Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category


The other day I had the greatest pleasure of driving a 1963 fully restored E Type, it’s a 3.8ltr Roadster Mark one and it makes the most fantastic noise I’ve ever heard. The Jag is for sale but the owner doesn’t want lots of test pilots turning up for a drive so we here at Smokerspack towers are acting as go betweens. If you’re interested in buying the car drop us an email and we’ll pass it onto the owner who’ll get back to you. Submissions@smokerspack.com with the heading etype please.

Anyway here’s the video:

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Here is the fastest little car that we’ve seen this year, and it can corner too! Have a look at the ultimate drivers car for under 25 grand


There isn’t many cars that are capable of making you smile from the moment you see them, in fact there isn’t many things in the world that can make you smile, let’s face it this country hasn’t got much to smile about, with tax, bank bail outs, job losses it’s not a happy place to be at all.

Well I found the solution to all these problems and it comes with a soft top, the little 500 has been around since 1957 when a post war Italy needed a small, cheap and economical car to get the country moving again. It was very successful, it lasted all the way to 1975 when it was replaced with the 127.

It made a return in 2007 with the new retro model that we see today, now Fiat have taken a can opener and taken the roof off and I promise it will put a smile on your face to see it coming down the road, but it will make you a happy person to drive it.

You see the 500 is no shrinking violet, in fact in the time I was driving it around I couldn’t have attracted more attention if I turned up in a pink Zonda! Even parking it meant that it was surrounded by people by the time I got back. There is a certain Italian style about the whole car but it’s not all mouth and no trousers. The cabin is made out of some great materials and there’s great attention to detail in the styling. The best part of the design is the speedo housing, there’s only one cowl so on the outer ring is all the warning lights, the next ring in is the speedo and inside that is the rev counter. It’s nice to watch the rev needle chase the speedo needle around, in the centre there’s an MFD that can tell you everything from radio channel to average fuel consumption, when the car is stopped you can get into the settings for disabling the air bag and hooking up your phone to the blue and me system, which can be controlled by voice, so you can tell the car to dial a number and I have to say it never got the number wrong even when I spoke very fast, smart system.

On the road the suspension is firm but I would expect that from a car that has the wheel base of a roller skate, the little 1.2ltr engine puts out 68bhp but it doesn’t matter because even when your going slow it feels quick, it’s the size of the car, a go-cart with a roof. It handles like a go-cart too, you point the nose and it goes there, it’s a fun car to drive.

The point of this car is to be different, it does that perfectly, it’s non threatening, cute and most important convertible. The peel back roof is fully electric and can be operated by two buttons near the rear view mirror or the key fob. When it’s fully open it’s breezy enough in the cabin, if you leave it 3/4 open it’s just nice, a diffuser pops up at the front to push the air over the car. On a warm day it’s a lovely place to be when you’re pootling around town, and you don’t have to stop to put the roof up, you can open or close the roof at up to 60kph. When it rains the cloth roof make you feel like your in a tent, the pitter-patter of rain drops is homely while the climate control gives a warm and fuzzy feeling.

In the week I had the car I met many people, there wasn’t one of them who didn’t like the little 500c, on Saturday I met the Druid bike club, even some of the hairiest men thought the car was cool, Sunday I went along to a drift track where people only think about smoking tyres, the 500c still got the nod of approval.

From the moment I saw the little Fiat I started to smile and that smile only went away when I had to give it back, this is the only car that managed to evict my Leon from the garage, I made room for the 500 to sleep. This car has personality, it’s become a member of the family, the kids love to drive along with the roof open looking out at the sky. Sure there are some compromises, size being the obvious one, but I still got both child seat and an adult into the car, ok one of the seats had to be put in via the roof but that’s now a talking point. This is a car that makes you interesting, it shows that your not afraid to drive something different, yes it has only 68bhp but it makes you feel like it’s a sports car and that’s the point; it makes you feel.

Lots of cars make you numb, in time you forget why you bought them, you might even forget what car you drive, but I guarantee you won’t forget the Fiat 500c.

