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Dull thread for idiots: all cars broken all the time.


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I love MK1 Fiestas, I've had five including my first car. Is yours British, German or Spanish?

Having looked at examples of each, I conclude the German ones are very well made with neat seam sealer etc, the Spanish ones are OK depending on whether or not they could be bothered, and the English ones look like they were built at 4.30 on a Friday afternoon and it was job and finish.

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Good to see you back, I do like a Mk1 Fiesta, weirdly my old Sandpiper turned up for sale on Facebook a few months ago, it went downhill rapidly after I sold it,  but has now been done up (but given a gold lower half that it didn't have before) The seller was looking for £6000+

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Today's events weren't really that exciting on the end. We drove the Mini to Peterborough from Devon without incident, where a quite nice Renault Laguna resided. It was purchased and after wrestling with the DVLA website to tax it, I was off. Once I was used to the very sudden clutch, it was plain sailing all the way back. No break downs, accidents, tom foolery or hijinks whatsoever.

I was going to take some nice photos when I got back, but life got in the way and now it's dark, so I'm being very lazy and using the sellers photos.


I think it's overall a quite good looking lump in a very 90s sort of way. Well proportioned and practical with good visibility. The boot is flipping massive. Externally the paint on the bonnet and roof are looking a bit sun burnt and it has a few imperfections here and there but nowt major.


The interior is dull, bland, forgettable and insipid. It's too grey and there is something about the driving position that really doesn't suit me at all. It seems to require short legs and long arms. Some mucking around with the seat made it a bit better but still not great. 

The glovebox is tiny as it's mostly full of massive 90s airbag and the one feature that should make it interesting - the hidden stereo and ashtry - only somehow makes it more anonymous. I like the air vents and everything seems to work exactly as it should which is a Brucey bonus. I'm going to try and fix the two rips in the seat base and re-plump the door card.


As for engine, it's quite a nice unit, fairly revvy and responsive with a good deal of torque and nice and quiet around town, I think emphasized by the car wearing pukka Bridgestone tyres all round and being generally quite well sound proofed. My only complaint is it feels a little low geared and buzzy at a quicker motorway pace but that's one mega fucking nit pick on such a cheap car. I should be changing the cam belt soon - this F4P engine is basically the same as the F4R found in the Renaultsport Clio 172 and 182 and judging by the sqwarking on forums is awful to change the belt on. We'll soon see, I'll get a belt and the timing tools ordered up and see how I get on.

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Now how does it stack up against its rivals in the 90s low to mid ranking reps saloon or estate car  (that I happen to have had at some point) showdown?

Audi A4 1.8 20v

This one was an Auto so it was slow, but having also had a manual 1.8t quattro and a 1.9TDI along with an auto V6 I can confirm that I like these. The suspension is a pain to work on but they feel solid, handle very predictably, easy to drive and the interiors are just nice places to be. A step above the Laguna when new and feels it.


Vauxhall/Holden Vectra 2.2

Miserable. Not nice to drive, and felt cheaply made and designed in all the ways that makes driving a car every day unpleasant. The auto box wasn't bad and it drove for 3 hours with a leaking coolant pipe fixed* with eggs and pepper but that does not excuse it.


Mitsubishi Legnum 1.8 GDI

Looked pretty good, awful in every other way. In my experience the GDI engine is an absolute dog and Mitsubishis in general have all of the dullness of other Japanese makes with none of the reliability. The auto box was the most hopeless I've ever encountered.


Nissan Primera 2.0 Hyper CVT

Once you get over the weird CVT box, a Primera is an entertaining steer. Seem to be well made and even though the interior is dull, it is comfy. Recommended, although I did not enjoy fitting a lower suspension arm.IMG_20181005_151008.thumb.jpg.a7e02dc193a573bc9b84c98c79f3aa6c.jpg

Volvo S40 1.8

Comfy, quite quick and an overall pleasant car which I can remember very little about.


Ford Mondeo 2.0 Zetec

A good example could be very nice. This was not a good example. The fuel gauge read backwards and I ran out of fuel on the petrol station forecourt when I realised what was going on. Despite its state it felt like it had the bones of a good car. A nice one is probably a better car than a Laguna.IMG_20161029_083919320.thumb.jpg.7485ce566efee4b9ec6ebafefafde637.jpg

Toyota Caldina 1.8GT

I'm pretty sure a duller version was the Avensis estate in the UK. Dependable and not a bad steer but quite uninspiring to drive. If they come with the JDM mats then they are very plush with all sorts of fun patterns.


Alfa Romeo 156 2.0TS

My pick of the bunch, I know it's a bit newer, more expensive when new and has a well known selection of foibles but this is easily the car that gave me the most enjoyment and I bonded with most of the group. Get a good well serviced one with quiet suspension and you're a winner.  I prefered the 2.0 to the V6, it felt overall the nicer car to drive, plus the oil filter was much easier to change.


I'm sure I've had other potential Laguna rivals, but quite frankly I can't be arsed to think of what they are and find photos right now.

So to sum up, buy an Alfa Romeo 156, unless I come to sell my Laguna in which case it's a superb car in every way and you should definitely buy it.


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16 hours ago, phil_lihp said:

Welcome back!  That Fiesta is a peach.

I came across this photo a while back, seems like a lifetime ago. 


This is the best photo. That day where everything was broken, if I remember rightly:

Fiesta was unexpectedly using water which was a rotten hose clamp.

Lancia distributor wasn't timed up properly when the cam belt was changed (my fault)

Supra had a kippered alternator

Princess was generally broken all around and couldn't be trusted to make it to the end of the road without having to walk back.

Things in my life have not really changed.

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General agreement to all of the above that Mk1 and MK2 Fiestas are fantastic cars. This is a German built one, a 'Finesse' run out special with the high compression 1.1 Valencia engine and a 4 speed economy gearbox. The gearbox is actually one of its best features, normal gearing with what feels like a slightly longer third and then 4th is stretched out to make for nice low revs when pottering up the motorway. What this actually means is that it likes to sit at around 85-90mph hassling all the modern diesel rep mobiles in the outside lane which is rather fun.

I also do not accept that the M6 is more dull, once north of Preston, I think it's about the best motorway in the land.

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I was really surprised at how quick the Fiesta was for such a small engine, I seem to recall I ended up going home in that after the Lancia wouldn't start and the Princess threw a tantrum after a moderately successful test drive - fuel vaporisation I think?  Good times.  

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