RE: Prior Convictions: Guilty as charged

RE: Prior Convictions: Guilty as charged

Friday 8th December 2017

Prior Convictions: Guilty as charged

Why you should never feel guilty about your motoring pleasures...



Some cars are better than others. I don't think that's a particularly controversial viewpoint; especially if, like a few people on the payroll at this website's very publisher, your career depends on it.


But some cars are so much worse than others that the other day, on the other mag for which I work, I was asked to name my guilty pleasure. Which car, I was asked, do I really like, despite the fact that it is either poor, or dated, or embarrassing, or, well, I dunno, for some reason generally despised.

So I thought of a car that apparently wasn't very good but that I've got quite a lot of time for - a Volvo 360, incidentally. I like the Volvo 360. The improper Volvo, the one with DAF bits. I like it. There, I said it.

Perhaps you have a car like this too. Perhaps you're slightly ashamed or embarrassed to admit that you have a soft spot for the automotive equivalent of James Blunt. Maybe it's a Range Rover Evoque convertible or a Chrysler PT Cruiser or a Vauxhall Corsa that's 40 per cent filler, and you don't want to admit it in case somebody who only respects GT Porsches and M BMWs or Type R Hondas mocks it.


Well, sod that. Because you know what? I think all cars are fabulous. That any car is terrific. Because every single car in the world offers its driver a sense of freedom and liberation that taking the bus doesn't. The motor car is The Machine That Changed The World, according to MIT's $5m book, and largely it has changed it for the better. The car has brought liberty, prosperity, trade and freedom to more people than every other human invention. You probably already know this, but anything on four wheels deserves to be celebrated.

I've seen in the past fortnight alone what a car can do for somebody, even in middle England, because my 17 year-old has passed her driving test. She's not particularly into cars, but she will love forever a supermini that's as old as she is because of what it means to her today: freedom, liberation, the ability to go wherever she wants, whenever she wants, without being beholden to the inflexible timetables of either railways or her parents.


So no matter how bad the car, no matter what the colour, what the noise, what the powertrain or condition, or whether it's slammed or wrapped or has purple neon lights underneath it, if somebody likes it, that's a fact worth celebrating and cherishing, not ridiculing and embarrassing.

There are enough people in the world who want you to feel guilty about liking cars at all. There aren't enough of us to be divided. So I'm damned sure I'm not going to make you feel guilty about liking a specific car. Even third-class driving is still better than first-class public transport or walking. No guilty pleasures here.

Author
Discussion

Max_Torque

Original Poster:

12,129 posts

145 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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Was a Volvo 360 "not very good" at the time though?

Sure, today it's pensionable, but at the time it had a reasonably competitive 115bhp, build quality that made the average Ford of the time feel like a cereal packet, and actually reasonably linear handling. No, not VERY sporty, but back then an equivalent 320i wasn't exactly going to set the world alight either. iirc, the price was ok too. I'm going to suggest the biggest problem with the Volvo 360 was the people who drove them.....!

(it took another 10 or so years before Volvo jumped on the "performance bandwagon" with cars like the 850R)

nicfaz

206 posts

158 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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Agree about the Ovlov - they weren't bad cars in context, all cars were bad then. E30's were pretty rubbish and yet people have fond memories of those...

My favourite guilty pleasure is the Honda Jazz, particularly the original 1.4 S. OK, so the handling was terrible, but there's fun to be had in absolutely caning something and the speeds still being legal. Plus the 1.4 engine was a willing partner and the gearchange was a proper rifle-bolt - it did feel like the DNA of the Integra type-R was in there somewhere. The biggest problem is people seeing a Jazz, assuming you're a pensioner and doing mad overtaking manoeuvres to get past in case you hold them up for 30 seconds rolleyes No wonder pensioners are nervous drivers - driving a Jazz is like having a target painted on your back.

Retset

95 posts

150 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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I had a Mk II and a Mk III Capri 3.0S. By today's standards they were not that quick nor did they corner very well. Even back then, I knew the brakes were a bit pants! But you sat low, looked down a long bonnet and listened to the Essex V6, all whilst feeling like Bodie, or Doyle. I have nothing but fond memories of those cars.

I've owned quite a lot of terrible 'non PH' cars in the past and none have left any endearing memories. I can only see them for what they were. Hopefully every last one of them rotted and now live on as fridges or something.

j4r4lly

31 posts

63 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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My guilty pleasure has always been the Ford Capri. I've had 7 of them since I bought the first 2000 GT back in 1982 and I still have a 1983 2.8 injection.

At my age nostalgia has made me like all sorts of old junk that I wouldn't have considered back in the day. Cars like the Dolomite, Renault 15 and Fuego, Marina 1.8TC, Triumph 2000, Rover P6 and 3 litre Granada's.

