Tag Archives: Monday Long-Termer

I’ve Bought A Xedos 6 And It Was About Tree Fiddy

By Tim Smith

 

Today’s alphanumeric communication is brought to you by That Sense Of The New That The New Year Brings, or TSOTNTTNYB, for short.

About a month ago, I bought, with some cash (not all of it mine), a Mazda Xedos 6. I’m still unsure as to whether it was a complete mistake, but more on that later, first, the news:

For a bit of the year, about a three month bit, I was driving around a BMW Z4. Now, if I type Z4, but keep my finger on the shift key it spells Z$. My goodness pop-pickers, it was just all of that. Badger me, and I may just do a post about it.

That concludes the news, now back to the program.

‘So?’ say, you, ‘what about this Xedos?’ And also, ‘when are you gonna give me that 20 quid?’

Well, I’m not sure about that last bit, probably next week, as for the car, it’s got some miles on the clock, which, I have to say, I think are probably irrelevant, it’s a loverly dark blue (at least some of it is), and it has what should be a creamy smooth V6 connected to what should be an equally silky 5-speed manual ‘box.

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Looks good from afar…

 

Upon start up, it taps a little bit in a ‘I’m a hideously complicated non-interference engine, so this clicking could be something deep inside of me and probably expens… oh, it’s okay, I’ve stopped now’ way.

Also, it idles somewhere around the 300rpm range, unless the heater is on.

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But, I’m afraid, it’s far from nice.

 

But, all of the electrics work, it has a sunroof, and it has a sunroof.

Did I mention it has a sunroof?

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There’s also this.

 

Cosmetically it is, well, bad. Like beaten with walls and bollards bad. Here’s the thing, though, it cost me £350. And the sunroof works! And it’s electric! The sunroof, that is.

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And this, among the rest…

 

Clearly, there is a big list of bits and pieces to be done, which, if you come find me next week, I’ll let you know all about.

Until then, I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday Long Termer, Rover 75: 12/05/14′

By Tim Smith

It’s been a while, I know. Truth is, I haven’t owned a car for over a year. In that time I’ve been renting, mostly. It’s been nice having a near brand new car every so often and it’s given me a taste of where the current affordable market is. Truth is, it’s largely where I left it, but that’s another story for another time.

So, after living in the war economy, student life, money pit, I’ve finally got myself into a position where I can save a bit of money here and there for the initial outlay needed to get me on the ol’ car market ladder. So what have I chosen to save up for?

A Rover 75.

I Repeat.

A Rover 75. That’s the 37th best British Car as voted for by Autocar readers.

My first car was bought on a whim, with money that wasn’t really mine. So, this time, I’ve decided to do it properly. And doing something properly always involves lists and the ticking of boxes:

1. It must be in ‘Connessuir’, sorry, ‘Connesir’, wait, Ive got this… ‘Conn’… Eff it. Top spec trim. Not ‘Club’ trim. I’ve decided that the 75 will be my gentleman’s express and having blanked switches on the dash is a little uncouth.

2. It must be the pre-facelifted version. The later versions suffered from quality problems. And they were ugly. You can thank the Phoenix Consortium for that.

3. It must have the ‘Serpent’ wheels. These rather pretty looking things were used in all of the original press pictures when the 75 was first released, but didn’t appear to be actually offered for sale. Later they did. I have no idea of the process behind this. Either way, they do exist, and they do look good. Although not as good as those in the press pictures. Those buggers.

I'll take it.

I’ll take it.

4. It must have the projector headlamps. They look cooler. I know it, you know it, even that bloke down the pub who knows nothing about anything knows it.

5. It must come in a dark colour. Preferably blue, but green is acceptable.

6. Here’s where things get tricky. I would prefer the two-and-a-half litre petrol V6, possibly with a bit of tuning taking it up to ZT190 levels, but realistically the diesel would be best. A four cylinder diesel doesn’t quite fit into the smooth image of the curvy 75, but I plan to use it for drive stories, and petrol is just a little too expensive verses consumption.

