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The Motorists Guide

Steve Q

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Steve Q last won the day on May 12

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  1. The Delorean DMC12, a timeless classic but will the driving experience take Steve back in time or to the future? People tell you never to meet your heroes and for most petrol heads cars are the heroes, whether that’s the one on the poster you had as a child or that famous racing car and in a lot of cases those cars stay within our dreams or memories. However, I’m fortunate as parked before me is a Delorean DMC-12 with the sun reflecting off the stainless steel bodywork and I am preparing myself to drive a car that I have loved since the age of ten. I think many of you will be able to relate to this love affair especially if you have watched the Back to the Future trilogy, but will the car drive anywhere close to how it was perceived in those three fantastic films? Well I intend to find out. I am both excited and nervous as I pull the door handle and the gullwing door gracefully lifts up to reveal a surprising spacious cabin, and not surprisingly I have the Back to the Future music running around inside my head. John Delorean designed the car so that he would fit comfortably inside the vehicle and this was no small feat as he was 6ft 4” tall and as such I have more than enough room being 5ft 8” tall. As I slip into the grey leather seat I find it remarkably comfortable and then I familiarise myself with my surroundings, as before me is three spoke sporty steering wheel and beyond it is the instrument cluster. At this point I have a slight chuckle to myself as the speedometer only reads up to 85MPH which certainly would have made it more complicated for Doc Emmett Brown to get the Delorean accurately to 88MPH. I feel very lucky as this Delorean has the manual gearbox which I feel suits the cars credentials better and was a no cost option when new. The automatic gearbox was a $650 option. As I go to close the gullwing door via the pull strap I find more energy and strength is required compared to a conventional car door, which is partly due to the Delorean’s cryogentically preset torsion bar design which was pioneered by the aerospace manufacture Grumman. Once the door is closed I find that the grab handle has a tendency to hook itself around the handbrake as it is situated on the outer side of the seat as opposed to being in the large centre console. The cabin oozes with 1980s charm both from the boxy lines through to the plastics which would feel cheap by modern car standards. Now the fun really begins as I turn the key and the 2.8 V6 130bhp petrol engine bursts into life and rests as a steady thrum on tick over behind me. Once I’m all set I accelerate down the runway of North Weald airfield and I can’t help but have a big smile on my face as I go into the first corner. Despite the Delorean being rear engined I found the steering surprisingly heavy, which I suspect is due to the wide tyres and heavy body but it meant I felt more connected to the car. I felt the suspension slightly soft but I suspect this preferred for the US market where the Delorean was designed to sell well as a GT car and also due to the weight of the body. I think if the Delorean had been fitted with firmer springs and dampers it would have allowed the Lotus designed chassis full capabilities to shine through, as can be seen on the car that helped the Delorean come into being - the Lotus Espite. The Motorists Guide view: Despite a lot of the Delorean's drawbacks, I found it a nice car to drive but felt it could have done with more power from the V6 Renault engine as well as improved suspension both of which would have probably helped boost sales of the Delorean when new. I was impressed with the build quality on this particular car I drove which is a contradiction to how the press portrayed this car when new but this is helped by the maintenance by the owner. I felt the interior had worn well and didn’t look over 30 years old. The brakes on the Delorean were more than adequate and I felt they stopped the car in a very reasonable distance. For me the best part of the Delorean is how it looks and still appears futuristic now as it did at its launch in 1981. Would I own one? Most definitely and you can too as prices are still reasonable and guaranteed to rise which makes the Delorean DMC-12 a safe investment.
