web analytics

Return of the Weaselmobile!!!


w00t! Weasel gots WHEELS again!

We drove by this thing a week ago and Uncle B noticed a For Sale sign on it. I wasn’t even thinking about a car — certainly not before I could afford to buy one myself and pay the upkeep. And I’m still unemployed, thanks.

But I drove his car once, and it was a total gritty whiteknuckle curb-barking suckfest. I was shocked out how wrong and disorienting it was. I’ve always scored high on spatial awareness tests and regarded myself as an excellent driver for a girl, so this was too, too humbling. I hate humbling. A hooptie of the genus Miata seemed a way make some goddamned part of the experience familiar.

It’s a 1993 exported used from Japan in 2003. A word about that: the Japanese have ass-kickingly hard car inspections every two years, and they get exponentially harder to pass and more expensive as a car gets older. At some point fairly early in the life of the car, most Japanese say ahhhh fukkit, sell up to the exporters and get a new one. The British are particular beneficiaries of this policy, since the Japanese drive on the wrong side of the road, too, and they can sell the cars here more or less right off the boat.

So the model is called a Eunos Roadster, a marque only sold in Japan. I am learning the Kanji for unleaded gasoline only and do not overinflate (perhaps I’ll have one of those things tattoo’d on my lower back to impress the guys at Hanzi Smatter).

Silver. Pretty good cosmetically. About 90K miles. Under two grand American. Steering wheel on the wrong side. Union Jack on its ass.

Drives like a Weaselmobile, baby!


Comment from armybrat
Time: August 21, 2009, 7:09 pm

Sweet ride! I just don’t know how you can do that whole drive on the wrong side of the road shit. When I’ve been there, I can never get used to looking right for the car that’s gonna take me out in the crosswalk.
And how do you do that after a few at the pub? Does it become more natural?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2009, 7:11 pm

Not yet. Not even close. I was just saying today that I *still* don’t always remember to look right before stepping into the road.

And even with the new Weaselmobile, my first test drive was a bit of a white knuckle affair. It’s going to take time.

Comment from MCPO Airdale
Time: August 21, 2009, 7:22 pm

Took me about 6 months of driving in Suffolk and Norfolk to become comfortable driving on the “wrong” side. Especially disconcerting was entering a roundabout. A one day, it just clicked and I no longer consciously had to think about every turn, etc.

Enjoy it, Weasel. It looks the perfect ride for the English countryside.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 21, 2009, 7:26 pm

Not only can The Weasel not drive on the correct side of the road, she can’t do maths, either.

All in all it cost a bit more than that. And now comes the new cambelt, full service, insurance (‘you want to insure it for a weasel to drive?! click… burrrr’), maybe four new tyres…

Wouldn’t want people thinking badgers are cheap (even if it is an old banger.)

On the bright side, I’d never driven what we, over this side of the pond, cheerfully call ‘the hairdresser’s car’.

Not bad. Not bloody bad at all.

So – that’ll be a layer cut with purple streaks, will it modom?

Comment from Joan of Argghh!
Time: August 21, 2009, 8:10 pm

Hairdresser? Does your hairdresser drive like the Jolly Roger?

I drive a 95 with a super-charger. Kick-ass!

Good for you, Weasel!


Comment from Richard
Time: August 21, 2009, 8:12 pm

Great car. My sister had one – first I got to drive it was sideways, doing a u-turn out of a lay-by and floored it. Soooo much fun! Even more fun than mine (Mercury Cougar to you, Weasel, although the one original badge left says ‘Ford’).

Comment from armybrat
Time: August 21, 2009, 9:28 pm

Uncle B…I laughed out loud when I saw your spelling of “tyre.” that round bit of rubber is a “tire” across the pond. That whole “divided by a common language” thing! I should confess that as an armybrat raised in Europe, I failed most of my spelling tests when we lived in the US. I remember arguing with a teacher “I did not spell “colour” wrong!”

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 21, 2009, 10:03 pm

Armybrat ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 21, 2009, 10:57 pm

Weasel has Wheels! (dear old Uncle Badger).