7. This leads me into another tricky issue. Like most people who enjoy driving, I prefer a manual, but having driven several different engines with several different types of transmission I discovered something interesting. Diesel’s prefer auto’s.

With a petrol, an auto blunts the character, the responsiveness of the driving experience. Diesels don’t start from a responsive place, but do need that cream of auto feeling to make things a little more civilised. Here’s a statement for you; I actually preferred an A4 2.0 TDI with a CVT to the manual. Yes I did.

As it stands, I’m half way to my car fund target. It should take another 8 weeks or so to make the rest up. Your choice of deity only knows how long it will take to find the exact model I want. Couple this with research into the issues and availability of what I want, and I may be lead to change my mind on some of the details.

One thing is for sure though. I’m gonna keep you updated every Monday at the usual Tim Smith posting time of 6:00pm, GMT.

 

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Monday Long Termer: 28/04/14′

I think something bad is happening to me. I think I might be falling out of love with the Corsa. There isn’t anything wrong with the car mechanically, in fact it is boosting very well and still drinks diesel like a gnat through a straw. However, ever since the unfortunate key scoring,the Corsa just looks so sorry for itself. I look at it now and can’t help but think it is beyond economical repair.

The damage caused during the reigns of previous users was bad enough- dented front arches, badly gouged side rail, drivers’ side rear door and rear three-quarter panel, severely scuffed wheel covers and abundant dings and minor dents dotted all over the place but the addition of four long, waving, bare metal scratches is just too much for me to handle.

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As my emotional connection begins to detach from the Long Termer, I feel less respectful of it and less complimentary about its abilities. The negative feelings now outweigh the positive. I almost feel like I’m simply tolerating its presence, counting away the days until it is replaced by something shiny and new.

Sounds like the beginning of the end doesn’t it? Almost exactly how it transpires with most failing human relationships, in my experience. That may sound harsh but think about it for a minute.

Anyway, I think about the features and benefits (which all good sales people should focus on) that are missing (which bad salespeople probably focus on) and how their omission from the spec list mars the experience of owning it.

Isn’t it funny that I didn’t worry about these things before the scratches? I think this shows that, psychologically and possibly subconsciously, we predetermine an approximate limit to how many negative aspects we will tolerate before making a decision to terminate whatever arrangement or connection we have with that object, or person.

It seems that my predetermined limit has now been reached, thanks to the handy work of some probable plastic gangster with a penchant for infantile vandalism and general menace.

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Now, in my mind at least, it is time for the Long Termer to be replaced by a newer model. I would take kindly to choosing its successor myself. I would even throw a few quid a month to my employer if they would just let me pick something I’d enjoy driving for the 4-5 year lease period.

It would need to be of much higher specification than my current car. For example, in this day and age, for a man to have to have no iPod connectivity in his only vehicle is an outrage. I spend many hours each week in my company car and I have an unwavering love for music. My iPod holds the key to solving sadness, tiredness, boredom and a whole list of varying emotional and metaphysical states.

Editor’s note: Holy, moly, holy. I’m gonna have to break in, here. That really is some kind of statement. I feel like grabbing ‘old of ‘ol Nathan Green and shaking him shouting ‘THE KEY IS INSIDE OF YOU, THE KEY IS INSIDE OF YOU!’ Then giving ‘im a great big hug. 

As you were…

I’d also like a 3-door, as I much prefer the styling to that of all 5-door hatchbacks. Even when I have a family, I will not buy a 5-door hatchback with my own hard earned cash. I’d rather jump out of the drivers seat every time someone needs to get in the back than own a 5 door- surely it’s preferable to face infrequent and minor physical inconveniences than a endure constant and major aesthetic malaise?

