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 Post subject: My Bosnia roadtrip notes
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:02 pm 
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Just thought I'd update here in case anyone else does a trip like this. Am driving my Corrado VR6 from Glasgow to Sarajevo via France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.

France - LPG available many places but not all and there are several sites showing where the LPG stations are. Motorway ones are almost all E0.88 per litre, but go 1kn off track to a Carrefour, Cora or Auchan and it's only E0.75ish

Germany - again fairly frequent and good online sites showing stations, allowing planning and so on.

Austria - virtually no LPG. Was lucky that there was on between Salzburg and Klagenfurt, so gilled up there. Was a reasonable £0.789.

Slovenia - Lots of LPG stations, most of the motorway 'Petrol' stations have LPG and fairly cheap. That was from Austria through Ljubljana to Croatia.

Croatia - only just arrived in Zagreb and there are loads of LPG stations. Only about 58p! Will post mpore on Croatia as I progress.

My fuel consumption has decreased in Europe for some reason, now getting 25/6 mpg in the VR6 sitting at 75/80mph. This is compared to 23mpg in the UK at similar. Maybe Butane has something to do with it as I noticed most places have more butane than propane.

Finally, been making full use of my adaptors I bought, broad mix across the countries.

France - Euro cup
Germany - ACME twist in
Slovenia - Euro Cup
Croatia - tbc

Any questions, please let me know! Best tip - plan refueling stops each night and have two backups in case of closed stations. Have foiund 5 closed or being renovated. I've only had to do 50miles on petrol and that was my initial bad planning.

:-)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:48 am 
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Now nearly home after over 4000miles.

Final Updates -

Bosnia (Metkovic - Sarajevo) - Loads of LPG stations and only 52p per litre. They use the Eurocup.

Croatia - All Eurocup.

Switzerland - no LPG stations between Lugano and Basel on the m-way sadly. Ironic given they fact they think they are eco friendly.

Has been a great trip and my fuel costs have worked out and nearly £400 less than they would have been on petrol. Petrol is more expensive on the continent than the UK :(


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:15 pm 
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What a great little travel log.

Hope everything else worked out for you just as well on the trip.

Thanks

PJPJ


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:47 am 
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Are we going to see lots of great pics when you get back?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:35 am 
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I kept track of the trip here...

http://the-corrado.net/showthread.php?5 ... -one-piece!


Made it back safely, really was some trip for the old girl. She's now about to hit 180,000miles and still going strong. Gas was completely reliable too. Def reckon the European mix of gas gave better fuel consumption, possibly the butane mix helped?

All done for another year! :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:05 am 
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Just thought I'd resurrect this as we're planning another trip foe next year and looking for people's experiences.

The plan is to hit all the 'ia's' in Eastern Europe, that is, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.

High level plan is drive to Italian coast, then take ferry to Dubrovnik and head south before working our way up though Serbia exiting from the north of the country.

If anyone has any country specific tips and information, I'd love to hear them!

Specific points I'm intersted in are Green Cards/Insurance, fuel availability and road condition. PLanning taking the Corrado but from initial research I might need to beef up the tires and suspension?

Thanks, J


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:01 pm 
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Not done Macedonia or Albania but done the other three. You MUST have a green card for Serbia as it isn't EU. If you don't have one, or you do but Serbia isn't specifically marked as being included, they will charge you 120-140 Euros for one months Serbian motor insurance (no matter how short a time you intend staying there). Serbia also has tolls on the motorway that are modeled on the French charging (if I remember right, it was something like £40 to get from Bulgaria at Gradinje to Hungary at Roszke). Romania will be quite a nice country when they build some roads. Their A4 is, in places, marginally better than your average British cart track (and marginally worse everywhere else!). Bulgaria is by far the most civilised of them all with pretty reasonable roads over most of the country.