Prices start at €16,195 in the Pop model and €18,145 for the Lounge. The car I drove had these options:

FIAT 500C 1.2 LOUNGE

COLOUR: Funk White Pearlescent

INTERIOR: Red Leather (with matching Red Roof)

OPTIONS:

Pearlescent Paint

Leather Trim

Xenon Headlamps with washers

Vehicle Dynamic Control

Interscope HiFi System

Total cost of Fiat 500C  €22,600

Want to see the smokerspack test in video? Right here

For further details on the Fiat 500 range please see www.fiat.ie or visit your local dealer.


Sunday I was treated to sight in Portlaoise that’s a must for every petrol head, Drifting. The smell of burning tyres and petrol fumes excites me and watching cars go sideways in a controlled environment is even more exciting.
For €50 the drivers bring their drift cars to Clonminam Industrial Estate in Portlaoise where a man has re-invented his business model from being a container depot to a Market on Saturday and a Drfit track on Sundays. Martin Kealey has a 2 acre tarmac yard that used to be full of shipping containers and now some of those containers serve as crash barriers.
It’s a fantastic resource for a growing sport, I spoke with one of the drifters who called himself Don Juan, he had brought 16 sets of tyres between two cars. “€50 that’s nothing, we get to use the cars the way we want to, it’s great practice.” Don is looking for a sponsor too help out with the costs of running a drift car, he wants to enter the races and from what I can see he looks well placed to win some too, great car, great driver.

Here’s some pictures and a short video of some action. It’s €5 in for spectators, there’s a food van, seating area, toilets and parking. It’s worth a trip just to see these guys in action.



Here’s the video of the Fiat 500c, we are very proud of this video, yes we’re getting better….enjoy!

Does the bank own your car?

Posted: September 21, 2010 by smokerspack in advice, Car news, old cars, Uncategorized, Videos
Tags: , ,

Last nights consumer show was interesting for the outstanding finance piece that was covered. There are so many cars out there that have finance on them I would be worried about buying any car without checking it’s history. If you’re a regular reader here you will know that I’m always banging on about doing a full history check on any car you’re about to buy, not just for finance but service and write off status.
There are two cases that I know of where there are repossession orders on cars that have outstanding finance. In one of those cases the current owner bought the car over twelve months ago in a private deal and has subsequently found out that the car has outstanding finance from two owners ago, now the car is the bone of contention. They bought it in good faith from an owner who owed nothing on it, the owner before his owed thousands on the car, I wouldn’t like to be the one to sort out that mess. The debt however is still on the car, now that the debt has been sold on either the car goes to service the debt or someone has to pay the loan off. The last owner is always the looser in these cases as there’s no getting a refund on the purchase, so the car goes as does anything spent on the car.
In a recent survey our friends at http://www.motorcheck.ie found that out of 100 cars 7 of them had finance outstanding.
It breaks down like this:
It found that of the 100 examined;
– 30% of the sample turned up positive for finance on the official records of the Irish Credit Bureau
– 21% of the sample were confirmed to have been on finance on the day they were advertised (verified by bank named on the record)
– 14% of the sample still have finance outstanding today (verified by the bank named on the record)

Of the 14% that were confirmed to be on finance;
– 2 were advertised by private sellers
– 5 were advertised by a member of the SIMI
– 7 were advertised by independent dealers and not affiliated with the SIMI

So you see that there are all walks selling cars with money owed on them. It’s common for dealers to sell a car with finance, they just pay off the loan when the car sells. But if they sell you car, don’t pay the loan and go out of business there is a real possibility that the bank may chase you for the outstanding balance on the car, or that your car gets repossessed.
Take my advice and do your checks folks.

Note: Finance checks can be performed on the Motorcheck.ie website at a cost of €12 per check.
The above survey was used on RTE’s The Consumer Show last night on RTE1. To view the segment click here http://www.motorcheck.ie/blog/outstanding-finance-still-a-serious-concern/


Sorry this video is up a little late today, I couldn’t get out of some meetings. Text review tomorrow, I promise. It’s a great car too, watch the video you’ll see why.

American truck and car show

Posted: September 11, 2010 by smokerspack in Car news, car show, Videos

Here’s what I saw today, it’s still in Kilbeggan if you have a chance to drop along tomorrow it’s a fantastic family day out.


