good one.

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Harrison’s History - #5 Ford Capri Mk3 1300 HNF 429V

In 2006, I got a GOLD Ford Capri mk3 1300. Solar Gold, a perfect match to Hammerite’s Gold which was fortuitous. It took a chance encounter with a flatbed driver and three RAC visits to get the bloody thing 80 miles home. I didn’t really realise how rare the 1300 mk3’s were until recently, but it was ideal for me as even back in 2006 car insurance for an 18 year old often far outstripped the value of the car. And yes, with those wheels and tyres on it couldn’t even wheelspin, haha.

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For inexplicable reasons I’m sure you can empathise with I kept this one for the next four years and the following six cars were all backup cars (and backup of backups) to keep me on the road for the not unsubstantial amount of time the Capri was off the road.

As much trouble as it was, this car was still great, and I appreciate that I’m probably the last of a generation that could viably “run” this as an 18 year old. With Capri prices these days I guess it’s gone back to a car that young men will always promise themselves. I sold it for short sighted financial reasons at the end of university whilst trying to consolidate my life. Idiot.

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Harrison’s History - #6 Ford Fiesta Mk3 G218 RCN

This white mk3 Fiesta was the first emergency car when something went awry on the Capri. Not long after selling the near perfect Mk1 Fiesta it dawned on my that a second car is in fact useful when trying to run a piece of junk Capri everywhere. I’d like to say you live and learn, but it took me a while. I got this car sight unseen on eBay from South Shields and for the purpose of this narrative I drove it straight to the scrapyard near my home… It had an alarming lump in the steering that made exiting a roundabout or turning left in general an absolute fight and was downright unsafe. I don’t care how rough a car looks (and I mostly quite like that sort of look) I’m not blase to safety. The poor car was so cheap and terrifying I didn’t even get it looked at.

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Really enjoying this thread, the first car I ever bought was a MK1 Fiesta traded in at the garage I was doing my apprenticeship at. A sort of dark grey/bronze quartz edition. I payed £100, sold the stereo, then sold it on for £100. This was in 1998 before the prices got silly, I wish I had a photo of it though.

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There are a few 1.3  Capri’s left but but not many. I have tried every standard engine in a Capri (apart from RS 2600 and RS3100 variants if you count them as standard) and the 1.3 is an interesting choice. Even by 70s standards they must have been slow but they have a certain charm and I would happily have one.

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Harrison’s History - #7 Volvo 340 DL E880 SOM

After the Fiesta tried to kill me numerous times on the way home, I did the only rational thing and immediately went out and bought a Volvo. The Volvo 340 DL I bought was a nice solid example and when it was working it was a wonderful thing – good at transporting beer, pulling out trees and other important duties of that ilk. I drove it to Croatia and back as part of a charity rally (hence the Space Invader and Tetris stickers), where I soon learned that we were the only team doing it in a car that needed to make it back in one piece because it was my main car!

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Throughout that trip we were dogged with fuelling issues as fresh looking shavings of metal kept on showing up in the carburettor. I never got to the bottom of what was causing that. We completely lost the ability to idle so got some good practise in on left foot braking! After cleaning the carb up and replacing the fuel filter it would soon fill with scraps of metal again causing it to run and start atrociously. On one particularly long attempt to start once back in the UK the engine earth strap gave in and caused it to earth along the throttle cable which promptly melted inside its housing. When it finally did start I was greeted with wide open throttle and an ineffective accelerator pedal… I replaced that and was rewarded with a fairly substantial fuel leak a few days later (from the filler neck/ tank evap pipe). It turns out if your pissing fuel everywhere the petrol station staff just calmly ask you to push the thing over the nearest storm drain until it stops leaking.

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It all came to an end one day on the M6 when the car cut out, which was pretty familiar behaviour to me at this point as the carburettor was often more maraca than carb. Upon restarting the thing quite literally exploded! I still don’t understand what happened, but it took out the mid-muffler! The RAC man took a picture because he’d never seen that before which as a consolation made me a little bit proud. He did get it briefly running and we had all the warning lights and no vacuum to the brake booster. I eventually donated the car to the local fire brigade who let me use the jaws of life to cut a door off which was good therapy. It’s a pity it ended this way because the shell was so solid. Given the space I’ve got now I think I’d have kept it.

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Harrison’s History - #8 Volvo 340 GL H135 HDO

For the first time in my car history I’d managed to achieve the rewarding heights of double Volvo. Despite both being grey 340’s they couldn’t have been more different. Mechanically I never had to touch the newer one, but I did have to address the frills on all four doors and both rear arches for an MOT. Three years into University I was on a mega budget by this point so repairs didn’t even stretch to the right colour paint, I just used things I could get my hands on for free, but the results were still pretty pleasing. I kept hold of this one until the 2010 everything must go fire sale where I also sold the Capri.

