Our Cars – Giving the Peugeot 205 a long-needed wash

Antti Kautonen February 13, 2014 Finnish Line


[Echoing Jeff’s piece on keeping care of higher end machinery, here are my thoughts on keeping my humble econobox looking presentable, instead of bringing down the property values in this neighbourhood. Then again, as I live in the absolute center of this town, it might not be a bad idea to bring them down a notch.]

When’s the last time you’ve washed your old cheap runabout? The wintertime is cantankerous in that way, you often tend to go weeks without getting the accumulated cack off your daily driver. Freezing temps aren’t ideal carwash weather, even if snowy days do not dirty it up too much either, but at a couple degrees °C the salty slushy dirt just flies and attaches to the once-pristine flanks. And it’s not too good in the nooks and crannies, either.

Tonight, I decided to pony up the required tenner and drive my Peugeot 205 through the nearest Shell carwash, a decision helped by the fact that after 9PM it’s “Happy Hour” over there and all the wash programs are 50% off. And since you guys haven’t seen an update on the 205 front for some time now, it’s more than apt I slap on a couple of photos.

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Used Car Reviews: 1998 Skoda Felicia Combi


We need a wagon. It seems. Despite it being just the two of us, there apparently needs to be a vehicle in the household that can hold a full length mirror, or a ladder, or anything that’s long enough not to fit in the 205. As we moved house this month, the 205 accommodated a ridiculous amount of stuff – – but there are length limits to its cargo capacity. “You have the Saab, don’t you?” I hear you ask. That’s correct, but it remains in a garage on the outskirts of town, as I don’t want to rust it out during this Salton Sea Season. And it being a thirsty car for weekend trips at heart, it’s not going to endure the daily traffic light beating the 518i and 205 have been subjected to.

Enter a bewildering array of used cars currently on sale in this town, whittling away the ones with a mileage too high to my taste. Initially I checked out a 650 euro Citroën Xantia wagon with 265k, but as it was dirty as a doormat and had Citroën Xantia Rear Quarter Mudtrap Acne™ coming through, peppering the flank even much worse than the Activa, I didn’t even bother to take any pictures despite taking it for a short drive. The white Tempra remains on sale, too, priced at double its worth.

And as I had taken some shots of a Skoda Felicia some time earlier, I was reasonably eager to see this one-owner example for sale nearby. I hadn’t driven one of these, so it was an omission I needed to rectify.

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Weekend Edition – Cologne Sightings: VW Polo “Steilheck”


Oh yes, the Volkswagen Polo. The two-door sedan wasn’t the only variety you could get ’em, as there was also a tiny coupe version and this square-looking three-door wagon-like one, colloiqually known as the “Steilheck”, meaning “upright back”, or – yeah – squareback.

This workwear blue ‘Heck was photographed in Cologne, Germany, by my E34 535i-driving friend Joe. Let’s take a look at a couple photos of it.

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Weekend Edition – Snowy Lot Sightings


Moving out from the town centre, to the ice-covered supermarket parking lot, I kept my camera in check and aimed it at some of the more interesting machinery parked amongst the family haulers. It always seems there are more fascinating ways to do your grocery runs than just the average vanilla wagon.

Starting with the menacing black Cadillac, of course.

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Weekend Edition – Snowy Town Sightings


Great news! I mentioned some time ago, in the Tempra post, that my Macbook Pro had decided it no longer wanted to co-operate with the hard drive, and thus became a rather expensive slab of aloominum without any real-world use. Well, it has now returned from warranty-covered service, and we’re back on track with the Redusernab slack. Or something like that.

This means I can yet again relay some DSLR shots from over here, and on a relaxed weekend such as this it should be just fine.

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Regular Car Reviews is on the way up again – with crowdfunding

Antti Kautonen February 6, 2014 All Things Hoon


For the semi-recent past, I have been enjoying ‘ “Automobile Roasts”, for the lack of a better term. That’s what they are, really – take a fairly random car offered by a random dude or a fan of the YouTube channel, see the blurry-faced reviewer dissect the car with a part deadpan, part creepy delivery, put together in an uncomplicated fashion. It’s a good recipe for a fresh slice of YouTube weirdness – definitely a step towards to the weird part of YouTube instead of a regular review per se. They’re polarizing if anything, but immensely popular: the number of subscribers soared from 1000 to 47,000 from September 2013 to February 2014.

