2003 Mercedes AMG SL55

Engine: 5439cc V8, 24 Valve Supercharged
Max Power: 493HP (369KW) @ 6100 RPM
Max Torque: 516lb.ft (700nm) at 2650-4500 RPM 
Max Speed: 202mph (325km/h), some of them are restricted to 155mph.
0-60mph: 4.5 seconds

With the retirement of the Mitsubishi Pajero, I was looking for an interesting car to get me to work. I initially looked hard for a VW Golf R32 and was really tempted by a rare BMW 3 Series CSL. But I always had a hankering to own a V8. I test drove a Mercedes AMG CLK55, which I couldnt agree a price on, and a Mercedes AMG E55, which had dodgy suspension. The power of the AMG motors was intoxicating, so when I saw an SL55 at auction I had to go for it. The SL55 was billed as the worlds fastest convertible when it launched.

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1994 Mitsubishi Pajero

Engine: 4 cylinder 2835cc Turbo Intercooled Diesel
Power: 123hp
Torque: 292nm @ 2000 rpm
Max Speed: 96mph
0-60mph: 16.8 seconds
Weight: 1830kg

When we arrived in New Zealand, in late 2004, we weren't sure how long we would stay, but thought perhaps 12 months would allow us to relax and also see something of the country.

We decided to do a six week tour round the country with Bev's mum and dad, Bill and Joyce. We needed a car and at first I thought either an estate car or a Toyota RAV 4 would suffice. We looked at a lot of RAVs, they were mostly 10 years old imports and selling for around $10-12,000. They held their price well.

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2011 Subaru Forester 2.5X

Engine: 2.5lt Flat 4, 16V
Max Power: 170HP (130 KW)
Max Speed: 113mph
0-60mph: 8.7 seconds

We were putting a lot of miles on the Subaru Legacy Blitzen and decided to buy something newer. We couldn't find any reasonably priced, recent, low mileage cars so started looking at new. We thought hard about the Mitsubishi Outlander but in the end went for the basic spec 2.5 litre Subaru Forester. The only options we specified were the alloy wheels and exhaust trims.

We got the new engine (FB25), with lightweight engine oil, but they were still putting their old school 4 speed automatic in them at that time.

Its been a great car, very reliably and nice to drive. My only criticism is that it seems to be made of very thin metal and doors and sides have been dinged several times by people with trolleys at Auckland Airport and in supermarket car parks. 

1998 BMW Z3 1.9i

Engine: 1895cc 4 cylinder 8 valves
Max Power: 116HP (87kW) @ 5500RPM 
Torque: 180Nm @3900RPM
Max Speed: 198kph (123mph)

This was Bevs car when she lived in Richmond and later Maidenhead.

It was unusual in many ways. It was basically the version with the smallest engine that had all the options fitted.

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2002 Subaru Legacy Blitzen

Engine: 1994cc 4 cylinder Boxer Engine Twin Turbo
Max Power: 280hp (206KW) at 6,400 rpm
Max Speed: 138mph (limiter, allegedly 155mph without)
0-60mph: 5.2 seconds

With the birth of our daughter in 2005, we needed a second car to allow Bev to get around whilst I was at work. I had always been impressed by Subaru reliability and performance and they also looked "more European" in styling than some of the other cheap Japanese cars so we decided on a Subaru Legacy. The Blitzen was an interesting special edition. They took the fundamentals of the 2.0 Turbo GT model and had Porsche do some styling tweaks which resulted in some nice wheels, bumpers, spoiler and exhaust.

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1997 Renault Sport Spider

Engine: 1998cc, 4 cylinder 16v
Power: 150hp at 6000RPM
Torque: 185Nm at 4500RPM
Performance: 134mph (215km/h) 0-60 in 6.9s
Weight: 930kg

In 1997 I was moving to another company and would need to hand back my company car, a BMW 318i. I wanted something different and test drove a lot of cars in the £20-40,000 range including a Lotus Elise, MGF, TVR Cerbera, Porsche 964 an old Ferrari Mondial Convertible.

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