Monday – Lounging About


The original Fiat 500 was launched in 1957 – I think my father was involved in the Suez Crisis a few months before that! One of the crazy facts that resulted from the launch of the new 500 is that prices of the original have gone sky high. I recently saw one advertised for £7,000!

And while change isn’t always for the better, the new version has brakes that actually stop the car and airbags from all angles. It also boats hazard warning lights that are activated automatically when the brakes are applied hard. Clever.

I genuinely like the 500 and if I could find an excuse to to buy one as a city car it would beat the Mini and the Vauxhall Adam (also tested on this site). The styling and interior are just a cut above and give the 500 a genuine feel-good factor.

My choice would be the top-of-the-range Lounge version because it adds alloy wheels, glass roof and Bluetooth connectivity. The Colour Therapy has neither and even with air conditioning and electric windows, it does seem a little expensive compared to some other city cars out there.

An example? Well, if you can live with the styling, the brilliant new Hyundai i10 starts at around £8,200 and is superbly equipped. It just won’t put a smile on your face, that’s all…



Sunday – Squeezed Out


Jeremy 20-inch Vulcan wheels in gloss black – £550 each. That’s just the alloy wheel and doesn’t include the tyre. So you can imagine how irritated I was when I tried to go past a caravan on a roundabout near Chippenham tonight, then suddenly found myself being squeezed out by an oblivious woman at the helm.

I doubt I was travelling at more than 30mph but suddenly, the gap between the horrible caravan and the XKR-S  became very tight! I crushed the brake peddle as the woman cut directly across the two lanes and ignored my presence. How noisy, bright and wide do you want a supercar to be madam?

It’s one of the perils of owning a supercar with low profile tyres. A curb stone might as well be a sharp knife, waiting to slash a gaping hole in your wallet and empty the contents on a regular basis. Tonight there was a slight squeal from the rear off-side rubber but a quick check revealed no damage. Phew!

On a lighter note, this weekend we have also managed to cram two twentysomethings in the back seats of the Jaguar. Unless you have friends who are very bendy and don’t suffer from a neck disorder, don’t ever try it yourself. The backseats of the XK are for very small children or a pet pooch only….