Saturday, 30 May 2015

Car of the Week: Citroen BX

Readers, my apologies for the tardiness of this post, unfortunately with a day job to go too I have neglected my blog. However wanting an escape from the everyday I'm back and hopefully the uniqueness of my car this week makes up for a lack of activity. I give you the Citroen BX Turbo Diesel.
A fine example of the Citroen BX

First things first, this weeks car needs some work but as the BX was never sold in Australia the car is so incredibly rare that when I stumbled across it on Gumtree I just had to feature it and if your a French car fan at $800 surely it's worth a look.
Rear shot of the above very fine Citroen BX

If you need convincing though, here's some background on the BX, a proper wacky Citroen if ever there was one. The styling for starters takes all that was good with the wedge and mashes it with some truly 80's angles to make a hatchback like none other, look at those rear wheel arches for example, their barely there, the wheels just poke out giving a look akin to a classic american street machine, all low and sleek. Of course the BX also came with Citroen's legendary "magic carpet" like hydropneumatic self leveling suspension so if for some reason you wanted it even lower a flick of a switch could see the BX dropped onto it's bump stops.
A slightly tattier Citroen BX in native France, it does sport the same alloys and body kit as our Aussie one though

With almost 30 different BX model variants produced between 1982 and 1994 it's handy that your choice in Australia is limited to what some loving, emigrating owners decided to import, otherwise you'd get stuck in a mine field of letter and number combinations ranging from BX11, through 19D, TRD Turbo and even GTi. For the record though contemporary press reckoned the BX to have was the 66kw Turbo Diesel, a car that became Britain's best selling diesel in the early 90's due its combination of refinement and power. It could do the 0-100km/h sprint in 11 seconds which at the time was hot hatch territory and totally unheard of for a supposedly dirty, noisy diesel.

And would you believe it the one and only BX I stumbled across for sale in Australia right now is a desirable turbo diesel with some lovely period alloy wheels. As I said however it is in need of some work. That brilliant engine has done a staggering 480000km and could probably be doing with a rebuild. Another few bits need looking at before it's roadworthy again too like some tyres and a general tidy up. Don't let this BX's rarity put you off restoring it, the Citroen shares it's platform with the Peugeot 405, a car that was actually sold Down Under, meaning parts might not be as hard to come by as you'd think and there is of course the wonder that is Ebay if you need to source bits from overseas, they built over 2 million BX's so the parts are cheaply available in Europe.
Citroen BX Turbo Diesel, $800

I'll be back with next weeks car in a few days, but if you do happen to buy this car let me know, as I'd love it to find an enthusiastic owner.                    

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Car of the Week: BMW 6 Series E24

Some 80's BMW loveliness this week that also happens to be super rare and an absolute bargain. It does need some work though. Get your braces on and your massive mobile phones in hand people, I give you the E24 BMW 6 Series, the 635CSi to be precise.
BMW 6 Series E24 x2


Coming from a time when BMW badges meant exactly what they said on the tin, the 635 was powered by a 3.5 litre (3430cc to be precise) straight 6. Developing 160kw it could take the 1520kg Beemer to 100km/h in 7.4 seconds and if you so wished onto a top speed of 222km/h. Available with an auto or manual the majority of cars left Germany with a self shifter, however this weeks car of choice also has the much rarer manual gearbox fitted meaning that legendary BMW 6 cylinder and driving experience should be that little bit sweeter when you find the right road.


Visually the 6 is an absolute classic, that shark like nose, shared with early 5 and 7 Series models makes the 6, in my opinion one of the prettiest cars BMW has ever made. The long nose upright skinny "A" pillar, an expanse of glass and short tail coming together to make a classic coupe shape that's gorgeous from whatever angle you look at it. The chrome detailing too is perfectly executed giving the 6 a real sense of class. If you were to buy one you'd be sure to get the neighbors talking, the car still just has so much presence.
BMW 6 Series E24


Watching a Shannnon's Club video a few days ago on the 6 only deepened my new found lust for these cars. It turns out they made rather good race cars in Australia, meaning the viewing public went out and bought them, even when BMW Australia couldn't officially import any between 1981 and 1987. People loved them so much they just imported them themselves. Compelled by this information I wanted to see just how cheaply you could get a 635, as it turns out less than $10,000 is all you need.
BMW 6 Series E24 rear view

It will need some work

Ok, I'll admit like last weeks car, the TR7, at this price point the 6 your looking at is likely to need a little work. But clubs exist and parts are available so don't be put off, these cars are bonafide classics and could make a very sound investment the older they get. With beautiful styling, a wonderfully smooth engine and an undiluted RWD BMW driving experience there's a lot to love about the 6 Series, surely they're worth a moment of your time?