I did UK to Sofia and back in a long wheelbase LDV Convoy van. I went via Romania but the state of the roads and the messing around (and cost) of getting over the Danube at Calafat (ask me and I'll tell you that saga!) meant that I changed my route and came back via Serbia (and found out about the insurance problem). Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria will charge you a few Euros for a motorway vignette which you can buy at the border or at the motorway filling stations and stick in your windscreen. If you risk it and don't buy one, it's an on-the-spot fine if they spot you driving without one. This was despite the fact that Romania doesn't appear to have any motorways and I didn't use any motorway in Bulgaria either. Bulgaria will charge you for medical insurance when you enter the country too. It was only about 10 Euros but I later found out that if I had showed them my European Healthcare Insurance Card (available from http://www.nhs-ehic.org.uk/) I wouldn't have been charged.

Although the van ran on diesel, I did notice that most filling stations sold GPL as well although didn't take too much notice of the price. Not many are open at night though so if you are travelling through the night, make sure you've got a full tank.

If you smoke, don't try to cross the borders with more than 200 cigarettes per person if they were bought in any of the 'new' EU countries. I found that they worked out at about 60p a pack in Bulgaria so bought a few cartons. When crossing from Serbia into Hungary I was asked if I had any cigarettes and dutifully showed them the carrier bag and receipt from a Bulgarian supermarket. EU country to EU country and for personal use, no problem I thought. The cigarettes were seized, I was kept sitting around for nearly 6 hours and I was fined just over £400 which had to be paid in cash (they hold your passport while you go to the nearest town to find a cashpoint). It was only at the end when they got an interpretter in (and very nice she was too!) who explained that I should have declared them in writing rather than verbally and would then just have had to pay the 10p a pack difference in duty between the rate in Bulgaria and the rate in Hungary. I had to lodge an appeal there and then and follow it up within 28 days. I got my money refunded about 4 months later. From the nationality of the others waiting around at the Customs post it seems that this was a rather nifty way of increasing the countries income as they were all non-Hungarians and probably most of them wouldn't bother with chasing up an appeal. Oh, and if you can't get enough cash out of the cashpoint, they impound your vehicle instead......

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'96 Saab 900XS, AEB Leo, sold
'93 Range Rover 4.2 LSE, Lovato LovEco, sold
'98 Ex-Police Range Rover 4.0, Singlepoint AEB Leo, my daily motor
'97 Range Rover 4.0SE, eGas multipoint, a project.....

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:32 am 
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Thanks Gilbertd, much appreciate you sharing your experience.

Do you think I'm being a bit optimistic taking the Corrado? It's on standard ride height, but not sure if I should really be thinking about something higher? It's only my dear mother and I and Corrado it great but worried it's a bridge too far for it!

I tried to get a Greencard here last year, but insureres were not interested (Endsleigh at the time). Do most main border controls offer Green Cards? For Bosnia, we got one off a wee man in a caravan next to the Border post!

Thanks again, J


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:48 am 
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It isn't so much ground clearance as the lack of smooth road surfaces, so a good suspension service before setting off wouldn't be a bad idea. The A4 through Romania is the main Hungary (Mako) to Bulgaria (Calafat) road so carried mostly fully loaded 44 tonne trucks. The volume and weight of the traffic combined with summer temperatures of up to 40C mean that the tarmac melts and the grooves that form are horrendous. You'll find bends where you don't need to steer as it's almost like running on tracks! Other places have had work done but are even worse. When I went there were big signs up saying that the road was being rebuilt using an x million Euro EU grant but for most of the road it looked like they had hired one of those things that scrapes the surface off and then got bored and gone home. Every so often, I'd come across a nice smooth bit of tarmac but it only seemed to last for a mile or so before it was back to the rough stuff. In comparison, Bulgarian and Serbian roads are pretty good, easily suitable for a standard car.