  2. The Renault Clio, a chic looking supermini but is it any good as a used car purchase? Steve went to Northern Ireland to find out. The current Renault Clio model was launched in the later part of 2012 after the Paris motor show, but the design still looks fresh 6 years on. One key change to this new model is that it is only available in five door form, however I feel this does not detract from the Clio’s curb appeal partly due to disguised rear door handles cleverly placed beside the rear window glass. The Clio’s looks are further enhanced by LED daytime running lights, chrome accents along the door and 16 inch wheels. On moving into the cabin the driver is greeted with a dashboard which is very well thought out, the dials are very clear to read and include a digital speedometer. Furthermore all Clio models feature Renaults R link infotainment system which includes a 7 inch touch screen, Bluetooth and digital radio as standard but no CD player is available. Higher spec models also are treated to an Android Tom Tom satnav, leather steering wheel and reverse camera, but the key area where the Clio excels is with its boot space which is a whopping 300 litres. As you can expect with a modern Renault the Clio received a 5* Euro NCAP safety rating thanks to front and side airbags as well as having Electronic Stability Control and speed assistance. As the Mk4 Clio is now six years old buyers will have plenty of choice with regard to the Spec and engine options that should suit most budgets. The key specs available to buyers are: Expression is the entry level model which comes with 16” wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control and electric front windows. Play has the features of the expression model plus air conditioning and front fog lights. Dynamique has all the features of Expression and Play, plus leather steering wheel and upgraded radio Dynamique Nav adds a Sat Nav to the Dynamique trim. Dynamique S Nav adds a touch of sporting flair with the Clio and includes 17” alloys, centre armrest, rear electric windows, LED headlights, climate control and rear parking sensors. Signature Nav adds a little luxury to the Clio by incorporating part leather interior, parking sensors both front and rear and a reverse camera. However, as of 2018 Renault have reduced the amount of choice and new car buyers will have the option of play, iconic and GT line. Renault have been very generous when it comes to engine options by offering three petrol engines and two diesel engines which are as follows: Petrol 0.9 litre turbo charged, 90BHP 3 cylinder engine. 0-60mph 13 seconds. Average MPG: 66 1.2 naturally aspirated, 75bhp 4 cylinder engine. 0-60mph 14.5 seconds. Average MPG: 51 1.2 turbo charged, 120BHP 4 cylinder engine. 0-60mph 9.5 seconds. Average MPG: 54 Diesel 1.5 turbo charged, 89 BHP 4 cylinder. 0-60 13.7 seconds. Average MPG: 88.3 1.5 turbo charged, 109BHP 4 cylinder. 0-60 11 seconds. Average MPG: 80.7 Please note these figures apply to the manual models and as you would expect the automatic has a slower 0-60 and reduced MPG. Driving the Clio The car I had on test was the 1.2 75BHP dynamique nav model with a manual gearbox which was well equipped with the previously mentioned sat nav as well as cruise control and cost £14,950 when new. The Clio feels at home in the city where its soft suspension absorbs all the speed humps however on fast country roads the soft suspension can cause the car become unsettled due to body roll. The light steering also suits city driving as its makes parking a doddle but can feel over assisted and not as precise for rural roads. At motorway speeds the engine can become a little noisy but this is balanced out by a nice cruise control system which was easy to use and allowed me to adjust the speed whilst activated which made the drive out of Belfast to Craigavon more relaxed. The main issue I found whilst driving the Clio was to do with the computer, predominantly with regard to the distance to empty function whereby it would not register below 40 miles of range which I felt was not as precise as it should be. On the other hand, I found the 7” touch screen easy to use and found the Sat Nav instructions clear and precise which was ideal when out in the lovely Northern Ireland countryside. The Motorists Guide View Overall, I felt the Clio was well spec’d and perfect for those living in the city due to the Clio’s driving characteristics. This is also complimented by good build quality and good value for money which makes the 4th generation Clio the best yet.
  3. Steve reviews a timeless classic which every beetle owner or enthusiast should own. This book is probably one of the oldest books that I will get to review, however, the information contained within it is still relevant today and starts off by describing the history of the Volkswagen Beetle. It then goes on to provide a very useful buyers guide which is a must-read for anyone wishing to purchase a Volkswagen Beetle. This book will mainly appeal to those Beetle fans who have or want a Baja Beetle or Wizard roadster, as it provides step by step guides on how to build both. I appreciate that in this day and age enthusiasts would be less inclined to build either due to the price of Volkswagen Beetles but it will surely help those who are trying to restore either a Baja or Wizard Roadster. The VW Beetle Custom Handbook will also appeal to fans of the Cal Look as the author has gone into great detail to explain the Cal Look and the history behind it. Furthermore, this book examines the racing pedigree of the Volkswagen Beetle and the modifications owners can undertake to improve performance, stopping power and drivability of their pride and joys. About the author: Keith Seume has been on the air-cooled Volkswagen seen for over 30 years and is well known amongst air-cooled fans, partly due to him being an editor of Volksworld Magazine and the former Custom Car Magazine. Furthermore, during the 1980s he participated in drag racing in his 1952 turbocharged ragtop Beetle. The Motorists Guide View: Despite this book being over 20 years old, it does not detract from the reading experience and is full of valuable information for Beetle enthusiasts. Not only were the guides useful, but the book is also full of pictures which would be invaluable to an enthusiast wishing to work on their Beetle at home. Bibliographic information: Publisher: Bay View Books LTD Publication: 1992 RRP: 12.95 ISBN: 1-870979-30-3 Binding: paperback Extent: 159 Illustrations: 250+
