Jump to content
The Motorists' Guide

Leaderboard

Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/04/2018 in all areas

  1. Just enjoy seeing different places on the journey and never return the same roads
    2 points
  2. Our first driving experience in the USA was when I was in my fifties and we thought that Florida would give us a very interesting experience in a warm climate late in the year. We gad a rented car in the package we took, a small Mazda, with a very small engine, but good air conditioning. The holiday was not just staying in Orlando, but taking a road trip from there to Key West. With a speed limit in force in most of Florida, the small car did a reasonable job, although we decided that the next time we came it would be a larger car. Alligator Alley was interesting, as was Key Largo, and the drive along the Seven Mile Bridge was quite an experience which we repeated two years later with a much longer road trip, and with a 2 litre Chrysler that was much too our liking. We went in January, with a gentle drive down to Key West where we stayed for 5 days, before we went up the coast through Miami to Daytona Beach where we experience a little frost on the windscreen. Wile I was scraping the windscreen a local man asked me what it was -- he had never seen frost before! We had a very interesting time which gave us a taste for driving in the USA. We took many photographs, had great experiences in Mallory Square in Key West, Key Largo, the Kennedy Space Centre, and driving along Daytona Beach. We said at the time than another road trip was on the cards and there was some few years later, which i will post later. Some photos from our two first trips in Florida. Peter.
    2 points
  3. It’s now 20 years since the first Golf Mk4 was registered in the UK, and to mark the occasion Steve reviews whether or not the fourth generation Golf could be considered a future classic? The fourth generation Golf was introduced to the UK in mid-1998 to replace the aging mk3 model and was available in 3 or 5 door hatchback, estate or cabriolet even though the latter was just a facelifted Mk3 Golf convertible which naturally confused buyers. The Mk4 Golf brought with it various improvements over the outgoing model as it was both longer and wider than the previous model as well as being taller which all improved the cabin space. One key improvement over the mk3 variant was the fact the mk4 Golf body shell was galvanised to prevent against rust and backed up with a 12 year perforation warranty. This was a big thing as the mk3 became notorious for rust, so much so it equally matched with the Ford Escort and Ford Ka on the amount of rust issues that developed. Another major advantage of the Mk4 Golf was that it achieved 4* on the Euro NCAP crash tests which was due to the array of airbags installed which were fitted for the front driver, passenger and in the sides of the front seats. To further safety the golf was one of the first cars to be fitted with Isofix child seat restraint system which was developed in collaboration between Volkswagen and Britax. In addition, the Mk4 Golf was fitted with both anti-lock braking systems and Electronic Stability Program to further improve the safety of the vehicle. As previously mentioned the Golf was available in 3 door hatchback, 5 door hatchback, 5 door estate and cabriolet. The latter confused buyers, as unlike all the other models available in the golf range the cabriolet was just a facelifted mk3 Golf cabriolet. As such, it retained the Mk3 body shell and interior but gained the Mk4 front end and steering wheel. In the UK the Golf was available in various trim levels and catered for most budgets. These specifications include: E was the entry level Golf and was fitted with wind up windows, Beta tape cassette, split folding seats, wheel trims and height/reach adjustable steering wheel. Engine options included a 1.4 petrol producing 75bhp or a 1.9 diesel engine producing 68bhp. S had all the features of the E model but gained electric front windows, electric mirrors, sunroof and central locking. Engine options were the same as for the E model but buyers had the additional option of a 105bhp 1.6 petrol engine or 1.9TDI diesel which produced 90bhp and replaced the E models 68bhp unit. The S spec was also available with a 4 speed automatic gearbox as well as the manual. SE spec added quite a lot of features over the S spec, such as; electric windows front and rear, manual air conditioning, CD player with 8 speakers, multi-function computer, remote control alarm system and armrest built into the rear seat. The SE had the 1.6 petrol and 1.9tdi engines which were available on the S spec along with the option of manual or automatic gearbox. GTI is the spec level everyone remembers and one of the most common but is separated into two categories. The GTI spec got all the features of SE but added sports seats, leather trimmed steering wheel as well as having 15” alloy wheels and smoked rear lights. This version of GTI was offered with either a 2.0 115bhp petrol engine, 1.9tdi engine with 110bhp and fitted with a 5 speed manual gearbox or the 1.9tdi PD engine with 115bhp and fitted with a 6 speed manual gearbox. The latter was also known as the GT TDI. GTI 1.8T was a model in its own right as it boasted many extras above the standard GTI which included sports seats with built in lumbar support, leather trimmed steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake handle and 16” alloy wheels. It will come as no surprise that this model of GTI was offered only with a 1.8 turbo petrol engine which produced 150bhp and a 0-62mpg in 8.5 seconds. GTI Anniversary was launched to mark the 25th anniversary of the Golf GTI being on sale. It had all the features of the normal GTI 1.8T but gained a body kit, 18” alloy wheels, Recaro front seats, brushed aluminium golf ball gear knob, dash/door card inserts, sports pedals, red trimmed seatbelts plus special floor mats. Only 1800 Anniversary Golfs were produced, each having a numbered plate in the cabin. When new the price of a GTI Anniversary was £18,660 which was £2,075 more expensive over the normal GTI 1.8T. Picture below shows the GTI Anniversary model. V5 was the next level up in luxury and included great features such as climate air conditioning, 6 CD auto changer, rain sensing wipers, automatic dimming interior mirror and 16” alloy wheels. Predictably the V5 model was fitted with a V5 petrol engine which produced 170bhp. V6 4 motion was the top spec Golf (excluding the R32 which we won’t be covering in this article) and came with all the features of the V5 model but added Sat Nav, heated leather seats, chrome exhaust tips, wood dash and door card inserts and wood effect gear knob. This specification was equipped with a 204bhp v6 petrol engine and aided with 4 wheel drive. Below is a picture of the V6 4 motion. Please note we have not covered R32 models in this article as we feel it deserves an article in its own right. Driving the mk4 Golf The Golf I have on test is a 2001 five door GT TDI with the 1.9 115bhp PD diesel engine and fitted with the 6 speed manual gearbox which has covered 116,000 miles. Sliding into the black leather seats it’s clear that the interior is well laid out and the seat/steering wheel has good adjustment. Furthermore, despite the age of this Golf the interior has worn well the exception being the door pulls, ashtray cover and electric window plastic surrounds which have suffered from the common lacquer peel on the plastics. It is also apparent that all interior features work, such as the electric windows and air conditioning and shows the car has aged well. In addition, there is a good level of leg room for both front and rear passengers and the boot can hold 330 litres of luggage. Turning the key and the 1.9tdi engine bursts into life, with a gruff tone which is synonymous with these engines, but on pulling away it has more than enough grunt to cope with day to day activities. The 6 speed gearbox on this car is smooth and having the 6th gear does help quieten the engine on the motorway, as well as increasing the fuel economy but the clutch is slightly heavy compared to more modern vehicles. The ride on this particular Golf is good and it absorbs the bumps well, whilst precise steering makes the Golf a doddle to park and provides reassuring characteristics when on country roads. Road and wind noise is kept to a minimum, and the main noise noticeable is the engine. The brakes are also very good on this car, and brought the car to a stop in a safe and controlled manner. Moving onto a more awkward topic, the Golf Mk4 got a lot of complaints from owners with regard to electrical gremlins, turbo issues on diesel models and rust issues on the front wings. Speaking to the owners of this particular car it’s clear that the car hasn’t really suffered from any electrical problems other than with the remote central locking. Furthermore this Golf is now on its 3rd turbo, the first one giving up whilst the car was in warranty. With regard to the last issue, it’s obvious that this golf has been well cared for by its owner and has only started getting rust through on the passenger side front wing. The rust on the front wings was a common issue of VAG cars from this era, and was caused by the Volkswagen group installing foam inserts between the wing and wheel arch liner. Over time this foam absorbs water, and thus causes the wing to rust from the inside out. Its an issue that affects the Mk4 Golf, Bora, Passat, A4, A6 and certain Seat models. The Motorists Guide View: Despite the fourth generation Golf entering its 20th year on British Roads, I feel it’s a design that has aged well and well cared for examples will surely increase in value as time goes on. Furthermore the Mk4 Golf has had a lot of negative press but I feel it isn’t completely justified. Let’s face it, the more modern Golfs are suffering from the emissions scandal which this Golf can hold its head up high and claim to be one of the last trust worthy Volkswagen products. I feel the models which will be most desirable in the future include the V6 4 motion, V5 and GTI anniversary models. The latter, bringing exclusivity being a limited production run. If you are considering a Golf Mk4 my advice would be to try and find one with a full service history and try and buy unmodified examples as sporty Golfs in standard form will inevitably be worth more in the long term. Especially, when you compare it to the likes of the Mk1, Mk2 and even the Mk3 Golf GTi models. So will the Mk4 Golf become a future classic? Only time will tell, but just like the Mini, the VW Beetle, Citroen 2CV and Ford Escort the Golf is a clear favourite with the motoring public and is a cult car for sure. As sure I feel confident that the Mk4 Golf will become a classic, just not yet. Selection of VW Golf Mk4 For Sale on eBay - bag a bargain while you can! Dimensions Length: 4149mm Width: 1735mm Height: 1439mm Curb weight: 1238kg
    2 points
  4. Great article....great car and surely worth being considered as a future classic.
    2 points
  5. Following on from our report on faraday pouches, Steve reviews whether or not they make a sensible purchase with a long-term test. Keyless entry and keyless ignitions have become a convenient edition to most vehicles in the last ten years, however, this has allowed the criminal fraternity to capitalise on this through theft of motor vehicles or theft from motor vehicles. Criminals have been able to obtain the key code for vehicles by using devices which can trick the car in thinking that the key is nearby and thus allowing the criminal access to the vehicle. Since March I have been using two different types of faraday pouches, one which was purchased from an internet auction site for 79p and the other pouch which is available through our website. I must also stress I have not written this review as a selling tool but rather as a crime prevention tool and as a comparison between two similar products. Both products have a plastic vinyl exterior and a soft woven mesh interior and it is the mesh that blocks the key signal. I used the 79p internet auction site pouch for March and April 2018 and then the pouch available from our website from May till June 2018. I have been using the pouches for various cars that I have had the fortune of road testing, but the two I have highlighted in this article is the Suzuki Swift Mk2 and the Ford Kuga Mk2 both of which have keyless technology. With both vehicles I have stood beside them or no more than 2 feet away and occasions the faraday pouches prevented the vehicle from being unlocked. Furthermore I tested the pouches by unlocking the car then placing the car keys in the pouches, and then trying to start the ignition. On both occasions the car could not detect a key present inside the car and thus would not start the engine. Another added benefit I found of both faraday pouches was that it prevented the keys from digging into my leg or scratching my mobile phone screen, as well as reducing the risk of me worrying about whether or not I had left my keys behind. I admit I do this a lot, and the extra space taken up inside my pocket with the faraday pouch helps prevent me from leaving my keys behind. Where these pouches differ is in their quality as can be seen in the picture below. The top pouch was the 79p item purchased from an internet auction site and as can be seen the plastic vinyl on where the flap folds over has split in various places, but I will admit this does not affect the pouch from working effectively. The second pouch is available from our website and as can be seen there is one crack present. The Motorists Guide View: After using the faraday pouch I have found it a cheap, yet effective way of preventing a car from being accidentally unlocked or the key signal cloned by a criminal which can help YOU prevent theft from or of your vehicle and I would strongly recommend the owners of keyless cars to purchase one as it is clearly an easy way of giving you peace of mind that YOU have taken added measures to protect both your keys and your car. If you would like further information on faraday pouches then please see our previous article here: Alternatively if you would like to purchase a faraday pouch from us then you can do so here:
    2 points
  6. The new Edge is available in Zetec, Titanium and Sport variations, with all models offering Ford intelligent all-wheel drive, Active Noise Control, Pedestrian Detection, Ford DAB Audio with SYNC 2 connectivity system, privacy glass and 19in alloy wheels as standard. Optional extras available across the range include: Lux Pack, Sony DAB Navigation system with 12 Speakers, Perforated Dinamica Seats, Variable Climate Control Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, 10-way Power Driver & Passenger Seats, Opening Panoramic Roof and Power Door Mirrors, 20inch Alloy Wheels (standard on Sport) ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN The performance from Ford’s 210PS bi-turbo 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine is more than adequate to propel the Edge to the required speed in a very satisfactory time. Other engine options include the 180PS 2.0 litre TDCi diesel engine. Both engines are rated to deliver 48.7mpg fuel efficiency and 149g/km CO2 supported by Auto-Start-Stop technology. The Bi-Turbo engine features two turbochargers and offers enhanced performance and efficiency. The primary turbo works at lower speeds, giving you an extra boost when you need it – such as when turning from a junction into moving traffic. Meanwhile, the secondary turbo works at higher speeds, like when you need to overtake a slow-moving vehicle A choice of 6 speed manual gearbox and the 6 speed PowerShift automatic gearbox (with twin clutch) are offered to mate with either of the engines. The choice for a more sedate journey is made by selecting ‘D’ in the automatic transmission, as opposed to selecting ‘S’ for ‘Sport’ which results in a much livelier journey with increased response from the engine and transmission. The automatic transmission has the ‘Paddle Shift’ feature which gives some control of gear selection to the driver if desired. Overall, the 6 speed PowerShift automatic transmission is very responsive being quick to change, both up and down in either conventional Drive or the Sport mode. EXTERIOR The all-new Ford Edge exterior is carefully sculpted with a muscular and yet compact bonnet. To improve aerodynamic efficiency, unique air curtains are positioned on the lower part of the fascia to guide air from the front of the vehicle, out through the front wheel wells and down the vehicle side. The Headlamps feature Xenon lamps with automatic sensing for high/low beam (Anti-Glare), cornering and load variation. Mirrors feature auto-fold and also a Blind Spot indicator. The exterior is equipped with a rear spoiler, with optional roof rails and detailing in chrome to further enhance the styling. The Sport features front, rear and side Sports body styling with dark exterior detailing. Other options include front and rear Park Sensors along with front and rear Cameras to avoid colliding with any obstacles. A full length Panoramic Roof with sliding and tilt function allow more natural light and fresh air to enter the interior with very little wind noise. INTERIOR The interior has been designed with high-quality materials throughout, including soft-touch trims on the dashboard and centre console, high-gloss piano black surrounds on the switch bezels and a satin silver metal finish for the door handles, air vent bezels, glovebox trim and steering wheel detailing. The spacious Edge is also offered with heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats from the Titanium series. The interior offers a vast array of controls and in particular, the steering wheel is embellished with a selection of switches and buttons allowing the driver to select and alter various functions. Voice control function is available for the comfort, entertainment, navigation and telephony systems. Interior refinement is enhanced with acoustic windscreen glass and laminated glass for both front door windows, minimising the intrusion of wind noise. Underbody panels and wheel-arch liners further minimise road and wind noise. All Edge models are also equipped with Ford’s Active Noise Control technology that detects unwanted engine noise in the cabin and cancels it out with opposing sound waves fed through the integrated sound system. There is an option for a Power Tailgate control with hands-free and key-free function to allow access to the capacious loading area. The seats fold to allow an increased load area with the flexibility of 60/40 split which does not impede on the passenger area too much. Seats are generally quite comfortable but rather firm which can lead to slight discomfort over long distances with limited rest breaks. TECHNOLOGY The Edge offers a variety of Ford technologies, including Adaptive Steering, which automatically optimises the steering response according to vehicle speed, making it easy to manoeuvre at low speeds, while remaining precise and intuitive at higher speeds; and Front Wide View Camera, which makes restricted visibility junctions or parking spaces easier to negotiate. Edge debuts segment-first Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; a camera- and radar-based system that can operate at speeds from 5mph to 110mph to detect vehicles and people in the road ahead. The system can automatically apply the brakes if a potential collision is detected and the driver does not respond to warnings. The Edge features Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) technology as standard, delivering a seamless transition between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive performance to provide a more secure footing on the road especially in slippery conditions. Measuring how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface every 16 milliseconds – 20 times quicker than it takes to blink – the system can send up to 100 per cent of engine torque to the front or rear wheels. ROAD TEST SUMMARY The Ford Edge is a superb car to drive either around town, motorways and also mild off-road conditions. The combination of safety and Driver assistance functionality result in a car that you can feel secure in the knowledge that you are driving something that get you to your destination safely and still feeling relaxed after a long distance. Ford’s Adaptive Cruise Control with Pre-Collision Assist is definitely a safety enhancement that is essential for safe driving at any speed. Ford has utilised the on-board technology to enhance the system to be an incredibly reliable and useful safety aid. Once used, it becomes difficult to switch off and solely rely on your own reactions. The system also features Traffic Sign recognition to allow the driver to set the speed limiting to stay legal at all times. Keyless entry is a feature of the Edge, and as with some other manufacturers, you have quite a ‘chunky’ key which you have to carry around to then leave somewhere within the car, but where? There doesn’t seem to be a specific area to place it so it could end up in a multitude of places and then it’s a case of finding it when you leave the car. Given that the Edge has Active Noise Cancellation, the noise levels within the car are incredibly low. However, the fuel tank leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to vehicle design. There doesn’t appear to be any baffles within the tank, as when you accelerate and decelerate, you can hear (and feel) the fuel ‘sloshing’ backwards and forwards which is quite off-putting, especially on a vehicle of otherwise good build quality. The full length opening panoramic glass roof is superb for allowing in natural light but stopping the harmful UV rays from swamping the interior. With the addition of the pop-up windbreak at the front reducing wind noise, it all seems to work very well. Overall, the Edge is a car loaded with useable technology and features usually reserved for much more expensive and up-market brands but delivers a similar ‘feel good factor’ from the driving experience with a smaller price tag. TECHNICAL INFORMATION Engine - Trans - Power PS (Kw) - Torque (Nm) - CO2 Emissions(g/km) - Mpg(Urban) - Mpg(Extra Urban) - Mpg(Combined) - Max Speed - 0-62 Mph (secs) 2.0 TDC - iM6 Manual - 180 (132) - 400 - 149 /Sport 152 - 44.1 - 52.3 - 48.7 - 124 - 9.9 2.0 TDC - iMPS6Auto - 210(154) - 450 - 149 /Sport 152 - 44.1 - 52.3 - 48.7 - 131 - 9.4 Above information based on Edge with 19inch Wheels COST (effective from January 2016) Zetec – from £29,995 Titanium – from £32,245 Sport – from £34,495 All prices are based on Dealer ‘On the Road’ price, including 20% VAT click here to see Ford Edges for sale ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Special thanks to Evans Halshaw, Bedford for the loan of the Ford Edge used for road test For more information about the Ford Edge visit: http://www.evanshalshaw.com/dealers/ford-bedford/ Follow Evans Halshaw on Twitter: @evanshalshawuk
    2 points
  7. Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 1 January 2021. Things you may need to do before you go include: check your passport get travel insurance that covers your healthcare check you have the right driving documents organise pet travel - contact your vet at least 1 month before you go There are more things to do if you’re travelling for business. For example, going to meetings and conferences, providing services (even with a charity), and touring art or music. Passports: check if you need to renew You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021. On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both: have at least 6 months left be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left) If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You can check whether your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting. Healthcare: check you’re covered You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020. It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not. Entering other countries Border control: you may have to show your return ticket and money At border control, you may need to: show a return or onward ticket show you have enough money for your stay use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing Visas for short trips: you will not need one if you’re a tourist If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total. You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel. Travel to Ireland will not change from 1 January 2021. You’ll also be able to work in Ireland in the same way as before. Taking food and drink into EU countries You will not be able to take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries from 1 January 2021. There are some exceptions, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website. Taking plants and plant products into EU countries You’ll need a certificate to take certain plants and plant products into EU countries from 1 January 2021. Check the rules about taking plants and plant products into the EU on the European Commission website. Travel There may be changes from 1 January 2021. What these are depend on how you’re travelling. However you travel, check before you leave for any delays or disruption. Driving You may need extra documents from 1 January 2021. You might need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries. If you’re taking your own vehicle, you will also need a ‘green card’ and a GB sticker. Compensation if your travel is disrupted Some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider’s terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed. Your consumer rights will not change from 1 January 2021. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking’s terms and conditions to find out more. Pet travel: allow at least 1 month to arrange From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead, you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet. Allow at least 1 month to arrange this and relevant vaccinations. Follow the guidance about pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021. Mobile roaming: free roaming may end From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end. Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021. A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing. Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this. If your travel company goes out of business You’re protected if you buy a package holiday and the company goes out of business. You get this cover even if it’s an EU company, as long as the company targets UK customers. Otherwise, you can claim compensation if you used your credit card. You’ll continue to be able to claim for payments between £100 and £30,000.
