PH CARPOOL: VAUXHALL VX220
It's a childhood lust realised for PHer Ed Offer
Car: Vauxhall VX220
Owned since: March 2012
Previously owned: Land Rover Defender 110, Range Rover, Nissan Skyline, Vauxhall Vectra
I have wanted one since before I could drive, I remember being about 10 and seeing one in a petrol station and my jaw dropping along with feeling a pang of jealously which I had not had over a car before. This was closely followed for a strong dislike for the driver, who saw me looking and smirked. I didn't actually find out it was a VX until a few years later. When I finally took the plunge it took me a while to find a car I liked, but after a few weeks of searching found a very nice silver one, just like the VX in the petrol station I had seen 10 years prior.
It was in Manchester, which is a few hours away from me, so I promptly rang up and placed a deposit informing the salesman that I would be coming in two weeks to pick her up. To cut a long story short, two days before I was supposed to pick up the car the nice salesman rings me up and tells me that on his day off his colleague sold the car... I wasn't best pleased! After only another day of looking a rather nice red one came up for sale. I wasn't too keen on red, but went to view it anyway and absolutely fell in love with the stunning colour. After a quick drive I paid a deposit there and then and picked it up two days later.
After wanting one for such a long time I was fairly well aware of what I was letting myself in for. The rawness, the rattles and bangs I was very aware of before I even drove one. It turns out it's all those things that make the car what it is: awesome! (To me, at least.) One of the very best tools I used in my research is the owners club (www.vx220.org.uk), between them they know pretty much everything about the VX220; not only did they help me during my search for one but are now helping during ownership.
Things I love:
I'm not ashamed to admit I like attention and especially a car that can draw it. I love how everyone stares, and people take pictures when they think you're not looking - that never gets old. I also love the fact there's no power steering and next to nothing in the way of luxuries. You can tell it was made with the attitude "don't need that, just more speed". It truly is an awesome little car and if you haven't driven one I strongly suggest you do, because you will fall in love...
There are a few, ummmm, compromises with the VX. Yeah, you look good as you pull up outside somewhere, but try and get out and still look cool and it all goes wrong - the wide sills see to that. Also the standard heating is worse than appalling (although there's someone from the owners club who does upgrades). The road noise is another thing that could be considered a negative, but for me all these things either make the car better to drive and more exciting or are just tiny inconveniences in an otherwise amazing car!
As far as day to day running it's not that bad, in fact quite good. This could be because I previously owned a Defender, Range Rover and Skyline, which all drank like fish. But even with that taken into consideration I think it's not too bad. As far as insurance goes, it's not bad either considering I am still only 20, have zero no-claims and have written off a car. It's £1,600 to be precise. The MoT is coming up next month, though, so perhaps I shall have to reserve overall judgement on running costs until after then...
So far I've driven it down the M4 on a very, very wet bank holiday (yay) and to work and back. Not the most exciting of journeys but made a million times more enjoyable by the car!
Definitely keeping it. First exhaust, then a few aesthetic bits and bobs. Ultimately I would like to get it supercharged and that will probably be it as far as mods go (although I suppose you can't go much further). Ideally I would like to say that even if it just becomes a weekend toy it will still have a place in my garage for the next few decades, though whether something else will take my fancy more in a few years it's hard to tell. But it would have to be something very special indeed...