Go get yourself one

It runs, it looks good, has a not too high 201,000km and crucially it has a  manual gearbox! This 635CSi has all the makings of an awesome classic. The advert however is truthful, saying that the car is for restoration clearly indicates that the shiny paint and E39 5 Series wheels are hiding something. The ad also eludes to this being a rare Aussie delivered manual as well, but the fact that this car is from 1982 and BMW stopped shipping them into the country in 1981, means that actually it's most probably a private import, just something to bear in mind if you were to try and trace it's past. Unclear history aside though for $8500 this 635CSi is one seriously tempting vehicle.

1982 BMW 635CSi, $8500          

Monday, 18 May 2015

My Significant Addiction: The Volkswagen Golf

My names Bruce Jamieson and I'm an addict, but its not drugs, alcohol or women that consume my life, no it's cars and in particular one that's a jack of all trades but master of none, The Volkswagen Golf. Today I'm going to use my blog for something a little different, I'm going to use it as a means of venting my frustrations over the aforementioned German hatchback.
The Volkswagen Golf, my kryptonite

I was innocent once upon a time

Firstly a little background to my addiction, I was an innocent 11 year old when I walked into the newsagent armed with £4 for a magazine. My mind was not yet made up as I scanned the shelves, BMW, Peugeot, Mini, Ford and Japanese specialist car magazines stared back at me, enticing me with 205 GTI's, Escort RS Turbo's, E36 M3's and EK Civic Type R's, but then just next to Cosmo sat a magazine called Golf + with a silver Mk4 GTI on the cover, that was it I was smitten. Six years and hundreds of copies later I passed my driving test and it doesn't take a genius to guess what I bought as my first car, a red 1.4 litre Mk4 Golf that was barely powerful enough to lug its lardy ass around, but I adored it and as it turns out this was the only decent Golf I ever bought.
My first Golf love was this red Mk4

My Golfs, a history

Two more Mk4's followed, a highly tuned blue diesel with a penchant for pissing it's coolant out and my holy grail, a maroon GTI which seemed allergic to its own turbo. A bunch of slightly more reliable Golf derivatives from Seat and Audi also ensued but I always harked back to wanting another Golf even though from experience they had been more hassle than their worth, I just always wanted to give them a second chance.
My second Volkswagen Golf, a tuned GTTDI

My third Volkswagen Golf, a 1.8 20 valve Turbo GTI which didn't like its own turbo

Golfing downunder

Moving down under I thought my addiction might have passed and a few weeks ago I thought I'd take on a small project for winter, something I could sell on in summer for a little profit. Looking on Gumtree though the unexplained urge for some Golf returned and unfortunately a Mk3 Cabrio has been the result. It needed some work, namely a new hood, some interior tidying up and a good polish but otherwise it was sound. Now I say unfortunately as yesterday without warning the clutch gave up, BANG, stall, stranded, shit.
My latest and most probably last Volkswagen Golf, a Mk3 Cabrio

I'd done all the things I advocate on this very blog when buying a used car; found an enthusiastic seller who had spared no expense mechanically fixing the car and who had a genuine reason to sell it, it even had low km's. I test drove it 3 times for goodness sake and everything felt dandy, but alas it clearly wasn't.

Lesson learned

I'll always advocate that Golfs are very good cars, for other people, just not when I own them. Maybe the phrase "never meet your idols" rings true here. I've lied, borrowed and disappointed people too many times and ultimately too many of Germany's finest have broken down on me. The Cabrio will be finished though as I can't let this addiction get the better of me but once it's gone I think I'll be buying something else from now on.                      

