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The Motorists' Guide

The Motorists Guide

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  1. great choice of old school cars BobT Had a Eunos and a Freelander (or two) and have to say that I was pleased with both and neither of them gave me any real bother and if they did they were easy to fix and cheap on parts. Not had an ML and don't think I could afford the running costs on one either Currently doing some work on a Grand Cherokee and the owner has had it for years without any issues apart from a battery and tyres to date.
  2. Hi BobT....welcome to the Forums Always a car nut or two on here so hopefully we can keep you enthused. Good to have you onboard
  3. Bentley’s most revered heritage car to be recreated, in world first continuation of a pre-war race car Specialist Mulliner team to reverse engineer Sir Tim Birkin’s famous 4½-litre Team Blower to create new cars 12 new Blowers, each identical to the original, to be built – one for every race the original Team Blowers entered Skills proven by recently completed 1939 Corniche restoration Follows success of one hundred Blower-inspired Continental GT Number 9 Edition cars, now sold-out Continuation Series announced at Salon Privé Concours d’Elegance One of the most iconic cars from Bentley’s history – Sir Tim Birkin’s 1929 supercharged 4½-litre “Blower” – is to be reborn with a new build of 12 matching cars, each individually handcrafted by a team of specialists from Bentley’s bespoking and coachwork division, Mulliner. Together, the new cars will form the world’s first pre-war race car continuation series Only four original ‘Team Blowers’ were built for racing by Birkin, in the late 1920s. All were campaigned on the racetracks of Europe, with the most famous car – Birkin’s own Team Car No. 2, registration UU 5872 – racing at Le Mans and playing a pivotal role in the factory Bentley Speed Six victory in 1930. Now, using a combination of generations of handcraftsmanship skills and the very latest digital technology, the 1929 Team Blower will be the master example for 12 continuations - one for each race that the original fleet of four Team Blowers competed in. The Bentley Blower Continuation Series was announced today at the Salon Privé Concours d’Elegance by Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Adrian Hallmark, who comments: “As we continue to commemorate 100 years of Bentley, we are combining a look to our past with the very latest digital technologies and techniques to create something truly extraordinary. The four Team Blowers are the most valuable Bentleys in the world, and we know there is demand for genuine recreations that can be used, enjoyed and loved without risk to the prized originals. ‘The twelve new Blowers will not only be an homage to our heritage, they will be a celebration of the outstanding skills of our Mulliner craftspeople. This is a new challenge for Bentley, but with the incredible success of the recent restoration of our 1939 one-of-one Corniche, we wanted to go one step further and make something even more special. Twelve lucky customers will soon be able to own a unique tribute to Bentley’s history.” Bentley’s own Team Blower – chassis number HB 3403 - will be disassembled to its individual components, before each part is catalogued and meticulously scanned in 3D to create a complete digital model of the entire car. Using the original 1920s moulds and tooling jigs, and an array of traditional hand tools alongside the latest manufacturing technology, 12 sets of parts will then be created, before Bentley’s skilled heritage technicians assemble the new Blowers. The 12 continuations will be identical wherever possible to the original – mechanically, aesthetically and spiritually – with only minimal hidden changes dictated by modern safety concerns. The original car will then be reassembled, with the heritage team taking the opportunity to complete a detailed inspection and sympathetic mechanical restoration where required. The 90-year old car is still used regularly on the road, including completion of this year’s Mille Miglia, daily hill runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and a recent tour up the California coastline including a parade at Laguna Seca and culminating in the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where the car appeared with two of the other three Team Blowers. The project is the latest in a series of commissions for Mulliner, which includes the recent Continental GT Number 9 Edition – a stunning iteration of Bentley’s third generation Grand Tourer, inspired by the Team Blower. Each of the 100 hundred cars being built features a piece of the original car set in to the dashboard, and the series sold-out immediately when announced. As continuations of the original Team Blower, each of the new Continuation Series cars will feature four-cylinder, 16-valve engines with an aluminium crankcase with cast iron cylinder liners and non-detachable cast-iron cylinder head. The supercharger will be an exact replica of the Amherst Villiers Mk IV roots-type supercharger, helping the 4398 cc engine to develop 240 bhp @ 4,200 rpm. The car’s structure will be a pressed steel frame, with half-elliptic leaf spring suspension with copies of Bentley & Draper dampers. Recreations of Bentley-Perrot 40 cm (17.75”) mechanical drum brakes and worm and sector steering complete the chassis. It will take Mulliner approximately two years of meticulous work to complete the 12-car series. Prices will be on application. The Iconic ‘Team Blower’ No other pre-war Bentley had an impact like the supercharged 4½-litre ‘Blower’ Bentley. While it never won an endurance race, the Blower Bentley was the outright fastest race car of the day, and counted amongst its fans the author Ian Fleming – who later decided that his famous fictional secret agent James Bond would drive a supercharged 4½-litre Bentley, with the often-associated rival British sports car merely the MI6 “pool car”. The Blower Bentleys were born from a philosophy devised by Sir Tim Birkin – notable racing driver and Bentley Boy – to extract more speed from the racing Bentleys of the day. While W.O Bentley’s method was to increase engine capacity – from 3-litre, to 4½-litre, to 6½-litre – Birkin was impressed by the Roots-type supercharger developed by British engineer Amherst Villiers, which boosted the 4½’s power from 130 bhp to 240 bhp in race tune. He persuaded Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato to sanction production of 55 supercharged 4½-litre Bentleys, with five allocated for competition. The car on Bentley’s heritage fleet - UU 5872 - is the second of the four ‘Team’ cars developed at Birkin & Co’s workshops at Welwyn Garden City with funding from wealthy heiress the Hon. Dorothy Paget. UU 5872 made its debut at the 1930 Irish Grand Prix with Bernard Rubin at the wheel, while Birkin drove Team Car No.1, UU 5871. Both cars were fitted with ‘British Flexible’ four-door bodies by coachbuilders Harrisons. Rubin finished eighth and Birkin third. Rubin was also at the wheel of UU 5872 in August at the Ulster TT, where he rolled the car and was lucky to escape without injury. Following Rubin’s crash, UU 5872 was rebuilt with a new, 9’9” chassis and Vanden Plas bodywork in time for the Brooklands Double Twelve race in May 1930. Tim Birkin and Jean Chassagne shared the driving until a cracked chassis frame forced their retirement. For the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans, Mercedes entered the formidable 