Finance, PCP, HP, personal loan, which is best for you?

In the modern age we’re very blessed to have finance options available on virtually everything we own. Your phone contract , a sofa , a big telly, your car the list goes on. Now these aren’t just beneficial (dependant on your usage) they can also land you in a lot of financial trouble if not used correctly. Today I’m going to explain how they work, the merits of each and which example may work best for you. Car purchases are the second largest purchases most of us will ever make in our lives after mortgages. So it’s important to get the financial commitment sorted in a way that’s beneficial and affordable.

PCP (personal contract purchase)

What is a PCP? Well it’s a convoluted way of renting a car basically. You usually pay a deposit, select a term (3-5 years typically) and you use the vehicle as much as you’re entitled too (mileage limits apply). At the end of the agreement there is a settlement figure (balloon payment) if you don’t pay this fee you must return the vehicle. You have no rights to keep it. PCP is more expensive than hire purchase as your balloon payment will always be higher than the vehicles residual value. You must also remember you’ve paid a deposit up front , then 36-60 months at a set amount, with nothing to show for it if you return the vehicle. You can use the vehicles value as a deposit on another but again you’ll just be renting another car. In my opinion PCP deals are a great way of throwing money away. Yes you get a new car (up-to 3 years old) but it doesn’t belong to you and you must give it back or pay a lot more than it is worth. There are also penalties for going over your mileage allowance so if you return the vehicle with too many miles you must pay for the extra.

HP (hire purchase)

Hire purchase requires a good credit score to get the best rates. First of all you will need a sizeable deposit 10% of the vehicle or more is common. The remaining balance is then split across the term of the loan, up-to 60 months usually. You must make all of the payments and pay the final “option to purchase fee” to own the vehicle outright. Whats good about Hire Purchase is when you’ve paid 50% of the vehicles value you may be able to return it, without damaging your credit score. This offers greater flexibility for your payments and the terms of contract. HP deals typically do not have mileage limitations again offering freedom for how much you use the vehicle. Your monthly costs directly correlate to the size of the deposit you pay , bigger initial deposit smaller monthly cost.

Car finance

So straight up car finance a risky place to be, I fell victim to it once before (never again) and you could to. Car finance is a dangerous game as there’s not a minimum deposit required. As long as you pass the basic credit check you could be loaned the entire value of the vehicle. Which is often overpriced just in case you can’t keep up with your repayments. So say for example you spend £9950 on a car. If you pass the credit check and sign on the dotted line, your vehicle is likely worth £5-6000 and your monthly payments could be charged at 8-12% interest depending on your credit score. This is where it is imperative you learn about gap insurance. What is gap insurance? Well they cover you just in case you write-off your newly financed car. Because interest on the loan and the cars value are substantially less than the amount borrowed, meaning you could be liable to pay the additional costs if you had an accident. (Car worth £6000 you paid £9950, chances are you don’t have £3950 to cover the “gap”) hence the term gap insurance. You must also bear in mind that without a deposit your monthly costs will be much higher and likely drawn over a longer term 48-60 months or so. That is a long commitment on a depreciating asset. You will also struggle to sell a car on finance because it is not yours. Therefore when sold you must send the funds immediately to the finance company to pay the “settlement figure” this the amount left on your loan minus the interest for the amount of months you cut it short by. (Pay it off halfway through, big reduction, leave it late there’ll be almost no difference).

Personal Loan

Ah the god of lending, while hard to get at the best rates (around 3%) personal loans will open many many doors for you. Build up your credit score by registering on the electoral role, having a credit card , history of lending (a phone contract should suffice) and good discipline with repayments. Once you’ve achieved this you’re now in a strong position to borrow. Go to your bank first because they know you best and all of your money is with them especially your annual salary. Use credit checks like Experian to keep track of your score (you want to be above 960 and in the excellent category). However price comparison sites can use a soft search to see the rates you’re likely to be offered. Obviously the lower rate the better. You can take the loan out depending on the amount over 12-96 months. The freedom here being, you can make over-payments or settle the loan entirely at any time. Which is often a big boost for your credit score. Because the loan is only attached to yourself you can chop and change cars as many times as you like while adding savings or other monies to each transaction and with luck you will upgrade each time.