You must get the green card. Check the territorial limits on you insurance police. On some policies this is just the UK on others it is all EU countries. Your current insurance, assuming fully comp, drops to third party if you are outside the territorial limit of the policy (in fact some drop to third party even if you are still within the territorial limits but outside the UK). No matter which, you will not be covered at all in Albania and Serbia. Full details are here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/Ow ... /DG_067624. If your insurers won't supply you with one, I suggest you argue until they do. They are not allowed to charge for a green card but can, and probably will, charge you for extending the cover so you have fully comp cover outside the territorial limits. Most borders don't offer anything (as you don't have to stop) unless you are travelling into or out of the EU. Some, like Serbia, will want to check all of your documents and, if you don't have a green card specifically marked as valid for Serbia, will sell you insurance. They aren't selling you a green card (if they are you are buying a worthless piece of paper), they are selling you motor insurance at whatever price they think they can get away with. Other countries, like Belarus (to the east of Poland) and possibly Albania, will issue you with a passport for the vehicle which must be surrendered when you exit the country otherwise they will charge you the import duty on however much they assume you could have sold the car for (even if you are still driving it!).

I would also recommend you get an International Driving Permit (see http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/ov ... untry.html) even if you have a UK photocard licence. This confirms that you are licensed in multiple languages and carries a photo. I had to have one as I still have the old green paper licence without a photo, interestingly enough, it shows me as being entitled to drive HGVs even though I'm not......

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'93 Range Rover 4.2 LSE, Lovato LovEco, sold
'98 Ex-Police Range Rover 4.0, Singlepoint AEB Leo, my daily motor
'97 Range Rover 4.0SE, eGas multipoint, a project.....

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:50 pm 
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Really great travel reports, made for excellent reading!

Interesting point about the possibility of the mix used on the continent being better for fuel consumption than our one here. I was also surprised to hear that the price of petrol was so high in the EU in comparison to over here in the UK. It must have skyrocketed since I went over last!

Nice to read both reports though, if all goes ahead with my gas conversion in the new year I'm hoping to do a bit of a road trip through central Europe in April so it was fascinating to read about similar experiences! :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:01 am 
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Gilbertd wrote:
Not done Macedonia or Albania but done the other three. You MUST have a green card for Serbia as it isn't EU. If you don't have one, or you do but Serbia isn't specifically marked as being included, they will charge you 120-140 Euros for one months Serbian motor insurance (no matter how short a time you intend staying there). Serbia also has tolls on the motorway that are modeled on the French charging (if I remember right, it was something like £40 to get from Bulgaria at Gradinje to Hungary at Roszke). Romania will be quite a nice country when they build some roads. Their A4 is, in places, marginally better than your average British cart track (and marginally worse everywhere else!). Bulgaria is by far the most civilised of them all with pretty reasonable roads over most of the country.

I did UK to Sofia and back in a long wheelbase LDV Convoy van. I went via Romania but the state of the roads and the messing around (and cost) of getting over the Danube at Calafat (ask me and I'll tell you that saga!) meant that I changed my route and came back via Serbia (and found out about the insurance problem). Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria will charge you a few Euros for a motorway vignette which you can buy at the border or at the motorway filling stations and stick in your windscreen. If you risk it and don't buy one, it's an on-the-spot fine if they spot you driving without one. This was despite the fact that Romania doesn't appear to have any motorways and I didn't use any motorway in Bulgaria either. Bulgaria will charge you for medical insurance when you enter the country too. It was only about 10 Euros but I later found out that if I had showed them my European Healthcare Insurance Card (available from http://www.nhs-ehic.org.uk/) I wouldn't have been charged.

Although the van ran on diesel, I did notice that most filling stations sold GPL as well although didn't take too much notice of the price. Not many are open at night though so if you are travelling through the night, make sure you've got a full tank.

If you smoke, don't try to cross the borders with more than 200 cigarettes per person if they were bought in any of the 'new' EU countries. I found that they worked out at about 60p a pack in Bulgaria so bought a few cartons. When crossing from Serbia into Hungary I was asked if I had any cigarettes and dutifully showed them the carrier bag and receipt from a Bulgarian supermarket. EU country to EU country and for personal use, no problem I thought. The cigarettes were seized, I was kept sitting around for nearly 6 hours and I was fined just over £400 which had to be paid in cash (they hold your passport while you go to the nearest town to find a cashpoint). It was only at the end when they got an interpretter in (and very nice she was too!) who explained that I should have declared them in writing rather than verbally and would then just have had to pay the 10p a pack difference in duty between the rate in Bulgaria and the rate in Hungary. I had to lodge an appeal there and then and follow it up within 28 days. I got my money refunded about 4 months later. From the nationality of the others waiting around at the Customs post it seems that this was a rather nifty way of increasing the countries income as they were all non-Hungarians and probably most of them wouldn't bother with chasing up an appeal. Oh, and if you can't get enough cash out of the cashpoint, they impound your vehicle instead......