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Harrison’s History - #9 Citroen AX M265 WWU

I honestly can’t remember why I got this car… I had the Capri with no rear axle and I think the Volvo 340 GL without MOT due to it’s crusty arches, but I think the lure of the 1.0L AX with it’s cheaper insurance and fuel usage was as a whole an advantageous financial prospect for the remainder of my time at University.

I’m glad I got it though because this thing was ace!

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One stormy night on the M62, in max wiper speed conditions I leant forward to help me see (as if that would help) and watched as the mono-wiper inverted itself. Before I had time to think “oh no that’s not wiping my screen now it’s facing backwards” the wiper blade blew clean off in a gust of wind leaving me with just the arm! On another occasion I shut the boot not quite straight and the striker hit the catch awkwardly causing the rear window to shatter leaving the boot to fall on to the floor with me just looking at it in abject disappointment.

I thrashed this poor little thing a bit too much doing many long trips from Lancaster to Felixstowe and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t keep on top of it’s fluids. Once the beginning of the end was initiated it was too late and it deteriorated pretty quickly despite regular oil changes and cooling system tinkering. I became a one-man smoke machine, particularly after idling hot in traffic (Valve seals?) to the point where people would try to flash me off the road. The car now had MPG figures for oil and coolant as well as fuel, but we trooped on until MOT day with no loss of performance. Needless to say, the emissions were a bit high and it failed it’s MOT, but not for lack of trying. In fact, they had to try quite hard to get the measurement at all because it boiled over twice on the dyno just trying to take the reading. I’ve never seen so much blue smoke, you could barely see across the bay to the emission computer. RIP little buddy.

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1 hour ago, rob88h said:

Harrison’s History - #7 Volvo 340 DL E880 SOM

After the Fiesta tried to kill me numerous times on the way home, I did the only rational thing and immediately went out and bought a Volvo. The Volvo 340 DL I bought was a nice solid example and when it was working it was a wonderful thing – good at transporting beer, pulling out trees and other important duties of that ilk. I drove it to Croatia and back as part of a charity rally (hence the Space Invader and Tetris stickers), where I soon learned that we were the only team doing it in a car that needed to make it back in one piece because it was my main car!

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Throughout that trip we were dogged with fuelling issues as fresh looking shavings of metal kept on showing up in the carburettor. I never got to the bottom of what was causing that. We completely lost the ability to idle so got some good practise in on left foot braking! After cleaning the carb up and replacing the fuel filter it would soon fill with scraps of metal again causing it to run and start atrociously. On one particularly long attempt to start once back in the UK the engine earth strap gave in and caused it to earth along the throttle cable which promptly melted inside its housing. When it finally did start I was greeted with wide open throttle and an ineffective accelerator pedal… I replaced that and was rewarded with a fairly substantial fuel leak a few days later (from the filler neck/ tank evap pipe). It turns out if your pissing fuel everywhere the petrol station staff just calmly ask you to push the thing over the nearest storm drain until it stops leaking.

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It all came to an end one day on the M6 when the car cut out, which was pretty familiar behaviour to me at this point as the carburettor was often more maraca than carb. Upon restarting the thing quite literally exploded! I still don’t understand what happened, but it took out the mid-muffler! The RAC man took a picture because he’d never seen that before which as a consolation made me a little bit proud. He did get it briefly running and we had all the warning lights and no vacuum to the brake booster. I eventually donated the car to the local fire brigade who let me use the jaws of life to cut a door off which was good therapy. It’s a pity it ended this way because the shell was so solid. Given the space I’ve got now I think I’d have kept it.

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Your exhaust exploding like that reminded me of when I worked for the local council. For some reason, best know to themselves, the council decided to purchase ex army Bedfords for their gritters. These were petrol. One of the lads was giving it a service and was setting the points. He did this by turning the engine over with the distributor cap removed. Yes some fuel did pass through the engine, yes it did fill the exhaust box. The resultant explosion when he did fire it up cured all our constipation for weeks!!.

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Harrison’s History - #10 Peugeot 106 J628 GGY

During my time with the Citroen AX my brother gave me his partners 106 after a head gasket failure. The idea was that these cars supposedly shared parts – I don’t know which parts, but it was none of the ones that were useful to me on the AX! In the end I only had the carpet out of it – which just about fit – because I thought the bright blue was an excellent clash with the turquoise. After I got the V5 through the post I towed it away and sold it to be broken up for parts.

