View Full Version : Automobiles, love 'em or leave 'em?

8th Oct 2001, 11:16
I noticed a few people on the "what get's your goat" thread that seem to have something against large 4X4 vehicles. I haven't been to Europe so I can only assume the main reason for this is the stories I've heard and pictures I've seen of some of the fairly cramped driving conditions in some towns.
I love big trucks, as well as muscle and pony cars ( V8 powered larger and mid sized cars ) , sports cars, etc... so I can't help but admire any vehicle that the owner obviously enjoys and takes pride in, even if I personally would never want to own it, surely I can't be alone here. :)
I'd like to hear some stories from other members about their beloved vehicles, we've all read about Reddo's motorcycle and how much fun it brings her so I thought I'd write about my old worn down pickup truck that I'll probably never get rid of because I've become too attached to it.
When I first drove it off the lot I was certain it was the nicest truck around ( even though it was identical to it's many thousands of brothers and sisters ) I hadn't been planning to buy a new vehicle at the time but as I drove past the lot I caught a glimpse of it and had to go back and take another look. Needless to say I was soon the owner of a new truck, since then that truck and I have been to... well you know where and back together through good and bad times and it's always been willing to carry anything I've managed to load in it, and in some cases load in it and pull behind it in a trailer, we've spent time in strange towns waiting for parts ( my fault for loading it down too much on occasion ) driven across deserts ( on and off road ) we've played and worked together for years in town, in the mountains, along the coast ( it seems to really like playing on the beach ) I can tell you about the day the tiny hail dent in the hood ( bonnet ) happened, or the small dent in the bed back by the bumper. I've spent countless hours and dollars in, under, and around my truck maintaining it, fixing it, and making improvements. But it's getting old now and the time is coming soon to replace it or spend a good deal of time and money reworking it nose to tail, I think I'll probably choose option 2 because every time I find a truck I think could replace it I just can't seem to bring myself to do it, besides...I think it would look darn good in yellow, and I've had my eye on replacing the stock running gear with a little stronger variety and possibly switching to a diesel engine.
ok.... A little boring I know, but of the vehicles I've owned this one has stuck with me while others have come and gone...what can I say except this, next time you are in town and see one of those "2.5 ton 4X4s" in the middle of town maybe the owner isn't bringing it there to make you angry but is instead just too attached to the old thing to realize others arent as appreciative of it as they are. ( same goes with the sports car, vanity license plate, etc... crowd )

I could be here all day editing this, but I'll just leave it where it's at!

[ 08 October 2001: Message edited by: Mert ]

I. M. Esperto
8th Oct 2001, 21:23
Hatred of SUV's and their owners is a regular epidemic around here. Letters to the editors bemoan the fact that he saw a Lincoln navigator with only one (sob!) person in it! What a crime!

Grow up, for God's sake, or get a Yugo.

Another peeve is people not wearing seat belts, or letting their kids sit in front. Soccer Mom's get hysterical over this, for some reason.

Personally, I drive a Lexus LS-400, which has to be one of the best, classiest, cars ever built. If I had to complain, I'd like to see an ammeter and an oil pressure guage, but hey, it is some car the way it is.

I get about 17MPG around town with the A/C on. Not bad.

Mac the Knife
9th Oct 2001, 00:28
Just came back from a week camping in the Cedarberg with my family and our trusty 1981 petrol 2.25 Series III LWB LandRover (named "Braveheart" by my son). Low mileage, very good nick and carefully maintained (engine/g'box rebuild by Landy 4 years ago), certainly for the 2 years I've had him (yep, it's a him). Long range tanks (110 litres internal), twin battery system and a few non-showy extras. The Series III Landys really are classic vehicles and it is a great pleasure to own and drive a good example. My pa had what was probably a Series I in Nigeria when I was a kid in the '50s and I loved it. On tarmac it is, frankly a brute - slow, heavy, all manual, relatively underpowered (tho' the 2.25 was the toughest engine they ever made), noisy (tyres and engine) and with a hard suspension. Off road a pure pleasure, engage 4WD, shift down and you can climb a mountain - the engine just gives a lovely growl when you ask it to work and gets down to it - dongas, watercourses, sand, rocks, gravel - it'll do it all if you just understand it and work with it.

"You can hurt it but you can't kill it"

9th Oct 2001, 06:09
I have a blue car - it goes very well. I wish it was a red car because I have heard they go even better, but so far, I've found the blue car really does get me from A-B (sometimes via Z).


