My past sins


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Active member
Mar 10, 2008
Here are a few of the good, the bad and the ugly that I have had in the years i've been away.

Firstly is probably the best and one i miss the most. This was what i replaced the puma with in 2010. MG ZS180 Mk2. I went out and bought the first one i saw and paid for it. It was a great car but it was made 6 months before MG-Rover went pop and as a result hardly anyone had worked on them or had parts for them. Functionally underneath it was the same as the MK1 and earlier Rover 45 and 400, but the cabin had climate control, which didn't work, and could i find parts for it anywhere? :roll: I read up on them and it seemed that the KV6 didn't suffer the same head gasket issues that plagued the regular K series.

However mine must of been the exception as it ended up getting mayo in the oil. I ended up selling it after 2 years for less than £900 after paying £3600 for it. A very expensive mistake well learned. I don't necessarily regret buying the car but i regret buying that particular car. I wish i had done my homework and got a better one, as it was a belting car in every other area. Fast, practical, great V6 roar and really, really rare. I don't think I've ever seen more and 10 facelifts ever on the road. No wonder i guess knowing rover's decline.


Then I started working for my Dad for a couple of years, he had a few little project cars he bought and i ended up using this MX5 over a summer, it was great. Only convertible i've had but it was superb, i didn't really 'get' convertibles till i used one.

While i had the MX5 i also got a damaged Astra and nursed it back to health, eventually giving it to Amanda. I haven't got a very good picture of it, here it is with the bumper all smashed in.

We also had a Laguna for a bit, it was a nice car but just a stopgap really. It was a privilege so was really well spec'd and with lovely seats, but half the stuff didnt work on it.

After that I got Amanda a Mk2 Focus

I ran round in a Mk1 Focus Black which i also saved from the scrap yard via the gift of a new engine.

Then there was the V50 sport, which was a great car but was a 2.4 auto. It was costing me a full tank a week for a 15 minute each way commute to work.

In late 2013 i changed jobs again to the factory where I am now and our money situation started to improve somewhat so in summer 2015 we got a 2.5 year old Grand C-Max. It's been a solid car and continues to do us proud, we went to France in it in 2016 and it never missed a beat in the 1000 mile round trip. The ratchet strap worked loose from the roof rack and swung round into one of the side windows and it didn't even leave a mark. From the noise it made it sounded like we had been shot. I can't find a picture of it anyway. I also got a 57 plate fiesta for myself as yet another stop-gap car and it has just kept on going for me.

Here is a pic of the entire fleet.

Flipping Photobucket - I can't see any photos. Not sure what Laguna you had, but I drove my mother's once - without question it was the thirstiest car I've ever driven. Took two FULL tanks (and it had a BIG tank) to get from Hull to Birmingham NEC and back for a photography event. Sadly, I'd already agreed costs for fuel with some photographer colleagues, thinking one tank would be enough. I was a bit 'out of pocket' that day. It also had a great system of locking my mother out of the car at random intervals, and had to be recovered to the dealer at least once a month for this issue. She went back to Fords after that.

How did the MX-5 compare handling-wise with the Puma? Both are mentioned frequently as impressive driver's cars and great for B-roads. I've had a few RWD cars (Opel Manta, 3xCapris and Porsche 924) and think there's a definite difference in being 'pushed' around a corner in RWD as opposed to 'dragged' around in corner in FWD, like the Puma, but all those felt much bigger and much less assured than the Puma - although the Porsche was a long way ahead of the Manta and Capris in terms of balance.
Although obviously I can't see driving a Laguna as any sort of priviledge, given my experiences, in fairness I've had my own share of s**t-boxes before graduating to the driving colossus that is the Puma. I don't include the Manta, or 924 in this bracket, of course, but my first Capri was a disaster.

Advertised for £250, I viewed it with the seller (no doubt peeing himself laughing) in the dark dusk of a winter evening in some half-lit council garages behind some glorious 1970s council flats in Hull. Loving the idea of a 2.0S Capri (my mother had one which I loved as a kid) I bought it there and then. Driving it 20-miles home was... er... interesting. One headlight didn't work. The brakes, when they worked, juddered and jerked under the slightest pressure. They must have been more warped than an old 45 single left on a hot radiator overnight. No worries, I thought, I can sort that out easily. I finally parked up at home, my forearms and biceps bulging and wrecked with the constant fight to keep the car on the road. The next morning I went down to view my classic purchase - and my black Capri was more brown thanks to rusting wheelarches, front valance, bonnet, doors and rear valance. The blackest part of the car was the concrete under it where a nice oil leak seemed to have developed overnight. The car didn't move for another 6 months until I arranged for a local scrap dealer to haul it away. I still preferred it to...