So, the catch. I do not own this car and I have no real say in when it is to be replaced or, most likely, what it will be replaced with. I think it’s going to take some real presentation skills to get the car changed prematurely but, hell, my employer took me on because I can confidently present the features and benefits of the solutions we provide to satisfy our customers’ needs and wants. I don’t recall any clauses in my contract of employment stating I am not allowed to use those skills to persuade the Company to satisfy my needs and wants by putting me in a new Long Termer.

Watch this space.

Before I end this piece I just want to say a huge thank you to every one of you who read, liked and shared my ‘VTEC: The Power of Dreams’ piece last week. Tim and I had a conversation a month or so ago regarding our goal of reaching 1000 views. I honestly thought it was going to take a while as we were ticking over at around 200 readers per piece. However, the VTEC piece has now been read by over 3000 people. Three thousand.

This massive increase, along with the positive remarks offered by almost every person who has read the piece, has really touched my heart. We write these pieces in our spare time and for no financial gain. Our only ‘revenue’ is your feedback and in that sense, I feel very wealthy right now.

I appreciate all of your help, you’ve all been amazing, however I have to give a special shout out to Hannah Geddes who shared the piece far and wide and to all the right people. At one point, thanks to her genius, Autoeclectic was attracting around 100 views every 20 minutes, over a whole evening. That’s 300 readers per hour. Hannah, Autoeclectic salute you and thank you kindly for your efforts. Thank you.

I hope you all enjoy the forthcoming pieces and continue to share them out for others to enjoy. You are helping us achieve our dreams and I can’t put into words how much that means to us.

 

Weekly Mileage- 460

Fuel Cost: £50

Repair cost: £0        

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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

By Nathan Green

The trusty Corsa continues to serve me perfectly well and has, yet again, couriered me, my belongings (not all of them) and my friends (some of them) around for another seven days without any mechanical or electrical problems.

Unfortunately, sometime in the last few days, an unknown nemesis scored the side of the Long Termer Corsa with, I’d imagine, the key to his or her 1 bed flat above a boarded-up shop on Shit Street in the centre of a local town.

Welcome to Nathan Green's Wonderful World Of Car Parks As Seen Through The Paint Work Of Cars That Have Been Keyed. Better known as NGWWOCPASTTPOCTHBK.

Welcome to Nathan Green’s Wonderful World Of Car Parks As Seen Through The Paint Work Of Cars That Have Been Keyed. Better known as NGWWOCPASTTPOCTHBK. In this edition we have that great Mastodon of the road, the VW Passat.

I’m sorry to stereotype but, seriously, what kind of monumental moron keys a car? It’s a vile act of vandalism, right up there with kicking off wing mirrors, happy slapping and deliberately smashing windows. Am I annoyed? Of course I am. The Corsa may not technically be my car but I drive it every day and do feel some sense of ownership over it.

What will I do about it? Well, part of me wants to dedicate all of my spare time the kind of seek and destroy campaign John Rambo would be proud to plan and undertake, with the desirable outcome involving inflicting severe pain, resulting in some light scarring to the body and heavy psychological trauma to the brain.

Here, you can quite clearly see some foliage.

Here, you can quite clearly see some foliage.

I honestly do not understand why any person would enact revenge in such a cowardly manner. I assume it is an act of revenge because a) I have annoyed many people over the course of my lifetime and b) it is absolutely absurd to think that someone would key a car without any reason whatsoever.

Please tell me I’m not alone in thinking this? What kind of pathetic existence would result in keying cars as a hobby? As if any person on this planet is so lonely and bored that they go out of an evening and run their keys down the side of someone else’s vehicle.

Four times.

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Note how the foliage contrasts with the blue sky.

So, some recommendations to the reprobate who committed this disgusting crime against me: Go and buy an Etch a Sketch and twist the knobs until you’ve drawn something that resembles anything. Or maybe buy a colouring book. May I suggest you start with a ‘paint by numbers’ format so as not to overwhelm your massively under-developed brain? If neither of these work for you I would suggest, as a last resort, handing yourself in to the police. If you tell them about all of the naughty things you have done, they might provide you with a new “room”, complete with your own friend, a television (with the TV Licence actually paid), three square meals a day and a gymnasium where you can let out your inner anger in a productive way.