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Harrison’s History - #11 Rover 100 P414 JBA

Also during my time with the Citroen AX I was given my partners much loved Rover 100 to clean up and sell as she’d just been given her nan’s Almera. She’d had two or three Metro/100’s before I met her and these things still are pretty much her favourite car. I think at one point she had a GTA which is one of the reasons she likes them so much, but her brother had rolled it before I ever got to see it. The head gasket had become a serviceable item on this one unfortunately, hence the move to the Almera when it became available, but to be fair to her, each time the Metro broke she had it fixed and had spent way more on the car than it was worth just in keeping it going – she embraced the AutoShite ways even if she won’t admit it!

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Our Swan-Journey in the 100 was while attempting to visit a friend who lived south of the Thames. We got stuck in inevitable traffic at the Dartford Crossing back in the days they had toll booths. Just at the crest of the bridge we erupted in steam! Trying to save what we could we turned the engine off straight away but kept the ignition on so we could watch the temperature (which had been showing normal) and keep the electric engine fan on. As we’d just got to the crest of the bridge we could free wheel down to the booths in the heavy traffic, which was pretty lucky because there is no hard shoulder. By the time we got to the toll booth the engine temp which had shot up once we turned off the engine was back down at about ¾. To get out of the way we started it up and drove the 100m to the nearest hard shoulder with presumably no coolant. Once there, quite quickly we were picked up by a local Dartford patrol and taken to their Hazardous Goods Holding Area. Our driver was a bit of a grump on account of his mate recovering a Ferrari 308 GTB while he had to pick up our Rover 100. Personally I think he had his priorities wrong, haha.

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When we managed to look at it, the radiator end tank had cracked from top to bottom (It was a replacement radiator so maybe inferior pattern parts?), so it’d completely lost all of its coolant. The resultant overheat had done the cylinder head gasket again, or that had been underlying and contributed to the rad cracking. Anyway, block and head were skimmed, a new gasket and rad went in and the V5 was put in my name so I could use the car (post Citroen AX death at this point) until I’d sold it for her.

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Harrison’s History - #12 Nissan Almera DF51 JYK

It was now summer 2010 and I’d finished University but hadn’t found a job. With my spare time I finished the bodywork on the Volvo 340 GL, got it MOT’s and sold it, sold the Rover 100 as contractually obliged and sold the Carpi (idiot). As an aside I’d got the rear end back in the Capri and had been driving it around again at some point in 2009, but I think it failed it’s MOT again so had gone back in my parents garage waiting for the not-so-forthcoming funds. I was at this point carless again in terms of having my name on a V5, sad times. I bring this Nissan into my fold for two reasons

  1. I moved in with my partner and got put on her insurance – so it became my only driving option and more importantly
  2. Anything to do with the car became my responsibility. Like a step father is to his partners children, it became my car (or should that be our car…).

Anyway, it was a pretty good competent car, especially when compared against some in my history. The only issue we had with it was an exploding road spring when bumping up a low drop kerb – which unfortunately took out the front left tyre with it. A new spring (I think we did both sides actually) and a couple of tyres later the car never caused us anymore trouble, other than Silver-Almera-Given-Up-On-Life syndrome.

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Harrison’s History - #13 Ford Focus 1.4L Y853 NNE

Four months later I got a job about 200 miles away from where I was living, and as the missus needed to stay in Sheffield for the rest of the year to finish a post-grad course, I needed to get my own wheels for smashing the A1 every weekend. I needed something reliable, cheap and suitably professional looking. I managed to buy locally the lowest spec Mk1 Focus for buttons which most people mistook for a ’53 plate as a coincidental bonus. For 6 moths I did a minimum of 500 miles a week and all things considered I really liked this Focus. Good car. It was the first car I’d managed to pass the 100,000-mile mark in. It did develop a PAS leak (rack), which got really really bad when I lost the cap…, but it was manageable to just top up once I got a new cap to replace my foil and elastic band stopgap. After 6 months (and the end of the probationary period on my work contract) my work colleagues knew me well enough to endorse my next purchase and jump two footed back into something more my vision of “AutoShite”. I sold the Focus because I only had street parking and what could possibly go wrong..?

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Loving that German taxi beige auf weidersehn pet Merc. If it’s a 300td auto even betterer, I’d happily smoke around in one of them! Also loving the Mk3 fezzer shite, my first car was a Mk3! Makes me feel all warm and Fordy inside. 

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55 minutes ago, sutty2006 said:

Loving that German taxi beige auf weidersehn pet Merc. If it’s a 300td auto even betterer, I’d happily smoke around in one of them! Also loving the Mk3 fezzer shite, my first car was a Mk3! Makes me feel all warm and Fordy inside. 

