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“But if you try sometimes…”

After 3 scrap 309s, a short foray into the Nissan Micra, and a Momentary Glimpse into the world of MGs, Rian found just what he needed.

Within 427 Motorsports, there are two of us with a serious problem, and one of us with sense. I will openly admit that me and Rian are the ones with the problem. Basically, we just can’t stop buying cars. All of us have more than one car, but only us two have decided to push it to the extreme and keep going. And keep going. And keep going.

Shea was the first of us with one, buying a BMW for having fun with at the start of 2013. I was next with my GTI, in May 2013. Over a year later in July ’14, Rian got his first 309. I would love to say it was a looker, but you can judge on that for yourself. He loved the thing though.

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“It belonged to a family friend”, he said. “I grew up with always seeing the car, sitting inside it and making car noises as a little kid.” (Sadly, I can actually picture that.) “And when the owner passed away, I had the opportunity to buy it, and lo and behold I had my first car”.

I can remember clear as day going to see it, and thinking, “why the hell did you buy that”? But that 309 sparked the start of something, and whilst it needed an insane amount of work, it created a deep love for this oddball car that has oddly rubbed off on all of us, making us all have a bit of a soft spot for them.

As you can see below, Rian got quite a fetish for them. Quite worrying, actually.

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Do you accept that you have a problem at this point?

But for now, we’re here to talk about that one that you see on the far left, with the ‘G’ registration – something that has become a must have for us, for some reason.

“When I finally was able to get insurance on a car, it had to be my sister’s Nissan Micra. It was so thirsty, and, well, frankly I’m not a nun so it didn’t really suit me. In the back of my mind I always wished I could’ve had my first 309 ready to go for getting insurance, but it just needed far too much work and was never going to happen.

After a long time of saving up, I had some money set aside to buy something cool.”

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And cool it was.
“For a long time I was looking at MGBs. I would’ve loved one with the Sebring arches with a set of Cibies on the front, and was actually seriously considering going to look at one or two. I was talked out of it by my friends though.” (Damn right you were. We weren’t going to tow you home every time you went out in it…)
“They managed to convince me that I should get a really good 309, because they’re what I’ve always loved and to have one on the road would be amazing. Also I could buy and insure one for the price of a mediocre MGB. So there’s that.”
After a while of looking at all of the classifieds in the country, I finally found one in England. “I work for a haulage company, so getting it over wasn’t going to be a problem. The problem was if it was going to be as good as it looked and sounded.
As soon as it was bought and on it’s way over, the worry set in. What if it WASN’T that good? What if the paint was bad in person? What if the thing doesn’t even run properly?” That’s the thing about buying unseen over the internet.
You don’t know until it’s already too late. Thankfully in this case, it wasn’t bad in the slightest.
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“Wasn’t bad” – understatement of the century.

“I think I genuinely could’ve cried. I could not have been any happier with it when I seen it coming off the back of the lorry. All of the fears and worries were instantly gone. I got it home, we quickly got it MOTd and insured and I was on the road.”

After the obligatory couple of shows, we set out to breaking it in. Our first big trip was to Ballyclare, about 80 miles from home. It did the trip without a single hitch, and despite my personal issues with Peugeots I had to give it credit for how fantastic of a car it is.

So what’s the plans with it then?

“Well, I haven’t got much planned for it. You don’t mess with something this original. Maybe a nicer set of wheels or a GTI front bumper, but nothing much. I’m going to just enjoy having it on the road, and prepare to make a lot of memories with it.
It’s a base-spec 1.3 ‘Style’, so the fact that this thing has survived so well and is in near perfect condition is staggering. It didn’t even have a cassette player! So I don’t want to change that. This is a shining example of how far cars have come since then.
Nowadays, you get electric everything as standard, airbags in every crevice of the car and enough electronic nannies to make sure you’re never really in control. This doesn’t even have a 12V socket to charge my phone. And I love that.”
Good on you, Rian. It only took prior three attempts, but you finally got a good one.

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