Saturday, 31 December 2011

Lamborghini Espada..., really. An ACTUAL Lamborghini for under £2000, one of these no less!

Oh my!

Introduced in '68 the Espada was Lamorghini's answer to those looking for a true four-seater sports car. 'True' in the sense that your rear seat passengers were allowed to have legs. It looked nothing like its low-slung, two seater, rear engined Miura stable-mate, not by a long shot, but that didn't stop it from being a success. Over 1200 were built and sold, which made it pretty damn successful indeed.

That there is the 300+bhp V12 that lived in the Espada - noisy

The thing is, the Espada wasn't cheap in 1968. In 2011/12 it's much the same...

Yeah, okay then, how much?

Ready? Sitting down? Holding onto something tight?


Yeah, sorry about that. £50k is a little out of our budget, unless that is, YOU OWN A WELDER! Like spending three weeks at a time in the garage? Do you have cotton wool where your common sense should be? Do you hate spending time with your partner and find yourself wishing you had a distraction? Well, you need this beauty for the humble price of £2000. Oh yes...

...erm, yes. Okay, so it's in kit form, it's very (to put it lightly) rusty and even if you were born last week you'd still fail to finish it before you shuffled off your mortal coil. Who cares though, it's a Lamborghini. A LAMBORGHINI. Buy it, touch it with your spanner every now and then (that's not a euphemism you weirdo) and then just use it as a car of this ilk should be used - as pub fodder.

Pop down to the Dog and Duck on Friday and when you hear your mate John waffling on about his new Mondeo simply saunter over, gingerly place your chin on John's shoulder (for maximum effect) and declare "Yeah, well I've got a Lambo at home, John. WOOF!"

You're thinking about that now, aren't you?

One small caveat though: you can never let anyone see it. In the case of this Espada the Lamborghini name is all you're really buying. Let Mondeo John see it and he'll laugh at you a lot, which we would never want to see happen - we like you, we don't want to see you get laughed at.

So, there you go, a Lamborghini on on Not £2 Grand. What a great way to wrap up 2011!

Friday, 23 December 2011

BAH HUMBUG..., not really. This is what we mean...

Have a good one. We know we will. Bevis has already started wearing his sexy Mrs. Claus outfit (despite strong objections from the landlord of the local boozer and the lolly-pop lady who works every Tuesday), while Chris has already taken the time to attach some miseltoe to his belt buckle (you'd think he'd learn after last year's 'festive' trip to A&E). Yup, we're going to have a blinder!

We hope you all do as well!

Thanks for all the support over the last year, without the tens of thousands of you who read this blog we'd be nothing. WE LOVE YOU!

See you in 2012, you sexy buggers!

Now go, eat turkey, chat up that crush at the Xmas party and generally have a good time!

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Saab special...

Today we are sad. Very sad. Saab has had the final administrative nail driven into its lovely, slightly bonkers, Swedish coffin. Saab is dead, soon to be nothing more than another addition to the list of 'do you remember them?' car companies. Sniff.

It's a Saab hearse. Saab are dead now. Can you see what we've done here?

Saab first appeared on the radar in 1937 (if, that is, they had radars back then), though its primary concern was that of building planes, not tough hatchbacks with odd ignition key placement and a leave-it-in-reverse prerequisite. It was the mid-forties before it turned its hand to the wheel as a primary point of movement. That first car was the snappily named 92001. They wanted to call it 90210, but rich American teens had already collared that number some 40 years ahead of the TV show of the same name. That last bit may have been a lie. Anyway, yes, the Saab 92001...

Well hello there, you Swedish sexpot!

It looked a bit like a plane, sort of, if you squint. Okay, it looked nothing like a plane, but crucially it looked like nothing else either, but it transpired that people liked that quite a lot. Saab were off to a winning start and from the '40s onwards it continued to make good, if slightly odd cars.

As the years rolled on Saab decided on three things...

1) It liked turbos. Good, because we like turbos quite a lot, too.

2) It liked crashing into stuff. Not on purpose, mind. Much like not-dead-yet Volvo, the bods at Saab were all about safety. If you bumped one of its cars they wanted your pretty face (and it is pretty by the way) to stay just the way you like it - steering wheel free. They've spent millions on that, the lovely swines.

