Once again, I prove that I can’t be trusted to be on the internet without supervision; I’ve added a fifth car to the fleet.
I like to keep an eye on the latest and greatest cars for sale, just you know, to see what the market is doing. Occasionally, like the 318ti, a deal comes up and its too good to just ignore.
That’s what happened in the case of the new car. It had been listed for less than an hour, and after consulting with my wife, I pounced. The seller didn’t use a whole lot of words when listing it, just “Tidey car got wof out of rego but will put new one on sale selling bc we don’t need it manual transmission”.
The photos weren’t bad, but had been taken on a potato.
It was enough to hook me, so I asked some questions.
Are there any issues with the car? “Nah its perfect”.
Any issues with the clutch or gearbox? “No the car runs great”.
Paint is all good yeah, no peeling or fading? “Yep”
Well hell, who can argue with answers like that? I make an offer below the asking price, which was accepted (pending me viewing the car) and we agree on a time to drive up the next morning.
After raiding some cash machines to get a fat stack of 20s, gassing up the Honda, we were ready.
The next day the weather was lovely and clear, the Honda performed flawlessly and we made the 2.5 hour drive to see the car.
Initial thoughts of the car were that it wasn’t “perfect” as had been described. The headlights were cloudy and yellow to a point they won’t pass the next WOF, there was a decent scrape on the LH front corner which has popped the bumper out of the retainer, and the rear tires were low on tread (legal, but only just). Still, the paint was good otherwise (if a bit hard to see under all the dirt, dust and cobwebs) and the interior although disgusting was in decent condition.
I got the key from the seller, who proceeded to say “oops I forgot to tell you the key is broken” and hand me a taped up key blade from the remote locking system. The remote was in the car but didn’t work, neither did the remote locking buttons on the doors.
I inserted the key into the ignition, turned it, and after being reminded I needed to press the clutch down to start, the engine fired into life and settled to a nice cold idle. Promising.
We set off on a test drive. Immediately I noted the engine was flat when accelerating. This is the same thing I experienced when buying the last Sport, and it’s from being run on 91 octane and the ECU pulling timing to protect the high compression engine. Everything else seemed to be fine; the clutch bit fairly low on the pedal but didn’t slip and wasn’t dragging, the gearbox shifted nicely if a bit firm, and it tracked nice and straight. All the electrics worked, as did the heater and AC.
Strangely I did notice the RH side wing mirror wobbled and vibrated like crazy over bumps. It seems a pivot is broken and the whole mirror wobbles about. The electric adjustment and folding still work correctly.
We get back and after some discussion with the seller, and negotiations with his mother, we settle on a reduced price. Hand over the cash, wait for them to count the stack of 20s, change ownership online and off we go – straight to the nearby BP for a full tank of (not so cheap) 98 octane.
After a quick lunch, we had to pop to a local shop and buy some cheap spanners since weirdly neither of the cars have a 10mm spanner in their tool kits, so I could disconnect the battery and reset the ECU for the new fuel.
There was a bit of a scare after resetting the ECU when the anti-skid light started flashing when the key was turned on, something that didn’t happen before disconnecting the ECU, but it went away once on the move and hasn’t come back.
The drive back was mostly uneventful other than two things. First, the 98 octane really started to wake the engine up. It’s gone from feeling very flat and lethargic to revving harder and being more punchy. Secondly, the clutch started to drag and cause me grief.
Yes, the clutch that was fine during the test drive, start to get worse and worse as the drive progressed, to a point where the clutch wouldn’t completely disengage and would drag when at idle in gear, making it unpleasant to sit at intersections in gear, but the flip side to that is that it got really hard to get into gear when stopped with the engine running, so it ended up being a game of “don’t stop” and just rolling through any intersections I could. As long as I rev-matched up and down the box it was fine when moving.
We made it home OK. So what did I have?
Well, its a 2009 Suzuki Swift Sport with 146,000km. Facelift, JDM import, in a fetching shade of Techno Blue Metallic. Powered by the 1.6L M16A Twin cam engine, with a 5 speed manual box behind (beside?) it.
Unlike my previous one, this doesn’t have the Mega Option kit with the projector HID headlights or Recaro seats. I’m stuck with the old black housing halogen headlights and the (still quite heavily bolstered) Suzuki seats. Neither of which is a dealbreaker, or an issue. It does have the remote keyless entry and start though (albeit currently non-functional).
This one is also completely stock standard. Unlike the last one with 17″ wheels, adjustable suspension, aftermarket intake and exhaust, this one is as it comes from the factory.
It’s far from perfect, but its what I wanted and for the price I paid I’m very happy with it, clutch issues and all.
The photos are quite deceptive, as the whole car is filthy inside and out. The paint should look really good when it’s clean though. I much prefer blue to the yellow.
Being a later facelift car there are a couple of changes over the early ones like the yellow one. The obvious one is moving the side repeater lamp up into the mirror, instead of on the front guard. The less obvious ones are that the facelift has a higher 7000rpm redline (up from 6800rpm) and allegedly a taller first gear and shorter final drive.
The goal is to upgrade a few things on the car and have it as a fun weekend/track car. It’s cheap enough and parts are plentiful, that I don’t have to worry too much about it. This will replace the BMW, and possibly the Tomcat.
Yes, the first modification was to send those pink plate frames right to the bin.