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Synchromesh

Original Poster:

2,114 posts

50 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th February 2012 quote quote all
Hello Pistonheadees wavey

Having posted on these boards for 20 months now and never got round to it, it seems like time I introduced myself, and bored you all with my short and not-very-exciting car history.

As my 17th birthday approached, I knew a car search was the order of the day. Determined not to either follow the crowd or be raped by the insurance companies, I decided to go down the classic route. I'd always had a soft spot for the original mini, so it was with the Issigonis creation in mind I went to the local auction house, only for a very nice British Racing Green late-model Cooper escape my grasp as the successful bidder walked away £3000 lighter. The search then brought me to Oxfordshire, where a Tahiti blue '98 MPI sat on the drive of an ex-coppper's house. Owned my his elderly mother since it was 3 years old, it been kept in a dry carport and had accrued only 20something thousand miles in it's 12 year life. A short test drive was completed, the right noises were made by myself and my father, and a deal was done. £2300 lighter we drove away in S466 KBL - my first car. The next two months of being 16 were pain and anguish while I waited for the big day. With the car cosily tucked away in my grandmother's garage, lusting and polishing were all I could do. No sooner had my birthday come than I had passed my test. My motoring journey had begun.


Mini front by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Mini back by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Mini interior by jlewisbarned, on Flickr

It was one day while learning to drive that all of a sudden the car just wouldn't go into gear. With my suedo instructor of a father telling me I was doing it all wrong, we swapped places. Admitting the fault was not in fact that of chap at the wheel, he limped it in to the nearest garage for a clutch master cylinder. The only other mechanical failure suffered in my ownership was a blowing exhaust. With a mini club member and friendly mechanic offering me a "DTM" pipe for a fraction of the cost of a new standard exhaust, the centrally-exiting twin upswept pipes were installed. The pops on the overrun never failed to paste a smile to my face, although the monotonous groan soon grew tiresome. So back to a standard exhaust it was.

Despite being the standard car and not the Cooper, it was pulled by an equally (un)potent version of the venerable A-series. Multi-point injection it may have had (in the name of emissions standards), but 63 ponies was all it could muster. Mind you, with a weight of little more than half a tonne, it wasn't unbearably slow, while handling was sharp and communicative, if lacking in outright grip. Understeer was it's default, although my first experience of lift-off oversteeer in this car is one I'll never forget.


Mini cornering 1 by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Mini cornering 2 by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Snow covered mini by jlewisbarned, on Flickr

Despite plans for some new wheels and a pair of racing bucket seats, the Pepperpots and 'unique' interior remained. I couldn't bring myself to ruin the unmolested originality of the car (down the the 'Kernahams of Whitney' dealer sticker in the back window) so the mods ended with a chrome GB badge and some new floor mats.

With family duties and the impending rust situation on scuttle becoming apparent, it was time to say bye to S466. Sold for £2800, the profit was enough to cover my maintenance over the ownership period.


Spot S466 KBL... by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


MiniWorld Action Day 2010 at Castle Combe 1 by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


MiniWorld Action Day 2010 at Castle Combe 2 by jlewisbarned, on Flickr

My father being a VW enthusiast since long before I arrived I the scene, I was led towards getting one of Wolfsburg's finest. For insurance reasons, a 9n (02-05) model Polo proved a suitable choice, with the 100bhp 1.4 16v falling into just group 6. With the illusive package of said 16v model, 5 door, silver and a low mileage desired, a potential candidate was found, with the small matter of it being just 300 miles away. A one way flight to Newcastle was booked and I was £4000 poorer, but the proud owner of NK53 YZH.

The only job that needed to be done was to refurbish the wheels, but using some man-maths PH would be proud of, the decision was made to get some new boots. In my opinion, the BBS Montreal II alloys gave the car a much more focused look, although to the noticeable detriment of ride quality. Other than a PH sticker, the mods did stop here though.


Polo on drive 1 by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Polo by Canary Wharf by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Polo under crane by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Polo interior by jlewisbarned, on Flickr

Hardly the pinnacle of driver excitement I know, but it had a nice little 16v engine which scraped into triple figure BHP numbers by the skin of it's revvy little teeth. Yes, it lacked the torque to pull the skin of your proverbial Ambrosia, but if you were prepared to keep it buzzing, it was certainly responsive and made a nice if rather muted sound. In the handling department, it hardly set the world alight, but it was safe enough to prevent a (rather exuberent at times) 17/18 year old from putting it through a hedge backwards. Now we'll go on to what normal people look for in cars. It rode very well (much better than my father's Touran) and as it had the 'sport' suspension it didn't want to go round corners on it's door handles. Next up, the interior. Well it's the only German car in it's class and that speaks volumes (whatever the nay-sayers say) when in comes to interior quality. It had Mercedes style headlights but the similarities didn't end there. They ended with the feeling of quality and 'weight' to the car. Anyone who's jumped between one of these and a Fiesta will know what I mean.

NK53 stood up to the abuse of holidays in both Devon and Cornwall (from my hometown of Bristol), 4-up with mates including tents, camping paraphernalia and copious quantities of beer. Volunteering as the driver on a family holiday to Suffolk and with numerous blasts to the South East, I soon racked up the miles. Bought at just 42,000 miles but sold at over 60,000, over the period of 20 months NK53 suffered just one failure - an engine temperature sensor at the cost of £180. Running costs were less Automobile Association and more Alcoholics Anonymous then, as it did drink the stuff at around 30mpg in town and 40 to the gallon on the highway. Overall though, a good car - if you not interested in cars. Sold in January for £3500.


Light painted Polo by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Polo by suspension bridge by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Polo in city centre by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Polo against building by jlewisbarned, on Flickr

And onto today's purchase, a 2003 Volvo S60 T5 SE. After pondering on my choices for the Polo's replacement for a good few months, including a 'What Car?' thread, a decision was made. With the simple criteria of 4/5 doors, a decent amount of poke, and a budget of three bags of sand, options such as a Saab 9-3 Aero, BMW E46 330i and VW Golf Mk4 GTi 1.8T were all considered. But when a friend (stand up S. Gonzales Esq.) mentioned he was on the look out for something different, it all came together. £2750 later, and as of today, I'm the proud owner of a well looked after, 78,000 mile, 250 horsepower Volvo.


Volvo panning by jlewisbarned, on Flickr


Photo by Tony Gilbert.

In my opinion it looks superb, in an understated kind of way. The design brief was to make a 4-door coupe, but it takes thought to see the subtle touches that give it it's cohesive but purposeful stance. Sitting on the optional 18" Nebula wheels, and with the rare body coloured bumpers, the dark blue gives it a sophisticated, sporty look (quite unlike it's owner). Inside the black leather is set off my a light headlining. Where this car excels though, is where it matters; under the bonnet. The 2.3 T5 5-cylinder turbo engine emits a sonorous 5-pot burble on idle, which builds nicely with revs, bringing with a smooth, linear power delivery. Economical it is not (just read threads about the identically engined Focus ST if you want proof), retuning 25mpg on it's 50-mile inaugural hoon. Elsewhere I'd describe the car as Pink Floyd did - 'Comfortably Numb'. Although the ride is considerably firmer than one would expect of a Volvo (think somewhere between an SE and M-sport spec BMW, much to the benefit of handling), feedback through the light steering is non-existent.

After just one day of ownership though, there's little else to report, so I'll try and keep this thread updated with any news. I'll also get some proper pics of it in the next few weeks and update this post with them. As a 19 year old with such a powerful car, I better be careful not to put it on its roof then. With that in mind, but without wanting to tempt fate, perhaps it's fitting that Volvo is Latin for 'I roll'...

Edited by Synchromesh on Monday 27th February 08:35

Stu R

20,679 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th February 2012 quote quote all
Fine choices, love the mini smile

Baryonyx

9,411 posts

43 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
The S60 T5 is a great car, can't see much mention of it there though.

Synchromesh

Original Poster:

2,114 posts

50 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Stu R said:
Fine choices, love the mini smile
Thanks. I did too!

Baryonyx said:
The S60 T5 is a great car, can't see much mention of it there though.
It is indeed. I've re-written a little on it as it was lost when I posted.

y2blade

54,326 posts

99 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Fantastic cars yes Big Volvo Fan here btw (loved my old T5 and now T6 and D5)
can't wait to see pics of it smile
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Chunkychucky

4,088 posts

53 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Nice Volvo chap smile

Spoof

1,571 posts

99 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Great car the T5, I loved my R. Congratulations.

Definitely not an identical engine to the ST though.

rednotdead

702 posts

110 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
I ran one of these for a couple of years and found it to be incredibly sensitive to tyre choice. I found it best on Goodyear Eagle's but they didn't last long on the front! It was one of the comfiest cars I've ever had though and the Dolby pro-Logic is awesome for car hi-fi.

Synchromesh

Original Poster:

2,114 posts

50 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
y2blade said:
Fantastic cars yes Big Volvo Fan here btw (loved my old T5 and now T6 and D5)
can't wait to see pics of it smile
Pictures are uploaded now.

Chunkychucky said:
Nice Volvo chap smile
Thanks thumbup

Spoof said:
Great car the T5, I loved my R. Congratulations.

Definitely not an identical engine to the ST though.
I know the engine isn't identical to the ST's - it was written in haste. The ST is a 2.5 and with a lower pressure turbo, but they're definitely from the same family.

rednotdead said:
I ran one of these for a couple of years and found it to be incredibly sensitive to tyre choice. I found it best on Goodyear Eagle's but they didn't last long on the front! It was one of the comfiest cars I've ever had though and the Dolby pro-Logic is awesome for car hi-fi.
The Pro-Logic is indeed a fantastic hi-fi system, almost as good as my home setup in fact! At some point it'll need new fronts, so I'll bear this in mind.

Biker's Nemesis

25,764 posts

92 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Nice choice mate.

petrolveins

1,651 posts

57 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Brilliant choice, was taken around Castle Coombe in a stripped out ex-police one, my god it was impressive. Was in the same boat as you then. 19yo, not sure what car I wanted but wanted good poke and reasonable space. I ended up with the E46 330i. But doesn't stop looking at the Volvos with lust. Can I also just say those wheels are just perfect, suit the car so well.

supraboy

241 posts

68 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
love it, been thinking of getting a estate in that shape (im also 19). Do you mind if i ask how much the insurance is on one of those for someone our age smile


UberMeister

136 posts

36 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Nice write up thumbup

I think 19 is the age where things can get a bit more exciting with regards car choice, certainly was the case with me. It's a slippery slope now as you realise what more and more powerful cars you can insure. jester

GWMD

766 posts

87 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Very nice choice. Can't go wrong with a T5 offering smile

S. Gonzales Esq.

1,934 posts

96 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
The S60 steering isn't quite as numb as it first appears, but it is incredibly light. Once you've recalibrated your ideas of how much effort is required to turn the wheels you'll start to pick up on a bit more information. It's not the last word in tactility, but there's a bit more there when you know what to look for.

Also, the faster you go, the more you can feel whats going on - damp days can provide a less licence-threatening route to this experience.

Hope you enjoy the car!


petrolveins

1,651 posts

57 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
UberMeister said:
Nice write up thumbup

I think 19 is the age where things can get a bit more exciting with regards car choice, certainly was the case with me. It's a slippery slope now as you realise what more and more powerful cars you can insure. jester
Oh God tell me about it. I've already realised that a E39 M5 or C5 RS6 are almost within reach. biggrin

okie592

2,346 posts

51 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
i love these s60s! Im 19 aswell and on the hunt for something diffrent, whats insurance like for you?

Synchromesh

Original Poster:

2,114 posts

50 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Biker's Nemesis said:
Nice choice mate.
Thanks

petrolveins said:
Brilliant choice, was taken around Castle Coombe in a stripped out ex-police one, my god it was impressive. Was in the same boat as you then. 19yo, not sure what car I wanted but wanted good poke and reasonable space. I ended up with the E46 330i. But doesn't stop looking at the Volvos with lust. Can I also just say those wheels are just perfect, suit the car so well.
Love your 330i by the way. As I mentioned, the 330i was a car I was considering and certainly would have pipped the Volvo in the handling stakes, but I felt I could get a better condition, lower mileage Volvo for the money, and I quite like the Q-car-ness of it too.

supraboy said:
love it, been thinking of getting a estate in that shape (im also 19). Do you mind if i ask how much the insurance is on one of those for someone our age smile
The estate in this shape - that would be the V70. The insurance was £1600 with two years NCB. It's with Elephant.

UberMeister said:
Nice write up thumbup

I think 19 is the age where things can get a bit more exciting with regards car choice, certainly was the case with me. It's a slippery slope now as you realise what more and more powerful cars you can insure. jester
Glad you liked the words. Haha, don't tempt me...

GWMD said:
Very nice choice. Can't go wrong with a T5 offering smile
Muchas gracias

S. Gonzales Esq. said:
The S60 steering isn't quite as numb as it first appears, but it is incredibly light. Once you've recalibrated your ideas of how much effort is required to turn the wheels you'll start to pick up on a bit more information. It's not the last word in tactility, but there's a bit more there when you know what to look for.

Also, the faster you go, the more you can feel whats going on - damp days can provide a less licence-threatening route to this experience.

Hope you enjoy the car!
I'll work on that Tony, I already find myself holding the wheel much more lightly than I did with the Polo, just need to feel the force now driving

okie592 said:
i love these s60s! Im 19 aswell and on the hunt for something diffrent, whats insurance like for you?
Thanks. See above.

BorkFactor

5,851 posts

42 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
You absolute bd, I had discounted a T5 in favour of an E36 but now I am looking at them again!! hehe

I am 19 as well, the insurance is remarkably reasonable on them. Hope you like it, I need to get a proper go in one smile

Synchromesh

Original Poster:

2,114 posts

50 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
BorkFactor said:
You absolute bd, I had discounted a T5 in favour of an E36 but now I am looking at them again!! hehe

I am 19 as well, the insurance is remarkably reasonable on them. Hope you like it, I need to get a proper go in one smile
E36 vs T5 depends weather you want a comfortable Q-car, or something with a bit more finesse and a 'sportier' image. Also don't be put off the the T5's slow 0-60 compared to the BMW's - the T5s come alive in the higher gears when you can get the power down. The insurance aint bad for what it is so go test drive one.
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