[NTLK] OT - Off Topic - Re: Oil in Newton

Tony Douglas tonyisyourpal at aim.com
Mon Jan 14 21:11:55 EST 2013

Good fun reading tales of everyone's cars... mine have been considerably less glamorous, being two decades of cheap and not entirely cheerful good ol' British bangers !

1 - 1982 Vauxhall Astra 1.2S (a rebadged Opel Kadett) - best seats of any car I've had - either had Recaros as factory fit or someone had fitted them. Engine died on the worst night of January 1993 :(
2 - 1985 Austin Metro City 1.0 - Metros are basically Minis with a slightly more modern shape and much more internal space. Not much loved but great fun in their own way. Put non-factory tyres on, wound up in a ditch after 55,000 miles of cheap 'n' cheerful laughs.
3 - 1987 Austin Metro City X 1.0 - great little car this - the classic "little old lady" car - was driven about 10 miles a fortnight until I got my hands on it in 1995. After 45,000 miles in winter 1996, got caught in a snowdrift, side swiped a bigger Rover and because of the cost of the metallic paint job, the insurance company wrote it off :(
4 - 1989 Austin Metro 1.0L. Hmmm. *Should* have been a nice car, but only had it a month before skidding on black ice, going sideways, blowing two tyres before rolling onto its roof and hitting a tree upside down and backwards at 50mph. I took this as a hint from above that a Metro shouldn't feature in my shortlist for my next car, so pushed the boat out and made the massive leap to a... 
5 - 1989 Austin Maestro 1.3L - another car that wasn't much liked, but mine punted along faithfully for a good 85,000 miles with minimal spend until the tinworm finally caught up with it. This was useful because it coincided with ...
6 - 1980 MG BGT - this consumed money as if it was going out of fashion. It did 95,000 miles in 4.5 years for me before the rot took over the inner wings and chassis legs - I kept it in storage for another few years, intending to get it reshelled, but it never happened...
7 - 1990 Rover 216GSi - basically a Honda Concerto 1.6 with nice British Rover badges stuck to it. Easy to run, easy to forget. 
8 - 1995 Ford Mondeo 1.8 auto - this blew up two engines - the cost of replacing the first one was the end of the idea of reshelling the white B, the second one meant the end of the car
9 - 2010 Vauxhall Insignia 2.0CDTi - no idea what model Opel this is, but it's quite nice if a bit unremarkable.
10 - 1972 MG BGT - have had this for 10 years now, and it's now in the shop to get its scuttle panel, front wings and front valance replaced and a respray. Should be back on the road in time for its 40th birthday of registration in May :)

Nothing as wonderful as the T-birds, E-types and Mustangs others are talking about from their youths, but hey. And after two decades of British cars, my driveway looks like an oil tanker crash site :(

Oh, and to get vaguely on topic - I kept track of mileage and fuel consumption (and estimated repair costs and bills !) on the Newton... ;)

- Tony

-----Original Message-----
From: Frank Gruendel <newtontalk at pda-soft.de>
To: newtontalk <newtontalk at newtontalk.net>
Sent: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 12:33 am
Subject: [NTLK] OT - Off Topic - Re:  Oil in Newton

Well, as far as your truly is concerned, MY first car was a Fiat Panda. Less
than four years after its birth it looked like this all over:


Of course, this wasn't covered by any warranty. Even though the car was
barely four years old. Still, being a company who value their customers
tremendously, Fiat kindly agreed to pay half the cost for rust damage
repair, provided the repair was done in a certified Fiat repair shop.
Unfortunately, my half would still have set me back 2500 German Marks (about
1800 USD in 1975). This was way beyond my financial means as a student, so I
asked Fiat to simply give me the body parts and let me do the rest. They
insisted on having the repair done in a Fiat repair shop because - believe
it or not - they feared that my work would be somewhat less than
professional and the result might thus cast a damning light on Fiat. So over
the next couple of months I bought a MIG welder, which at almost 500 German
Marks was an investment I was barely able to shoulder, two side doors, one
rear door, one sqare meter of sheet metal, a couple of cans of putty, a pad
sander and two liters of paint.

The up side is that - at least in Germany - all Fiat dealers celebrate an
annual spring festival. Back then, both food and drink served at those
festivals used to be good and attracted a lot of people.
Right opposite my dealer's main entrance is a parking lane. Of course, it is
not forbidden to park one's car there. Even if you do so the very night
before the spring festival to make sure the surprise will be as surprising
as a decent surprise should be:


Neither, of course, is it forbidden to stick the car documents (proof of the
car's age) and the entire written communication with Fiat (proof of their
amazing cooperation) to the inside of the car windows. And, since my dealer
had sent me a letter inviting me to their spring festival, I considered it
perfectly legitimate to enjoy their excellent catering while watching the
knots of people gathering around my car. I still think that for many of them
my Fiat must have been much more interesting than the new Fiat models.
Hardly ever had I seen that many people grinning while entering the sales
room. I had the impression, though, that my dealer's boss wasn't THAT

This, by the way, was the first and the last Fiat I ever owned. When I had
to throw it away after six years (even my MIG welder was unable to prevent
that), I bought my first Opel, which (at least rust-wise) was in much better
repair than my Fiat:


A couple of days later my best friend and me had made it look almost like a
car again:


Some days later we finished it and I had it for about seven years. At the
age of eight its condition was almost as bad as that of my Fiat, so I parted
with it. This, by the way, was the first and the last Opel I ever owned.

While my Opel was doing its best to fall apart on my daily 40km trip to
University, my in-laws happened to lend their Bedford Blitz to their son.
Here's the result:


The Opel shop (in Germany Bedford was sold by Opel) quoted repair costs that
made them gasp, so they gave it to me. I bought a very cheap Bedford Blitz
whose engine had died (which was a streak of luck since these beasts were
very rare in Germany), and my best friend and me turned the wreck into a car

After that came another Golf 1, which was crap, and yet another Golf 1 which
was the best car I ever had until my wife decided to challenge a tractor,
which resulted in the necessity to replace that car with a Golf 2.

Fast-forward 15 years...

In 2009 the German economy was shattered and the government came up with the
"Abwrackpraemie" (they gave you 2000 Euros if you wrecked a car older than 7
years and bought a new one). Being extremely satisfied with Volkswagen, I
went to a Volkswagen dealer to buy the latest Golf. My problem was that I
wanted a radio. Well, admittedly this isn't a problem per se even at
Volkswagen. The problem is that they won't sell you a radio unless you also
buy air condition. The cost of both is about EUR 2500, which I didn't have
at the time. Buying a car without air condition and without a radio would
have meant to not even find a power cable and speaker cables behind the
dashboard hole cover, let alone an antenna terminal. Bye bye, Volkswagen...
When I brought my Golf 2 to the Toyota dealer to pick my brand-new Yaris
(the first new car I ever bought), I felt like a traitor. My Golf 2 had
never let me down in almost 15 years, and the total repair cost (apart from
the cost of parts subject to regular wear and tear like tires or filters)
had been less than 200 Euros.

So far, though, the Yaris has been extremely reliable. But if somebody comes
up with a Hybrid car with an electrical range of 150km or more that I'd be
able to afford... who knows...



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