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Good evening everyone,

Just thought to post an introduction from myself.

The History.

Well, it goes without saying that my first car in the 'eighties was an Alfasud 1500, bought as an introduction to 4-wheel motoring after ten-plus years of motorcycling with various bikes. Needless to say, that was a baptism-of-fire, one that can still send shivers even now. It's ownership was interesting to say the least, i.e. watching the bodywork metaphorically melt before one's eyes: and the time I returned home from a wedding reception to find that the wiring loom had melted again and I couldn't turn the headlights off. Oh, and the time when I drove to work in the morning, but the steering lock wouldn't free itself in the evening. I did at numerous times wonder why I had sold my beloved restored Triumph Bonneville cafe racer for this heap.

But... once bitten by the Alfa bug, the need to return never seems to leave you. On a plus note, the boxer engine was fantastic, (apart from the early morning carb-icing).

My next car was an early '70's Opel Manta coupe. I was at one point contemplating trying to transplant the Alfa engine into the Manta to replace the wheezy 1.8 litre iron block i4 but didn't have a workshop at my disposal to try it out.

Next followed a 2 litre Mk.4 Cortina estate which I kept for about four months, it rolled and pitched like a galleon but was seriously quick.

That was traded in for a second-hand 1986 Ford Escort XR3i which I had for a few years until someone tried to steal it from the front of the house in 1998. They didn't, but the damage was such that it was written off.

At that time I was working for a well known racing engine company, so I was able to buy my first new car at a discount, an Ford Focus 1.8i Zetec. This I kept for just over a year, before buying a second one in 2000, which I had converted to run on LPG as well as petrol.

The Present

Well, the current daily driver is the aforementioned second Focus, it's now got just over 286,000 miles on it, (yes, you read that right:eek:). Eighteen months ago I also got an 1996 MGF 1.8i VVC as an insurance policy against some expensive maintenance on the Focus at that time, (new offside driveshaft). However, the bill wasn't quite so bad, and I have the little red sports car for top-down motoring during sunny weekends.

The Future

This is the reason for joining the forum, with a view to joining I'm looking to finally replace the Focus and today had a look at the MiTo. I'm considering the 1.6JTDm version as my commute to work is about 140 odd miles a day. I was impressed by a 1.4l Veloce on offer at a dealer in North London, complete with leather etc. but I think the oil-burner may be more practical. Any views from owner's would be greatly appreciated.

I've also spotted a low mileage, two year old Alfa GT Cloverleaf 1.9JTDm on offer at a dealer in Hemel Hempstead which is tempting, so any opinions on that are welcome as well.

Apologies for the long chapter,


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