GilbertD- enjoyed reading your post. I do the Scotland - Turkey trip twice per year and have done for the past 7 years. Initially via Romania and Bulgaria simply because of the Green Card issues re Serbia. However since Serbia has become part of the green card system in January 2012 everything has become much easier and is definitely the road route to take . In 2013 I noticed a big change in the attitude of Serbian Customs officers. Much more pleasant and much less surly /difficult. I took in 6 cases of beer , declared it verbally and no problems encountered. I also was given an info leaflet advising me re what to do in the event of a speeding fine etc. Under no circumstance should any driver pay over money to traffic police - instead you have to pay direct via credit /debit card to a stipulated bank !

Was interested to read of your reference to Calafat. What a place! On the road down there I was stopped by traffic police ( wearing jeans and operating from a clapped out Fiat 128) on a trumped up charge of speeding in a 30mph area. The road I was travelling on was a very long straight road in the countryside and the only houses around were 3 or 4 empty dilapidated properties - because of this the police judged this to be a 30mph limited area ! I got a 250 euro fine but as I had no Euros - they told me to pay it at the ferry terminal at Calafat. I got there approx. 6pm and was asked to pay 10euros just to enter the harbour area ! I was then approached by 2 very big dodgy looking guys who offered to take me to the bank. The place was very isolated and I decided to make a run for it and instead detoured via Bucharest into Bulgaria. I was fully expecting to be stopped for the 250 euro fine at the Ruse border crossing but no such problems arose.
Needless to say , I have not been back to Romania since . Corrupt, intimidating, depressing, still with the old Soviet outdated economy - that is how Romania struck me . Add to the 75 dead dogs counted on the roads - what a place .That was a few years ago now and I am now toying with the idea of giving it another bash as I do know that Romania has very scenic routes to take.

With regard to LPG I have noticed real differences in quality of autogas . There are of course 000's of outlets in Eastern Europe and Turkey but I stick to the Shell, Total , Aygaz , Ipragaz outlets- as advised by locals.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:48 am 
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I'm waiting for the OP to say 'had my car converted in a day at a place in Wales, I am now in Eastern Europe and the car is running fine, those guys did a great job, thanks guys'....

Only kidding, I don't smell a rat on this thread, was really ribbing a certain South Wales installer! :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:53 am 
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You missed the other thing that you find clogging up the roads in Romania. Elderly women (or at least they look elderly but are probably in their 30's) in headscarves, wearing black and leading a scabby looking donkey towing a trailer carrying a small haystack at less than average walking pace......