2 cars really spring to mind though and they were both pretty pants. The Simca 1000 GLS and the Austin Metro, both of which I owned in the past. The Simca was my first car and therefore has a special place in my memory with many adventures had around north London and the Essex countryside. We used to kid ourselves that it was a peasant spec' 911 as it had a rear engine and overlight steering.

The Metro I bought when my Golf 1.5 GLS died and I needed a car for work. For 5 years it never missed a beat, taking everything I could throw at it in its stride from shopping and school run duties to pounding back and forth from London to south Devon on a regular basis. It was slow, cramped and desperately uncool, but it cost pocket money to run, could be driven on the (very low) limit all day and had terrific handling like any small go-kart sized car. Ultimately it's exactly as the article says, these cars were my independence, my freedom to go where I wanted, when I wanted at any time of the day or night and for that I loved them as if they were an Aston or Rolls Royce or Mercedes etc.






givablondabone

2,400 posts

83 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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Yep back in the early 90's my then future ex mother in law inherited her father's 6 year old Volvo 340 1.7GL. It had 896 miles on the clock. Eight Hundred and Ninety Six. She ran it for a year or two before handing it over to me and my future ex wife with around 13k on the clock. It was immaculate. And let's not forget, rear wheel drive hehe

I remember smokin an inside rear off a roundabout on my commute one day and the face of a lorry driver coming the other way was a picture as he probably expected some grandad behind the wheel!

It was very comfortable and not fast so you couldn't really get into trouble.

I was fond but knew it was pants really. I had people take the pi55 but didn't care. It was free!!


Edited by givablondabone on Saturday 9th December 09:58

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Greg 172

210 posts

129 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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Renault Vel Satis. No idea why but I love when a manufacturer does something even though it's clearly a sales dead end. See also Citroen C6.

jet_noise

2,601 posts

110 months

Friday 8th December 2017
quotequote all
nicfaz said:
Agree about the Ovlov - they weren't bad cars in context, all cars were bad then. E30's were pretty rubbish and yet people have fond memories of those...

My favourite guilty pleasure is the Honda Jazz, particularly the original 1.4 S. OK, so the handling was terrible, but there's fun to be had in absolutely caning something and the speeds still being legal. Plus the 1.4 engine was a willing partner and the gearchange was a proper rifle-bolt - it did feel like the DNA of the Integra type-R was in there somewhere. The biggest problem is people seeing a Jazz, assuming you're a pensioner and doing mad overtaking manoeuvres to get past in case you hold them up for 30 seconds rolleyes No wonder pensioners are nervous drivers - driving a Jazz is like having a target painted on your back.
1.4? Luxury /Yorkshireman
Bet it's even got aircon!

I've a 2006 1.2 Sheddy McShedface with >100k under its wheels.
Engine is smoother and even revvier than the 1.4. Also quieter as the gearing is higher (oddly).
I find the handling rather fun, even unstuck the back once!
Agree bout the mad overtake syndrome though.
Perfect for nipping along single track muddy Cotswold lanes.

morgrp

4,082 posts

126 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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I had a 360 GLT and it was a simply awesome car - 2.0 redblock with bosch injection, 115bhp. It was comfy, brisk and could (and would) be power-slid around just about every wet roundabout I ever drove it round. It was also a formidable tow car and shamed many of my mate's so called hot hatches and sports cars of the day. I literally thrashed the living fk out that thing and it just took it all. Changing gear in it couldn't be rushed though, the torque tube running to the back transaxle felt like shunting a girder about - oh and it would always graunch into reverse because of it.

If I could find another one in good nick I'd have it in a heart beat - Mrs Morgrp would kill me then run off with the milkman but I reckon on balance it would be worth it...

myhandle

736 posts

102 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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Risking crashing the internet with the number of Rover 75 V8 related posts this week, it’s my 75 V8.

irocfan

15,546 posts

118 months

Friday 8th December 2017
quotequote all
I do have a soft spot for the Triumph 2500 saloon and as a practical car I suspect that an unmodded (is there such a beast?) PT Cruiser could tick a fair few boxes

DJP

782 posts

107 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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Oddly enough my guilty pleasure was a Volvo 360. It wasn't my first car (bizarrely, that was a Manta GTE) but my Ovlov impressed for it's build quality and ability to get under my skin – a late 1970's model and still in impressively good nick when I bought it as a stop gap in the early 90's. It never went wrong nor gave me a moment's problem, hence I kept it far longer than intended. Indeed, it only went when the MOT man said “Rust” when it was about 20 years old.

It also taught me a lot about drifting. Hell, it was still on the original tyres when I bought it!

JAR 663Y you are sorely missed.

RosscoPCole

2,535 posts

102 months

Friday 8th December 2017
quotequote all
myhandle said:
Risking crashing the internet with the number of Rover 75 V8 related posts this week, it’s my 75 V8.
Nice Jersey car.

