Keith Adams moves his Bangernomics Mondeo on to pastures new and replaces it with something a little more British-built. It’s a tad nicer to drive, too…
Okay, so it’s best to start with a confession: I struggle with Bangernomics. I love running old cars, but my problem is that I have to love them – and, if I love them, I want to spend money on them. And that defeats the idea of Bangernomics. Yes, the Mondeo has been sold – not because it was rubbish, or because it wasn’t great value, but simply because I didn’t care.
That’s why it sat languishing in the work car park, being unused. Then the MoT ran out and the bonnet cable snapped, so I decided, that rather than fixing it in order to live on for another year being ignored, I’d sell it to someone who might make more use of it than me. After all, it’s an honest family car that drives way better than the number on its odometer would have you believe.
I posted it on Facebook and, within days, a deal was struck with Neil Turner (below). He’s a chap that’s been in the AROnline universe since the beginning – he came to the first social event hosted by us back in 2002, and has kept in regular touch since. He’s a Montego nut and, back in 2000, completed the epic Cape to Cape (north Norway to southern Spain) run in his Montego estate. You can read all about that on the MG Car Club website (broken images, chaps!) – it’s a great read.
Mondeo out, Civic in…
Days after Neil had trailered his new car away, it was MoT’d, freshened-up and beginning a new life. I hope Neil will keep us posted to see how it’s going. Maybe he’ll work out better at Bangernomics than me. Next time, I’ll buy a car I care about – like a Citroën Xantia or Rover 75.
With the Ford gone, I decided to stretch the budget a little further and, once again, put a shout out on Facebook. I need a new car, and have no idea what to buy. And once again, an AROnline old hand, Russell Gowers, jumped into the fray. Long-time readers might remember his hilarious Cold Car Caper (which he blogged in December 2007 – about halfway down the page). He said that he was selling his Honda Civic Type R, and would I be interested?
Given it was in budget, of course I was. However, I had other irons in the fire, so didn’t jump in with both feet. Other serious considerations included a Volvo V70R (300bhp!), Jaguar XJ6 (X350), and a Citroën C6 (aaargh!), but in the end, I went for the Swindon-built Honda (after making Russell a stupid offer that he rightly refused). And you know why? Because I wanted something ‘sensible’ to run!
So, what have I bought?
Well, it’s different, that’s for sure. Back in the day, I remember reviewing these as new cars, and loving them. Type Rs are idiosyncratic beasts to say the least and, allied with the spaceship-like interior and exterior styling of the FN2-generation car, you have to say that it’s a very Marmite car. And yet, despite that, I do really rather like it.
I’ve had it couple of weeks now and, with 128,000 miles on the clock, it feels solid, while, as far as I can tell, every single gadget still works on it – from the sat-nav’s digital display to the reversing camera. There are no rattles and creaks whatsoever and, although some might say that the plastics feel a tad brittle inside, everything is solid, and feels built to last.
Interestingly, I can’t help but feel that under the 21st century styling and layered dashboard, it shares its DNA with the Rover 200/400 (R8) – one of my favourite cars. That’s down to the way it sounds when you start it up – the joyous way it revs, and the way it feels utterly dependable, without the layer of guff you get with more ‘premium’ cars. On the motorway, it spins over at 4000rpm at 80mph – but, because its engine is so smooth, it really doesn’t matter.
Actually, the more I drive it, the more my mind is cast back to Staples2Naples 2004, and the trans-European run in a Rover 216GTI that made lifelong friends of Alexander Boucke, Declan Berridge and me. Let’s hope this one makes even half the impression that the wonderful old R8 made!