  4. Steve reviews another book about abandoned automobiles, Sleeping Beauties USA This book is very similar to that of Roadside Relics, America’s Abandoned Automobiles as described in my previous review, however, that is where the similarities end. This book is shorter than Roadside Relics, but this does not make it any less interesting as each vehicle mentioned has a picture and description that covers two pages. Furthermore, Sleeping Beauties includes European manufacturers as well as the American counterparts which may increase its popularity. About the author Bjoern Marek lives in Miami, Florida and works as head of sales, public relations and marketing for the automotive company ABT as well as being a keen author. The Motorists Guide view: Just like the Roadside Relics book, Sleeping Beauties will appeal to anyone who has a keen interest in abandoned automobiles and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I found the pictures fantastic and many were of a better quality than those found in Roadside Relics. My only criticism of this book was that I found it not long enough and I was left wanting to read more but overall it was a great read. Bibliographic information: Publisher: Veloce Publication: 2010 RRP: 14.99 ISBN: 978-1-845843-46-5 Binding: hardback Extent: 96 Illustrations: 58
  5. It is unbelievable mileage and I agree u think this a6 would be around for many years to come. However I feel this is just the tip of the iceberg and I bet there are quite a few high mile cars out there and we'd love to here their story.
  6. Steve reviews an Audi A6 which has covered over 329,000 miles and asks the question, should we really be afraid of high mileage cars? This Audi A6 was ordered as a new vehicle in 2002, in SE trim by the owner’s father who specified it with the 2.5TDI engine and 6 speed manual gearbox. In addition the A6 was fitted with the optional sport seats, sports suspension and rare 7 seat boot conversion. The latter being required for a growing family and owner’s father not wanting to drive a people carrier! The Audi was registered on Wednesday 13th March 2002 at the Reg Vardy Audi Dealership in Leicester, significant as it was the same day as the owner’s grandmother’s birthday. His Father has driven the Audi consistently up to 2013 and it has been maintained regardless of cost with a full service history. The A6 was put into semi-retirement when the owner’s father acquired a company car and at which point his son took over, using the car as my daily driver. Mechanically the A6 has been generally reliable only requiring serviceable items, including new suspension, engine mounts and an alternator throughout the last 14 years. The one key exception was a turbo which was replaced at 3 and half years old and its replacement has been fitted since 2005 and has covered approximately 230,000 out of the 329,000 miles! Furthermore, and without tempting fate neither the engine nor gearbox have ever been rebuilt. The A6 was serviced by Audi for the first 4 years and then at a local garage AC Motors ever since. The local garage has been brilliant and has carried out any work required to the highest standard. I prefer to use Bridgestone tyres on the A6 as I feel it improves the handling characteristics. Cosmetically the A6 has aged well and has only required two new front wings due to the originals rusting at the top of the arches. This appears to be a common fault with VAG cars from the late 90s to early the noughties and affects the Audi A6 C5, Audi A4, Volkswagen Golf mk4 and Volkswagen Passat to name but a few. On the other hand the interior is now showing its age and has a worn driver’s seat bolster, wear on the 3 spoke sport steering wheel, as well as having the soft paint peeling off the air conditioning control unit. These issues have been well documented on various cars and I have chosen not to repair them as they add character and patina to the vehicle. The only exception was the Audi symphony radio which has been replaced under warranty. The Audi A6 has been on various family adventures including trips to France, Belgium, Norfolk, Essex, Royal Ascot in 2002 as well as the annual trip to Northern Ireland which it has done since it was new. Furthermore it has been used to tow race trailers as the owner’s brother has done both Kart racing and Saloon Car racing all across the country. Finally, the A6 has been a fantastic family car and has provided valiant service throughout the last 14 years. I work within the motor trade and find that despite its age and mileage the A6 drives better than some of the newer cars and cars with far less mileage currently on the market. It is a pleasure to drive and has the added benefit of being both comfortable and practical. In the near future he would like to take the A6 back to its birthplace Neckarsulm-Stuttgart, Germany and around the Nurburgring for the ultimate road trip. There is no chance of him getting rid of this great car any time soon. It has become a treasured family possession, and one which he has grown up with and ultimately have come to own. The A6 has now achieved in excess of 300,000 miles and he is looking forward to the next 300,000 miles! The Motorists Guide view: For me this Audi A6 is testament to the owner and shows the true potential of a well maintained car, bearing in mind the mileage covered by the A6 is further than going to the moon and theoretically this A6 is on its way back! What I have learnt from driving this Audi A6 and hearing its story, I feel the key to buying a high mileage car is down to how well it has been maintained and cared for. After driving this A6 I would happily own a high mileage Audi A6 C5 which will eventually become a classic. Have you got a high mileage car? If so, we’d love to hear from you and share your high miler car story. Regards Steve
  7. Steve Q

    Fitting number plates

    A quick guide on how to reattach numberplates with the adhesive pads. Usually once you remove number plates the previous adhesive pads are still stuck to the bumper or what's left of them. 1. Use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm up the pad on the bumper 2. Then use your finger nail or credit card to scrape off the residue of the pads. 3. To further help to remove the residue you can use WD40 or white spirit which will help lift the glue off the bumper. 4. Then repeat stage 2 to remove more residue. Followed by stage 1 and 3 if it is being tough to remove. Hint: you could also buy specific cleaning products to remove glue and tar which unfortunately I did not have to hand. 5. Once the number plate area is clean you can attach the new adhesive pads. 6. Now align the numberplate and make sure it's straight. Job done!