So there’s a brief explanation of how the main financing methods work. It all depends what you’re looking for in a car and whether you want to own one long-term, chop and change or just simply have a vehicle you can use. I hope this helped clear up a few things as not all car dealerships are as honest as they should be.

Audi Rs7/ first thoughts.

The C7 platform from Quattro GMBH has always been something I’ve longed for as long as I can remember. I adore the aggressive yet understated styling it’s traditional Audi RS. if you know what you’re looking at you’re rewarded if not it’ll pass by under the radar. When owning my Nissan GT-R I missed the bi-polar nature of owning fast Audi’s. The way you can propel yourself forward with unmatched traction in any weather, yet do it in complete silence should you wish. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it’s spent more time in comfort than dynamic thanks to lashing of rain and poor road conditions, but I can soon change that. Here’s what I think of my new RS7.

I mean we can’t ignore the interior can we? The sports seats don’t just look fantastic, they’re supportive,fully heated with lumbar support and an absolute joy to sit in. Audi interiors in the last decade have really been special places to munch miles and spend time. Smatterings of carbon fibre and high quality leather make this feel every bit as expensive as they were new. The sunroof makes the cabin feel airy and specious and when you just want to get somewhere in comfort I struggle to think of many better cars for the money. Despite the very slight price difference this car is a different world away from the Nissan GT-R.

I’ve spoken a little bit already about this bi-turbo charged 4 litre V8 and the power it produces. Circa 560hp and 700nm but what I love most of all is it’s split personality. The fact the V8 can snarl and crackle on overrun when in dynamic mode and provoked, but it can whisper moving you along in total silence. I did a fairly short run the other day (around 30 miles) including a cold start that morning and returned 34mpg thanks to cylinder shutdown. Obviously I’m going to drive the RS7 hard and get to know it better over the coming months, but I’m not a racing driver and sometimes I just want to commute. Anything over 30mpg from its massive fuel tank is a revelation in my eyes, certainly with the levels of performance on offer.

So to summarise it’s fast (in a refined kind of way), it’s covered in carbon fibre, it’s quiet (when you ask it to be) and it will happily throw you to 60mph from standstill in around 3.7 seconds. A pretty great all rounder to me and let’s not forget how beautiful the 7’a architecture is. I’m looking forward to a major service and a remap to see how the RS7 transforms when woken up a little.

I bought the UK’s cheapest Audi RS7 and it’s awesome!

So a few weeks ago I sold my Nissan GT-R, there was uproar from my friends and questions about what stupid venture lay next. I love the R35 it was a rocket in a straight line and even better in the corners. But I daily drive my cars and as much as I loved the character of the gearbox and horrific ride comfort, or lack thereof something had to change. I was in touch with an acquaintance about a more powerful R35 than mine with half the miles, so that was the plan. However after discussing it with many owners I was warned about how the vehicle had been driven and that there was a risk of rod and gearbox issues even with capped torque. After a late night search on Autotrader I came across the RS7 well priced and highly specced. I had to go and look really as it seemed the smarter choice.

Anyone who knows me or has seen my car history knows I love a fast Audi. The C7 platform has always been a huge goal for me to attain. 6 or 7 they’re all the same to me the RS6 is arguably more aggressive but the RS7 is beautiful with sleek lines. I’d been scouring AutoTrader for a few weeks to no avail. But at 1am on Thursday I spotted this RS7, finished in Matte Daytona Grey with extended carbon fibre. I had to have it. Mileage was a little “high” but if daily driven it’s pretty much under the national average for a vehicle of its age. The RS7 is complete with full Audi service history , sports exhaust, WiFi , sunroof, head up display and a smattering of other options you’d never usually think of. I’ve always got this philosophy of finding a reason not to buy a car, if I can’t find any then I better get my money out. Seeing mixed reviews about the dealership network as a whole, I wasn’t sure what to expect, the paintwork is very clean, alloys unmarked and the engine pulls hard.