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Car of the Week: Triumph TR7

What looks like a block of cheese, helped launch the career of Joanna Lumley and been the butt of so many motoring jokes there's quite frankly no point repeating them? You guessed it, this weeks car is, the uber 70's triumph TR7.
Triumph TR7, the big bumpers were needed for it to meet US regulations at the time

Two steps forward, one step back  

Launched in 1975 the TR7 was British Leyland’s attempt to take the Triumph range into the future, unfortunately though the wedgy TR7 just didn't have the chiselled good looks of its predecessor the TR6. This combined with the usual woeful BL build quality didn’t do the car any favours and I will admit that for years, the TR7 has never really appealed to me, much like it didn't to the 1970's public. However maybe it’s patriotism again or maybe I just fancy a piece of cheese. Whatever the reason Triumph’s TR7 has grown on me since I’ve been in Australia, and given you can get one for under $5000 it might just grow on you too.
Triumph TR7, you can see why the design divided opinion

Simple mechanics 

The TR7 is really quite a simple sports car recipe, take a drivetrain that works, namely a Dolomite engine and rear drive set up then clad it in a sportier 2 seat body. The result, a mechanically simple car that people will, theoretically, want to aspire to. Utilising the Dolomites 2 litre inline 4 though means the TR7 was no rocket ship, mustering only 67kw, 0-100km/h took 11 seconds and the car was out of puff at 173km/h. However it was light which at least made the TR7 rather fun to drive and thanks to its role in the BBC’s The New Avengers TV series, provided you wore flares and had a humongous perm, you were seen as rather cool if you owned one.
Triumph would also sell you a convertible TR7, these looked better and outsold the coupe

The wedge

Visually though, the TR7 will always divide opinion, the wedge design, billed as “the shape of things to come” in reality never really took off and had fizzled out as a design idea by the 1990’s. And with beauty being in the eye of the beholder, there’s not much more I can say about the TR7. Maybe just take the time to study its form. And if nothing else it does have pop up headlights so surely that counts for something!
A period TR7 advert "the shape of things to come" maybe not

The reality

Now I’ve mentioned that mechanically TR7’s were rather simple and this is true but as the youngest are now approaching 35 years old there is a clause attached to that statement. Things will have worn out by now and although some initial manufacturing gremlins might have been sorted many more will have appeared in the intervening years, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. For my $5000 budget the car you’ll get is likely to be in need of some work, but it should at least run and if you are prepared to spend another 2 to 3k getting it pristine a profit of a similar amount could be achievable. Of course I’m not advocating you sell it for a quick profit, no the TR7 is an unloved classic that deserves to be driven and given the appreciation it has long been lacking. And as always when I feature a classic its important to know there are people in Australia who can help keep your car going, like the Triumph owners club.

Go and get yourself one

Triumph TR7 for sale This weeks pick does require some work, but it does represent a very cheap way into classic European motoring. Dry stored for over 10 years the seller states this is a rust free running example. Recently serviced it would appear the work to get this roadworthy has already begun. Rubbers and other perishables might still need replacing though and it could probably do with a respray. Km's are low for its age though and you cant really complain about the price.

1979 triumph TR7, $3400

Photo credits: &

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Volkswagen Kombi's expected to make big money at Shannons Autumn Auction

The Volkswagen Type 2, more commonly know in these parts as the Kombi was at one time just a van, but these days this once humble load lugger is now hot property. Maybe its the iconic design, the mechanical simplicity or it's unshakably cool image, whatever the reason Shannons auctions are expecting a couple of 60's Veedubs to make big money when they go under the hammer.
This original factory right hand drive 1966 Volkswagen De Luxe ’21 Window’ Samba Microbus is expected to sell in the $100,000-$130,000 range at Shannons Sydney Late Autumn Classic Auction on May 18.

Here are some details to get the geeks excited out there, the first bus being offered is a RHD 1966 Volkswagen De Luxe 21 Window Samba Microbus which features two rare period options; a steering ignition lock code name M056 and a very rare sliding side door named M164. The van itself has undergone major restoration and modernisation, now sporting white over blue paint instead of the original factory red, a 1641cc engine, new suspension and front disc brakes, Shannons expect a scarcely believable sale price of $100,000 to $130,000.
A right hand drive split-screen 1962 Volkswagen Kombi ‘Windowless’ Panel Van that has been rebuilt with a high degree of authenticity is expected to sell in the $60,000-$70,000 range

The second van being offered is literally just that, a van. A 1962 split screen windowless panel van to be precise. Unlike the Samba this one has no creature comforts and it hasn't been modernised, just restored to it's bare to the bones originality. That means a 1200cc engine, 4 skinny wheels, a couple seats and not much else. And how much for all this basic'ness you ask? Guide price $60,000 to $70,000.
A right hand drive split-screen 1962 Volkswagen Kombi ‘Windowless’ Panel Van that has been rebuilt with a high degree of authenticity is expected to sell in the $60,000-$70,000 range

These two don't exactly represent cheap European motoring but they do make a case for being pretty unique in a world that seems to be overflowing with Volkswagen Kombi's. If you can afford one or just fancy seeing people who can head down to Shannons late Autumn auction in Sydney on the 18th May, where other lots include a Ford Model T, Sierra RS Cosworth, a 70's 911 and a Jag XK120.          

