Well, at long last, the 216 GTi 16V is back at austin-rover.co.uk Towers. After an event-free trip back from rural Oxfordshire, the car has quickly wormed its way into our affections. The engine has that revvy, tinny, unburstable nature of an old Honda, and thankfully, it still seems to be putting out all of its 128bhp. I cannot be sure of the fact because the clutch is indeed, knackered, and will be replaced in the next week-or-so by the Official Staples2Naples mechanic (and back-up driver) Brian Gunn. This is a good job, because if you apply any more than half pressure on the throttle cable, the revs soar upwards… Not good for Stelvio.
Other than that, the car is an absolute peach, and we have to thank Scott Woodcock again for his incredible generosity for donating the car to the cause. The best thing about it has to be the supportive seats, commanding driving position and tight, rattle-free interior. Handling is also very good, and it is obvious that this 96,000-mile car has not had a hard life, because you can feel it through the steering every time you take it around a corner. In fact, in the chassis department, it seems leagues ahead of my own trusty 400 Tourer.
Other good news. The information pack has turned up from the S2N organisers and we should be booking hotels in the next couple of days or so. The challenge looks… challenging!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.