The car was situated in Ipswich which seemed like an awkward place for me to get to, so I paid a deposit and they moved it to Loughborough. The RS7 is being supplied with a fresh service and 12 months MOT, so I can enjoy a full years motoring while getting to know it. It feels slow compared the R35 but it should, it’s near 100bhp down and 200kgs heavier. The torque is satisfying and mighty. The honeycomb buckets are a revelation from my GTR it’s so comfortable and despite 21” wheels the ride is exquisite. Firm when you throw it round a roundabout yet supple and refined when you’re over speed bumps and potholes. I’ve seen a few road tests stating the steering is numb , certainly in dynamic I found it quite sharp for what is effectively a yacht with wheels. Dynamic mode also opens the exhaust valves for satisfying crackles on the overrun and between gears.

The C7 RS6/7 models are powered by a 4lite bi-turbo charged V8, putting out 553bhp and 700nm. 390mm front waved brake discs take care of the stopping, but in all honestly apart from the mad interior and rs7 badges you’d have no idea what you’re inside. The comfort and refinement are next level (this may be magnified coming from a GTR). The hardest part of my latest purchase will be getting used to the proportions, The R35 was a big car the Rs7 is a different league of ginormous. My current plans are to get to grips with the car, upgrade the air filter and look into remapping. A Milltek exhaust is also on my list at some stage depending on where I can find one. I think the RS7 will be a better adversary for the R35 when it has 700bhp and over 1000nm.

The CBA R35 Nissan GT-R should you buy one?

The first generation R35 GT-R came out in 08-09 depending where you were and they re-wrote the supercar rulebook. My first cost £54200 when new, which when you compare it to the 911 turbo or GT3 they belittled, it has to be considered one of the great fast car bargains. But how have the early cars aged? Well i’m going to answer that now. I was very unlucky when purchasing mine as Covid-19 rocked up maybe a month or two into my ownership. This resulted in only 2700 miles being covered over a 5 month period and the poor thing sat with nothing to do for weeks at a time.

I hated my R35 a little bit when I first got it, I couldn’t believe something so advanced could behave so badly at times. You’d go for a 3-point turn or reversing manoeuvre and the change from 1st to reverse was like being kicked by Chuck Norris. Repeated clunks bangs and other reassuring noises from the transmission tunnel were somewhat disconcerting. But it grew on me I came to love how analogue it felt, with good steering response and it’s propensity to oversteer when pushed hard. A miss-judged entrance to a bend under heavy braking, then saw lift-off oversteer. Which gave me an entertaining fright.

The suspension

The early CBA cars ride badly. They’re downright unpleasant at times, great for handling, very bad for your back. I used to find myself flinching at an approaching bump or dip in the road it was that bad. However you do get used to it over time. With the “comfort” setting engaged the car is very slightly less brutal and that’s the best you’re going to get. In relative terms though for around £30-35k you’re getting something which will set blistering lap times and engage you on a twisty A-road on the way home from work. So basically pick your battles.

The gearbox

The R35s dual clutch was very cutting edge in 2008. However now it’s feeling a little dated, with occasional lurches as a gear is engaged. A clutch re-learn via ECUTEK or COBB can soften this but the characteristic is still there. My first R35 had a Litchfield clutch upgrade which gave me confidence despite the extra power, but shifts were still a little jerky at times. Early cars were known to have gearbox failures, but this is due to old software and repeated launches. Look for a car with modern software that’s not been launched tons of times and all should be well. I found in “normal” mode the automatic box collects gears but won’t give them back. You’ll be sat at 33mph in 6th but it’s too stupid to drop down a gear. My solution was to spend 99% of my time in manual mode.

The interior

A sparsely equipped cabin,means no prizes for guessing where Nissan saved money. CBA cars come with half leather seats but a touch-screen infotainment unit. Compared to German rivals the interior feels a bit cheap and shit. But I’ll be honest daily driving mine I quickly got used it and it’s perfectly fine to live with. I didn’t have any blown speakers in mine or any rattling trim pieces but I may have been lucky. Materials felt a bit cheaper but overall they’re pretty well made.

Summary

I’ve nothing against the newer GTR models, in fact the face lifted DBA cars 2011+ are my favourite. But for £28-35k the CBA really is worth a punt. They’ll have some cosmetic issues here and there but a well serviced example is more than capable of keeping you grinning. Personally i wouldn’t pay £8-12k more for the DBA but I understand why people do. Smoother gearboxes , longer service intervals and more modern appearance to name a few. The CBA cars are good and honestly I don’t think they can be matched bang for buck, especially a tuned one. Anything stage 2 or above will be absolutely capable of sticking with most things on the road and even more so the bends.

