Classicaraddict Does YouTube…

Classicaraddict Does YouTube…

Wow, what a week that was. On the 24th of April, I left my little home town in Cornwall to first visit the Rhondda Valley. Then off to see my mother at Redcar before the MX 5 Owners Club meeting the record attempt at Elvington.

 

 

Space to Breathe Academy

 

Well, this is really Esther Nagle. As the accompanying YouTube video shows, we recorded some footage on the Bwlch Pass and got Esther to drive Bel, my little MX 5.  Sadly the footage of her driving didn’t come out the way I hoped, but we did manage to record her response to that initial driving experience.

 

Editing Software… 

 

Esther Nagle downloaded Movavi editing software and told me to go and play.

Over the next few days, when I had a chance, I did try to learn how to use it.  Much like when I went to Falmouth University, it is a vertical learning curve for me to get my head around this new set of skills… This required that I popped back into Wales to see Esther once again on the way back…

 

Key Words… 

 

This when I really appreciate just the knowledge of friends. Esther kindly showed me how to enter titles, create fade-outs, and add clips of footage together. This has meant that now the first Youtube video is live.
She also taught me more in half an hour of tuition about the importance of keywords in blog posts than I ever learned at university. The rest of the Classicaraddict now will be gone through to allow me to make it more suitable for algorithms.

Please Subscribe…

Now we have the Youtube channel working there will be more much-combined content. Expect Suzuki Vitara posts, Mazda MX5 content, motorcycle uploads and much more.
At heart, I’m still a writer, and this will be the main focus. Yet this new medium is exciting for me to explore and share.

Thank you for reading.

Bye for now.

Alex.

Bel, MX5 Update.



Now that I’m writing again, it is time to do an update on the fleet. The first is Bel, my little MX5.  So, after 8 months…

Small. scruffy red sports car on top of a hill overlooking a wild beach Cornish beach with waves crashing in.
Bel near Porthtowan

First, I never intended to buy a sports car, but then that goes for a lot of us… In other blogs, the buying and MOT process has been covered.  Since then we have shared about 3000 miles. Some longer trips, once even getting caught in the snow and of course lots of local driving.

Bel has proven to be remarkably reliable, well to anyone used to a British sports car she would be. I can feel confident even after leaving her for a week or so she will start up. For a cheap car, one that was saved from the scrapyard, this is amazing. After checking her fluids, she is safe to drive 500 miles.  And each one will be with a smile, roof down most of the time. Cruising at the legal maximum without strain. Even a lower spec 1600 is plenty fast for the overcrowded roads of Britain. 

Here in Cornwall, on the narrow lanes, she has the right combination of speed, power, size, and grip. Every mile is a grin and when safe, even with narrow 14inch tyres she can carry a lot of speed. Her heater makes going top-down easy on the coldest of days. Yes, we did get caught on the edge of the snowfall. After my Vitara had passed her MOT in the morning, I was asked if I could do a Penzance to Newquay airport run. No problems, except I’d not checked the weather. As we went around the Hayle bypass we started to notice cars coming towards us with snow on their roofs, this did not bode well.  As we headed towards Avers roundabout near Redruth the snow on the ground started to get thicker. I made the decision to come off the A30 and either drop my friend off at the train station or go and get Tug, my little Vitara.  This being Cornwall, no one had any idea of how to drive in the conditions. Once we managed to get up the slope, I had worked out that you can drive an MX5 in the snow if you are careful. After dropping my friend off at the train station I popped the roof and tried to fight my way out of Redruth. With traffic moving slowly the technique I found was to go from grippy spot to grippy spot. sometimes resting her rear wheels on speed bumps to get a little momentum on the gentle hill. Bel seemed to be connected to my nervous system. The feedback was amazing. We managed to climb out of Redruth and carefully drop into Lanner, by the bottom of the hill the snow had cleared. If I wasn’t impressed before, I really was now. We had become a team. We were even spotted by a couple of friends, roof down…

You don’t drive an MX5, you bond, become one.

I’ll cover some of the work and the non-performance upgrades I’ve done in another post. In an earlier blog, I covered my favourite 5 cars I’ve owned. The best being the little Triumph Spitfire 1500. That spot is now shared, with Bel, my MX5.

They share the same essential essence.

And rust issues…

Time to Confess… Cars or Bikes

I have a confession, some of my friends might want to disown me after this…

Yet, it is time to come out…

 

Most people assume that I love bikes more than cars, even many of long-term friends still think this, despite all the evidence to the contrary.  Within the biking fraternity, there is an assumption that any bike must be more fun than a car. For those who think this, I suggest trying a Suzuki Gs 500. Then you will know that watching paint dry is more fun than riding one of those. I think it might be better to say that generally, bikes are more fun than most cars.

Yet, whilst I do love bikes…

For me cars, well classic ones are more than just a mode of transport. For instance, my little Suzuki Vitara is not only work’s vehicle but also my friend. She has transformed how I do my job and if I was not impressed before it snowed I was certainly after. Every time I sit in her I smile, then I have to put fuel in her and the smile becomes a little smaller.  I’ve had an old beaten up Mercedes estate car that somehow was special. I’ve owned some cars that are so bad I lost the will to live, for instance, a Hyundai Lantra estate. After driving it to South Wales I pulled into a local supermarket and when I came I’d forgotten where I’d parked it. How bad does a car have to be that after driving it for 4 hours you cannot even remember what you had been in?

 

I’m writing this after buying a bargain Mazda MX5, a car that somehow has already wormed its way into my soul. It reminds me so much of my much-missed Triumph Spitfire. Yet with the bonus of being reliable and dry. Driving should be fun; the safest cars are often the ones that engage the driver at lower speeds.  Anyone who has driven a classic Mini knows this or the much-maligned Metro. They are safer because the driver is engaged in what they should be doing. With the added bonus the more passionate driver is rewarded with car that is fun at legal speeds.

For me, cars that do this are more fun than bikes, the view over the bonnet of a sports car sends a shiver through the soul of the enthusiast.

So I’m sorry to confess, but at heart, I’m a car guy and not a bike one…

Mazda MX5 First Driving Impressions

 

What is an MX5 like to drive?

 

Having not had a convertible in almost 2 years and a two-seater one in almost 8 years, having the roof down is such a joy.  But, then if you have ever gone topless, you will know that.

In my first blog post, I wrote about how I was not impressed 12 years ago after borrowing an MK2 1.6 MX5 for an hour or so. This experience put me off them for a long time. A few years later I did get to drive a much later MK2 1.8 model with low profile wheels and tyres and a six-speed gearbox. Sadly, I could only drive it at 40 mph…. But it did seem a lot better.

 

After buying my MX5 (Bel) on impulse, and at the time on a purely rational basis what is she like to drive?  In one word, sublime. Write I’m done now…

 

OK, a little more, let me explain.

First, Bel is a driver’s car, she talks to the driver who wants to listen. The experience is completely immersive. Most cars, well modern ones are like driving less interesting video game, and by doing this, they make the passionate driver want to slit their wrists.  The other type of car seems only to become interesting at speeds that either mean an instant ban and you are travelling too fast for the safety of others.

 

Bel is not like that, at normal and legal speeds she is fun. I do a lot of driving on tight, narrow Cornish back lanes. Often getting close to the speed limit is far too fast. Here her poise and well-balanced steering is a joy. On faster roads, she is lovely and stable at 80 mph, at 100, very skittish. I will add that I only hit that speed for about 3 seconds before dropping back down to more legal speeds. Sorry officer.

 

They have been described as minimal when compared to modern cars they are. Compared to my much-missed Triumph Spitfire, even a basic spec MX5 is loaded with such features as no leaking roof, stereo, a handbrake that works, etc, etc… It is only a question of perspective… Not only does all that tec weight a lot, it is more to go wrong.

One such feature that is outstanding and is important for driving a convertible in the winter… Her heater is amazing, the best I’ve ever felt. Toasted feet on the coldest of days, or nights.

 

I still think that space wise they are cramped and carrying capacity is a joke, compared to my Spitfire there is hardly any at all. I would argue that some bigger touring bikes can carry more.  A little creative packaging will be required when I go away to see my mother later in the year.

Yet…  Those downsides are nothing compared to the driving experience.

What are MX5’s like to drive?

 

Amazing… They are driver’s cars.

 

 

Project MX5

I have an addiction, a lifelong one. Ever since the age of 4 months old I’ve loved cars, well old cars. Sadly, for me, modern ones just don’t hold that much interest… Except now at the age 46, yes really, how did that happen?  I find myself driving cars that at were new when I was younger.

I’m writing this as the latest product of this expensive habit is being tested for it’s first MOT in my hands.  The car in question is an 18-year-old Mazda MX 5 Isola. One of the lesser special additions of the most popular sports car ever made.  For Ford fanatics, yes, I know the Mustang has sold millions and millions.  But apart from perhaps one or two models have they ever really been a considered a sports car. A muscle car, pony car certainly but not a sports car.

Every petrolhead knows that back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s Mazda started looking at the small sports car market. They wondered if they could take the essence of the classic British sports car, front engine, rear wheel drive and joyful handling. This combined with just enough power to have fun, but not so much to become a handful. Let’s be honest just making it reliable would have been a major improvement…

This they did, and the result was the MX5 being launched in 1989 to much acclaim, with the affordable two-seater sports car was back after almost a decade. Now I should make a confession here, about 12 years ago I borrowed an MX5 to picked up a fuel pump for a friend’s MG MGB. I had the chance to drive it alone… And despite trying to like it, I just couldn’t. In fact, a month later I went and bought Triumph Spitfire 1500. A car that I loved very dearly for 5 years, but certainly was a classic British sports car with both rust and the ongoing personal development program that is such an essential part of the experience.

 

I always said that I should have bought an MX5, but never could. Until last week that is. After being asked to start a car for a friend, an MOT failure, one that she was trying to get rid of, but not get ripped off with. I duly started the car, drove it around the car park and felt that there was a good car just waiting to get back on the road.

A couple of days later I found myself handing over not that much for the car and taking it to a safe place where I could work on it. The half-mile drive was so much fun, a grin was on my face.

I’ve just driven the car far further than have since buying it (about 4 miles) to the place I always take my cars to.  The garage is firm but fair and are all petrolheads.

The heat wave has gone, it is the finest Cornish mizzle. So of course, I had the roof down as I threaded her through the winding back lanes.

From being a hater, or perhaps not fully appreciating just how much fun an MX5 can, I think I might have been converted, no pun intended.

I now await nervously for the result… How much more will I need to do to get her back on the road…

PS….

 

IT PASSED…