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Wednesday 11th January 2012

PH Fleet: Mazda Eunos Roadster

Buying a car in January is fine - taxing, insuring and MOTing it the following year not so much



I may, on occasion, have mentioned the Eunos was cheap to buy. And it was. But there's a double edged sword to cheap cars, one that I came close to feeling the edge of the other day.

Early morning drop off for the MOT
Early morning drop off for the MOT
I smelt it first. Being a bloody-minded type the roof was down, even though it was half six on the M25. But that acrid whiff of tyre smoke woke me up, the blue-tinged cloud curling up from under the slewing Astra van ahead revealing its source.

It's exactly scenarios like this that make me uncomfortable risking the Eunos on the daily grind. Because it wouldn't take much of a fender bender for the insurers to write it off - exactly the situation faced by my MX-5 owning brother last year when someone slithered into his door in the snow.

Paying the price
It would be gutting enough to lose the car through my own stupidity but for it to be written off by some tailgating idiot in one of those depressingly familiar motorway shunts would be truly heartbreaking. Especially given that cars like this are, more often than not, worth a lot more than the sum of their parts, especially if you've spent time fettling and tweaking to get it just how you want.

No, haven't swapped the nose cone yet
No, haven't swapped the nose cone yet
It would have been especially annoying too, given this was the first drive since the triple-whammy of tax, MOT and insurance. All in the first week of January too - still smug about your post-Christmas impulse purchase now Trent?

Good thing too my comedy Tigar tyres were one of the things the Eunos failed its test on too. Much as I've enjoyed their comedic lack of grip being able to stop in a hurry is also nice, especially with a rapidly looming and very stationary Astramax in front of you.

Said emergency stop was a good test for my new Michelin Pilot Exaltos, freshly fitted to the 15-inch OZ Ultraleggeras. Yes, for the time being I've reverted to my 'big' wheels with, now, posh rubber. In my heart I still think the skinnier 14s are probably the better choice and, over time, I'll try and source (un)suitable replacements for the mighty Tigars. But I'm also a bit of a tart and I like the look of the OZs. Boy, was I glad of proper tyres in the above situation too.

OZs back on with fresh Michelin rubber
OZs back on with fresh Michelin rubber
Had it resulted in unpleasantness I would at least have been protected by the fact my new insurers Adrian Flux are both relaxed about declared mods and, on receipt of suitable evidence, happy to insure to an agreed value. I don't ever want to be in the position to put that to the test and the idea of starting afresh with a new car doesn't appeal but the £3,000 we've settled on would at least minimise the financial loss.

Flux babes say hi
I'm sorry to leave REIS too, their personal service (one contact, just an email or direct phone call away) and flexibility much appreciated. But the numbers matter and the Flux quote was £200 less and it was that, not the arrival of the Flux Babes calendar (honest!), that won the day.

At least going for a six-month tax disc means I can break the sequence there, the MOT and service coming in at just over £300 with friendly local spannermen The Car Works. I knew the Tigars would be marginal but it also failed on emissions, reinstallation of the cat and the new tyres seeing to both issues. A couple of bulbs, an oil change (ashamed - should have done this myself but ran out of time) and a quick check around were all that was required too, a new clutch in the not too distant the next big mechanical job on the horizon.

Does grip come at the expense of fun?
Does grip come at the expense of fun?
Now it's all bona fide I can see about fitting my freshly resprayed nose cone and giving it a bit of an early spring clean - god knows it needs a bit of TLC in that respect.

Not to mention a bit of a thrashing. First impressions of the Michelins are that they have a lot more grip than the Tigars which may mean a reduction in comedy low speed dab of oppo skidfoolery but a whole lot more cornering grip. Now, which is actually more fun? It's a question I mused on recently and our man Harris will shortly be exploring in his own inimitable style. To be continued...

What I reckon I need is a custom tyre with great braking performance but a nice, predictable lateral breakaway. Maybe we need to lobby tyremakers to come up with such a tyre and brand it with a PH smiley on the side!


Fact sheet:
Car:
1993 Eunos Roadster (JDM import model)
Run by: Dan Trent
Bought: January 2011
Purchase price: £1,250
Last month at a glance: Wallet left reeling by three-pronged tax/MOT/insurance attack; new Michelin tyres fitted; grip versus fun debate renewed


Previous reports:
Winter fun in the Eunos
Eunos gets a loud exhaust and new suspension
New suspension offered but am I worthy?
Purchase price only half the story...
Open Season heralds rare 'money where mouth is' moment...

Dan Trent
2
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Author Discussion

nick_mcuk

Original Poster:

336 posts

83 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
Flux migth be cheap but wait till you have to make a claim or change something....bloody nightmare!

Had first hand experience of this as have many of my friends.....my advice would be steer well clear!

Glad you didnt end up getting hit by the twonk in the van...one thing that I am constantly aware of driving the 205 GTI about....idiotic drivers doent realise that even just dinking the rear 1/4 and breaking a rear light cluster could result in a written of 205 GTI.

jamhow79

60 posts

55 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
Grip v's glory has been straining my grey matter since the on set of winter; Christmas present purchases left the coffers a little dry and decent tyres for the rear end of a Z4 are not cheap things. The decision to fit cheap chinese crap to my car was not taken lightly but the smiles per mile value is hard to fault. Toyo proxies on the front, "sunnys" on the rear (named this I can only presume as they offer no wet weather grip of any kind) means every wet roundabout is now taken veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery sideways and with a grin from ear to ear !!!!


BigTom85

934 posts

54 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
My old '5 definitely felt a lot more delicate and light footed on 14s, so its a no brainer for me.

OperationAlfa

1,153 posts

80 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
Am I reading this right? You bought the car for £1250 and have an insurance agreed value of £3000?

Dan Trent

Attendee

934 posts

51 months

PH Editor Bloke

[news] 
Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
OperationAlfa said:
Am I reading this right? You bought the car for £1250 and have an insurance agreed value of £3000?
Sshh - discussion of this would mean I have to face the reality of how much I've spent to get it this far and how much it would cost to get myself back there in the event of a total loss. Suspension mods alone were north of a grand.

So let's not go there!

Still peanuts in terms of the grin factor of course. But, shall we say, a little more than has been officially declared with regard to the home improvement budget. wink
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Ryvita

190 posts

93 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
OperationAlfa said:
Am I reading this right? You bought the car for £1250 and have an insurance agreed value of £3000?
Seems reasonable with the amount of work put in. Presuming that the premiums reflect the potential payout valuation, there's nothing fraudulent in establishing the value "to you" as greater than the market value. If I could afford to do so I would insure my car for double it's worth so that the trauma of a write-off could be erased by purchase of something better. smile Goes without saying that to deliberately write it off after taking out such insurance WOULD be fraud, but that's a separate issue.

On the tyres, I'm in a similar quandry since the M3 I bought came with a less than stellar set of Nankangs... :S Enjoying the easy fun but fearing the potential emergency. A real dilemma given they have tonnes of tread despite my best efforts so far. frown


monkey11477

128 posts

85 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
I've just replaced the tyres on the front of my micra 160sr with toyo t1-Rs and due to funds left the khumos as they are on the back. Couldn't afford to change them too just before xmas and they have loads of tread left on them. The car is fine in the dry but in the wet the toyos have so much more grip it's like i've got trolley wheels on the back. My wife doesn't like it and i've promised her I will swap them round. Just a shame I haven't had time yet ;-)

nickydee

6 posts

31 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
It is a misconception that an"agreed value" is simply useful if the car is written off.

When my Lotus M100 elan was rear ended last year by a taxi driver not paying attention, I had to fight very hard to get the car repaired rather than written off as the cost of repairs was just over 60% of the value of the car which is the cut off point for the insurance company writing the car off. Yes I could of brought the car back from insurance co as salvage and got the car repaired but then it would be a CAT D which would hammered the residual value so I would be in worst position. If I accepted the car was written off I would be unable to find another car in the same condition as mine for the insurance payout. So the only way I could be put back in the same position financially was pre accident was to get the car repaired.

If I had an higher agreed value which could be justified due to amount of money I spent on it over the last couple of years, and in my particular case my insurance company require a owners club valuation so nothing fraudulent or untoward there, than there would have been no issue with authorising the repairs.

Suffice to say I now have an agreed value policy.

One final word of warning, if you are in similar situation think twice about accepting a hire car from an accident assist company who are all over you once they aware its a no fault accident prior to receiving an estimate for the repairs as the exorbitant cost of this will be added to the total claim which may lead to your car to be written off. I was offered a Golf GTI, the nearest equivalent to my Lotus apparently at £1,000 a week. Five weeks of hire would have exceeded value of the car. I declined the offer of the hire car which meant I had to pay my excess for the cost repairs although I did recover that back from the other drivers insurance co eventually.

NateWM

1,360 posts

62 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
Try living in Ireland! At the beginning of this month, I had to pay more than 400 euro to tax my Lexus for just 3 months. It's over 1800 for the year!!

I love living here, but they really do hate any car that has a large engine.

JamesTheSmith

8 posts

71 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
Article said:
What I reckon I need is a custom tyre with great braking performance but a nice, predictable lateral breakaway. Maybe we need to lobby tyremakers to come up with such a tyre and brand it with a PH smiley on the side!
Or a turbo wink

RenesisEvo

2,315 posts

102 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
Article said:
What I reckon I need is a custom tyre with great braking performance but a nice, predictable lateral breakaway. Maybe we need to lobby tyremakers to come up with such a tyre and brand it with a PH smiley on the side!
I would second that motion, bring on the PH tyre!

BertBert

8,196 posts

94 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
hehehe, Flux. Good luck. Definitely another reason not to have an accident.

Pablo16v

1,041 posts

80 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
BigTom85 said:
My old '5 definitely felt a lot more delicate and light footed on 14s, so its a no brainer for me.
That's my experience too. I had a '97 Mk1 Classic on 15 Momo wheels and I always found it quite hard to gauge the limits of adhesion compared to other 5's I drove that were on 14" wheels.

nick_mcuk

Original Poster:

336 posts

83 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
BertBert said:
hehehe, Flux. Good luck. Definitely another reason not to have an accident.
Glad I am not alone there then BertBert!

BoRED S2upid

10,455 posts

123 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
Flux was £200 cheaper you say? that would put the insurance on my 5 into double figures!

nick_mcuk

Original Poster:

336 posts

83 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
BoRED S2upid said:
Flux was £200 cheaper you say? that would put the insurance on my 5 into double figures!
I only pay £175 on my classic policy and it includes full european breakdown cover, agreed value and sensible XS.....All thorough Footman James smile

chazwozza

277 posts

69 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
in regards grip vs fun, my old 200sx import was running about 280BHP, on the standard skinny wheels, I replaced them with big fat 18x9.5'' rears and lost the amusement value. Skip the grip I say!

noclue

109 posts

59 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
Still running my £900 MX5 1.6 and still grinning everytime I take it out! My total cost to date has been a £25 slave clutch cylinder and fluids change. Its also on the cheap tyres it came with and oversteer fun is always availible!

Big convert (but wont say it within ear shot of the 75's they sulk at the best of times!)

J.P.W.

117 posts

100 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
NateWM said:
Try living in Ireland! At the beginning of this month, I had to pay more than 400 euro to tax my Lexus for just 3 months. It's over 1800 for the year!!

I love living here, but they really do hate any car that has a large engine.
Should have bough a Eunos. I'm having the same problem paying a grand to tax my 325i E30 which isn't worth much more than that.

Searider

449 posts

138 months

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Wednesday 11th January 2012 quote quote all
"Especially given that cars like this are, more often than not, worth a lot more than the sum of their parts, especially if you've spent time fettling and tweaking to get it just how you want"

Surely you mean they're worth much less than the sum of their parts?
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