Monday, 31 January 2011

The Jaguar S-Type...

Yeah, a Jag, how very posh. So posh in fact that this is the first thing your mind's eye conjures up when you think of one...

...with this fella driving...

I say old chap, how tiddly-scrumptious of you to envisage such grandeur and elegance. Pippidy pip, toodle chum!

That quote is verbatim, honest.

The thing is though, you don't need to own (or rob) the local HSBC to own one. Certain Jags have fallen from financial grace during recent years allowing them to fall into the hands of you and I. Oh yes, for under two bags of sand you can waft around the streets, popping to the Co-Op for milk and fags on the way, in your very own Jaguar. Hmmm, Jaguar, it just sounds nice. Try it with us, out loud after three...





Ooooh, it just makes you feel posh, even if you are wearing your underwear inside out and a stained Planet Hollywood t-shirt while drinking a can of Tesco Value lager. You see this is why Jags are cool. Yeah, they break down a bit, they're not built very well, they're crap on fuel and they mostly consist of Ford parts, but that doesn't matter. A Jag is good because no other car makes you feel quite like a Jag does: warm, smug, and a bit like a toff.

We've sold you on the idea of Jag now, right? Well here's the Jag we're talking about, the S-Type, OooOOoooOoooohh...

Nice innit? There are two things you've got to get over though, the first being that is was debuted at the Birmingham Motor Show in 1998. We have nothing against the good people of the Midlands it's just that when you think 'car launch' you don't think of Birmingham, you think of Madrid or Geneva. Never mind though, what's done is done. Plus it was built there so it is kind of fitting.

The second is the sobering reality that this machine was penned by a man called Geoff. Car designers should be called Fabrizio or Giorgio, not Geoff. Still, he seems to have doodled a good'un here despite being autographically challenged.

It was built to rival the E-Class Mercedes and the 5 Series BMWs of the time albeit with a bit more 'Britishness' and class. With design features and an aesthetic designed to echo the S-Type of the early 60s the modern S-Type was received well, although initially that was mainly down to misplaced patriotism rather than anything else. It carried with it an air of sophistication and class, it felt every bit as British as its 60's namesake. This was a quality that the German cars simply couldn't match and it was one that saw the Jag shine through as a viable option for any new-car buyer of the late 90's.

As a car though, it wasn't that brilliant. The build quality, engine range and economy (though respectable) weren't up there with its German rivals, not by a long shot. Available with a 2.5 or 3.0 V6 as well as a selection of 4.0 V8s (including a supercharged option that's still a way off being sub £2k), it was never going to return the best mpg in its class. There was diesel too in the form of a 2.7AJD-V6 (a French engine of all things) which wasn't too bad. The oil-burner was one of the better sellers, propelling many a stiff upper lipped executive up and down the UK's motorway network in sumptuous style.

It sold well and lasted a decade before being replaced by the XF in 2008 which is good; a ten year life-span means there are plenty out there for you to buy today, see...

And you should buy one because it's full of this...

...which is a delight for your bottom and the bottoms of those who you choose to transport. Leather, wood, buttons, air-con, more leather, some more wood, deep carpets, heated seats, this sucker has it all.

And then, while you're transporting your derriere and the derriere's of those around you, you can do this...

...which will be traumatic for your bottom and the bottoms of those who you are transporting. It would potentially be bad for all associated underwear too, but that's just the price you pay for sexy, exciting, cool, lady-attracting powerslides!

This has to be one of our favourite cars on Not £2 Grand. It's just so swanky and cool, we simply love it. If we had £2000 we'd certainly buy one, but we don't so we're going to live vicariously through you by insisting you invest in one.

If for some reason you're still not sold on the idea, allow us to leave you with one image that should just tip you over the edge.

Allow us to save you some time.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The SportKa...

Yeah, we know, you already knew you could get a Ka for under £2k. Actually you can get one for around £1.65 if you look around. That'd be a normal, hum-drum, Mum-spec, tape-player-equipped, cloth trimmed version though, propelled by a clattery Kent-derived 1.3 engine. One a bit like this...


