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Life of Shite


eddyramrod
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1 hour ago, Minimad5 said:

I have to ask

That picture of the Century Building, where was this? - I only ask as for some reason it looks familiar.

Also great thread, The Life Of Our Ed' 😎

 

Century Buildiing should look familiar to you, yes!  It's in Liverpool, on the Toxteth side of the docks.  I lived in Southport, remember... ;)

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As a PS to an earlier posting, here's a period snap of my old CF...

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Here's the red Marina...

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This is after I hand-painted it in 1988.

And here's a before pic of my green Cortina...

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And here is little me in my pram, with my dad's Tyresoles van!

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So, let's pick up the story.  My beloved and I were last seen in Inverness, right?  We had a USA holiday booked, so that took care of the next two weeks, my steed for which was a silver Dodge Ram crewcab pickup.  Well when you're in Tennessee, you know...

Our return was already booked for Manchester, so we booked an airport hotel for the day and then got on a plane to Paphos, where my hire car for four weeks was a Nissan Tiida.  This was our new home, so I had four weeks to buy a car.

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In an unusual act of camouflage (these things are everywhere in Cyprus) I bought an ex-UK Vauxhall Brava pickup, which is an Isuzu with different badges.  This was our main family car for the next three years.  Oh and the fat old guy in the pic?  That's the same bloke who was leaning proudly on his blue Granada several posts ago, in 1985.   Oh dear.

I'd already looked online and found Paphos Classic Vehicle Club.  Now I'm not the man who can stand at the bar all night talking politics and football with strangers.  I need an icebreaker, and a social purpose away from alcohol.

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I certainly found it!  Searching the web for classic cars available in Cyprus - anywhere in Cyprus, it's not a big island - I spotted a photo of a red Capri with white interior.  Hmm, tempting.  It was in Limassol, only an hour away, or less.  Well as you can see, I came home with it.  Ex-UK again, it was a 1971 car that had been in Cyprus since 78.  1600 GT XLR, with a rebore in the past bringing it up to more like 1700cc, and that lovely white interior, done in questionable leather but neatly colour-coded with red piping, red carpets and red seatbelts.  I suspect the belts might have come from something like an MG Maestro because they were a bit tight round MrsR, hinting at a previous life in a four-door shell.  The Capri, of course, only has two and they're quite long so the belt anchors further back...  But it was the only one on the road in Paphos, and became well-known enough to merit a mention on the radio one Saturday morning, when I was "spotted" in traffic.

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The model is the 1970s Corgi, of course, supposedly a 3-litre but since mine had the 3-litre bonnet I don't mind.

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In September, now getting established within the club, I attended an annual show where my car got a lot of attention, and I mean a LOT!  I managed to make a break for freedom at one point and fell into conversation with a Brit working one of the charity stalls.  Turned out, he had a classic car that he wanted to move on, as a project.  Well the rest is history, you can see it above.  1966 Austin A40 Countryman, 1100cc, unused for some years but a Cyprus car from new.  Just what I wanted.  I had made myself very much at home in the vast carport that our first house had and I thought an A40 would be a relatively easy project to cut my classic-car teeth in Cyprus.  We'll come back to that.

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18 months later and I had befriended a local garage owner and former rally driver, and his three sons.  We had reached a stage where Andreas would offer me the option of going with him to view cars he might buy.  So one day we went over to Limassol to view a collection, and in the end he bought most of them.  One was the blue Granada you see above.

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And we all know what happened next!  25 years on from my first one, I was a Granada owner again.  This one, a Cyprus car from new, was a 2.5 manual.  I'm sure those who were here 9 years ago will have become quite familiar with my rantings about that!  It was, without exception, the most unco-operative and downright hostile gearbox I've ever had the misfortune to own.  But there was no shortage of power in the engine, I'll give it that.  But it was a Granada.  Comedy brakes, rubbish heater (which didn't matter much over there) and still no properly comfortable seating position.  You're seeing it above at one of the autotests the club held twice a year.

I really want the Vanguards Miami Blue Granada, although that's a Ghia; I'll need a spare grille (and ideally some more suitable wheels too).  But I don't think I've ever seen that model in my price bracket.

