Regular readers will remember I was daft enough to buy a Ph2 Clio 172 sight unseen in Cannock in Sept. The particular car had the additional bonus of a knackered gearbox.
Undeterred, I drove it up the road and got it fixed.
Since then, it’s been a faithful servant over a couple of thousand miles – so what better way to reward it than to return to the scene of the crime?
I booked a half day off work for the Friday and swapped on some Ph1 Exclusive rims to the front – actual tread is a good thing. The 16″ front wheels had taken a beating from “enthusiasm” and the buggered gearbox. I really should get the tracking done soon.
It was a cold, crisp day with bright blue skies as I schlepped southwards on the m74, the 3 wide lanes and snow capped hills adding to the grandeur. It’s a good bit of road, especially once you get away from the central belt.
Cruise control was deployed at the limit – helping me to save my license from the temptations of the f4r. It’s a great engine – properly tractable from low RPM until it lets loose at around 4500 RPM.
In short, it’s like the devil on your shoulder at all times. No gap too small, no junction un-BRWAAAPED and no horizon un-headbutted.
Half the work of driving it is just trying not to be a total dick.
With the rabid f4r contained by the cruise control, I settled in for the long haul – my scheduled stop being Charnock Richards services. The on board computer and Bluetooth enabled stereo meant I had a selection of tunes and info to fill my time.
It’s at this point that I must say, for all the 182 alloys look good, I much prefer the ride on the 15″ alloys – especially with a slightly tired front end.
The Ph2 is a comfy steer on the motorway, and easily capable of covering decent distance at a rate of knots. The only potential downside is the smallish fuel tank.
Upon reaching Charnock Richards, I discovered the chap I had to meet thought we were meeting on Sat.. nevermind, it was an opportunity to stretch my legs in the services, and those of the car on the sliproad – 2nd and 3rd full bore are a hoot!
About 30 miles north of Cannock, the first snowflakes arrived. With it, the M6 hive mind decided that 25-30mph was enough. Nothing I could do, but tootle along. Thankfully, the wee 172 is tractable enough to take the “high gear, low rpm” approach that makes for wheelspin free progress in slush.
Arriving at Cannock, I was greeted by two welcome sights :
And a mates Honda
I got checked into the hotel and headed for beer and dinner. It’s there it got a bit silly.
Over dinner a plan was hatched to try and buy a car at the auctions we were due to visit on Saturday.
I went to bed and thought no more of it.
Up in the morning, and it was time to head for breakfast X2. First up, the Clio. I found an Asda petrol station selling 95 Ron at £1.109 a litre, and being a tight Scotsman, I scored 332.9 miles for £42.48. That’s cheaper than walking, and 39.44mpg.
I’ll treat it to some 98 soon, promise!
That done, it was time to head to the Truckers rest to meet the rest of the madmen.
This allowed for an impromptu 4 Renault line up, with a 16, Vel Satis, Megane coupe and my Clio 172. The Clio is about the same size as the 16 – which, at the time of launch was sold as a ‘large family car’. Shows you how things change over time.
Also there was a Nissan Cedric, driven to Cannock from Finland over the last week – what a cool car! It’s got the 6cyl out of a 260z mated to a 3 speed auto – picks up bloody well, and thanks to James for a shot of it:)
It also has an opening ‘dog window’s in the LHS – properly useful and stylish to boot.
Next stop after overfilling my belly was the Auctions.
Ordinarily, this lot have multiple objects of desire for the crap car fan. This time however, the only contender was a Peugeot 406 2.0 petrol. We did bid, but after some confusion found out that we were unsuccessful despite bidding £140!
With that excitement out the way early on, there was little of note, bar a Clio 182. Sitting there with a long MOT, in its tasty blue hue, it was a winking at me.
Reviewing the details, the mileage discrepancy flagged wasn’t too much of a worry – we’ve all had failed clusters. Bodily it looked ok too, and the interior was smart enough.
I was seriously considering it until it was started. Evidently one of the 11 previous keepers had retrofitted a Kubota single cylinder diesel. The car shook like a dog shitting razorblades as the exhaust coughed asthmatically.
If it was cheap, I maybe would have had it for parts.. it got to the block and we watched the gearbox oil pissing out. “£1000” started the auctioneer. Nae bids was the response. It eventually crawled to £775, and then limped out the ring like a sick dogs fart.
Happy I could return home without the Burd killing me, I retired with the rest of the group to another local transport caff for some “heating up juice”.
Once defrosted, it was time to let the 172 convert more people to the “Church of RS”.
I’d patiently explain how the engine was similar to that found in the Laguna 2, and chat through what the dephaser did. Then I’d tell them to get it straight and pop it into 2nd at 20mph.
To a person, what followed next was:
Grin at torque
Comment on nice noise
Laugh as it comes on cam at 4500
Grab 3rd as the popop of the limiter sounds.
3 people were later to be found ebayimg on their phones in pursuit of a 1*2 of their own.
One lad even said
“I had a go in 320Touring’s Clio 172.
I changed up at 5500rpm and he shouted at me like an angry Scotsman so I put it back in 2nd and nailed it until it did a little PowerTrump on the 7k change into 2nd.
If the 182 at Cannock hadn’t sounded like a Kubota dumper truck, I’d have been kicking myself for missing out but I’d seriously love a little motor like that.
Thanks for letting me have a go”
Job jobbed I reckon!