No, what we have here is the SportKa, the Ka's better looking, sporty, metallic, leather-clad, shouty 'Evil Twin' as Ford would have us believe...

It looks kind of, well, like a normal Ka actually. It's got a bit of a bodykit and some nice wheels, but that seems to be it. It can't be that evil can it? Urm...

...yes, yes it can. Poor pigeon.

It's not really that mean. We wouldn't let you, our dear reader, drive a car that goes around exercising a bonnet-clouting interest in ornithology. Plus it's just a car, and cars can't be mean. Well, there was a Triumph Dolomite we once had that we swear was possessed, but that's another story.

Anyway, the SportKa. It was introduced in 2003 in a bid to both freshen up and diversify the by then seven-year-old Ka range. The demographic was no longer the 25-40 year old female or retired couple; with the SportKa Ford were going for the youth market in a big way. There was a convertible version too which went by the name of the StreetKa. Curiously the latter was treated to a scantily clad Kylie Minogue for its advertising campaign, not a concussed pigeon...

Both cars were treated to lavish advertising campaigns, but it was the SportKa which had the most fun with its cheeky and amusing 'Evil Twin' tag-line. The goal was to separate it from the 'normal' Ka as much as possible. Ford wanted it to be cheeky, exciting and most of all, recognisable in its own right. Crucially though, it had to appeal to those young drivers with money to burn!

By 2003 the Ka had developed a nasty reputation for being built from metal that would dissolve faster than an Alka Seltzer once it saw moisture, so not only was the SportKa an attempt to capture the youth market, it was also a means to put some strength back into the Ka name. They were good cars after all, if a little rust-prone. By 2003 though, Ford had found the Waxoyl, putting to good use on building cars that would still be in one piece after a heavy downpour.

The SportKa was a success from the off. It had shaken the cutesy image of its more civilised brother, leaving it to stand alone as a viable 'hot hatch' in its own right. As is usually the case with a new 'hot' Ford though, a trick was missed when it came down to the engine. The SportKa's propulsion came from a 1.6 (ooooh) 8 valve 'Duratec' with a whopping 93hp. Not the sportiest of any engines by any stretch, resulting in a car that was 'nippy' at best. They could have gone for something bigger, but that would have made it harder for the very select demographic to insure. The final and somewhat tame engine didn't matter though, speed wasn't where this car would succeed, handling on the other hand...

Yup, driving one of these suckers is like driving a go-kart on steroids. Point it where you want to go, stomp the gas and off it goes. It's got all the grip you could want along with bucket-loads of feedback. You really feel like you're part of the drive in a SportKa, not merely a passenger. With a wheel at each corner it's a right giggle to hoon around the lanes or the city. Hell, even the local multi-storey will be a hoot in one of these! A smile is guaranteed every time you jump in and turn the key, we promise! The best for us has to be the fact that driving a SportKa makes you feel like a 17 year old again! Driving one of these makes you fall in love with that urban, nippy driving all over again, the kind we all came to know and love when we first passed our test. Just don't take one to MacDonalds and do handbrake turns in the car park in a bid to impress 16 year-old girls. You won't actually be 17, you'll just feel 17. No one will think you're cool, they'll just laugh at you and call you old.

So there it is, now all you need to now is buy one, like this...

There are down sides though. Firstly, the SportKa is small enough to lose in a crowd of toddlers, as such it's not one for the larger driver, and while it has back seats we suggest any potential passengers remove both their head and their legs before getting in if they plan to fit. They can't put them in the boot though, it's not big enough. You might get a biro in there though, or a Baby Bell. Another big thing to consider is that while it's a 7 year old car for under £2k, it's also a Ford, and even though this particular model was screwed together in Italy, it wasn't screwed together very well. Expect the door to fall off at any given moment. Italians don't build their own cars particularly well, so what chance would a Ford have?

Unattached doors aside, the SportKa is a blinding little machine, and by far the newest we've featured here. It's fun, cheap, modern, economical and a fierce hater of pigeons. If that's not £2k well spent, we don't know what is!

Monday, 24 January 2011

The New Volkswagen Beetle...

No, not this cheeky chappy and his chums...