9th Oct 2001, 06:39
I'm with you guys on this ... what IS the problem people have with 4WDs??? The best vehicle we ever had was an old Hi Lux dual cab diesel. Grossly underpowered. You needed a downhill slope, three kilometres of clear road, a good tailwind and a direct line to the Almighty before attempting to overtake.

But it took us everywhere we wanted to go - fishing on remote beaches, bush bashing, on-road, off-road, whatever. It never missed a beat. It was not pretty to look at and often got so dirty you couldn't tell what colour it was. At one stage, I discovered a small plant growing in the accumulation of dirt by the front passenger seat. I'll always regret that I never took a photo of that!!!

The passenger cabin was separate from the back so we could load up with sharps and heavies with no risk to driver or passengers. After a good fishing trip, it smelt like the interior of Captain Ahab's whaling ship, but who cared?

We carried a winch to help us out of the really bad spots and a portable compresser to reinflate the tyres after a day on the beach. The exhaust-inflated Bull Bag was used on a regular basis. We were no experts but we never got into any real danger and we had FUN. It was a little unwieldy around the city and suburbs and useless going up long hills but I loved that old 4WD and cried buckets when it was finally sold.

Elliot Moose
9th Oct 2001, 06:47
Still driving a 1/2 ton 4X4 pickup myself. I think that here in Montreal there's only about a dozen of us wierdos who actually own one, and who aren't either using it for work or dragging a fifth wheel with it. Mine's a throwback to the four years I recently spent at the wrong end of a 300km (actually 293) road. Said road started in the middle of nowhere in northern Ontario, and ended up someplace nowhere near as classy as where it started.
Said road was blacktop (circa 1975) which wound through swamps and over rocks the whole way. The frost had of course done a real number on it, and it actually got smoother when it was covered in a four inch sheet of packed snow and ice. :rolleyes: Needless to say, the 4X4 was well used just going to the next town for the weekend (250km down the road).
Of course the lovely beast was also sorely needed in the business of preventing the family from freezing to death. The woodstove sucked back birch trees like gasoline when the temperature hit -45 or so, so we murdered lots and hauled them home in the truck.
Now it mainly hauls me back and forth to work, with only occasional loads of lumber and landscaping materials for a workout :o . I probably should go out and invest in a Yugo or another minivan, but it just wouldn't be the same...

9th Oct 2001, 07:32
Blue Diamond, my sweet, I don't think anybody has anything against REAL 4x4's. It's the epidemic of shopping trolley wankmobiles that get up most people's noses. Somehow the advertizing industry in the 90's managed to convince large numbers of people these were status symbols. The closest most of these things ever get to off-road is the school car park. Bloody great gas guzzling tanks that instil feelings of superiority into poor drivers.

SWB LandRovers? Especially good honest khaki coloured ones covered in mud? Good stuff! Now that's a REAL 4X4!!!

9th Oct 2001, 07:58
cars don't do it for me
i don't even know how to drive! :cool:

9th Oct 2001, 10:10
Dang Ding, sounds like it's high time you got your butt down to the local driving learnitorium!


11th Oct 2001, 12:19
ooohhhh i'm not to sure about cars
seems to me that there is an awful lot that they can hit! :eek:

Biggles Flies Undone
11th Oct 2001, 14:09
I think the bad press about 4X4s in the UK has come about because the vast majority of them are driven by yuppies taking the kids to school, taking up 2 parking spaces and never encounter anything more challenging than a gravel driveway.

I drive a Celica these days – a very efficient piece of Jap engineering that can carry 4 people and loads of luggage at up to twice the UK maximum speed limit. When I was married my runabout for years was one of the last SWB V8 Landies built for the UK market. Off road weekends, firewood collecting from distant farms, hordes of kids and wet dogs all taken in its stride. Single status and a substantial increase in annual mileage meant that 13 mpg at nearly four quid a gallon didn’t make sense – but it broke my heart to see the Landie go, even though I knew it was off to a good home. :(

11th Oct 2001, 17:13
Biggles is right: what is annoying about so many 4 x 4s is that they are used only in towns, and are a style statement. No problem is you live up a mountain, or tow a horsebox into muddy fields, or whatever. Most of the beasts have leather seats and Wilton carpet which is not suitable for muddy boots.
The other thing is that they are seen as safe, largely on account of their bulk. That safety is entirely offset by the inherent instability of a high centre of gravity. There have been plenty of nasty rollover 4 x 4 accidents, and the height of the things means that they occasionally climb over the crash barriers. But for you Colonial chappies, enjoy yourselves.