    1 point
  8. I have done a few of these routes...memorable vistas
    1 point
  9. Led Zeppelin 1 Led Zeppelin 2 Led Zeppelin 3 Led Zeppelin 4 ...need I go on? 🙂
    1 point
  10. Gone to the dark side now and sold the Alfa which will be sorely missed 😞 Have bought a Nissan Juke as has petrol engine and four doors which is now what i need. Will have to get another Alfa in the future though, such fun cars to drive x
    1 point
  11. Hi all I'm John and i own several cars the latest ones being a Mercedes SLK and a Jaguar XF which works for all types of motoring and especially the Merc for warmer weather Good to be on here with mutual car enthusiasts and hope to chat more in the future
    1 point
  12. Think it's the best way, leaving a car to sit idle is no good for it long term.
    1 point
  13. Never really considered Switzerland for a road trip to be honest. But may have to look into it after I've completed my other ideal road trips.
    1 point
  14. Being a key worker I've been alternating between my daily and my old Audi. I did take my Ford Escort out for a run last week which was the first time since it passed its MOT in Feb!
    1 point
  15. I own an Alfa Romeo GT with a diesel engine. had this car for many years and virtually no problems with it at all Love it x
    1 point
  16. From life-changing road trips to breaking your personal top speed record, there's no limit to what you can do behind the wheel When you're sitting in traffic on the M25, do you sometimes close your eyes and imagine you were traversing some far-flung mountain range, or tearing down the Mulsanne Straight at 250mph? Well, open them again (not least because you're on a motorway), because the Autocar writers have compiled a list of their greatest achievements behind the wheel, and the things they'd like to still do. Read on to discover what it feels like to drive at 200mph, why Iceland is the best road trip destination, which motorsport events you need to attend and lots more: Drive a car at 200mph All my conscious life I’d wanted to do it, yet when it happened it was almost anticlimactic. It was 2 May 1994, at Bruntingthorpe, and I was in a McLaren F1 prototype. I still have the recording of colleague Gavin Conway laconically calling out the speeds as XP5 gained velocity at a hitherto unimagined rate for a road car. But it was too quick: it got from rest to 200mph in less than 30sec – to the F1, it was just another number on the dial and, on a wide open airfield, even the sensation of speed wasn’t that great. Sorry to disappoint. Drive on the Isle of Man I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time on the derestricted stretches of Germany’s autobahn. But, until three years ago, I’d never experienced the considerably greater thrills of limit-free roads where you drive on the left. The Isle of Man isn’t the easiest place to get to, but taking a trio of British sports cars there – a Morgan Plus 8, an Ariel Atom 3.5R and a McLaren P1 – was proper dreams-come-true stuff. Conditions were wet and gloomy but, out of season, the TT mountain road was quiet and the McLaren predictably epic. I’ll almost certainly never travel as quickly on a British public road again. Do a US road trip In 1991, I didn’t know or care what a bucket list was. Rather more appealing was a direct flight to San Francisco, hire a car and, after a few days, take off for Las Vegas with the future Mrs Ruppert. That was only part one of the road trip. We got upgraded from a grim Chevrolet to a Buick Century, presumably to return the rental to a more lucrative outlet. In between was Yosemite National Park, Death Valley and just miles of what still is a huge, almost endless, film set. Even better in that barge-like Buick. Drive a lap of Iceland Driving 828 miles in 48 hours may not sound like fun, but when you’re doing a lap of Iceland at the wheel of a Mazda MX-5, it’s as good as life gets. Yes, in some respects it was fairly arduous: it was a long way, I’m very tall and the MX-5 very small and the speed limits are low and rigorously enforced. But none of that mattered because the land of ice and fire is every bit as other-worldly spectacular as the tourist brochures make out, from the rolling mountains, steaming volcanoes and black sand beaches through to the hot lagoons and iceberg-filled estuaries. I’m going back with the family this year – but this time we’re taking a week over it. Mini hunting in Chile Ever since I found a 1972 British Leyland corporate brochure picturing Chilean-made glassfibre-bodied Minis, I’d been intrigued. Decades later, in 2011, I set out to find the factory that made these curios, in a Mini Countryman. We drove from Santiago, in the centre of this long, thin country, to Arica, close to the Peruvian border, where the factory was. Great moments included driving through the Atacama desert, finding an original glassfibre Mini and randomly discovering that the father of the porter at our Arica hotel had worked at the plant. He took us to two sites, one flattened, the other containing some original buildings and now a university. Drive a hillclimb in a Caterham It was the perfect day: a Caterham R300, a helmet and driving overalls on the passenger seat. Lovely weather and an entry for Shelsley Walsh hillclimb. Wife off with her mates so no one to worry about (getting bored). I can’t remember how well I did – average probably – but I didn’t bend the car. On the way home, I stopped at a lovely village pub and had a pie and a pint. I thought at the time that it doesn’t get much better and I think the same now. Own my dream car When I was a kid, I wanted a Caterham more than any other car, apart from a Ferrari F40, maybe. But I figured I’d probably never afford one of those. A Caterham, though, seemed doable. “By the time I’m 25,” I thought, “I’ll have one.” So I did. Just. By borrowing almost my annual salary. I bought a stripped-out ex-race car with a 2.0-litre Vauxhall red-top engine making 200bhp-ish, straight-cut gearbox, limited-slip differential and 13in Minilite wheels. And it was great. I used it, loved it, looked after it and later sold it for what I paid for it. One of the best things I’ve done with cars. It’s still on my bucket list… Drive from Cairo to Cape Town If I could do one transcontinental drive, this would be it. I’d like to do it in a new Land Rover Defender because there’d be no better way of proving it was worthy of the name. I’d like to break the record – held by a Fiat Panda last time I heard – but not to linger a little would be a shame. Although I have no connection to the continent save being married to someone who grew up there, there is nowhere I am happier or, weirdly, feel more at home than sub-Saharan Africa. Plans? None. But if Land Rover were planning such a trip, I can confirm my availability. Drive across America The cliché alarm might be jangling, but I’ve always wanted to drive all the way across the US in one trip. I don’t want to try to beat the record – an improbable 28 hours and 50 minutes from New York to LA – but rather take a leisurely route that I pretty much make up as I go along and one that would be chosen to take in the more interesting roads of Montana and the Pacific Northwest instead of the normal straight shot. The ideal vehicle would be something big, American and dumb: I’ve toyed with buying a decommissioned police-spec Crown Victoria. Buy a BSA Bantam In 1974, my brother-in-law Jimmy Smart gave me his BSA Bantam. It was a Bitza, D1 frame, with a 150cc D3 engine. It was tired and the last tax disc said May 1972 after he rode home from work and chucked a tarpaulin over it. Jimmy died of cancer two years later and I lost heart in the restoration and then discovered girls and cars. I have got it to a stage where it only needs oily engine bits. Finding them has been difficult and I have even toyed with the idea of turning it into a battery-electric Bantam. Help. Master off-roading Every now and then, there’s a chance to do some spectacular off-roading as part of a new car launch, but no matter how butt-clenching the challenge, you always know that they wouldn’t be asking you to drive through the river lapping over the bonnet if there was the remotest risk of it going wrong. I’d love to buy something cheap and cheerful (an old Suzuki Jimny, perhaps) and spend a weekend with some committed amateur green-laners on unfamiliar roads, protected by their expertise but with a dose of jeopardy thrown in. Research suggests spare time is my only enemy, as joining an appropriate car club looks no harder than a swift internet search and signing a very small cheque. Import a US classic Buying a classic car in the US and driving it to the east coast for shipping: it’s a bit of a cliché, and I’ve half done it already, buying a Chevrolet Corvair in Montana and dragging it to Newark. The difference is that I’d like to drive the next acquisition rather than towing it (the ’Vair wasn’t quite fit enough), and this time, I want V8 power, wrapped in one of GM’s most dramatic shapes. The ’68 Corvette C3 tends to be overlooked these days, being long-lived, degraded and familiar. But early chrome-bumper versions look great and, allegedly, drive spectacularly with the rare 370bhp LT-1 small block. One day, I aim to find out. Drive a Bugatti Veyron Surprisingly, for someone who considers supercars (let alone hypercars) a waste of time and only of great use to people with self-confidence issues, I would very much like to drive a Bugatti Veyron. I was never offered, or tried to arrange for myself, a drive in the Veyron when it was launched. I’d like a go in one now because I’m curious. I’ve heard so much about the car that I do feel that I’ve missed out by not driving one. If you own one and are willing to risk it, you know how to find me. Restore a car I’ve done a little bit of welding, a little bit of painting, a little bit of trimming and a little bit of mechanical tinkering. But I’ve never done any of them particularly well and, crucially, I’ve never done them together. It’s still, though, right up my list of things to do with cars, and I don’t think I’ll be satisfied until I’ve taken an absolute barn-find snotter and restored it back to its former glory. Maybe not to concours or factory condition, but to absolutely as I want it. I’ve almost got space, equipment and skills. One day, it’ll all fall into place. 10 motorsport events for your bucket list When it comes to motorsport around the world, aim high – and go long. Or not, in the case of the last of our 10 top tips for must-see events… Monte Carlo Rally The Monte always seems on the edge of chaos, due to both the frequent risk of sudden snow or ice and the willingness of organisers to shake up the event format and stages on a regular basis. Still, if their capricious whims lead to the inclusion of the Col de Turini at night, that’s where you should head. Join the throng in the dark, listen for the engine notes and marvel as some of the world’s best drivers flash past in a blaze of spotlights and engine roar. Daytona 500 The Great American Race lives up to its hype from the moment the oh-so-American pre-race pageantry kicks off. (Think big flags, military fly-pasts and spirited invocations.) Thankfully, the race itself maintains that spectacle, with 40 brightly coloured stock cars locked in close quarter. The use of engine restrictor plates to keep speeds down leads to intense pack racing, inevitable late-race drama and, frequently, plenty of crashes. Shake and bake. Nürburgring 24 Hours No, it’s not just a car maker’s playground. The sight of more than 200 thoroughbred GTs, supercars and the odd Seat Leon rolling into action for the ‘other’ 24-hour classic in June is unforgettable. As darkness falls, head out into the woods, on a mountain bike preferably (14-plus miles takes some exploring). But beware: the booze-fuelled campsites are just as hairy (in both senses) as the legend dictates. Spa 6 Hours There are two to choose from: the modern World Endurance Championship race in May and the historic event in September. Both offer perfect opportunities to explore one of the world’s last great ‘old-school’ race circuits. Latest-generation sports prototypes and GTs are spectacular, but if old racing cars are your thing, the historic 6 Hours increasingly outstrips the Goodwood Revival for pleasure. Bathurst 1000 Bathurst is a race of contrasts: it’s an endurance event featuring no-nonsense hard-battling touring cars on a circuit that has a fast lower section and a crazily tight and twisty mountain section. To get the authentic experience, head up the mountain for an up-close view of the big, brash, spectacular 5.0-litre V8 supercars – and the big, brash, spectacular Aussie fans. Macau Grand Prix A crash-bang-wallop feast of Far East street circuit action in November, featuring the renowned Formula 3 grand prix, GTs, the World Touring Car Cup – and even motorcycling, the bravest of the crazy. About half the circuit is frighteningly, dangerously flat out (just ask Sophia Flörsch) and the other half is single-file and almost three-point-turn tight (at the Melco hairpin). But the wild racing is nothing compared with the night-life. Apparently. Pikes Peak The Pikes Peak International Hillclimb is a hardcore spectator event. There’s only one road up the mountain and that’s the one the competitors race up – so spectators have to be up before the road closes at 0630hr and can’t come down until all the cars have finished. Oh, and at up to 14,115ft above sea level, altitude sickness is a distinct possibility. Worth the hassle? Absolutely. The scenery is stunning and watching competitors attack the world’s toughest hillclimb is mind-blowing. Indianapolis 500 Buy a grandstand seat high up in Turn 1 and be prepared to recalibrate your brain. How Indycars turn left at 230mph without the hint of a lift is something you have to see. The scale of The Brickyard, especially packed out on Memorial Day in May, fits the stereotype of everything being bigger in America. But the Indy 500 is one occasion that actually exceeds its hype. Le Mans 24 Hours The greatest motor race in the world? All things considered, yep – that still fits. The 8.4-mile circuit has been sanitised in recent years – but only a bit. Midnight at the fast Tertre Rouge right-hander or up on the bank on the outside of the Esses can lead to a dangerously heightened sense of bliss (if it’s not raining). Take a tent and plenty of waterproofs. And forget about sleep for the weekend. British Grand Prix Yes, really. Home is where the heart is when it comes to Formula 1 – and for spectators, Silverstone is one of the best places to see grand prix cars at their best. The atmosphere is electric (even when it rains) and the race is usually eventful. There’s also the risk that it might be on the endangered list – genuinely. If you’ve never been, go this year – just in case.
