2016: A year in cars

I’ve got a lot to say about 2016, and most of it is good. I shall start, seeing as this is a car blog, by blogging about the cars of 2016. These are the ones I’ve bought and owned myself. Let’s start at the beginning. This is the state of the fleet in January.

Dyane will soon be off to London.

The shambolic Dyane

XM fettling frustrated by weather.

XM and Perodua Nippa

Citroen 2CV dolly

2CV – off the road and very, very rusty.

The XM had been on the fleet over a year, so was doing remarkably well. The Perodua had made it to seven months, and the Dyane had just undergone an engine rebuild. The poor 2CV’s future was uncertain at that point. Before January was out, I’d bought another car.

Prelude black

A temptation too far for my feeble will power.

This Honda Prelude was a marvellous machine. I liked it a great deal, even if the ride was rather firm. It wasn’t very practical though, so it didn’t stay around long – a mere two months in fact.

During that time, the 2CV Crowdfund Project kicked into life, stunning me and causing much excitement. It proved sufficiently distracting that I sold the Dyane and, even more remarkably, the XM in May. I replaced it with a Toyota RAV4, obviously.

Rav4 rear

The obvious replacement for a Citroen XM.

The RAV4 must go down as one of my better buys. It hauled caravan and car trailer, it provided some mild off road antics and, aside from a knackered water pump, it proved unerringly reliable. I liked it far more than I expected. That wasn’t true of the caravan. I didn’t much get on with it, though it proved handy as a staging post over the summer, when I abandoned it in Buckinghamshire for a bit.

On-site. Pretty. Or something.

On-site. Pretty. Or something.

There was a temporary (even more than usual) addition to the fleet in the summer, when a rather pleasant Jaguar XJS came to stay. This was due to me taking on the editorship of a new magazine – Classic Jaguar. That was in addition to Retro Japanese magazine, which was all the excuse I needed to buy lots of Japanese cars. Jaguars are harder to find in my price bracket though, so I simply borrowed one from Kelsey Media.

The latest project car.

I covered 1800 miles in this leggy XJS. Not a bad way to travel.

All too soon, the XJS went away. It had really got me in the mood for a luxurious, automatic wafting machine. So I bought a 1987 Mitsubishi Colt 1.5 auto…

Colt hatch

It wasn’t on the fleet long, but it was very busy in that time – the Mitsubishi Colt.

It was quite pleasant, but a little short of gearing. It had a fair dose of luxury – electric windows, central locking, velour interior and hideously light power steering – but wasn’t really what I wanted. Now I was faced with an impending holiday in France. I’d ruled the RAV4 out on comfort grounds – the seats and suspension were far from cossetting. Having already driven 500 miles in one weekend in the Colt, I didn’t really fancy a long trip in that either. I’d sold the perfect car for the trip – the XM – and the 2CV was now in hundreds of bits, spread out around the country. There was only one solution. Buy another car.

This is truly what French holidays are all about!

The perfect car for the Brit abroad.

This Rover 600 turbo diesel was a fine steed, though the firm suspension was a disappointment. It needed a touch more waft. It coped marvellously with searing temperatures in France, but failed to handle a classic car event in Cheshire with quite such aplomb. It blew its gearbox to bits. Having suffered the embarrassment of my modern-ish car having to be dragged out of a classic car event on a towing dolly, I then had to watch it get mangled by The AA when it fell off said dolly. Thankfully, The AA were quick to settle – at more than I paid for the car, so all was fairly well.

I then had the difficult job of finding the perfect replacement. I wasn’t expecting it to take the from of a Honda S-MX grey import, but that’s what happened in September. I still really like it too.

Amazingly, I still like this car!

Amazingly, I still like my Honda S-MX

I thought that would be it for 2016, but then I won a Citroen ZX in a raffle. Yet another non-turbo diesel Citroen, but this time with no hydropneumatics. Annoyingly, it drives really, really well, with far more comfort than I expected. Maybe coils and torsion bars aren’t so bad after all.

So, that’s 2016 in a nutshell. The fleet currently comprises the 2CV (still in bits), the Nippa (it has finally reached 30,000 miles!), the S-MX and the ZX. Who knows what will happen in 2017! Keep this blog in your sightline to find out…

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