Mac the Knife
12th Oct 2001, 00:42
Over here the Beemer reigns supreme as a style and money statement (there's none of that British discretion stuff) if you ain't got a BMW then you haven't made it - period. Mercs are still OK tho' seen as a bit stuffy (tho' the Kompressor seems an impressive beast).

But in the last 5 years 4x4s have become the big thing - enormous great chromed beasts mostly driven by nervous looking ladies (hubby takes the Beemer to work) terrified that they are going to scratch one of the family status symbols on the way to the school or the supermarket. Of course none of them could even get out of the driveway without power steering and automatic transmission but there you go. SA is full of fabulous offroad places to go but most of the cars you see in the boonies are beat-up old HiLux pickups. One of my colleagues bought a Freelander a year ago and has been off road only once - one door got a microscopic scratch and he had the panel resprayed - took ages to get an exact paint match too. He spends so much time washing and vacuuming it that I expect it'll need a new paint job eventually. Bizarre.

Steptronic automatic transmission, ABS, Electronic Traction Control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Hill Decent Control, well I dunno - isn't half the fun getting all that right by yourself? GPS too no doubt (I have a GPS actually, weighs 57kg and sits next to me - opens beercans too).

Had a big old 220S Merc (inherited from my Pa actually) in the UK for a while - lovely car, it even had a rather genteel Teutonic attempt at tailfins - but muscling it around cramped parking spots in London and hedgerow lanes in Dorset was a bit of a mission. Quite how people manage big 4x4s in Purley or Camden Town these days is beyond me.

The Landy is a sort of f*ck you car really - I guess its a sort of way of saying that I'm not in that game anymore - and anyway, it just feels good driving it & giving a finger to the world..

Now how about some nominations for best cars of all time?

Muscle car: '69 Pontiac Trans Am http://transamtrader.tripod.com/69TA.jpg (drove one from Milan to Hamburg in '74)

Sports car: TR6 (shared one briefly) or the big Marcos (ditto)

Any more for any more?


12th Oct 2001, 01:14
If you can't tow a boat, throw your dive gear (wet and salty) in the back of it, drive on the beach, bash wadi's and jebels, and not care if it gets covered in dust,mud or gets scratched by camel thorns...it's a hairdressers car :D
I currently am in love with my 1992 Pajero (Shogun to you Poms) V6 3litre, gasps..automatic trannie.
Before we get onto a manual vs auto bash..never been bogged yet...insha'allah :cool:

Send Clowns
12th Oct 2001, 03:51
Agreed about kids'-run Shoguns, crap thing to do. But had a go of a V8 Landy (owned by the Royal Navy) on Dartmoor a while back. Fantastic!!!

Someone I know was stopped in one of these (Army-owned) on the motorway doing 109 mph (175 kph) towing a 1/2-ton trailer :eek: . Damn dangerous, the bloke did not impress me, but the vehicle did!!!

However, if I'm going to put up with the fuel/maintenance bills, not a 4x4 for me. Got to be a TVR. 0-60 faster than I'd ever dare, top out higher than I'd ever go, looks like nothing else. Gorgeous, topless driving!

[ 11 October 2001: Message edited by: Send Clowns ]

12th Oct 2001, 06:01
"topless driving"....didn't realize you were such an exhibitionist, SC!


You want it when?
12th Oct 2001, 19:42
:rolleyes: Always the same jibe at 4x4 owners - "it never goes off the road" you whine. Most of the cars on the road don't work to their maximum capability - how many people carriers do you see with three people in? How often do you pass a sports car doing 40MPH? :eek:

I've got a Grand Jeep Cherokee and at 15' or so long it is not twice as big as other cars so that's a cr*p statement :rolleyes:, its a bit thirsty :eek:, but dammed comfortable to drive. OK power steering and an auto help to make it easy but it's still great fun on grass on sand.

I've also got two V8 soft-tops in the garage a Stag for posh / Sunday jaunts and a TR7v8 for nutter / motorbike style usage. I drive fast and safe but am not worried about bending them! :D

12th Oct 2001, 21:17
Ah Land Rovers. I have a 1984 ex-RAF SIII ragtop Lightweight. Its covered in mud, goes off-road every day and is transport for a brace of sometimes wet & muddy Labradors, loads of logs, bricks & various junk. No carpet not even rubber matting. Just hose it out every week or three.
Agree with Mac, its a "F*ck you and your status symbol".
And you can park it on Porches :D