The good weather we had a couple of weeks ago got me thinking about the summer and how I really want to get out and do a few track days. The intention of buying the kit car was always to do track days with it and the added bonus of building my own car was secondary.
I bought the MK back in Oct 2006 and after a good start I feel like progress stalled and the good weather rammed this point home so “it’s time for a change”. I started looking round for suitable track cars that I could put on a trailer if necessary, were reasonably reliable, were not too expensive and above all were fun to drive. I got the short list down to two cars; either a Lotus Elise or a Vauxhall VX220.
I started researching prices and specs of both as well as their relative good and bad points. I have honestly never bought a car for it’s badge and I can’t understand the difference in price between the Lotus and the Vauxhall that I found. The badge must be the only reason for the discrepancy and in my opinion the VX is a better car for the money. So I settled on a VX and set about hunting on down. At the same time I put an add on Pistonheads for the MK as a rolling chassis to see if I could shift it.
After a little bit of searching the web and phoning round I found 3 cars that were of interest. Found some great info on http://vx220.org.uk . The first in Manchester which I went to see one eve’ after work. This car just didn’t grab me and felt like it had been neglected a little; yes it was cheap but I held back from making an offer to go and see a second car in Birmingham. The second car was in far better condition, a little younger but with a few more miles. It had been standing for a while but looked to be in reasonable order, so I arranged a time to take it out for a test drive. After the drive it was clear that the first car had far more rattles and loose bits which confirmed my feelings about it so I made an offer on the second car that was accepted.
In the mean time I’d had a few enquiries about the MK but nothing serious and was contemplating keeping it and just progressing it as and when I could find the time.
I’d arranged to collect the VX today (Saturday) and yesterday (Friday) I had a call from a slightly mad sounding Scots man who said he was interested in the MK and was arranging to drive the 6 hours from Scotland to me to take a look. Ok I thought, if you want to drive all that way then I’m happy to let you have a look; in reality I never expected to see him. True to his word I get a call on Sat morning at 9:30 say “I’ll be with you in about an hour” ! Shit I think, the car is still on stands and I’ve just got out of the shower.
Anyway I got all the bits together and he turned up with his mate and a trailer. Seems he was a little pushed by his wife and friend to buy the kit after talking about building a kit for 8 years and only getting a part chassis built. However he parted with a wedge of cash in Scottish notes (I’ve never seen that many £20 and £50 Scottish note before – hope they are real) and off he went, just in time for me to make the arrange time to pick up the VX. One out and one in, all in one morning; how often does that happen?
Had a little bit of time to look round the VX now and I’m well please with it. I’ve pulled the carpet out of the boot because it’s very wet and damp. I’ve also fitted a connected for the trickle charger onto the battery and given it car a good run out.
It the 2.2i 16V N/A version and it’s not ballistic fast in a straight line like the old Griffith was but it’s handling is sublime. The engine has some grunt low down which is nice in 2nd and 3rd making it feels responsive out of the bends. I’m really looking forward to getting it on a track later this year to make the most of the handling.
Bit of an art getting in and out of the car thou’, certainly isn’t suitable for tall people or old people. Guess I should be OK for a few years yet; I’m certainly not getting any taller.