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Weekend Edition: Cheap 1992 Peugeot 405 Mi16 is a winterbeater find


What is the best justification for a car purchase? Buying one out of need, want, or nostalgia? This 1992 Peugeot 405 Mi16 combines all of those three, and I got it home last weekend.

I’ve found it funny for a while, that despite having several cars, I’m constantly lacking a honest-to-god daily driver that does it all. It’s already late November, which means that my MX-5 is going into winter storage, under cover, freshly inspected and washed and waxed. I won’t daily it like I did last winter, as it needs some rust work and I’d hate it to develop any more rot than it already has on its rockers and rear arches.

The 205 will also go off the road, as I have purchased a lot of interior parts for it, and the seats will be taken out and refurbished. The torn driver’s seat is the single biggest blemish on the car at the moment, and it needs to be put right. My humble VW Polo is on its way to be finished, but it’s hardly a highway car. And the Sierra? The less said, the better, but it’s been out of use for the best part of 2015, and motivation to put it right is dwindling along with little, insignificant parts breaking.

So, there you have four cars that necessitate the purchase of a fifth. And here, you have the fifth one. Four cylinders, four doors, 16 valves, 600 euros. A perfect recipe.

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November Rain: 1983 Austin Mini-Metro


Here in rainy old Finland, seeing an Austin Metro makes you do a double-take and hit the brakes. At least that’s what happened to me, when I spotted this henna red hatchback parked next to a warehouse in my town. It’s not a common car, but more of an unicorn, as they were barely imported here. I think Suomen Autoteollisuus Oy (Finnish Automotive Industry) dipped their toe in the water and brought some Metros over in 1983-1984, but in the end they decided not to go through with it. We’re talking a handful of cars, and by now there cannot simply be too many left from the original ones. The car is so old, that running the plates notes it as a “Mini-Metro”, like the initial nomenclature was.

I originally saw this car on my street a couple years ago, and I talked to the owner then. Somehow the Metro looked to be in a bit sadder state now.

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Weekend Edition: A look at Eastern Europe, 1985-1989


This Sunday is Father’s Day here in Finland. It seems fitting to contribute an article consisting of photographs taken by my dad way back in the mid-to-late 1980s, as he travelled to East Berlin, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and so on, with a group of other Finnish teachers. I got this stack of travel photos from him last weekend, and we leafed through them.

I cannot provide a point-to-point narrative for them, as some of them are out of sequence by now and even the chronological order is sketchy at best, but what they do is provide a look into countries that do not even exist anymore. After these photos were taken, Eastern Europe faced years of change never even thought possible, and even the next five years were a tumultuous time for those countries. Germany, separated for decades, became whole again and these street scenes captured from a tour bus would never be the same. Trabants, Wartburgs, Skodas fill the parking lots, almost the only bright spots in towns and cities consisting of grey and brown, the early wintertime having stripped the trees of leaves and the ageing photographs exaggerating the muted colour palette.

The Berlin shots are from December 1985, and the Hungarian scenes have been taken as late as 1989. Everything here falls in that time period beginning 30 years ago, as my dad was roughly the same age as I am now.

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Back to the Present: On October 21st, 2015, 4:29 PM PST


The minute this post goes live is the exact time the DeLorean DMC-12 converted to a time machine by E. Brown Industries comes into our time from 1985. Or to be more precise, the alternative timeline where everything is a pastel-coloured futuristic version of 1989/1990. I kinda like that idea.

Today’s been jammed full of everything Back to the Future related, and it sort of feels like a New Year’s celebration in October. It’s funny to think that in a way I’ve been waiting for this date for as long as I can remember, from the first time I saw the film on VHS after it was shown on Finnish television in the mid-1990s. I have been fascinated with DeLoreans ever since, and it’s likely that my hobbies, my career and my entire life have been steered into this exact direction after being so enormously inundated by 1980s nostalgia. I haven’t become that guy who fills his apartment with eBay movie memorabilia, but I do have a DeLorean brochure on a shelf somewhere.

The thought that has been with me the whole day is that if the kid I was at the time of seeing the film came here to visit me in 2015, would he like what he sees? Is this the future I thought it would be?