...we're talking about this newer and considerably fatter fella...

...not that there is anything wrong with being fat. We're not fattist or anything; we're quite fat ourselves actually. Urm, anyway...

So, yes, the new Beetle. First seen in 1994 as a concept car, it was penned by J Mays and Freeman Thomas who spend their days being payed wheelbarrows full of cash to draw cars for VW executives, the lucky swines. Unveiled at the North American International Auto show, the car carried the name 'Concept One' which must have taken Mays and Freeman almost 6 seconds to come up with. They got away with the rubbish name though thanks to a warm reception from the motoring press. Soon though, the public outcry grew to such levels that a road car had to built. The borrowed Polo underpinnings of the concept were binned in favour of Golf IV gubbins while the overall aesthetic was tidied up. In 1998 the New Beetle (again, an imaginative title) was born.

A doodle of a Volkswagen circa 1994

Once they were released their popularity was astounding. They hit the U.S first, predominantly being bought by rich fathers for their young college-going daughters, according to American TV shows and "Ten Things I Hate About You" at least. They were also bought by people who take great pleasure in boring people to death by telling them that they were, back in the day, hippies of some kind. All the while ignoring the fact that the hippie stereotype is still firmly associated with the original, air-cooled Beetle. They failed to see that in a new Beetle they were only embodying reliability, economy, safety and German sensibility. Free love, Hendrix and peace are not the first things to spring to mind when viewing a New Beetle, even if the driver has a daisy on the dashboard and a tie-dye shirt on his back.

Those stereotypes soon thinned out though, leaving the New Beetle get on with being what it was designed to be: a cool, quirky but usable and reliable car. It was a Golf IV under the skin after all, essentially making it nothing more than a Golf in a party frock. That's no bad thing though, the Golf IV was (and still is) a great car. Engine wise you could have a New Beetle with a 1.6 or 2.0 petrol engine at first, with a diesel option available later (you won't get one of those for £2k though). They even did V5 and turbocharged versions too (again, your £2k is a little optimistic on that front). Inside it was the usual case of great VW build quality along with space and comfort; there was even a silly little vase on the dash to put a flower in, or just a Biro if you had any common sense. It was great on the road too but with a Golf IV floor-pan is was never going to be a bad drive.

As ever, have some proof that we're not telling fibs...

So, there you have it, the history of the New Beetle in a nutshell. So, why should you buy one? We'd have to go with the following options:

*they look a bit odd
*they're cheap
*girls like them
*you can make them go quite fast by using Golf bits
*when people ask what you drive you can just say "the bug"
*like a Jack Russel puppy, they always look pleased to see you
*the engine is in the right place, not the boot

Solid options we're sure you'll agree. We've saved the best for last though! If you buy a New Beetle you can turn it into a modern day Herbie! No, really, stay with us on this one.

You could attempt to get muchos respect by doing this to it...

...but you'll fail, because it looks silly. Instead, paint a '53' on the side, a red and blue stripe over the roof and then let it do this:

We say "let it" because everyone knows Herbie did the best stuff on his own (he was a boy, right?) and as such, we promise* you'll get away with it. After all, no one likes caravans but everyone loves the smiley face of a cheeky 'Bug' with a number on its nose. You'll be able to leap through caravans across the land, each time being welcomed by a crescendo of cheers, whistles and applause. Then, you can drive home like this:

Buy a Beetle, trust us, they're ace!

*you won't get away with it. Driving through caravans, while enjoyable, is very noisy. Also, when the police come a'knockin on your door we're pretty sure that the excuse of "Herbie did it" will get you sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Cars don't drive themselves, well, maybe Brum, but he's different.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Captain America Special!

This fella is Captain America, a crime-fighting dude from the 40's who's going to be in a new film soon. It looks pretty good actually, have a look HERE to read some more about it.

Anyway, we're not bothered about films or crotch-emphasising spandex here at Not £2 Grand. No, we're all about the cars that are under £2000 pounds, and that's where Captain 'look at my knob' America can help us! Now that he's done saving the world, the cameras have been turned off and the spandex has been (hopefully) washed and put away, the production company are faced with the mammoth task of selling the props.

