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Forgive me father, for I have sinned


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Forgive me for I have sinned. It has been four years since my last car purchase.

Since I finished Uni I'm starting to do more driving with work, especially motorways, and less time for offroading (and online foruming!). While I was in London I couldn't park (or afford) two cars but since I moved to Bristol I needed something cheap to run that could handle motorways. Of course, I didn't want anything run-of-the-mill so diesel Peugeots and dull Mondeos were out of the picture. To get the fuel economy I set a weight limit of 1000kg and it's surprising how little there is.

The shortlist came down to:

- Lotus Elise (+++fun but vv expensive to insure, K-series head gasket is legendary and whole car's a bit too "extreme" for motorways)

- Smart Roadster (surprisingly entertaining 600cc pocket rocket, 50mpg but water leak worries and there aren't many around)

- MGF (decent mid-engined 2-seat convertible but questionable image and British build quality, plus all the K-series issues)

- Mazda MX5 (ticks all the boxes, reliable and fun but seemed soulless and SWMBO didn't fit)

- Toyota MR2 (mid engined reliable car, but I just don't like them)

- Honda S2000 (fantastic engine but really cramped inside and expensive for what you get)

- Suzuki Cappuccino (Jap kei-car, entertaining handling but noisy at speed and rust-prone chassis)

- Caterham/Westfield/Locost (hysterical, ridiculous, excellent car but not really for the motorway)

After a few months looking around I bit the bullet and have what SWMBO calls "his attempt at a practical car".


MGTF 135 Sprint, 1060kg, 24k miles, FSH, immaculate condition, and it goes like a rocket. I've got an eagle eye on the coolant and oil but it came with a 2-year warranty. The Ninety stays as backup transport, offroading and I actually find it more enjoyable to drive, except above walking pace...

Anyone need a perm?

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There are so many of these about and they are so cheap now that Ebay will soon be full of people breaking them for parts. Either way, if it is an insurance job and they cannot mend it they will have to pay up for a new car. I like it John. :)


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  • 4 weeks later...

all these topless photos have got me hankering after a topless bit on the side for myself - especially as Spring and Summer are supposedly just around the corner........................................ :lol:

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Turbo, as I said to you before - well done, you've got a smart looking car there. You're still a wuss for not getting a Lotus, though :lol:

I wouldn't worry about the K series as with a couple of mods (re-site the thermostat, metal dowls and the latest LR head gasket) you should have no problems. You can also have issues if the liner heights aren't correct but if your engine builder knows what he's doing he'll have no problems getting the liner heights correct. If you do ever have any problems the place to go is DVA Power - Dave Andrews is superb and very well priced although he does have a long waiting list.

On the bodywork front it can't be any worse than an Elise: Damage the clam shells and you'll have a big bill or worse a write off. You see a huge number of Cat D cars floating around that have suffered only minor damage (and are cheap to fix with 2nd hand parts) but are written off due to the cost of new clams from Lotus.

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OK I admit I once owned at X1/9, there I have said it. In my defence it wasn't a standard one it was quite swift. :P

Thankfully I have a good friend with a Caterham so I still get the wind in your Hair...err...baldy head fix every now and then.

My last wind in the baldy head fix was on a freezing cold day in January in the driving seat of a Lotus Elan. Unfortunately the windscreen was covered in condensation, the engine was disabled and I was being towed over Exmoor in an icy gale sat on a box so I could see over the windscreen to the Toyota Surf towcar beyond! Good fun anyway even without brakes :blink:

Will :)

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