  8. Hope this info is useful Emissions standard Applied to new passenger car approvals from Applied to all new registrations from Euro 1 1 July 1992 31 December 1992 Euro 2 1 January 1996 1 January 1997 Euro 3 1 January 2000 1 January 2001 Euro 4 1 January 2005 1 January 2006 Euro 5 1 September 2009 1 January 2011 Euro 6 1 September 2014 1 September 2015 Euro 1 (EC93) Implementation date (new approvals): 1 July 1992 Implementation date (all new registrations): 31 December 1992 The first Europe-wide euro emissions standards were introduced in July 1992 and the regulations weren’t anywhere near as stringent as they are today. That said, the fitment of catalytic converters became compulsory on all new cars, and Euro 1 required the switch to unleaded petrol. Back then, only hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide were tested, along with particulate matter in the case of diesel engines. Over the years, the regulations have become stricter and the limits lowered. Euro 1 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 2.72g/km HC + NOx: 0.97g/km Euro 1 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 2.72/gkm HC + NOx: 0.97g/km PM: 0.14g/km Euro 2 (EC96) Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 1996 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 1997 Euro 2 reduced the limits for carbon monoxide and the combined limit for unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide, as well as introducing different levels for petrol and diesel engines. Euro 2 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 2.2g/km HC + NOx: 0.5g/km Euro 2 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 1.0g/km HC + NOx: 0.7g/km PM: 0.08g/km Euro 3 (EC2000) Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 2000 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2001 Euro 3 split the hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide limits for petrol and diesel engines, as well as adding a separate nitrogen oxide limit for diesel vehicles. The warm-up period was removed from the test procedure. Euro 3 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 2.3g/km HC: 0.20g/km NOx: 0.15g/km Euro 3 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 0.64g/km HC + NOx: 0.56g/km NOx: 0.50g/km PM: 0.05g/km Euro 4 (EC2005) Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 2005 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2006 Euro 4 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 1.0g/km HC: 0.10g/km NOx: 0.08g/km Euro 4 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 0.50g/km HC + NOx: 0.30g/km NOx: 0.25g/km PM: 0.025g/km Euro 5 Implementation date (new approvals): 1 September 2009 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2011 The big news for Euro 5 was the introduction of particulate filters (DPFs) for diesel vehicles, along with lower limits across the board. For type approvals from September 2011 and new cars from January 2013, diesel vehicles were subject to a new limit on particulate numbers. DPFs capture 99% of all particulate matter and are fitted to every new diesel car. Cars meeting Euro 5 standards emit the equivalent of one grain of sand per kilometre driven. Euro 5 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 1.0g/km HC: 0.10g/km NOx: 0.06g/km PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only) Euro 5 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 0.50g/km HC + NOx: 0.23g/km NOx: 0.18g/km PM: 0.005g/km PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km Euro 6 Implementation date (new approvals): 1 September 2014 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 September 2015 The sixth and current incarnation of the Euro emissions standard was introduced on all new registrations in September 2015. For diesels, the permitted level of NOx has been slashed from 0.18g/km in Euro 5 to 0.08g/km. A focus on diesel NOx was the direct result of studies connecting these emissions with respiratory problems. To meet the new targets, some carmakers have introduced Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), in which a liquid-reductant agent is injected through a catalyst into the exhaust of a diesel vehicle. A chemical reaction converts the nitrogen oxide into harmless water and nitrogen, which are expelled through the exhaust pipe. The alternative method of meeting Euro 6 standards is Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR). A portion of the exhaust gas is mixed with intake air to lower the burning temperature. The vehicle’s ECU controls the EGR in accordance with the engine load or speed. Euro 6 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 1.0g/km HC: 0.10g/km NOx: 0.06g/km PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only) PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km (direct injection only) Euro 6 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 0.50g/km HC + NOx: 0.17g/km NOx: 0.08g/km PM: 0.005g/km PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km Information courtesy of the RAC https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/know-how/euro-emissions-standards/ Regards Steve
