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Big TC

My motoring week - BMW to Vauxhall

I have been mostly driving things other than Fords this week, which is unusual.

2 BMWs - a 116 diesel, which was the dirtiest most unkempt car I've ever driven (apart from Amanda's!). Its also the only car (so far) where I've had to note a dent in the roof!. It kind of put me off a bit, tbh. I wanted to approach this with an open mind. It went ok, went round corners very well and the brakes gave lots of confidence.

The driving position was brilliant and the controls seemed to have lots of feel and appeared to be properly constructed. However, the design of the dash was just so boring - not nice at all. The fact that it was covered with dust and crumbs didn't help!

I also punted a 3-year old 320 diesel, with run-flats and a high 122,000 miles under its wheels. This car was the exact opposite of the other one - very well cared-for. It wore its miles superbly - the paintwork was virtually unblemished.

It was an auto and had well-spaced ratios. I didn't use the manual over-ride. The performance was very good - I was able to hustle down some Leicstershire lanes for 15 miles or so. As with the 1-series, a brilliant driving position.

Other things have included a Renault Kangoo with wheelchair conversion. This vehicle broke the record for the number of blemishes I had to mark on my check sheet - it had seen some serious action!. To drive, well, it was slow, noisy, uncomfortable. I swapped that for a Renault Master wheelchair mini bus - boy, did that like a drink (for a diesel). I reckon I used about 15 quid's worth of derv in less than 35 miles.

Toyota Yaris 1400 petrol - very underwhelming. Can't really remember too much about it, tbh!

I also had to collect a Police-seizure vehicle from South Mimms and take it to an auction near Brighton. It was a Citroen DS3 1.4 petrol, with 3,800 miles on the clock. It was nothing like mine - the performance was way inferior. And the noise it made when being revved wasn't particularly inspiring. The good thing about this job was that it had a few personal items left in it, which I was told I could keep whatever I wanted. So I now have an unused full Citroen Valet kit, in its own carrying case. Result! I decided to leave the dog lead/chain, and the huge tub of somesort of medical capsules....

Which brings me to the Vauxhall Astra 1.4 petrol which I had the misfortune to drive from Derby to Great Yarmouth. To be fair, it wasn't JUST the poor performance that meant the trip took a yawn-inducing 5 hours.

I found the driving position a bit weird - I was never able to get both my legs and arms comfortable at the same time.

The controls had no feel at all, but were very light to use. Definitely noticeable against the BMWs. But the performance - oh my goodness. Where was the torque? Having been used to turbo diesels, this was an eye-opener. So I began to use the upper section of the revband, but all that did was to increase the noise levels rather than the speed! It was so bad that I daren't make an overtake on a single-carriageway road unless I could see for a couple of miles!
Roadsterstu

Was that a current shape Astra?

Good result on the freebie valet kit.
Boxer6

Something of an automotive journey in more ways than one, then!  
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Have I missed something? What happened to the "Passing by" driving school, or is this a driving-related job diversion for holiday-time?
gooner

Chris M Wanted a V-10 wrote:
Have I missed something? What happened to the "Passing by" driving school, or is this a driving-related job diversion for holiday-time?


I think that's on hold for now Chris, as things currently stand.

Sounds like fun Trev, but when you drop these cars off, how do you get home? You must have so e interesting train journeys to do!
Tim

Sounds nice & varied.
Big TC

Yep - new shape Astra, of which I have 2 to drive tomorrow (both 1.4 petrol models, unfortunately)

Chris, Chris, Chris....... haven't you been paying attention over the last 9 months or so??? My current circumastances prevent me from carrying on with my driving school. I am doing delivery driving to keep me out of home, and to pass the time until my current situation is resolved one way or the other. (Expect more news on that front soon, btw)

The worse aspect of the job is getting home if I've been 'dead-ended' in the afternoon. I know the railroutes in East Anglia and Leicstershire pretty well now! I'm glad I get my funds refunded, though - it ain't cheap to travel by train if you can't order the tickets 2 weeks in advance!
Roadsterstu

Tim wrote:
Sounds nice & varied.


Until you get a 1.4 Astra. Though I can't imagine it is worse than the 1.6 auto.
Bob Sacamano

Big TC wrote:
Yep - new shape Astra, of which I have 2 to drive tomorrow (both 1.4 petrol models, unfortunately)

Chris, Chris, Chris....... haven't you been paying attention over the last 9 months or so??? My current circumastances prevent me from carrying on with my driving school. I am doing delivery driving to keep me out of home, and to pass the time until my current situation is resolved one way or the other. (Expect more news on that front soon, btw)

The worse aspect of the job is getting home if I've been 'dead-ended' in the afternoon. I know the railroutes in East Anglia and Leicstershire pretty well now! I'm glad I get my funds refunded, though - it ain't cheap to travel by train if you can't order the tickets 2 weeks in advance!


When I worked for a larger company with their own fleet, the guys delivering the cars to the various branches got a fixed amount to get home but most of them just stood by the road with their trade plates and hitched. Fancy having a go?
Big TC

I've never tried hitching - I just don't fancy it.

Plus, a lot of company vehicle insurance these days specifically bans the carrying of passengers. This is more common in commercial vehicle insurance, which is the type of vehicles you would usually get a lift in.

I'm lucky in that the company I drive for reimburse all travel expenses.
Roadsterstu

As a student I used to collect and deliver vans for a Ford dealer. Thankfully we were always given money up front for train fares or we had a hire car. Never had to hitch with the trade plates.
PhilD

but the point is, you get the money but don't spend it on travel. The big fuss at British Airways a few years ago was about something similar. Cabin crew used to get set amounts for over night stay and subsistence. Instead of using it they would all doss down together and eat pot noodles. In some cases this doubled their wages and they lived a life style (mortgage, car etc) based on this. Then they changed the rules and they were fucked.
PG

PhilD wrote:
Cabin crew used to get set amounts for over night stay and subsistence. Instead of using it they would all doss down together and eat pot noodles. In some cases this doubled their wages and they lived a life style (mortgage, car etc) based on this. Then they changed the rules and they were fucked.


We did this in Germany about a year ago. We used to pay set daily allowances, but moved to reimbursing actual expenses. People split into two camps. The angry as hell ones who used to live on sandwiches and stay in shit-holes and those that were utterly delighted.
gooner

PG wrote:
PhilD wrote:
Cabin crew used to get set amounts for over night stay and subsistence. Instead of using it they would all doss down together and eat pot noodles. In some cases this doubled their wages and they lived a life style (mortgage, car etc) based on this. Then they changed the rules and they were fucked.


We did this in Germany about a year ago. We used to pay set daily allowances, but moved to reimbursing actual expenses. People split into two camps. The angry as hell ones who used to live on sandwiches and stay in shit-holes and those that were utterly delighted.


I had a friend who's dad was a civil servant in the 80s and 90s and they too received a set subsistence allowance to cover hotels/meals etc. He profited quite nicely out of this by hitching the caravan to the car and pocketing the hotel fair!

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