Friday, 25 July 2014

the happy time

This usually refers to German U-boats hunting British shipping in WW2 during 1940-41, When Britain was nearly reduced to its knees for the second time in WW2 (the battle of Britain being the first) But I digress. But then I’m sure it’s not lost on you. For the Bottom dweller this is the happy time! The ‘kills’ keep on coming. Not that I’m about to become a neo Nazi but I do like the odd… well make that ‘odd’ German cars.
Let the happy time begin…
And the winner is…
Renault 16 TS
Just look at this glorious car, when did you last see one of these? Superb quality, beautifully engineered these upmarket hatches where a breed apart. Almost Citroen DS like ride and panache for a fraction of the cost. No stunningly beautiful but charming  Gaelic style all the same. Beautiful handling and peppy motor will put to shame many classic GT cars. My advice  buy it!
For: performance, quality, looks, ride,  style, practicality. More cred than at least 5 french films at the film festival
Against: Ownership will make you  feel very very smug. Alfa owners will hate you with good reason!  You will never want a Mustang or a Porsche again.
Bottom dweller Status: 3/5  A  trifle out of B-D range but this is your big chance. Don’t stuff it up!

1963 Standard Vanguard Six
Normally the lepers of the Classic car world Vanguards attract nearly no interest at all, but look at this Tucker Madawick / Vignalle  wonder in full Raymond Loewy  influence. Whilst no the most beautiful car on the planet it certainly has its charms in this lovely two tone colour scheme. Disc brakes and Triumph six cylinder make up for boring  fascia. But lots of lovely dials to look at! Really a very nice car and much better than anything BMC was producing at the time.
For: Smooth, well handling (for time) perfectly useable classic  that wont break the bank
Against: Not much but wrong badge, No walnut facia, Take advantage now!
Bottom dweller Status: 4/5  Cheaper than a Sunbeam Rapier  or Studebaker. Absolute bargain.

1987 Toyota Corolla
Again when did you last see one of these? Why you may ask, but these are the quintessential high point of Japanese 1980s car technology. Plus all the domestic models (the ones MADE IN NZ) have a Chris Amon tuned suspension! So they handle beautifully. These are the NZ equivalent of the Alfasuds without the rust. Amon used to host a car show on TV and slag Toyota handling off every week so they (Toyota) asked him to tune them and these superb handling cars where the result. Light on fuel , lovely and pleasant to drive (with that reassurance of high quality Japanese plastic  of the time) these Corollas are far more sportier than the models that followed. Toyota has survived on the reputation of this car ever since while Corollas got fatter and uglier and sloppier with every passing year. People that have never driven a Mazda3 still buy them – God knows why?
For: Sporty, light, fun loving car, Fits like a glove, what’s no to like? Amon heritage. You will be invisible to Boy racers and classic car owners alike.
Against: It has a Wham tape stuck in the stereo. You’ll be waiting forever for the auto to break so you can fit a manual.
Bottom dweller Status: 5/5 Lot of fun for the buck. Preserve the NZ heritage!

1953 Armstrong Siddley Sapphire
Hand built, Rolls Royce like quality at a faction of the price. This Limousine is elegance personified. Doesn’t look like it needs much fettling to sort out.  Will go anywhere; the original SUV and Great for towing your Toyota Landcruiser out of the mud.  The engine is masterpiece; a hemi without the bother of twin cams. Plus it has a 7 star Ancap rating although the handbook  recommends  you wipe the Toyota Vitz’s off the front bumper from time to time.
For:  the chrome is so thick on the front grill that if the steel behind rusts out it doesn't matter.
Against: In weekends you can crush modern cars for extra cash. If Rommel had these instead of Panzers the Germans would have won the war.
Bottom Dweller Status: 5 /5  might be worth hanging out for an  immaculate concours example for $1937

1987 Jaguar XJ40
Nearly into the Ford era when things really improved, these jags are never the less post British Leyland as such aren’t  totally hopeless.  With a new engine and flatter mundane styling these cars are a better bet than the earlier curvy XJ6s. So hopefully, no where near as problematic. Auto is a GM unit. So could have all the benefits of the early XJs; Gorgeous ride and handling, superb dynamics, outstanding performance etc.
For: truly gorgeous interiors, superb dynamics, reliable as hell.
Against: Yeah right! Made by people who had bizarre sexual fantasies about Margaret Thatcher being their mother! And it shows!
Bottom –dweller Status 6 /5 Cheap as chips, but are they really just garden sculptures like most other XJs. At least it doesn’t cost much to find out?