  9. Steve Q reviews whether the last incarnation of the Ford Escort will be considered a classic, and which models he thinks could be the most desirable in the future. It cannot be denied that the Ford Escort has become a British motoring icon, and most people in the UK have encountered one. Either by your parents owning one, your mate’s dad owning one or having a ride in one to be dropped off into town. Since the launch of the Ford Escort in 1967 more than 4.1 million were built but now the Escort is becoming more of a rarity on our roads, but this should come as no surprise as the last one rolled off the production line in 2001 in the UK. The MK5 Escort was first launched in 1991 to replace the aging Mk4 variant and despite having a whole new body the mechanicals were transferred over from the Mk4 which meant buyers still made do with the HCS or CVH engines. As can be expected neither the motoring press nor consumers were fooled and as such the Mk5 got some negative press, excluding the RS2000. Ford set to rectify this in the later part of 1992 when the Mk5b escort was launched, which boasted the brand new 16 valve Zetec engines as well as slight cosmetic tweaks and a stiffer body. This meant the Mk5b ended up with a similar front to the Mk5 but a rear that resembled the Mk6. In 1995 the Escort received its final facelift which became known as the Mk6 which included newly designed bumpers, bonnet and headlights. The alterations weren’t just cosmetic as the Escort gained a new interior including, dashboard and seats but equally as important improved handling. Throughout the Escorts production run both manual and automatic gearboxes were available, and in manual form the Escorts with the 105bhp Zetec or less had the IB5 gearbox which was taken directly from the Mk1 Fiesta. The 130bhp Zetec and RS2000 were fitted with the MTX75 gearbox which is believed to be tougher. Over the Escorts 10 year production run there were various models and special editions produced, a brief summary includes: L – entry level with wind up windows and no power steering on early cars LX – gained electric windows and power steering Finesse – gained air conditioning instead of the sunroof as well as alloy wheels. Mexico – only available on the Mk6 and unfortunately was just a special edition with special interior trim and white dials. Ghia – plusher seats, rear headrests, air con, electric mirrors, electric windows and electric sunroof Ghia SI - only available on the Mk5b and was designed to be a sporty 5 door, with RS2000 wheels, wooden inserts on the dash and door cards. Ghia X – Only available on the Mk6 and boasted leather seats and wood dash inserts on top of the usual Ghia trim. XR3i – only available on the Mk5/Mk5b and fitted with a 1.8 Zetec engine which either came with 105bhp or 130bhp and sporty interior. GTI – only available on the Mk6 and replaced the XR3i trim and gained half leather interior, sideskirts and rear bumper spats as well as Cosworth look alike alloy wheels. RS2000 – available in Mk5, Mk5b and Mk6 forms and in 4x4. They were all fitted with a 2.0 litre engine, upgraded gearbox and suspension on top of having disc brakes fitted front and rear. Driving the Escort Now I appreciate that the Escort will drive differently depending on the model and engine but on test I have a 1993 Mk5b LX 5 door model, which is fitted with the 1.6 Zetec 90bhp engine and IB5 5 speed gearbox. I have to admit this particular Escort is in very good condition for a 25 year old car, and with no visible signs of rust which is surprising as the Escort was notorious for rusting on the rear arches and sills. On unlocking the car manually by placing the key in the door I slide into the brightly coloured driver’s seat. On getting into this car it is amazing how our tastes have changed as beside the black dash the seats are a vibrant colour, but I appreciate not all Escorts were like that. It also amazed me how airy this car is, thanks to thin pillars and large windows which helped greatly with all round visibility. The dashboard is simple but well laid out, and you can see where switchgear has been taken from Fords from the 1980s. After putting in the immobiliser key I turn the ignition and the Zetec engine bursts into life, that for me is testament to the Zetec engines build quality. I wonder how many older Ford engines start on the first turn of the key? And to make it clear the engine on this Escort has never been apart and has covered 112,000 miles. On the open road you have to drive the Escort as there are no electronic aids to help you, not even Anti-Lock Brakes unless selected from the options list. The benefit of this is that it gives you a greater feel of what the car is doing but it can become slightly fidgety if you hit bumps in the road too hard at speed, as the suspension doesn’t absorb the bumps as well as a modern car. This may have well been improved on the Mk6 model but some care is required as the steering can be slightly vague, but this is almost to be expected as the car is a quarter of a century old. The 1.6 Zetec naturally aspirated engine being revolutionary in its day isn’t going to win any drag races against modern cars as I found it accelerated the same as a modern 1.2 Fiat 500. None the less it made a refreshing change