There is nothing in the world like watching some cars go sideways around a race track, there’s something about the smell of burnt tyres and petrol that makes my day, and what a day. You see today I was at Mondello race track for the JapFest, not only was there racing going on but there was a huge display of cars, some were modified and others had been bult from the ground up, if you watch the video below you’ll see a New Zealand man who built his car, it took 12 months and in the video had just been sprayed black, he didn’t get much sleep. The engine is a 1.3 rotary from a Mazda RX7 but being a Kiwi he bolted a supercharger to the top of it.

There was loads more at the track, if you ever get the chance to pop along and see some drifting then make it your business, what these guys can do in a car is voodoo, watch the video…


Small cars, by which I mean snack-box size have to be good at a number of things,
they need to handle like a house fly who just got the whiff of a bowl of sugar, enough
room for some shopping in the boot, be able to carry 4 people and be comfortable for
the driver. That to me is super-mini class, there’s more stuff you can ask of the small
car segment but if it can do my little list I’m happy.
The Clio is in this segment even though it’s gotten bigger over the years, it’s
borderline hatchback now, and if it gets any bigger Renault may do away with the
Megane altogether. Last week I was handed the keys of the little Clio and my first
thought when I saw it was “If that car was a woman, it would have a fat ass” which
was a strange thought to have about a car, but nonetheless around the rear of the car
there is a fat bit that sticks out at the bottom of the hatch. Don’t get me wrong here,
it’s a pretty car, but in the same way that once you see Jlo dancing you just can take
your eyes off her bottom, even though it makes her look a little out of proportion.
The Clio has grown up, both in terms of styling and use of materials, no longer does
the dashboard look like it’s made of bakelite and might just crumble at the next set of
traffic lights, now it seems to be made out of touchy feely materials, it’s really well
put together.


The drivers’ seat is very comfortable, the French know how to do comfort in a seat
and they have done it with the Clio, it didn’t seem to matter where I put the seat, I
still found it lovely. The back seats is a little on the tight side, but you’ll still get two
adults into it. The dash lay out is fairly ergonomic but Renault still use that overly
complicated radio, it’s just too fussy, having one button that simultaneously turns off
the power to the radio, sat nav and the blue tooth is just annoying.

The same can’t be said for the climate control, there’s three buttons that matter, Auto, hotter and colder
and it has them all right there in front of you, perfect. The radio and hands-free can
be controlled from a stalk on the right side of the steering wheel, the trouble with that
is you can’t see it when you drive in a straight line so you have to guess what button
does what, now I know you’ll get used to it but what’s so wrong with putting the
controls on the steering wheel? The USB/Aux connector meant that I could control
my Zen from the radio controls, and that my MP3 library gets displayed on the big
sat nav screen, which was nice. Other than some niggly points there’s nothing to
complain about in the cabin. The boot space is good too, 255ltrs but there’s a big lip
to get over, the up side is a deep boxy shape boot that can handle fairly big loads, if
you drop the seats you’ll get 1028ltrs and that’s a lot for a car this size.
The little 1.2ltr engine isn’t powerful, there’s only 75bhp but it is a fizzy little thing,
there’s a nice engine note when you rev it, it’s the kind of engine you push until
there’s little dents in the bonnet from the valves hitting the inside before you change
gear. If you drive it properly you’ll easily get over 40mpg, if you look at my video
here you’ll see me demonstrate that fact.


On open road the Clio is very quiet and pliant over all surfaces, the suspension set up
is just right for Irish roads, once you show it some corners the whole car comes alive.
The little engine roars what life it can give and I promise, on a dry road you would
think the car was on rails. There was no traction control on the Tom-Tom model I
drove, it is an option, to be honest I didn’t need it all week, there wasn’t a hint of
under or over steer the car passed all handling tests I could throw at it.
The Clio manages something that many other car makers would like to achieve, that

sense of style and substance all wrapped up in a little car that’s cheap to tax (€156 a
year), cheap to insure, cheap to buy and most important cheap to run. Gone are the
days of Papa and Nicole, this is a grown up super-mini with plenty to offer to the first

time buyer and the retired couple, let alone as a second car in the family. Go to your
local Renault dealer and get a test-drive, you might find that Gallic charm too.