And this past Monday the only car Mr. Regular had at his disposal, a Toyota Echo, in a traffic accident in snowy conditions. With the Echo rendered unusable (albeit still working because it’s a cheap and simple Toyota), the show faced a steep cliff as there would be no way to visit reviewable cars and create more content. The love-it-or-hate-it nature of the show manifested itself in a load of “DOES THIS MEAN THIS SH*T IS FINALLY OVER” comments in some parts of the internet, but luckily the crowdfunding site put up to enable sourcing of a new used car for him has been a tremendous success. He wanted to scrape up a mere 5k and it’s now at more than double that. In addition to just getting some wheels, the money will make it possible for him to do a roadtrip to visit people eager to get their own cars reviewed in the show.

There’s still 46 days left in the *inhale* process, so if you like the show, throw him a few bucks. I’d like to see the show go on.


Used Car Reviews – 1995 Fiat Tempra STW: Solution, Temporary Wagon?


It seems I’m dealing with themes of loss and alienation recently. No, it’s nothing of a too-personal matter, or something to do with the well-being of anyone human: no, we’re on a perfectly machine-related level here. My last posts dabbled with the logistics of selling my daily driver and coping with it: as of last night, I’m rendered laptopless. Laptop-less, not lap-topless. This here thing I’m using is my GF’s MBP, and I have to remain SFW.

The current understanding is that for some reason my HD is out of touch, floating inside the aluminum Apple shell and completely unreachable. I took my ailing MBP to the reseller where I got it, and it’s up to the warranty to bring it back to me none the worse for wear. Of course, some of my photo work is at stake since despite taking back-up measures with all my previous Apple products, this one had to survive on its own devices for slacktivistic reasons. But as 99% of my photos are already posted here, with a good bulk safely clouded over at Dropbox, I’m not super-bummed. Life happens, time to charge the camera and shoot more.

But this is only one of the current events closely related to change in my life. We’re also moving apartment in the near future, which means I could very well use a vehicle that would be capable of moving long, unwieldy objects like sofas and disassembled bookcases. Even if I already got my 205 back and it’s in rude fighting health, folding the rear seat won’t give me cavernous loadspace, no matter how box-shaped the car in fact is. Enter the wagon consideration, a first in my life. Enter the Fiat Tempura.

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Our Cars – Carless Whisper: The 2014 Nothing Whatsoever At All

Antti Kautonen January 22, 2014 Finnish Line


Recently, I made the executive decision to sell my BMW 5-series, whose ownership I documented extensively in the award-winning Beaterland series (Seriously, it was a close battle for the Pulitzer between me and Chris Haining’s Carchive). After the buyer had made the lengthy journey to my town, paid the reasonable sum of money and collected the 1995 BMW, this is what I replaced the car with.

Two metres per five metres of air in my parking spot.

This post tells you how I’m dealing with the latest development in my car fleet.

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Budget Turbodiesel Daily Driver – the Finnish way


The affable gearheads of Black Smoke Racing are building a cheap turbodiesel project car, partly also to showcase how they go on about things. Since they have a lot of useable hands and a pretty decent parts stash, they acquire a cheap enough, naturally aspirated Mercedes-Benz 190D 2.5 and begin transforming it into a turbodiesel.

The guys are broadcasting a web series about the project, and it’s already in the second installment. I advice you to check it out: despite consisting of Finnish banter, it’s subtitled very well. See the second episode after the jump.

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Weekend Edition – Frozen Over Saturday


Time for a timely update on the freeze situation over here in Finland. A couple weekends ago we didn’t get as much as a snowflake, then we got a pretty decent amount of snowman material, and to top it off it’s almost -20°C here right now. Or to put it in Fahrenheit: less than zero °F given.

Still, my gloves were warm enough that I could take a walk to the town centre and grab a few shots of something you might enjoy. All of them are condensed in this one cold-ass post.

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