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...