A couple of cars came my way for free once word got round that there was a Brit in town who liked old cars.  First there was a 1971 Viva, which I sold on for a quick buck.  Later there was a Mazda 323f, the one with the pop-up lights, which I left with Andreas to sort out a couple of things.  Unfortunately the alloy wheels went missing one night!  I ended up just passing it on to Andreas.

It would be about May 2011 when I attended another expat's birthday party.  We went in the Granada and were among the first there.  Quite early we were left alone with the couple from next door, and as usual when the menfolk are left to talk (as long as I'm one of them!) the talk turned to cars.  Would I be interested in a sports car?

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That's MrsR, so you know what happened!  She had said to me that very morning that she would really like a sports car.  What's a good husband to do?  Unfortunately (that word again) this was at the start of her health issues, so she was never able to drive it.  But I sure as hell did!

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Bloody good tool for autotesting...

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This is the Corgi Junior.  I have a 1/36, and the Century Of Cars 1/43, but I don't know whether to paint one up or not.  I suppose if I'm upsizing the others in the collection, then I should do this too. 

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One of the club members offered this to Andreas, and I went with him to see it.  It had sat in Alan's garage for at least a couple of years, unused.  Alan was at least the third older gentleman to own it and none of them had used it very much, it didn't even have 17000 miles up, at 29 years old.  Well it was far too good for Andreas.  He said himself it would be a shame to strip this for the 1275 engine and he was absolutely right.

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Oh look, here it is at my house, what a surprise!  I really shouldn't have spent the money but I wanted to save it.  It was perfect, looked like new.

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And here is the corresponding Corgi Junior.  Again, I suppose I should be looking for the larger Corgi; two of, because if I do this I'll have to do the black one too.

Why should I not have spent the money?  Because this was 2012.  In the previous autumn MrsR had spent over two weeks in ICU in Paphos Hospital, and medical care ain't cheap over there.  Memorably, the Shiters very kindly helped me out, sending little contributions to my PayPal account which mounted up handsomely.  I'm always going to be insanely grateful to you guys for that.

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This is Costas, middle son of Andreas, and my best mate among the locals.  You see him here in the act of taking on my A40, by now a kit of parts.

So in September we flew back to Manchester and picked up a rental Meriva for a few weeks.

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Until my container arrived, including the last two cars I hadn't been able to sell over there.

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Some will recognise this view!  My house is the one with the red curtains, and this brings us to the end of the Cyprus episode.  I'll leave the next, and probably last, instalment for a day or two.

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Brilliant! You’ve had some stuff over the years Eddy! Shame you can’t keep them all in some big barn somewhere.

Im almost certain I saw your red Capri in Cyprus. Can’t remember where exactly but I was over there on holiday and definitely remember seeing a really nice red mk1 parked up. Obvious why, but it’s the sort of thing that stuck out a mile off to me, and there can’t be that many of them in that sort of condition over there.

Looking forward to the next update.

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3 minutes ago, eddyramrod said:

Thanks Dan.  I suppose the big questions are, when and where?  The car lived in Limassol from 1978 to 2009, as far as I know.  Does that jog your memory at all?

I’d struggle to remember tbh! It must have been around 2002/3ish, I think. I want to say in Paphos, but again, memory is hazy. Funnily I remember the car itself crystal clear! 
Also saw a badly faded yellow Mk1 in a yard somewhere with a load of other cars. Looked like it’d been sat unused and in the sun for a long long time. I don’t remember Capri’s being particularly common in Cyprus from my visits in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, but being a Capri lover I remember them when I did spot one. Cortina/Taunus were very common though, used to see a fair amount of them still running around or abandoned on waste ground the way the Cypriot’s did! 
Most of those car graveyards seemed to disappear though after land values started climbing. Shame.

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When I was there, Andreas did have another red Capri in his extensive yard, which must have been in use at some time but I have no idea when that might have been.  I traded mine in to him against the Granada, and last saw it at his eldest son's house.  All the time I was driving it, I only saw one other in use, and that was in a car park in Limassol.  Handily I was in mine, so I got a pic of the two together; both red, one pre-facelift (mine) and one post.

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So for a couple of months I was using my two Cyprus cars as dailies here in Barrow.  Neither of them liked that very much, and both were suffering with laid-up syndrome.  Both, for example, were screaming for brake work, and Tomato, my lovely Metro van, suffered HGF too.  Something had to be done.

