Hello, nice to meet you all...
My name is Kenneth and I'm a 37-year old architect living in Belgium. I live with my partner, Sam, and our three daughters in a house in Ghent in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.
I have always been into cars, used to read Car every month, but have switched to Evo a few years back, and have owned a string of cars since turning 18: Golf (first generation, black),Saab 900 Turbo (black), Citroën AX (black), Mazda MX-5 (1st gen, black), TVR V8S (blue), Fiat Barchetta (Silver), Renault Alpine GTA (red), Renault Alpine GTA (black), Renault Clio 16S (black), Mazda MX-5 (2nd gen, black), Opel Vectra GTS (= SRI, black, I know, I had just turned father and thought I needed something sensible), Renault Mégane Coupé 16V(black).
So quite a list, the Japanese the most trustworthy, the French the most fun, the TVR, well, it ate money.
And then, in 2003, I had the opportunity to test drive a few Alfas, and being 6ft4, never been able to get comfortable in one, got in a red 147 GTA, and hey , what a nice driving position and hey this looks like a 550 in here and hohoho, what a great sound and boy did it gooooooooooooo! So I fell in love there and then, but sadly couldn't afford one at the time.
Went and bought a Vectra which looked alright, was huge and a hit with wife and kids, but always made me feel like someone who doesn't know his cars and was rather boring to drive. So got rid of that, changed jobs at the same time and bought myself an 8-year old Mégane Coupé, which is, as all hot Renault are, a hoot to drive for very little money, looks great and is just a special car from the design to the low running costs. Thing is, it's very small in the rear. The wife has a Yaris Verso, so we use that for the family, but still, at times I needed a little more space.
So then the devil reared its head: the new job is going well, I needed to make some costs (I'm sort of self employed) and hey, I'm off, looking at what I can afford both new and second hand. After toying with things like 190 Cosworths over XJS's and SZ's (really) to the new CTR, Focus ST and the like, one thing was clear: what I really needed was a hot hatch and after being disappointed by the new Clio 197 and not relishing going to 8000rpms to overtake prams in the Honda, my thoughts turned again to big engines (loved the V8 in the TVR, loved the V6 in the GTA) and thus to the 147 GTA.
So in October I went to look at a black one at a dealer's, it turned out to be Cosmos Blue, with all black interior and being a smitten moron I bought it on the spot!
It's from June 2003, had 34.000 kms (= about 20.000 miles) and came with a year's guarantee, new discs and pads (still have to check which ones they are) and new tires. It cost me 21.000 euros, which is about 14.000 pounds. Options were: full leather interior, GPS and 'phone, CD changer, anti-car jacking alarm. It has the standard 'phone dial wheels.
Another thing is, I do 25.000 miles a year and boy, this engine loves to drink. So before even considering a GTA, I did my homework and found a few Germans on the internet who had theirs converted to LPG. I had my Mégane also converted and found that the advantages far outweighed the drawbacks. So yes, in went the installation, no more spare wheel, a little less boot space and it consumes even more now, but the price of a litre of LPG is about one third of that of 98, so I should get the expense of the installation back in about ten months and have the satisfaction to drive a very clean car (yeah, I can't stand diesels). Performance wise I can't tell the difference (I could with the Mégane).
So there you are, I will drop by from time to time, to share experiences, to gather information (I trust this car to go wrong) and to have a good time.
By the way, I was saving this alias for that TVR Griffith I've always promised myself, but I think this little blue wonder deserves it more. So say hello to my Feersum Endjin (with thanks to Ian Banks). Photos will follow, weather permitting.