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Weekend Edition: On the Polo Harlekin

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That recent stroll around the junkyard near Hamburg, Germany, left a lasting impression. The Volkswagen Polo Harlekin appealed to me perhaps stronger than before: seeing a partially disassembled one teetering above a regular blue one drove the point home that it would make actual, yet ludicrous sense to buy Harlekins now, as there still are decent ones for sale.

They’re priced about the same as a regular, uh, colour-coded Polo would, which means you wouldn’t really need to pay much more than a grand or a grand and a half for one. You can get a rough one for only a few hundred, too, but there’s likely to be welding in your near future. As 800 euro cars come, the Harlekin makes a strong case for itself.

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Weekend Edition: The Lure of the 800 Euro Car

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I’ve decided I won’t be buying another beater this fall. It’s an easy decision to make, since I still have four cars under my ownership: the Miata, the 205, the Sierra and the Polo. The Volkswagen is going to be reassembled by someone else, as it’s painfully apparent I won’t be fixing the engine together myself (or haven’t done it over the past two years); the Sierra needs a bit of welding to pass MOT, and then it’ll either perform winterbeater duties or get sold altogether, albeit I’m still tempted to Merkurize it to the best of my abilities. The 205 will stay and get improved on, and the Miata will be taken off the road for the winter so the rusting will be at least slowed down.

Yet, the market is full of AMAZING DEALS for 800 euros, as the summer is inevitably ending and people don’t know where to put their cars. Everywhere I look, there’s a dead end waiting there’s something that needs rescuing for 800 euros – or less. The Miata was cheaper than that in Germany, originally; the Sierra was cheaper than that, the Xantia I used to own was priced right there: with a loose grand, you can pick something up and even fix one or two of the initial problems. Let’s take a quick look at some of the stuff I’ve seen for sale recently in this beautiful used car country.

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Weekend Edition: Hooniverse Goes for a German Junkyard Run

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Just a few days ago, I was in Hamburg, Germany. We had a few hours to kill in the area, so naturally it was suggested that we go see a sizeable junkyard just a couple minutes’ drive from my friend’s place. “It’s one of the biggest yards in Northern Germany. And there are a lot of Golfs there.”

I’ve always been a big fan of Murilee Martin’s junkyard postings over at Jalopnik, Autoweek and TTAC, and I’m not sure if there has been a German Edition in his works. You’re free to consider this as a homage of sorts, then.

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Weekend Edition: Twofer Hoon Meeting Pleasures

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As it seems fellow Hoon Anti has been out and about cruising all over the European countryside with a bunch of buds (at least that is what that Book about my Face tells this olelongrooffan), this olelongrooffan thought a few sights of what this olelongrooffan has seen around the Ozark Mountains this past few weeks would be in order. And to share with my fellow Hoons the twofer experience also experienced. But prior to that, I have absolutely no freaking idea why this gooseneck flatbed with a bunch of hay bales on it has been parked in this vacant parking lot for the past five weeks. I spot it every day on my way to work right there on the strip that is Highway 76 there in the Purple Heart City that is Branson. And it is nowhere near Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede horse barn/restaurant.

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Helsinki Weekend Edition: Lada VAZ-2103 “Zhiguli”

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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

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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

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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

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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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