compared to the small turbo charged engines you find in modern day hatchbacks and it had no problem at travelling at motorway speeds. However, at higher speeds wind noise becomes prevalent which requires the radio to be turned up. But then again, I am not surprised due to the age of the window rubbers. The gearbox was smooth, but it could have benefited from a 6th gear to help quieten the engine at motorway speeds. Overall, I enjoyed driving the Escort as I felt more involved with the driving experience compared with modern cars as I found it bare bones motoring. To buy one as an appreciating classic will depend on the spec and condition, but I would expect prices to rise in the next few years once the Mk4 Escort prices rise the same way as the models before it. But until that time I feel the Mk5 and Mk6 Escort are still considered as disposable but in light of that, now might be the perfect time to buy one. : The Escort models that I consider will become desirable and classic are: RS2000 4x4 RS2000 2WD XR3I GTI – both 3 and 5 door but more so the former. Ghia SI Early mk5 models – early production run Final production run cars Most cabriolet models Potentially classics: Mexico Ghia Ghia X Please note I have deliberately excluded the Escort Cosworth from this article as it is a guaranteed future classic.
  10. Steve reviews PT Cruiser Chrysler's classic design for a modern age The Chrysler PT cruiser is very much a Marmite car, you either love it or hate it. However what can not be disputed is the models success and how it brought a new wave of customers to the Chrysler brand. The automotive historian Robert Ackerson has written this superb book documenting the history of the PT cruiser from it's design phase up to 2007 which is when this book was released. The book is well written and the author has taken alot of time to carry out hid research. The book covers every PT cruiser model up to 2007 on 192 pages as well as being supported by colour pictures. Furthermore the author has listed ever conceivable optional extra available as well as including sales figures for the PT cruiser. About the author: Robert Ackerson grew up in Rockland county, 18 miles from New York City. He started working in the education sector before having a career change to become a writer automotive history. The Motorists Guide view: Whether you own a PT cruiser or have an interest for them then this book is a must have for any PT Cruiser enthusiast. I found the book very informative and the illustrations were of great quality. Overall the book was a pleasure to read and I'd happily read it again. Publisher: Veloce Publishing Publication: 2007 RRP: £19.99 ISBN: 978-184584039-6 Binding: paperback Extent: 192 Illustrations: 200+
  11. Steve Q

    Car Review: MG3

    Steve sets to find out whether or not the MG3 is a good car .....and whether or not we should rush out to buy one I intended to find out by test driving the new MG3 which is a new small hatchback and designed to bring the MG back to the masses. The MG3 I had on the test drive was the top of the range Style model with a price tag of £11,695. With any new car in this highly competitive sector first impression count and the MG3 does not fail to disappoint. All MG3’s come with a meshed front bumper, low slung day time running lights and a rear diffuser which give the MG3 a sporty appearance. This is further enhanced on the 3 Form Sport and Style models with 16 inch alloys, side skirts square exhaust trim and a rear spoiler. Just like similar cars in its class, such as the Mini or the Fiat 500 owners have a further option of adding sticker kits or changing the colours of the wing mirrors or wheels to add a personal touch to their MG3. The sticker kits start at £89 for the bonnet or £258 for the roof and bonnet whilst painting the wing mirrors an alternative colour will set you back another £70.40 Moving into the cabin and sinking into the supportive bucket seats and gripping the leather wrapped steering wheel it is clear that the sporting touches have been carried on into the interior. The seats for example are covered in a silver coloured fabric, with a red pattern and black side bolsters. Leather seats are standard on the 3 style model but unfortunately they are not heated. The door handles, vent surrounds, radio surround, climate control surround and steering wheel spokes are painted silver to contrast with the black dash and door cards. The interior is well thought out with plenty of cubby holes and is surprisingly spacious with plenty of leg room for rear passengers, along with ample head room due to the high roof line. The high roof line helps to cabin to feel light and airy and provides good rear and side visibility. The boot is of a good size too, providing 285 Litres of space and there is room for a space saver spare wheel which is a £120 extra. The materials used in the interior are of reasonable quality but are built to a price which is to be expected of car costing less than £12,000 new. However the interior does not feel brittle and is well put together unlike some British cars built in the 1970s and 80s. The MG3 comes with a good amount of equipment as standard such as electric windows for all four