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Used Car Reviews – 2001 Peugeot 206 GTi

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As an owner of a Peugeot 205, the 206 has always interested me ever since I got my little Pug. I’ve only ever driven a 206 Roland Garros – a posh special edition – and that was when the car was new a decade ago, so I haven’t had a clear comparison to how they stack up next to each other. As this black example of a cheap 206 GTi popped up for sale, I wanted to go over and have a look. Could it capture some of the 205 feel, or would it be an unjust comparison to begin with?

The initial problem with the 206 is that it isn’t a 205. Thing is, no other car than a 205 is a 205. The first two numbers and the “GTi” add-on mean the 206 GTi travels on dangerous ground. Peugeot couldn’t really replace the 205, so they brought in the 106 as a smaller, somewhat overlapping replacement and kept making the 205 as long as it was in any way viable. The 106 grew old and uncompetitive, so another replacement had to be ushered in, and about that time Peugeot’s design language and general demeanour had grown up to favour the more ballooned and stretched look, just like the 307 that followed the ’90s 306. That is an another can of worms that eventually led to the all-face, no-trousers 407, but it’s fairly obvious they couldn’t keep making the 205-306-405 set forever. You know they tried.

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Helsinki Sightings – 1978 Datsun 100A

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This wonderfully bile green Datsun 100A was spotted in Punavuori, Helsinki by erstwhile Hooniverse contributor and collaborator frankiess. Put short, the Datsun looks amazing. A handsome amount of these were sold here new, and a good chunk of those have been run down to the ground during the subsequent years – but this one is doing daily driver duty in hipster Helsinki.

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Red Wedge – 1984 Lotus Turbo Esprit

Antti Kautonen October 9, 2014 Finnish Line

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Before our jaunt to the Ahvenisto race track, we stopped at the nearest service station for summer cabin groceries and whatnot. We hadn’t prepared for the cutting edge slice of exotica parked on the best spot: a gleaming red Lotus Turbo Esprit from 1984.

Tan leather, gold wheels and graphics, faultless paint; the Esprit looked wonderful even in the slightly gloomy and foggy weather.

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Track Day in Beaterland – Sierra CVH at Ahvenisto

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What do I love most about taking a humble daily driver on a track? Well, there’s just something about it that feels deliciously wrong. Tracks are for track weapons in the purest sense, for purpose-built, caged cars that are driven by people who actually know what they’re doing for most of the time, people who are able to shave seconds off lap times instead of just doing a different series of mistakes on each lap. Instead of a bread and butter conveyance, you get into a machine that’s been painstakingly built into a faster, safer, and yet more disposable vehicle, something that can be driven hard, something that still declares “This isn’t even my final form!” A car that’s been built into a track day car or a racer doesn’t have a way back. This is its life now, roll cage and all.

But for a modest outlay, and as long as you’ve brought your helmet and as long as you’re aware of how your car is doing mechanically, you can enter a track with your grocery-getter and have a brilliant time – in case the premises offer the possibility of tourist drives or booking the place for your usual gang of idiots that form your car camaraderie. Like us, the Finnish part of FinalGear, the guys who sauna the night before and watch Regular Car Reviews and Birgirpall until everyone’s so tired from laughing they don’t know if the helmet fits on the next morning. But as the leaves are falling and the forested track of Ahvenisto looks amazingly beautiful, despite being treacherous under the motivational autumn photo guise, it’s time to wrap up the driving season on the track asphalt with a group of good friends. And now it was the 1990 Ford Sierra‘s turn to earn a couple stickers.

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The Carchive – The DeTomaso Pantera L

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Some time in the late ’90s, I wrote to the exotic sports car manufacturer DeTomaso and asked for a Pantera brochure. I wanted to get something as a present for my brother, as in those days I did do some Haininging myself, and as a result there’s a few brochures taking up Expedit space in my apartment even today. Back then, I was very fond of the Pantera and the ’90s DeTomaso products that were slowly churned out really caught my attention.

