OK it's been quite a while... It's raining outside and I've just made the most awesome cappuccino - time for an update!
The big pillar in my lack of updates was my month long trip to the USA. Now, I realise that this is a French
car forum, but I'm about to go on a bit of an American themed rant, and I should warn you that this post will be very image heavy!
So I left for America mid July, my aunt and uncle live there and we had a mega month of trips planned. However the most exciting thing for me was the cars... obviously
I was warned that due to increased gas prices, the Americans were beginning to downsize and not to expect Ford Excursions everywhere. Yes, I was expecting the hum of Prius and Civic Hybrids but thankfully, the Americans aren't so willing to change! I was picked up from the airport by my aunt's new Mom Car. A 2012 Honda Odyssey, which I had the pleasure of driving for the duration. That sounds sarcastic but seriously, this car made me rethink my Jap Scrap theory! It was fitted with the smallest engine available. A 3.5 V6 Petrol
The thing that mad me laugh most about this car was the fact that it was fitted with an ECO indicator. A little green light that would come on when you're driving efficiently. It only ever came on when going downhill or slowing for traffic lights. 21 MPG average, but that's not a problem where $60 fills the thing. My uncle also picked up a new Honda on the same day. A Civic Sedan which was so unremarkable that I didn't even manage a picture. This car was even more into it's eco claims... stickers everywhere and a dash that goes from green to blue when the foot is put down. It was averaging 33 MPG which quite frankly is pathetic for a car that boasts about it's emissions, but it's excellent by American standards!
This was my aunt's friend's car. A Ford Expedition. 5.4 V8
You soon realise that the Americans are still as in to their SUVs as ever, however the modern ones aren't as completely ridiculously huge as the like of the Chevy Suburbans and GMC Yukons.
There's been an influx of what they call "Small SUVs", which are about the same size as our full blown Chelsea Tractors. My favourite were these Lincolns which were pretty popular. They have a 3.5 V6 and look suitably American. They're only a dressed up Ford Escape underneath though.
I was pretty surprised to see this. Something that never made it to the UK, I wasn't aware that it made it to production at all. The 94x
Moving onto the more everyday stuff, I give you the Ford Mondeo of America.... the Buick LeSabre. Despite being rubbish in almost every way, they're everywhere. 3.8 V6 in these.
These Saturns are also a common sight. GM made rubbish, they've also got a reputation for being really underpowered too... they're ONLY a 1.9!!
Ford's design language in the US is very different from here. The overstyled Kinetic language they have going here gives way to straight lines, chrome and a much cleaner look overall I think. This is the Taurus.
Late 80s/90s chod was also nice and common. Stuff like this Buick Century (A V6 of course) and nice big Lincoln Town Cars
Speaking of Town Cars, we happen to come across a mini car show happening where this absolutely stunning early 80s example was on display. check out the seats!
Back in the real world and my favourite of them all is, for me, the epitome of American-ness. The Buick Roadmaster!! Powered by nothing less than a ridiculously slow 5.7 V8!
These Dodge Intrepids are intriguingly crap. I reckon I'd have one of these as a first American everyday car. 3.3 V6
Now for you Vel Satis haters - Don't ever tell me that the car is ugly. Set your eyes on this monstrosity. The Pontiac Aztek. Pontiac ceased production shortly after. I wonder why.
Back to the Japanese. It seems they reserve their injections of style and character for the States. As a rule I HATE all Japanese cars here. Over there it's very different.... maybe it's the V6s
My cousin and I visited a scrap yard. A mass of dead American stuff. I took far too many pictures to clog this forum up with but for me, this was star of the show. A 6.2 V8 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.
Check out the reg on this Mustang
The holiday drew to a close with a visit to the drive in movies and I bought my last 12 box of donuts from the Dunkin Donuts drive through
I would move there in a heartbeat. In a nation where motorists are seen as the worst enemies and gradually being priced off the road, it's nice to know that there's a petrol powered haven on the other side of the Atlantic
But life must go on, and the dull thoughts of returning to the UK were pretty much quashed by the excitement of seeing, feeling and being with French cars again!! I couldn't wait to get going again, so bought a Peugeot 607.
2.2 HDi (diesel, yuck) S Auto with 171k miles on it.
The amount of wear on the car surprised me - because there wasn't any!! The interior of the car looked like new, and despite the usual French electrical carry on, it drove like new too. One owner from new who had obviously cared for the car. I should have been really impressed by the car, but I was left somewhat underwhelmed. The car just doesn't feel as special as it should. There's not enough to differentiate it from the 406. The ride is average, the seats are comfortable and everything was just OK. Needless to say it's found a new owner already. I'll get a V6 one day and maybe it can repair the damage.
Moving on to another bout of averageness. A 1998 Renault Laguna 2.0 RT Sport. Why? 4 months tax and MOT, 106k miles and it cost me £230. It can be a backup until then, followed by a breaker, which should see profit.
The third Frenchy was also bought as a breaker, but as you've probably seen in another thread, I'm having trouble bringing myself to it, as it just seems too good and could easily provide a few more years service with a little TLC
Only a few days ago I mustered up the courage to knock on a door to ask about a car in the driveway. It paid off, as I'm now awaiting the go ahead to collect this beauty
The car was taken off the road in 2006 after the heater matrix failed. It has sat since, however he tells me that he starts it up regularly and moves it around. It's a 1989 2.0 GTS model. No electric seats or voice synthesizer but it'll be nice to experience a Renault 25 finally! I'm taking it straight to my mechanic who will sort the matrix and have it MOT ready!
So what about the current fleet? Well after a month of sitting I was expecting a few issues. The 5 door Meg presented the biggest one, refusing to start
The battery had just become completely knackered. I got it MOTd a week later and it's now enjoying life as my mum's daily... we sold her beige one in favour of this much more special Meg
The Avantime is due a service. My 3 door Meg really needs to have the quarter panel repaired, I feel guilty every time I look at it and would love to be driving it every day again. The Laguna V6 is enjoying retired life sitting alongside the faithful old Volvo. The auto box stricken Clio was treated to a set of Baccara alloy wheels off my friend's car which is being scrapped. Looks much more presentable... shame it can't leave the yard to show off it's new look on the roads!
That's all folks. I'll try to keep on top of this. I have a feeling a lot will be changing over the next few weeks