doors, steering wheel controls, a CD player with MP3 compatibility, central locking, Hill hold control, Stability control, cruise control (excluding 3time) and 6 airbags. The top of the range Style model also has air conditioning, climate control, reversing sensors, automatic lights and wipers, DAB radio and smart phone integration. On pushing the engine start button, the four cylinder 1.5 litre (1,498cc) petrol engine that produces 105bhp and 101lb ft of torque bursts straight into life. This engine is standard across the whole MG3 range and at this time of writing is the only option. The engine was designed and developed at the Longbridge plant in the new engine testing facility. Approximately £500 million pounds has been invested by MG’s owners SAIC into the Longbridge site. Despite the Mg3 lacking in engine options there is a turbo charged version of the 1.5 litre engine under development and a prototype MG3 currently being tested by MG at Longbridge. However the engine could be the MG3’s Achilles heel as it is not as fuel efficient or as good for the environment as some of its competitors. The combined fuel economy is 48.7mpg and emits 136g/km of C02. Furthermore the engine has to be worked hard so in order to progress which as a result makes for a noisy experience. In comparison to the engine the handling of the MG3 is superb and was tuned by engineers in the UK. The engines power is delivered through a 5 speed manual gearbox which in turn powers the front wheels. The wheels are kept firmly on the road by a suspension and chassis set up which keeps the MG3 feeling taut and composed through the corners and provides a great supply of grip. This permits the driver to have confidence in chucking the MG3 into corners and allows them to have good fun when the opportunity arises. The hydraulic power steering further aids the driver with confidence by being exact and giving the driver a good response and feel to the road ahead. Overall the MG3 is well equipped as well as being competitively priced and seems geared towards younger buyers who will appreciate the sticker kits, sporty looks and low insurance group (group 4). These younger buyers will be able to overlook the engines flaws and appreciate the MG3’s handling and rarity in comparison to the Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa which are common place. For more info please visit: mg.co.uk/mg3/
  12. As of the 31st March 2017 France has introduced 'clean air' windscreen stickers, as a legal requirement in some of its major cities such as Paris, Lyon and Grenoble. The sticker is designed to allow the authorities to know the emission levels of the vehicle displaying the sticker based on the euro Emissions Standards. As you can imagine the initiative is designed to low the pollution levels within French major cities. It should also be noted that cars registered before 1997 are already banned from Paris on Weekdays as of 2020 cars registered on or before 2011 will also be banned. The stickers cost as little as £3.20 and vehicles travelling into the above cities without a sticker can be fined up to £117! When ordering your sticker you have to upload a copy of your V5 (log book) document to the database. This must be uploaded in JPEG, PNG or PDF format and the file size must be under 400KB. PLEASE NOTE that on ordering your sticker it can take up to 6 weeks to arrive! Further Info https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/law-change-for-uk-drivers-in-french-cities/ Official Crit air sticker (certificate) website https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en (Be careful of independent companies charging up to 4x the amount for the sticker!) Vehicle Emissions Standards Emissions standard Applied to new passenger car approvals from Applied to all new registrations from Euro 1 1 July 1992 31 December 1992 Euro 2 1 January 1996 1 January 1997 Euro 3 1 January 2000 1 January 2001 Euro 4 1 January 2005 1 January 2006 Euro 5 1 September 2009 1 January 2011 Euro 6 1 September 2014 1 September 2015 Euro 1 (EC93) Implementation date (new approvals): 1 July 1992 Implementation date (all new registrations): 31 December 1992 The first Europe-wide euro emissions standards were introduced in July 1992 and the regulations weren’t anywhere near as stringent as they are today. That said, the fitment of catalytic converters became compulsory on all new cars, and Euro 1 required the switch to unleaded petrol. Back then, only hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide were tested, along with particulate matter in the case of diesel engines. Over the years, the regulations have become stricter and the limits lowered. Euro 1 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 2.72g/km HC + NOx: 0.97g/km Euro 1 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 2.72/gkm HC + NOx: 0.97g/km PM: 0.14g/km Euro 2 (EC96) Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 1996 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 1997 Euro 2 reduced the limits for carbon monoxide and the combined limit for unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide, as well as introducing different levels for petrol and diesel engines. Euro 2 