Anyway, what will I actually do? Not a lot. Probably just add the cost of fixing the damage to the already long list of problems that have previously been quoted for repair. Yes, I have been known to lose my temper and seek out those who commit such crimes but I don’t have the time to be a vigilante.

A man in a blue jumper not, in fact, taking a selfie. And some windows. That completes this weeks edition of NGWWOCPASTTPOCTHBK. See you next week!

A man in a blue jumper not, in fact, taking a selfie. And some windows. That completes this weeks edition of NGWWOCPASTTPOCTHBK. See you next week!

Lord knows I’d be happy to see justice served to this unknown member of our society but, as Martin Luther King once said, “I have decided to love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Count your blessings my friend and please, try not to sin again. I am happy to allow your fate to be decided by karma however, the next person you inconvenience with your illegal actions may not be so forgiving.

Weekly Mileage- 289

Fuel Cost: £25

Repair cost: £0         Key scratch damage £TBC

Repair costs (2014)- £849

 

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Monday Long Termer: 31/03/14′ – Parking Lesson.

By Nathan Green

First, an apology. Many of my loyal readers have been asking why the Long Termer pieces have not come to fruition the past few weeks.

I wish I had a definitive answer. Let me just say my thoughts and energy have been spent overcoming some personal issues. I’m sorry. I hope not to have lost the support that many of you have offered through positive feedback.
Now, with out further ado, let’s resume normal practice.

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time in Worcester as part of the ‘Inspired Learning’ training program provided by my employer. On day one I drove to my destination via the M5 northbound motorway. A distance of 30 miles that is easily covered in around 40 minutes as long as the timing is right and the traffic is minimal.

Upon arriving at my destination it became obvious that parking was not going to be as straightforward as the journey.

With no on-site parking, I, a person who does not know Worcester at all, needed to find a space that was a) free of charge and b) within walking distance. Luckily, I found a cul-de-sac with free parking just behind the building. Unluckily, I had to leave the Corsa parked in a position where the front wheels were just over double yellow lines.

With no time to find another space, I left the car thinking it would be fine. Why would a traffic warden operate on a private residential road and, furthermore, if they were to see my car, surely my parking would not be worthy of a ticket?

I walked the short distance to the training room, parked my arse on a seat and soaked up some knowledge. Lovely ta., thanks for coming.

After bidding farewell to our top-class in-house trainer and fellow students, I walked back to the car. You know where this is going, right? I was greeted by a clear plastic envelope which had been stuck to the windscreen and contained notice of financial dismay and general inconvenience.

Meh.

Meh.

What’s the first thing you say when you are fined or reprimanded for doing something wrong? Well, maybe not the first thing as, if you’re anything like me, that will begin with an F, a B or even a C and, if you’re very unhappy, these words will be accompanied by a violent physical outburst in the form of a slam, stamp or whack.

Anyway, once I had finished swearing and stamping and had overcome the temptation to film myself burning the ticket then uploading the video to YouTube, I told myself I was a victim. However, as is often the case these days, I immediately began to question this.

I knew I could get a ticket when I parked the car there, didn’t I? I know that traffic wardens are awarded bonuses relating to the revenue they provide for their respective employers, in this case Worcester City Council. I knew that even one inch over those yellows lines would doubtless leave me with a fine. So why did I immediately begin to feel like a victim? Why is it we automatically feel like it’s not fair to be reprimanded when we do something wrong?

If you punch someone in the face, you will likely be arrested. If you sleep with someone else’s girlfriend, you’ll probably be punched in the face. If you don’t treat your girlfriend with the respect and the decency she deserves, she will leave you and, if you park on double yellow lines, you will get a ticket.
Recently I have learned that playing the victim only delays inevitable guilt and misfortune, whether it be financial or emotional. If you tackle your problems head on, and, in a timely manner, you have a much better chance of gaining a favourable outcome.