Ahh, Calafat, what a saga that was. Arrived at the dock to get the ferry over the Danube to Bulgaria to be greeted by a barrier and a pretty little girly (about the only one I saw in the entire country) in a uniform . 10 Euros exchanged hands and she gives me a receipt and opens the barrier. I drive in and join the queue of trucks waiting to get on the ferry which was unloading at the time. I noticed the truck drivers going into a tatty looking hut marked 'Cash Office' with wads of papers in their hands. Assuming this was some sort of border post or Customs and I was empty, I ignored it and started to doze in the drivers seat. I was rudely awoken by a man in a uniform tapping on my window with his the barrel of his gun who pointed towards the office and told me I needed to pay. I showed him my receipt from the girly on the gate and was told I still needed to pay. Went into the Cash Office to be told I needed to pay 52 Euros. I explained I'd already paid and showed the receipt to be told that the 10 Euros was the fee to use the port, the 52 Euros was to use the ferry. As by then I had only a couple of Euros left (I had Sterling and Bulgarian cash on me but no more Euros) I offered a debit card. No, they couldn't take that, it had to be cash so I was given directions to the nearest Bancomat (cashpoint). Eventually managed to turn around and fight my way through the queue of trucks that had built up behind me and head for the entrance. Wave at the girly in the uniform and she opens the barrier to let me out. Find the bancomat, put my card in, poke the button to give me instructions in English and it asks me how many Romanian Leu I would like to withdraw. Problem is that I don't want any Romanian Leu, I want 52 Euros. Back to the docks, wave at the girly, she opens the barrier and I go back to the cash office. Explain that the Bancomat will only give me Romanian Leu but they want Euros. I'm then told that I need to draw out Romanian Leu, take them to the other tatty looking hut in the docks which is the Bureau de Change and exchange them for Euros so I can pay for the ferry. So how many Romanian Leu do I need to draw out of the bancomat so I have enough to change into 52 Euros? They don't know so we go into the Bureau and ask what extortionate exchange rate they are going to charge me. Having found out how many Romanian Leu I need to get, I drive out of the docks, wave at the girly, she opens the barrier and get to the bancomat. Draw out the required amount of Romanian Leu, back to the docks, wave at the girly, she opens the barrier, drive in and park up by the Bureau. Go in and find nobody there. Go to the cash office and am told that the woman at the Bureau has gone for her lunch but will be back in half an hour. Hang around for half an hour, woman comes back, change my Romanian Leu for 52 Euros and go back to the cash office. Hand over my 52 Euros to be told that I've just missed the last ferry and the next one won't be for 2 hours as they stop for lunch.

Is it any wonder I considered it better to pay 100 Euros for Serbian motor insurance at the border and drive on what turned out to be actually very nice roads? The fact that it all went tits up again when I crossed the border from Serbia into Hungary just added to the fun...... The cigarettes was one thing but have you ever seen the reaction of a border Customs man confronted by a very scruffy looking LDV van loaded with 60 assorted cardboard boxes?

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'96 Saab 900XS, AEB Leo, sold
'93 Range Rover 4.2 LSE, Lovato LovEco, sold
'98 Ex-Police Range Rover 4.0, Singlepoint AEB Leo, my daily motor
'97 Range Rover 4.0SE, eGas multipoint, a project.....

Proud to be a member of the YCHJCYA2PDTHFH club.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:38 pm 
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I enjoy driving in new places, taking in interesting scenery etc, but seldom get the chance. This thread is making refreshing and interesting reading!

This won't compare to the tales already told here but was a memorable occasion nonetheless! Last year the girlfriend was away in the Lake District with her daughter and sister over bank holiday weekend leaving me and my son home alone. We made a spur of the moment decision on Saturday early afternoon after I had seen a couple of customers to drive as far North as possible and sleep in the car (Chrysler Grand Voyager) or pitch a tent somewhere. Was going well until there was a beep and the alternator warning light came on just coming into Scotland. Pulled over, stopped the engine, all looked well, restarted warning light still on. Turned off all unnecessary electrics and drove into a town near Glasgow in the hope of finding a Halfords etc open to get another Alternator.. Early Saturday evening on a bank holiday now and all car shops shut but supermarkets still open. Bought a camp cooker, bread, cheese, soup, drinks etc, drove a short way out of town and stopped in a lay-by overnight. Sunday bank holiday morning, needed to be home sometime on Monday ready for a customer coming on Tuesday morning. Tapped alternator and engine warning light went off, bit of relief but not holding our breath! Decided to risk driving to some scenic waterfall only a bit further North, no problem so far. Decided to start heading back, alternator light on again and having to get out the car more and more regular to tap the alternator.. Obviously a problem with the alternator brushes. Sunday afternoon, drove to an industrial estate where there were a few tools shops etc open but no car shops open. Removed alternator which involved first removing all wiper assembly etc, found the brushes were worn out. Replaced alternator without managing to effect a repair. Still no way to get another alternator on the Sunday and probably wouldn't be on the Monday, so bought a cheap generator and battery charger from tool shop, securely strapped generator to vehicle roof bars, drove home with generator and battery charger doing a partial job of keeping battery topped up but only when running on gas after petrol pump wiring cut under the vehicle (removing fuse / relay cuts all power to engine electrics) and running on side lights on lit stretches of road. Had to keep stopping to put some charge in the battery, got home very tired and regretting the spontaneous decision! Early in the week took alternator to a local alternator rebuilder, bought new brushes and fixed the problem without needing a new alternator for £4 but splashed out on some new alternator bearings for an extra £10... The tiniest parts can cause big problems eh!

