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Weekend Edition – Back to the Ice Track

Antti Kautonen February 22, 2014 Finnish Line, Weekend Edition 18 Comments


We a year ago, I wrote a couple short articles which showed you just how fun it is to drive to Eastern Finland with your friends and spend a day at an ice track with BMW:s everywhere. This year, with an international FinalGear crowd, we did the same.

By now my own BMW is gone, so I took the liberty to attend the BMW club trackday with my Citroën Xantia. It wasn’t really an offense, as you could also see a Passat, a Mazda RX-8 and a Volkswagen Caravelle T5 doing laps amongst the Bavarian machines.

One of the BMW:s partaking was a Cologne-based 1988 E34 535i, which had made the journey all the way here in just a couple of days through Sweden. The guys were planning to sell the car here to a discerning petrolhead. The fact it was on German-spec studless winter tires just made that a little more challenging.

This is a brown, four-wheel-drive, bi-turbodiesel Volkswagen bus being drifted on the track, driven with hand controls.

This M135xi was certainly sprightly.

Despite saddled with less than perfect tires, the RX-8 was a barrel of laughs.

Classic E28 coolness.

An E38 on the track is always a pleasing sight.

My front-wheel-drive Xantia with its front-wheel handbrake wasn’t exactly the perfect track tool, but it had one advantage over the others: had I took a plunge into the soft, deep snow, it would’ve been pretty easy to just lift the suspension and reverse out. The BMW’s steadily and regularly spun on the constantly slippening track, and pushing and pulling the stuck Bavarians was a pastime that never got old.

In actuality, we didn’t originally even make it to the track before one of the BMW:s misjudged the approach speed to a junction and drifted into a ditch. The Volkswagen bus couldn’t pull it out despite 4WD, a coincidental LandCruiser couldn’t either, so a tractor was needed to get the E34 back on the road.

After we had had enough, we gathered for coffee, sausages and pastries and looked back on the day. Thanks to the soft snow, no damage was inflicted on any of the cars, and the German-imported BMW 535i even changed owners – a very happy Norwegian will now take it to his home country. I’m heading back west on Sunday, not before an obligatory Ikea stop where I’ll attempt to fit some CD racks and hallway mirrors into the Citroën wagon.

As far as the Citroën is concerned, it appears to be absolutely comfortable on the highway jaunts, even in icy conditions. It’s not only surefooted, but warms up quickly when awakened from the cold, the stereo is perfectly acceptable, the smoothness of the ride on the highway is probably unparalleled in the 800 euro class and despite being driven briskly to keep up with the larger-engined BMW:s it managed 7,47l/100km. Not super-frugal, but the best reading my cars have produced when I’ve been measuring fuel consumption figures with Spritmonitor.

The only thing leaving me unsure is that there now exists a Norwegian fellow whose LG phone has learned the ways of the Citroën’s infrared remote control fob. This means that as long as I’m in the company of my FinalGear friends, the Xantia will probably not be where I left it when I wake up in the morning.

[Images: Copyright 2014 Redusernab/Antti Kautonen]

  • Adrian

    It's not brown! It's pearly dark wine red!

    • nanoop

      Responsibly as they are, they'd NEVER use names for colors used on vehicles participating in traffic associated with alcohol, like burgundy red, champaign silver, or beer yellow.

      • ajektvik

        Indeed. It's called Dark Wood.

  • Tobias

    VW lied to you Adrian, it's brown

  • Manic_King

    Dark Wood Perleffekt, dark brown, probably.

  • Sjalabais

    How does a phone learn to open a car? Even if anybody here knows it, it's probably unlawful to explain it, but how convenient it is!

  • Adrian

    Sjalabais: The remote is not encrypted / rolling code, so all he did was learn the phone (which has an IR function for TVs etc.) the signal like a universal TV remote and voila.

    • Sjalabais

      Ah, wow. I'll have to try if my S4 Active can do that. The Honda has only one remote – that gets snapped by either me or my wife – and remote controls are convenient indeed.

  • skitter

    Claude Rouelle story:
    He was driving through snow to get to a hotel.
    When he pulled into the parking lot, he saw a bunch of big-wigs from some sponsor or supplier.
    He decided to spin up to the curb and impress them, so he got a little speed, turned the wheel and yanked the handbrake.
    The rental was a Saab.
    The parking brake is on a front wheel.
    Only hit seven or eight cars.

  • smokyburnout

    You need to program one of these to unlock your car 007-style
    <img src="; width="600"/>

  • Buickboy92

    Wonderful photos Antti. What camera do you shoot with? Being a photographer myself I'd love to know.

    • On this occasion, mostly Canon 500D with Tamron SP 10-24mm 1:3.5-4-5 wide-angle lens.

  • What is the difference between an old Land Cruiser and a tractor?

    • Could come down to colour choice…

    • nanoop

      The size of the rear wheels.
      (not being the same as the front wheels)

      • ????
        <img src="; width="600">

        • nanoop

          I knew there's the MB Trac series, and I think Lamborghini had one of those, too – honestly I was hoping for a picture of a land cruiser with different sized wheels (ideally front bigger than rear) to proof me wrong!

  • Manic_King

    That 535. Travelling merchants offering German- made goods to the Nordic people? So 19. century. Heartwarming. Only they didn't accept reindeer hides or gold nuggets as a payment I guess.



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