7-litre supercharged SSK, driven by Rudolph Caracciola and Christian Werner. Facing them were Bentley Motors – the reigning champions - with a team of three Works Speed Sixes. Birkin’s team entered three Blowers, headed by Birkin himself in Team Car No.2. From the start the pace was frenetic. A famous painting of the race by Bryan de Grineau shows Birkin in UU 5872 passing Caracciola’s Mercedes SSK down the Hunaudières straight with two wheels on the grass - and a bald rear tyre. To general amazement Birkin stayed in front for an entire lap before pulling in to the pits. Legend has it that Bentley used a ‘tortoise and hare’ strategy to see off the opposition, with Birkin pushing Caracciola to the limit until the Mercedes expired. While this story may have only been developed post-race, Caracciola’s Mercedes was indeed driven to failure, with water pouring from the engine. Meanwhile, Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston took the chequered flag in their Speed Six. UU 5872’s final team car outing was the Brooklands 500 handicap race in October 1930, when Dr Dudley Benjafield and Eddie Hall drove it to second place on handicap at an average speed of 112.12 mph. By May 1931 UU 5872 and the other remaining Birkin works Blowers were advertised for sale in MotorSport, each one guaranteed to attain 125mph in racing trim. Team Car No. 2 was sympathetically restored in the 1960s, preserving much of its original patina. Owned by Bentley Motors since 2000, it has had only minor cosmetic maintenance, and is much as Birkin would have driven it. Since then it has competed in the modern Mille Miglia five times, has driven to Le Mans on several occasions and has also appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed as well as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Mulliner – Bentley’s Bespoking and Coachbuilding Division The Mulliner name has been intertwined with coachbuilding since 1760, when Francis Mulliner was commissioned to build carriages for the Royal Mail. In 1870, his grandson Robert formed Mulliner London Limited, and business blossomed with the advance of mechanically powered coaches. By the early 1900s they had opened a showroom in London’s prestigious Mayfair. The 1923 Olympia Show in London saw the first collaboration between Robert’s son H.J. Mulliner and Bentley – a bespoke 3½-litre. Mulliner went on to create many more Bentley bodies in the decades that followed, and the link between the two companies was formalised in 1959, with Mulliner becoming an official part of Bentley. Today, the Mulliner workshop is based at the Bentley factory in Crewe, where designers and engineers unrivalled in their mastery create personal commissions for Bentley customers. Their most recent triumph is the complete recreation of the 1939 Bentley Corniche – a Bentley concept car of the era, once thought lost to history, but now reborn thanks to the extensive and diverse range of skills present in Mulliner’s team of Master Craftsmen and Craftswomen.
  4. Renting a Car in Europe Everything you need to know about renting a car in Europe A Consumer’s Guide With so many options and terms to understand when renting a car, we at Auto Europe have put together a guide to help demystify the European car rental experience. Many of the frustrations that some experience during the car rental process are avoidable with a little bit of knowledge and know- how, so empower yourself with the right information before your next trip! Click here to view the attached PDF file renting-a-car-in-europe.pdf
  5. 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.
  6. Author: Brian Laban (2016) Publisher: Crowood Press Hardback, 12 Chapters, 208 pages Retail Price: £25.00 A very well laid out book detailing the history of the XK range of Jaguars with many black & white and colour photographs, illustrations and supporting data. The Author has successfully covered the range of XKs from the inception in 1948 to the E-Type, with each chapter chronologically detailing the marque and history of the manufacturer’s technological evolution within that era. The Jaguar XK was incredibly successful in racing and this has been covered in detail with particular mention to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race when Jaguar dominated the Motorsport world in the 1950’s. The ‘Racing Cousins’ such as the Lightweight E-Types and the Lister Knobbly have also been covered with sufficient detail without going too in-depth to become a specialist publication of each variation. There are plenty of books available about each of the specialist racing Jaguars to satisfy the enquiring reader’s curiosity. At the end of each chapter is a summary of the specifications of each model from that particular era with technical and performance information. Overall, this book delivers a definitive overview of the variety of XK’s produced over a 22-year span. CLICK LINK TO BUY THIS BOOK
  7. 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
  8. Steve reviews PT Cruiser Chrysler's classic design for a modern age The Chrysler PT cruiser is very much a Marmite car, you either love it or hate it. However what can not be disputed is the models success and how it brought a new wave of customers to the Chrysler brand. The automotive historian Robert Ackerson has written this superb book documenting the history of the PT cruiser from it's design phase up to 2007 which is when this book was released. The book is well written and the author has taken alot of time to carry out hid research. The book covers every PT cruiser model up to 2007 on 192 pages as well as being supported by colour pictures. Furthermore the author has listed ever conceivable optional extra available as well as including sales figures for the PT cruiser. About the author: Robert Ackerson grew up in Rockland county, 18 miles from New York City. He started working in the education sector before having a career change to become a writer automotive history. The Motorists Guide view: Whether you own a PT cruiser or have an interest for them then this book is a must have for any PT Cruiser enthusiast. I found the book very informative and the illustrations were of great quality. Overall the book was a pleasure to read and I'd happily read it again. Publisher: Veloce Publishing Publication: 2007 RRP: £19.99 ISBN: 978-184584039-6 Binding: paperback Extent: 192 Illustrations: 200+
  9. Steve reviews another book about abandoned automobiles, Sleeping Beauties USA This book is very similar to that of Roadside Relics, America’s Abandoned Automobiles as described in my previous review, however, that is where the similarities end. This book is shorter than Roadside Relics, but this does not make it any less interesting as each vehicle mentioned has a picture and description that covers two pages. Furthermore, Sleeping Beauties includes European manufacturers as well as the American counterparts which may increase its popularity. About the author Bjoern Marek lives in Miami, Florida and works as head of sales, public relations and marketing for the automotive company ABT as well as being a keen author. The Motorists Guide view: Just like the Roadside Relics book, Sleeping Beauties will appeal to anyone who has a keen interest in abandoned automobiles and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I found the pictures fantastic and many were of a better quality than those found in Roadside Relics. My only criticism of this book was that I found it not long enough and I was left wanting to read more but overall it was a great read. Bibliographic information: Publisher: Veloce Publication: 2010 RRP: 14.99 ISBN: 978-1-845843-46-5 Binding: hardback Extent: 96 Illustrations: 58