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 2.2g/km HC + NOx: 0.5g/km Euro 2 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 1.0g/km HC + NOx: 0.7g/km PM: 0.08g/km Euro 3 (EC2000) Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 2000 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2001 Euro 3 split the hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide limits for petrol and diesel engines, as well as adding a separate nitrogen oxide limit for diesel vehicles. The warm-up period was removed from the test procedure. Euro 3 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 2.3g/km HC: 0.20g/km NOx: 0.15g/km Euro 3 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 0.64g/km HC + NOx: 0.56g/km NOx: 0.50g/km PM: 0.05g/km Euro 4 (EC2005) Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 2005 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2006 Euro 4 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 1.0g/km HC: 0.10g/km NOx: 0.08g/km Euro 4 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 0.50g/km HC + NOx: 0.30g/km NOx: 0.25g/km PM: 0.025g/km Euro 5 Implementation date (new approvals): 1 September 2009 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2011 The big news for Euro 5 was the introduction of particulate filters (DPFs) for diesel vehicles, along with lower limits across the board. For type approvals from September 2011 and new cars from January 2013, diesel vehicles were subject to a new limit on particulate numbers. DPFs capture 99% of all particulate matter and are fitted to every new diesel car. Cars meeting Euro 5 standards emit the equivalent of one grain of sand per kilometre driven. Euro 5 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 1.0g/km HC: 0.10g/km NOx: 0.06g/km PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only) Euro 5 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 0.50g/km HC + NOx: 0.23g/km NOx: 0.18g/km PM: 0.005g/km PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km Euro 6 Implementation date (new approvals): 1 September 2014 Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 September 2015 The sixth and current incarnation of the Euro emissions standard was introduced on all new registrations in September 2015. For diesels, the permitted level of NOx has been slashed from 0.18g/km in Euro 5 to 0.08g/km. A focus on diesel NOx was the direct result of studies connecting these emissions with respiratory problems. To meet the new targets, some carmakers have introduced Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), in which a liquid-reductant agent is injected through a catalyst into the exhaust of a diesel vehicle. A chemical reaction converts the nitrogen oxide into harmless water and nitrogen, which are expelled through the exhaust pipe. The alternative method of meeting Euro 6 standards is Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR). A portion of the exhaust gas is mixed with intake air to lower the burning temperature. The vehicle’s ECU controls the EGR in accordance with the engine load or speed. Euro 6 emissions standards (petrol) CO: 1.0g/km HC: 0.10g/km NOx: 0.06g/km PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only) PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km (direct injection only) Euro 6 emissions standards (diesel) CO: 0.50g/km HC + NOx: 0.17g/km NOx: 0.08g/km PM: 0.005g/km PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/know-how/euro-emissions-standards/ I do hope this is all useful and thanks for reading. Regards Steve
  13. Steve Q

    Painting brake calipers/drums guide

    Exactly! It is amazing the difference paint can make and if people don't fancy red then they could paint their brake calipers and drums black to smarten tired looking brakes.
  14. Steve Q

    Road trip to France and Belgium

    Thanks! We sure did do alot. You're welcome, let's hope it does encourage others to do road trips around Europe or even further afield.
  15. Steve reviews Roadside Relics American's abandoned automobiles With over 250 large colour pictures Roadside Relics America's abandoned automobiles highlights some of America's lost or forgotten vehicles in breath taking locations, which the author has found on his many travels around the United States. The book has 208 pages which the author has used to cover most American vehicle manufacturers from AMC through to Willy's, and gives an insight into the manufacturer or vehicle model in question. About the author: Will Shiers is a motoring journalist who has written regular features for Classic American magazine and is currently the editor for Commercial Motor magazine. He has travelled the United States for over a decade collecting pictures for this book and the results speak for themselves. The Motorists Guide view: Needless to say I couldn't put the book down and thoroughly enjoyed reading every page. So whether you love classic cars, American cars or abandoned cars or locations then this is a must have for you. Bibliographic information: Publisher: Motorbooks Publication: 2010 RRP: 14.99 ISBN: 978-0-7603-3984-8 Binding: paperback Extent: 208 Illustrations: 250+ Also available on Kindle
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