Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Again, we apologise...

...because again, we've been a bit busy. It was with good reason though - we were working on the WRC in Portugal. Swanky, eh?

Anyway, rally cars have no place here as they're rather expensive (the Fiesta just there is a good £300k). Or, can we get a rally car for less than £2k? Hmmmm....

Update soon!

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Mazda MX-5...

Think of the MX-5 and you might think of this...

...and if that's the case, give yourself a slap in the face. The MX-5 is a fantastic little car with fun by the truck-load and an awesome chassis, so awesome in fact that it is still regarded by many as being one of the best...ever. If your main concerns about MX-5 ownership are Vidal Sassoon and 'girl car' jokes you should read on. N£2G is here to guide you through your misguided ideas and show you the light!

We'll offer you this to get your juices flowing...

Yeah, that's got your attention hasn't it? Vidal Sasswho?

Introduced in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show, the MX-5 (or Eunos or Miata, depending on your part of the world) found itself to be a hit from the off. Other manufacturers had tried to encapsulate the ethos of a cheap, two-seater sports car before - none with so much flair as this, though. The cheeky looking ragtop was hugely popular at concept stage and when it actually hit the roads the motoring press and the new owners united in celebration and simply went bonkers for them - they were just that damn good!

For our potential-filled £2k budget you'll be looking at either a mk1 (complete with uber-cool pop-up headlights) or a non-poppy-up-headlighty mk2. Both came with either a 1.6 or 1.8 litre engine and both were (and still are) brilliant. Obviously if you want a newer car then the mk2 is the way to go - they tend to start at around £1500. Go for the older car, though, and you won't just have poppy-uppy headlights, you'll also have a fair wad of cash left to modify it, and these days MX-5 ownership is all about the modification. You could buy one and roll it in stock guise, but that would be silly because, a bit like Kelly Brook, these suckers look ace once they've been tarted up!

No, wait, that's not right. Sorry, we were Googling something else there...ahem.

Ah yes, that's it. Just as pretty and much more likely to let you touch its curves. See what we did there? We used touching the car as a metaphor for touching girls. Heh, we're clever like that. Anyway, this is a car blog god-dammit, no more lady talk!

Inside the car you can't help but feel like you're piloting some sort of go-kart. Your bottom is only a few inches away from the tarmac rushing by underneath it and as such you feel like you're doing 120mph when you're on doing 27! It's nimble, grippy, involving, rewarding and just generally brilliant fun to drive. The balance is perfect and in the cabin everything is where it should be. The gear-change is quick and crisp and the pedals are perfectly placed for smooth, perfect control. The steering is on the cusp of being both involving but not too heavy and the suspension offers the perfect mix of stability and, when cruising, comfort. The 1.6 engine isn't going to set the world on fire (neither is the 1.8 for that matter) but that's not what this car is about, this car is about enjoying the roads and everything they have to offer, not how fast you can do it. Every journey - unless it's a trip to Ikea to pick up some shelves - is a joy in an MX-5, even more so with the lid off!

The years have been kind to the MX-5, as have all those people who have ignored the stereotypical view of them being girly, hairdresser's cars. Mazda still build it- albeit in new, metal-folding-roof form - which is good, but it's the classics which are coming into their own. The new version is great and may well find itself on this blog in a few years time, but it's nothing when compared to the older cars. They offer so much variation, wild application, passion, skill and general aesthetic awesomeness. There are just so many first and second genration cars out there, living at the skilful and creative mercy of people who live and love to modify them - and all for less than £2k in a lot of cases. It's quite inspiring.

Throw on some coilovers, some decent wheels and a few stickers and a selection of your own personal touches and you'll soon stand out from the crowd. Add paint, seats, engine upgrades and more and you'll be a hero. Get out there and use it like you should -with the lid off - and then you really will be living the two-seater roadster dream. The MX-5 is great, but a modified one is even better - something we know from experience.

To be honest, it doesn't matter either way. Here at N£2G we're lucky enough to know some people who have rather tasty examples, bought and built for well under £2k and they really float our boat. That said, we've driven standard cars too, and they're just as good. Basically, as long as it's an MX-5 you'll be winning!

So man up, ignore the stereotype, take heed of the information here and buy an MX-5 knowing that it's far from solely being a girly hairdresser's car. No, you can't use it for shopping; yes, you'll have to strap your children to the roof on the school run as there are only two seats and no, it won't do 0-60mph in less than an hour. In fact, thinking about it, there is a hell of a lot the MX-5 is rubbish at - things that other cars within the budget do with ease. That's not the point though, you buy an MX-5 because you love driving, plain and simple, not to be practical. Practicality, like shelves and Ikea, is boring.

The MX-5 is a successful and amazing bit of machinery and once you turn the key and enjoy a few miles in one you'll agree. Even if you do have to leave your kids, Ikea shelves and for good measure, your partner at the shops because of space issues.

