Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Coming to a website near you....

So the company I’ve slaved long and hard for through thick, thin, 6 years, and 11 changes of manager decided they could do without my services for the duration of the recession.

Lovely people, but at least they assuaged their corporate consciences by sending me a fat cheque. Of course, this will require a rationalisation of the fleet.

The regular reader may remember I've got a late model (1998) Golf VR6 Highline with like-new purple leather (those crazy Germans....), aircon, and only 34k miles.

The VR6 was never really intended to be a back-roads hero in the mk 2 Gti mould. Its a great A road and M'Way (autobahn?) q-car that's deceptively fast, has a lovely smooth 6-pot motor, weighs only 1250kgs, and is sensible money to buy and run.

It has very long gearing (>100mph in 3rd and geared for 160mph in top), and the engine only comes good at 3500rpm,. As a result mid-range isn't as grunty as you might expect, but I get 30-35mpg with reasonably fortissimo usage - although admittedly I don't do a lot of town driving. Brakes are fine for road use (inc ABS), the front discs taking up all the space inside a 15" wheel.

Mine came with utterly shagged dampers, even with the low miles – 30k at that point. They were ineffective to the point of making me feel seasick, let alone the effect on braking as the wheels flapped in the air after hitting any bump. I replaced these with std spec Bilstein dampers and the only thing that came into focus were those luke-warm contemporary road tests. The ride was still horrible– it gave an impression of uncontrolled weight over the front wheels, float, wallow and poor body control and it crashed against the bumpstops on lateral ridges.

So I bit the bullet and had £700 worth of Bilstein B12 suspension and bushes fitted by those wonderful people at G-Werks in Littlehampton. It transformed the car. It'll never be a one of the great chassis, but the urgent howl of the narrow angle V6 at 6000rpm is plenty of compensation.

However, two cars aren’t going to wash right now, so sadly the Golf is going to have to go. A couple of minor tweaks this week and expect to see it in the For Sale boards of Pistonheads, Edition38 and VR6OC. Look for the most expensive vr6 there…..

Right now the Cayman stays, but there is an overwhelming argument for having a car with at least +2 rear seats. Do I have a 993 itch to scratch?

PS Classic and Sports Car tipped the vr6 as a future classic last month

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