Saturday, August 22, 2009

Li'l matey

I was hoping I would'nt regret this as I really want to put my Astra on the road again, funded with the sale of my last car, and then sort out my blackie Astra, but I think two Astras are far too much, and lack of funds do not contribute to still silly insurance costs and 101 pound tax every six months, and then there's £10 per 70 miles under current (and rising) petrol prices.

It made sense that my next car could be 1.4 or less, small, old and unsual, and even 'rare'. I excelled myself and found this:

It's a 1981 Suzuki Whizzkid. It is powered by an F10A enginein the back that has a capacity of 970cc, and an enviable power output of 47bhp through the rear wheels. It is also just over 600kg kerb weight, runs on tiny 12" wheels, and has a cubic foot of storage space (including the glove box) ... without the spare wheel.

I can say the performance is spritely, kind've like a mini, or a mouse across a kitchen floor, only better. Cornering is good, although any bump will result in a shortlived rolling about in a display of comedy proportions as it eagerly (and magically) corrects itself and continues on it's way. The ride is very good, for what it is, but every bump is amplified right through your arse. Speed bumps were but a twinkle in a council Hitler's eye, and this car leaps into the air like it had sat on a pin. It's not crashy like suspension is worn out - the dampers have limited travel and it just isn't too keen on typical cratered British roads.

Speed runs out at 95mph, but I doubt I'll ever reach that. I've hit 72mph through not trying. I've driven a Land Rover that had no poke over 40mph, and reaching 60mph took minutes. This is not like that - it rolls along to it's peak easily and without too much whinging from the engine. Changing through the four gears at full pelt takes ten seconds if you're looking after the petrol, but it allegedly redlines at 7,500rpm. I'll never take it there, I just don't want to break it!

So far, I'm very happy with it. It's nice to see such an old and rare car that's been so well looked after. It has minimal rust patches - if I could imagine the car in another way, it'd be rotten. I doubt it was rust proofed on export, so it's a little miracle - there are less than 47 cars in the UK (from an initial 7,000 introduced).

If I'm being picky, it needs bigger, wider wheels, just to improve cornering grip a bit. If it's going to lose it, I don't want to be in it! I have to re-waxoyl the underneath and general cleaning up. It's mechanically sound, and I want to keep it that way! The economy is superb. I've been everywhere, and I've knowingly put ten quid in every 120 miles when it reachs 1/6 tank.

I'm afraid to take it to bits, but I'll possibly clean up some components, as they could do with a bit of painting.

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