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Microwave's Cars


#1

I’ve finally decided that it’s probably time I just made a single thread for all of my IRL car related shenanigans, due to the fact I’ve had so many shitheaps different cars in such a short space of time, and I’m likely to have even more as the year progresses.

So, my current fleet only consists of:

My 2015 Toyota Aygo (The daily)

My 1990 Peugeot 205 XLD (the project)

And my 1995 Rover 820 Vitesse Fastback (the car that’s going to constantly break)


#2

I bought the Avensis at the start of May, after unfortunately losing my Rover 25 in a crash (that thread also exists somewhere). I drove it daily to and from college and work and everything was fine until about 2 weeks ago, when I started to get a bit bored of the overall driving experience it delivered (being an old turbodiesel saloon). Around this time, I saw a friend’s K11 Nissan Micra and got a bit envious and I decided that I really wanted a small, fun car again. I went to go and look at a 2002 Nissan Micra, but it was rotten as fuck (as they all seem to be these days). After that heartbreak, I went home and began looking for cars, with my search criteria being:

  • 3 doors
  • Very small
  • Reliable
  • Fun
  • Somewhat unique

Now, I’ve never been particularly attracted to BMW Minis, but once I started looking at the R50 Minis I really did start to like them a bit. Certain quirks like the frameless doors, the centre speedometer and the fact that Rover was behind basically the whole development process really helped to sell it to me. After finally finding one that didn’t cost £2000 with 150k miles, I went to go and look at one IRL.
Immediately after climbing into this car, I knew it was the car for me. There’s just something about the R50 Mini that really appealed to me, and I’m not quite sure what it is. Whether it’s the low budget premium feel, the size, the strange sense of sportiness or what, I don’t really know.
Anyway, fast forward a couple of weeks to the present day. I’ve done about 1,000 miles in it already, almost all of which has just been me having fun on country roads. Even with the crappy off-brand tyres on it, the car sticks to the road like no other budget hatch can, and it even feels weirdly powerful with just 90hp from its 1.6L engine (the One is a de-tuned version of the Cooper, which produces 115hp). The exhaust is quiet when you want it to be, but when you put your foot down in any gear it produces a very nice, decently loud growl which actually manages to turn heads and it somehow even manages to pop and crackle at high RPM. str8 racecar bruv.
Anyway, I intend to keep this car for a long time, and as such I have many (expensive) plans for it. It’s already had a service including fresh brake fluid & gearbox oil (old stuff was black, don’t know how either me or the car didn’t die tbh) and a K&N panel filter, so it shouldn’t blow up anytime soon. Fingers crossed :crossed_fingers:

Oh and for those interested (nobody), the Peugeot is still waiting for a coolant hose after the last time it wet itself on the garage floor. Should be fine to drive or sell after that.


#3

Well, fair to say this is due an update.
Firstly, after a lot of my time being wasted by idiots I managed to sell the Avensis. I didn’t get as much as I wanted, but I was glad to see it finally gone.
I had been planning to get the 205 out on the road for some time, so I got a few of the more important final jobs sorted on it, such as the timing belt and water pump, and I used the money from the Avensis sale to insure it. The car was running perfectly for a bit, but it seems to be getting air in the fuel system which is causing it to lose power and cut out sometimes. Nonetheless, this did not stop it from driving all the way up to the proper north to visit @adamd.

The car did about 47MPG on the way there which impressed me greatly, and covered roughly 350 or so miles over the course of the whole day. The 205 is actually a very comfortable place to be on a long trip, minus the cherrybomb exhaust which gets a little loud at full chat (which is often, with 59 hp). It’s generally quite a quiet car, and I’d go as far as to say it is quieter at motorway speeds than my Rover 25 was. Even with the lack of power, it actually pulls perfectly fine at motorway speeds, and overtaking is something you can do with no bother… as long as you’re on level-ish ground and the person you’re overtaking isn’t speeding up. Nonetheless, the car climbed up to the highest point on the UK motorway system and back down with ease, never missing a beat.
On the first day of driving it, I’d picked up a radio on clearance at Halfords for the great price of £35. Upon plugging it in, however, I found that fuck all was happening. I went to my work, found another head unit, plugged it in and found that it too, was not working. One of the things I was scared of with this car was finding crap bodged electrics, partly because it’s had so many owners and partly because of a receipt I have for the fitting of a Sparkrite alarm/immobiliser back in 1990. There is obviously no alarm or immobiliser present in the car anymore, but there are a few remnants of what I assume to be the wiring for it here and there. Being that I, myself, know precisely fuck all about electrics, I decided I should enlist the help of the forum’s resident old electrical shite tinkerer. Upon pulling all the wiring for the radio out, my fears were confirmed. There was bodgery… and quite a bit of it! The wiring was an absolute mess, with cables that made 0 sense and the odd dead short here and there. After an hour or more of fettling, Adam managed to sort a lot of the bodgery and the wiring started to look a lot more neat & professional, with the radio now working. Whilst going through the wiring, we also found that somebody had wired in speakers in the rear in the factory position, although this had been done somewhat poorly, as expected. Nonetheless, these also worked with a bit of rewiring! So, after all that was said and done the 205 finally had a bangin stereo, for me choons. There was also an attempt at sorting out the lack of lights on the gauge cluster, however this was unfortunately left unresolved. Here, have some photos from the day:



In short though, I’m loving it, save for the poor running habits. The levels of grip it displays are really quite amazing, and it’s far, far comfier than it has any right to be. I honestly don’t reckon there’s many modern cars (save for mega expensive stuff) on sale that beat it in that regard. What it lacks in horsepower, it more than makes up for in superb handling and roadholding. An XLD is far from a GTi, but they don’t have a legendary reputation for nothing!
I’ve done about 800 miles in it in the past couple of weeks, and even though I’m loving it I’m not sure I want to keep paying money to insure it. I’ll have a proper think at the end of the month, when the insurance is due.

I’ve missed out a lot of stuff as I can’t be bothered to go back and look at everything I’ve documented through photos and whatnot, so I’ll just skip to the (semi) interesting bit. I’ve recently had the itch to buy a new car, and I’ve been looking at all sorts of different things from 2 seaters to sporty hatchbacks to massive saloons and beyond. Eventually, I saw something that really interested me and fit my criteria quite well, while still remaining a bit of an oddball. Earlier today I went to go and look at it, and I’ve ended up leaving a deposit on it with the intention of collecting it/having it delivered this week.
What have I bought, you might be wondering? Well, let’s see:

  • It’s got recaro seats
  • It’s got a 2 litre petrol engine, complete with intercooler and Garrett turbo
  • It’s got 17" alloy wheels
  • It’s got a phat wing
  • It’s got a Torsen LSD
CLICK TO REVEAL ALL

That’s right, it’s precisely not what you were fucking expecting! It’s a Rover 820 Vitesse fastback!


#4

Jesus I don’t remember you having permission to take a photo of my tool.

You forgot Torsen LSD on your spec list there as well, people seem to like that sort of thing.

Also this photo is being recreated, jumper and all.

image


#5

Shit, highly important. Now corrected.

Bonus points for the 4x4 with L plates on in the back, oddly reminiscent of my current scenario.


#6

Whewe’s my jaw… :open_mouth: You, sir, are my master when it comes to unusual car choices :ok_hand:


#7

Smol update
The Mini’s clutch ended up slipping quite badly, and rather than fork out the money for a replacement I did some shopping and found out I could get a new-ish car from Toyota that’s still in warranty for dead cheap. With the money from the Mini sale used as a deposit, I now daily drive a 2015 Toyota Aygo X-Play (which means almost complete povspec).
My father bought a Peugeot 108 a few months ago (if you’re not familiar, the Peugeot 108, Citroen C1 & Toyota Aygo are the exact same car with interior, exterior & trim differences) and from the very moment I first sat in it at the dealership, I just knew I had to have one at some point. While it’s by no means fast or luxurious, it is incredibly simple & extremely efficient for a petrol car whilst managing to actually be quite fun to drive. Powered by Toyota’s well proven 1KR-FE 1 litre 3 cylinder engine with 68hp, the car can manage 60+ MPG on a good motorway run, and it will do 400+ miles on its 30 litre fuel tank. This, coupled with the fact that it’s very cheap to insure and costs nothing in annual tax, makes it a very compelling proposition. I intend to own this car for at least the next 3 years and beyond, but I’m very confident that nothing will go wrong with it in my ownership.

Anyway, back to an interesting car:
So, the Rover. Naturally, when you first get a car, all you want to do is go out and drive it… so I did just that. Having never owned a car with anywhere near 200 horsepower, I was keen to see what it was capable of. I took it out and caned it through backroads, just generally putting it through its paces. My first impressions were as follows:

  • The engine, even if it has 80s meme turbo lag, is bloody brilliant. It can be nice and relatively economical when you want it to be, but it will show up a lot of modern cars when tested.
  • The gearbox, while nicer than the gearbox fitted to most later Rovers, is still a bit shit. The gearbox has something along the lines of a plastic cage around the differential, and unfortunately these gearboxes are only really designed for maybe 50 more horsepower than the engine is capable of. As you can imagine, it can be quite easy to blow the gearbox up. I haven’t changed the oil in it yet, and it will get quieter I’m sure, but right now the gearbox is a little noisy and definitely wants fixing/reinforcing before I start driving it daily again.
  • The handling is, for the scale of the car, actually very impressive indeed. Again, I’ve never really driven a front wheel drive car with a limited slip, so it was a first for me. I HAVE, however, driven plenty of open differential front wheel drive cars in situations where I wish I had an LSD, so I am no stranger to one tyre fire. The LSD makes it corner so effortlessly, and it does so with such poise. It remains really rather neutral through corners, never really feeling like it’s understeering, and I’ve not managed to kick the back end out at all despite the VERY shit and dangerous (mismatched, might I add) tyres on all 4 corners. However, while it might handle very well, I do have one small hatred:
  • The steering. I understand what the car is meant to be: an executive/company car type of thing to rival cars of the time like the E34 5 series, Vauxhall Omega & Ford Scorpio, and for all intents & purposes it manages to be that car very well. It’s a relatively comfortable car, with nice seats, lots of interior room and light steering, things you might expect from an executive car. However, that light steering is the car’s downfall when it comes to driving it hard. Due to the era that the car was designed & made in, electronically variable steering wasn’t really a thing, so what you have instead is super hilariously & constantly over-assisted hydraulic power steering. Driving around town? Yeah, it’s brilliant. Driving on the motorway? Everyone will think you’re driving under the influence, as you weave about in your lane trying to stay in a straight line. Driving fast on a country road? You have to have massive bollocks to go into a corner fast, as it’s easy to misjudge a corner when you can’t feel a fucking thing through the steering (which is a stark contrast to the 205, where you feel EVERYTHING through the steering). I do intend to get 4 brand new tyres on it and possibly get the alignment looked at, but the problem will more or less persist. However, don’t get me wrong, it’s still a brilliant car that’s great fun to drive, and I intend to own it for quite a long time, with modifications to come.
    However, the story does not end there. Whilst the car was running flawlessly through the backroads, minus a very small misfire at idle which was sorted with new spark plugs, it did run into a little issue on the motorway. So, being turbocharged and from the 80s, it starts to come into boost around 3-4k RPM. Being very wary of the issues that these cars can face, I had my eyes glued to the temperature gauge for the whole time I was driving it. I hit the motorway to see what it was like with overtaking and such, and for the first time that day, I stopped looking at the temperature gauge and put my foot down in 5th, at about 3200RPM or so. It took a second of my foot being flat on the floor for it to start moving, so it had lots of time to build up boost and start moving. I overtake the car infront of me, get up to 90 or 100 or so, look at the temp gau- OH FUCK ITS IN THE RED. I quickly pull over onto the hard shoulder (first mistake, don’t stop when your car is overheating kids) and ring my go-to problem solver, @adamd. Deciding that there’s really nothing else I can do except keep going, I do, and I take it nice & easy going home.
    There were doubts as to whether the car really was overheating or not, as it could’ve just been a duff sensor or something, so I continued to drive the car daily for the next week or so, putting something like 300 trouble free miles on it.
    During the week, I had planned to drive to Adam’s for a local car show. Obviously, this meant driving on the motorway for a good couple of hours. As I still wasn’t entirely sure what the issue with the car was, I cracked on as normal, nice and oblivious. Over the course of those next 2 hours, I think it tried to overheat like 4 times, and I ended up pulling over onto the hard shoulder a couple of times, just waiting for the head gasket to pop. In the end, however, I did manage to arrive with no actual damage caused.
    A couple of days prior, Adam had told me to check the condition of the radiator, as the symptoms I had experienced alluded to the radiator possibly being knackered. As I am incredibly retarded, I did not check the radiator. The conversation I had with him when I arrived went something along the lines of this:
    Me: “It overheated a lot”
    A: “Did you check that radiator?”
    Me: “No”
    checks
    A: “You can see straight through this radiator”
    Me: “Oh”

So yeah, my overheating issues are being caused by a radiator that looks something along the lines of this:

Except mine has no fucking fins at all. I drove the car home that day and straight into storage where it’ll sit for the next month or two while I get a new radiator sorted, along with other important bits like a new timing belt & water pump.
On the bright side, Adam managed to sort out a lot of the very common electrical issues that day, and it also got to meet some of its younger siblings at the (very rainy) car show:


#8

One of these things is not like the others…


#9

I’m not trying to be rude here, but I would not call that a good advice. Stopping when you’re experiencing an overheat is a mistake… if you are planning on leaving the engine on. What one should do in such situation is stopping and immediately turning the engine off.

I mean, it’s a common sense thing. There will be no heat (nor overheating) if you do not have a heat source (in this case an engine being on).


Now, about the Rover, what a brilliant looking vehicle. It’s interesting to know that this car competed with the E34 5 series, the Scorpio and the Omega, while still being the only front-wheel-drive of the bunch.

Simply beautiful.


#10

As you say, depends on the situation, in this instance whacking it in neutral and using the fact it was at motorway speed to waft some air over what was left of the radiator while keeping coolant flowing was the best idea, rather than stopping and immediately cutting coolant flow to a very hot engine and turbo.

The water cooled turbo is what pushes it over the edge, I can’t work out how it doesn’t overheat much worse than it does with it’s lightweight radiator. :joy:


#11

Well, considering that exact bunch, sure. But remember that there were more FWD cars in this class - Audi 100, Type Four platform (Lancia, Alfa, Saab), all the French ones and a few from Japan. That segment used to be much more populated…