The ‘new’ (not by the time I posted this) Fiat 500 TwinAir meets its older sibling. While the new one would be fine as an everyday car the old 500, or Bambina as it was known in NZ, is one for my “When I win Lotto garage”.
Does this explain why I — who doesn’t like any other SUV (including the podgy Fiat 500x) — find the Cactus rather appealing? The 2CV is one of my favourite cars and certainly my favourite Citroën. That is saying a lot given the brilliance of the DS and Traction Avant.
I hadn’t really connected the C4 Cactus with the 2CV until I read this wonderful article, with lovely Parisian photography, by Gavin Green. While from a different era, and different class of vehicle, in the Cactus the light*, large and ‘happy’ philosophy of the mighty 2CV lives on.
There aren't many places in Auckland where you can still buy orchard fresh fruit — grown, picked and sold at the gate — but Dragicevich Orchard, Oratia near my home, is one. Along with freshly picked apples, pears, plums and grapes Carmela Dragicevich and her son Mate sell the best apple juice ever. They tree pick and sell (no cold store nonsense) so you only get what is in season, what is good.
Driving home through Oratia village I was rather surprised to see a lovely red Ferrari F40 turn up Shaw Rd, heading for the Waitakere Ranges. Those roads are fun in my Bravo, suspect more so in a Ferrari F40! Orchard fresh apples and a Ferrari F40, two rarities in one morning.
* The F40 photo is mine, from a local motorsport event, but not sure if it was one I saw but there can’t be many in NZ!
Woking, England, is the home of the modern McLaren but their founder is a Kiwi icon. They returned to New Zealand to retrace, in the 650S Spider road car, some of Bruce’s formative drives and visit the many McLaren related landmarks around Auckland.
Today McLaren’s home is in Woking, England, but the story started nearly 80 years ago on the other side of the world. We return to New Zealand in a 650S Spider to trace the early years of our company’s eponymous founder, Bruce McLaren…
They are familiar to me and I both cycle and drive the West Auckland roads seen in their lovely photos (sadly in nothing as exotic as a McLaren!). Not sure the the Bethells Beach Valley is really part of “The Scenic Drive” but it is certainly nearby, very scenic, and would be a great drive in a McLaren! I liked the perspective of their Waitea Road, Muriwai, photo (above). Below is the same road/view through the windscreen of my Bravo and from my bike.
Christmas evening, jump in the car and hear an odd ticking noise from somewhere within the dash.
Engine off, it slows down to a stop. Power on, back again, turn the ventilation fan from Auto to Off, slows down but still there.
Realise the air conditioning is on, turn that off, it slows to no ticking. Learn, after how many years driving this car?, that the air conditioning runs the fan at Speed 1 irrespective of the fan speed selected!
Sounds like something in the fan, maybe a bearing worn or debris being knocked around, but nothing major; just bloody annoying!
In the light of day, well the light of today as I procrastinated, find it definitely is the fan which is — and here is the win — accessed by removing a single screw. No major dashboard surgery required. Pop it out, blow out with an air duster, bit of electrical safe lube spray, twist lock back in, secure with THE screw, sorted!
Bravo Fiat interior* designers!
* Not sure this makes up for the recommended — but avoided by crafty mechanics — ‘remove the engine’ instruction to change the cambelt (thanks to a long 5 cylinder transverse engine jammed in between the wheel arches)!
Over the past few weeks it occasionally felt odd, with an intermittent throttle lag I can only compare to a poorly engineered turbo installation. Bit of a concern when it is not a turbo!
A few days ago the engine system warning light came on, occasionally at first, then persisting until the ignition was switched off/on, then finally on all the time. Of course the day before it was due to visit to the Fiat wizards at Italian Autos the light went off, and stayed off. They diagnosed a dodgy air flow meter, a part made by Bosch:
A replacement has restored the FSM’s five cylinder heart to its former responsive health. Perhaps it thought it was metering a Volkswagen in a test centre?