Comment from David Gillies
Time: August 22, 2009, 4:03 am

C. Northcote Parkinson (he of Parkinson’s Law fame) surmised that driving on the left was the natural course of things as it freed one’s hand to salute or defend oneself. I find it hard to gainsay his argument: it’s all you other buggers that drive on the wrong side of the road.

Thoroughly academic as far as I am concerned. I can drive in a technical sense, but I’ve never owned a car. I do not drive; I am the cause of driving in other people. I’m within walking distance of my office; I can take a taxi for two quid to my favourite watering hole, get bladdered, and not get nicked for drunk driving; on beach trips I can sit in the passenger seat and drink all the beer and act like a complete arsehole. It’s very liberating.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: August 22, 2009, 4:07 am

BTW, Weasel, how does US driving licence translate to the UK?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 22, 2009, 7:23 am

I get a year on my US license. So, I got here the end of November, I have to pass the test here by the end of November. Tests. There are three: written, reaction time, and driving. And they are, by all accounts, a BOOGER. Every one of them.

Most countries, they have reciprocal agreements, so you just swap your license over. Because licenses are issued individually by each of the fifty states, they didn’t want to come to fifty different agreements, so we can’t do that. So I was told, anyhow.

Still, because I’m driving on a legal license for now, I don’t have to drive with a big red L on the car.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 22, 2009, 7:28 am

And driving on the left goes back to the Stone Age. How do they know? They studied ancient quarries. Carts drive up empty and drive away laden with stone, so they can tell by the depth of the ruts which side they were driving on.

Keeping your sword arm free is the notion I heard too. Though if it goes back that far, we’re probably talking ‘stone axe arm’.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: August 22, 2009, 7:34 am

The driving on the wrong side of the road was that Napoleon bugger being difficult I think. Or maybe where they put the steering wheel in early horseless carriages. Or just random chance.

Reaction time test is new to me. But I have been gone a long time. The written test was a piece of cake back when I took it. If you fail you have to drive with a big red L on your forehead.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: August 22, 2009, 9:16 am

And how do you do that after a few at the pub?

Beer Angels take care of crossing roads after you’ve been to the pub.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: August 22, 2009, 10:44 am

Ok, I’ve never been in one…are the Gas/Brake/Clutch pedals reversed too? Left foot on the gas / right on the clutch? How about the “H” pattern of a stickshift. Backwards too?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 22, 2009, 10:55 am

The reaction test thing is new. They show you a DVD and you’re supposed to click the mouse every time you see something concerning — a bus pulling out, a bicycle. You get more or less points if you click close to the event. They warn you not to sit there and mindlessly click the mouse and hope for the best. So I think it’s pretty primitive, if not foolish. Experienced drivers say it’s hard to pass.

No, Gromulin. It’s exactly as if you grabbed the driver’s side and plopped it into the passenger seat. It’s still clutch-break-accelerator on the floor. The gears are the same, but you do it with your left hand. I think the lights/wipers on the column might be different, but I’m too disoriented to remember.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: August 22, 2009, 1:08 pm

In every American car I’ve ever driven (admittedly, probably less than a dozen all told) the lights switch was on the left of the steering column, and the wipers were on the right of the column. . .

Comment from Oldcat
Time: August 22, 2009, 2:55 pm

Driving on the right side of the road allows drivers on big wagons to use their whips on the oxen right-handed without hitting the carts going the other way. So if you have more commerce than bandits on the road, you drive on the right side.

Comment from TimB52
Time: August 22, 2009, 11:06 pm

Zoom Zoom

Someone’s gotta say it…

Comment from JuliaM
Time: August 23, 2009, 1:04 pm

No motorbike? (first picture)

Grats on the wheels, and welcome to driving on the right side of the road! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I missed getting the reaction test when I learned – they’d just brought in the written part. I turned up to take it and had to sit through a ‘how to fill in the question paper’ talk first, which given that the multichoice options all had the space for the crosses ‘filled in’ by shading, I thought was a bit dumb. The lady asked us to fill in a test question so she could check we were completing the paper correctly.