I have always liked weird and wonderful cars including the Fiat Multipla, Matra Rancho, Volvo 480 and Callaway Aerowagen. Also this Citroen H Van as a camper.

http://m.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C628462


nicfaz

206 posts

158 months

Friday 8th December 2017
quotequote all
jet_noise said:
1.4? Luxury /Yorkshireman
Bet it's even got aircon!

I've a 2006 1.2 Sheddy McShedface with >100k under its wheels.
Engine is smoother and even revvier than the 1.4. Also quieter as the gearing is higher (oddly).
I find the handling rather fun, even unstuck the back once!
Agree bout the mad overtake syndrome though.
Perfect for nipping along single track muddy Cotswold lanes.
Aha, no aircon and the 1.4 was the only choice when they first came out - 1.2 came later! Alas the original Jazz has moved on now and the wife has another, newer Jazz. She flat out refused to consider any other car, up to and including an Evoque! I started to argue, realised what I was doing then accompanied her to the Honda dealer. She's now waiting for a fully electric Jazz to come out before she changes again...

Stu08

264 posts

45 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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Great article and something we shouldn't lose sight of on PH. Even if I see a modified car which I'm not keen on; I still respect it as that person has a similar interest to me. I'm just happy to see a modified car on the road now.

My guilty pleasure - mk5 Escort GTI. Yes it only had 113 BHP from the 1.8 engine. Performance wasn't blistering at 9.2 seconds to 60 MPH - but to me it just made sense. My dream car as a child was the Escort Cosworth. The mk5 GTI (don't laugh I was a child) had the same looks but was much more attainable. So it was a car I always wanted.

Baddie

261 posts

145 months

Friday 8th December 2017
quotequote all
I inherited my Dad’s 360GLS as my first car, 102 BHP and longer final drive than the GLT so not as nippy, but 2 litre torque. The only other car who’s doors made the same clunk was a 993. It had a transaxle, and de Dion rear end so was engineered to be very balanced and predictable. The steering was 4 turns lock to lock, but had so much caster and feel it made up for it. It was wallowy and soft, but comfortable, warm and much better isolated from road noise than modern small cars.

It had done 165,000 miles on one clutch when someone T-boned it. There wasn’t much damage, natch, but enough for the insurance company to call it a day.

grumpy52

3,269 posts

94 months

Friday 8th December 2017
quotequote all
I bought my dad a Volvo 360 in met gold with a years mot on it.
I wanted something solid as he had written off his two previous cars in accidents .
He absolutely loved it , first car that he had ever had with all the toys , electric windows , central locking , PAS , sunroof .
He managed to destroy lots of local scenery with it before he killed it . Replaced it with a SAAB 9000 .

stamper

12 posts

28 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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Oh lord, first car Citroen gs1100 Pallas. Loved it
Such independence. First job. First commute and fondly remember one time driving up Moel Famau hill, North Wales, in the snow, with the clutch burning so much I’d to open the manual sun roof and open the windows to let the smoke out. Fabulous giggle.
It led to a series of ‘classic car experiences from Citroen 2cv’s to VW Beetles to Morris Minors before getting more proper modern, slowly.
There was an affinity to Citroen for a while that took a time time to shake the addiction to their quirkiness.
I did early Citroen Visa and BX’s too that we’re both great alternative fun.
Not driving a classic now. But miss them all.

stamper

12 posts

28 months

Friday 8th December 2017
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My old man had a 360 Volvo too. Fabulous carb noise and shiny paint.

fph

30 posts

45 months

Saturday 9th December 2017
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Volvo 360 GLT was advertised in the UK as "It goes like a BMW. It corners like a Porsche. It stops like a Volvo" The advert made direct comparisons with a BMW 320 and a Porsche 928. Yours for only £6198

http://www.rs6.com/pics/Various/Volvo-Racer-82.jpg

martin12345

34 posts

17 months

Saturday 9th December 2017
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Guilty pleasures from my past are in chronological order

MG Metro - complete with red seat belts - this was my mum's car just before I went to university. Enough power not to be embarassing and fun if slightly bouncy handling (meanwhile I spent my own money on a motorbike) - never mind that it rotted into history at an unbelievable rate

Metro 1.4 GTi - my first company car (seriously !) - gem of an engine, great handling, utterly, utterly unreliable, appauling dealer service which sadly needed to use several times a month due to the poor build quality and unreliability - got into this from an Astra GTE and had a lot more fun (when it was running) - if I'd owned it I might have a very different abiding memory of it (the pain and cost !) but being a company car took away most of the pain

Ford Ka - had 2 or 3 of these as 2nd company car's (along size a Mondeo V6) (I worked in the car industry, hence the unusual situation of more than one company car at the same time) - no power, noisy engine, average fuel economy, laughable interior (materials, fit/finish), not much interior or boot spacefantastic handling, adequate brakes - loved thrashing the nuts of it without even breaking the speed limit - embarassed a few more powerful cars many times


The common theme is: small, good handling, fun which made me love them despite their other glaring flaws

(sorry no pictures - all "passed in the night" )