    1 point
  17. I attend this race event every year (last 13 years in a row) and will go for as long as they run it and I'm still vertical. Has to be the best race event on the calendar for not just the 24 hours racing and other events but just the spectacle and atmosphere. Can highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys motorsport
    1 point
  18. Steve takes a look at a selection of retro inspired vans which are either still in production or have ceased production in the last few years. It's obvious vans are designed to carry a variety and a lot of stuff efficiently, but a van also has another crucial yet often forgotten role. For business owners, vans are moving billboards for their businesses. It cannot be denied that most new vans look similar to one another making it hard to stand out. However, I've found a selection of vans that will certainly stand out from the crowd. Piaggio Porter The Piaggio Porter is a micro van which started out in life as the Bedford Rascal, Vauxhall Rascal and Suzuki Super Carry which are all in effect the same vehicle. All were fitted with a mid mounted 1.0 litre engine including the new Porter. The Porter has proved very popular in Italy and is ideal for narrow city streets and has proven to be a very successful design. The payload capacity between all models ranges from 560-1120kg, and it's available as a van, minibus, tipper, dropside or chassis cab. Piaggio have really catered for all. Brazilian Volkswagen T2 Transporter It may come as a surprise to know that the infamous T2 Transporter was in production in Brazil untill 2015. This meant the T2 outlived it's next two successors the T25 and T4. It also ceased production the same year the T5 did in Europe, but the T5 is still being produced in Mexico by Dodge, but this is a side point. Just like the 1970s Transporter the Brazilian version looks almost identical. The key differences include a radiator grill in the front to accommodate for the 1.4 water-cooled petrol engine in the rear. The same engine which was in the Polo and Fox, therefore parts are readily available and it'll be fuel efficient. Also the roof line is slightly boxier and different front bumper. Believe it or not the Brazilian T2 is more common then you'd think thanks to various companies importing them. The payload is 780kg and mpg from the 1.4 petrol you can expect 30mpg. Mercedes Vario Easily the largest van on this list, the Vario is the daddy of retro looking vans, weighing around 3500kg and Snap-On's van of choice and manufactured between 1996-2013. Those who know your Mercedes vans will know that the Vario looks very similar to a former Mercedes van, the TN Transporter, but one that's been on steroids. its actually the successor to the Mercedes T2 and has proven popular as minibuses for private and public use. It is also available in other body variants such as crewcab dropside, dropside, luton, tipper and van with cherry picker attachment to name but a few. Post 2000 models are fitted with a 4.2 litre turbo diesel engine which is available in various power outputs dependent on the body style and offered with a 5 speed manual or automatic gearbox with mpg figures of around 20mpg. as you'd expect with a van of this size the payload is impressive at 4.4 tons and a load volume of 17.4 cubic metres. Due to the vans versatility it has been popular with emergency services, postal services such as UPS Piaggio Ape The Ape is definitely the smallest van in this lineup and some would argue it's not a van at all. What cannot be denied is it's success in Italy where it is regularly seen traversing narrow city streets or winding it's way around remote villages. Fuel efficiency is guaranteed as the Ape is powered by a 50cc moped engine, but don't be fooled as it can cope with 675kg! The UK it has proven popular as mobile coffee outlets but its suitable for a variety of tasks. Citroen H Van Technically this is a conversion kit which an be installed on a Peugeot Boxer but totally transforms the appearance, for the better I say! Unlike other retro styled vans with this option you will have the benefit not the most up to date safety features, and the second largest retro inspired van after the Mercedes Vario on the market with a payload between 1,125kg to 1,570kg. The engines will up be bang up to date with emissions and fuel economy which is a further bonus. Overview I hope I've inspired you to consider a retro van for your business and to show a glimpse of the varied selection of retro vans that are out there.
    1 point
  19. Steve reviews the camping essentials required when planning a camping road trip. During the summer months countless of holiday makers choose to go camping for their getaways both in the UK and abroad and as with any holiday it is vital that the correct planning is made as this can often make or break the holiday. Equipment Tent Tent pegs Tent peg hammer Portable gas powered stove (or BBQ) Cutlery including a sharp knife Pots/pans Cooking utensils Mugs/cups corkscrew/bottle opener - you wont be popular if you cant open the beers or wine! Can opener Washing up liquid and scrubber Sleeping bag Roll mat Pilow Toiletries - soap, tooth paste/brush, toilet paper, hand sanitiser, Touches & lanterns Camera Portable phone chargers Spare batteries for torches, portable phone chargers etc Camping chairs & table Bin bags to take your rubbish away Food storage such as cool boxes etc Fresh water if not available from taps at the campsite Maps/navigation equipment Sun cream/insect repllent First aid kit Prescription medication plus pain killers etc Wipes - both baby wipe & antiseptic wipes Other items to consider Besides the basics, there are other types of equipment catered for the type of activities you wish to do whilst on holiday. Binoculars if you're into bird watching Telescope if you wish to gaze at the stars Walking sticks if you intend to go for long treks Large camping backpacks/bags if you are not returning to your vehicle for a couple of nights or more. Fishing gear. Cloths line if the camp sight you've selected does not have drying/washing facilities for clothing Bicycles Canoes/Kayaks Books/Magazines charcoal board games Notebook, pen/pencil Doggy items - waterbowl, lead, poop bags, towel, bed etc Music player Lip balm Mirror Tools Multi tool Tent repair items such as Duct tape, cable ties, extra cord and tent pole repair sleaves Saw if you are intending to chop fire wood. Matches/lighter fluid for camp fires Clothing & Footwear Waterproofs Walking boots shorts/trousers Towels Swim wear (if apploicable) Warm clothing - fleeces, jumpers etc Thermals if its particularly cold along with gloves and hat Socks and underwear sun hat if hot Sun glasses Personal Items Credit/debit card ID - drivers licence etc Campsite reservation documentation Mobile phone and charger Packing the car Once you have all the right equipment, next you ned to think about how to fit it all in your car. For those who are taking a trailer or roofbox then you have it easy for those that aren't then packing the car is vital. The first thing you should do is clean the interior of your car and remove any unnecessary items. Next load the biggest/heaviest items at the bottom. Then place liquids, fuels upright and protected with towels etc Cushion breakables such as bows/plates with towels etc Food not in a cool box should be kept out of sunlight. Keep snacks in the passenger foot well along with maps and other navigation equipment. Make sure the first aid kit is easily accessible You may need to add air into your tyres as per your manufactures recommended maximum load weight. Before setting off Don't forget to check your oil, water and fuel levels before you set off along with your headlights, foglights and brake lights etc. If applicable have you fitted a GB sticker on the back of your car and headlight converters if you're driving abroad. On the road It goes without saying, but with a fully loaded car with people and camping gear you should take extra care when driving as your rear visibility will probably be obstructed, and it may take longer for you to slow your vehicle down due to the extra weight. Try and keep the kids entertained with portable music players, DVD players or games consoles. Also don't forget to take breaks/driver change overs every two hours. At the campsite when you arrive you'll need to sign in with the campsite and be given a map of the site. Remember to be careful when opening the boot incase any items have moved or become dislodged on the journey. The last thing you want is someone getting injured from a falling item! Once you've unloaded your car and set up your tent etc don't forget to hide your valuables from view and ideally leave them in your locked car. Then you can go and explore and find out where the amenities are what activities are available. Lastly - Have Fun!
    1 point
  20. Hello BobT reporting for duty been a car nut for many years and nice to still find forums to chat with other people about cars
    1 point
  21. Steve reviews whether the current Mercedes SLK is a perfect car for summer. The Mercedes SLK is now into its third generation and was first shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor show in preparation for its release later that year and designated by Mercedes as R172. This SLK model aimed to improve on the quality and equipment from the previous R171 model and adopted various options from its predecessor such as Mercedes airscrarf system and also gained the front engine, rear wheel drive set up. The third generation SLK was a stark contrast in appearance compared to its predecessor which had based its looks on Mercedes Formula one cars and the SLR Mclaran supercar. The current SLK has adapted a more of a conservative look in my opinion by having less of a raked/pointed nose, but this has also made the current model look more grown up as well as bringing the design in line with the SLK’s bigger sibling the SL. As Mercedes has had over 20 years to perfect its baby roadster you can expect the quality of the product to be top class. Needless to say the SLK does not fail to disappoint thanks to its wide track with wheels at the edge of all four corners, as well as having a large bonnet gives the car real road presence and should please style savvy customers. On top of this the car benefits from having a hard top folding roof which only increases its desirability in a very competitive sector as road and wind noise is reduced over a conventional folding soft top. Obviously there is a price to pay for a metal folding roof which is increased weight compared to fabric roofed competitors, but I feel this is a small price to pay for the added benefits of a hard top. It’s worth noting that in 2016 the SLK range was revised and renamed the SLC to bring the model marketing on par with the rest of Mercedes products. The SLC is in effect a facelifted version of the SLK with revised engine options but may easily cause confusion amongst used car buyers. However for this article we are only focusing on the SLK spec and drivetrain options as these are more plentiful on the used car market. The SLK range is a available with four petrol engines and for the first time ever, a diesel engine. The engines on offer are: Petrol SLK 200 which is the entry level engine - a 1.8 four cylinder turbo charged engine producing 181bhp. SLK 250 has the same 1.8 four cylinder turbo charged engine from the 200 but with increased power to 201bhp. SLK 350 is a 3.5 V6 turbo charged engine producing 301bhp and as fitted to the previous SLK. SLK 55 is the AMG derived 5.5 litre naturally aspirated V8 producing a whopping 416bhp and 398lb ft of torque. Diesel SLK 250CDI is as mentioned earlier the first ever diesel engine fitted to the SLK and should please the fuel conscious. It produces 201bhp/ 369lb ft of torque from the four cylinder twin turbo unit, but benefits from a combined manufacture stated figure of 56.5mpg and 132g/km. What’s more, the diesel version is available with the 7 speed automatic gearbox as standard. It must be noted that both the SLK200 and SLK250 are available with a six speed manual gearbox as standard but the 7 speed auto is available as a £1500 extra as on our test car. All the other models in the range come with the automatic gearbox as standard. Driving the Mercedes SLK The SLK I have on test is a 2015 SLK 200 AMG sport which is fitted with a 1.8 litre turbo charged petrol engine which produces 181hp (184ps) and mated to a 7 speed automatic gearbox. Sliding into the black leather bucket driving seat I found it to be very supportive, with very good side bolsters as well as being electrically controlled and fitted with lumbar support. I felt the SLK cabin oozes with quality, thanks to soft touch plastics, leather trim and nicely positioned switch gear makes the SLK a nice place to sit. Naturally there is a good level of equipment fitted to SLK models and our test car was no exception. This particular car had the niceties such as heated electric seats, sat nav, parking sensors and the airscarf system for keeping your neck warm whilst driving with the roof down. Turning the key the 1.8 engine bursts into life with a nice rumble and selecting drive on the tunnel shifter the car pulls away effortlessly. Out on the open road I found the 1.8 turbo engine refined and 7 speed automatic a nice duo as the engine had plenty of torque united with smooth and quick gear changes, combined with a good kick down. I found the 1.8 lump more than adequate for all driving conditions and would please most buyers. Obviously the more powerful SLK250 may be a nice compromise for those wanting a balance of economy and more power but it had a £4,000 premium when new and this will reflect in the used car market. If outright power is what you’re after then you would be better off with either the SLK 350 or the range topping SLK55, both of which will provide the extra power and sweeter engine note which will make the SLK more enjoyable. As one would expect from a sports car the handling of the SLK was also impressive as it ironed out the bumps well despite being naturally firm and yet surprisingly this still allowed the handling to be composed, comfortable and obviously agile. This is due to the SLK being fitted with Mercedes Multilink suspension setup and further improved with passive dampers and a stiff chassis. In addition the steering matches the cars sporting credentials by being nicely weighted, allowing it to be light relatively precise. I will admit that the steering could be slightly more direct to improve response and feel for the driver. However, overall I found the steering helped build confidence to push the car hard into the bends and thoroughly enjoy the SLK on country roads. The handling characteristics are finished off with large perforated brake discs front and rear which stop the SLK on a six pence, and partly due to Pirelli tyres as fitted on this car. The brakes have an added purpose as the SLK can active any of the brakes individually to improve cornering. The Motorists Guide View: The third generation SLK is a vast improvement on its predecessor which is thanks to both mechanical improvements and enhanced styling which make the SLK a good sports car purchase thanks to an all-round package making the current SLK worthy successor. This is further supported by superb build quality, with nice materials and a quality fit and finish that consumers have come to expect from Mercedes. Let’s also not forget a key feature of the SLK is a car to be enjoyed for country drives and one where the SLK does not fail to disappoint, thanks to being comfortable, fun but also a relaxing place to be behind the wheel, which most owners will happily drive for long distances. Dimensions Length: 4,134 mm Width: 1,817 mm Height: 1,303 mm Curb weight: 1,475 kg
    1 point
  22. For those of you living in and around leicester or Loughborough in the East Midlands, there is a fantastic car wash called Shiners based at WHM Work connections at 60 Green Lane Seagrave LE12 7LU. WHM Work Connections provides life skills as well as work skills for individuals with learning disabilities with activities such as car washing, vehicle mechanics, animal Care and catering skills on offer. Furthermore, these skills help the individuals gain Independence and confidence when managing areas for daily living that you or I might take for granted. As per the poster, I'm sure you' ll agree that £8 is a bargain for the level of detail involved. Needless to say it's not just any car wash! To put it into perspective, comparible operators are charging upto four times more for the same service locally. I would strongly recommend you give them a call to get your car booked in to treat it to a well deserved wash and wax. But it is advised to call in advance as they do get busy. Despite only being open one and a half days a week, phone calls will be answered Monday-Friday 9-4. To find out more about WHM Work Connections please click on the link below: https://www.workconnections.co.uk/ (Please note we cannot share images of the car washing in action due to the individuals confidentiality)
    1 point