...a Vauxhall (sorry, I know :oops: ) Cavalier MkII, which was that fabulous red/brown colour of a 1970s sewer-brown sofa. That wasn't the worst thing, though. The worst thing was the wheezing 1.3l engine that took a decade to move the relative heavy body. It was awful beyond, well, an awful thing. Gutless and breathless, I could feel the car trembling in fear as I prepared a long run up to try and overtake slower traffic. The problem was there wasn't much of anything that was slower than that heap of misery, apart from tractors. Even overtaking them took the forward planning of a NASA space mission. A local garage serviced it once and on my next trip into Hull the engine died - thanks to it having no oil in it. I was glad it was dead. Thanks to it's comfy seats, it was still better than the worst...

... which was an Austin Metro. I traded in my classic Mini to buy it as I couldn't fit my bass amplifier and bass guitar in the Mini. I regretted the decision about 23 seconds after I drove off the garage forecourt. It was singularly the worst thing I've travelled in. I think the 1960's pram that I pushed around in a s a toddler was probably better constructed. I know for a fact that my 1970s Tonka toy was sturdier. I NEVER felt safe in the thing, especially after the master brake cylinder failed as I tried braking for some traffic lights near Hull docks. I sailed through the red light, just edging between two huge articulated lorries, horns blaring and light flashing. I remember looking at myself in the rearview mirror after the car had glided to a stop and seeing my palid complexion and wide-open eyes staring in fright back at me. A little while later I noticed a bit of rust along the door skins. I pushed one of the bubbles of paint and the whole top section of the door fell into the door cavity. I repaired it with tile grout/sealer and painted it - it was potentially the strongest section of the car's body now. The next day I traded it in for a VW Polo.
My mum had, count 'em, 3 metros. The final one was silver and grey two tone. It was the Vandem Plas top of the range. It had central locking, sunroof and a cassette player with auto reverse. It was quite a good looking car as I remember and probably worth a fortune now.

I'll try and sort this photobucket thing out, I didn't know about this p500 thing until just now.

The mx5 was very low. Lowest thing I've ever drove. It was only a 1.6 so wasn't that quick but it was nippy enough, and pretty agile. Having pop-up headlights was so good, I would flash people to let them out of junctions etc as often as possible :grin:
"...cassette player with auto reverse" :lol: Oh yes, the luxury of cutting edge sound technology in not having to turn the tape over to play the next side - I remember those days well! My brother-in-law had a fantastic Triumph Herald (if that is the correct model) convertible - as well as a wallowing, twisting ride thanks to a somewhat flexible chassis, it had an amazing 8-track tape player that knocked the socks off the tape player I had in terms of sound quality. Love that MX-5 - didn't realise they did two-tone paintwork if it's original.

I can definitely attest to the pop-up headlights fascination. I had them on my 924, and still remember the childish joy I felt when I first used them. I always felt like I had a 'proper' exotic car with them, even on my it's-not-a-proper-Porsche-it's-got-a-van-engine 924, as the only cars that had them when I was a kid were the like of Ferrari,Lamborghinis, etc.
MikeT66 said:
[post]367614[/post] Love that MX-5 - didn't realise they did two-tone paintwork if it's original.

It was actually a Eunos Roadster, with the indicator stalk on the wrong side. The paint wasn't original i don't think. The previous owner spent a small fortune on it. Even stuff like the gear knob was like £200 or something from some MX5 specialist. Daft.
DradusContact said:
It was actually a Eunos Roadster, with the indicator stalk on the wrong side. The paint wasn't original i don't think. The previous owner spent a small fortune on it. Even stuff like the gear knob was like £200 or something from some MX5 specialist. Daft.

Yes - absolutely. I mean, none of us here would spend that amount on our cars would we...? :oops: :grin:
DradusContact said:
MikeT66 said:
[post]367614[/post] Love that MX-5 - didn't realise they did two-tone paintwork if it's original.

It was actually a Eunos Roadster, with the indicator stalk on the wrong side. The paint wasn't original i don't think. The previous owner spent a small fortune on it. Even stuff like the gear knob was like £200 or something from some MX5 specialist. Daft.

I had an MX5 a few years back, but a UK car which meant it went rusty very quickly. It probably didn't help that I used it as a daily all through a particularly bad winter either. I'd love another as a garage queen, although prices are rising a lot now.
I've heard many similar things said for both the MX-5 and the Puma - great, great driver's car, cheap, great gearchange, revvy engines... oh, and rust, of course. :? I see you currently have a hot Fiesta, Neil. What would you be gaining with the MX-5 that you couldn't get from a Puma/your Fiesta? Obviously the open-air motoring is a huge plus in summer - is that the only difference?

I've been a passenger in a friend's MX-5 only once - loved the low-down view and snug cabin, but would have a Puma over one, personally. Then again, I'm certainly only in a one-car household (Mrs.T66 doesn't drive and we have only one parking space) so have to judge usefulness along with a good driving car.
The Mazda MX-5 (NA) is rear wheel drive and a hoon to drive around, handles better than a FWD car. Plus you can drive around corners with the backend out :wink:

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