When does an “economical” commuter become a project??

I’m not sure if I’m the first to find myself in this position but I very much doubt it.

During lock down with flights cancelled I was commuting to Suffolk from Glasgow weekly and my BMW 5 series which was never very good on fuel was going to rack up the miles I started doing some research.

I don’t think I’d ever looked at an A2 when they were available new, at the time I was very much VW Golf focused with V6 engines. Time of course moves on and priorities start to change, that and what was once an odd looking car had to me become really stylish looking.

I spoke with a friend who is my conscience and voice of reason for many things telling him I was thinking about getting an A2. Expecting a barrage of abuse I was surprised to hear him say he’d always liked them and had thought about one for himself…

Two weeks later a contact a seller then unknown to me, Mr Cowie. He had a rather rough looking 51 plate that was well specified but needed work doing. I was going to just pay over the phone as we were still in a funny lock down time. Iain being the person he is said no to me insisting I come and see it before making up my mind. So that was that, my first trip to go and see Iain and his fleet of A2’s was planned.

Ian's description had been a perfect appraisal of the car and the reality was it was just too much work to make a daily driver for me at the time BUT Ian amongst his fleet had an Akoya silver TDi90 with 107k miles he was using while Flipper was having some TLC.

A deal was done and a deposit paid with the car to be collected once Iain had finished with it.

3 weeks later I was the proud owner of an A2, bog standard SE other than the towbar that was fitted.

My first trip down south was via Timmus towers for cruise control and a remap, so that was it perfect for those long drives, not another penny needing spent…

Next was black leather sport seats, steering wheel and gear knob, 17” 9 spoke wheels, mudflaps, heated door mirrors, 15” pepperpot wheels, 17” BBS wheels, Bose stereo, A6 Armrest, A2 foot plate with TT pedal covers, recovered headlining and sun visors, swapped the black leather for red, beetle sun glasses holder, replacement headlights, smooth service flap and who knows what else.

Along with this was of course some maintenance items, oil and filter changes every 10K miles, fuel air and cabin filters, gearbox oil change, new battery, drop links, all brake disks and pads, front callipers, rear suspension, CV joints, injector loom, boot struts, AC compressor, dog bone mount and again the list will go on. The reality is there have been no significant spends and given my BMW required £1000 on tyres every 25K miles the servicing though a little more frequent is nothing you shouldn’t expect.

Next weekend I hope to have Timmus fit an A1 multi-function steering wheel for the look, feel and mostly to change the volume with out moving my hand. Sounds petty I’m sure but I really miss it.

I currently commute 170 miles per day so have over 3 hours to spend in the car and like it to be a nice place.

Of course there are still some issues with it including a shudder under acceleration which next on my list is drive shafts to try and eliminate the issue and I’ll need to check when the timing belt needs changed.

With me now having covered over 35K miles in my 2 years of ownership it has left me requiring green flag once which was due to the battery. Maintenance tasks have been at times therapeutic, other times frustrating but always somehow enjoyable.

The A2 community has been very welcoming and such a great source of detailed information and how too guides.

I’m fortunate that I normally have a shed where I can work on the car and if it isn’t going to plan have a van I can use to get to work but I much prefer the A2.

As for the total cost to date, leaving maintenance items out which I think are to be expected I’d say I’ll be in to my car for around £4k which is less than my bike cost me. It manages 55mpg, costs £30 per year to tax and £200 to insure. If you are thinking about ownership then I’d say just get it done and expect there will be some jobs always needing to be done.

I’ve always liked cars and looking at modifications to them but never before even changed a set of wheels on a car. It seems the A2 has scratched an itch and I’ve really enjoyed it. I guess the next two years will be maintenance and perhaps some tidying of paintwork as it approaches it’s 20th birthday.

Now, who’s got a spare Votex kit and 6 speed gearbox for my car and Cobalt blue A2 with a sunroof for my daughters 17th birthday in 18 months…


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Afternoon David,

The A2 is looking great, very well done Sir. That's a fairy amount of time in the A2 for your commute and know how satisfying it can be to spend that much time in the cabin with all the nice modifications. My commute is not quite as much as yours, 122 miles a day during the week which is roughly 80 minutes each way.

Don't give up searching for a 6 speed great box as they do tend to crop up at reasonable cost now and then, I managed to grab a MYP at £250 and its still going strong over a year later. As for a Votex kit, they do seem to have gone up in price, certainly if you go off current eBay listings. I'm sure Steve @A2Steve recently let one got for £650. I have 2 kits here but obviously spoken for and not available.

Kind regards,

Have you sourced a six speed yet? That's the best mod you can do if you cover lots of miles at high speed.

Try and find a PTW if you can, the intermediate ratios are just that little bit longer and more suited to urban areas, the other codes (MYP, PTU, NTG) are slightly "busier" at those speeds. See HERE for more info.
Ive got a cobalt blue 1.6 fsi on a 05 plate but the OSS needs looking at ..

Not sure i want to sell though ..
Thanks, Ive a bit of time yet so no need to rush. I'm sure an FSI is just what Mastercard are looking forward to me getting.
Have you sourced a six speed yet? That's the best mod you can do if you cover lots of miles at high speed.

Try and find a PTW if you can, the intermediate ratios are just that little bit longer and more suited to urban areas, the other codes (MYP, PTU, NTG) are slightly "busier" at those speeds. See HERE for more info.
I've got some preventative maintenance to get carried out with the timing belt change and I've enquired about costs to have the old pump drive and balancer replaced.
I know it makes sense just to get it all done at the same time so have my eyes peeled for a gearbox.
Just in the spirit of keeping a record of what is definitely NOT a project. Attached is the invoice for the work carried out over the last few weeks.


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Hi George, the car is going well 🤞for now.
I've given it an oil change but didn't bother with the filter.
It's certainly pull well which reminds me my driveshafts that are in the garage would be better on the car.
I keep putting it off considering the gearbox change. I'll need to see how the financial situation is looking in the new year.
Then of course if it's gearbox it's best changing the clutch...
It's back to commuting duties so done about 1500 miles now with it fitted.
Having the pepperpot wheels on again is doing nothing (in my opinion) for the looks but it's certainly a little comfier and doing 20-30 miles more on a tank.