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So I did it.  January 2013 I spent a Saturday wandering around town looking at various garages for a cheap old part-ex, "the car you really don't want on your lot" as I described it.  And struck gold with a 406 GLX 2.0, with tax and test.  It was a pretty good car, and remains the only car of my own that I've driven in mainland Europe, because we took it on holiday to the Netherlands.642870675_Camdump1165.thumb.jpg.8b0316147fefcfc4938115817d1aaa08.jpg

As proof, here it is, parked by a Dutch beach.    Did Majorette do a 406?  The only 1/43 I've seen is a BTCC model, and they go for fortunes.

I then sold off the Cyprus cars for what I could get, which was in fact a disastrous loss overall.  Still... it's done now.

I was casually, as one does, looking for something taller that would be easier for MrsR to get in and out of, and another Shiter pointed me at an ad on...hmmm, it might have been Car & Classic.

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A 1999 Chevy Blazer, RHD with a 4.3V6.  It looked like a good call, so I bought it.  At the same time, I didn't want to be using something so big and thirsty just to go to work...

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...so deals were struck with two other Shiters and MrDuke kindly met me at Cavcraft Towers so I could give him cash for his lovely little Nissan Cherry, and Billy could give me some for my Pug.  I recruited my new friend Roger as I knew this was going to be a two-man job.  Drive 406 to St Helen's, pick up Blazer.  Drive both to Chester (including a detour to Manchester).  Leave 406 there and bring back Blazer and Cherry.  And that is what happened, faultlessly.

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Nice little car, that Cherry!  Roger drove that home for me and pronounced himself very impressed.  It did indeed take on the bulk of my daily-duties, leaving the Blazer for when MrsR needed to go out.  At this stage she wasn't driving, and hadn't since before going into hospital in Cyprus.  However, the Blazer proved to be insanely thirsty for a V6, and also lacking power under load.  After a couple of months chasing possible causes, I decided to get rid.

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Two Chevrolets together, and still I'm sitting on the wrong side!

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2.0 auto with low mileage, the little Chevy (ex-Daewoo) Tacuma was a splendid tool for us.  I traded in the Blazer, paying retail, but I didn't mind because I could see it being part of the family for some time to come.  And I was right.  When MrsR felt up to driving again, this is what she drove, and she loved it.

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As winter approached, I wanted something bigger than the Cherry.  Know something?  I sold it to a Shiter but can't remember who!  Sorry...  Anyway, I bought this from Rawy of this parish: the lure of a Volvo estate is strong!  It was fast and very useful, but somehow didn't live up to my earlier 740.  Big shoes to fill, etc.  So in the spring I sold it to RML2345 and it went to where all Volvos go.

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The following day the lovely Hairnet came to visit me, having volunteered his services; I had a collection mission.  I'd seen this MR2 on ebay and won it, but it was in Huddersfield.  We had a jolly time driving over for it, and stopped at KruJoe's on the way back for coffee and home-made cake.  You can't do better than home-made!  This is the car that became known as the Scarlet Skateboard.  It was so much fun!

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The model is a Hot Wheels, kindly sent by another Shiter.  My old mate Dave came up to visit from Southport, and instantly fell in love with the MR2.  So I let him buy it, which left me without a commuting car.  Another Shiter came up with an interesting ad, which again I think was Car & Classic, so we had a drive over in the Tacuma to inspect.

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And this is what I came home with a couple of days later.  A 1993 Mercury Sable 3.0V6.  It was nice to be sitting in my proper place again!  I'm working on a model, based on the Matchbox station wagon.  This was a gorgeous car to drive, until sensor issues sidelined it.  I sold it to Bobthebeard who fixed it and dressed it up as an NYPD unit.

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A walk around the local garages produced a 2.2 Vectra, but I never got attached to that, so when Craigtheprincess needed something for his dad and had a Saab convertible to swop, I jumped at the opportunity.  Craig very kindly drove all the way up here to do the swop, and I got ready for a summer of being Topless (my name for the Saab).

As summer drew to a close, Dave came up for a show and fell in love again, this time with what would be his first convertible.  So I got my Scarlet Skateboard back, which was no hardship!886808771_Camdump1298.thumb.jpg.2bb5296a2c657d83d07cacbda3d8e2b1.jpg

Unfortunately, one horribly wet Saturday morning, a woman in a grey Honda pulled out of a side road in front of me and killed the Toyota.  However, that very day, I won my first Roffle!