3) It liked luxury. Leather, dubious wood, lots of buttons and electric everything were chiselled into the modus operandi.

...and those three things shaped the way it would build its cars for its remaining years. Safe, powerful cars with plenty of kit. What could go wrong?

Darling, I think we've had a bump. Would you turn Dexy's Midnight Runners off and have look please, Sweetheart?

A lot, so it would seem. We won't bore you with all the details - there are proper grown-up news sites for that - instead allow us to summarise what's happened...

They ran out of money. Mainly because the brilliantly named Chinese conglomerate, Youngman, decided at the last possible moment that it had put Saab in its shopping basket by mistake. This left Saab as nothing more than the metaphorical tin of green beans that you see next to the shampoo in ASDA. Damn you Youngman, damn you to hell.

Now it's your time to step up, dear reader. Yes, you! Put the Pot Noodle down and listen up! You can live oh-so-many of Saab's dreams for less than £2000. Cars like the 9-3 convertible...

...or if you need a bit more space for the kids, the dog and half of Sutton Coldfeild you could opt for a 9-5 estate...

...or you could go classic and opt for a 900 Turbo...

...or something else. There are so many sub-£2000 Saabs out there that the choice really is yours. Buy one and you'll look good, you'll feel safe and you'll go bloody fast if you buy the right one! You'll also be preserving the heritage of a great, slightly odd car company. It'd be like having your bonkers aunt stuffed and mounted as a memorial, just without the inherent risk of getting you arrested/sectioned under the mental health act.

Goodbye Saab, and thanks for the cars. They might not have been to everyone's taste, but we loved them. Hell, N£2G head-honcho had a 900XS (though he's willing to ignore the fact that engine FELL OUT OF IT on the M32). You'll be missed. Mainly for things like this wonderful press shot...

...nope, we haven't got a clue.

Saab cars, 1944 - 2011.

The Mercedes R107...

Just a wee update here, one for a car we saw on Retro Rides - a site we spend far too much time on. Damn you internet.

It's a Mercedes R107, or 350SL to you and me. Two seats, a stonking great V8 and classic Mercedes lines - this is one pretty little car. It's also bloody cheap at just £1500. The SL seldom finds itself rubbing wing mirrors with the sub £2k market regulars, so this is a bit special. Just look at it...

Pimp-tacular! Now, have a look at its bottom...

Sassy! This really is one pretty little car, but with a 3.5l V8 it's also an angry one when you want it to be. Top down Mercedes motoring for under £2000, it doesn't get much better.

Before you go off romanticising about being a permed, 80s footballer with a shoulder-pad-sporting Page 3 girl called Susan in the passenger seat (a fine mental image, we're sure you'll agree), there is a caveat: this sucker is a bit rusty. A bit. Only a little. Honest. Ahem.

Look, it's a cheap old Mercedes. Cheap old Mercedeseses rust a lot, it's just what they do. But hey, don't look glum, this old girl is more than salvageable, that's why she's here being paraded before your pretty eyes. Plus - and we're just being honest here - we're living somewhat vicariously as we're broke-as-a-joke at the moment.

Buy this beauty now, fire up the MIG over winter, tack in some new tin before spring and then roll out in summer. Still not sold on the idea? Well, Danny Dyer drove one in 'The Business' and everyone wants to be Danny Dire (see what we did there?), right?

Bollocks, we've put you off now haven't we? Well, if you're still keen, here's the link to the advert.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Skoda Superb...

Yeah, it's a Skoda and it's chuffin' ace. Deal with it!

Whoo, yeah! I'm a Skoda. No, really, I am

It's 2011 and we've all become a little bit older, a little bit wiser and a little bit fatter (well, that's the case in the N2G office at least). It's that middle point we need to focus on, the 'wiser' bit. With that wisdom should come warm feelings towards the manufacturer that once only offered warmth via the medium of a heated rear screen on your hands whilst pushing said car along the A12 - probably because a con-rod had fallen out or something.

Yes, be wise and embrace the fact those days are gone! Skoda is not a laughing-stock any more; it's a force to be reckoned with and one which has produced some great cars of late, cars like Not £2 Grand fave, the Octavia VRs. We're choosing to ignore the Roomster as that's one odd looking fish, and because it's still really bloody expensive. Anyway, we digress.

