my cars

Only a couple of the motors I have owned have been what you might call interesting. The others can be considered something of a celebration of motoring mediocrity. So in chronological order...

1992 Fiat Uno 45 Fire (999cc)
My first car! Basic but cheap to buy and to run. Of course I regret scrapping it and I still miss it, even though it would be a pile of rust flakes by now.
...and yes, I took this car
Drag Racing at Santa Pod!

1992 Range Rover Vogue SE (3947cc V8)
I fulfilled an ambition when I bought my Range Rover. This is my favourite ever car, owned from April 2003 and although I never wanted to sell it, a lack of employment forced it to go in November 2009. I miss everything about it, apart from the 14mpg fuel consumption!

1991 Peugeot 205 XLD (1769cc diesel)
The Range Rover was broken and I needed cheap transport. This was noisy, but inexpensive and economical. If it would burn, this would (and did) run on it.

1989 Peugeot 205 XLD (1769cc diesel)
The tyres on my first 205 were worn out, the glowplugs and battery knackerred. I found this cheap 205 on ebay, and after robbing it for parts used it as a shed for over a year. One of the best ways I've ever spent 50.

1990 Peugeot 205 XE
Bought on ebay and scrapped on the same day, again for parts to keep my first 205 running. Good thing too, as it turned out the head gasket was blown and the brakes were shot. The 4 good tyres and battery I took from it cost me only 10.

NCF Motors Blitz 1 (704cc)
When we were building the robot, there was much debate about building a fun buggy and giving it an electric motor. I first saw the Blitz at the Newark Kit Car show (in the hall next to the robots). When one turned up on ebay we couldn't resist. The electric motor plan fell by the wayside, but the water cooled motor fitted by its previous owner never ran. Unfortunately I was made redundant a few months after buying it and had to move; the distance between the team meant we sold it on ebay in August 2008.

1997 Citroen Xantia Activa Turbo (1998cc)
Fantastic motor, and the fastest car I have owned. Bought from a good friend but I managed to kill it in less than 4 months, and then I couldn't be bothered fixing it. My own fault, and yes I regret it.

1994 Peugeot 205 Junior auto (1580cc)
Almost the cheapest car I have ever owned - I was given it in exchange for a bottle of wine, and it came along at just the right time - after killing the Xantia I was using the Range Rover daily. I ran this for a year and a half, then gave it away on Freecycle. I spent 4 on startermotor brushes, and bought no other parts for it - although this worn out old motor turned out to be no more economical than the Range Rover!

1984 Fiat 126 Brown "Sports Convertible"
Brown by name and by rust, this was supposed to be the donor car for the Blitz. Its previous owner had cut the roof off with an angle grinder, and used it on his farm. We sold this with the Blitz on ebay in August 2008.

2001 Honda Civic SE (1396cc)
My parents old car, and as it was given to me by them (Thank You!) thus it was the cheapest car I've ever owned. Boredom on wheels in "old people blue" and conducive only to pottering around. Interesting it definitely was not, but economical when driven carefully, safe, quiet and comfortable. I killed this by sliding into a very solid concrete barn in the snow - my only significant accident. I've had bigger bumps go-karting, but it damaged enough panels to write the thing off.

2002 Volkswagen Golf TDI SE auto
Bought with the insurance cheque from the Civic, far and away the best car I've ever owned. It's not fabulously exciting but it is reliable, comfortable, ridiculously economical (57mpg) and has just enough go. In ten years I've done more than 137k miles in it and with over 254k on the clock it is still running well!

1994 Land Rover Discovery 300 Tdi auto
Returning to work allowed me to get back into Land Rover ownership in late 2010. A Discovery was the cheapest way to go, and diesel was essential to keep fuel costs down. I spent hours welding this thing back together - it went on countless Land Rover club trips and was the lowest cost Land Rover I've owned. It even provided sterling transport three times on The Mac! Unfortunately the head gasket failed in June 2015 cooking the original engine; despite swapping in a replacement it was never road legal again in my ownership - and finally was sold in March 2019.
The Discovery ready for the 2014 Macmillan 4x4 Challenge

Discovery rear floor - before repair

Removing a stuck Discovery steering wheel, by the VW Golf method* (*not LR approved)

1992 Land Rover Defender 90 200 Tdi "Joey"
I hate naming cars, but Joey was bought cheap from a young lady who had already named it, and all my friends know it as Joey already, so Joey it is. Heavily modified, this is an offroad toy that I've slowly nursed back to health.

1996 Land Rover Discovery 300 Tdi auto "The Green Turd"
Turd by name and by nature, this rough D1 was bought cheaply as an engine donor for the white Discovery above. With missing parts, a bad paintjob, many electrical issues and the usual D1 rust, it could only ever have been a parts donor.

Car Maintenance
Maintenance is always required, and as a car gets older, the jobs get bigger. On all but the Golf I've done all my own servicing, and repair everything I can - I'm by no means an expert but so far there hasn't been much that I've had to let a garage do.

Other Cars I've Driven
I learnt to drive in two cars - firstly a Citroen ZX diesel down in Kent, then a Vauxhall Nova 1.5 turbodiesel up in Manchester. I nearly fell over laughing when I was shown the "difficult bits" of the test route up in Whalley Range - it was like quiet country lanes compared to the conjestion and bustle of the test routes in the Medway Towns.

Before I had my own car, my parents kindly let me loose on theirs. Firstly a 2 litre Cavalier, then a 2 litre Honda Accord (I even towed their caravan with this, when I first went looking for somewhere to live for my new job after university), and then a Honda Civic 1.5 VTEC-E.

Over the years I've driven many hire vans. Most notable of these was a Corsa diesel from Salford Van Hire, to get to my first job interview. I had to hire the van as I was too young to hire a car! I've also driven a few 7.5 tonners - I'm old enough for my normal car licence to cover them.

For work I've driven lots of pool cars. When I first joined NXT, the pool car was a green Mercedes Estate known by all as The Slug. For good reason; it was slow and horrible to drive. Later NXT had VW Passat diesel estates - boring but functional. I once got 60.7mpg out of one on a particularly bored day, driving from Huntingdon to Cambridge and back.

The most interesting cars I've ever driven were a Ferrari 350 and Subaru Impreza Turbo, a driving experience I was given for my 30th birthday. It was very obvious how the instructors were not letting you use the full performance of the cars, and even more obvious just how slowly many of the other people out on the circuit at the same time were driving...

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