  23. Steve tests the most recent Mercedes E Class coupe and to see whether it can live up to its predecessors reputations. The current Mercedes E Class was debuted at the North American auto Show in 2016 and came on sale shortly after. Designated by Mercedes as the W213 the current E class is available in saloon, estate and coupe body styles just like its predecessor. With regards to this fifth generation E Class Mercedes have unified the design to tie the E Class in with both the current S Class and smaller C Class. As such, this has meant the current E Class Coupe is curvier than its predecessor whilst giving it a sportier persona. However I feel in some ways the E Classes’ individuality has been lost with this new model. But I cannot deny that the E Class Coupes design is elegantly proportioned thanks to its smooth flowing roof line which allows the car to have real road presence and should please even the most picky image conscious buyer. The exterior design is also helped by LED rear lights, Xenon headlights and 19” alloy wheels which are fitted as standard. Mercedes have also paid close attention to detail for the interior to make it feel a premium product. This is helped by the materials used as well as the level of standard equipment on offer such as a digital radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, lumbar support, multi-function steering wheel, automatic climate control, parking sensors, heated seats, keyless go. On top of this, the E Class Coupe is available with a number of options available which include features such as panoramic sunroofs, Burmester sound systems and wireless charging to name but a few. The current E Class also benefits from being fitted with the safety technology to that of its big brother the S Class and includes autonomous driving features which allows the car to drive itself up to speeds of 130mph. This is on top of the basic safety features offered as standard on the E Class which include; Antilock Braking System, brake pad wear sensor, all round airbags, Electronic Stability Program, Parktronic with reversing camera, child seat recognition sensor, fatigue alert for long journeys, collision prevention assist, blind spot assist, and brake assist for emergency braking combined with hold function as standard. As I’m sure you’ll agree the amount of safety features is second to none. Pedestrians aren’t neglected either, as the E Class is fitted with an active bonnet which raises the bonnet if it senses a person coming into contact with it. The E Class Coupe range is available with two common rail diesel engines and four direct injection petrol engines which are all mated to a 9 speed G-Tronic automatic gearbox. The engine options are as follows: Diesel E220d – a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbo unit producing 194hp/400Nm torque, available in 2wd or with Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel drive system. E400d – a 3.0 litre 6 cylinder turbo engine producing 340hp/700Nm torque and only available with the 4Matic system. Petrol E300 – a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbo engine producing 245hp/370Nm torque E350 – a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbo unit producing 299hp/400Nm torque E450 - a 3.0 litre 6 cylinder twin turbo engine producing 367hp/500Nm torque and only available with the 4Matic all-wheel drive system. E53 – is the AMG derived 3.0 litre 6 cylinder twin turbo engine producing 435hp/520Nm torque and only available with the 4Matic system. Plus it should average 30mpg as an added bonus. Driving the E Class Coupe The car is have on test is a 2018 E220d AMG Line which is fitted with the four cylinder 2.0 turbo diesel engine which produces 194bhp and linked to the 9 speed G-Tronic automatic gearbox. To top it off this engine boasts MPG figures of 56.5mph combined. Sliding into the combined alcantara and leather driving seat I found it to be very supportive, with very good side bolsters as well as being electrically controlled and fitted with lumbar support. Furthermore, I found there is plenty of space for front seat passengers but it might prove a struggle for rear passengers on longer journeys. But I must admit that the space for rear passengers is certainly improved over the previous E Class Coupe especially where height is concerned. As one would expect from a Mercedes the cabin has a quality feel with leather covering not only the seats but also the door cards and dash top. In addition, the infotainment screen is much larger at 12.3 inches than the previous E Class which further improves its usability. Pressing the engine start button the diesel engine bursts into life to a quiet idle. Selecting drive on the column shifter the E Class pulls away effortlessly thanks to the automatic gearbox which has both smooth and quick gear changes, combined with a good kick down. I found the 220d engine had more than enough power and torque for good acceleration and momentum in all driving environments, but was slightly unrefined compared to some of its competitors. However, I must admit that this is a small negative in an otherwise good drivetrain which can get to 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds. I was further impressed by the handling of the E Class which ironed out the bumps well despite being quite hard, and surprisingly this still allows the handling to be composed yet comfortable. To further improve the comfort from the E Class, air suspension is available at extra cost. I have to admit that the suspension on the current E Class coupe helps reduce roll better than its predecessor which is partly due to the wider track. Furthermore the steering is nicely weighted, allowing it to be light but precise, which is in part to Mercedes Direct steer system which is also speed sensitive. One key foible I found whilst driving the E Class was the road noise, which could not be muted by the cabins sound deadening. However, I’ll admit this could be down to the Michelin run flat tyres fitted to this vehicle and maybe improved with a different brand of tyre. The handling package is finished off with large drilled brake discs front and rear which stop the E class effortlessly. The Motorists Guide View Overall I found the current Mercedes E class Coupe a nice car to drive combined with an impressive level of standard equipment compared to some of the rivals. Furthermore the build quality is on par with other Mercedes products, with nice materials and a quality fit and finish that consumers have come to expect from Mercedes. However, despite being larger/roomier than its predecessor I felt that the previous model was slightly better all round. None the less the current E Class is certainly a comfortable and relaxing place to be for both sitting in and driving, which most owners will happily drive for long distances. Therefore, we’re confident that you’d be pleased with purchasing an E Class Coupe if you’re in the market for one andits not one you should not discount when considering a premium coupe. Dimensions Length: 4,923 mm Width: 1,852 mm Height: 1,468 Curb weight: 1,605–2,048 kg
    1 point
  24. 322 miles in one day. Steve travelled to Las Vegas to take a 2018 Ford Mustang convertible on a short road trip through too glorious states. Las Vegas – a city synonymous for gambling, partying and generally a play ground for the rich and famous. However, what if you want a change from the hustle and bustle of the city and see more of what the silver state has to offer? The answer is to hire a car and I have devised a perfect road trip which allows you enjoy some of the amazing scenery, ghost towns, mining towns and route 66 which all helped make the states of Nevada and Arizona both famous and rich. Below is a picture of the planned route. Tips for driving in Nevada & Arizona · You can turn right onto a road even if your traffic light sequence is on red if it is safe to do so. · We would recommend obeying the speed limits as he had been warned we would see lots of Police cars. We only saw four marked Police vehicles but there were probably plenty of unmarked cars we didn’t see! · Plan your route as phone signal can be limited in certain remote locations. · Fuel stations can be limited when you’re out in the desert and as such we would recommend not letting the fuel tank fall below the ¼ tank mark. · Always where your seatbelt whilst driving · Never pass a school bus with the stop sign out. · Never use your mobile phone whilst driving except through a hands free device. · Children 6 years or younger are required to have a child restraint system. · Do not drink and drive. Speed limits 15mph - School Zones 25mph - residential areas 45mph - Areas going into towns 65mph - Urban freeways, rural highways 70mph - Rural interstate freeways Our recommendations · Don’t stop at fort Mohave unless you require a break · Do visit the Hoover Dam · Consider visiting Chloride ghost town (off route 93) · Take plenty of pictures Have fun! Starting location Most of the car rental companies are situated near to the McCarran Airport, which are a short taxi ride from most of the hotels situated near to the strip and cost approximately $20 for a ride there or back. To get the best deals on hire cars my advice is to book as early as possible and pay in full at the time of booking. Besides getting a cheaper price this also allows you to splash out on a nicer vehicle is desired. For example a similar Ford Mustang to the one I have on test would cost you £111 from Alamo if booked months in advance, whereas on the day it would have cost you more than double the price. The rental charge is for a full 24 hours from the time of booking and we’d recommend collecting your car at around 7am. This sounds early, but believe me the trip is worth it. Rental car location address: McCarran Airport Rental Car Return, 7231 Gilespie St, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA Red Rock Canyon The first point of interest on our road trip is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area and features a 12 mile drive around beautiful scenery. Leaving the rental car lot its approximately a 30 minute drive to Red Rock Canyon along Route 215 & 159. Arriving at red Rock there is a toll booth where you pay the $15 vehicle fee to drive around the site. You will not be disappointed in spending the $15 as the views are breath taking and the following pictures do not do the area justice. Red Rock address: Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center, 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161, USA Nelson ghost town After leaving red rock Canyon you have to back track yourself along route 215 and subsequently join the freeway, which becomes route 95 that takes you directly out of Las Vegas and into the wonderful Nevada desert. You need to keep an eye out though for the left turn for route 165 which takes you directly to Nelson. However there are two parts of Nelson, the first part that will come into view is the more modern buildings. Don’t stop here, instead carry on around the corner and you’ll be met by the rustic mining town. Once you’ve parked the car, head over to the visitor centre to check in and be given relevant safety information but to be fair your main danger is rattle snakes. The owners of the ghost town are lovely and they kindly ask if you’re going to take lots of pictures to pay a measly $10. The visitor centre does have cold drinks for sale in the freezer, but be warned you might get a surprise, as the carcases of the rattle snake caught in that year are kept in there! Nelson is lovingly preserved and you cannot be impressed by the town’s charm. From Red Rock Canyon, Nelson is an hour’s drive and approximately 60miles . Nelson address: Nelson, NV 89046, USA Colorado River As you leave Nelson turn right out of the carpark to head through the Eldorado Canyon and drive the 5 miles approx to the majestic Colorado River. You’ll find the road is a dead end but offers great views of the surrounding area. Oatman Arizona Leaving the Colorado River you head back along the 165 and re-join the 95 to head towards Arizona. On our trip we stopped at the town Fort Mohave which was 1 hour 35 minutes from Nelson but other than getting a bite to eat we didn’t find anything else of note at the town. Therefore we’d recommend driving straight through the town to another famous ghost town – Oatman. To get to Oatman you have to come off route 95 and take route 163 through the Mesquite creek to reach the town. On the way you’ll go through, yet more stunning scenery in the Mojave Desert. As you get nearer to Oatman you’ll discover that you have come onto the world famous Route 66 which not only passes through Oatman but will take you to our next destination as well. Oatman is another well preserved ghost town with plenty of shops, bar and hotel. There’s also a small mine you can enter as well as a jail and museum which were both closed on our visit. It’s worth noting that if you intend to visit the town on a weekend, they often do wild west style shoot outs on the main road. Another curiosity for the town are the semi wild Burros that roam the streets. These donkey like creatures were once domesticated in the twos boom years but as they escaped from their owners throughout the decades the breed became more wild. But it has to be said they love to be fed and fussed over! Kingman Arizona Leaving Oatman, you continue along the historic Route 66 for just under an hour to arrive at the town of Kingman. However before I discuss Kingman I want to talk about the fantastic drive to the town via the world’s most famous highway. The drive between Oatman and Kingman is breath-taking but can alos be dangerous if you chose to drive irresponsibly. The stretch of 66 we were on had shear drops, uneven surfaces at the edge of the highway and tight turns. It is truly an amazing experience but as already mentioned it would not suffer fools. On arriving at Kingman there is a fantastic traditional diner where food and drink is served with enthusiasm. The staff were friendly and genuinely interested in talking to us both about our trip but also about the UK. Next to the diner was a second-hand car lot which sold muscle cars and hotrods which stood out. I definitely wanted one or two! Unfortunately because we had arrived at Kingman at 9pm not a lot of places were open and couldn’t get a full flavour of what the town had to offer. After we were finished at the diner we picked up route 93 and headed back towards Las Vegas with a plan to visit the Hoover Dam before it closed at 9pm. unfortunately we arrived 15 minutes late and thus couldn’t visit the Dam. After this setback we decided to return the car to the rental company and which concluded our road trip. The Motorists Guide View: Thanks for reading our Nevada & Arizona road trip, we hope we have inspired you to complete a US road trip of your own and we can assure you that you won't be disappointed! Have you done a road trip that you think we should consider doing? Then don’t hesitate to contact us!
    1 point
  25. So, what is a Faraday Cage? In simple terms, it shields electronic components from static electric fields by using a metal screen that conducts electricity, much like a force-field Historical & Scientific Background Michael Faraday, a 19th Century Scientist, who discovered that if you distribute a charge or radiation around the exterior of a cage, it will cancel out electric charges or radiation within the cage interior. A Faraday cage is a hollow conductor, in which the charge remains on the external surface of the cage. Some are as simple as chain-link fences and others use a fine metallic mesh. Regardless of their exact appearance, all Faraday cages take electrostatic charges, or even certain types of electromagnetic radiation, and distribute them around the exterior of the cage. Electromagnetic radiation is all around us. But sometimes, this radiation is undesirable and downright disruptive. That's where Faraday cages come in. Michael Faraday made the observation that namely, he realised that an electrical conductor (such as a metal cage) when charged, exhibited that charge only on its surface. It had no effect on the interior of the conductor. Typical applications and uses of a Faraday Cage Microwave Ovens to keep the radiation inside. You can see the cage in the glass door Shielded Rooms and Building, typically Military or Computer Server buildings to avoid interference or surveillance MRI Scanner and other Medical Imaging machines to prevent interference to the images of the patient Power utility workmen have suits that are a Faraday Cage to reduce the risk of electrocution Aircraft fuselage which prevents lightning strikes causing damage to onboard electronic systems and electrocution of the passengers Car bodies and panels act as a Faraday Cage to prevent electronic interference to the onboard electronics So how do I prevent my car from being stolen? Car thieves have been using many methods over time to steal cars, anything from a brick through the window and brute force to overcome the steering lock and hotwiring the ignition. Nowadays though, the thief is far more technically advanced and tend to use electronics to steal cars with no damage being caused to the vehicle. One such method is the known as the ‘Relay Hack’ which works on vehicles equipped with Keyless Entry systems. They accomplish this by boosting the signal between the car and the key over a distance. Using a booster to amplify the signal, the car assumes the key is within close proximity and therefore unlocks the vehicle and allows the thief to start it up and drive away…it’s as simple as that! To combat this modern-day method of stealing a car, you would have to place the key place the key in a Faraday Cage, Microwave or even a fridge to stop it from being scanned by radio signals. Any Cage would need to have small diameter holes, such as a mesh. Ideally, the Cage could include a lining such as Aluminium to further improve the protection. What products are available to protect my car from thieves? There are many different products available to give you added protection from the thieves that aren’t too expensive. Don’t forget to protect your spare keys as well. The Cage is always useful to store Credit Cards, especially those that are contactless and also double up for storage of your mobile phone to avoid radiation being emitted into the body (especially important for Pregnant Women). To test that any Cage works efficiently, approach the car (and if the wallet is completely closed) then the car should not be able to be opened. Walk up to the car and try the door handle with the key in the wallet, if it doesn’t open then it the Cage is working correctly. BUY YOUR FARADAY POUCH HERE - £5.95 each or £9.95 for two (Free Post & Packing to UK) Additional Reading In the UK 85,000 cars have been stolen in 2017 and 70 per cent of the owners of these vehicles still had the key on them Read more here CAR thieves managed to break into a brand-new £50,000 BMW in less than a minute using a special device bought online https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/866987/car-theft-hack-keyless-entry-video-BMW-stolen Relay Attacks on Passive Keyless Entry and Start Systems in Modern Cars Read more here
    1 point
  26. In the last week both motoring fans and Hollywood have been mourning the loss of a true filming icon, Burt Reynolds who sadly passed away from a heart attack at the age of 82 in Florida. As a fitting tribute Steve looks through some of the cars that starred alongside him during some his most memorable films. Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – Smokey and the bandit One of Burt Reynolds defining films was Smokey and the Bandit which was released in 1977 and featured a 1976/1977 Tans Am which was used as a diversion to keep cops off the trail of the illegal cargo in the back of the truck. After the film sales for the Trans Am rocketed and Reynolds was also also gifted one of the Trans Am promo cars. 1979 Dodge Sportsman Ambulance – Cannonball Run The 1981 film Cannonball run involved a road race and was loosely based on the real 1979 Running the Cannonball race, but not only that the ambulance was used both the actual race and then starred in the film. This was No coincidence as the director for the Cannonball Run had raced the ambulance. 1971 International Scout – Deliverance In this 1974 film Reynolds drives a 1971 International Scout. This 800B model was one of the last of the Mk1 Couts before it was replaced by the Mk2 version. 1968 Chevrolet Camero – Cop and a half Cop and a half was a 1993 comedy which featured Reynolds as a cop who teams up with an 8 year old boy to solve a murder investigation. The film Reynolds drives a 1968 Chevrolet Camero which is fitted with a SS badge. However it is unknown if this car was a real SS as it did not have the SS bonnet. 1974 Citroen SM – Longest Yard This Citroen SM featured in the 1974 film the longest Yard but is only seen in the first few scenes. In the film Reynolds takes the car from his angry girlfriend when intoxicated. She reports the car stolen and a police chase ensues, which ends with the Citroen sinking in water after being pushed off a dock. 1975 Porsche 935 replica – Cannonball Run Compared to the Dodge ambulance mentioned previously this Porsche 935 replica only stars briefly in the film and is based on a 1969 Porsche 911. However those vital scenes gave us too important parts of the film, the first was captain Chaos but also the line “anti radar paint, turbo charged. JJ, nothing can stop us now! Nothing!” As can be suspected this did not go well and the car crashes after encountering a Police roadblock. 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – Hooper This 1978 film is about an aging stuntman who wants to prove he’s still got the skills to do this risky line of work. Hooper was realised after Smokey and the Bandit which could partially explain why a Trans Am was used in Reynolds next film. The Pontiac in question was used in the second half of the film and is used for the films climatic ending where its jumps a 323ft gorge. 1978 GMC k10 stepside – Hooper Another noticeable cars used in the film Hooper is this GMC k10. In the first part of the film Reynolds drives this modified GMC pickup and it is featured in one of the films best scenes when he is pulled over by the police doing 55mph in reverse. 1971 Ford 500 – White Lightening White Lightening was released in 1973 and would be Burt Reynolds first car movie. In the film Reynolds, an ex-convict is employed by the Police to catch a corrupt sheriff who killed his brother and runs a moonshining ring. In the film Reynolds used a modified Ford 500 which was fitted with 429cu V8.