Weeks or months later, the brochure arrived in the mail. Surprise! It was an older brochure from the early ’70s, when the Pantera initially came out under the watchful eye of the Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the first batches, after being introduced in the 1970 New York Motor Show. My 15 years of not-too-careful admiring have torn the four-page leaflet in two, but it’s definitely scannable – and that’s what I did to hi-jack the Carchive slot for today.

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Project Car SOTU: The 1990 Ford Sierra

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The call came in: we’re doing a project car post series. In these posts, we deliver the report on how our respective fixer-uppers are doing.

I took a deep breath. What would I cover this time around, regarding my Beaterland fleet? The Saab, the crown jewel of my old cars? Nope, sold it a while ago to raise a bit of travel cash for my two weeks in California. The Xantia? I’ve delegated it to parts hauler duty, with no meaningful repairs being performed except a rear brake caliper getting a look at so the car passed inspection. The 205? It’ll just get driven, but the appearance remains the same save for a set of aluminum steelies. The Polo I’m actually somewhat ashamed about, as I haven’t still put the cylinder head back on it and it remains a non-runner. It’s not getting worse, but it’s not getting better.

Fittingly, there’s a new blank canvas on my doorstep. Another fresh start, yet another cheap beater that will get the skipped maintenance forced back on the schedule again. It’s old, it’s quirky-looking, it’s rear wheel drive. It has the Bob Lutz seal of approval. It’s a Ford Sierra.

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Taking a Toyota to the Moon or How to Sell a Hi-Ace

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Some people type out wordier than wordy sales ads when they put their car, truck or van up for sale on Craigslist or eBay (Hey, Dad, I can’t see real good.. Is that Bill Shakespeare over there?). Ads attempting wit and humour have been posted here every now and then, and it’s all good. But when you’d really rather use a YouTube video to convey the most important points on a used vehicle, the sky’s the limit. Or space. However you see it.

This Finnish guy, obviously a video editing wizard, put together a pretty dang awesome Toyota Hi-Ace sales video. That ’01 D4D van should be sold in no time, despite the 355,000 km on the clock.

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Cruisin’ USA – Pacific Coast Highway in a 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T

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As relayed in the two podcasts recently, I spent nearly two weeks in California. The flights had been booked late enough to not make my spring months unbearable with excitement, and with my passport freshly renewed I contacted the head-Hoon, Jeff about whether there was in any way an alternative to the rental Aveo route. Jeff replied that he would see what he could do, and later emailed me to tell there were two press vehicles booked for the length of my trip, with a switchover in the middle.

After enduring a 12-hour layover in Copenhagen and a delayed 10-hour flight in a makeshift B777 200ER, we landed at LAX, absolutely tired to the extreme. With what strength we had left, we made it through the security checks and waiting lines, and were glad to see my friend, Nik, waiting for us at the arrival hall. I climbed into his 2004 Mazda Miata, and he drove us to the garage where the first car waited. For the entirety of the travel ordeal, the only redeeming thing in my mind had been this very car.

Walking to the counter, I caught a glimpse of it. In the corner sat the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Blacktop in Granite Crystal. Suddenly all my tiredness was gone.

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Streetwalker – The Toyota Caldinavensis Wagon

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The green car you see on the left is what must be one of the most boring, if reliable cars currently in rotation on Finnish roads. It’s the ever-dependable Toyota Avensis wagon which holds its value reasonably well and holds together with little effort. Throw a rock in the air at a random parking lot and it’ll probably land on an Avensis (not recommended).

The dark car on the right is practically an Avensis, too. It shares the bodyshell and a great number of small parts. However, it’s not really an Avensis if we’re getting down to business: it’s the Toyota Caldina GT-T. Instead of being a boring Japanese grocery-getter and dog hauler made in the United Kingdom (check it), it’s a Japanese grocery-getter and dog hauler that has a Celica GT-Four powertrain. Make note of it.

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Lahti Classic Motorshow 2014 – The Outsiders

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The 2014 Classic Motorshow took part in Lahti, Finland a week ago. Since the outside car park for 30-year-old and older enthusiast cars is always a place to do some excellent sightings, I wandered around the parking lot with camera at hand. Certainly, there were a number of cars I had never seen in the metal ever.

The Jaguar in the lead image was only one of the cars that stopped me in my tracks.

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