Yes Mr. Press Photographer, rocks always make things look cool

The car we're getting all giddy about this week is the Superb. As names go, the Superb is rubbish. Seriously, Superb? Then again it is better than Skoda S'not Bad, or Skoda Fantastic. Actually, we would have gone with Fantastic, because it is (see how we wrote that whole paragraph to meet our own needs? POW! That's snappy journalism for you).

The Superb was released around 2002 and, quite frankly, it is the biggest slab of internally combusted plagiarism to ever hit the road. Stay with us though, because in the context of the Superb it's not a bad thing.

The early 2000s were a time when people started looking at Skodas as a viable option for getting the family from A to B. The Octavia and Fabia were big sellers, robbing sales from Ford, Vauxhall and VW in impressive numbers. Skoda wanted a bigger slice of the pie, though, and the slice they wanted most was the executive sector. Yeah, an executive Skoda. Who'da thunk it? Still, Skoda had Lingyu in its crosshairs, which helped.

No, not this fella...


...that's Pingu, children's favourite and plasticine hero. No, we're talking about this...

...the VW Passat Lingyu. Never heard of it? Nope, neither had we until about four seconds ago. Basically it's a Chinese Passat with an extra 100mm (or 3.9inches) stuffed into its middle, making it like a limo, sort of. It's an ironic twist that a nation populated by people of a stature which ensures the top of the wardrobe remains a permanent mystery have brought us one of the largest cars in its class. Odd.

Now, as Skoda are owned by VW, the cheeky scamps at Skoda Design HQ thought it would be fine to nick the China-only Lingyu, slap a Skoda badge on it and sell it to Europeans on the basis that it was a swish Passat WHICH THEY'D COME UP WITH ALL ON THEIR OWN. VW tussled Skoda's hair, gave them a wink and let them crack on. Wise move.

When it hit UK dealerships everyone knew what Skoda had done, but no one cared. Why should they? I looked as good as a Passat, but it was longer and it had UMBRELLAS IN THE DOORS. LIKE A CHUFFIN' ROLLS ROYCE! It also had leather, electric everything, sat-nav (in most cases) and more. It was the flagship of the Skoda brand, and rightly so. It sold well, too. Mainly because it was cheaper than a fully-loaded Passat while being 100mm longer, and that 100mm is crucial *there was a penis joke here, but we edited it out*.

Now you can expect to get a 2.8 V6 (that's a VW engine, folks) with all the gizmos for your £2000, really shop around and you might get a diesel with less than 6,000,000 miles on it. Try getting a Passat of the same spec and year for the same moolah and you'll come up short, by more than 100mm (see what we did there, yeah, wordplay). We would go for the petrol, mind. Thirsty, yes, but much less likely to have been a taxi (a lot of diesels suffered that fate once they hit the used car market).

Buy one and you can be as happy as this bloke. We wouldn't be as happy as him though, mainly because a seagull ate our cousin in 1993, but that's another story

We'd buy one, and then every time we saw a Passat we'd giggle because ours is longer (we'll stop with gags now, honest). Seriously though, a sub 10 year-old 'flagship' car for less than £2000? If that's not great value we don't know what is. Never has a car embodied what we're about here at Not £2 Grand as much as the Superb does. Get one bought!

Oh, and in a media savvy way, we'd like to tell you that this very update has been featured on which is nice. It's a good place to get hunting for sub-£2000 cars.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Land Rover 90/110/Defender...


But seriously...

Well, hello ladies. You look like you've got everything under control...

On the eighth day, God created the Land Rover, or at least that's how it feels. It really has been there forever, a reliable, tough and very British solution to getting anywhere you like via the medium of wheels, torque and grip. Say "off roader" and people think of the Landy, it's the benchmark, the original and quite frankly, the daddy of traversing mud and rocks of any size. Oh, and you can get one for under £2000, too.

This isn't like the other cars we've featured, because quite frankly it's no big secret that you can get them for under the hallowed £2000 budget. But still, we wanted to celebrate the grandfather of green-laning because we love it. The fact we get to include more pictures of pretty ladies up to their bottoms in mud is a mere fringe benefit. Ahem.

Er, that's not gone well, has it?

We shouldn't have asked those two to help us, as they're showing the Landy in a bad light. Shame on you, girls. The truth is that the Land Rover is one of the most capable cars out there, which is a good thing as that's about the only feather in its hat.

Water? Pah I drive througlug, splutter, glug...

Now by saying the Landy's hat is mono-feathered isn't a dig, quite the opposite in fact. All the Landy is built for is driving where others can't. It's not like a contemporary 4X4; filled with leather, air-con and seats which both warm and massage your buttocks while you drive down the M42. No, this ia proper bit fo kit and that's why we love it. Even if it does offer less refinement than this on the inside...

A Land Rover's interior. Possibly

Engine wise there's all kind of options. Earlier version has 2 1/4 petrols as well as a fairly agricultural diesel. Later versions had the TD5 found in the Discovery (though your £2000 probably won't stretch that far). For us though (and in the true spirit of Not £2 Grand) we'd opt for one fitted with a Rover V8, just because, well, we don't ever need to justify a V8.

The Land Rover 90/110/Defender also came in a variation of shapes and sizes. There were long and short wheelbase versions, pick ups, open tops, chassis cabs and vans. There really is a Land Rover for every job, it's such a versatile bit of kit.

One for the ladies. PHWAAAR!

However, there's a caveat. Land Rovers for this kind of money will be old. They're still as popular as ever, keeping prices high the market busy. Your £2000 will probably get you a late '80s example, but a well cared for one...

Hmmm, old. Old but good, damn good in fact

...and in all honesty this is the price range you want to start in. There's no such thing as a cheap Land Rover - they don't exist. There are, however, Land Rovers which cost significantly less than £2000...initially. You'll soon spend more though, forcing you to sell your wife, your underpants and your dog. In that order. Here's an example of such a vehicle...


In conclusion, the Land Rover 90/110/Defender is a rugged, charming and purposeful vehicle. It's not flash, it's not for taking the kids to school and it won't blend in on Chelsea's high street. You can, however, paint it with a brush, change the aluminium panels with rivets, re-cover the seats with Duck Tape and drive it over Wales without getting stuck. It's a proper 4x4. If you tried to put 22s on one of these, you'd be shot in the face. Much like the rappers who roll around in those pathetic pseudo 4x4s in L.A tend to be.

It's an icon, it's tough and it's British - get one bought!

Oh, but before we go, let's cut back to the girls...

...hmmm, if you do buy one, it may be prudent to avoid lending it to these two.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Peugeot 206 GT...

Fancy a bit of this in your life?

To quote Clarkson, "A BIT OF POO'S COME OUT!!"

Well, sorry, you can't. You're probably not a rally driver and you've probably not got £250,000+ to spend on a works car. In fact, you definitely haven't because you're reading a blog about cheap cars. Plus, if you tried that on the A627 you'd end up in a ditch. On your roof. On fire. Backwards. As much fun as flaming, rear-entry ditch endeavours are, we don't suggest them.

You can get (sort of) close, though, if you buy a Peugeot 206 GT. No, not a GTi, a GT. It was the mechanical predecessor to the 2.0 GTi thanks to what was at the time a new 2.0 engine, along with being the hologomated version of the rally car you see up there trying to put its wheels where its roof should be.

Not only does have rally pedigree (sort of), it's also really bloody exclusive. It could well be one of the most exclusive cars we've ever splashed across Not £2 Grand actually. Peugeot only had to build 2500 to meet holomogation regulations, but they actually went ahead and knocked 4000 together. You might not think that 4000 is particularly exclusive and you'd be right, 600 on the other hand is very exclusive and that's exactly how many Peugeot made in UK friendly right-hand-drive.

Crash helmets and pace-notes need not apply

The GT stands for 'Grand Tourisme' which isn't anything to do with the PlayStation game, it actually means 'Grand Touring'. A wise name really, as touring around is something it does rather well.

As a holomogation car it does have some sporty aspirations, too. It's the road-going justification of a 300bhp World Rally Car after all, so it couldn't be solely built around comfort.

Under the bonnet resides a 2.0 16v engine complete with 137bhp and five speed transmission. The interior is made up of half leather sports seats, drilled metal pedals, a sporty gear knob and a metallic sports instrument panel with oil (oooh) and temperature (ahhh) display. Okay, so it's somewhat lacking in roll cage, Sparco bucket seats and fire extinguishers but trust us, they'd just get on your nerves every time you popped to Tesco Express.