    1 point
  27. Steve looks through five Volkswagens that lasted longer in production than you might think! VW Beetle The last Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line in Wolfsburg-German in 1978 for the hard top and 1980 for the Karman cabriolet; however that wasn’t the end of the story. Production continued in South America where there was still high demand for cheap, simple transportation at assembly plants both in Mexico and Brazil. Despite the introduction of the Golf, Beetles were still being officially imported from Mexico by Volkswagen Germany well into the1980s. Personal imports continued in small numbers, until two professional car import companies started importing larger quantities of Mexican Beetles from 1996 right up to the end of production in 2003. The Mexican Beetles were based on the late 70s body and chassis, similar to that of the 1200 but fitted with a 1600cc fuel injected engine producing 90bhp and catalytic converter. The Mexican Beetles also benefited from an electric washer bottle as opposed the vacuum system as found on the 1970s versions, as well as front disc brakes as standard. Besides these alterations the Beetle remained relatively unchanged, keeping the same suspension setup and four speed manual gearbox as found on the older versions. UK importers were generous with options lists which included right hand drive conversions, folding sunroofs, CD players and even heated windscreens. Even with the novelty factor the Mexican Beetle remains a rare sight on UK roads. Ultima Edicion Beetle VW Transporter bay window Just like the Beetle, South America was in high demand of the bay window transporter due to its versatility where both van and minibus versions were produced in Volkswagens Brazilian plant. The name was changed to kombi but the same 1970s design soldiered on with an air-cooled engine, until 2006 when new emissions rules were brought into force in Brazil. To prolong the life of the Kombi Volkswagen Brazil fitted it with a 1200cc water cooled engine which could also be found in the Fox, this not only reduced emissions but it meant the old designed gained a front radiator grill. Professional importers started bringing the kombi into the UK at the start of the Millennium, where buyers could select from a variety of interior and colour options, but more importantly allowed them to have the retro looks but within a brand new vehicle. Unfortunately progress left the Kombi behind, thanks to safety legislation production ceased in 2013. Last Edition Kombi VW golf Mk1 The first generation Golf was launched in 1974 as a direct replacement to the much loved Volkswagen Beetle. For buyers the golf was a vast improvement over the beetle, as it was available as a five door hatchback or two door cabriolet as well as having more powerful water cooled engines. Just like the Beetle the Golf developed a loyal following, and the model built on Volkswagens reputation for providing reliable family transport. The sporty Golf GTI was launched in 1975 which marked the introduction of the “hot hatch” and became a benchmark for other manufactures to follow due to its practicality and fun driving characteristics. The Mk1 Golf ceased production in Europe in 1983 for the hard top, but the cabriolet remained in production for another decade and final bowed out in 1993. However that was not the end of the story, because as we’ve seen previously in this article certain countries still required cheap and economical transportation. The Golf Mk1 continued to be produced in Africa until 2009 but was renamed Citi Golf so as to differentiate itself from the later model Golfs. The Citi Golf was available with either a 1.4, or 1.6 fuel injected engine and was available in four trim levels; CitiRox, CitiSport, TenaCiti and CitiStorm. 2003 Citi Golf VW Jetta Mk2 The Mk2 Jetta was noticeably longer, wider and taller than the previous model and was available in three and five door saloon. The second generation Jetta was released in 1984 and immediately became a sales success in America, where it outsold the Golf and even achieved bestselling European car of the year in America in 1991. In the same year the Jetta was introduced into the Chinese market in complete knock down (CKD) form, but this later changed in 1995 when China started their own production using locally sourced components. The Jetta was the first Volkswagen to be released in China but due to Volkswagens strong reputation the Jetta has become a popular choice for taxi drivers in China even despite the Mk2 Jetta production ending in 2013. VW Golf Mk4 The fourth generation Golf was introduced to the UK in mid-1998 to replace the aging mk3 model and was available in 3 or 5 door hatchback, estate or cabriolet even though the latter was just a facelifted Mk3 Golf convertible which naturally confused buyers. The Mk4 Golf brought with it various improvements over the outgoing model as it was both longer and wider than the previous model as well as being taller which all improved the cabin space. In early 2004 the Golf Mk4 was replaced by the fifth generation in continental Europe, but it continued to be sold as the Golf City in Canada and in South America until 2010. The Golf City was facelifted in 2007 and was available with either a 2.0 115hp petrol engine or a TDI engine, and sold well due to being competitively priced at $15,300 Canadian dollars. In south America the Golf City was available in either a 1.6, 1.8 or 2.0 petrol engine and was available in two trim levels.
    1 point
  28. In the sleepy Leicestershire village of Barkby there is an unusual sight, parked in the carpark of the Church View Nursey garden centre sits an old double decker bus. This in itself doesn’t sound unusual but what sets this bus apart from many other classic buses is the fact that this one has been converted into a wonderful cafe. The Mash Tun opened in July 2017 by Joe and Laura and who already have a loyal customer base. The bus cannot be missed by passers-by as it sits near the roadside and on arrival there is plenty of parking, which is ideal when the café and garden centre gets busy. Walking over to the bus I found the staff to be very friendly and welcoming, as they talk to you from a hatch in the side of the bus which was once a window. The hatch is where you’ll find the vast menu of both hot and cold food, as well as doubling up for placing your order and on this occasion I ordered a bacon and egg roll with a pot of tea. At this point you also pay for your order either with cash or card payment. Once your order has been placed, you head upstairs and take a pew on one of the up-cycled or handcrafted seating areas which cannot be denied is certainly unique. After a short wait the staff will bring your drinks up to you, followed shortly by your food order. Both of which I found were always delivered with a smile. Tucking into my bacon and egg roll I found both the bacon and egg to be fresh and superb, whilst finding the tea plentiful thanks to a large vintage style pot and presented with a cup, saucer and a biscuit on the side. The food served is either homemade, locally sourced or Fairtrade which further reinforces the quality of the food and drink on offer. The atmosphere of the café was warm with other customers seeming happy and enjoying their orders too. I would highly recommend the Mash Tun Café both for the great food and prompt service and it certainly would make a nice stop for anyone who is taking their classic car out for a run in the idyllic Leicestershire countryside. Details: Church View Nursery/Mash Tun Cafe Queniborough Road, Barkby, Leicester LE7 3QJ http://themashtuncafe.co.uk/ Opening Times: Monday: CLOSED Tuesday: 9:30am-5pm Wednesday: 9:30am-3pm Thursday: 9:30am-5pm Friday: 9:30am-5pm Saturday: 9:30am-5pm Sunday: 10am-4pm The Owners: Joe and Laura with their daughter Flo
    1 point
  29. Set off the main through fair in Syston Town centre sits a quintessentially British tea room called Occasions which oozes with charm thanks to its quirky vintage setting and lovely staff. Occasions was set up by Emma five years ago to bring something a little different to Syston by offering light lunches with sandwiches, toasties, cream teas which are combined with delicious homemade cakes in a friendly and unique setting. Walking through the door, a classic doorbell rings which is then followed by a warm welcome from Emma and her staff. You then take a seat either in the main café or in the parlour room which would not look out of place in Great Gatsby, and given time to peruse the menu before the staff come over to take your order. On this occasion (no pun intended!) I ordered the cream tea which came with a fruit scone, cream, jam and a pot of tea. After my order had been taken I only had to wait a short time before my order arrived, but I will be clear this wasn’t because I had ordered something simple as other patrons who ordered salads or sandwiches also received their food quickly and always with a smile. All food is freshly prepared and there is a great attention to detail for presentation for all orders that I could see, as well as being exquisite in taste. The food and tea was served on vintage china which only adds to the ambiance of the Tea Room. I cheekily topped off my cream tea with a piece of mouth-watering chocolate cake, which as previously mentioned is homemade and is certainly as great as it looked! I would strongly recommend this fantastic Tea Room to anyone, which is certainly ideal if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of a hectic life but also makes a lovely stop for those who fancy a vintage stop in their vintage car. Details: Occasions Tea Room 8A High St Syston Leicester LE7 1GP 0116 3191819 Opening Times: Monday: CLOSED (Except Bank Holidays & the Monday before Christmas) Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    1 point
  30. The Mk2 Kuga was released in 2013 as a replacement for the very successful Mk1 version and has been vastly improved both in size and build quality compared to its predecessor. The current Kuga has been designed primarily in Europe under the One Ford policy whereby Ford has one vehicle for each market sector globally. This is also carried through to the assembly process whereby engines are made in the UK and the interiors are made in Detroit for example. The Mk2 Kuga has a sharper looking front end compared to the Mk1 version which has improved the aerodynamics of the Kuga whilst giving it a smarter appearance. The kuga also has good ride height which gives the Kuga great presence on the road and also off it. Like most vehicles in the SUV class the kuga is more of a softroader rather than an offroader but this won’t affect most buyers who I suspect will be buying the Kuga as a family car and thus keeping the Kuga on the tarmac. On the other hand, I feel the most offroad action the Kuga will see is around the campsite where it should perform effortlessly. There are five specification levels to choose from for the pre-facelifted Kuga which give buyers plenty of choice and means there should be a Kuga to fit all budgets. The specifications are: Zetec is the entry level model but is far from basic and comes with 17” alloys, heated front windscreen, SYNC 1 DAB radio, cruise control, electric windows front and rear, manual air conditioning, leather trimmed steering wheel with reach and rake adjustment. The Zetec is available with a 1.5 eco boost petrol engine with either 120ps or 150ps in 2WD form or 182ps in all wheel drive. But also a 2.0 litre TDCI diesel engine with 150ps in either 2WD or all-wheel drive. Titanium has all the features of the Zetec plus automatic headlights and wipers, duel zone climate control, SYNC 2 DAB in replacement of SYNC 1 on Zetec models, stainless steel scuff plates, centre armrest, leather gear knob and lumbar support for the front seats. Engines are the same as the Zetec excluding the 120ps petrol which is not offered and there is an uprated TDCI engine producing 182ps as well as the 150ps version. Titanium Sport has the same features as the Zetec and Titanium but also benefits from a bodykit, boot spoiler, 18” alloys, parking sensors front and rear, part leather seats and active park assist. Engine options are the same as per the Titanium. Titanium X has all the features and engine options as Titanium but gains 182 wheels, Xenon headlights, LED taillights, LED day time running lights, panoramic sunroof with built in sunblind, power folding mirrors and leather seats which are heated. Titanium X Sport is the top spec model and is fitted with the features from both Titanium X and Titanium Sport but has additional 19” alloys, rear view camera, rear privacy glass and aluminium roof rails. All models are offered with either a six speed manual gearbox or powershift automatic transmission. Ford haven’t skimped on safety either as all Kugas come with a 5* NCAP safety rating and are equipped with front, side, curtain and knee airbags as well as a collapsible steering column and pedal assembly. Driving the Ford Kuga The Kuga I have on test is a Titanium Sport model fitted with the 2.0TDCI 150ps engine and manual gearbox which is also fitted with the appearance pack which consists of aluminium roof rails and tinted windows as well as having power folding mirrors and sat Nav fitted. Climbing into the Kuga I found the seats very supportive, as well as very good adjustment with the reach and rake steering wheel both of which made it easy for me to find the ideal seating position. Moving onto the rear of the cabin, passengers are treated to a generous amount of leg space as well as being able to adjust the back of the seat into a reclined position. Ford have also been generous with the storage space, as the Kuga comes with deep door pockets both front and rear as well as having a sunglasses holder and good armrest storage and a glovebox. Now don’t think that with all the cabin space on offer that the boot has been compromised because this is far from the case and comes with 406 litres of boot space and the added benefit of a flat boot floor, meaning loading big items is a doddle. Furthermore, the cabin is very well thought out with all switches in easy reach and the infotainment screen which is both clear and well positioned so as to not distract the driver. I found the Sat Nav easy to use and gave clear instructions in plenty of time before the change of direction but did have live traffic updates which could be hit and miss at times and would tell me of an issue whilst being stuck in it. The air conditioning system is also very good and there is an array of vents to distribute the air evenly about the cabin. The Bluetooth connectivity is another standard feature and again, is easy to operate for making phone calls and receiving texts messages which can be both read on the screen or played through the speakers. Driving the Kuga is a pleasant affair and I found the diesel engine both smooth and quiet for general driving, but engine noise would become apparent if the Kuga was pushed hard and naturally a car like this is more comfortable being driven more sedately. This was also clear in the MPG figures as when the Kuga was pushed hard the MPG would tumble but when driven sensibly I was getting between 41.8-43.0mpg with a mixture of town, country and motorway driving. I must admit that despite the Kuga's size it handled very well and found the suspension setup very compliant and had good rebound but I would suspect the ride to be slightly firmer on the 19” wheels fitted on higher spec’d models. One drawback I found with the Kuga's driving characteristics was the level of tyre/road noise entering the cabin but this could be partly down to the Continental tyres fitted to this particular car. The steering too was very good, being light but with plenty of feel and made me feel like I was driving a family hatchback rather than an SUV. The only other drawback I found with the Kuga was the amount of wind noise experienced but again this is partly down to the Kuga’s size and is a small price to pay for its many advantages. The Motorists Guide View: The second generation Ford Kuga had big shoes to fill when compared to the outgoing model but I feel it has lived up to its predecessor’s reputation of being a practical and well-designed SUV, but more importantly a great family car. With the wide range of specifications and engine options on offer, there is sure to be a Kuga to accommodate all tastes. Also, I feel that good build quality combined with all-round versatility makes the Kuga a serious contender in the SUV market and one well worth considering when you are looking to change your current car. https://fave.co/2wPiV6Z Dimensions Length: 4524mm Width with mirrors: 2077mm Height: 1689mm Curb Weight: 1580Kg
    1 point
  31. The Mazda 2 is now into its third generation here in the UK and marks a step forward for Mazda, as it is the first small car in over 20 years that Mazda has designed and built without using Ford Fiesta underpinnings. The current model, released in 2015 has also moved away from the curvy lines and bubble shape of the previous model and has adopted a sharper front end partly in thanks to a raked bonnet angle. There is a great range of specifications for buyers to choose from and one to suit all budgets which are listed below and are correct as of 2018: SE+ which is only available with the 75ps 1.5 litre engine and 5 speed manual gearbox. RRP: £13,295 and is fitted with 15” alloy wheels, electric folding mirrors, dual airbags, curtain airbags and hill hold assist. SE-L+ is available with the same mechanical configuration with RRP: £14,095 and is fitted with SE+ features as well as automatic headlights, LED front foglights, electric windows front and rear, climate air conditioning, Bluetooth and cruise control. SE-L Nav + has the option of a 90ps 1.5 litre engine with either a 5 speed manual or 6 speed automatic gearbox. £14,895 RRP manual or £16,195RRP automatic and has all the SE-L plus features as well as a 7” touch screen with sat nav and a DAB digital radio. Sport Nav+ has the same engine and gearbox options as the SE-L Nav + with the manual set at £15,695 RRP and £16,995 RRP for the automatic. The Sport Nav has all the features of the SE-L Nav+ but with added sporting flair. As such this spec comes with 16” wheels, rear spoiler, chrome exhaust trim, tinted windows but also comes with the convenience of parking sensors, keyless entry and rain sensing wipers. Sport black+ is available with the 90ps 1.5 litre engine and 5 speed manual gearbox and is priced at £15,995 RRP. This spec is fitted with all the features of the Sport Nav+ but with an added bodykit and certain body parts painted in black. GT Sport Nav+ is available with the 90ps 1.5 litre engine or the 115ps 1.5 litre engine. The latter is the most powerful engine on offer. This spec is available with either the 5 speed manual or a 6 speed manual. £16,495 RRP for the 5 speed manual or £17,095 RRP for the 6 speed. This is the top spec Mazda 2 and is fitted with all the Sport Nav + features as well as having leather/suede seats where the front seats are heated, leather steering wheel, reverses camera, and lane departure warning. Driving the Mazda 2 The model I have on test is a 2016 Se-L Nav model, fitted with the mid-range 1.5 petrol engine producing 89BHP and mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox. Mazda describes the Mazda 2 as a sporty supermini which can be felt through firm but compliant suspension and the snappy gear changes. However, I found I needed some time to adjust to the Mazda 2 steering characteristics, as the steering was far too light and found it does not help build confidence to push the car hard into the bends. The 1.5 petrol engine is both economical and quiet in town and on the motorway, but found a vibration through the pedals when the engine was pushed into the higher rev range. Moving into the cabin it is clear that the interior is well put together but seems slightly bland in my opinion and a little tight on the right hand side for the driver. The dashboard is nicely curved and all the controls are where you expect them to be, the exception is the dial to controlling the infotainment system which is set too far back and thus making it harder to reach. Furthermore, certain design features appeared borrowed from other manufacturers, a good example are the air vents which appear to be borrowed from the current Audi A3 as well as the hazard switch which seemed to remind me of one found in the Vauxhall Nova. The cabin isn’t all bad though, there’s plenty of space for rear passengers and more than you get in the Ford Fiesta. The boot is a good size too, with 280 litres of space but there is a lip which will make lifting heavy or big items slightly cumbersome. The Mazda 2 also has plenty of storage space in other areas, including front door pockets that can hold water bottles and space for mobile phones. This particular Mazda 2 is well spec’d, being equipped with Bluetooth, Satnav, cruise control and a novelty nowadays – a CD player. This last feature is great for those like me who haven’t embraced the 21st Century yet. I found the Sat Nav easy to use and I liked that you could search over the map and look at the surrounding areas, perfect if you get lost as I did when taking a detour. My only complaint with the Sat Nav was that at one point it froze and the only way to resolve the issue was to turn off the ignition and restart the engine but I admit this may be a fault with this particular Mazda 2. The radio is of good quality too and as you would expect it’s a DAB digital radio which like the Sat Nav was easy to use. I did find that whilst driving at higher speeds there was a lot of road and wind noise which meant the radio had to be turned up but even at high volumes the radio performed well. On the other hand, when the radio was turned off and had the wipers on I could hear the rear wiper motor whirring which did get irritating after a while but I guess that’s what the radio is for! The Motorist Guide Opinion: In my opinion the Mazda 2 is a midrange supermini, it’s not the worst in class but it’s not the best either. A definitive plus point is the 1.5 litre engine as it is more economical than the 1.5 litre engine you’ll find in the MG3 and as previously mentioned the rear legroom is better than what you’ll find on a Ford Fiesta. But I felt the steering let the car down due to it being too light for my taste as well as the interior being slightly bland, although well-built and well spec’d. However, I do think the current Mazda 2 will be a good seller, partly due to being keenly priced in line with the competition but also its an improvement on the previous model.
