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Icelandic Odyssey: The Finest Roads I Have Ever Driven.

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It was, by its very nature, a driving holiday. When you have ten days to see as much of an island as you can, it’s going to mean a lot of wheel-time. However, frankly, you don’t hold out much hope for invigoration while piloting an Opel Corsa with an automatic gearbox.

However, sometimes the stars align and you find yourself in a position of automotive ecstasy when you least expect it.

It happened in Iceland, in a rented car. A grey one.

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V.I.S.I.T: An Icelandic Selection

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I was staggered, I tell you. Blown away. Awestruck, dumbfounded and hornswaggled. Iceland is a tiny island with a population less than a third of a million souls. I couldn’t possibly have imagined the sheer diversity of cars that I would find during my recent trip to this beautiful, fascinating country.

Click the jump below to get a flavour of what wheeled wonders await discovery in the land of fire and ice.

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The Growing Swamp of Terrible Car Books

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Have you ever read a motoring publication that was so bad it actually made you angry? They are out there, books which promise one thing and deliver quite another. A lot of these books as generous gifts by well-meaning family members (and before I mercilessly slay the book pictured above, I’d like to first thank my Brother-in-law for the kind gesture in case I come across ungrateful) and are bought on a near whim based on the interesting images on the cover.

Some books are disappointing. We’ve all read books which profess to be “about” a particular car, only to find that nothing is discussed that you don’t know already. Then there are the books which are poorly researched, or incorrect,  or just poorly presented and unpleasant to behold. Then there are those special books which are so wretched in every detail of their conception and execution that they merit discussion on an international motoring website of high regard.

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The Carchive: Maserati Biturbo 222 and 430

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Once again Friday is upon us, for which we let out a collective hurricane of relaxed exhalation. In the dusty parking lot in which I type this, the sun is beating down and I’m in a really good mood. It’s also my birthday, and as has become customary this means airing one of the more spangly documents from The Carchive.

The Maserati Biturbo was launched in 1981, the same year as me. So lets head to Italy and take a look at a couple of cars from a period of Maserati’s history they probably don’t want to dwell on.

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Rotten Rental Car Reviews: Opel Corsa Automatic

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We were in Iceland. We wanted to see stuff we had never seen before, and we needed transport by which to travel around. And that was exactly what we got.

We love to use the tag Rotten Rental Car reviews here; but in truth there was nothing rotten at all about this one. Well, as long as we remember that it’s ONLY a rental. In this situation, what we want from a car and what we need are two very different things. In truth, the Corsa’s near total lack of defining characteristics were ideal so as to not distract us from all that incredible scenery.

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Public Transport: Efficiently Getting You Most Of The Way Home

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I hate airport parking for its criminally high cost and the risk of terrible things happening to my pride and joy while it’s left alone. Also, If I have to drive after a flight it means I can’t relax on the plane with a couple of beers. To avoid this inconvenience afflicting our recent vacation my wife and I elected to use the train, taking us from the station on our doorstep, underneath London and on to Heathrow Terminal 2.

Unfortunately, the photograph above is key to the topic of this discussion; illustrating as it does a station with a complete lack of train in it. This was the scene that met us just four miles from home, as public transport managed to successfully complete only most of the task we hired it for.

And I can’t see it ever getting any better.

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Icelandic Odyssey: Air-Conditioning, 49 Seats, Anywhere.

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When you rock up in the campsite there’s always somebody smugly BBQing outside their Prevost, looking down their nose at the massed ranks of Fleetwoods and Winnebagos as the evening sun glints off the gleaming chrome of their retirement land-yacht.

In those situations what you really need is a locomotive horn to break the hickory-smoke infused tranquillity, and then to park this thing in the plot immediately next to Mr VIP Coach RV.

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The Carchive: The Bedford HA Van

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With the sun ploughing through solid diagonal bars of rain like some great biblical battle of the elements, It’s time to sit in my steamy old Audi and ponder once again on the subject of cars long forgotten. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Last week we were looking at a product of Chrysler Europe, seasoned with a tang of North America. Today’s effort, also a van, is entirely home-brewed. And you’d really never mistake it for anything else. It’s the Bedford HA Van, seen hear in a gossamer-thin but informative pamphlet.

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Click For Affirmation That Good Things Still Happen.

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If you guys think along the same lines as me, and I’m pretty sure you do, this story will blow your mind.

It all started when a guy from Ipswich alerted the forumites of the esteemed Autoshite.com as to the existence and imminent sale of a Ford Sierra. Not just any Sierra, but the virtually extinct entry level model.

What began as a simple “ooh, look at that” quickly developed into one of the most emotionally rewarding internet forum threads you’ll ever read. Leap the jump to see how it all happened.

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Bargain Corner #2: ’01 Ford Mondeo

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Depreciation is a savage phenomenon. The way some cars lose value after first leaving the showroom often takes the form of a really violent looking curve when charted. In a lot of cases it really doesn’t take very long at all before a car has lost almost all of the multiple thousands that were spent on it in the first place.

But what happens next? Once a car has lost all its value (which is inextricably linked with it its desirability), it is still just as much of a car as it ever was before. It just takes somebody to see beyond such fickle mistresses as age and image and take it on as bargain transportation. If you do things right you need never pay more than scrap value for a car ever again, and there’s an awful lot of cut-price tin out there to choose from.

After it was unanimously decided that a 1995 Citroen Xantia was roundly deserving of our £200 maximum purchase, we’re heading £10 downmarket for a much newer car in the shape of a 2001 Mondeo.

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