If you want a Trilby or some spats worn by co-star Tommy Lee Jones go elsewhere; if you want a car driven by him or main-man Chris Evans though, (the handsome American one, not the Billie Piper bonking Ferrari fanatic of a ginger hue) then this is the place for you. The most amazing thing however, is that some of the film cars can (potentially) be had for under £2k.

Of course they won't go for under £2k, they'll go for more because they're well famous and whatnot. Still, some of the estimates on the auction site say under £2k so we're going with that. They're being auctioned off on the 3rd of March by Historics of Brooklands. You can find the full listing and more information here. If you can get there we suggest you do so, it should be an exciting day and we might even be there too!

Anyway, enough rambling, on with the cars in question...

1) 1940 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan

Everyone loves a Caddy, right? You could go all 'Bonnie and Clyde' through Swindon town centre, shouting 40's slang at teenagers as you ride the running-boards: "Hey you dumb Dora, your cat's meow is giving me the heebie-jeebies, see!" Or words to that effect.

2) 1933 Dodge Tow Truck

We'd buy this and use it to tailgate people we didn't like. We don't advocate tailgating, it's dangerous after all. That said, this sucker would scare the poo out of even the most hard-boiled (that's 40's slang again, Google it) of people. Wow, we didn't know we had a mean streak like that. Probably best if we don't buy it.

3) 1941 Buick Eight Special Sedanette

For us this is simply the sexiest thing in the auction which falls under our budget. We want to cover it in baby oil and spend the day slithering all over it while we listen to Enya and Katie Melua by candle-light...urm, sorry, we kind went off on a disturbing tangent there.

4) 1939 Dodge Sedan

Cheaper than cheap and meaner than mean! This one is a bit battered and looks pretty damn ropey on the whole, but it's cheap so we don't care. Drop in a V8 and smoke around in it, that's all you need to do. If anyone doesn't like it simply sneer at them and shout "My granddad was Al Capone, dontcha know, ya wise guy!" as you drive out of B&Q's car park.

5) 1941 Plymouth Deluxe 83

How cool is this sucker? Big, black and with a great smile too, it's the automotive equivalent of James Bond's Jaws in a tuxedo! It'd be ace if it could bite through things like he could, like other cars, and houses, and trees and elephants and space space stations and...what were we waffling on about? Urm, you look nice toady.

So there's a selection to get your juices flowing. Of course this is all speculative as they're probably all just nice paint jobs over rotten cars. None of them are UK registered and we're willing to bet most of them don't run. We're not going to let that ruin our fun though, that's not the Not £2 Grand way! We are going to go to the bank though! We'll see you there on the 3rd of March!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

P38 Range Rover...

If you try and suggest a cheap Range Rover to someone this is what they will inevitably think of...

...but in reality that's not the case. Yeah you guessed it, you can buy a Range Rover for under our increasingly impressive budget of £2000. Not only that, you can get a P38 like this...

...which is pretty damn impressive! Introduced in 1994 the P38 was the direct successor from the by then long in the tooth first generation Range Rover. It came with three engine choices in the form of a 4.0 V8, a 4.6 V8 and a 2.5 BMW diesel. It was luxurious, refined, smooth, stylish and crucially it remained extremely capable off road. It was a fantastic evolution of the model.

If you buy one of these the neighbours will think you own acres of land. They'll think you have tweed items of clothing and they'll think you know a man called Sebastian who brings you fresh pheasant whenever you demand it. They'll also think you go shooting at the weekends while the children tend to their horses. Yes sir, you put a shiny Range Rover on your drive and folk'll think you're doing well in life. Of course you won't be at all, primarily because £2000 won't get you a diesel (if you do find a sub £2k diesel we promise you it won't be worth buying). As such you'll spend all your money on quenching the constant thirst of the 4.0 or 4.6 V8 litre engine. Never mind though, eh?

Who cares about running costs though, or what the neighbours think? After all, tweed is hideous and your children are terrified of horses, so it doesn't matter if next door have got you all wrong. All that matters is that you've got a Range Rover, allowing you to do this...