AS she was coming round checking our work, and I was rolling my eyes at the thought of someone being unable to get their cross in the right place, she stopped at one of the people in front of me and said ‘Ah, no. Let me show you…..’

If that person managed to pass the test and the practical, they are driving now. Happy thought!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 23, 2009, 2:00 pm

Thank you, JuliaM. And what a terrifying site that is, too.

I almost bought a crappy stuffed weasel in a junk shop in South London once. It was very crappy, though it wasn’t doing anything more than clinging to a log looking really, really angry about being stuffed. Sadly, it was nonetheless something like ยฃ50 and I just couldn’t talk myself into it.

For that, I could’ve gotten a deer hoof mounted in silver (yeah. I’m kind of upset I didn’t buy that, either).

Comment from David Gillies
Time: August 23, 2009, 5:02 pm

Julia: the exact same thing happened when I took the written portion. It really should result in a life ban on operating anything more technically complex than a skateboard. It served to confirm that, no matter what, just when you think you have plumbed the depths of human stupidity, you run into someone even stupider than that.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 23, 2009, 5:30 pm

I’m about halfway through JuliaM’s bad taxidermy site, where I found this giant pile o’ stoats:


I’ll be astonished if that site doesn’t give me nightmares. There are some horrible, horrible things there.

I grew up in a house full of taxidermy. Even the best examples give me the jim-jamms.

Comment from armybrat
Time: August 23, 2009, 6:30 pm

My husband’s brother does taxidermy. Gives me the willies. The only fur allowed in my house is the damn cat and my mink coat.

/Beer angel…heh heh! Gotta get me one of those. do they come in an American version or are they strictly for wrong side of the road drivers?

Comment from Weasely
Time: August 23, 2009, 7:31 pm

Sweet! I have dreams of owning an mx-5 someday (same thing), and doing it up enough to take it to track days ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s a pretty good turnout for that around here, I understand!
Grats on the ride ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment from Anonymous
Time: August 24, 2009, 12:40 am

Weasel wheels! Take Uncle B for a spin ๐Ÿ™‚

There’s an idea Uncle B and I could go fly fishing together or putter around the garden, while speaking Harumph! you can terrorize the villagers.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: August 24, 2009, 1:21 pm

Nice ride, Stoaty! It *looks* like a Weaselmobile. I had to drive a right-drive Maserti one time, from my place of work to our home plant about 40 miles away (we – engineers – did evaluation of various competitive vehicles). Had to drive on the right side of the road, of course, and it was scary. Quite a low-to-the-ground car, speedo in kilometers (which learned me a quick way to calculate the kmh/mph conversion in my head) and a stick-shift. The shift was the hardest – my left hand is retarded. Drove quite a few right-drives on the PG, but on familiar roads without freeway traffic and semis was not so bad.

I thought of you when I saw this today.

Comment from Will
Time: August 25, 2009, 7:45 pm

Now to say bugger-all to emissions standards and drop a V8 in it.

Pingback from dustbury.com » No Cash for Clunkers in Japan
Time: August 31, 2009, 5:04 pm

[…] is because, as the lovely S. Weasel explains, they don’t have clunkers in the first place: [T]he Japanese have ass-kickingly hard car inspections every two years, and […]

Comment from Sordy
Time: September 20, 2009, 12:36 am

Been reading your posts for a while – at least a couple weeks. Been very impressed!!! Actually found your blog while searching for artwork with our favorite little mustelids. Love them little guys.

Actually the new ride is about as perfect as it gets for a weasel!!!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 20, 2009, 4:46 am

Thankee, Sordy. A fair number of Googlers land here after searching for “what does a weasel look like?” I’ve even thought of creating a page specifically to answer the question.

I’ve been driving Miatas (they call them MX-5s here) since the early ’90s. Love me some Miata.

They’re fantastic little cars. They run forever. Blast to drive. And you can always find good ones on the used market for cheap.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny