Friday, 22 August 2014

Never take a car apart!

Sage advice from the bottom dweller, yet almost universally ignored, Trade me is littered with cars in parts, never to be reassembled. Why take the thing apart? Do people overestimate their capabilities, think there’re going to restore the thing? Wouldn’t it be better to fettle away do it bit by bit? God knows I struggle to remember how things went back together a day later rather than months or years down the track. Any one who has brought a car in parts knows the difficulties of even trying to identify parts let alone get it back together.
  Another thing is you’re never going to be well as the factory any way, so removing  glass, carpet head linings, interiors and electrics is really the same as wrecking a car. Unless you’re highly skilled in each of those things you’re never going to get it back together right. It’s a sad waste of many nice cars. Of the five cars we look at today 3 have been taken apart. Once they were nice cars that needed a little tinkering. Now they’re almost scrap or parted out. Some thing that would horrify their owners, but that’s what they’ve done.
So don’t do it. Keep it whole brother!
Cheap Lotuses
Lotus of course  are exotic and expensive, in the eighties everyone in the car world was impressed by Porsche (before they got fat) and Lotuses. Many  manufacturers tried to cash in on this kudos and replicate it. So successful were they at bringing the Lotus magic to the everyday driving public that real Lotuses are no longer held in such high regard. If you want a cut-price Lotus you don’t have to look far on Trade me to find one. Unfortunately like the originals it seems you might have to assemble it yourself.
Toyota MR2
How did the worst handling car maker come up with the tightest best handling car of the decade? It brought Lotus of course! Gave them cart blanche to create the perfect little sports car. To Toyotas credit Lotus where given a free hand as long as they used the beautiful twin cam 1600 4AGE motor. (Life is so hard eh?) Any way the results where astounding, finally a Toyota that handled or a Lotus that was reliable. Either way it brought mid engine handling to the masses.
For: a true Lotus in every way except reliability , swelt , beguiling  and engaging.
Against: Lour owners will miss the reliability problems, Odd wedge shaped styling, plasticky interior that doesn’t fall apart like a Lotus.
 Bottom dweller status: 6/5 Prices rising. Invest now!
Toyota Celica
From the same collaboration came a Lotus Eclat styling for the Celica. No where near the technically advanced car the MR2 was , but never the less a Lotus styled car for ‘next to nicks’. Probably one of the best mid-sized  cheap GTs of the eighties. Underneath was standard Toyota fare, various motors from 1800 to a 2-litre ‘6’, ’tied down’ chassis that handled moderately well (Ok, it was damn right hairy! But the car at least remained flat) The digital speedos where something to behold!
For : A lot of fun, great mid eighties styling with weird semi pop-up head lights
Against : Despite looks no a Lotus, especially in a corner. This car is a kitset and no instructions
Bottom Dweller Status:4/5 Thousands imported became a bogan car rather than a boy racer one. Rare these days and not particularly sort after.
Mazda MX-5
However the best was yet to come! Mazda never bothered to buy Lotus for its tribute car, it didn’t stop it copying Lotus’s glorious early Elan wholesale. Well why not there were hardly any made any way and they cost the earth and spent most of the time in the garage. Mazda finally succeeded in bringing open-top sportscar motoring to the masses. And what a great car double wish bone suspension on every corner, so even and after years and years these cars still handled well.
For; Beautifully engineered, engaging, charming.fun. No bend is unsafe no corner to sharp! They have destroyed the MGB prices as they are a much better car in every way.
Against: A bit small (my nose touches the windscreen)
Bottom dweller status: 7/5  They are coming into range of bottom dwelling, so might be worth waiting. Boy racers hate them – they must be mad!
Pontiac Fiero
Even America got in on the Mid-engined  craze ,with this gorgeous looking coupe. With a 2.5 little four cylinder engine it was more a novelty for American buyers despite it’s super car looks. The engine was a slug  that wouldn’t rev and the front suspension was borrowed from the chevette (same as ours) the rear was from  the citation (like the engine) in fact they used the whole front wheel drive unit by merely attached the steering ball joints to the chassis . (to make it mid-engined) Despite initially out selling the MR2 it was nowhere as good a car and was canned by the late 1980s

For: Looks , in the states you could buy after market kits to make it look like a 308 Ferrari
Against: It wasn’t a 308 Ferrari. – Fail!
Bottom dweller status 2/5 The ad says;”This vehicle is not covered under the Consumer Guarantees Act or the Fair Trading Act.” Sorry bud everthing is.

Alfa Romeo Sprint
See what I mean! In parts! This has nothing to with Lotus. Alfas always handled well and had beautiful engines. For some reason these gorgeous coupes never reach the prices of Alfa suds. I’ve never been able to face an Alfasud because they look like Allegros , I know its weird and irrational but…they are tainted . The Sprints however look great with that great little flat floor motor. Now if I could just get it back together!
For: Looks, handling, engine, economy, brio!
Against; No instructions! also GTV and 105 coupe owners would think they had a better car than you. Unfortunately so would allegro , I mean Alfasud owners.
Bottom dweller Status: 4.5/5 At $500 this could sit in my garage!