Oh yeah! If you buy a sub £2k P38 Range Rover you'll take on a God-given duty to smash the current Range Rover stereotype in its pretentious face. They are not for the school run, they are not for going to ASDA, they are not for Paris Hilton and they are not for dropping your mother-in-law off at bingo while she complains that it's too big. That's what normal cars are for. No, the P38 is built to have the living crap smashed out of it off road, and let us tell you, in a Range Rover it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on!

You plant that sucker in a muddy field and have some fun, we dare you. Your house will have been repossessed because you've spent all your money on fuel, the kids will by crying because they're getting bullied as it turns out they do not in fact, have any horses and the Mrs will be in a huff with you because you upset her mum when you dropped her off at Gala Bingo. None of that will matter though; you'll be up to your waist in a muddy puddle fighting for low ratio 4x4 while laughing like a loon as your filthy Range Rover pulls itself out of another seemingly impossibly situation. Their 4x4 abilities really are second to none.

With fuel costing what it does these days (it's £23 a litre, right?) a P38 might be best purchased for the role of 'toy' as running one daily will quickly see you single handedly bringing the country out of recession. It would make financial sense as a 'toy' too. Think about it: take your £2k and spread that over the 52 weeks of the year and it works out to £38 a week for luxury 4x4 fun! You can smash the crap out of it in the forest, wash it and then park it outside the town's swankiest restaurant without being asked to leave. Remember, people will think you're loaded. The P38 did cost £65k when it was new after all, no one needs to know you bought it last week for £1950.

Go and buy one, really, you'll thank us. Before you do though, a warning. If you do this to it...

...we'll hunt you down and make you listen to Kajagoogoo and feed you cold quiche until you promise to put it back to standard.

You have been warned. You're a really rather nice blog reader, not a footballer.

The Alfa Romeo Spider*...

"E 'comprensibile se mi trovate interessante in questo momento, io sono alla guida di una Alfa Romeo, dopo tutto. Sentitevi liberi di toccare la mia zone sexy." Is what you can say to people of the opposite gender once you've shelled out some cash and bought one of these beauties. Or something like that. Look, we don't speak Italian we just used Google translate to try and impress you, okay? We won't do it again.

Ooooh, just look at it! You have to hand it to the suave, well dressed swines at Alfa Romeo because they really do know how to design a good looking machine. The sweeping lines, the ingenious headlamp placement, the balance and poise, the bold 'slash' design feature down each flank, the perfect dimensions, it's just bloody gorgeous. Of course it wasn't just Alfa who penned it; styling supremos Pininfarina had a lot to do with it too. They're just as good with a pen and paper as Alfa, so a combined effort from the two was going to be nothing short of beautiful.

Now you might think you need to...

*work at Loius Vuitton or Prada
*enjoy wearing polo-neck jumpers
*be rich
*like espresso
*have an Il Divo or Three Tenors CD order to own one of these beauties but you don't, you just need £2k. In fact you don't even need that as our selected car demonstrates that you can buy one for much less than that, leaving you with £650 for espresso and jumpers.

£1350, that's madness! It's justified though as the owner himself may have been driven to madness by this very car. You see under all that beauty and style lies a mechanical platform which boasts the same level of reliability as a Tag Heuer replica bought from a Turkish market stall. These things don't break down, they implode. Cam-belts go without warning, gearboxes just stop and the electrics go on strike more frequently than a 1980's coal miner, and each and every problem costs big money to fix.

To this day it's unconfirmed, but most owners think their cars had an internal timer fitted which meant they started to break down roughly 18 seconds after the manufacturer's warranty expired. Some just thought they'd bought a load of crap. Some owners were happy though, finding themselves owning a seemingly randomly assigned selection of Spiders which didn't break down. Thankfully it's those cars (for the best part) which are on the market today. The rest, well...

...thay've been, ahem, taken care of.

The chances are that if you buy one today it'll have been fixed so many times in its life that there is nothing left to break. So in theory you should be fine. Even if it does break though, it doesn't matter as it didn't even cost you £2000! At the end of the day you'll have an Italian 'sports' car with a peel-off roof which will make pretty girls want to do this...