Am I selling my first supercar already?

I write this today as a man who’s just taken a deposit on one of his dream cars, but why you may be asking? Well as you know I bought this GT-R with a few cosmetic issues for a very good price. But with the Covid-19 virus continuing to make a nuisance of itself and thousands of Brits being killed, the prestige market is now itself starting to dip. Will cars plummet and the country slip into a depression? Probably not. Has the want for performance cars dropped? Definitely so. I’ve had a few messages with fairly insulting offers and more and more R35s appearing for below £30k. To put it bluntly there are bargains to be had elsewhere , which is fantastic if you’re buying but a little troubling for people like me. We like to upgrade our cars enjoy them and then buy better , jumping up the ladder as we go. But if people won’t buy our cars we get stuck.

Covid-19 has plagued much of my GT-R ownership. The car has only covered 2000 miles or so in 5-6 months. Prices are dropping and the likelihood of me being stuck with a depreciating asset was beginning to sink in. I’m passionate and driven but if I followed my heart all the time I wouldn’t have any money at all. I’ve seen an opportunity to get out, make a few quid and move on. It’s not an easy decision as I really do love my GT-R. But I now have the chance (if the car is collected and remainder of cash is paid), to save for a few months to maybe the end of the year and see what is around for a little more money. I’ve my eyes on a “stage 5” GT-R with near 800bhp and low mileage, if the price is right it could be a good deal for me.

The R35 is a car that intimidates me, not just by its speed but by its ability to financially cripple you in an instant. I would love another before my next birthday but it’s an excuse to start a track car build series, as I save hard for the next samtalkscars project. As I wrote the other day the car market now is in a strange place. There’s a lot of stock around but prices mean few are selling. In times like these a sale is a sale and you need to take what you can get. If the car is collected the car will make me £400 profit. It’s nothing to get excited about and even less satisfying when you think of the boxes of brakes and downpipes I’ll be supplying. But she’s a beautiful example and one i’m immensely proud to have owned. The R35 is by far the best car in the £30k price point and I won’t back down from that. I hope to have another soon and i’m feeling more sadness that my ownership may be over than I am happiness about the cash I’ll be receiving. Who knows? Maybe the 800bhp car will be the best thing I’ve ever driven and I’ll love it unconditionally. That’s all part of the fun of buying and selling fast cars.

An idiots guide to de-badging your car.

I’ve been messing around with cars for 7 years which now makes me feel really old. Anyway i’m forever seeing people attempting to de-badge their cars and often making a hash of it. It’s not particularly difficult but it’s something that I’ve found gets easier with time. As you can see above my GT-R looks pretty standard, however the cheap nasty looking “Nissan” badge needs to be removed. I feel it improves the lines and simplifies the back end. I tend to find sports cars look wider without their badges, my B7 RS4 saloon looked so much meaner without its 4 rings or Rs4 emblems.

Step 1 removing the badge

My first point is Heat. Let heat be your friend, adhesives for badges is usually a mixture of foam and really sticky horrible glue. This is somewhat malleable once heated. I use a hair dryer on maximum setting and pick the side I want to remove it from. After a couple of minutes you can see the foam/glue expanding and coming away slightly.

As the glue comes away from the bodywork I slip a cable-tie behind the edges to stop it adhering itself again. More heat from the hairdryer/ heat-gun (whichever you have) along the length of whatever you’re looking to remove. Then pull on the cable-tie evenly but with some force. By the time you’re around halfway along the badge will “pop” free of the bonding and be removed. See below.

Step 2 removing the residue

As you can see above the badge has been removed safely but you’re now left with the foam and adhesive residue. You need to remove this without agitating the paint or scratching the clear-coat. I use Decal Adhesive Remover, which isn’t just aptly named it does what it says on the tin. I like to spray this on, mopping up any excess with a micro-fibre cloth and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. This permeates the adhesive and softens it, making the removal easier if not time-consuming.