My first car was a Mk3 Fez, which model did you have? Mine was a 1.3 Equipe 

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12 minutes ago, sutty2006 said:

I had a 1.1 finesse in burgandy red. L reg. put an RS turbo body kit and 3 spoke alloys on it. Looked ace. 

Sounds nice, I miss my Mk3. Sadly failed its last MOT mostly on tin worm, though this was a few months after I bailed. 

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The mk3 Fiesta is still high up my wish list of future cars. I've got a lot of time for that model. I have this vision of a nice little poverty spec one for my roughly 10 mile a day commute (when not in lockdown!). The nostalgia factor is very high given it was my first car. Heads over to eBay ...?

 

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Harrison’s History - #14 Renault 5 1.4L B683 XUD

A sure-fire remedy for the complacency of comfortable motoring is to replace your capable 500+ mile a week car with something that has only done about 500 miles in the last 2 years. To that end I acquired this “nice”, very early second gen R5. As a break from tradition, and more by luck than judgement, I had plumped for the fizzy 1.4L rather than my usual strategy of buying the lowest output engine derivative possible. It was a hoot to drive – the deep seat bolsters were definitely required when cornering thanks to the unmistakable French suspension.

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This car coped relatively well in its new life until one day the dreaded temperature warning light came on. This was an ignorance-is-bliss kind of model where you don’t get a temperature gauge to monitor things and are only warned of impending doom when it’s too late. What had happened was a weep in a cooling hose had formed and the coolant was dropping over long A1 busting journeys. The hose was wrapped by a nice RAC man and then duly replaced once I’d got it home. A few weeks later a different hose went and I got the same RAC guy! He even invited his friend and they had a good reminisce over cars like mine. Finally a few weeks after that a third one went in a big way meaning I had to get towed back. Talk about not taking a hint! I should have replaced them all to begin with, but I was still sort of on a shoestring budget running this car.

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In my seemingly never-ending quest for 1.4L R5 engine cooling hoses I came across a parts car in a scrapyard on an H-reg. When I came to replace the radiator outlet hose (the final breakdown) I noticed the newer car had a much wider radiator so swapped for the larger radiator and took the bonnet for good measure. I wonder if because mine was an early generation 2 model it had a bit of a different cooling system that soon got replaced in production?

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After those repairs the car trooped on with nothing but routine maintenance. I painted up the acres of plastic – no bumper oils or peanut butter were man enough to make a lasting impact. Later that summer I sold the R5 as my partner finished her PGC and we both moved in to a new place together where I got my hands on something that better reflected us becoming young, upwardly-mobile professionals. I do miss the R5 – this was the one that nearly joined the AutoShite fold but was alas bought by someone else who has let the MOT lapse since 2012. Missing, presumed dead.

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Harrison’s History - #15 Porsche 924S D443 VKJ

Towards the end of 2011 I did a load of Man Maths, sold the R5, and bought myself a Porsche 924S. I’d intended to get the 2.0L for cost reasons, but things escalated and I ended up with a 924S with a stupid insurance bill. It was in pretty good nick and I didn’t have much work to do on the car (until the point where I had too much…). It was great to drive and I started making up trip ideas just as an excuse to get out in it, including touring the suburbs with my brother in his TR6 and my now ritual biennial Land’s End to John O’Groats tour. It was on the latter when disaster struck.

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My friend and I had been intending to visit all the cardinal points of mainland UK on our long-way-round return North for Christmas. We’d got out to Lowestoft ok (furthest East) and we made it all the way up to the “Welcome to Scotland” sign on the A1 by the first evening. We’d stopped for a photograph of the sign and upon re-starting up the bastard cambelt slipped and all kinds of piston to valve hell occurred. The RAC man who turned out at 11pm on Christmas eve’s eve confirmed “It’s totally f***ing f***ed mate, big time”. Somewhat annoying because for the first time ever before buying a car I’d asked some basic questions like “when was the cambelt done?”, rather than just turning up and paying full price like I normally do. Long story short, the RAC put us in a hotel overnight and the next day a recovery man took the Porsche back to Gainsborough (my mum’s – I felt bad getting the recovery guy to drive to Essex and back from the Scottish boarder on Christmas eve! Also, nothing say’s “I’m home for Christmas” like “Can I leave a knacked car on your drive indefinitely”). The cambelt hadn’t actually snapped, but the tensioner had collapsed and the cam timing had jumped to collaterally retarded. Eventually I sold the car to a 924 specialist who was intending to engine swap or brake for parts for only £300 less than I bought it for. I chalked this one up to experience.

