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Helsinki Weekend Edition: Lada VAZ-2103 “Zhiguli”


There’s a neighbourhood in Helsinki called Viiskulma, which refers to the fact five streets meet there. I had a couple minutes to stroll around there, and this red Lada immediately drew me close.

It’s in almost absolutely perfect condition, historic-registered, and quite certainly in better shape when it was new. The 2103 body was a little bit fancier than the initially unveiled 2101 car (2102 being the wagon version of the former), and the quad headlights reflect that among other changes.

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Helsinki Weekend Edition: Jaguar XJ6 Series III


One day in Helsinki, a heavy thunderstorm rolled in from the west and the heavens opened. As soon as it had appeared, it was gone, with the air cleared, all the previous days’ heat just gone and the time just right for a late evening walk around the neighbourhood.

Sure enough, I had my phone ready for anything that could interest me, and this classic Jaguar popped up after just a little while.

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True Companion: Driving a Peugeot 205 XS to the Nürburgring, Part III

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After our Romanian leg of the trip was done, we headed to Serbia by crossing the Donau River near Gura Vaii. We drove the riverbank road to Golubac, and spent the night in a guest house close by. The border crossing was somewhat intense, as the guards eyed at our vehicles, and we drove past abandoned cars on the pier. They had been there for years, as there most likely had been document issues and the cars’ holders had had to leave them for the foreseeable future.

The riverbank road drive was otherwise pleasant, with local Turbo-Folk music blaring from the speakers, but a couple road works had left the surfaces way askew and a loud bang was the inevitable result despite trying to hit the brakes in time. No bent rims on mine, however. Thank the alu-steelies, perhaps.

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True Companion: Driving a Peugeot 205 XS to the Nürburgring, Part II


In the previous post, I outlined how we drove from Finland to the southern border of Poland, then to Slovakia and Hungary in a matter of days, and continued south on our long way around to the Nürburgring.

So, Romania. We crossed the Hungarian-Romanian border at Oradea, and up until then we had pretty much been plain sailing, without much regard to the road conditions, as they were mostly fine. The biggest potholes had been encountered in Latvia after the Estonian border, and there hadn’t been reasons to complain about anything since.

But after the border, which was situated on a field in the middle of nowhere, it soon became apparent the small side roads weren’t really suitable for enthusiastic driving. The pic above shows where we stopped, and it’s sort of decent there, but it wasn’t uncommon to encounter fist-sized boulders and wonder if it would have been smoother to drive across the fields. We scrapped our route plan and headed to the main road towards Cluj-Napoca soon enough.

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True Companion: Driving a Peugeot 205 XS to the Nürburgring, Part I

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Every summer, there’s a gathering of gearheads at the famous Nürburgring in Germany. Well, obviously there are gearheads there every day that the ‘Ring is open, but I’m referring to the FinalGear Ringmeet, a yearly thing where a bunch of friends drive to the track and have hilarious breakdowns on the way. I’ve been there a few times, and last year was the first occasion where I’d attempt to drive there in my own car. Naturally, I would take the Peugeot, as it was the best suited car for the trip: I had the thought in mind, that were I to break down, I’d have to unscrew the plates and fly home. After all, I would only stand to lose all of 350 euros.

The directions to the Ring from Finland are pretty easy. Go to the port where ferries to Germany leave, spend a couple days in the ferry, get to Travemünde, get to the Autobahn that goes south, take the exit where it says Nürburgring. Or something like that. We just decided to visit Romania on the way.

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True Companion: Living with a 1990 Peugeot 205 XS for two years


A little more than two years ago, in the middle of the summer of 2013, I bought one of the cheapest cars I’ve ever seen advertised with valid inspection, let alone bought for myself. It was a white Peugeot 205 XS with 230 000 km on the clock, it cost 350 euros and I pretty much immediately wrote it up for Hooniverse. After being used as a student runabout, it was the way you would imagine a cheap, somewhat neglected car to be, as the paint was dull, the interior smelled of smoking and the engine bay was horrendously dirty. There were a bunch of weird noises here and there, the tires were bad and I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it, except tidy it up and drive it. And that’s exactly what I’ve done in the past two years.

It’s most likely one of the best deals I’ve ever done.

I’ll now let you catch up on the two years’ time I’ve had the affable little French econobox, and it’s going to be photo-heavy. Even so, that it’s better to splice up the pieces into several posts.

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Helsinki Weekend Edition: 1993 Mercedes-Benz G 350 TD


This lovely little thing is a Mercedes-Benz W463-body G 350 turbodiesel, short wheelbase model. Quite a name, right? If that’s not enough of a handful, remember the G stands for Geländewagen.

I spotted the G-Benz in a nice, peaceful neighbourhood in Southern Helsinki, and it stood out for miles because of that colour.

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Helsinki Weekend Edition: Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon


This weekend, I’ll be posting the wide variety of cars I saw on Helsinki streets just recently. It’s not difficult to see just about anything driving around or sitting still in Helsinki – especially in the summertime, as all the summer-only cars are out and about. Autoweek’s Graham Kozak had a good time in Helsinki, and the cars he saw were representative of the oddball and the everyday: this weekend you get to see some through my eyes.

And I’m starting with this wonderfully brown Chevrolet Caprice Classic wagon.

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Kei Car Weekend Edition: Suzuki Cappuccino


Would it have been a terrible oversight not to include the Suzuki Cappuccino this weekend? Together with the Honda Beat and the AZ-1, the trio is what one thinks of when eccentric Kei cars are discussed. And the Cappuccino was even imported to Europe new, which is rare regarding this class of cars.

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Kei Car Weekend Edition: Mitsubishi Pajero Mini


The Mitsubishi Pajero nameplate was also affixed on a tiny little SUV, endearingly called the Pajero Mini. The design language matched the bigger versions, so sensibly it appeared to be created as a scaled-down version of a full-size Pajero. And as befits the tiny car class, the drivetrain was also 660cc, with a choice of a turbo or not.

There were a few generations available, so it wasn’t a one-time gimmick.

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