Episode 238. Vauxhall Carlton. L298 VLW.(Part 5).

 The other day, while I while I was out and about I realised that I had neglected to put up any pretty pictures of my Carlton, I'll admit, that these are not great, but I do try to make an effort with my car photographs so that I have some sort of rekord of it for my own uses. Unfortuanately because of the rain, and it being dark I had to take my photos in a car park. So I went to the local Jet wash, blasted off all the  mud that I had collected en route, found a car park, and wiped it down with a chamois before taking a few pictures which I thought that I would now share with you on my last post about this wonderful machine.

This one's for all you Borbet loving wheel whores! Anyway, lets not dwell on that for a moment, let's talk about car #10, the Mk2 Vauxhall Carlton estate, because there it goes off into the night...

Well that was relatively painless! I even got all of my money back, well, nearly, I got £800 for it, and it cost me just £817 if you are including train ticket and the hideously expensive taxi ride to collect it! 

So then, lets talk about my month of driving it. When I collected it there was 124687 miles showing on the odometer, and I took the odometer to 125298 miles which means I managed to cover 611 miles, and it was good! This took care of 126.92 litres or if you're old like me, 27.91 UK Gallons of BP's finest petrol... No really, look:-

I tried it on regular 95 Octane go-go juice and it pinked a lot, so I stuck BPs good stuff into it and it was far happier, and so I kept with it. I've often wondered if indeed I would get better mileage by using the good stuff, and would it actually make it worth paying the few pence more per litre that it costs. Perhaps this should be something I put to the test for another time. But anyway, with the Carlton sucking up 27.91 UK Gallons of BP's finest petrol over 611 miles this of course means that it was returning 21.89 miles per gallon! Strewth... Thats not exactly brilliant, and infact it's really not much better than the 5.0 litre Mercedes SEC which was giving me 19.47 miles per gallon! I thought this would be far better, and just sip at the go-go juice! Moving on before I start to really think about it and go on a full on Victor Meldrew rant, these 28(ish) gallons of petrol cost me £145, thats £1 every 4 miles incase you're wondering, I can feel that rant building up inside me! So I'll try to see past that and keep in mind that despite it's thirst it was still a lovely car to drive!
Under the bonnet the chromed and polished 2.0 litre GM C20NE engine whirred away happily and lugged the Carlton and it's occupants along quite nicely, although with only 116 horsey power to play with when it was new it was never going to set the world on fire while it was trying to push 1.14 tonnes of Carlton estate through the air no matter how aerodynamic it is. Having said all that, it was nice enough for everyday driving, and unless you were trying your luck at the traffic light grand prix you never noticed it's lack of power that didn't live up to it's looks!
While I am thinking about how it looks, in my opinion this is a great looking car. Although I think it would have suited me better if it was just stone cold stock as I never did fall in love with the Borbets, the eyebrows, or the mirrors, and I think that if I had decided to keep it, without a shadow of a doubt I would have changed all of those items. But apart from that, I like the colour... Ish, I know that Jewish racing gold probably isn't the best colour in the world, but on this car I thought that it  actually suited it very well. Despite the fact that I prefer the shape of the earlier mk1 Carlton, as I've said before, the mk2 looks very nice, but for me it's just a bit too slippery, a bit too aerodynamic, however over the last month or so it has grown on my somewhat, and I think that it's still pretty damn cool!
Inside the Carlton was a very nice place to be, I think that when this car was new it would have been the model that was leaving Vauxhall's line up to be replaced by the Omega, and therefore, it would've been the Carltons final hooraah , and so it was given all the toys, and this in my opinion made it feel very special, and as I said before, I think it may actually be possably better than the Mercedes in there... Just! But despie this it's just not quite as nice as the Omega was, which as I'm sure you remember I thought was a very nice car indeed! At the beginning of this project I really wouldn't have believed that I would be writing that some that some old Vauxhall was better, and more comfortable inside than a Mercedes, let alone two old Vauxhalls were better! But there you go, I've said it now, and it's out there for every Mercedes owner to read and shake their heads in disbelief! Much as I am doing now.

All the seats were finely covered in dead cow, and were extremely comfortable. In the front the seats were powered and heated, now, I've not had many cars with leather interiors before, and a lot of people always talk about their leather interiors, and how good they are, and I must admit, I've always quite fancied a leather interior in my cars, and I've had a few with leather interiors. However, as a rule I've always owned the cars with leather interiors in the Summer months. Getting into the Carlton on a cold morning I found those seats to be very chilly, however, the heaters in the seats warmed them up very quickly, and for this I must admit that I was very thankful!
In the back, yet more cow skin! My two little Monsters said they were very comfy, even on long rides, and they had plenty of room to stretch out in. But  unfortunately for them, they didn't have the luxury of the electrically heated seats, and would moan in the mornings on the school run that they were freezing! Having said that, they wern't so cold that they didn't keep the windows wound up on the way to school. I think that this was in a bid to make my bald head as cold as their bums were on the cold leather seats!
I can describe the back in one word... MASSIVE! This really is how the boot on any load lugger should look. However I did find the dog gaurd a bit restrictive, but it did help to restrain my two little Monsters. I must admit that I quite like the idea of having a dog guard between the occupants and the load area, but having an estate car means that there will be times when you want the seating to be configured more like a van,. Like for example if you're collecting a wardrobe, or a bike or something, so if I was to keep the car, then I'm pretty sure that the dog guard would get removed. Although that being said I probably would still hang on to it so that I could pop it back in should I feel the need. The other little niggle I had about the boot was this:-
Yep, that's the tailgate wide open! This was great if you happened to be sitting under it while it rained, but wasn't that good when you were loading it. I have the bruises on my bald head to prove it! I can't believe that this is how it came from the factory, and I believe that this was another modification carried out by the previous owner, but why would anyone fit shorter boot struts you might ask? Well, you might remember that the back of the tailgate had these sticky marks left by a pair of large rectangular stickers, which you can still clearly see in the photograph of the Carlton leaving me. I've been thinking about them, and I wondered what on earth you would want stickers like this on the back of your car for? What was on them? The explanation that I fenally settled upon was that I reckon that at some point this Carlton was owned by someone with a disability. My feeling is that these stickers probably read something like "Please leave room to get my wheelchair out", and this probably also explains why the tailgate doesn't open very high, so that it can be easily reached from a wheelchair to close it. It's the only theory I can think of that might explain why this car is like that.
Anyway, in summary I've got to say that all in all this was a very nice car, it was in superb condition, and had clearly been looked after, and loved. But, would I have another one? No, no, not really. Don't get me wrong it is a lovely car, but it just didn't do 'it' for me, I don't know what it is thats missing from the experience, I can't quite put my finger on it, but something is missing for me. I think it's a lovely looking car, and it's lovely to drive, and it even feels a bit special, but I have to say that as much as I like this Carlton, I much preferred my Omega, it was just better. Oddly, I also prefer my mk1 Carlton, as it's worse(!?) which seems like a very strange thing to say. I have to admit though that I almost feel bad for not liking it, as I have wanted a Carlton estate for ages. I am, however quite glad to have called this car mine, it is a beautiful car, and lovely to drive, and had I not won it I feel that I would've always wondered what it was like to own and drive, but now I know, and as I've got the mk1 estate now hiding in my garage I am more than happy to let this one go. Especially as it's going home with one of my friends so I know it's going to a good home.