The Mark 8 conversion would be a garbage fire. But I'm seeing far fewer problems with the static bellypan version.While it looks very neat, I see it as problematic. Here that would be a rust inducing headache of the first degree.
One of them was put up for sale in 2007:That videos come up on here periodically over the years. Theres a reason it never caught on.
But makes you wonder, where are those 2 Mark VIIIs today? Do they still exist? Are they in someone's private collection? Or have they long since been scrapped.
The company's website is gone, according to the Wayback Machine it went offline around June 2015.
This thing is actually still ongoing. In the months that have passed, I've driven the W203 about 15,000 km (granted, there has been some cross-country driving) already, and it's all been smooth sailing. I did resort to some preventative maintenance, as I had the timing chain and tensioner replaced and the cam gears inspected. The M271 engine is apparently notorious for timing part wear, and the cam gears are 850 eur apiece if they wear down. Luckily, the ones on my car were still fine and didn't need to be replaced, and thanks to easy serviceability the job was reasonably priced.Like I've posted earlier, my current job requires me to commute quite a bit. Some days I'll be doing 150km to get to work and back, while some days I can do with less. But in any case, I'm now commuting further than picking my laptop from the floor next to my bed. Ahem.
Anyway, I'm now driving my dad's C180K wagon. It's very nice and fits the bill perfectly: it's good to drive, it has A/C and cruise control and it works. However, as winter is approaching there are a couple things that I'd like to think about. Firstly, I don't want to bathe the S203 in salt because it will rust. They all will do that, but I want to put off the inevitable brown specks as long as possible. The Benz is a good, durable car that sits happily on the road, but I’d hate to run it to the ground just getting to work and back.
Secondly, I could use a little less fuel. The 1.8-liter, supercharged Benz with an autobox usually averages 7l/100km, or 33.6 MPG. I can do a little better if the winds and stoplights are in my favor, but as it's still just about commuting and I pay for the fuel, I’d like to do it with as little fuel as possible.
So, if I can swing it, I could feasibly justify getting a diesel beater for the winter. Finland is full of people running diesel beaters to the ground, but I don’t really know what to get. Since this is about saving money, the car should be both cheap and reliable. Diesel fuel isn’t as cheap here as it used to be, but just achieving lower fuel consumption already helps. A W203 C200 CDI does about 6,7l combined, so the savings are really marginal.
London taxi sub-1k euros?This thing is actually still ongoing. In the months that have passed, I've driven the W203 about 15,000 km (granted, there has been some cross-country driving) already, and it's all been smooth sailing. I did resort to some preventative maintenance, as I had the timing chain and tensioner replaced and the cam gears inspected. The M271 engine is apparently notorious for timing part wear, and the cam gears are 850 eur apiece if they wear down. Luckily, the ones on my car were still fine and didn't need to be replaced, and thanks to easy serviceability the job was reasonably priced.
Still, the realities of living on a farm have struck: we do need a beater multi-purpose vehicle that's preferably diesel and van registrable to cut down the diesel tax. While a ForFour would be amazing, it's not spacious enough for that. I'd also gladly combine this all with an opportunity to import a car from the UK just before another possible Brexit deadline: the winter meet takes place in late January and if I can get a car here before Jan 31, any valid UK MOT should be honored here as long as I get LHD headlights on it. Much in the way of the brotherly Lexus Sportcross, then.
Ideally, the vehicle would be cheap yet sturdy. Here's what I'm considering and browsing for (and trying to convince the UK Finalgearians to bring over:
Fiat Multipla JTD/CNG
Pros: It's a fucking Multipla! Even if I remove the rear seats and disable the mounts so I can get it in van plates for cheaper tax, there's still three-abreast seating up front. Super frugal too, the turbodiesel is a durable unit and there's the trick option of getting a BluPower CNG version. We have a biogas plant next door from work.
Cons: It's a fucking Multipla! As they all were FWD, understandably there's little enthusiasm to be found for bringing one to an icetrack meet. And they rust.
Average price: sub-1k
Volvo 945 DTIC
Pros: RWD straight six and often manual! The VW-sourced unit is again a durable and coveted unit, and parts are easy to source here on the Finnish west coast. Including headlights. The cars are also worth a bit more here than elsewhere, even if RHD will affect eventual resale value.
Cons: There's not that much vertical room in the cargo area, so furniture hauling is less convenient.
Average price: 1,5k
Mercedes E-Class diesel wagon
Pros: Logical counterpart to W203, but more space. Can be cheap, can be easily serviced here, can be beat up without losing much value.
Cons: All of the rust in the world, can have weird maladies that are not worth fixing up.
Average price: sub-1k
Pros: Like a Multipla but bigger and mid-engined! Any of these will look weird and transport much, and they are either RWD or AWD.
Cons: Previas are usually petrol engined and really thirsty. The JDM versions are often diesel, but it seems they have a lot of cooling/headgasket issues which are terminal on a sub-1k car. Also, the JDM ones are more difficult to legalize here since there are no bolt-on LHD headlights for them.
Average price: sub-1k
Toyota Hilux Surf
Pros: A Hilux, but with more interior room and less bed thanks to the wagon configuration. A 4Runner in other words, but just JDM and thus funkier. Durable mechanicals, usually 3.0 turbodiesel.
Cons: More expensive than the others, at roughly double the price. Rust is always something to be considered.
Average price: over 2k
Carbodies/London Taxi International TX1/TX2/TX4
Pros: Cheap and well maintained and certainly the left-field choice. Again super durable drivetrain if you go for the Nissan diesel.
Cons: Not sure if one actually register these as vans, as they don't have a large opening tailgate. And I'd lose all the rear seating, which is the point of a London taxi... Slowness isn't really an issue, as long as I can reach highway speeds.
Average price: sub-1k
Have I missed anything?
London taxi sub-1k euros?
Why the shit don't I own one?