Externally there's that, er, interesting body-kit, the one that makes it look like a bullfrog. The long beak and wide grill along with the stretched out rear were required as part of the holomogation process to increase the overall length of the car to match that of its WRC counterpart - the forest bashing, crest leaping rally car came in at 4m, while the road car only measured in at 3.83m. Small arch extensions and a subtle spoiler help balance everything out.

Just like a rally car, in the same way a toaster is just like a Springer Spaniel

On the road, any sporty 206 was going to have its work cut out. Not only would it have fight against the competition from the likes of Ford, Renault and Volkswagen, it would also have to go up against its predecessor: the 205 GTi. On the latter front, it failed somewhat because the 205 had one of the best chassis ever, it also weighed around 23 tons less. When it came to its peers, though, the 206 did rather well despite only having 137bhp. It's no wonder the 2003, 180bhp GTi was such a success!

It was tight, nimble, responsive and whole load of other motoring clichés that us motoring hacks throw around. Basically, it was a giggle, exclusive and incredibly well kitted out, and with that it was well worth the £16,000 the people at Peugeot wanted for it.

You'd think that in ten years the value would have stayed high for something so special, but nope, they plummeted. The curse of the small French car? Who knows? All we know now is the 206 GT is a bargain, a bargain that is well worth your attention. If you want a fun, cool, exclusive car for notalottacash, the 206 GT is for you. You could even put a few stickers on it and pretend you're a WRC driver. Just don't end up in that ditch we mentioned earlier. On fire. Backwards.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Cadillac Seville...

Yee-ha! It's another American car for your buying pleasure. The only difference here, however, is that the Cadillac Seville isn't your normal American-car-in-England. The biscuit and gravy loving (is that a bit of a cliché?) Americans have been kind enough to put the steering wheel on the correct side of the car, which is bloody nice of them. It gets better, too. Not only have they ensured we don't die when overtaking an octogenarian in Micra on the B342, they've also left the the bloody huge 4.6 V8 under the, erm, hood. We like V8s here at N2G, we like them a lot. We don't like putting fuel in them, though.

Okay, this one is left-hand-drive. Trust us, you can get them in RHD too. Honest

We're focusing on the the fifth and final generation of the Seville, mainly because it's the only one to have been given European type approval, whatever that is. It's also better looking than the fourth generation car, and we're all about the looks. We're shallow like that.

Er, look, we SWEAR they make these things in RHD

Under the, wait, under the hood lives a 4.6L V8 which goes by the name of 'Northstar' - a moniker that couldn't be more American if it tried. It's not all stars and stripes though, as there are two distinctly un-American attributes about this engine...

It's big and it drinks a lot - just like an American. Arf!

So, the first un-American aspect is the power - mainly because it has some. The American motor industry is famous the world over for building engines with cylinders so big you could park a Vauxhall Corsa in them, but it's also famous for managing to extract BHP figures that would struggle to intimidate a ride-on lawn mower. Honestly, we know someone with a 6-litre Ford Thunderbird - it has 180bhp.

The Northstar V8 is different though, very different. The Seville comes as either an STS (Seville Touring Sedan) or an SLS (Seville Luxury Sedan), both of which have the 4.6 Northstar lump. This is where we get a bit giddy, and you should too. The SLS has 275bhp which is more than plenty, while the STS has 300bhp, thus forcing ride-on mowers everywhere to explode in fear - the Seville is one impressively fast car.

Now for the other un-American aspect...

...observe the lack of a prop-shaft? That's becuase this sucker is front-wheel-drive. That in turn makes it do this a lot. Yes folks, what you're looking at here is an American car doing the unthinkable - it's going around a corner! Madness, utter madness.

BAZINGA! A right-hand-bloody-drive one. Told you!

Inside it's your usual luxury American fodder and that's no bad thing. Acres of soft leather, more electronic gizmos than Stephen Hawking's parts shed and plenty of room. Oh, and it does that really annoying 'bong bong bong' that American cars do if you leave the lights on and open the door.

