I've been lurking around Nutz for about 6 months now and it's proving to be an expenssive experience. So I thought I'd introduce myself with my car journey and how I ended with an MX5.
My history is somewhat less illustrious than many other members on here, however I?ve always got a kick out of buying fun, bargain cars ? however, I?ve also got a very short attention span, so get bored pretty quickly...
I passed my test 4 years ago at the age of 19, since then I have owned over 20 different cars sadly, most of them not worth mentioning on here?
The first fun car I went for after a year of rubbish hatchbacks was this Mark 1 Toyota MR2.
Bought for just shy of a bag of sand, I don?t think there could have been a better way of spending my money. The looks I appreciate are a bit Marmite, but what a continual laugh this was? For me, it was perfect, with an engine that thrived on revs, pinpoint steering and flawless reliability. These cars must have been a revelation 5 years ago as they are still relatively brisk even by modern day standards. In fact, this car started a bit of a love affair with early MR2?s and led to me owning several after this one. Every time I got another car, I would soon get bored and go back to something that gives me more smiles on B-Roads than anything I had ever driven.
This one was bought for the total of ?500 as a fun runabout for a few months; I love them in black?
I thought after this that they could have been more hardcore and even lighter, so I got to work and purchased this for ?900:
Stickered it up in advance of competing in the MR2 championship, however the loss of garage space and a lack of cash flow led to me parting with it? I WISH I still had this one.
I do however think I took too much weight out of the front as it had a tendency to understeer, but the response of this thing was awesome. Any superfluous material was either taken or cut out with just a Kevlar backed seat and removable steering wheel cluttering the interior. The windows other than the front were replaced with Perspex, the sunroof was deleted for sheet aluminium and all bracing was taken off the boot, bonnet and engine cover to save further weight. It was running Koni coilovers and Toyo R888?s so even with the 140 bhp it was running ? this really was an impressive piece of kit?.It was painful on my back and ears on my daily commute to work and I certainly wouldn?t recommend a harness as you look an idiot when you have to get out of the car to put a ticket in the supermarket car park machine and then make others wait while you clip yourself back in!
In between this flurry of great MR2?s there were a few other cars that I have enjoyed in last 3 years of driving ?decent? cars.
*Dons flame suit*
In 2006, I bought this 1996 MGF VVC.
Now, there a lot of bad things written about these? and justifiably so. The VVC 1.8 is a really sweet engine, it?s very revvy with peak power at 7,000 rpm with a 7,200 redline and with 147 bhp it helped the MGF get to 60 is just over 7 seconds of which was quicker than it?s rival MX5 at the time. Sadly, just reasonable poke does not a good sportscar make; the steering was void of any feel and it was anyone?s guess what the chassis was doing. It could be coaxed into slides, but you will need to be quick as I have found it certainly snaps at you. I?ll be honest, I really like the looks of them and in the 2 years of ownership I spent a small fortune on upgrades plus two Head Gasket failures ? but I won?t dwell on that!
I put some cream leather in it, of which smartened up the interior, I lowered it and put some ?trophy 160? wheels and splitter on it. Oh, and the obligatory PH.com sticker.
I then needed a 4 seater, so bought a Fiesta RS1800, I can?t explain why? But, I was rather impressed with this, it was much better than I thought it would be. It was lowered on GMax coilovers and was running a proven 160 bhp, thanks to a bigger throttle body, aggressive cams and a re-map. It certainly reached 60 quicker than my friends Mk5 Golf GTI, which was impressive but more likely down to the stupidly close ratio ?box.
Despite this, it was a bit too Barry for me so after a few months it was sold to my housemate
A few more purchases later, namely of a proper load lugger in the shape of a Volvo 960 2.5 with LPG conversion and a rev 3 MR2, my drive looked like this;
I?m not a pikey, honest? But yes, that is a Transit Minibus on my drive?
I thought it was time to try to move away from MR2?s, so I got this for the grand total of ?900?
?There is no such thing as a cheap Porsche??
This was rubbish, I am glad I got another later on as all I had read was rave reviews of perfect balance and being able to steer with the throttle. This 944 2.5 8v, although in a very nice and rare colour seemed to lack every desirable feature of the 944. I could never figure out what was going on with the steering as it never quite felt connected and the gearbox, well it was a case of ? a new day and new grind?. The sold on after 3 months for that same amount I bought it for.
Moving on then?
Back to a Rev3 MR2.
Nothing was done to this, as they really are fantastic cars. This cost me ?1500 and the Revision 3 cars capture the spirit of the Mark1 cars due to revised suspension and brakes but just with looks that didn?t make my OH say ?What the hell have you just bought??
After 9 completely trouble free months, it was moved on for ?1500 and I thought at the grand old age of 23 it was time to get something more stylish and after falling love with my friends 147 GTA I got this:
Sex on wheels, I think you will agree. It was a Lusso spec 3.0 V6 car with the desirable tan leather and the soundtrack to die for. It should have been perfect, but the very heavy front end meant that I just didn?t find this car engaging in anyway other than foot down in a straight line through a tunnel. It?s a real shame as I adore the looks of them, I also couldn?t get away from the thought that a major bill was just around the corner.
Most of the time I would drive around with music off just to make sure I could pick up and knocks of bangs ? It?s kind of like a Car-Hypochondriasis. The tuning point was for me as I bought the car after the top end was rebuilt due to a Cambelt Failure, so I thought I was safe, but then the Water pump failed meaning I was hit for a bill over ?1000 as the belt has to come off to do the Water Pump ? Live a learn I guess.
I got scared of anything else going wrong, so I sold up after just 2 months but made ?500 ? that helped ease the pain.
Porsche Take 2: I paid a bit more for this one, and just as well as I now realise what the fuss is about. I was sold on this the moment I saw it, although it was the Fuchs that sealed the deal for me.
Despite being 27 years old and on 142,000 miles, this really feels like it will be going on for a lot longer; The non power steering is a joy on the move and the whole car is so confidence inspiring, you can just feel when you are finding limits of traction and I guess this is testament to buying on condition and history, not mileage. The car is currently for sale, but I change my mind every time I drive it. I would definitely recommend the 944 to anyone, it?s refined enough to cross countries and will never fail to amuse you when the road opens up?
The latest addition to Casa RatLad and joining the Porsche is this Eunos (MX-5) RS I picked up just before Christmas.
This car changes direction like nothing I have experienced, there is no roll whatsoever and a quick dab of throttle mid corner will make you feel like a driving God. Despite this, lower springs new brakes and a service were in order and it was looking like this.
Yes, another MX5 fanboy has joined the ranks and they do look a bit girly but I am currently trying to rationalise why this little car makes me giggle like a schoolgirl more than the Cayman S I borrowed for a while.
Don?t get me wrong, I would take a Cayman over the MX5 any day, but is the MX5 more involving? I would say yes, definitely. There is something that feels just a bit too clinical with the 987 Boxster / Cayman, maybe they are too capable? Anyway, the MX5 means you can have the same fun as in other exotica but at 1/10th of the pace, and I think that is the point. It?s such and honest simple car and makes me smile continually.
Sorry for the lengthy read, I hope it didn?t send you to sleep.