    1 point
  32. Steve reviews another high mileage car which has now been left out to pasture. Volvo is a brand where high mileage cars are renowned and a trend that was started by the 700 series. The 700 series was created by Volvo’s chief designer Jan Wilsgaard over a 10 year period, and was designed to replace the 200 series. The 700 was released in 1982 and the first model available was the 760GLE saloon which immediately became Volvo’s flagship. Being the flagship model the 760 came with luxuries such as heated leather seats, air conditioning, alloy wheels, front foglights, electric windows, electric mirrors and electric sunroof all as standard. Three engines were available for the 760 which included the 2.8 V6 petrol which, ironically is the same engine as found in the Delorean DMC-12 as well as a 2.3 turbo charged petrol and a 2.4 turbo diesel. The engines were mated to either a 4 speed manual gearbox with overdrive or a 4 speed automatic. In 1985 the 740 was released and slotted between the luxurious 760 and the 200 series as a mid-size family car and as such there was slightly more choice for buyers compared to the one spec for the 760. The 740 was available in either GL or GLE or SE (1988 onwards) versions, the GL was the entry level spec and did away with luxuries such as leather interior, front foglights and alloy wheels. Whereas the GLE model was almost identical to the 760 GLE spec and was of the more popular 700 models. The 740 was available with a 2.3 naturally aspirated petrol engine as well as the infamous 2.3 turbo petrol and the same 2.4 turbo diesel as found in the 760. Another key development in 1985 was the introduction of the estate version which was available in both 760 and 740 guises. The specs remained unchanged to that of the saloons but offered far more luggage space, as well as the option of a rear facing bench seat which could fold neatly into the boot floor and self-levelling suspension. This allowed the 700 series estate to become a fantastic workhorse and family car, which could double up as a lovely executive car. This brings me on nicely to our high miler feature which is a 1987 Volvo 740 GLE estate fitted with the 2.3 naturally aspirated engine and 4 speed manual gearbox with overdrive. This is a one owner car from new and was registered in the April of 1987 and was specd with the rare options of a telephone and graphic equaliser. The car spent its life as the owner’s company car for his own business before being retired in 2005 after covering 149,928 miles. Since being retired the Volvo has sat in a field, where rust is starting to take hold. This is no small feat as the 700 series was well rust proofed when new. This car also suffers from the very common sagging headlining issue which can be expected in light of the age and condition. The Motorists Guide View: Sitting in this Volvo brings a wave of sadness over me as it allowed me to reminisce about my late Grandfathers 1984 Volvo 760GLE diesel saloon, and it brought back a lot of memories bearing in mind I hadn’t sat in one in approximately 20 years. What did amaze me was that despite the Volvo’s condition, the switchgear and interior felt well put together and was comfortable place to sit. I would love to see this Volvo to hit the road again but somehow I find it unlikely to do so and I would love to have taken it home with me. Rest in peace faithful servant. Have you got a high mileage car? If so, we’d love to hear from you and share your high miler car story. Regards Steve
    1 point
  33. Thanks Trevor I do find abandoned cars interesting as you've finely put it cars are loved and then suddenly discarded. For me seeing this Volvo was like a flash back as my last memories of my granddads Volvo 760 was it languishing in a field on the family farm. A sad end to an awesome car.
    1 point
  34. Brightest performance halogen without compromising on life Driving at night is challenging. There is a reduction in a driver’s overall vision, objects are unclear and road signs are less obvious from further away. To improve visibility, Ring has once again set the standards in vehicle lighting with the launch of the new Xenon150 performance halogen bulb. Xenon150 puts up to 150% more light on the road compared to a standard bulb without compromising the operating life, making it the longest lasting +150% bulb on the market. Xenon150 uses the latest advancements in filament technology. The filament has been engineered to be shorter, with a tighter wound coil to produce a brighter, whiter light output. When combined with 100% xenon gas in the glass envelope, the result is up to 150% more light on the road. Xenon150 also produces an 80m longer beam pattern, allowing other road users to be seen more clearly and give you more time to react to potential hazards when you need to. At 3700K, the light output is closer to daylight, providing better reflections from road markings and signs. Vehicle Lighting Product Manager, Matthew Flaherty comments: “Development of the Xenon150 has been complex and is something that all those involved in the process at Ring are proud of. We have engineered a brighter light that complies with all the legal regulations for light output, without compromising on the operating life when compared to our other performance halogens.” Xenon150 bulbs are available in popular H4 and H7 references, which are street legal and are a simple upgrade from standard bulbs, requiring no changes to vehicle wiring. Xenon150 is the ideal option for motorists who want more light for a brighter, more enjoyable night time driving experience. Follow this link to see which Bulbs will fit your car Fitting Notes: Something to note when fitting Halogen bulbs is to avoid touching the glass prior to fitting as the oily residue from skin can create a hotspot on the bulb which can lead to it failing prematurely. If you do inadvertently touch the glass, then you can clean it before fitting by using a lint-free cloth and if available some alcohol-based cleaning solution to remove the marks. It is always best to use Latex gloves to fit the bulbs and avoid touching the glass directly.
    1 point
  35. THE ‘ALL-NEW FIESTA HAS MATURED INTO A VERY PLEASANT SMALL CAR, WITH A BIG CAR FEEL ! OVERVIEW The all-new Fiesta is available in Style, Zetec (B + O Play and Navigation versions), Titanium (B + O Play and X versions), Vignale, ST-Line and ST-Line X. An all-new ‘Active’ Fiesta is due out in 2018, the first Fiesta ever to feature SUV styling. Engines available in both Petrol and Diesel – 1.0 EcoBoost, 1.1 Ti-VCT, 1.5 TDCi Duratorq and variety of power output applies across the engine range. Body styles are 3 doors and 5 doors with 6-speed Manual or Automatic Transmission options. ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN The 1.0 litre EcoBoost Petrol engine (as road tested) has an output of 100PS and with Auto-Start-Stop technology to comply with emissions standards for many years ahead. With power output from the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine being comparable to a 1.6-litre engine with performance enhanced by turbocharging, delivering both economy and driveability without compromise. The 1.5 litre TDCi Diesel engine output of 85 PS and economy figures quoted of 88.3 mpg (combined) with CO2 emissions of just 82-84 g/km. A 120 PS engine gives you 88.3 mpg (combined) and CO2emissions of 89 g/km. EXTERIOR The all-new Ford Fiesta exterior is still easily identifiable by its unique styling as Britain’s most popular but with a more up-to-date image. The Fiesta now comes with the option of a two-part, glass panoramic roof that either tilts or slides back over the rear roof section to create a light and airy interior. Whilst the roof allows natural light to flood in, solar reflective glass keeps you cool and protects you from UV rays. An electrically operated roof blind also enables you to cover or reveal the roof at the press of a button Halogen projector headlights with daytime running lights. A useful night-driving aid, Auto High Beam temporarily dips the headlights when it detects oncoming traffic or a vehicle ahead, stopping you dazzling other drivers. It then automatically reverts back to high beam, giving you maximum visibility. Body coloured electrically-operated and heated door mirrors with side indicators incorporate a Blind Spot Information System uses RADAR sensors to scan the blind spots on either side of the car. If they detect a vehicle you can’t see, an orange light that’s clearly displayed in the corresponding side door mirror illuminates to warn you. If you’re reversing out of a space, and have limited visibility of the traffic situation, Cross Traffic Alert can detect oncoming vehicles and sound a warning. The technology also illuminates a light in the wing mirror: left or right depending on the direction of oncoming traffic. Body coloured bumpers with mesh grille and body colour spoiler, door and liftgate handles further enhance the look of the All-New Fiesta. INTERIOR The Style version was used for the road test, however, there are many other features available for other variants within the range, either as standard or as an option, such as an Openable panorama roof and leather heated seats & steering wheel To further enhance the interior space, the Fiesta gives you more front and rear legroom than ever before by redesigning the rear seats to have sculpted, slim backs, therefore, the passengers can sit further back. Ford SYNC 3 is a state-of-the-art system that enables you to stay connected and control your phone, music and navigation system with intuitive voice commands, or an 8” colour touchscreen. It connects to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too, and with Applink, you can access smartphone apps, including Spotify. Live Traffic can also help avoid the jams. The Fiesta now sports Emergency Lights so that if you have to brake hard for an emergency, the hazard warning lights come on automatically to alert other drivers. The brake lights flash too, providing following vehicles with some advance warning of a potentially dangerous situation. In addition to the driver and passenger front airbags, side airbags provide thorax protection and are designed to direct the occupant away from the impact area. They’re also able to raise the arm of the occupant providing better space between them and the intruding structure. Curtain airbags provide maximum coverage and headrests offer protection from whiplash. With front and rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, plus seatbelt minders. TECHNOLOGY The Lane-Keeping System – including Lane-Keeping Alert and Lane-Keeping Aid works incredibly well but did have a tendency to seem violent in its approach to taking back control which can be a little disconcerting but overall, the accuracy of the system is not lacking in the slightest and is a very useful safety feature. Some of the following features are available as an option across the range: LED Night Signature to rear lights Traffic Sign Recognition and Driver Alert Auto High Beam Rain sensing wipers Traffic Sign Recognition and Driver Alert Power-foldable door mirrors with puddle lights Rear privacy glass Partial leather sports style front seats Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC) Cruise Control Ford SYNC 3 Navigation with 8″ Touchscreen Centre console with armrest, openable stowage and 12 V power point Auto-dimming rear-view mirror ROAD TEST SUMMARY First thoughts when driving it were how the 1.0 EcoBoost engine responded much akin to the performance from a 1.6 litre and also how the interior cabin area gives the impression of a seemingly much larger car. Accessing the interior was generally quite uneventful, considering it was the three-door version and where it seems that most modern cars appear to work on the principle of design over function, no heads were bashed on door pillars on entry and the dashboard did not claim any knees either! Accessing the interior was generally quite uneventful, considering it was the three-door version and where it seems that most modern cars appear to work on the principle of design over function, no heads were bashed on door pillars on entry and the dashboard did not claim any knees either! The Fiesta is relatively easy to navigate through all the myriad of controls and electronic wizardry such as the Bluetooth connectivity, which was incredibly easy to sync and control through the cars’ audio system. Engine starting is via the push-button and incorporates ‘stop-start’ technology, although no keyless entry. Hill Start Assist was useful when manoeuvring on a slope on the odd occasion. Safety and driver assistance technology contribute to leaving you with the belief that you are driving something that will get you to your destination safely and allow to feel quite relaxed even after a long distance. The relief of the car being able to facilitate your driving, and in some cases making better judgements in situations such as distance control and lane guidance, all of which can result in draining the drivers’ energy after some time at the wheel. Ford’s Adaptive Cruise Control with Pre-Collision Assist is definitely a safety enhancement that is essential for safe driving at any speed. Ford has utilised the onboard technology to enhance the system to be an incredibly reliable and useful safety aid. Once used, it becomes difficult to switch off and solely rely on your own reactions. The system also features Traffic Sign recognition to allow the driver to set the speed limiting to stay legal at all times. Fuel economy was good but given the roads used, traffic conditions and speed travelled, we obtained between 49 – 53 mpg overall. For the size of the engine and the superb drivability experience, it is really quite hard to complain at those figures. The full-length opening panoramic glass roof is superb for allowing in natural light but stopping the harmful UV rays from swamping the interior. With the addition of the pop-up windbreak at the front reducing wind noise, it all seems to work very well. Overall, the all-new Fiesta is a car loaded with useable technology and features usually reserved for much more expensive and up-market brands but delivers a similar ‘feel good factor’ from the driving experience with a smaller price tag. Click here to see Ford Fiesta Mk8 models for sale TECHNICAL INFORMATION Engine 1.0 EcoBoost (998cc DOHC Turbocharged Direct Injection) Transmission 6 speed Manual (front wheel drive) Power (bhp / kW) 100 (74) Torque (Nm) 170 Mpg (Combined) 65.7 (extra-urban) 78.5 (urban) 52.3 Max Speed (mph) – 124 0-62 Mph (secs) 10.5 Insurance Group 10E Emissions Euro 6 CO2 (g/km) 97 Dimensions Length: 4040 mm, Width: 1735 mm, Width (with mirrors): 1941 mm, Height: 1476 mm Above information based on Fiesta Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost COST (effective from September 2017) Style – from £11,995 Zetec B+O Play – from £13,995 Zetec Navigation – from £14,515 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec – from £14.795 (model road tested) All prices are based on Dealer ‘On the Road’ price, including 20% VAT ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Original article written for the Ford Owners Club www.fordownersclub.com Special thanks to Evans Halshaw, Bedford for the loan of the Ford Fiesta used for road test For more information about the Ford Fiesta visit: www.evanshalshaw.com/dealers/ford-bedford/
    1 point
  36. So why don’t we all drive Hybrid cars? They’re slow, ugly and don’t inspire us on our daily commute….really? Just check out the BMW i8, Lexus RX450h, Porsche Panamera Hybrid and many more new models appearing every year. Originally, Hybrid cars produced by Toyota and Honda were a slightly lacking in visual appeal, however, over the past twenty years, Hybrid vehicle technology has improved to a level where some of the Worlds’ fastest racing cars are in fact Hybrid powered. Economy, durability and performance have all increased over time with the advent of new technological advances in science and engineering. Even looks have improved to satisfy our demanding aesthetic appeal. The majority of vehicle manufacturers are now onboard with the idea that consumers are becoming more environmentally aware when it comes to road transport and are demanding more miles per gallon and lower emissions for cheaper motoring. The environment also is demanding change with the introduction of strict new laws in cities to reduce the pollution created by conventional internal combustion engines. When it comes to fuel economy, none of us likes to pay out money to travel in our cars and hence the reason we constantly search for more economical solutions. Switching to a Hybrid vehicle is one such solution but it is also a lifestyle choice when it comes to which one to pick. Does the purchaser need a family car or maybe it is a performance car that is required but without the guilty conscience? Fortunately, there are now many choices available from the sedate shopping car to the high-performance supercar, all of which cost little to run and won’t destroy the planet. So what about durability and reliability I hear you ask? Well, seeing as Toyota and Honda have been producing Hybrid cars for around twenty years and they are still running today on original battery packs, then this should provide some confidence in their longevity. Reliability is also right up there, with the exception of the occasional battery cell (which is available as a single replacement unit nowadays) and the sometimes temperamental inverter playing up, in general reliability is superb. Value for money is something that is close to many purchasers’ heart, therefore, the decision to spend more quite a bit more money on a Hybrid over a conventional car is not one to be taken lightly. Research has shown that due to demand and increased popularity of used Hybrid vehicles, prices are staying high and represent a great residual value over many years. And finally, probably the most important reason for anyone wanting to switch to a Hybrid vehicle is that you would be reducing emissions and helping to do your part for the environment. Hybrids generally emit 90% less emissions than a conventional petrol or diesel car by using Electro-Motive Power to assist the Internal Combustion Engine. In addition to this, because the engine doesn’t have to work so hard to propel the vehicle to speed, a smaller capacity and different design of engine can be used which is also much less polluting than it’s rivals. How about Government incentives? Vehicle Excise Duty is also lower and there are incentives for inner-city usage which all adds up to saving money. So what are you waiting for? Go on, you know you want one!