Once bought a car off Ebay, BMW750 in Devon (I'm in Yorkshire), seller said sure you can pick it up around 1am... Did a days work, drove North to pickup a car trailer with my then V70 (Jeep was off the road while I fixed the back axle), drove to South Devon to collect car following SatNav. Satnav took me the back way, tiny narrow roads with heel bends etc.. but my jaw dropped when Satnav took me across a flooded river ford :lol: Other side of ford there was a steep 1:3 hill, front wheels of V70 scrabbling for grip pulling the trailer. Arrived at time arranged to collect car, secured it on trailer, set off back, bit of a sway on trailer due to wrong weight distribution, moved car on trailer, re-secured, drove slowly back to Yorkshire wishing I was in the Jeep.

Was sent the BRC invitation for their road cruise around Europe, would have loved to have gone and was pestered to death by my son who would have loved to have gone with me, but it wasn't to be. I'm afraid the only driving in Europe I've done has been on the Costa Del Sol and Majorca.

Your work sounds great Gilbert, great cars and travel all around Europe... sigh!

Simon
Lpgc

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:53 pm 
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LPGC wrote:
Your work sounds great Gilbert, great cars and travel all around Europe... sigh!
It's not work, work is as a professionally qualified radio and electronics specialist for a Government Department, this is what I do for fun! I love driving, I will drive anything anywhere as long as I think there is anything better than about a 20% chance of the vehicle making it.

The transporting cars came about due to me and a friend having both played with cars as a hobby for years (I started 47 years ago at the age of 11, by helping my stepfather reconditioning flat twin, air cooled engines run on LPG that were used to drive a generator in the back of an ice cream van). My friend moved to the South of France about 24 years ago and over the years we had tried to make a bit of extra pocket money by playing with what we both enjoyed playing with. At one time you could pick up LHD cars very cheaply that had been bought by squaddies while stationed in Germany only to find they were virtually worthless back in the UK. So we bought a few of those, took them to France and sold them over there. These were mostly German, Porsches and Mercs primarily but the odd Saab too. All good fun, I got to play with them over here before blasting them through France, having a free holiday on the Cote d'Azure and flying home when I had to go to work at the day job. When they were eventually sold, if we were lucky we'd make a few hundred profit each, but that wasn't the point, we were doing it because we could. More recently, we've bought a few assorted UK registered cars that were owned by British ex-pats living in France. They can be picked up for next to nothing but had been out of the UK for so long hadn't had an MoT or tax for years. A couple that we actually did quite well out of where a VW Sharan that we bought for 200 Euros. Drove it back here (with no MoT or tax but I booked it in for an MoT with my local tester while waiting at Calais for the ferry so the journey through the UK was legal as I was driving it to a pre-booked MoT test ;)) where I had to put two tyres on it to get it through the MoT. Advertised it and sold it within a couple of days for £1,800. We were actually given an Audi A4SE estate. The owner no longer wanted it, it was getting in the way and he was happy to let us take it away for free. Drove it back here, it went straight through the MoT without needing anything, had it valeted, advertised it and sold it for £1,300. Not bad but still not anything that would make a living.