I would love to say I have a really technical way of doing this, but I don’t. Once the residue has softened I massage with a toothbrush, wiping away lumps of adhesive with a clean cloth. I use a fingernail to get the stubborn pieces and continue to wet the foam with Adhesive Remover. Once this is removed you’ll be left with a hologram or outline from where the badge was. Don’t panic this is why I encourage using a toothbrush to agitate as much of the glue away from paintwork.

Step 3 removing the outline

The outline is a frustrating thing to leave behind as it’s obvious a badge was once there. At this point I use a rapid-detailer and clay-mitt to cleanse the surface of contaminants and hopefully lift anything left behind from the paint. Another reason I use a clay-mitt is because i’m going to use a compound on the paint and contaminants could lead to scratching the clear-coat.

Step 4 polishing

Once the surface is clean and free from any residue break out your compound. I use Meguiars and a micro-fibre cloth applying moderate pressure. I make 2 to 3 passes with the compound, buffing it off with a clean cloth between coats until i’m happy with the finish. I then finish off with a coat of Autofinesse wax, to match the rest of the bodywork in terms of gloss and protection. I think all in took maybe 45 minutes to an hour as Nissan really stuck it down. Smaller badges or pieces of vinyl will take much less time. Be mindful of what you choose to improvise with. Small screwdrivers or sharp metal objects are likely to damage the paint, trim-removal tools can be useful as they’re strong and plastic. Hope this helps anyone looking to remove a badge or piece of tacky vinyl.

Covid-19 is now the perfect time to buy your dream car?

With the current global economic climate somewhat on its knees, due to increased uncertainty and extended lockdowns. But what does this mean for the performance car market? Well I’ve certainly been window shopping to stave off boredom while in isolation and I’ve noticed a bit of a trend. Most importantly being there’s more supercars and performance cars being listed for sale. Yes they’re not all listed at bargain prices but traders and private sellers are in somewhat of a vulnerable position. This is good news if before lockdown you were aspiring to own one of your dream cars but were maybe a few quid short.

Now i’m not going to profess to be an economic expert nor an experienced motor trader, but I’ve owned a lot of cars in a short space of time and i’m always watching the market. Before I bought my GT-R I wanted an R8 V10 and the cheapest cars then were around £43,000. I know it’s all mileage and spec-dependant but there are now 3 or 4 examples listed for under £40,000. Now a few thousand pounds may not sound like a huge hit, but for me that would be the difference between buying a car or not. Haggle a little bit and you could get another £1000 or so knocked off, which could mean you get a very good deal. Ferrari 360 prices have come down too, with several examples listed from £40,000 although many are the less-desirable F1 transmission.

I wrote a buyers guide to the B7 RS4 this week as their prices have plummeted lately, with the current situation I feel this will only compound the issue. But you could probably pick yourself up a good example with under 100k miles for £10-14k. I feel a bit stupid as I treated myself to a GT-R in January, although I paid next to nothing for it. I could maybe get out of it with a sale if i’m lucky but I think it risky and I would regret it. It’s very tempting though seeing so many prestige marques falling to a lower price point.

Now of course any bargain purchase you’re likely to make during this period would need to be long-term investments rather than the daily driver category. The world isn’t in a good financial predicament at the moment so I can’t see any cars “appreciating” further. I think we’ve seen the last of multi-million pound car sales to hide in garages. But if you’ve always lusted after an old 996 GT3, a Ferrari 360 or even a V10 R8 (yes this is my list) now could be the time to scratch the itch and get one!

I personally wouldn’t go diving into car finance, as we’ve just seen the world fall apart. So there are thousands if not millions of people massively in negative equity on their cars. what does this mean? Well if you financed that DB11 pictured above, for around market value with minimal interest, you’ve probably just lost £20k of value. All thanks to the Covid pandemic. So if you’ve a healthy credit score and can get a good personal loan rate (mine is around 3%),you could treat yourself over 2-3 years. Then sell the vehicle when the market has hopefully recovered. However you’d be no-way tied to the vehicle for an extended period so worst case you could take a small hit and sell the car when you needed too. It’s very very difficult to sell a car on finance as you need to settle the balance before the buyer can drive away. I did this years ago with my first fast car and I promised never to do it again.

The B7 RS4 a buyers guide to common faults.

