04 Feb 2017

Renault Megane Convertible

Car No. 20
Still in ownership since 20/08/2016

Having found a job in The Netherlands, with a difficult train connection to work, I had to find a car. This was quite difficult: it had to be cheap to buy, saving money for our move, but I did want it to be familiar or different. I always liked the style of this car, but it had to be a convertible, and yellow. But yellow ones were not available… and I needed one soon… After plenty of visits to car dealerships, this was the result.

26 Dec 2015

Honda Insight

Car No. 19
From 26/12/2013 to 20/10/2016

The Ford Falcon had done its service for 3 years, and if its repair wouldn’t cost $8000 we would still have it. Unfortunately, that was just too much money for a 1987 car.

Having looked at older Renaults first, which were not as good or economically, I tried to find an first-gen Honda Insight due to its uniqueness. Only the newer ones were for sale at the moment, and they’re not as expensive as we thought! After checking its fuel economy (it’s a hybrid) and performing a test drive I decided to buy it. With a 5 year warranty I’m sure to own the car for a while, and it certainly is the most efficient car I’ve owned.

I never finished the 5 year ownership, as I left Australia to go back to The Netherlands.

05 Feb 2013

Renault 5 GTT EVO

Car No. 18
Still in ownership since 05/02/2013

When I went to look at the Renault 5 convertible, a GTT was just brought in to be sold. The previous owner brought it in thinking its engine had broken, but the dealer only needed a small fix to get it running again. While its paint looked really bad, it was mechanically perfect.

I received a quote to completely repaint the car, which was way cheaper in The Netherlands than would be in Australia. I decided to buy the GTT as well, and trusted the dealer to handle all repairs, painting, and even its delivery to the port for export. I was kept up to date with photos, but it was a real treat to pick up the freshly painted GTT from the Melbourne docks!

Also this car is a nice head-turner in Australia, and with the EVO kit it’s most likely even unique worldwide – I’m unaware of many other GTTs with an EVO kit. While many people do not like this kit too much, and I was a bit hesitant at first too, it has grown on me.

Once I even received a positive comment on the ‘design features’ of the car (for example the door handles), and how good the car looks from an architect. He even thought the car was new, and was very surprised I told him it was a 1988 built car!

05 Feb 2013

Renault 5 GTS EBS Convertible

Car No. 17
Still in ownership since 05/02/2013

While in The Netherlands for holiday, looking for a a Renault 19 part for family in Mongolia, I visited the Renault Tuning Club forum just at the right moment, and found this Renault 5 convertible for sale. I always wanted a convertible, and for this price I couldn’t let it go.

Because I knew about importing cars to Australia from my research on the Taiwanese Renault 5, I knew this car would be possible to be imported as it was from before 1989. Also, the state of Victoria in Australia allows for the registration of a car on ‘club plates’, as long as the car is 25 years or older. Whether it was a left-hand drive or right-hand drive didn’t matter.

Although the task of exporting and importing would be quite an effort, I decided to buy the convertible (and also the GTT EVO). I’m certain it’s the only Renault 5 convertible in Australia, Renault 5s were never even sold here.

04 Feb 2011

Ford Falcon GL (LPG)

Car No. 16
From 04/02/2011 to 07/01/2014

I bought two cars at the auction and this one was so cheap I just had to buy it. Because it ran on LPG, it would be cheap driving, or so I thought. In fact, with an efficiency of only 6 kilometre to the litre, it was only slightly cheaper than regular petrol. Maybe because it’s a 4.1 litre engine?

However, driving the car made you relax and it really grew on us. An old car like this required regular mechanical fixes, until one day the head gasket was leaking. An expensive repair, but we decided to go ahead anyway. Unfortunately the garage found grooves in the engine block, which would require a complete engine reconditioning. That would be far too expensive, so we decided to give away the car to an Australian Ford Falcon club member instead of scrapping it. A better choice: even the garage thought crushing the car would be sad, as the body was in really good shape!