  10. Steve Q reviews a timeless classic which every beetle owner or enthusiast should own This book is probably one of the oldest books that I will get to review, however, the information contained within it is still relevant today and starts off by describing the history of the Volkswagen Beetle. It then goes on to provide a very useful buyers guide which is a must-read for anyone wishing to purchase a Volkswagen Beetle. This book will mainly appeal to those Beetle fans who have or want a Baja Beetle or Wizard roadster, as it provides step by step guides on how to build both. I appreciate that in this day and age enthusiasts would be less inclined to build either due to the price of Volkswagen Beetles but it will surely help those who are trying to restore either a Baja or Wizard Roadster. The VW Beetle Custom Handbook will also appeal to fans of the Cal Look as the author has gone into great detail to explain the Cal Look and the history behind it. Furthermore, this book examines the racing pedigree of the Volkswagen Beetle and the modifications owners can undertake to improve performance, stopping power and drivability of their pride and joys. About the author: Keith Seume has been on the air-cooled Volkswagen seen for over 30 years and is well known amongst air-cooled fans, partly due to him being an editor of Volksworld Magazine and the former Custom Car Magazine. Furthermore, during the 1980s he participated in drag racing in his 1952 turbocharged ragtop Beetle. Transporterama View: Despite this book being over 20 years old, it does not detract from the reading experience and is full of valuable information for Beetle enthusiasts. Not only were the guides useful, but the book is also full of pictures which would be invaluable to an enthusiast wishing to work on their Beetle at home. Bibliographic information: Publisher: Bay View Books LTD Publication: 1992 RRP: 12.95 ISBN: 1-870979-30-3 Binding: paperback Extent: 159 Illustrations: 250+
  11. TOM BARNARD - 'I GATHERED NO MOSS' 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 produce 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 in 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. CLICK LINK TO BUY THIS BOOK
  12. Book & Product Reviews & News We intend to bring you news and reviews of the books and products retailing through Transporterama and hopefully share our passion for all things 'Transport' related with you. If you are a collector or an avid reader of motoring and transport related books then we will endeavour to feed your enthusiasm by bringing you more information than we can provide through the store. Any suggestions for future inclusions or if you have a book that you have written then please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can feature it through this site. Thank you for visiting the store and reading the reviews READ REVIEWS
  13. Driving abroad is generally one of the best ways of experiencing all of what Europe has to offer and is generally completely stress-free because of empty roads, wonderful scenery, much less traffic and cheaper fuel costs On the slightly pessimistic but realistic side of the coin, there are several rules and regulations that are different to the UK and must be observed to avoid fines. We have listed some of the Laws, Hints and Tips you should know prior to setting off on your road trip. Fuel: Generally, fuel costs are cheaper in Europe than the UK and in some countries, it is considerably cheaper to fuel up your car. However, not all fuel stations work the same as the UK and one thing to note is that some won't accept UK Credit Cards, some will charge you a set amount (say 200 euros and then later on refund the unused balance), some you have to pay for before fuelling up. So in general, it is best to check out which payment methods are used prior to fuelling up. Tolls: France charges tolls for most of the major motorway routes, which is fair enough if you need to cover huge distances in a short time period but can mount up quite considerably in costs. Germany and Belguim do not charge for using their motorway systems and sometimes it is worth considering using them to drive your route to southern Europe and save some money. Austria uses a system called a 'Vignette' which is like a prepaid top-up system to use their motorways and this needs to be purchased before entering their roads. Large fines can be levied for failing to purchase a Vignette and displaying it in your car windscreen. Motoring Laws in European Countries: (National and Regional) If you're planning to drive abroad from the UK it's important to familiarise yourself with local rules for drivers before you go. This is just as important if you regularly drive abroad as it is if you're planning your first trip as rules and requirements do change. Touring tips include information about compulsory equipment requirements as well as covering local rules on drinking and driving, use of lights, speed limits, carrying children and so on. They also include more general advice on things like fuel availability and tolls. Disclaimer: This list is not exhaustive and may not be completely up to date and is only intended to be a general guide. Please ensure you aware of any new regulations that may come into force by checking the relevant country's government websites before departing on your journey. (Original information source: AA Motoring site - https://www.theaa.com/european-breakdown-cover/driving-in-europe/country-by-country) Download country-specific advice and information as a pdf document by selecting the country of interest from the list below A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A Andorra Austria B Belarus Belgium Bosnia Herzegovina Bulgaria C Croatia Republic of Cyprus Czech Republic D Denmark E Estonia F Finland France & Monaco G Germany Gibraltar Great Britain Greece H Hungary I Iceland Ireland Italy & San Marino L Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg M Macedonia Malta Montenegro N Netherlands Norway P Poland Portugal R Romania Russian Federation S Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland & Liechtenstein T Turkey U Ukraine Speed Limits: Very strict speed limits apply throughout Europe and heavy fines can be levied on those breaking the law. In extreme cases, the vehicle can be seized and driving licenses revoked for the duration of the journey which would require a passenger to continue the journey as the driver. In towns, the speed limit varies but is generally 30 to 50 kph. In extra-urban areas, the limit is usually around 70 kph and on motorways, it can be up to 130 kph but down to 110 kph when it is raining. UPDATE: French speed limits of 90kph have now been lowered in some areas to 80kph. It is therefore worthwhile taking notice of the signs or seeking guidance beforehand to know the speed limits in the country you are traveling through. Parking: This is in general, a pleasurable experience in so much as Parking costs are usually a lot cheaper, if not free in a lot of cases. Overnight parking and rest breaks would be best in the generally more secure Toll roads service stations as there are CCTV cameras covering the service stations, car parks and all vehicles are checked in and out of the Toll stations. Insurance & Breakdown Cover: It is worthwhile ensuring that your vehicle is adequately insured to drive in Europe and that the Breakdown cover also extends into Europe. There