The B7 Audi Rs4 came out late 2005-early 2006 depending on where you were in the world. The 4.2 Litre Naturally-Aspirated V8 was designed to deliver 414bhp and 420nm, with a stratospheric redline of 8250rpm. The engine was fantastic being used in Audi’s first supercar the R8 with a few tweaks and a lightened flywheel. Despite the characterful power-plant being revered by Jeremy Clarkson, long term ownership and running uncovered a few teething problems.

The Brakes

The B7 came with massive 8 piston callipers stolen from the C5 Audi Rs6 and first generation Lamborghini Gallardo. They were paired with 365x34mm front brake discs and provided great stopping power. The Brembo discs proved to be the weak point however, with the drilled surface often filling with brake dust and failing to dissipate the heat. You’re then met with an unpleasant vibration through the steering-wheel and brake peddle. The main cure for this was to have your discs skimmed or opt for aftermarket replacements , being floating bells neither are particularly cheap. Skimming will cost around £150 however Reyland Racing offer replacement discs for around £350. These are slotted are not prone to warping.

Carbon (the swear word for B7 owners)

So you may have noticed I wrote what the power figures were supposed to be instead of the actual. Our friend carbon has a little involvement for that being the case. Most B7 and B8s for that matter,never made their quoted figures and over time the ports would be coated in carbon deposits. Every 40,000 miles or so the B7 requires the removal of its inlet manifold and all 8 ports manually cleaning (none of that cheap hydrogen crap). The cost is anywhere around £500 upwards as it’s a timely process, with Walnut shells used to “blast” the hardened carbon deposits away. I’ve seen B7 RS4’s run as low as 330bhp at the flywheel a solid 84bhp down on standard figures. A healthy example in stock form would maybe run 390-400bhp.

Suspension

Audi pioneered Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) I believe in the C5 RS6 platform, a great setup when it’s working. Sadly this wasn’t often. The B7 and later B8 RS4’s are still plagued with reliability issues of the system. My first B7 had 4 sets of DRC before my ownership and it was starting to fail again. I opted for Bilstein B14 upgrades, which stiffened the car and transformed the handling overall. The driving dynamics alter a little with the chassis feeling more rear-biased and firm but for the money you can’t really complain. I think I was quoted £250 a corner for a DRC strut back then before labour and re-pressure. The £815 I paid for the Bilsteins and a few hours on my drive saved me a fortune and arguably improved the handling too.

Auxiliary radiators and Oil Coolers

The B7 RS4 in saloon guise was also sold in the USA (Audi don’t do that often), therefore it has some additional cooling to compensate. Beneath each headlight and behind the honeycomb grills there’s an Auxiliary radiator. The UK market only needs one but these are prone to leaks. However the good news is they are reversible RH-LH etc. Most remove the drivers side radiator and fit a cold-air intake kit when opting to remap the vehicle. The Oil Cooler sits at the bottom of the centre grill, with connections and pipes corroding until failure. This is easy to spot if you stick a torch through your front grill or you find oil on your under-tray. My first RS4 had a Forge upgraded unit, positioned higher in the grill it lowered temperatures by several degrees especially when driven hard. The forge unit sounds expensive at £500 however this is similar to replacing the standard part, if yours is perished i encourage an upgrade.

Inlet manifold flaps

So we’ve discussed venturing beneath the Inlet manifold to remove carbon however while you’re there it’s worth investigating the intake-flaps as well. My First B7 managed to nearly ingest one (sadly this isn’t a rare case). There is a shaft per bank and the “flaps” are held in place by two screws each. These unfortunately are known to come away and go through the engine causing heavy damage. My car fortunately was very lucky. It’s possible to leave the shaft in place and remove the intake-flaps, this can help confuse the ECU and avoid error lights. A remap is best after removal as it alters cold-starts and they sound a little rough. James at P&G automotive charged me £200 for this work as at the time I needed an oil feed pipe replacing at £100. With a carbon clean all at once I think my bill was £800.

Exhaust valves

The standard system has valves just before the exhaust tips. These are operated by a vacuum system hidden up in the rear bumper, however these are known to corrode and stick in one position. This is common on standard exhausts , the valves are designed to open with “Sports” mode engaged. You can delete this by fitting a non-valved exhaust system and blocking off the vacuum lines with small screws and cable ties (you’re welcome). A little tip on exhaust upgrades whilst i’m here , a “resonated” exhaust will have boxes in the centre section. These lower the volume of the system and prevent drone. “Non-resonated” systems tend to be effectively straight pipes all the way to the back-boxes. These are both louder and tend to drone at motorway speeds so maybe opt for valves.