 

04 Feb 2011

Volkswagen Golf GL

Car No. 15
From 04/02/2011 to 28/07/2013

In Australia, you just have to have a car. The car prices in advertisements were quite high, and even backpacker cars have increased quite a lot compared to what I remember from 2005.

I found a place where they sell cars through auctions, and I decided to take a look. I just couldn’t resist bidding as the prices were quite low, so I left the auction with two cars… Unfortunately the car needed a lot of repairs, which is probably why they have these auctions…

Well, I had to repair it anyway because I would have similar difficulty in reselling a broken car. I didn’t drive this car much, except for rainy days (the other car, the Ford Falcon, is rear-heavy and slides easy). The advertisement for this car was online for 1.5 year, but received no interest. When eventually the clutch disappeared, I had to sell it very cheap through eBay.

07 Feb 2008

Renault 5 Automatic in Taiwan

Car No. 14
From 07/02/2008 to 04/01/2011

7

After I got back from the United States in September 2006 I used the Express GTT. However, after my Bachelor degree finished, I went to Taipei, Taiwan to study my Masters. I sold the Express GTT in July 2007.

In Taipei the public transport system is very helpful, but as the winter holiday was approaching I wanted to have a car to drive around. However, finding a proper car when all ads are Chinese is quite a challenge!

While on a train holiday with classmates, I spotted a Renault 5 driving in a town in the south of Taiwan. It was the first one I’ve ever seen here, and there was a piece of paper attached to its window: it must be for sale! I chased the car running, stopped it, and basically bought it the next minute.

I enjoyed this car quite well, but also spent quite a lot of money on repairing the mechanical issues that came up every so often. I have never seen another Renault 5 in Taiwan, except for a single ad for a GTT.

After I finished my Taiwanese studies, and got accepted to an Australian PhD, I even researched the export and import of this car. While I managed to find all details, I was in the end unable to import the car: it was built after 1989 and then the car should be right-hand drive (which it wasn’t, as Taiwanese drive on the right). So, I was forced to sell it in January 2011.

02 Jan 2006

Renault 5 diesel

Car No. 13
From 02/01/2006 to 01/06/2006

Back in The Netherlands after my Australian travel I needed a car again. I found an ad for a Renault 5 diesel, and it was so cheap I couldn’t leave it there.

The diesel exhausts a lot of soot when you accelerate, and I occasionaly found some fresh oil drips on the floor after parking (but strangely enough the oil level remained steady), the car was very cheap to drive with an efficiency of 19 kilometre to 1 liter.

For only 33 euros I changed the boring white-grey colour of the car to something much brighter, which attracted a lot of attention. Even with this new colour scheme I managed to sell the car just before I went to the United States.

24 Oct 2005

Mistubishi Sigma

Car No. 11
From 24/10/2005 to 14/12/2005

While in Australia, it is most useful to own a car to drive around. I bought the car in Perth, and in less then two months drove to the other side of the country, where I departed from Sydney.

The owner of the car told me it never left Perth, and I was therefore the first who would use it as a backpacker car. It was also the oldest car I ever owned, the car being from 1981. It didn’t fail me mechanically, but in the 20,000 kilometre driven I did experience 3 flat tires and one wonky ball joint, which I actually didn’t fix.

During the trip I found the car a bit boring, and I decided to paint it together with 2 other backpackers who joined me at that time. With paint in only three colours bought from the local hardware store we were able to paint our countries flags, an Australian flag, and some further decoration.

I had fond memories of this car, and when I started living in Australia 5 years later I tried to find one similar. Unfortunately, due to their age they’re quite rare now.

10 Jul 2005

Renault 5 GTT pearl-white

Car No. 11
From 10/07/2005 to 24/05/2006

Once again I found an interesting advertisement: ‘stripped GTT with revised engine’. Because the engine would be useful for the Thungsten, I bought the car without first looking at the car. When I came to collect the car it looked much better than I expected, and it would be a waste to take out the engine and discard the rest.

I garaged the car until I had time and money to completely restore it. Of course, I found out this was way more than I could afford, so I had to choose between this car or the Express GTT. I chose the Express and sold the pearl-white.