    1 point
  37. Tom Barnard, a local author, racing driver, engineer, boat builder, track designer, car designer along with a string of other accomplishments. His book 'I gathered no moss', an autobiography detailing his fascinating life story His book starts with the advent of WW1 when his father returned from the war and purchased Bluepool at Furzebrooke. He then set about landscaping the grounds with rare plants and trees. Soon enough, tourists started flocking to this wonderful place of tranquillity. WW2 then disrupted proceedings and Tom writes about the Army taking over the land and buildings, overhead dogfights and near misses from exploding bombs. After the war, he schooled at Eton and entered into a social life in London. Around this time, he got interested in Engineering but also in Motor Racing. This was the golden era for racing and he was fortunate enough to compete in races with the likes of Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss and driving cars for Colin Chapman at Lotus. A few years later on, he decided to adapt his engineering business to small-scale racing cars that children (or an adult) could race on any track, The Barnard Formula Six. The car could be adapted so that it was safe for any youngster to drive at a very early age and the controls were within reach of a supervising adult. His early childhood, first in South Africa and then in South Dorset was suddenly interrupted by World War Two. The Barnards were evicted from their house, which became a military hospital, and bombs soon became part of daily life. After schooling near Swanage, and then at Eton, Tom was called up for National Service in the Army. He then spent sixteen years in his chosen profession of engineering but managed, during this time, to fit in seven years as a racing driver, mostly with Lotus. His invention of the Barnard Formula Six miniature racing car earned him enormous publicity in the UK and abroad with over four hundred models sold. This was followed by boat building, classic car restoration and then four years helping to develop Silverstone Circuit. His success with race track designing led to projects in a dozen countries spread over a further twelve years. Finally, with a quiet life in mind, he began a study of his family history and the writing of his book. The fourteen chapters confirm that the title is fully justified. He has been throughout his life, a true rolling stone. Buy this Book here
    1 point
  38. Steve reviews an Audi A6 which has covered over 329,000 miles and asks the question, should we really be afraid of high mileage cars? This Audi A6 was ordered as a new vehicle in 2002, in SE trim by the owner’s father who specified it with the 2.5TDI engine and 6 speed manual gearbox. In addition the A6 was fitted with the optional sport seats, sports suspension and rare 7 seat boot conversion. The latter being required for a growing family and owner’s father not wanting to drive a people carrier! The Audi was registered on Wednesday 13th March 2002 at the Reg Vardy Audi Dealership in Leicester, significant as it was the same day as the owner’s grandmother’s birthday. His Father has driven the Audi consistently up to 2013 and it has been maintained regardless of cost with a full service history. The A6 was put into semi-retirement when the owner’s father acquired a company car and at which point his son took over, using the car as my daily driver. Mechanically the A6 has been generally reliable only requiring serviceable items, including new suspension, engine mounts and an alternator throughout the last 14 years. The one key exception was a turbo which was replaced at 3 and half years old and its replacement has been fitted since 2005 and has covered approximately 230,000 out of the 329,000 miles! Furthermore, and without tempting fate neither the engine nor gearbox have ever been rebuilt. The A6 was serviced by Audi for the first 4 years and then at a local garage AC Motors ever since. The local garage has been brilliant and has carried out any work required to the highest standard. I prefer to use Bridgestone tyres on the A6 as I feel it improves the handling characteristics. Cosmetically the A6 has aged well and has only required two new front wings due to the originals rusting at the top of the arches. This appears to be a common fault with VAG cars from the late 90s to early the noughties and affects the Audi A6 C5, Audi A4, Volkswagen Golf mk4 and Volkswagen Passat to name but a few. On the other hand the interior is now showing its age and has a worn driver’s seat bolster, wear on the 3 spoke sport steering wheel, as well as having the soft paint peeling off the air conditioning control unit. These issues have been well documented on various cars and I have chosen not to repair them as they add character and patina to the vehicle. The only exception was the Audi symphony radio which has been replaced under warranty. The Audi A6 has been on various family adventures including trips to France, Belgium, Norfolk, Essex, Royal Ascot in 2002 as well as the annual trip to Northern Ireland which it has done since it was new. Furthermore it has been used to tow race trailers as the owner’s brother has done both Kart racing and Saloon Car racing all across the country. Finally, the A6 has been a fantastic family car and has provided valiant service throughout the last 14 years. I work within the motor trade and find that despite its age and mileage the A6 drives better than some of the newer cars and cars with far less mileage currently on the market. It is a pleasure to drive and has the added benefit of being both comfortable and practical. In the near future he would like to take the A6 back to its birthplace Neckarsulm-Stuttgart, Germany and around the Nurburgring for the ultimate road trip. There is no chance of him getting rid of this great car any time soon. It has become a treasured family possession, and one which he has grown up with and ultimately have come to own. The A6 has now achieved in excess of 300,000 miles and he is looking forward to the next 300,000 miles! The Motorists Guide view: For me this Audi A6 is testament to the owner and shows the true potential of a well maintained car, bearing in mind the mileage covered by the A6 is further than going to the moon and theoretically this A6 is on its way back! What I have learnt from driving this Audi A6 and hearing its story, I feel the key to buying a high mileage car is down to how well it has been maintained and cared for. After driving this A6 I would happily own a high mileage Audi A6 C5 which will eventually become a classic. Have you got a high mileage car? If so, we’d love to hear from you and share your high miler car story. Regards Steve
    1 point
  39. It is unbelievable mileage and I agree u think this a6 would be around for many years to come. However I feel this is just the tip of the iceberg and I bet there are quite a few high mile cars out there and we'd love to here their story.
    1 point
  40. It cannot be denied that the Ford Escort has become a British motoring icon, and most people in the UK have encountered one. Either by your parents owning one, your mate’s dad owning one or having a ride in one to be dropped off into town. Since the launch of the Ford Escort in 1967 more than 4.1 million were built but now the Escort is becoming more of a rarity on our roads, but this should come as no surprise as the last one rolled off the production line in 2001 in the UK. The MK5 Escort was first launched in 1991 to replace the aging Mk4 variant and despite having a whole new body the mechanicals were transferred over from the Mk4 which meant buyers still made do with the HCS or CVH engines. As can be expected neither the motoring press nor consumers were fooled and as such the Mk5 got some negative press, excluding the RS2000. Ford set to rectify this in the later part of 1992 when the Mk5b escort was launched, which boasted the brand new 16 valve Zetec engines as well as slight cosmetic tweaks and a stiffer body. This meant the Mk5b ended up with a similar front to the Mk5 but a rear that resembled the Mk6. In 1995 the Escort received its final facelift which became known as the Mk6 which included newly designed bumpers, bonnet and headlights. The alterations weren’t just cosmetic as the Escort gained a new interior including, dashboard and seats but equally as important improved handling. Throughout the Escorts production run both manual and automatic gearboxes were available, and in manual form the Escorts with the 105bhp Zetec or less had the IB5 gearbox which was taken directly from the Mk1 Fiesta. The 130bhp Zetec and RS2000 were fitted with the MTX75 gearbox which is believed to be tougher. Over the Escorts 10 year production run there were various models and special editions produced, a brief summary includes: L – entry level with wind up windows and no power steering on early cars LX – gained electric windows and power steering Finesse – gained air conditioning instead of the sunroof as well as alloy wheels. Mexico – only available on the Mk6 and unfortunately was just a special edition with special interior trim and white dials. Ghia – plusher seats, rear headrests, air con, electric mirrors, electric windows and electric sunroof Ghia SI - only available on the Mk5b and was designed to be a sporty 5 door, with RS2000 wheels, wooden inserts on the dash and door cards. Ghia X – Only available on the Mk6 and boasted leather seats and wood dash inserts on top of the usual Ghia trim. XR3i – only available on the Mk5/Mk5b and fitted with a 1.8 Zetec engine which either came with 105bhp or 130bhp and sporty interior. GTI – only available on the Mk6 and replaced the XR3i trim and gained half leather interior, sideskirts and rear bumper spats as well as Cosworth look alike alloy wheels. RS2000 – available in Mk5, Mk5b and Mk6 forms and in 4x4. They were all fitted with a 2.0 litre engine, upgraded gearbox and suspension on top of having disc brakes fitted front and rear. Driving the Escort Now I appreciate that the Escort will drive differently depending on the model and engine but on test I have a 1993 Mk5b LX 5 door model, which is fitted with the 1.6 Zetec 90bhp engine and IB5 5 speed gearbox. I have to admit this particular Escort is in very good condition for a 25 year old car, and with no visible signs of rust which is surprising as the Escort was notorious for rusting on the rear arches and sills. On unlocking the car manually by placing the key in the door I slide into the brightly coloured driver’s seat. On getting into this car it is amazing how our tastes have changed as beside the black dash the seats are a vibrant colour, but I appreciate not all Escorts were like that. It also amazed me how airy this car is, thanks to thin pillars and large windows which helped greatly with all round visibility. The dashboard is simple but well laid out, and you can see where switchgear has been taken from Fords from the 1980s. After putting in the immobiliser key I turn the ignition and the Zetec engine bursts into life, that for me is testament to the Zetec engines build quality. I wonder how many older Ford engines start on the first turn of the key? And to make it clear the engine on this Escort has never been apart and has covered 112,000 miles. On the open road you have to drive the Escort as there are no electronic aids to help you, not even Anti-Lock Brakes unless selected from the options list. The benefit of this is that it gives you a greater feel of what the car is doing but it can become slightly fidgety if you hit bumps in the road too hard at speed, as the suspension doesn’t absorb the bumps as well as a modern car. This may have well been improved on the Mk6 model but some care is required as the steering can be slightly vague, but this is almost to be expected as the car is a quarter of a century old. The 1.6 Zetec naturally aspirated engine being revolutionary in its day isn’t going to win any drag races against modern cars as I found it accelerated the same as a modern 1.2 Fiat 500. None the less it made a refreshing change compared to the small turbocharged engines you find in modern day hatchbacks and it had no problem travelling at motorway speeds. However, at higher speeds wind noise becomes prevalent which requires the radio to be turned up. But then again, I am not surprised due to the age of the window rubbers. The gearbox was smooth, but it could have benefited from a 6th gear to help quieten the engine at motorway speeds. Overall, I enjoyed driving the Escort as I felt more involved with the driving experience compared with modern cars as I found it bare bones motoring. To buy one as an appreciating classic will depend on the spec and condition, but I would expect prices to rise in the next few years once the Mk4 Escort prices rise the same way as the models before it. But until that time I feel the Mk5 and Mk6 Escort are still considered as disposable but in light of that, now might be the perfect time to buy one. Click here to see Ford Escorts for sale : The Escort models that I consider will become desirable and classic are: RS2000 4x4 RS2000 2WD XR3I GTI – both 3 and 5 door but more so the former. Ghia SI Early mk5 models – early production run Final production run cars Most cabriolet models Potentially classics: Mexico Ghia Ghia X Please note I have deliberately excluded the Escort Cosworth from this article as it is a guaranteed future classic.
    1 point
  41. Steve takes a 300,000+ mile Audi A6 to Europe. Will he make it? Read on to find out! This topic is about my road trip to Belgium including the pre planning. Research is key when driving in Europe as rules and regulations change from country to country. Things you'll need before you go: 1. European breakdown cover - I have found there are too types of cover available. 1. Covers you for recovery like your normal cover. This cost approx £37 for my 5 day trip. 2. Cover that will cover the cost of your repair bills. This cover cost £54 for my 5 day trip. The prices are from the AA of which I am a member. Just be mindful that with the break down cover they only cover you up to the cost of the vehicle. So if you have an old Audi like me you could be at risk of having to fork out extra. 2. Inform your insurance company - I had to pay £17 extra to cover my car for the trip. Again there are 2 options available and are charable regardless of what UK cover you have. 1. 3rd party cover. 2. Fully comprehensive. 3. European kit - for driving in France it is compulsory to have a breatherlizer, warning triangle, GB sticker, a high vid jacket for every occupant, headlight converter stickers. 4. Check French toll roads - 76% of the roads are tolled in France and for which you will need a transponder which you have to pay for from the toll road company managing the roads your travelling on. You also set up an account with them. However the main road to Belgium the a16 is not tolled. 5. Check to see if the EU country you are visiting has any Low Emissions Zones. France requires you to have a sticker when traveling in Paris for example. Belgium hasn't brought any emissions rules into effect yet but will do as of 2018. 6. Don't forget to pay for the Dartford crossing. The crossing consists of a suspension bridge heading towards Dover and a tunnel coming away from Dover. If you have never used the crossing before you can pay before or up to 24 hours after you have made the crossing. Now onto the trip Day one: Leicester-Dover Calais-Brussels The run from Leicester to Dover was straightforward with no hiccups or traffic delays. But we did leave in plenty of time to avoid most of the bank holiday traffic. We arrived in plenty of time for our P&O ferry and it was a good job we did as it took over an hour to get through boarder control & check in. However I think this was down to Volume of bank holiday traffic. The port has a reasonable terminal with facilities consisting of a Burger King, WH Smith's, Costa and toilets. If you have forgotten any key European items you can get them in the Smiths Newsagents. We boarded the ferry which was straightforward and made our way on to the passenger areas. We had decided to go with a premium ticket which proved well worth the extra money. We got free drinks and snacks (fruit, biscuits, crisps, tea, coffee, soft drinks etc) as well as a free glass of champagne on arrival. Papers are also free. The key benefit of premium however is the extra space (far less people) and plenty of seating including private outside space. I would strongly recommend the premium to anyone. It was superb and had a waiter service! Disembarkation was again quick and road signs were easy to follow. We picked up the 16 for Brussels and set into a comfortable cruise. In France the speed limits can change quite often on the motorway so keep an eye out. Oh and obviously they are in kph! We also stopped for fuel in France which thankfully is similar to the U.K. The difference being is that a pre payment system is used. For this you can either put your card in the machine at the start or ask the cashier how much fuel you would like. We encountered heavy traffic near to Ghent and Bruges due to the lanes merging from 3 to 2. But after we got through, we had a clear run to Brussels. Driving in Brussels is entertaining to say the least. Partly as there are hardly any road signs (this is not an exaggeration!). Brussels has its m25 equivalent which is a tunnel system that runs under the city and only pops to the surface for exits. We got lost at this point and came off to find somewhere to park to recalculate our route. The traffic in Brussels is like London. There's a lot of it!! For example a 5 mile drive in Brussels took us 25 minutes. But there are the added risks of trams. Traffic lights only change from red to green and there are hardly any speed limit signs. We finally reached our destination at 6:30pm Belgium time after travelling 12 hours. Total miles covered (including being lost) was 335 miles. Day 2 So until 2:30pm we were trapped at our accommodation due to a marathon taking place in Brussels. The marathon was the Belgium equivalent to the London marathon and as such thousands of people took part! The morning wasn't wasted as we decided to have a BBQ for lunch as the weather is gorgeous here. It's reaching mid to high 30s (degrees) each day! We finally left at 2:30 and decided to travel the 1:40 minutes to Yepre. Yepre saw a lot of the fighting during WW1 and was completely rebuilt to its 14th century design after the war. This has allowed the town to keep a true Belgium feel with cobbled streets and Gothic architecture. As well as the traditional chocolate shops and bars. We also visited the Menin Gate, a war memorial built to show the names of the missing servicemen and women from WW1. We then also visited Yepres war cemetery which was a somber experience. Yepre is a town well worth visiting and not far from the French border. Parking was straightforward and thankfully we did not need to pay. Stay tuned for day 3. However, I must warn you as there won't be any driving involved as my siblings and I are going to Disney land Paris by Eurostar. We are big kids really. My sister and I are in our 20s and my brother is in his teens! There are still plenty of adult rides i.e. Rollercoasters there! Oh and by the way, the A6 has just clocked over 322,000 miles!! Day 3 Today was more unusual as we spared the car and took the train to Disney Land Paris for the day. I appreciate this isn't everyone's cup of tea so stay tuned for day 4 as we're planning to go to Spa race circuit. This meant a very early start as It took us 3 hours travelling on 3 trains and a taxi each way but was so worth it. Just like the UK the train system in France and Belgium is very busy and in parts of France they use double decker trains to cater for the volume of people. Despite the train network being busy all the trains were on time. Disney Land Paris is a great theme park and isn't just geared towards children. Some of the rollercoasters and other rides would be unsuitable for little ones. But just like most theme parks the queues are long but luckily fast passes are available on the more popular rides. If you are limited for time in the park, then the rides I'd strongly recommend are: Main park: hyperspace mountain rollercoaster, star tours (Star Wars), buzz lightyear lazer blast, phantom manor, big thunder mountain rollercoaster, pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana jones temple of peril rollercoaster, Studio park: Rock and roller rollercoaster, vehicle stunt show, the twilight zone tower of terror (massive drop tower), studio tram tour. After we had finished the rides we got dinner at planet Hollywood before heading back on the train system home. Day 4 Today we visited Circuit De Spa Francorchamps, Belgiums F1 racing circuit which was an amazing experience. From Brussels it took us 1 hour 40 mins each way but that was partly due to roadworks. Due to the traffic issues we weren't able to drive into Germany as planned. However, we have decided that we will do a road trip of Germany on its own in the future. Luckily the circuit was being used for a track day and as such there were various race cars, super cars and road cars on track. Including multiple Audis such as an a1, x2 TT, rs4, r8 and even an a8! And the best bit was that we got in for free. The track day also allowed us to park in the paddock and walk around the pit garages and along the pit wall. Spa also has fantastic viewing spots for spectators despite its size and the obstruction of the forest. Just to add to the excitement the track day got red flagged as a Volkswagen golf mk2 had run into the back of a BMW 1 series coupe which spilled fluids and glass right near the pit entrance. On top of this we were able to drive around the outside of the track as there are roads running round the outside and inside of the circuit, these roads are also at varying gradients and are a mixture of tarmac, concrete and even dirt. After leaving the circuit we visited the local museum in the town to view their collection of race cars and motorbikes. There are a mixed bag of vehicles from Ferrari f40 and Daytona right through to f1 cars. The museum cost 9.50 euros each but the cars were great. The museum also has 3 other floors but unfortunately we were pressed for time. There is limited parking at the museum but luckily we just parked on the street outside. On arriving back to Brussels we caught a train into the centre to take in some of the local sites and grab a bite to eat for dinner. Now obviously Belgium chips and chocolate were on order, but not together mind you! After a bit of souvenir hunting we headed home so we can chill out for the drive home. Day 5 - the journey home So, all good things must come to an end and today we made our way back to the U.K. However before we left Brussels we helped my sister move into her new accommodation just 10 minutes down the road. The car was packed to the rafters but the move went smoothly. We left Brussels at 12noon and headed for the euro shuttle (channel tunnel). We chose to come back via the tunnel for the experience and this inadvertently proved to be a great move. As we passed the junction for the Calais docks and ferry port the queue of cars were backed up on the skip road and in the slow lane of the A16 motorway! This compared to the tunnel significantly as we piled off at junction 42 for the tunnel and arrived at the check in gates in 5 minutes. As you pull up the gate automatically recognises the vehicle so you just have to select which train time you want. As we had made good time we were able to catch the 15:20 instead of the 16:16! Once your through you will arrive at French boarder control and security and then UK boarder control. After clearing border control you follow the road round to what looks like a motorway services and at which point the wait begins. Luckily we had only 8 minutes to wait till we were called to board our train. The boards are similar to what you would find in an airport, accept they are outside in the car park. Once you get called for your train, you end up queuing in two lines similar to if you were waiting to board a ferry. At this point our train was delayed due to an oil spill but I wasn't overally bothered as we were on an earlier train. Boarding the train is a straightforward affair and is similar to boarding a ferry. It is a tight squeeze to get into the carriage but it's nice and large once your inside. When on the train you have to leave your Windows down which is nice as the carriages are fully airconditioned. The journey is fairly smooth and only took half an hour to get through the tunnel. Oh and don't forget to put your clock back! Once you've cleared the tunnel it's a straightforward exit and onto the motorway for your journey home. Unfortunately for us we were using the dartford crossing which has chocker! Total miles covered: 1056.7 in 5 days car mileage: 322,573 And no issues presented during the trip! thanks for reading! Steve
    1 point
  42. Thanks! We sure did do alot. You're welcome, let's hope it does encourage others to do road trips around Europe or even further afield.