So, I accepted I was at fault, took a knock to my ego (and bank balance) and paid the fine. Doing so within a 14 day period entitled me to 50% off, leaving me with just £35 to pay.

What an absolute bargain life lesson, if only all of them could be solved so quickly and cheaply.

Weekly Mileage- 512

Fuel Cost: £50

Repair cost: £0 Parking ticket: £35

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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Monday Long Termer: 24/02/14′

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By Nathan Green

I am happy to report the Corsa and I both made it through the storms without incident. I am absolutely ecstatic to report that, after a week of quite severe discomfort, my neck is finally fixed. Thankfully, I am now able to move my head independently from the rest of my body, meaning actions required while driving are much easier and much less painful to complete. Also, with looking both ways back in my arsenal of body movements, I can once again nail the Green Cross Code. Winning.

Unfortunately, I also have some not so good news – the front bumper splitter has sort of, um, fallen off. Well, half of it has.

The front splitter is the lowermost part of the front bumper, a relatively small, usually plastic lip that aides aerodynamic stability and is also used to form part of the cars visual identity, making the front end appear closer to the ground by actually making it closer to the ground. Amazing stuff, I know.

Anyway, the Corsa has a two-part splitter which is clipped onto the bottom of the front bumper and is made of two pieces of cheap, unpainted moulded plastic that join in the middle and reflect each other, covering the full lower frontal area of the car. The half of the splitter which was once connected to the passenger side of the bumper (the side which, coincidently, was subject to a vicious battering from the sporadic patches of standing water that existed on almost every road I drove on last week) came unstuck and was dragging along the floor.

I *heart* my Vauxall Corsa Life.

I *heart* my Vauxhall Corsa Life.

I actually have no idea how long it had been hanging there, I can only hope it wasn’t long as it was not a good look. It seemed to draw the attention of many people as I left the gym on Wednesday. I rolled slowly through the car park at Stratford Park, totally ignorant to the plastic appendage hanging, being tortured by a combination of friction and heat, the tarmac grinding away at its edges. I got to the roundabout at the bottom of the car park and gave way to a car coming from my right. The guy driving said car pointed at me then pointed at the floor. I was baffled, thinking I had run over something. Then a lady walked over and told me something was broken on the bumper and whatever it was, was hanging off. A young Polish man even bent down and tried to clip the splitter back on for me but he explained it was broken, in broken English. Top man for trying, though. Would you do that for someone you didn’t know? I appreciated it, that’s for sure.

Broken Clip. Broken heart.

Broken Clip. Broken heart.

With a queue forming behind me I had to drive on and pull over again in a suitable place just a few hundred metres up the road. I tried to clip the splitter back on but I was cold and it was fiddly. With it barely hanging on, it was easier to just remove it (gently of course) and place it neatly in the boot. The front end face created by the headlight eyes, the Vauxhall badge nose and the bumper grill mouth is now missing a front splitter, or a tooth, to follow the facial feature trend. It looks wonky and will need to be fixed as soon as possible. I’ll need to dust off my patient hat and find some suitable tools. Working on a Vauxhall Corsa again. My first car was a Corsa, but that one had a turbo’d Red Top underneath the bonnet. Happy times…

On a different note: Blog editor Tim and I met yesterday, Sunday, to discuss a few things about the blog: current audience (expanding every week, thank you all), what the future holds, plans for expansion and eventual total world domination. But I digress. A valid point was raised about the longevity of this piece due to the fact that all cars have a useable life, a company car probably has a shorter and harder “life” than most, and you, the audience, need to read fresh stuff to keep it all interesting and enjoyable. We will, eventually, need to change the core subject matter of this piece- the Vauxhall Corsa.