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Harrison’s History - #16 Nissan Micra L633 PPU

I replaced the Porsche with an appropriately high performance rebound-car; another 1.0L K11 Micra. The swing in insurance was so vast that the refund from my monthly instalment on the Porsche (it was so much to insure I had to pay monthly) covered the annual policy on the Micra and left me with enough of a rebate to cover the purchase price of the car! The Micra hadn’t been used for a while so I had to replace the rear brakes and the battery and after that I can’t remember having to do any more work to it. As mentioned previously when talking about my last Micra, this one had none of the drivability problems and had a much more pleasant steering feel, seeming lighter and more simplistic in spirit.

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I managed to score my closest number plate match in this Micra, coming across L628 PPU, just 5 away! living on the street I used to live on. I even stopped on double yellow lines to ensure I got a photo of such an historic moment – re-united 19 years after registration.

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For the 2012 Jubilee I made a naff Union Jack for the bonnet out of self-adhesive vinyl for a competition at work which made the car quite distinctive for a while… Eventually I peeled that off and sold the car on as I’d bought something much more beige that needed my insurance policy transferring on to.

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Harrison’s History - #17 Honda Civic AX02 CNV

Somewhere during the second Micra ownership timeline I had a very difficult decision to make that would affect our lives in no real way. My partners parents were buying a new car and gave us first refusal on their old Civic. The only condition was that if we took the Civic, we had to give up the Almera. It decision was:

  1. 2001 Nissan Almera – mid-spec (SE), ~65000 miles, family owned since new.
  2. 2002 Honda Civic – low-spec, ~63000 miles, family owned since new.

My partner was no help and had zero opinion of either car as neither were a Rover 100/ Metro. In the end we made the trade and took the Civic (rightly or wrongly) based on the fact that we knew the Almera had been lightly crashed by her nan and repaired. In a twist of fate, we later found out the Civic had also been lightly crashed by her brother so that reason became moot. A change is always good though, and at that time my brother had and EP3 Civic, so we were able to nerd over our neither exciting editions of mundane Hondas (not his is the picture with two of them – that was just a random parking opportunity).

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It was a good car all things considered. We did over 100,000 more miles in it in about 6 years, only having to replace a few coil packs, until the transmission input shaft bearing was too worn to inspire any confidence. We’d grown accustomed to the growing noise over the previous tens of thousands of miles but whenever we gave people a lift, they were quite alarmed. It seems to be a weakness with these petrol Civics, ours having already had one transmission replaced under warranty. I “sold” the car, running and MOT’d albeit with a chuggy transmission, but I think it was bought by a scrap company rather than a private buyer. If I’d had the space, I’d have liked to park it in a corner and done nothing with it.

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Harrison’s History - #18 Raleigh Runabout YOO 41F

(Controversy Alert: It’s not a car. But it does have a V5…)

Also during the second Micra ownership timeline I acquired a non-running Raleigh Runabout, just because. I still have it. It is still non-running. It’s now in boxes in my garage, on my “todo one-day” list… Eventually I’d like to go buzzing about around the Isle of Man course for bragging rights and to have done so in such the wrong machine.

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Harrison’s History - #19 Volvo 240 RHM 999Y

I replaced the Micra with this Volvo 240 auto as part of my unintentional big car, little car, big car swing that I’d been developing. This was the aforementioned beige beauty that turned up on an Autoshite Flickr photosteam when Googling my registrations which finally brought me to lurking in the dark corners of this forum. I’ve always had a soft spot for these 240’s and this colour combo/drivetrain/spec was to die for. Brown on brown on brown on beige propelled by a B21a with a three-speed auto with zero added extras, what’s not to love?

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I enjoyed having this as my everyday driver and remember fondly how particularly useless it was in the snow, a heavy RWD auto with such an open diff, basically one-wheel drive. I took it on some good long trips across to France and it never broke down on me in all my time driving it (cit?), because Volvo. I read somewhere that at the centre of the galaxy there is one of these Volvo’s full of old Nokia phones pulling everything together. It even helped me transport my 1920’s Sun Tandem from my parents’ home in Lincolnshire down to Essex as it hadn’t fit in or on anything else I’d had up until this point. I felt like a bit of a hipster poser with it strapped on the roof, but was comforted by the fact that it was an actual job that I needed to do. I replaced the front shocks and did some light rust repairs around the place and finally sold it on because you guessed it, I’d bought something else, well two things. I sold it MOT’d and running (despite the being collected on a truck) to a company that provides cars for filming. It has starred in Luther and My Big Fat Diary (apparently). Unfortunately, I’ve lost touch with the company now, so I don’t know what it’s been up to in its TV career lately.  

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage

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