Monday, 4 May 2015

Car of the Week: Maserati 3200 GT

What's got a 3.2 litre V8, twin turbo's and a name so synonymous with motor sport there have literally been books written about it? You guessed it, this weeks car does and I can scarcely believe you can get one down under this cheap. I give you the Maserati 3200GT.
Car of the week, the Maserati 3200 GT

Italian exotica for Astra money     

So I've ventured almost into supercar territory this week and I bet your wondering, how cheap am I actually talking for some second hand Italian exotica? Well I'm saying that for the price of that new Holden Astra ($29,000) I wrote about last week, you can have a car that originally retailed for an eye watering $188,500. It is not my cheapest car of the week ever but surely you can't pass up on a bargain like this? Let's take a closer look.
The boomerang rear lights of the 3200 GT, how very Australian


The 3200 is unashamedly a grand tourer, it has GT in its name for goodness sake, which means it is the perfect motor for a big country like Australia. That 3.2 V8 up front develops 271kw and 491Nm of torque to take you from 0-100 in just 5.1 seconds and most likely Sydney all the way to Darwin in not a whole lot longer. Those twin turbo's doing there boosting thing to aid that wondrous bent eight soundtrack just as much as they do the fuel economy. Ok that last point might not be strictly true but who cares about economy when you could have a car that looks so damn good. Styled by legendary Italian design house Italdesign I challenge you to find a more classically proportioned Italian GT.
Gorgeous lines of the Ital designed 3200 GT

The negatives

Heck it even comes with 4 wonderful leather seats and a boot big enough to swallow a few overnight bags, surely there has to be a catch? Well yes, according to reviews at the time the 6 speed manual isn't up to much, so the auto is actually the one to go for, which for cross country eloping is probably best anyway.
Other negatives, be prepared for expensive servicing, but not simply because you live in Australia, being a highly strung Italian sports car the Masser's running cost are high world over, so don't let that put you off, this car would have high repair bills even in Italy.
The 6 speed manual pictured here is said to not be the best gearbox Maserati have ever made

Maserati 3200 GT provides seating for 4

The reality 

It comes down to the fact that if your willing to buy a Maserati your likely to be prepared for what it's going to cost you to run. The bonus of this weeks car though is that even if your prepared to spend a pretty penny on an iconic Italian marque this one won't cost you a lot, maybe now's the time to take the plunge and buy your dream car?

Go get yourself one

Maserati 3200 GT for saleIt's blue, its got gun metal grey wheels, its Italian and its absolutely gorgeous. Other than saying it has current rego the advert doesn't give a lot away, but we can presume given the cars rarity that it's been well maintained. It has 130,000km's which I actually like, shows its been used however it is a less desirable manual. One things for sure though, the owner wants it gone so go get yourself a bargain.
2000 Maserati 3200 GT, $29,000

Picture credits:

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Cars and Coffee is coming to Byron

As you might be aware I live in Byron Bay, an area that is without doubt absolutely unique. However, since moving here, with exception of the kombi club, I can't help but notice a lack of car culture. It would appear that cars just don't seem to be high on the agenda of the residents.
2 BMW E30's, FC Mazda RX7, Volkswagen Golf Mk1 Cabrio spotted in Byron

Cars as unique as the residents 

This is a real shame, because when I've been out and about the cars I've seen are almost as unique as some of the residents themselves and deserve to be celebrated. Thankfully though I've heard of something that will go some way to right this wrong and celebrate the cars this area has to offer, Cars And Coffee is coming to Byron next Sunday the 10th of May.
The iconic Volkswagen Beetle spotted in Byron

Inaugural event 

Being held the second Sunday of every month cars and coffee is exactly what it says on the tin, bring your unique, classic or interesting car along and have some coffee. The reason, to show your car and hopefully meet some like minded people.
Neglected Morris 1800 in Byron

Where and When? 

So please come along Sunday 10th May to The Farm on Ewingsdale road from 8.30am, where hopefully the turnout will be diverse. And in a bid to get you there here's a bit of of shameless plugging of my Instagram account, where I post pics of all the cool cars I spot in the Bay.
Holden EK in Byron
All pictures are cars I've spotted in Byron, taken from my Instagram account.

Cars & Coffee Byron Bay official site 
Cars & Coffee Facebook page