Okay, so it's no the most dynamic thing to drive - mainly because it's as big as Rochdale - but that's not what the Seville is about. This was a $50,000+ car a decade ago. It was the finest in American luxury and style (sort of) and with that, it was seen as a symbol of wealth and success. That's an image you can now embody for less than £2000. Plus, it's incredibly exclusive over here (oh come on, it's 4.6l, it was never going to be a big seller in the UK) and let's face it, you'd get a funny twinge in your sexy parts every time you told someone you drove a Cadillac. People would think you were the Ray Liotta of Wandsworth.

We love the Seville, and you should too. It's big, it's brash and it'll cost a fortune if it blows up, but looking at what you get for you money it really doesn't matter. A car shouldn't just be a form of getting from A to B, it should be an extention of your personality; something that tells people what you're really like. So on that basis, buy a Caddy and let people believe you're a Bud drinking, ten gallon hat wearing, America's Next Top Model loving gangster. We would, but then again we're special like that, or so our mum tells us.

And, as ever, here's the proof...

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Focus ST170...

The Focus RS is an annoying car. Not in terms of its handling, engine or aesthetic - they're all fantastic. No, it's an annoying bastard because it dances around the room shouting "look at me, look at me" like that annoying child on You've Been Framed videos who inevitably gets hit in the chops by an angry younger sibling. It wants to be the centre of attention because it sports the RS badge, and in its eyes that's the best there is.

Well, actually, you flare-arched, one-colour-only show off, there's an option for people who don't want to spend £10,000 on a 10yr-old Ford. It's an option that carries no RS badge, its engine sports no turbo and its gearbox contains no Quaife differential. It does, however, offer just as much driver satisfaction, just as much exclusivity and just as much fun, all for less than £2000. It goes by the name of the Focus ST170 and it's the sibling that wants to punch the RS in its expensive face. And rightly so - it's a corker.

You could get five of these for the cost of one RS. Then you could commit a gang war RS hate crime, or something...

The Focus set the motoring press alight when it was released back in the late '90s, even with a humble and fuel-hungry 1.6 powering the front wheels. It wasn't the engine that caused the media raucous though, it was the chassis. Even if you bought a poverty-spec 1.4 with manual windows and a coal heater, you still got fully independent suspension and on a family hatch that's a big deal.

There's all kinds of suspension trickery going on under here, which is why it's not wrapped around a tree

That suspension resulted in a car that gripped the road tighter than X-Factor contestants grip stupidity. Like we said earlier; that makes even the hum-drum Focus varients fun to drive. Shove a 2.0 170bhp engine under the bonnet though - complete with 145lb/ft of torque - as well as a six-speed gearbox, and you've got a car that's a huge amount of fun on the twisty stuff. Plus, it only weighs 1200kg in three-door guise, which is pretty light for a modern car full of airbags, computers and other electronic faff.

Okay, so it's no RS, but it's also not £10,000. It's also worth remembering that the ST170 is only 40bhp from the RS, and for £8000 less that's not too shabby.

This is the engine. It's full of valves and pistons and POWAHHHH!

Inside there's cloth, leather, air-con and even a CD player - it's all very swish. Plus, as it's a Focus, there's more than enough space for you, your kids and all their associated fodder - this really is a practical sports-car for all the family.

So, it's got funky seats, nice alloys, it looks a bit sporty and you can put your kids in the back. WHO CARES? The ST boasts practicality as a bonus, not as a sales factoid. The Focus ST170 doesn't care about your kids or any of your passengers for that matter. All it cares about it rewarding you, the driver. And oh, how it rewards you!

The combination of that engine and that suspension results in one of Ford's finest driver's cars of that era. Every journey in an ST170 is a joy, no matter how mundane the reason for that journey may be. Stick one of these on a glorious, rising, falling and swooping Welsh A-road and you'll be smiling from ear to ear - we guarantee it. In terms of the cars we've splashed over N2G, the ST170 is easily one of the most exciting, and crucially one of the most rewarding to drive. That in itself makes the £2000 well worth spending.

Sorry, this is quite a 'serious' update, but then again we love the ST170 and we're confident you would too, if you bought one. You should, there's no reason not to. Oh, and if you're going to complain about a hatch being too short on space we'd like you to shush your pretty mouth right this instant. Y'see, they made an estate, too...

Go on, off you toddle, you know it's the right thing to do.