Aluminium oxidisation

The RS4 has mirror mounts fitted made of aluminium you will commonly see these looking white and powdery. This is aluminium oxidation whilst you can have these powder coated it may be as well to just replace them as mirror removal is never the easiest thing on these cars. The going rate for a pair for mirrors is circa £400 upwards so you’ll want to be very careful removing them. The wings may blister as well , any good body shop will be able to rectify this but chances are you’ll end up having a full front end spray to colour-match.

Miscellaneous

Most Quattro drive-train cars are very sensitive when it comes to tracking, so if you’ve given it a whack with a pothole you’re best off having alignment checked asap. The B7 is more than happy to toe-in and kill your tyres very quickly. Again due to Quattro you may find the car tramlines depending on the tyres you’re using. I’ve heard a lot of reports of Pirelli’s being bad for this , most prefer the Michelin Pilot Sports.

Seat bolsters don’t always inflate correctly with sport mode. If you have a car with the sculpted buckets you may need to delve into the cars menu and turn this feature on. If you retrofit bucket seats you will need VCDS(VAGCOM) to program these in.

Check oil consumption a little every 1500 miles or so is pretty common, however if you’re encroaching on a litre every 1000 miles or less you may need to have the PCV replaced. This is a good maintenance item to replace during a carbon clean and fresh oil afterwards doesn’t hurt. Hope this helps any prospective buyers out there. I loved both of my B7s i won’t lie and say they’ll appreciate but they’re cheap manual V8 FUN.

What do you replace an R35 GT-R with?

This is a somewhat subjective piece but the question I feel is still a relevant one. The R35 was a car I’d never planned on actually owning, they always felt unobtainable and if I’d managed it they’re ruinous to run, but here we are. Coming from fast Audi’s over the years the logical progression and dream was a first generation V10 R8. It’s a re-badged Gallardo effectively. You get the 5.2 litre V10, a manual gearbox (if you wish) and 518bhp which can easily be increased with a map tweak and exhaust. However the GT-R’s ability now overshadows the R8 it’s faster, arguably more agile and would decimate the V10 on track. The GT-R community is one I’ve learnt has a lot of cash. I’ve never known so many £100,000 builds spoken of so casually, not forgetting the monstrous power figures to match.

The last few months I’ve seen owners move on from their GT-R’s in semi-unique ways. Most enter more elitist supercar marques such as Lamborghini and Ferrari, some even opt for one of the latest McLaren models and then set about tuning it further. Unless I start getting paid a lot more per article or i’m offered the Top Gear job (both of which are highly unlikely) I simply can’t afford to go that route. I’ve said before how i’m young stupid and still learning about driving and performance cars. I’m not going to sit here and pretend i’m a driving god, the fact I’ve kept a modified GT-R on the road so far is as much of a claim to ability as I can make. So without the money to go elite supercar shopping never mind the lack of salary to run one what does this leave? Well in short going down an alternate tangent altogether.

The GT-R is without doubt a rocket-ship it’s re-defined what I consider “fast” and at the beginning it gave me a scaring more than a few times. The chassis is incredibly competent you can feel a little sidewall movement from the tyres when you’re pressing hard. The strangest feeling is when the weight-shifts mid corner. You pick your line and steering input then the weight moves to one side, it doesn’t alter your line but you can just feel it shift. It’s a feeling I can’t say I enjoy.

I love how communicative the R35 is and when it brakes away it will almost certainly pull itself straight again under throttle. I just wish it weighed a lot less. I feel I need to explore a different avenue to help my development as a driver. The GT-R has taught me to think quicker and the speeds that are capable in a road car, but what I would really like now is less weight and a manual gearbox. The R8 V10 is not by any means a light car but they’re certainly compact when compared to the GT-R. I’ve mentioned before my love for the BMW 1M coupe as they’re short, wide and gorgeous. From all reports they’re quite a handful as well. I’d be lying though if I said I wasn’t concerned about moving to a car with HALF yes HALF the power of the R35.