...because pretty girls like to sit on cars and paint their nails. Did you not know that? We'd put some T-cut on her feet and bottom though, you know, to kill two birds with one stone. If she's going to sit on your Alfa it may as well be for a reason.

So, go out and buy one. You can drive it through the Brecon Beacons while pretending you're actually driving along the Stelvio Pass while Matt Monroe sings 'Days Like These' (that's the song from the opening scene of the Italian Job, in case you didn't know) on the stereo. The other half will be shouting at you for driving too fast, the temperature gauge will be rising quickly, the warning lights will be flashing, the gearbox will be crunching and the cam-belt will fall off. But sod it, you'll be in a Pininfarina-penned Alfa Romeo Spider, and that's all that matters!

*AA or RAC membership recommended with every purchase.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Subaru Impreza...

It sounds like a normal four-cylinder engined car with a missing HT lead, they drink more than a Scotsman and they’re prone to blowing up from time to time. Oh, and the engine works on the principles of witchcraft and magic but even so, the 1st Gen Subaru Imprezas are immense, as long as they’ve got a turbo bolted to them.

A boxer engine from an Impreza. Don’t try and work it out, it’ll make your face do a cry.

Colin McRae (RIP you bloody hero) made a career out of flinging them over rally stages and jumps. He also flung a few of them into the occasional ditch, but that’s part of rallying so it’s fine. On the whole though, they shook the WRC world right up with their peculiar “that’s not running right, is it?” noise and their awesome ability to go around corners in a manner that the short wheelbase group-B Quattros of old would be proud of. And as an added bonus they made Nicky Grist (McRae’s co-driver) squeal like a girl on a regular basis, which is always amusing.

Again, like the Audi, let us prove to you that we’re not lying…

…see, they’re like well cheap and that. There were loads of them too, and we do mean loads. Wave £2k in the air and you’ll have a sea of Imprezas at your disposal; they really are a plentiful machine. You’ll even get a WRX or maybe even an STi if you’re lucky. There’s plenty though, so have a look at a few, don’t buy the first one you see!

Do keep in mind however, that they’re plentiful for a reason. Unless you have 14 years no claims bonus, are 55 years of age and park it in Fort Knox over night it’ll cost you roughly £75,000 a year to insure. Third party only. We knew a fella who paid £3400 to insure his, the fool. No hyperbole there, he really did pay that much.

Now you’d think that because they could only be bought by old people called Cedric, they’d all be looked after, each one containing an engine that had never exceeded 3500rpm. This is not the case, think about it, when was the last time you saw an Impreza going slowly? These monsters were built to go fast; even the most mild mannered of motorists wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation of planting the gas pedal and rightly so!

It’s a different story inside though. Jump behind the bland, typically Japanese steering wheel of one of these suckers and you’ll instantly be bored. The innards of an Impreza are about as thrilling as a cheese and onion sandwich, some may smell the same too. Naff plastic, door-pulls from a Nissan Sunny and a gear knob that’s possibly from a Nissan Micra are all you’ll find in there. Yeah, you’ll be in a seat that seems supportive and sporty, but trust us, that’s not enough to overcome the sea of bland that your eyes will be feasting on. None of this matters though as the Impreza wasn’t built for people to enjoy sitting in, it was built to scare the crap out of them once the key was turned. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you buy one of these people will instantly think you’re a rally-driving god. You’ll be honoured by the Police who will applaud each and every one of your high-speed launches and handbrake turns* and the good people of Esso will adore you for making their share value go up (at full chat these things only manage around 6mpg). Or of course, people will just think you’re a knob for driving a car that sounds like a vomiting tractor. Ignore them though because clearly they’ve never enjoyed the fruits of a turbocharged boxer engine. Just chuck on your race suit and shout things like “one-fifty right under crest, over goat, don’t cut, four-hundred up” as you drive along the A45. It’ll make the school run a lot more exciting.

*the Police will not do this. They will arrest you and flush your driving license down the loo. They're mean like that.

Monday, 17 January 2011

The Audi A8...