    1 point
  43. Steve reviews Roadside Relics American's abandoned automobiles With over 250 large colour pictures Roadside Relics America's abandoned automobiles highlights some of America's lost or forgotten vehicles in breath taking locations, which the author has found on his many travels around the United States. The book has 208 pages which the author has used to cover most American vehicle manufacturers from AMC through to Willy's, and gives an insight into the manufacturer or vehicle model in question. About the author: Will Shiers is a motoring journalist who has written regular features for Classic American magazine and is currently the editor for Commercial Motor magazine. He has travelled the United States for over a decade collecting pictures for this book and the results speak for themselves. The Motorists Guide view: Needless to say I couldn't put the book down and thoroughly enjoyed reading every page. So whether you love classic cars, American cars or abandoned cars or locations then this is a must have for you. Bibliographic information: Publisher: Motorbooks Publication: 2010 RRP: 14.99 ISBN: 978-0-7603-3984-8 Binding: paperback Extent: 208 Illustrations: 250+ Also available on Kindle
    1 point
  44. Great Road Trip Steve....have done the same trip myself but didn't seem to pack in as much as you guys did ! Thanks for posting it up....hopefully it will inspire anyone who is thinking of driving this route as it is so pleasurable, especially with the empty roads (well, all except Brussels)
    1 point
  45. Hi Steve and welcome to The Motorists Guide Good to have you onboard and look forward to your contributions.
    1 point
  46. Hello all, I'm Steve who lives in Leicester and a huge petrol head. I'm really looking forward to following this site as well as help contribute to it.
    1 point
  47. A diesel – yes, diesel – Chrysler 300C can be a mighty fine used buy: well equipped, square jawed, reliable, roomy, 35mpg and priced from £2500. We report Given how buyers are fleeing diesels, it might seem perverse to be championing an old EU4-emissions oil-burner worth thousands of pounds in scrappage allowance. Of course, most of the buyers doing the fleeing are of the new car variety. Their poorer (or more sensible) used car cousins are less squeamish. To them, a Chrysler 300C CRD, a sort of Vauxhall Senator for the noughties, makes total sense. Yes, it costs £305 to tax but it has a 215bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel producing a stump-pulling 376lb ft under the bonnet, driving the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic gearbox. It does 35mpg on a good day too. All this and prices start from just £2500. The 300C was one of Daimler-Chrysler’s few success stories. Based to a large extent on quality Mercedes mechanicals, it was comfortable and surprisingly good to drive and boasted real presence – and that’s without a Bentley grille. It arrived in saloon form in late 2005 powered by a choice of petrol engines: a fairly unremarkable 3.0 V6 and a more charismatic 5.7 V8 Hemi. The V6’s starting price of just £25,750 registered more than a ripple in the executive pond dominated by BMW and Mercedes, but what made a splash, a few months later in January 2006, was the more rounded CRD diesel, also costing £25,750. It was followed in the summer by the range-topping SRT-8, powered by a 6.1-litre V8 Hemi and dressed to impress with Brembo brake calipers and sharpened suspension. By rights, it’s the one we should be talking about, but it’s rare. The CRD diesel is much more plentiful and at a range of prices peaking at a ludicrous £12,000 for a mint, last-of-the-line 2010-reg CRD SRT-Design. The CRD is no pushover, either, with 0-62mph possible in 7.4sec. In any case, the SRT-8 was eclipsed by the arrival, also in summer 2006, of the 300C estate. It’s called the Touring and, thanks to its long, low roof, it looks even meaner and certainly sportier than the saloon. Sensibly, the mid-life facelift in 2008 left the 300C’s imposing nose unchanged. (It took the gen-2 version of 2012 to bland it out.) Instead, the rear lights were tweaked but, more important, the interior got a mild makeover and better leather. The CRD SRT-Design, inspired by the SRT-8 but without the power and handling tweaks, arrived too. Standard equipment from launch was good and included a sat-nav, a premium music system, heated leather seats and even an adjustable pedal set. But today, reliability and rust will be the no-cost extras buyers will be concerned about. Amazingly, for all the 300C’s solidly steel construction, corrosion doesn’t appear to be an issue. The diesel engine is a solid old thing too. Instead, it’s electrical gremlins that plague some cars. For these you need a clued-up specialist. Find one, find a good 300C CRD – and laugh in the face of scrappage. HOW TO GET ONE IN YOUR GARAGE: An expert’s view - ROGER BUDDEN, ROGER BUDDEN AUTOMOBILES: “Great value, comfortable and reliable: that’s how I’d describe the 300C. The diesel estate is the best version. It’s popular with sole traders, who’d rather have one than a van, and caravanners, who like its 2000kg braked towing capacity. Dog lovers like it, too, because of the removable load floor cover. It’s a tri-fold thing and, if you lift it away, there’s a useful additional space in which you can stand a large dog. Check it has the removable waterproof liner. Even with the low roof, load space is 1602 litres, more than the equivalent Audi A6 Avant and Saab 9-5 estate.” Buyer beware... ENGINE - Early diesels can suffer swirl port motor problems, resulting in a loss of power. Custom300cshop.co.uk has a patent £50 fix that sorts it. Check the starter motor turns because oil can leak past the gearbox seal onto it. Stalling after starting could be a sticky fuel control valve in the tank intended to prevent overfilling. Check surplus oil isn’t escaping from the filler neck onto the alternator because that’ll wreck it. GEARBOX - Check the underside of the gearbox for oil coming from a failed O-ring where electrical wiring passes through. Low-speed rumbling on a steady throttle could be the torque converter. Listen for a noisy diff. SUSPENSION AND BRAKES - It’s very heavy on front suspension. Lower front arm bushes let go at around 40k miles, so listen for clonking over bumps. Check the rear handbrake isn’t seized. ELECTRICS - The multi-plug for the tyre pressure monitoring system is located under the front nearside bumper. It can get wet from the road and from steam washing, and short circuits, upsetting the electrical system. Remove it and dry it. Check the wiring harness under the bonnet on the nearside inner wing hasn’t been burned by air-con pipes. Inspect the condition of the two WCM fuse boxes (engine bay and dashboard). INTERIOR - On pre-2008 cars, the leather on the driver’s seat bolster is prone to cracking. Trim plastics are easily scratched. Check the power seats work. The heating and ventilation system is prone to electrical gremlins. Also worth knowing: “Find a good specialist garage and cherish it,” says Paul Gizzi of custom300cshop.co.uk. He recommends 300cforums.com as a good source of technical information and advice. Try chryslerbreakers.co.uk for spares. It can supply body panels in most colours. How much to spend: £2500-£3749 - Early (2005-2007) CRD saloons and estates with around 110k miles. £3750-£4995 - Tidier 2006-2008 saloons and estates with sub-100k miles and good histories. £5000-£7495- High-mileage 2009 saloons and estates. Lower-mileage 2007-2008 cars. £7500-£9990 - Mid-mileage 2010 and low-mileage 2008-2009 cars, plus a rare 2006 SRT-8 with 65k miles for £9250. £9995-£11,995 - Low-mileage 2010 and first gen-2 cars. One we found: CHRYSLER 300C 3.0 CRD ESTATE 2008/08, 70K MILES, £5695: This private-sale car has full service history, a fresh MOT and two former keepers. It also has refurbished alloy wheels with almost new tyres. “Everything works as it should,” claims the seller. “Has to go because I’ve found a gorgeous new Jag.” John Evans View the full article
    1 point
  48. The Lexus SC430 long-haul comfort and its build quality is impervious to high mileage - here's how to get one for as little as £2750 Marmite comes in many forms, including this, the Lexus SC430 of 2001 to 2009. To most folk, it’s an ugly thing strangled at birth by clumsy handling and a lumpy ride, made brittle by run-flat tyres. Changes to the suspension in 2002 and 2004 improved things but mud sticks and it stuck especially well to this wannabe alternative to the Mercedes-Benz SL. Click here to see used Lexus SC for sale on PistonHeads Today, the SC is still no looker but it is different from the herd and on paper it has the kind of specification we’ll soon be drooling over in motor museums: a naturally aspirated 282bhp 4.3-litre V8 driving the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic gearbox, double-wishbone suspension and a folding aluminium roof. (No, it’s not broken. It really does take 25sec to do its thing.) The 2+2 cabin is a gadget-lover’s paradise and, this being a Lexus, you won’t have to worry about any of it not working. The climate control system can sense whether the roof is open or closed, as well as the speed the car is travelling at and the ambient temperature, and automatically direct chilled or warm air as necessary. There’s a knockout Mark Levinson sound system, powered and heated seats, electrically adjustable steering column and a touchscreen sat-nav. Obviously, the touchscreen system is seriously dated but cartronics.co.uk can swap in a state-of-the-art one that’ll talk to the Mark Levinson music centre for £2200. Pay a little more and they’ll wire in a reversing camera. It all fits snugly into the original space. The cabin is trimmed in leather and those door and fascia cappings are real wood, shaped and lacquered with the help of musical instrument makers Yamaha. Everything is finished and screwed together beautifully, qualities that serve today’s used SCs very well. Prices start at around £3000 for a 2002 car with 110,000 miles. If it’s a late 2002 model, there’s a chance it has the tweaked suspension that brought improvements to the ride, handling and refinement. Still not satisfied, Lexus added new dampers and tuned the chassis in late 2004. The result was a more absorbent ride, allied to sharper handling. These mid-life cars start at around £7500. In 2005, the SC was mildly facelifted with revised bumpers and redesigned 18in alloy wheels. SC owners are loyal and fastidious so you’ll find a lot of cherished cars with just one or two former keepers, full Lexus histories and reasonably low mileages. Even the youngest cars are now nine years old, so expect some wear-and-tear-related issues. However, the first are as old as 17. On these, check for underbody rust, clonky suspension, evidence of timing belt and water pump replacement, healthy fluid levels and a smooth gearbox. At all ages, oxygen sensors and the tyre pressure monitoring system are weak points. Still want one? Good – Marmite’s quite nice, once you get used to it. Click here to see used Lexus SC for sale on PistonHeads An expert’s view Lee Massey, owner: “I’m a former Lexus technician and have owned two SC430s, including my current car, a 2004/04 with 80,000 miles. I remember the SC430 from my Lexus days as being reliable and well built and my used ones haven’t given me any trouble. If you like wafting about in something powerful and different that isn’t going to give you sleepless nights worrying about repair bills, it’s hard to beat.” Buyer beware… ENGINE - Some head gasket failures have been recorded due to very low coolant levels. Check the condition of the lower radiator, which can leak into the gearbox oil cooler. Likewise, fluid from the gearbox can leak into the coolant. The oxygen sensor in the exhaust system can fail. Check the starter motor works okay since it’s located inconveniently beneath the inlet manifold, which has to be removed to replace it. The vapour canister is there, too, and these can fail, expensively. Timing belt change is every 100,000 miles. Water pump should be changed at the same time since it’s a weak spot, as is the centre belt tensioner. GEARBOX - It should be very smooth. If juddery, suspect coolant contamination. Transmission fluid should be changed every 45,000 miles. WHEELS, BRAKES AND SUSPENSION - Check for worn top suspension arms at the rear and worn front wheel bearings. If the ride on early cars is rough, suspect the front control arm bushes. Listen for clunks from here too. Steel parts in the aluminium suspension can rot. Check the brake pipes’ condition. Ensure the tyre pressure monitoring system works. Some owners disable it as the valves fail but it’s an MOT issue. Steering wheel noise when turning could be the spiral cable (an expensive repair). BODY - Check for underbody corrosion, especially at the rear around the back axle and subframe. FOLDING HARD-TOP - Position sensors can fail with lack of use. Check for leaks caused by perished seals and for roof corrosion. INTERIOR - Ensure the music system is fault-free: subwoofer and door speakers can fail. Also worth knowing Amazingly, you can still buy an approved used SC430 from Lexus. At time of writing, there were seven, ranging from £10,990 to £16,995. How much to spend £2750-£3500 - A cluster of high-mileage (120k) 2002- reg cars with partial service histories. £4995-£6995 - Mix of 2002-2003 cars with 100k miles in good condition, most with full service histories and few previous owners. £7000-£8995 - Mainly 2004-2005 cars with around 75k miles. £9000-£10,995 Mostly 2005-2007 cars, circa 70k miles. £11,000-£13,995 - More 2007 cars with around 50k miles. £14,000-£16,995 The best late-plate cars. One we found - Lexus SC430, 2004/54, 70K MILES, £7995 This SC has full Lexus service history, including recent timing belt replacement. It’s a mid-2004 model with the revised suspension set-up designed to cure the model’s questionable ride and handling. Autocar judged the changes to be successful. Click here to see used Lexus SC for sale on PistonHeads John Evans Read more View the full article
    1 point
  49. The complete history of one of the most famous 4x4s of all time The Land Cruiser is Toyota’s longest continually produced model. From its start as a utility vehicle built during a period of economic gloom and uncertainty after the Second World War, it is now a well-equipped, luxurious and highly capable prestige SUV. This book covers all the changes that have taken place over the years to provide a complete history of the Land Cruiser’s extraordinary heritage. The coverage includes the Land Cruiser’s outstanding success in some of the toughest environments of the world, and what it takes to modify it to meet the toughest of conditions. The author follows the extensive range history of the Land Cruiser from its earliest models, through the utility models, right up to the prestigious versions that exist today. The author draws on his considerable experience of both on-road and off-road testing to provide his informed professional judgement on this extraordinary vehicle. The first chapter deals with the origins of the Land Cruiser and how Military and Economic circumstances lead to the birth of a legend. The second chapter looks at the Land Cruiser range and how it varied over the years to accommodate the commercial and private markets. The third chapter looks at a specific model, the FJ40 and how it has evolved over the years to become one of the best 4WD vehicles ever built. The final chapter deals with modifying the Land Cruiser for expeditions, safari holidays and world speed record events! All in, this book is a fascinating read for any Land Cruiser enthusiasts and comprehensively covers the models from 1951 to present day. Numerous diagrams, data charts, photos (colour and mono) are used throughout to break up the written content making it easier the reader to pick up and put down as required and digest as much or as little information as desired. A very informative and attractively laid out book at a reasonable price! BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Publisher: Amberley Publishing Publication: 15th December 2017 RRP: £14.99 ISBN: 978-1-4456-7173-4 Size: 234 x 165mm Binding: Paperback Extent: 96 pages Illustrations: 150 illustrations Rights: World, all languages Also available in Kindle, Kobo and iBook formats THE AUTHOR Nigel Fryatt is editor of the UK’s only multi-marque four-wheel drive publication, 4x4 Magazine. He has been a motoring journalist for over thirty years, having edited Sporting Cars, Cars and Car Conversions, and was also launch editor of MiniWorld, The Golf and Land Rover World. He has contributed to numerous international motoring publications. Nigel has been Publisher of IPC’s Specialist motoring titles and also Publisher at CH Publications and he is now a freelance editor and author. Besides editing 4x4 Magazine, he is currently a columnist and regular contributor to Classic Car Buyer. You can buy the book here Buy the Book
    1 point
×
×
  • Create New...