Then, about 5 years ago, The son of friend in France move to Los Angeles for work. Friend went over for a couple of weeks to visit and have a holiday and, while there, noticed that 1950's and 1960's American cars could be picked up for very little money. He phoned a friend in France and asked if it would be simple enough to register then there. No chance. The French will only register something that has a European certificate of conformity and as the cars pre-dated that scheme would be virtually impossible to register without greasing lots of palms and getting it done 'under the counter'. So he phoned me with the same question. Piece of p*ss says I. All that is needed is an MoT and insurance and then send the papers into DVLA. Shortly afterwards, a V5 will arrive in the post. An MoT on a 1960's car is so easy too. No emissions check, no seatbelts, no rear fog lights, etc (pre-1963 and it's still legal to have the white front/red rear indicators too). It is also cheaper to ship a car to the UK too. So, a few weeks later I collected a 1957 Lincoln from Chatham docks. Completely rust free but the paint was totally flat and the interior was starting to crumble from 50 odd years of Californian sunshine. Two track rod ends later it had an MoT, a couple of bottles of rubbing compound and a power polisher and it even looked decent. He came over to collect it and drove it home and that is when the current arrangements started. He showed it to his friend over there who asked what it had cost. In all, it stood him at just under £5k but was a 12-15,000 Euro car in France due to there being so few about. So the other friend, who happens to be very well off, suggested that he would put up the money to buy some more. So that was when I decided I needed something that could tow the best part of 3 tonnes the 1950 miles to Antibes and back, hence the Range Rover.

After an assortment of big old Yanks, his son phoned him to say he had been offered a 1958 Austin Healey, would we be interested? That started things as they are at the moment. Older British classics, big Healeys, E types, Triumph TRs, etc, anything that can be considered interesting. They come into the UK in a container, I collect them from the docks and do the absolute minimum needed to get them to scrape an MoT so they can be registered here. Then I take them to France where they get pulled apart and fully restored before being advertised for sale. As they are LHD you would expect them to be sold on mainland Europe but two have been bought by Brits so I've had to go and fetch them to bring them back! We had a Healey which was absolutely mint. All original and in beautiful condition, all it needed after I'd taken it to France was a polish. That ended up being bought by someone in Northern Germany so after trailering it to the South of France I then ended up going down there again with an empty trailer, loading it up and setting off into Italy, through Switzerland into Germany and then up to almost the Dutch border to deliver it to the new owner. I filled the LPG tank on the car 13 times during that trip!

The LDV van trip to was a bonkers wedding present for my brother and his wife. She is from Bulgaria and they got married in Sofia but after the honeymoon, for various reasons, he came back here and she remained over there for a further 3 months. She had her entire world to bring over, absolutely everything she owned and hauliers either wanted stupid money or simply weren't interested. In a mad moment, I offered to go over there with a van, pick everything up and bring it back to the UK. A mate had an ex Severn & Trent Water LDV van (complete with amber rotating lights on the roof!) that looked like it wouldn't make it to the end of the road but actually only had 70,000 miles on it's Peugeot diesel engine. Rust had attacked the rear doors so the only way of being sure they wouldn't fly open was to bolt them together from the inside so everything had to go in through the side loading door. I drove it to Bulgaria where it was loaded with 60 cardboard boxes of possessions. Each box was numbered and had what it contained written on it. Sister in law had also done an inventory in English, German and Russian with details of the contents of each box. It didn't help though as Customs men at the borders weren't interested in that, they wanted to know what was actually in the boxes. The looks on their faces when they opened a box marked books and found it contained books and a box marked shoes was found to contain, oddly enough, shoes was hilarious. I'm not sure what they were expecting to find but they didn't! One border guard rubbed me up the wrong way when I was particularly tired and it's probably fortunate that he didn't speak English. He indicated that he wanted me to empty the van so I ignored him, so he indicated that he wanted me to empty the van again. My reply, in softly spoken English so he didn't guess my reply from the tone of my voice and said with a smile was, "if you want my van emptying you can empty the f*cking thing yourself because I'm not". He smiled and restricted his inspection to opening a couple more boxes of books and shoes.........

_________________
'96 Saab 900XS, AEB Leo, sold
'93 Range Rover 4.2 LSE, Lovato LovEco, sold
'98 Ex-Police Range Rover 4.0, Singlepoint AEB Leo, my daily motor
'97 Range Rover 4.0SE, eGas multipoint, a project.....

Proud to be a member of the YCHJCYA2PDTHFH club.


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