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Back on Track Day: Hooniverse Goes to Ahvenisto


Out of all the racetracks in Finland, Ahvenisto stands out. Most of the tracks here have been built somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and that usually renders them quite flat. But Ahvenisto stands proud by a ridge, with uphill sections and daring curves without yards and yards of run-off area. Originally, there wasn’t much close by but woodlands and fields, but urban sprawl reached the track quite quickly. Nowadays the track has to hold its ground to be able to exist in modern smalltown Finland, where people move next to race tracks and then complain about engine noise. But I digress: every minute spent at the track is worth it, as long as the track is in active use and respected for the motorsport history it embodies.

It has become sort of customary for our circle of FinalGearheads to end the summer season with an Ahvenisto trackday somewhere in late September or early October, and this year was no exception. I was eager to take my Miata there, as it’s the closest thing to an actually track-ready car I’ve had in my fleet.

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Heavy Metal: 1977 Cadillac Coupé de Ville

Antti Kautonen September 23, 2015 Finnish Line


I love the deep copper colour on this Cadillac. I love the faux wire wheel trims on it, and the matching vinyl roof. Most of all, I love the very heavy-looking bumper and the ton of chrome on the front of this 1977 Coupe de Ville: it looks like it accounts for a quarter of the vehicle’s weight.

I shot this Caddy on the same lot as one of the first cars I photographed for this site, the Buick Roadmaster. The presence of both cars is pretty spot on.

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Finnish Line: On the 2015 Mazda MX-5 ND’s Pricing in Finland

Antti Kautonen September 22, 2015 Finnish Line


The Finnish prices for the new generation Mazda MX-5 were recently announced. I’ve been eagerly waiting for the final prices, even if I’m the kind of guy who only brings in dirt at a new car dealership. But since there’s a Miata in my life, I’m keen to observe where the model line is going. And technically I’m slap bang in the middle of the focus group, as I’m an enthusiast who rarely needs to transport more than one passenger. And when the need arises, I have alternative transport waiting in the wings. It’s not preposterous to consider the ND as the ideal new car on the market.

As a prelude of sorts, the German-market cars start at 23 000 euros at their most basic, 1500 cc “Prime Line” version. You get electric windows, manual A/C and so on; stuff to keep practically anybody happy, but nothing outrageous. If you want more kit, there’s the Center Line specification for a grand more, and the two-litre engine is available on the Exclusive Line and Sports Line, at 27 000 and 29 000 euros, respectively. This makes a fair bit of sense, as if you want a base car and want to focus on the car’s abilities themselves, you can do that.

Not so in Finland.

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Weekend Edition: The Mk3.5 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet


Much like the Ford P100 pickup truck seen in the earlier Weekend Edition post, the Mk3.5 Golf Cabriolet is something wearing the face of something else. The hardware and the hard points, along with the rest of the car from the A-pillars backwards, mean that you’re still getting the same Golf that debuted in 1993, but the appearance was tailored to match the new fourth generation car. It’s hardly different from what Volkswagen did earlier, as the first-generation droptop doubled for the Cabriolet when the Mk2 Golf was built.

This 1999 car actually looks quite good in black, and the Azev A wheels are always a favorite.

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Weekend Edition: On the Ford P100 “Euromaster”


Some of the things I dislike on my Ford Sierra are the trucklike handling, slow steering, long-throw gearshift and unrefined engine, along with the utilitarian controls. These are ill-fitted on a passenger car such as the humble Sierra of yours truly, but on a truck they fit the picture, as expected. What, then, a more suitable vehicle than a pickup truck that bears the face of a Ford Sierra?

The Ford P100 has been the name tag for the earlier, Cortina/Taunus based pickup, ute or a bakkie, whatever you would want to call it. The “Sierrachero” here was the appearance for the 1987-on P100, but it’s somewhat removed from an actual Sierra.

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Red Riding Hood: Taking a 1982 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet for a spin


Today, I did the sensible thing and handed over my 1986 Volkswagen Polo to the local school’s auto shop. They, in turn, will mount the cylinder head, time the belt, adjust the carb and generally pay attention to turning the white VW into something other than a paperweight. Make no mistake, I haven’t given up on it; I just want to pass the bottleneck so I can continue at another save point when it actually runs.

This meant I did a little parts run earlier today, and happened upon this 1982 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet for sale. It’s very similar to my Polo in a lot of respects, even if it’s a droptop. The dealer was more than happy to throw me the keys, so I took it for a little drive around the town.

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