are numerous bolt-ons available from Insurance companies to further enhance the level of cover and excesses for driving abroad, so it may be worth contacting your Insurance company before setting off to check everything is in place. Breakdown cover can exclude vehicles of a certain age or size, so again it is worth checking with your Insurance company before setting off. Security: This is an important factor to consider if you wish your holiday to be as stress-free as possible. The 'Golden Rule' is do not leave the car in an area that could be considered as remote or not within coverage of CCTV or witnesses. Do not leave anything on display as this is an invitation to thieves to break into your car and quite often cause damage trying to enter the vehicle which can seriously dent your holiday budget. You would be best locking everything in the boot and out of sight. Permits: Driving in French Cities read article on Crit'Air permits here Vehicle Requirements: A motoring kit needs to be packed in the car before venturing abroad. Below is a list of the minimum required kit to take with you in order to comply with all the rules and regulations: The below items are linked for your convenience and for easier searching. First Aid Kit (comprehensive) Spare Bulb Kit (bulbs for all the lights on the car) Breathalysers (necessary in France) GB or Euro Sticker on the rear of the vehicle Headlamp Deflectors Warning Triangle (sometimes two, depending on country) Fluorescent Jackets (one per passenger and packed within the car so as accessible) Vehicle Documents (Insurance, MOT, Registration Documents) Driving Licence(s) Other items that you may wish to take with you: Spare Key, it's no good being left at home! Best to give to a passenger. Dash Cam (plenty of false claims occurring on the continent) Sat Nav (no speed camera location software to be used in France) Games and entertainment for the Kids Food and Drink, although the motorway services are of a high standard and are generally quite reasonable costs. Change (coins of the local currency) are needed for the Toilets in motorway services - HINT: some toilet turnstiles issue an entry ticket which can be redeemed at the shop checkout for the full amount paid USEFUL ADVICE TAKE THE STRESS AND RISK OUT OF YOUR EUROPEAN ROAD JOURNEYS ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has published advice for staying safe and secure on European road journeys this year. The advice takes the form of six top tips covering planning, equipment, safety, legal matters and security issues. Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM Motoring Assist, said: “The European motorway network is excellent and extensive, but it’s important to ensure that you and your vehicle are safe and legal before you drive off the ferry for a family holiday or business trip. By using our tips as a starting point, you can go a long way to maximising your safety and minimising the risks you face while you’re travelling, as well as the inconvenience and expense of being unprepared if anything does go wrong.” 1. Check your documents before you go Is your driving licence valid? Are the passports for everyone in your party all in date? Do you have appropriate insurance? Are you covered for the country or countries you’re visiting? Do you have breakdown cover as well? Run through all the necessary paperwork in plenty of time, so that you have everything to hand on your journey. 2. Carry the right equipment Different countries have different rules. Most require that you carry high visibility reflective jackets, a first aid kit and a warning triangle. Some countries also insist on replacement bulbs and fuses, a fire extinguisher or spare pairs of spectacles for any drivers who need them. French rules require that you carry a disposable breathalyser, but under the current system, police are unable to enforce payment of the €11 fine. Make a point of checking the specific requirements for each country you plan to visit, so that you won’t risk a fine if you’re stopped. 3. Know the rules Make sure you understand the specific traffic rules and signs. Drink-drive limits across Europe are lower than in the UK, and police officers in most countries can issue and collect on-the-spot fines for traffic offences. If you’re in any doubt about local parking regulations, ask someone before leaving your vehicle. Remember, ignorance is no defence. 4. Budget for motorway tolls The European motorway network is excellent and extensive; you can cover long distances quite easily – but there is a price. For example, the 715-mile motorway journey from Calais to Fréjus on the Mediterranean coast will cost you a fraction under €100. Toll tags such as the French ‘Liber-t’ device can save time at tolls. Register your details online before you travel and you’ll receive your own tag which you place in the windscreen of your car. You can then drive through the toll plazas without needing to find coins or credit card, as you receive an invoice and pay shortly afterwards by direct debit. 5. Fill up off the motorway You can save significantly by leaving the motorway network to buy your fuel (and refreshments). For example, a litre of diesel costs around €1.37 (£1.16) at a French motorway service area, compared with €1.21 at a supermarket. Just be aware that the older automatic payment mechanisms at French fuel stations may still decline British credit cards (though the problem is much less significant than it used to be). It’s also worth noting that bigger supermarkets have toilets and very reasonably priced cafés – and are often no more than a couple of minutes’ drive off the autoroute. 6. Don’t drive for so long that you become dangerously fatigued Don’t ignore the early signs of fatigue when you’re at the wheel. Share the driving if possible, and take regular breaks. Fatigue-related crashes are most likely to happen between 2am and 6am, although there is also an increased risk during the afternoon, when our body clocks experience a natural dip in alertness. Don’t be tempted to press on when you’ve been at the wheel for several hours. Avoid heavy meals, as these can exacerbate the symptoms of fatigue, and certainly don’t drink alcohol during journey breaks. 7. Be vigilant at motorway service areas Don’t fall victim to crime when you’re enjoying a break on a long motorway journey. Huge numbers of people pass through service areas every day, making them hotbeds of criminal activity. Make sure you lock your car when you’re parking, and don’t leave high value items visible. Watch out for possibly bogus ‘officials’ who try to tell you that your tyres are illegal and that you’ll need to purchase a new set on the spot. Don’t let children out of your sight at any time, and in particular make sure you accompany them to the loo. 8. Disable any speed camera alerting systems from your satnav before you arrive in France. There are harsh penalties in France if you are found with any sort of speed camera detection system in your car, regardless of whether or not you are using it. So, make sure you disable the alerting mechanism before you drive anywhere in France. Check online if you are unsure of how to do this. If you have a built-in satnav, then be sure to check with the car manufacturer if you are in doubt as to how you switch off the speed camera alerts. FURTHER READING & INFORMATION Toll Roads and Driving Abroad Toll Tag site link - useful site for guidance on using Toll roads in various countries. Driving Licence information for driving abroad (official UK Government site links) Driving abroad View or share your driving licence information Taking a vehicle out of the UK
  14. Driving abroad is generally one of the best ways of experiencing all of what Europe has to offer and is generally completely stress-free because of empty roads, wonderful scenery, much less traffic and cheaper fuel costs On the slightly pessimistic but realistic side of the coin, there are several rules and regulations that are different to the UK and must be observed to avoid fines. We have listed some of the Laws, Hints and Tips you should know prior to setting off on your road trip. Fuel: Generally, fuel costs are cheaper in Europe than the UK and in some countries, it is considerably cheaper to fuel up your car. However, not all fuel stations work the same as the UK and one thing to note is that some won't accept UK Credit Cards, some will charge you a set amount (say 200 euros and then later on refund the unused balance), some you have to pay for before fuelling up. So in general, it is best to check out which payment methods are used prior to fuelling up. Tolls: France charges tolls for most of the major motorway routes, which is fair enough if you need to cover huge distances in a short time period but can mount up quite considerably in costs. Germany and Belguim do not charge for using their motorway systems and sometimes it is worth considering using them to drive your route to southern Europe and save some money. Austria uses a system called a 'Vignette' which is like a prepaid top-up system to use their motorways and this needs to be purchased before entering their roads. Large fines can be levied for failing to purchase a Vignette and displaying it in your car windscreen. Motoring Laws in European Countries: (National and Regional) If you're planning to drive abroad from the UK it's important to familiarise yourself with local rules for drivers before you go. This is just as important if you regularly drive abroad as it is if you're planning your first trip as rules and requirements do change. Touring tips include information about compulsory equipment requirements as well as covering local rules on drinking and driving, use of lights, speed limits, carrying children and so on. They also include more general advice on things like fuel availability and tolls. Disclaimer: This list is not exhaustive and may not be completely up to date and is only intended to be a general guide. Please ensure you aware of any new regulations that may come into force by checking the relevant country's government websites before departing on your journey. (Original information source: AA Motoring site - https://www.theaa.com/european-breakdown-cover/driving-in-europe/country-by-country) Download country-specific advice and information as a pdf document by selecting the country of interest from the list below A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A Andorra Austria B Belarus Belgium Bosnia Herzegovina Bulgaria C Croatia Republic of Cyprus Czech Republic D Denmark E Estonia F Finland France & Monaco G Germany Gibraltar Great Britain Greece H Hungary I Iceland Ireland Italy & San Marino L Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg M Macedonia Malta Montenegro N Netherlands Norway P Poland Portugal R Romania Russian Federation S Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland & Liechtenstein T Turkey U Ukraine Speed Limits: Very strict speed limits apply throughout Europe and heavy fines can be levied on those breaking the law. In extreme cases, the vehicle can be seized and driving licenses revoked for the duration of the journey which would require a passenger to continue the journey as the driver. In towns, the speed limit varies but is generally 30 to 50 kph. In extra-urban areas, the limit is usually around 70 kph and on motorways, it can be up to 130 kph but down to 110 kph when it is raining. UPDATE: French speed limits of 90kph have now been lowered in some areas to 80kph. It is therefore worthwhile taking notice of the signs or seeking guidance beforehand to know the speed limits in the country you are traveling through. Parking: This is in general, a pleasurable experience in so much as Parking costs are usually a lot cheaper, if not free in a lot of cases. Overnight parking and rest breaks would be best in the generally more secure Toll roads service stations as there are CCTV cameras covering the service stations, car parks and all vehicles are checked in and out of the Toll stations. Insurance & Breakdown Cover: It is worthwhile ensuring that your vehicle is adequately insured to drive in Europe and that the Breakdown cover also extends into Europe. There are numerous bolt-ons available from Insurance companies to further enhance the level of cover and excesses for driving abroad, so it may be worth contacting your Insurance company before setting off to check everything is in place. Breakdown cover can exclude vehicles of a certain age or size, so again it is worth checking with your Insurance company before setting off. Security: This is an important factor to consider if you wish your holiday to be as stress-free as possible. The 'Golden Rule' is do not leave the car in an area that could be considered as remote or not within coverage of CCTV or witnesses. Do not leave anything on display as this is an invitation to thieves to break into your car and quite often cause damage trying to enter the vehicle which can seriously dent your holiday budget. You would be best locking everything in the boot and out of sight. Permits: Driving in French Cities read article on Crit'Air permits here Vehicle Requirements: A motoring kit needs to be packed in the car before venturing abroad. Below is a list of the minimum required kit to take with you in order to comply with all the rules and regulations: The below items are linked for your convenience and for easier searching. First Aid Kit (comprehensive) Spare Bulb Kit (bulbs for all the lights on the car) Breathalysers (necessary in France) GB or Euro Sticker on the rear of the vehicle Headlamp Deflectors Warning Triangle (sometimes two, depending on country) Fluorescent Jackets (one per passenger and packed within the car so as accessible) Vehicle Documents (Insurance, MOT, Registration Documents) Driving Licence(s) Other items that you may wish to take with you: Spare Key, it's no good being left at home! Best to give to a passenger. Dash Cam (plenty of false claims occurring on the continent) Sat Nav (no speed camera location software to be used in France) Games and entertainment for the Kids Food and Drink, although the motorway services are of a high standard and are generally quite reasonable costs. Change (coins of the local currency) are needed for the Toilets in motorway services - HINT: some toilet turnstiles issue an entry ticket which can be redeemed at the shop checkout for the full amount paid USEFUL ADVICE TAKE THE STRESS AND RISK OUT OF YOUR EUROPEAN ROAD JOURNEYS ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has published advice for staying safe and secure on European road journeys this year. The advice takes the form of six top tips covering planning, equipment, safety, legal matters and security issues. Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM Motoring Assist, said: “The European motorway network is excellent and extensive, but it’s important to ensure that you and your vehicle are safe and legal before you drive off the ferry for a family holiday or business trip. By using our tips as a starting point, you can go a long way to maximising your safety and minimising the risks you face while you’re travelling, as well as the inconvenience and expense of being unprepared if anything does go wrong.” 1. Check your documents before you go Is your driving licence valid? Are the passports for everyone in your party all in date? Do you have appropriate insurance? Are you covered for the country or countries you’re visiting? Do you have breakdown cover as well? Run through all the necessary paperwork in plenty of time, so that you have everything to hand on your journey. 2. Carry the right equipment Different countries have different rules. Most require that you carry high visibility reflective jackets, a first aid kit and a warning triangle. Some countries also insist on replacement bulbs and fuses, a fire extinguisher or spare pairs of spectacles for any drivers who need them. French rules require that you carry a disposable breathalyser, but under the current system, police are unable to enforce payment of the €11 fine. Make a point of checking the specific requirements for each country you plan to visit, so that you won’t risk a fine if you’re stopped. 3. Know the rules Make sure you understand the specific traffic rules and signs. Drink-drive limits across Europe are lower than in the UK, and police officers in most countries can issue and collect on-the-spot fines for traffic offences. If you’re in any doubt about local parking regulations, ask someone before leaving your vehicle. Remember, ignorance is no defence. 4. Budget for motorway tolls The European motorway network is excellent and extensive; you can cover long distances quite easily – but there is a price. For example, the 715-mile motorway journey from Calais to Fréjus on the Mediterranean coast will cost you a fraction under €100. Toll tags such as the French ‘Liber-t’ device can save time at tolls. Register your details online before you travel and you’ll receive your own tag which you place in the windscreen of your car. You can then drive through the toll plazas without needing to find coins or credit card, as you receive an invoice and pay shortly afterwards by direct debit. 5. Fill up off the motorway You can save significantly by leaving the motorway network to buy your fuel (and refreshments). For example, a litre of diesel costs around €1.37 (£1.16) at a French motorway service area, compared with €1.21 at a supermarket. Just be aware that the older automatic payment mechanisms at French fuel stations may still decline British credit cards (though the problem is much less significant than it used to be). It’s also worth noting that bigger supermarkets have toilets and very reasonably priced cafés – and are often no more than a couple of minutes’ drive off the autoroute. 6. Don’t drive for so long that you become dangerously fatigued Don’t ignore the early signs of fatigue when you’re at the wheel. Share the driving if possible, and take regular breaks. Fatigue-related crashes are most likely to happen between 2am and 6am, although there is also an increased risk during the afternoon, when our body clocks experience a natural dip in alertness. Don’t be tempted to press on when you’ve been at the wheel for several hours. Avoid heavy meals, as these can exacerbate the symptoms of fatigue, and certainly don’t drink alcohol during journey breaks. 7. Be vigilant at motorway service areas Don’t fall victim to crime when you’re enjoying a break on a long motorway journey. Huge numbers of people pass through service areas every day, making them hotbeds of criminal activity. Make sure you lock your car when you’re parking, and don’t leave high value items visible. Watch out for possibly bogus ‘officials’ who try to tell you that your tyres are illegal and that you’ll need to purchase a new set on the spot. Don’t let children out of your sight at any time, and in particular make sure you accompany them to the loo. 8. Disable any speed camera alerting systems from your satnav before you arrive in France. There are harsh penalties in France if you are found with any sort of speed camera detection system in your car, regardless of whether or not you are using it. So, make sure you disable the alerting mechanism before you drive anywhere in France. Check online if you are unsure of how to do this. If you have a built-in satnav, then be sure to check with the car manufacturer if you are in doubt as to how you switch off the speed camera alerts. FURTHER READING & INFORMATION Toll Roads and Driving Abroad Toll Tag site link - useful site for guidance on using Toll roads in various countries. Driving Licence information for driving abroad (official UK Government site links) Driving abroad View or share your driving licence information Taking a vehicle out of the UK
  15. For the short amount of time that it takes to check your car before setting off is a worthwhile investment, even if it does highlight a problem that you have to resolve, it is still more beneficial to get it sorted before leaving home. What you should check on your car before you set off on your Summer holiday Fluids – Engine coolant and oil levels, power steering fluid, screen-wash, Electrics – Battery condition, lighting, warning lamps, horn, washers and wipers Tyres – Pressures, condition, spare wheel or sealant Brakes – Pad wear, brake fluid level Other areas to consider having checked over by a Garage before setting off Drive Belts – Camshaft Timing Belt, Auxiliary Drive Belt (Alternator, Air Conditioning, Power Steering) Air Conditioning – Does it blow cold air? Does it smell? What else have you forgotten to check? Insurance policy covers driving abroad Breakdown Insurance policy SatNav is updated / route planned Motoring Kit – Warning Triangle, Bulbs and Fuses, Fluorescent Jackets, Breathalysers, First Aid kit Vignette to travel in certain countries and cities (similar to Road Tax) Travel Insurance (home and abroad) Passport and Driving Licence Dash Cam Credit Card for Toll Roads All of this is common sense and can easily be eliminated by having the car serviced before setting off. There are always other factors that can lead to a breakdown, such as mis-fuelling, accidents or even getting lost en-route. This is when Insurances are invaluable and even if you don’t need to use it, it gives you peace of mind. It is also a good idea to check for the latest motoring rules and regulations of countries that you may be travelling through on your journey. It seems that many more are being introduced on a regular basis and if you are unaware of any then it may cost you dearly. Staying comfortable during your trip Refreshments are a must when driving long distances and particularly in hot climates. Drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding eating bread can lead to higher levels of energy and concentration. Keeping the Air Conditioning on but on ‘Fresh Air’ rather than ‘Recirculate’ which can lead to dehydration. Entertainment is an absolute ‘must have’ when travelling long distances or even when sat in a traffic jam. DVD players are great to keep the kids entertained for hours on end. Sunglasses and prescription glasses are also a ‘must have’ along with suitable window tinting in hot climates to protect skin from burning. Plan your journey with plenty of convenience stops and to pick up additional fuel which gives you an opportunity to walk around for a few minutes to avoid cramps and to stay alert for longer. Above all, enjoy the road trip and get to your holiday destination in one piece and as stress-free as possible, but remember to check the car for the return journey. Happy Summer Holidays !
  16. BMW dominates table for biggest bills while Fiat and Peugeot cost least to put right but are among the least reliable Data from thousands of garages has revealed the most expensive, and cheapest, cars for consumers to maintain Using DVLA records and WhoCanFixMyCar.com repair quotes from more than 12,000 workshops, the data looked at the 50 most popular cars in Britain and compared their average repair bills. Fiat’s Punto was recognised as the cheapest, with an average annual maintenance bill of £255 – a small victory for the outdated model which was slammed by safety testers last year and awarded zero stars by Euro NCAP. The Peugeot 206 hatchback was the second cheapest car to keep running – at £283. The research ranked the 50 most common models on UK roads according to the cost of regular servicing, MOT and unexpected repairs over a 12-month period. It looked at cars from brand new to 15 years old and used more than five million quotes from Whocanfixmycar’s site to come up with an average annual bill. Most affordable While small mainstream models such as the Punto and 206 topped the list of affordable bills, premium models unsurprisingly turned out to have the most expensive repair costs. The BMW 5 Series was ranked as the most expensive model, with an average yearly maintenance cost of £585, followed by the Mercedes C-Class ((£557). Two other BMWs – the 1 and 3 Series also featured in the five most expensive models, with VW’s Passat in third place. However, Mercedes’ A-Class was among the cheapest to keep running, sitting just below the Peugeot 206 with an average annual bill of £289. Least reliable While the Punto and Peugeot are cheap to repair the data also suggests they are among the least reliable cars on the roads. The Peugeot was the most likely to need a repair, according to Whocanfixmycar’s records, with a one in 11 chance of requiring work in a 12-month period. The Fiat, in 48th place, had a one in 28 chance of needing a repair. At the opposite end of the table, the Audi A1 cropped up least often in searches for work, followed by the Renault Clio and Nissan Note. Original article source: GarageWire / WhoCanFixMyCar.com (31/05/19) https://garagewire.co.uk/news/garage-networks/whocanfixmycar/britains-most-expensive-cars-to-maintain-revealed/?fbclid=IwAR0UgvLBUA4FubSIZqeweamsh2Xt21qMZAEHPRCLtH2M-7rTyDpUpvXLBuQ
  17. With the Brexit date being postponed to October 31st 2019, it's business as usual for anyone considering driving in Europe. Some motorists still show concern when considering European holidays with the uncertainty of what might lie ahead, but the good news is, for now, everything remains the same. As a UK traveller considering a trip to Europe this Summer/Autumn: When driving in the EU, you will not need an International Driving Permit, and if you are taking your own car, you won’t need a Green Card for insurance. You will still have access to state medical care in any EU country as long as you have an up to date European Health Insurance Card. You will be able to move through UK ports and airports, as usual, using the EU/EEA passport gates. All consumer rights and benefits from EU laws will also remain including airline compensation for cancellation or delays, and the ability to use your mobile phone abroad without additional charges. What about after October 31st? If the Government agrees on a deal on or before October 31st, the UK will then enter a transition period and everything will continue to remain the same and you can continue to travel as you do now. There is still a possibility that the UK could leave the EU at the end of October without a deal but as written in our January update, Ferry companies and the Eurotunnel (our two most common forms of transport for reaching the continent) insist that there will be minimal disruption to services. We, of course, will continue to update this information as soon as it becomes available to us however if you would like to discuss anything in greater detail, please don't hesitate to call us. This update has been written with assistance and information from ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents). For more information and advice, please refer to ClassicGT's dedicated Brexit webpage: https://www.classicgt.co.uk/brexit/ Updated Brexit Links from GOV.UK (September 2019) https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad https://www.gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-the-eu-after-brexit#insurance-for-your-vehicle-caravan-or-trailer https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-brexit https://www.gov.uk/check-a-passport-for-travel-to-europe
  18. If you’re planning a bank holiday getaway then be sure to read our tips on how you can make your journey a safe and stress-free one. Here’s IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, to help you prepare for your trip. Because a little preparation goes a long way Take some time to check your vehicle inside and out before you set off. Check the tyre pressure and fluid levels are right and make sure your car ancillaries are working properly Secure your luggage in your boot so it’s out of the way and doesn’t obstruct your view Give yourself plenty of time for the journey and check the news for any traffic updates and roadworks nearby If you’re travelling during the early hours of the day or late in the evening make sure you take some rest beforehand and eat something light so you don’t feel sluggish before you leave If you plan on using a sat-nav don’t forget to programme in the destination before you leave and check it. Leave plenty of time for the journey so you don’t find yourself pushed for time. Make sure you take regular rest breaks to split up the journey when driving on a long, boring stretch of a motorway. It’s good practise to stop at least every two hours Richard said: “With so much planning involved in a holiday, many of us forget about the first bit – how we get to our destination. “If your journey is a long one, take some time to plan where and when you will be taking a break – just so you can get a little rest and have some water to stay hydrated. Enjoy the journey and more importantly, enjoy the getaway."
  19. ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is using the forthcoming UN Global Road Safety Week as an opportunity to encourage all drivers and riders to consider the risks they face (and the risks they pose) on their daily journeys, and to find ways of reducing those risks The Fifth UN Global Road Safety Week, starting next Monday 6 May, seeks to promote understanding of what a safer future could look like, and to mobilise action among road users that will lead to safer road journeys worldwide. Figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that road traffic injuries are now the number one killer of people aged 5 to 29 years. This burden is disproportionately carried by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Drastic action is needed to put measures in place to meet any future global target that might save lives, says the WHO. Neil Worth, GEM Motoring Assist’s road safety officer, said: “As road users, we all tend to underestimate the risks we face – as well as overestimating our ability to deal with them. That makes us all more vulnerable than we may realise. “GEM’s message for UN Global Road Safety Week is that we all have an opportunity to make a difference. We can all commit to reducing risk and improving safety on road journeys, as long as we don’t always see it as someone else’s problem. “So let’s celebrate the opportunity we all have to make a difference. Let’s commit to make changes, and develop an attitude where risk is reduced. Let’s stop criticising others and instead see what we could be doing to improve safety on our road journeys – safety for ourselves and for those who share the roads with us. “The good news is that we can all start with our very next journey.”
  20. 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 has 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 pickiest 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 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 may be 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 and it's 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
  21. 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.
  22. Steve tests the new Ford Fiesta Zetec to see if it can live up to the Fiesta's renowned reputation The new Fiesta is available in Zetec (B + O Play and Navigation versions), Titanium (B + O Play and X versions), Vignale, ST-Line and ST-Line X. plus the all-new ‘Active’ Fiesta released 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 1.1 Ti-VCT with 5 speed manual gearbox as tested retails at £15,670, has an output of 85PS and has the least power of all the engines in the range. However, I found the engine gutsy and surprisingly had more than enough grunt for day to day driving, both in town and on country roads. The gear changes were smooth but I felt the car could have benefitted from a 6th gear for motorway driving. One drawback I found with the 1.1 petrol engine was that I struggled to get anywhere near Fords claimed 49.7mpg and achieved as little as 35.0mpg. The 1.0 litre EcoBoost Petrol engine 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 entry level Zetec version was used for the road test was still reasonably equipped with DAB radio, electric front windows, electric mirrors, lane keeping assist, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, air conditioning and alloy wheels. 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 1.1 petrol engine responded much better than anticipated but mpg figures are far from impressive, 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 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 a conventional key on the Zetec model and incorporates ‘stop-start’ technology. 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 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. Fuel economy was ok but given the roads used, traffic conditions and speed travelled, we obtained between 35.5 – 38.5mpg overall. For the size of the engine and the superb drivability experience, I was disappointed. The same can’t be said with regard to the handling which I was thoroughly impressed by. I found steering response and feel was very good whilst being light and nimble which was ideal for parking. The suspension absorbs most bumps well but a pothole or sunken manhole would result in a jolt. In addition, I found the Fiesta handled the bends well and certainly felt sure footed. 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. Dimensions Length: 4,040 mm Width: 1,734 mm Height: 1,483 mm Curb weight: 1,113–1,207 kg
  23. How much is car tax (VED)? Car tax for new cars first registered since April 2017 depends on list price and CO2 emissions What decides how much car tax I pay? It depends when the car was first registered: Cars more than 40 years old are exempt Cars first registered before 1 March 2001 are taxed on engine size If your car was first registered between 1 March 2001 and 1 April 2017, how much car tax (VED) you pay depends on the car's official CO2 emissions. If the car's newer (first registered on or after 1 April 2017) then it's only the first year rate that's based on CO2. What are the current car tax (VED) rules? The first year rate is based on official CO2 figures For new diesel cars that don't meet the latest (RDE2) emissions standards the first year rate assumes that the CO2 emissions are one band higher than indicated by official figures. (Cars that meet RDE2 aren't expected to be available until 2019 at the earliest). A flat standard rate of £140 (£145 from 1 April 2019) applies to all cars except those with CO2 emissions of zero for which the standard rate is £0. An extra charge of £310 (£320 from 1 April 2019) a year applies to cars with a list price over £40,000 in the first 5 ‘standard rate years’. The latest VED rules in detail Why are new diesel cars taxed differently? In the Autumn 2017 budget the Chancellor announced an increase in the first year VED rate for new diesel cars first registered after 1 April 2018. The emissions test that Euro 6 diesel cars have to pass before they're approved for sale includes a more demanding, on-road 'Real Driving Emissions (RDE)' test from September 2017. This test is set to become even more stringent from January 2020 when 'RDE step 2' comes into force. To encourage car manufacturers to introduce cleaner, RDE2 diesels earlier, the CO2-based first year VED rate for diesel cars first registered after 1 April 2018 will be one band higher than shown in the table unless the car was approved to the RDE step 2 standard. VED basics All vehicles registered in the UK and used on public roads must be taxed. If you’re not using it, you must either let the DVLA know that your car's being kept off-road with a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) or continue to tax it. The cost of car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) depends on how old your vehicle is and its engine size or official CO2 emissions. Since April 2017 it depends on the car’s list price when new, too. The official CO2 figure for your car is on the V5c registration document. It’s measured in official tests before a new model can be put on sale. The DVLA stopped issuing paper tax discs from 1 October 2014. