Archive | May, 2011

What’s going on

25 May

Hello friends of Carficionado

Well, I’ve been taking a little break since November, not entirely sure what I’ve been doing. BUT! News. Here are the headlines:

-Carficionado has sold out to the man, and will be doing some work experience at a major UK car magazine in July. He will then presumably be hired by said car magazine, because he’s the tops.

-Carficionado will be attending the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend. He will take a suit and seek to schmooze with the great and the good, and perhaps bag himself a St. Tropezian bronzed countess to keep me in my dotage.

-Carficionado has bought a new car.

And it’s the last point I want to talk to you about today. I was fortunate enough to buy, from a very nice Scottish man, a 57-reg Mark V Golf GTi with 20,000 miles on the clock. For £12,000. In dull grey colour. Now this I considered quite a coup, considering some of the cars I’d driven during my search for the right one. In one famously bad example, my brother and I drove out to a very dingy industrial estate in the middle of nowhere, the sort of place where gangland murders happen, to look at a 55-plate black GTi. The garage was actually pretty well stocked, with RS4s and AMG Mercs sitting around. Then I saw the GTi and, from a distance it was fine. But up close there were weird anomalies. Like on the VW badges there was this weird creamy sperm-like thing that looked like it was beginning to erode them from the inside. The dealer didn’t help his case much. Balding, but not in the triumphant, Prince Michael of Kent style way, more in the ‘my wife’s just run off with her bull-fighting coach’ way. He was also about as warm as a fish freshly pulled from the Arctic Ocean and had a handshake like a used Kleenex. Not only that, but he hadn’t done his homework on the car, and so to every (perfectly reasonable) question I asked, he responded “Yeah, well as I say, there’s a lot of cars here and I can’t remember the precise details of this one” – remember, dear readers, this was in the middle of nowhere, and he hardly had any trade. So me and my brother left, and said we’d be in touch, but the whole experience was just dismal.

So I was very happy to find my baby, who I’ve lovingly called Thor, because in the grey paint, with that menacing red line around the grill, it had something God-like about it. And as a far, it’s fairly hard to fault. The only thing is that I thought, with its 6th gear, it would be a touch more frugal than it is. But it seems to be a pretty thirsty wee beastie, not helped by my ragging it around Oxford in second gear to scare my friends.

My only two complaints would be these.

1) It’s good. You know those kids at school who are in the top sports teams, and they’re bright, and good-looking, but you can’t imagine them having sex. That’s a bit like the Golf. It’s a bit fastidious, a bit Teutonic. It’s not really grabbed me by the heart strings in the same way that I feel a Fiat 500 might, or that my old Peugeot 106 did.

2) Well, my other complaint isn’t really a complaint. But when I drive the car fast, and my friends all say “Crikey, this is fast” and in my head I’m usually thinking “Is it?”. This is because, I think, my perception of speed has been ruined by motorcycling, which is very much a case of “I will have that horizon here, now thank you very much”. So I’m perhaps not appreciating the speed so much. I’d love to take it around a track there and really push it. I also think that the car needs quite a bit of work to be kept “on boost” with the turbos. Ayrton Senna used to famously pump the accelerator as he was disengaging the clutch to keep his turbo Lotus F1 car on boost. Maybe I should try that.

Anyway, nonetheless, the car’s so good that you really have to nitpick to find fault with it. Even the boot’s decent. So I’m very happy with him, and very happy to be back, some 6 months after my last post. I’ll try and keep it up this time, and I’ll let you know how Monaco goes!

OK, this isn't my car, but it looks almost exactly the same. I'll post some of Thor soon

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