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Phil_lihp kindly brought this lovely MG ZT all the way from the west country to Manchester, where I saw him to a train and drove home.  In fact he shot this pic for me at the back of Piccadilly Station.  I only had it a couple of weeks because Chompy_snake wanted a change, so I agreed to swop it for his (forum bike) Citroen Xantia estate.  I know you can get a model of a ZT from Vanguards, but it's the facelift version and usually goes over budget.  Last I heard of the ZT it was with Bobthebeard.

I then won another Roffle!

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Another Saab!  I named this one Swoopy and decided I'd rather keep this than the Xantia, so I let Moog, who had Roffled the Saab, take the Citroen.

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And then I fell in love with an ebay listing, a Rover 213 auto that I named Hyacinth, for obvious reasons.  I drove it about for a few months as my daily, and very nice it was too, then left it with a local garage for MoT prep.

For 16 months.

Eventually I let FOAD/DodgyBastard take it up to Bonnie Scotland for welding, but it didn't take long for him to pronounce it too far gone for his skills.  He moved it on.

Meanwhile, PM conversations with danthecapriman led to another ebay blind bid.

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And so begins the long and very well-documented story of my third Cadillac!  (I love being able to say that... my third Cadillac!)  This, of course, is the very well-known Huggy Bear.  Collection, from Derby, was another mission involving Roger, who was delighted to drive Swoopy Saab back for me.  I got home at 1am and once he regained his car, Roger had nearly another hour to get home.

Another Roffle win followed.

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Roffled by TaxiPaul, the actual handover was handled by Omegod.  The 2.0V6 Rover 75 had no MoT, so I pre-booked one near home... and it passed!  However, in regular use it became apparent that the interior had been cleaned with something that my skin reacted to, and I couldn't drive it.  When Dave rang looking to swop the Saab convertible again, I was happy to be able to offer him this.

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Welcome back Topless!  Dave was delighted with the Rover, which pleases me even now because it would turn out to be his last car.

Topless didn't stay with me long.  Djimbob came and bought it for cash.  But that isn't the end of the story, oh no...

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This gratuitous shot of Huggy with Dan's lovely Mercury is, well, just that, gratuitous.  I love that we were able to get the cars together.

And Topless came home again!  I won yet another Roffle, for Bramz7's 405 auto estate; at the same time, Djimbob messaged me offering to swop the Saab for it so we arranged a three-way meet in Lancaster.  I never even drove the 405!  I sold the Saab again for cash, this time to Bucketeer.

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Another ebay mission with Roger resulted in this little beauty.  Rover 820Si, 2.0 auto.  This was a splendid thing to drive back from Newcastle, and for my little commute.  It's also the car I had when I finally got a scan for my constant headaches,  which resulted in emergency brain surgery in Preston.  When I came out of hospital it was obvious I wouldn't be driving for some time, so I sold it on the forum, to Countryman.

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We decided that if MrsR was going to be chauffeuring me for several months, maybe she should have a new car, rather than the by-now-11-year-old Tacuma.  So we went the Motability route and chose the Suzuki you see above.  It's perfectly adequate for both local and distance work.

After 9 months I was allowed to drive again, so I scoured the forum and bought a cheap little hatchback to ease myself back in.

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My 2005 Citroen C3, Le Limon Bleu, which was an absolute joy to drive.  And I say that as someone who deliberately chooses bigger cars on principle!  It stayed on the forum when I sold it too.

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Another Shiter kindly sent me a Majorette version, which required the sunroof filling in, but that's no trouble to me.

Why did I sell a car that pleased me so?

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Well it's obvious. really.  Endless thanks to Mr HillmanImp for offering this FOC, and bringing it halfway here too!  What a shame I only got to drive it a couple of times.  This is another well-documented story.

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The little Matchbox XJ40 reshapes quite well into the X308, I think.

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Having reclaimed the Jag from the garage that had done next to nothing over nine weeks, I swopped it on here for this.  Many thanks Northern Monkey for driving over with it, and taking the Jag away just before the first Lockdown.

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Thanks too, to Hot Wheels for producing a lovely little model of the 850 estate!  The tragedy is, the only car we have that's getting any use is the Suzuki, the other two are currently redundant.  It's a damn shame.

