Tag Archives: Golf

Mercedes 190 2.5-16 – don’t be a fool Carficionado….

28 Oct

Have you ever been using your Smartphone of choice, and tried to make a phone call on it. And yet, straining under the groaning weight of all the technology, the screen freezes, unable to do the ONE task that it was definitely, specifically designed for. “I” “Phone’ – no you don’t. And when this happens, do you sometimes get the urge to travel back in time to when telephones were made out of iron and spit and, when you dialled a number, there was that cool, twisty mechanism that you’d spin round before it reset itself? That wasn’t going to break! And if it did, you could probably fix it – I could probably fix it! And I can’t fix much…..

Anyway, I digress. This is not Phoneficionado. The point I’m making, dear Readers, is that as sexy and slinky as our modern technology has become, it seems to me that its central concern is keeping the user away from the actual processes going on within it. A signal box and a centre where they digitally control trainlines do the same task. But one has big levers, the other is done on a computer. Trainficionado.

A signalbox yesterday

I’ve been thinking about my Golf GTi in this capacity recently. It is arguably one of the best all-round cars of the last decade. It’s spacious inside but not too big outside, can keep up with anything on a cross-country thrash, has sexy little touches like the tartan seats and the honeycomb grille with red surround, a big boot. But, in the seven months I’ve owned it, I can’t say I’ve ever really felt a connection with it. There’s just something a little….anodyne about it. It saddens me to say it, and perhaps I’m being overly harsh on the car. How best to explain this? I know! A sexual robot analogy: if they created a robot that was programmed to have intercourse with you in such a way that you would be robotically taken to the highest heights of sexual bliss with it, it would still be sex with a robot. Do you get me, dear Reader?

Somebody else's Golf GTi. Like a sex robot

 

The 190 in DTM guise. I haven't put the real picture of the car I want here, because secretly I don't want you bastards to steal it from me

And then I saw her. A Mercedes 190 2.5-16 Cosworth. Black. Leather seats. That tight-fitting bodykit, that strangely enticing blank stare of its facia. And under the bonnet, bits of engine I could actually recognise, cylinders I could see. A 2.5-litre, 16-valve engine bred for German Touring Car racing (or, technically, for rallying). I immediately imagined myself cruising down the autobahns, everyone looking at me going “Ooooo what an interesting car. That person must be interesting, not to mention interested in cars. How interesting”. I’d have kudos coming out of my earholes! And, most of all, to my mind I’d feel in touch with something more alive, not my trophy wife Golf but an old Mercedes with a preposterously long name where I could feel the mechanics all working.

Plus, as I’ve previously mentioned on these pages, my family used to be a Mercedes family. When I was growing up Mum had a 200T estate, whilst at various times Dad had an S Class, an SL280 and, yes, a 190. So there’s something about 80s/90s Mercs that gives me the warm fuzzies.

I want it desperately. But I’m hoping it’s just a passing crush, like Alan Rickman fancying the girl in his office in Love Actually. I’ll go back to my Golf and we’ll be happy. Probably. And I just hope that someone has bought the car in question by the time the weekend’s over. Otherwise, there’s a serious danger that I’ll make a visit. Uh oh.

l to r: Mercedes 190 2.5-16 Cosworth, Carficionado

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