Oh, and if people do tell you it should be pink, paint it pink - it'll still look a hell of a lot cooler than whatever they're driving!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Classic Mercedes Special...

Sorry, we've been a bit slack over the last week or so. We're sorry, we were just a bit caught up with the whole 'armed men breaking into our office and stealing all our computers' thing. No bother though, we're back up to speed now - complete with a shiny new Mac Mini - and to celebrate that fact we've decided to bring you some retro goodness this week with a selection of classic Mercedes that are ripe for some summer motoring, gangster-style!

You may be wondering why we've opted for Mercedes over anything else. Well, it's simple: we have one, see.

We really do practice what we preach!

That's not all, we've also opted for the three-pointed star because they are awesome, well built, cool and more plentiful than you might think within the realms of our £2k budget. We're not talking about rusty 1998 E-Class ex-taxis here either. No sir, we're waxing lyrical about some seriously cool chrome-laden beasts from the 70s ad 80s. Real pimp-machines, if pimping is your thing. If it is your thing, stop doing it, it's naughty. Anyway, on with the cars...

The W126...

This is what we've got and quite frankly, they're brilliant. Yes, it uses more fuel than an oil-rig fire and yes, it's a bit of a pig to park and yes, it's only fractionally smaller than the HMS Ark Royal but sod it, it looks fantastic. It's a bit like an automotive Nigella Lawson - it's bigger than you'd normally go for, but you just can't stop looking at it. Sadly though, as the W126 is a car it's a little short on filthy innuendos.

Driven mostly by baddies in 80s, guitar heavy action films or dictators of third-world countries, the W126 was a winner from the off. It was huge but even in lowly 3.0 guise it was no slouch. The flagship 560SEL - complete with ginormous 260bhp V8 - was even quicker, and for a big old bus they didn't handle too badly either. In fact it really was a rewarding tank to drive, considering its size.

So, buy one. Do it, do it now.

£1895!!! Just look at it...

...if you've not bought one yet, in light of seeing that, we're going to come to your house and slap you round the face with a wet cat. Just don't do the same to us when it comes to filling the bugger up!

The W123...

For the gangster on a budget there's the W123. Built just as well as the W126, the W123 was the C-Class of its time, the family Merc for middle-management Dad if you will. It was still a great cruiser though, as well as being infinitely cooler than anything else the office car park. Even the estate was an attention grabber with all its chrome.

They're tough, too. We had one a few years back which had amassed 250k during its life but it still fired up every time and pulled like a train, though. Look after a W123 and it really will be all the car you could ever need; it'll get you anywhere you need to be and it'll get you home no matter what's thrown at it...unless someone throws a truck at it, or an elephant, a box of springer spaniels. Er...sorry, yes, the cars.

Here, as ever, is proof that you can roll like a dictator for not a lot of money...

If you can find one though, we'd opt for the coupe. Throw another couple of grand at it and you realy would be ballin' or stylin'. Whatever it is the kids say.

The C107...

Bit of an odd one this because, like a lot of modern BMWs, the C107 was built for a demographic that didn't really exist. It was a confused coupe/GT/sports car that didn't really know what it wanted to be. Plus, it was bit ugly too (sorry Mr. Bevis) especially when compared to its much prettier - and convertible - R107 sibling. Still, Mercedes plodded on and attempted to sell them to anyone who would listen to their pitch, which wasn't many. Amazingly though, it was built from 1971 through to 1989, such was the persistance of Mercedes to inflict it upon the world. The ones that were sold were soon traded in for R107s, mainly due to the owners looking at their C107s and wondering what the hell the bloke at Mercedes had talked them into buying.

It's obscurity within the Mercedes family is a good thing though, as it means there are plenty of cheapies about, and thanks to their age they're now cool - a 70s Merc coupe will always be cool. Get one with a V8 and you'll become the coolest person on your street, and the most hated each time you fire it up at 8am!

They're versatile too, or just confused. A few of them entered into a motorsport forum that makes sense for a low slung, thirsty 'sports' car - rallying. Er, right.

So, there's three old Mercs for your perusal. Yes, they're all heavy on juice, and yes they'll all turn to rust at the mere mention of salt but who cares. Buy a good one and you can ted about like the dictator or CEO you always though your should be. The best bit though, is that no one will know it cost you less than £2k. Oh, and there's just one more thing... there is nothing finer than saying "Mercedes" when someone asks what you drive, even if it is from 1979 and has an interior that smells like a wet badger.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Some shady men...

...stole all our 'real job' computers today - no really, they did. They used chainsaws to get in and everything, it's some seriously bad stuff, nasty buggers. Look what they did to our desks (it's worth pointing out that our computers were chained to the desks after a less dramatic incident last year).

As such, we're running a little behind here at N2G and for that we apologise. We'll make it up with a kick-ass update soon though, we promise. In the meantime have a picture of a bad-ass E36 BMW (readily available under £2000) to keep your mojo topped up!