Tag Archives: Ford Focus

Monday Long Termer, Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 Life: 07/04/14′

By Nathan Green

(Editor’s note: I love Nathan Green, you love Nathan Green. We all love Nathan Green. Unfortunately, today he sent me a piece that compares women to cars. Now, Nathan is a kind and thoughtful human being who respects women as equals. I also believe him to be comfortable with his sexuality.

Anyway’s for shits and gigs I decided it would be better if the piece (‘piece’, heh, heh) compared men to cars. In line with this I’ve changed any mention of women  to men. Mainly because it would make me laugh. But also, ’cause it makes me laugh. Oh, and *it is* odd comparing living breathing, creative, highly developed and often sidelined ‘groups’ to inanimate objects that you can buy with money.) 

Men, if I may, I would like to draw some comparisons. I promise these will be mostly positive and reflect only my own opinions. I promise not to be derogatory, sexist or misanderistic. Probably.

Why do I feel apprehensive about this? Everyone knows that cars are almost always named after men so there is already an existing link. Furthermore, I shouldn’t really be scared of offending anyone because, let’s be honest, there are plenty of less desirable objects to be compared to than a handsome modern Ferrari, a vintage classic Mercedes or even a filthy dirty Vauxhall Corsa.

I, myself have been compared to a variety of things that are much less complimentary. I won’t give examples, I’m sure you won’t have to try too hard to fill in the blanks.

Anyway, as many of you know, up until about 6 months ago, I was a car sales executive, which is an over embellished way of saying I sold cars. During this time, I was in a committed, long-term relationship. In fact, weirdly, my career in car sales started and ended at the same time as my relationship.

As a car salesman, I drove lots of different cars, each with their own personality and individual aesthetic qualities. However, I only had one lady in my life. Nowadays, I only have one car, my darling ‘Long Termer’ Corsa Life and I am free to date whomever I choose. As long as they reciprocate my interest, of course.

Whilst spending time with my friend Natalie, last week, we looked back through my iCloud Photo Stream at some of the cars I drove during the two years I spent selling them. It made me think about how each one of them made me feel, what strengths and weaknesses they showed during my time with them and, most importantly, the best experiences I had when driving them – experiences I can now recall as cherished memories. Let me introduce you to some of my past conquests:

My first sales position was at a Ford dealership in Redditch where I was given a silver Focus Zetec TDCi as a demonstrator. It was a great car. The car that really sticks in my mind, however, from that time was a brand new, bright orange Focus ST that I was lucky enough to drive before it was available to the general public.

A bright orange essex person.

A bright orange essex person.

The ST is the hottest of the new generation Focus and, I hate to be so cliché in my comparison, but it’s a stereotypical Essex boy – overdone exterior accentuation, tight bodywork, bulging bumpers and a large mouth. It looks like fun and it really is. It also has many impressive features, both inside and out. It certainly got lots of attention when I drove it around town.

I took this particular car out only a couple of times but it made more of an impression on me than my daily driver Focus did during the four months I used it. I suppose one could compare my experience with the ST to a few short moments of passion and excitement. I could easily lose myself behind the wheel, and quite possibly my drivers licence. Ultimately it was unsustainable. I’d love to drive an ST again, I just wouldn’t buy one.

Another brief fling I can boast about was with a Vauxhall Corsa VXR, again the hottest derivative of its model type. It was short, good looking, well-proportioned and makes all the right noises (Ed: oh you shouldn’t have.. wait we’re talking about me, right?). It was also completely bonkers. (Yep, talking about me.)

A short handful...

A short handful…

It was probably no faster than the Focus ST but, due to a significant weight deficit, it definitely felt faster, maybe even lunatic quick.

Driving the Corsa VXR quickly through wet country lanes lined by trees and peppered with potholes was comparable to jumping on the back of an angry masculinist after cracking a joke about woman being people too- you’d better hold on tight because if you lose control, he’ll kick your arse!

I remember I used to put the back seats down just to hear more from the sporty exhaust, the sound waves bellowed and amplified in the boot space filling the cabin with a beautiful high pitch resonance, particularly when the turbo came on song.

While the VXR was thoroughly enjoyable to drive, it was actually rather exhausting because it was hard to drive sensibly and driving it with spirit required total focus and a fair bit of effort.

Unfortunately for me, it was also too expensive to run on a long term basis. I guess it was comparable to a very exciting but very high-maintenance man who would only make sense as a weekend luxury. You simply wouldn’t have enough energy or money to keep him completely happy seven days a week.

Another favourite is my friend Matt’s 2007 Honda Civic Type-R which I drove back from Redditch and delivered to him in Stroud. Matt is fully aware that drove it hard because, well, I told him.

A two-timing red-head. In a car lot.

A two-timing red-head. In a car lot.

 

VTEC engines are built to be thrashed, it would have been rude not to oblige. I had merely a quick fling with his Japanese hunk before passing it on to him for something more long term. I am happy to report they are still very much in love.

And so, this brings me on to my trusty Long Termer, the 2007 Vauxhall Corsa Life. As an object, it is not beautiful – it was not styled to impress the eye or indeed excite any of our sensory receptors. It was not designed nor engineered to make your palms sweat with its cornering abilities or provoke a tingling sensation in your loins when accelerating from a standstill.

Plain Joe

Plain Joe.

It was created to be consistently dependable, uneventfully reliable, boringly efficient and pound stretchily frugal. And it is. It is also filthy dirty most of the time.

Despite the seemingly negative slant on this summary of the Corsa, I am actually content driving it every day. It does exactly what I need it to do and does so to the best of its limited abilities. As a mode of transport it is absolutely fine, however if I had a boyfriend with the same attributes I would not be so content, apart from the filthy dirty bit. Perhaps.

Cars and men – comparable in some ways, but luckily, completely different in almost all others.

Weekly Mileage- 324

Fuel Cost: £30

Repair cost: £0

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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Massive Ford Meet At Beaulieu MM Will Be All Kinds Of Trotting Excellent

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By Tim Smith

Remember how a while back, just a couple of weeks ago, you know over there, back in time a bit, we said that The Beaulieu Motor Museum is bloody brilliant and has a massive calendar of events for all the family?

No?

Oh.

Well, here’s the story.

And here’s the first widely publicised event.

Loads of Fords.

Loads’a Fords.

Yep that’s a massive event for Ford fans, drivers and aficionados alike. Celebrating 50 years of the Ford Mustang, expect a strong showing of pony cars with their owners/keepers all trotting around, winnying with pride.

The coolest bit might not be the cars though, it’ll be the trade stands. Being up to my neck in car guts is the life for me. Yepidee, yep, yep.

This man is happy he bought a Ford Focus RS. You would be too.

This man is happy he bought a Ford Focus RS. You would be too.

The event will be held on the 4th of May and Ford owners are being encouraged to bring along their own cars to show off to the world. Entry fee’s are £10 for an ‘adult’ and £5 for a child.

Personally, if I had the means I’d prepare a rat-rod style Scorpio. Now, *that* would be awesome.

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Here’s Some Photo’s Of A Focus I Rented.

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By Tim Smith

 

 

With no car for the moment, I’m currently going through rental cars like a hot light-sabre through Obi-Wan (too soon?). I thought, that as part of starting this little blog, with an aim to making it a big blog in the future, I should try and do some reviews of cars and stuff. You know like all the other alleged grown-ups in the motoring-press.

Well, try as I might to write a straight-faced piece, I  keep coming up against something, that you, the first regular readers of this green shoot of a future empire will get to see change over time.

I simply don’t have the experience to say one car is better or worse than all of its key rivals. I know the Focus 1.6 TDCI is better (though less frugal) than the Honda Civic 1.6  i-DTEC in many key ways but I can’t say whether it’s better than a Golf or an Astra. To cut all of this tedium short, when we start doing road-tests, we’re gonna do them properly. In the mean-time

I’m gonna get Tim Hamilton to take pictures of the stuff we drive.

He’s excellent, you’ll like him.

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Focussed Frustration

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I do not, as yet, own any reliable sources on that accepted great architect of Ford’s revival; Richard Parry-Jones. I can say with some accuracy, though, that he was born in Bangor, North Wales and that this gave him a childhood proximity to the spitting, barking RAC Rally(1). Ford Press releases have cited this as his starting inspiration to study engineering.

We have much to thank this man for. It is easy to dismiss praise from the average car bore who’s ever driven a Focus, Mondeo or (most prominently, in my mind) the SportKa as misguided or even flat bunkum. Take some time to sample any of these machines for yourself, though, and what first hits you is how well suspended they are. Take a little further time to drive any of these cars hard and it is immediately apparent that the machine  seems to be enjoying it. There lies in these models a ghost of the people who created them. 

I have not yet secured the sale of the BMW mentioned a few posts ago, so, for the time being, I have been driving my Father’s second generation Ford Focus 1.6 TDCI. Encumbered as it is by the iron lump in the front, it reintroduced me to how a car should feel. That is to say, it should feel. 

Things have not gone well of late for this happy little car, though. Turbo problems and a lack of budget/will to fix the problem have led to a slow and noisy death. demanding anything approaching a full throttle will set the car in limp mode, and with it, an inability to climb gradients or crack 70. You do learn to drive around this, though. You also learn to plan ahead more carefully. I believe my focus as a driver has improved as a result of these problems. This is not to say it isn’t frustrating, though. Somehow, I feel the car deserves more. 

It is interesting to note that Parry-Jones’ defining test of a car’s dynamics was not to drive it hard around a track, but simply to creep it along a road for fifty metres. In a roundabout way I am too, like his engineers, creeping around feeling for the ‘subtle nuances'(2) of the car. 

                                                                                                                   

1. Wikipedia, (last updated 16/04/13), Richard Parry-Jones, [Online], Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Parry-Jones [Accessed 12/08/13]

2. Krebs, Michelle. Edmunds Auto Observer, (19/10/07) Ford’s Richard Parry-Jones Retires; GM Looses Ballew, [Online], Available from: http://www.edmunds.com/autoobserver-archive/2007/10/fords-parry-jones-retires-gm-loses-ballew.html [Accessed 12/08/13]

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