Well... that was a marathon, well done if you've stuck with it all this way!  We are now up to date.  Future purchases will have their own threads, but they will also get a mention on here.  Thank you for reading my waffle.

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Tomato, as far as I know, is still wearing his Cyprus plates, having gone to a collection in Ireland.  I never registered either car here but sold them as -is.  The Granada went down south and resurfaced on eBay at somewhat more than I got.  It had a UK reg, RBY 879K, a(wrong)set of Ghia alloys and a(wrong)pair of oversized foglamps.  After a couple of turns round eBay it was reduced to less than he paid me and apparently sold.  I lost track after that.

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Funny... I was talking to Costas on the phone recently, and didn't ask!  I do know he's had enough to cope with, building himself a house and bringing up his little daughter, so it's not like I want to press the matter.  The car is his now and he can take whatever time he likes over it (it's only been eight years!).  And of course Cyprus is tightly locked down.

I well remember your visit Craig!  Didn't you have one of Andreas's rental cars?  A silver Panda?  I'm pretty  sure you were the first Shiter I met!  Thanks for taking the trouble to visit.

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12 minutes ago, eddyramrod said:

Funny... I was talking to Costas on the phone recently, and didn't ask!  I do know he's had enough to cope with, building himself a house and bringing up his little daughter, so it's not like I want to press the matter.  The car is his now and he can take whatever time he likes over it (it's only been eight years!).  And of course Cyprus is tightly locked down.

I well remember your visit Craig!  Didn't you have one of Andreas's rental cars?  A silver Panda?  I'm pretty  sure you were the first Shiter I met!  Thanks for taking the trouble to visit.

A real pleasure to have met you Eddy! Yes this was Sep 2010, you had put us in touch for the hire car beforehand. We were met at the airport and taken to pick up the Panda:

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I got horribly lost on the way to drop it off again a week later, but on the upside I saw and photographed a whole heap of old tat that I don’t think I’ve ever shared on here! Must do that when procrastinating over something more pressing soon, and do hope our paths cross again in person before long!

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  • 1 month later...

Yes I'd say so.  GF was September 72, so GQ could easily have been early 74.  I remember Beetles looking like that; there was a special edition called Jeans, which had special graphics and denim seats, which I think was a 1973-4 edition in that colour.

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  • 6 months later...

Talk about being overtaken by events!  If you've been keeping track, you already know that the Famous Five Volvo has now gone home and been replaced by a much younger diesel Astra; and that the Astra has now suffered a major fail.  I'm now waiting for it to be collected for scrap.

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  • 4 months later...

And now, as per the Motability thread, one Suzuki has been replaced with another.

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Ours is the one that's been backed in.

There are moves afoot to replace Huggy with something younger.  It's all a bit nebulous at this stage, I'll report when I have anything for you.

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1 hour ago, Bren said:

What happened to the astra?

It went over the bridge.  Best thing for it, I was never going to get along with it; perhaps I'm less inclined to try these days.  If you want some wheels, with good tyres on, I did keep back the three best.

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  • 1 month later...

Bump, to bring this back to the front page.  I was talking to the installer who came to complete my boiler installation today, and it turns out he has a couple of Saabs that he's very fond of, so I pointed him to this place.  So if you notice a new bloke from Burnley with two Saabs, that'll be him.

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  • 1 month later...

Given the weekend I've just had, I should post this here too...

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For those of us who like statistics, this is my third 2004 car in three years, after my Citroen C3 and the Astra That Must Not Be Named.  Oh and today I've sold the Astra wheels to a neighbour.

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Faulty stats alert!  The C3 was on a 54 plate, but registered in 2005, just to confuse me (it worked).  However...

 

Handsome IS my third Jag (including the first which was badged Daimler) and replaces my third Cadillac, as the first one did 20 years ago.  This time though, it's direct, without a month of BMW between them.

MrsR remembers her first husband having two successively which would be Series 2s; at least one was a Daimler.  One was a similar green to Handsome, the other being beige-ish.  Harvest Gold, possibly.  She's a bit of a closet Shiter really!  Before she met me she'd owned a Renault 4 or 6 and an Allegro, and those are just the ones I know about.

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I took on the LAPD'alike and eventually sold it to an emergency services museum. I think they had to close and or relocate. No idea what happened after that sadly. I also took on the green ZT but despite being rather good it wasn't for me. Haven't heard from BTB for an age, hope he is ok.

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