I’ve really developed a love for the Porsche 911 lately , specifically the second generation 996 GT3. Bucket seats, roll cage, fire extinguisher, rear-wheel drive and light-weight. This sounds like a recipe for a simply massive accident on a wet Welsh B-road, but I think i’m up to the challenge. Sadly the 996 GT3 feels unattainable again as these are still £60,000 cars. It’s nice to dream though and maybe one day I’ll get lucky. As I’ve said above I can’t go faster than an R35 GT-R and I certainly don’t want to daily one with 100k miles. I’ll have to try a different recipe for fun in the near future. Would you go mid engined and manual gearbox? Front engined rear-wheel drive and manual? Or rear-engined rear-wheel drive and manual? What does it for you?

The GT-R that was nearly mine….for a monthly mortgage payment.

It’s 2020…. barely and I’m lying to myself yet again. Most people’s New Years resolution is to eat less crap or cut the booze for a little while. But not me I rarely drink and food makes me happy , my goal was to save money and avoid high-performance cars. I’ll never forget watching videos on YouTube of the V8 R8, a car I’ve always had a love affair with. I remember at 20 just before I got my first Audi RS4 telling my father I was going to have an R8 one day soon. The memories came flooding back and I saw one on autotrader at under £30k. It was Daytona grey, manual and looked fantastic. A rare stroke of hard work and financial timing meant I had the cash to hand should I lack the restraint to walk away. I’m not a spiritual guy by any means but I like to think the universe gives you a hint every once in a while , other times it kicks you in the balls.

Anyway I managed to get both. The R8 was sold and I was offered another with better spec and lower mileage , of course it was more money. This car sold too so that was the end of it. They had an R35 GT-R in stock too which I deliberately avoided because running costs petrified me. Anyway you’ll see a pattern emerge the silver CBA GT-R also sold rather quickly. At this point I was feeling the universe repeatedly stamping on my groin and telling me not to buy things. However …. a keen salesman calls me saying they’ve a 2015 GT-R coming into stock as you can see by the pictures. My memory is a little hazy but I’m sure it had around 40,000 miles on it, Litchfield stage 1 software new brakes on the rear and 1 owner from new. We started at a big number of around £41,000 (no I have no idea how I got in this situation either). The salesman and I went back and forth all day long endlessly pissing about with numbers , tweaking deposits and where I wanted to be monthly to make it work. I’m sure I offered a deposit of £15,000 at first which quickly became £18,000 it was all getting out of hand really.

I think with a £15,000 deposit we were somewhere in the region of £580 a month, I can’t remember exactly I was likely hyperventilating somewhere. Anyway the “best” haggling I could muster saw the number down to around £38,000 total for the car. But the finance company the dealership used wasn’t FCA (financial conduct authority) registered. So my “safe” idea of a large deposit lower monthly payments and savings leftover for “GT-R” emergencies as I now call them, was out of the question. I’m sure the best I got the monthly payment down to was around £500 per month. However a new type of finance which works similar to a PCP but without the balloon payment , the term is 96 months or something daft. So basically the car would’ve cost me £63,000 by the time I’d paid for it and it would’ve been worth less than half that in 8 years time. I spent all day on the phone getting more and more stressed and for good reason I pulled the plug. The GT-R was a car I never meant to own because of their at times Herculean running costs. Never mind being tied to one for 8 years and a paying a damn mortgage-sized lump every month.

The R35 platform as I know it is immensely capable and they’re rocket ships. However I don’t think a stage 1 car without the V6 symphony (stock exhaust fitted) would’ve been enough for me anyway. I’ll be blunt I would’ve been too poor to run it , too poor to modify it and therefore far to poor to enjoy it at all. It’s my proudest dodged bullet to date. The example was gorgeous and I did have some walk around videos, although the numbers were crippling it cemented my want for a Nissan GT-R. I still get a kick out of walking past mine on the drive every morning and to purchase one at 24 feels a bit ridiculous if I’m honest. It’s also easier to enjoy these cars when you’re not paying a vast sum just to own it, enabling some money to be spent improving it and adding personal touches. This all adds to the experience of owning a supercar-killer.