Seen Ronin? If not, why the hell not, eh? If you have you'll already know where this is going. If you haven't worry not, it basically shows a large American man using an Audi A8 (well, technically speaking it's an S8) to hunt down some surly Frenchmen and ram both them and their Peugeot 605s off the road. In a nutshell it means the Audi A8 is awesome, and as such you need to own one.

"ZUT ALORS, LE AUDI UN LE PAMPLEMOUSSE!" Is what they were saying in the Peugeot, maybe.

Yes, you too could smash professionally suspicious Frenchmen off the road in your very own Audi A8, for less than £2000. However, we suggest you just buy one and drive it as crashing into the good people of France might get you into trouble.

Here's one we found on to show you that we are not lying, and that our pants are most definitely not on fire...

...and that wasn't the only the one, in fact there were loads to choose from within our hypothetical budget. Even we would steer clear of the £1500, 200,000 miles cars though. They're a bit past it. Hit the magic £2k though and you could rolling in four-wheel-drive, V8 propelled, leather-shod luxury. People would think you were a leader of industry (in 1998) and that you have your own secretary called Susan who revels in telling people you're going to Macclesfield for a "very important meeting" so they'll have to ring you on the car-phone, and lets face it, we all want people to think of us like that. Do bare in mind though, that if you buy a black one nothing we've said is appropriate. People will just think you sell drugs, but hey, that might be the image you're going for.

The A8 was, and still is the flagship car for Audi and Jason Statham. They've been occupying 'Managing Director' parking spaces across the globe since 1994, and now you can own one, you lucky bastards!

It combined luxury of the highest level with kick-ass performance. The 4.2 V8 in this car kicked out 295bhp which is enough to make your bottom flinch upon heavily depressing the gas pedal. It was also made from aluminium, or alooominum as the Yanks call it. This meant it weighed about as much as Paris Hilton's brain, giving that 295bhp less mass to move in the process, adding to the speed. It also meant the bugger wouldn't rust. Leather sports seats hugged the driver while a semi-automatic gearbox took care of dishing out the power to all four wheels. Audi had nothing like this before, apart from the A6 which was much smaller. When the A8 hit the showrooms it had BMW and Mercedes worried, and rightly so.

Brand new the A8 would have been over £50k, primarily because it was full of leather, aluminium, electric things and truffles (the last one may be a lie). Now though, you can pick them up for peanuts. It's a fate that all big, executive cars suffer and it has nothing to do with their quality. It's just a big car thing, they start off pricey and then end up being dirt cheap, fine by us.

Yes, it's huge, it'll cost you a small fortune if it breaks, you'll achieve around 4mpg if you have a heavy right foot and if you buy a black one, people will think you have a boot full of heroin. If however, you dig about and get one with some history that's been looked after you'll be laughing. And most importantly of all you'll feel like a king every time you slip into it, even if you are only popping to ASDA for a Pot Noodle and a four-pack of Carling.

And so it begins...

Welcome to 'Not 2 Grand', a blog which aims to educate, surprise and inspire. You might think that £2k will only buy you a Focus or an Astra, but you'd be wrong. There's all manner of machinery out there that no one would ever believe to be associated with a sub £2k price-tag.

The general consensus is that to look good on the roads you have to spend twelvty-million pounds and sign yourself up to finance for the next 63 years at 500% APR. This is not the case. Finance on a car is silly, especially when there is a world of amazing and swish machinery out there that can be obtained for 'two bags of sand' as a cockney chap might say. Plus, if you buy your motor outright you'll have loads of money in the bank at the end of every month to spend on beer, tools and novelty hats. It's a winning combination.

The plan is simple: we'll find a load of cool cars for under £2k and tell you all about them on here. They won't be one off bargains though, we're only going to include cars that there are plenty of for you to buy.

Brand new cars are expensive, they lose roughly 98% of their value as soon as the smug salesman hands you the keys, you're saddled with them for three years, the stress will make your hair fall out, and if it's a new Mini no one will like you because you'll look like an estate agent, and nobody likes estate agents.

No one has any money these days, but that doesn't mean we have to roll in a K-plate Fiat Panda...