I know this will be tinged with sadness, like the passing of a Top Gear ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ but it made me think. I work for a media company. We print car reviews in our newspapers to attract reader interest. I’m writing a weekly review based around my company car which, for some strange reason, is attracting reader interest. Surely giving me a different, brand new, company car every week, or month, their choice (always giving) and letting me write their reviews would be an intelligent business decision? Or is it just an exuberant and delusional fantasy created by someone clearly getting well ahead of their station? Only one way to find out I guess: get the corporate email address book out and find a suitable recipient for my request. What was it I said a few pieces back about not being afraid to ask?

Weekly Mileage- 346

Fuel Cost: £35

Repair cost: £0 (splitter needs fixing, no quotes yet.)

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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Monday Long Termer: 17/02/14

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By Nathan Green

Standing water, fallen trees and landslide debris- just a few of the obstacles I had to contend with last week while navigating the tarmacadam transport network around Stroud and the surrounding areas.

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On Thursday, the Met Office imposed a severe weather warning on our fair town, stating that only the most necessary of journeys should be attempted due an increased risk of injury. Am I the only person who saw this as a challenge?

In my opinion, so-called ‘severe weather’ adds an exciting twist to the normally mundane task of driving an 80 horse-power hatchback. Not only does it offer an opportunity to test the limits of the car  but it can also present a challenge to one’s own abilities.

I believe it is of paramount importance that we regularly challenge ourselves. Indeed it is only when we step outside of our comfort zone that our true potential is revealed. Mother Nature threw down the gauntlet and I, armed only with a Vauxhall Corsa and an insatiable hunger for success, decided to accept.

On Wednesday evening, howling winds and sideways rain relentlessly battered the county. In fact, the winds produced by the weather system rotating above us were so strong that both bridges across the river Severn were closed. Luckily, the adjoining M5 motorway between Stroud and Cheltenham was not.

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Despite an unnerving combination of 70mph winds, poor visibility and extensive road works, my friends and I were able to uphold our date with the diving boards at Cheltenham Leisure Centre.

This is a weekly endeavour which, in my opinion, is a non-negotiable social activity. The consequences of not attending could be a severe- holing up in a local pub and drinking ale until our livers fail. Better to get on the road and brave the adverse weather conditions.

So, challenge accepted, friends collected, Met Office advice rejected.
Driving on the motorway is usually a tiresome and uneventful experience; add standing water and ferocious crosswinds to the mix and a 20 mile journey along a straight road becomes a task in of itself.

The Corsa is only a medium-sized hatchback, however the roofline is much higher than on earlier models, making it more susceptible to rocking and rolling when impacted by rampant gusts of storm-charged air.

Motorway driving normally requires minimal steering input. Not on this journey. As the storm raged around us, I kept two hands on the steering wheel, making constant adjustments to counteract the effects of the invisible external forces trying to disturb my dead ahead bearing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed it, but, strangely, I preferred it to the normal yawn fest of straight line driving.

Standing water was another issue we had to contend with and this can lead to serious, high-speed accidents, especially on the motorway. The Corsa actually dealt with this issue without any complaints or disturbing behaviour. The skinny, budget-brand tyres offer limited grip on even the driest of roads, however, their minimal cross-section is a definite advantage in this weather, enabling the car to chop through puddles of water instead of aquaplaning across them, aiding me in maintaining directional control while my passengers quietly prayed that they would escape death in the Corsa Life.

Still alive, we arrived at the leisure centre where we threw ourselves from the boards in a very unsafe manner until injury and/or lack of energy called an end to our shenanigans. Unfortunately, it was I, the driver, who picked up an injury. I’d torn a muscle in my neck meaning I could no longer move my head independently from my body, an action that is frequently required when driving. The 20 mile journey back to Stroud was definitely a challenge and not one I enjoyed at all. It never rains, but it pours.

Mileage- 402
Fuel cost- £40
Repair cost- £0
Repair cost (2014 total)- £809

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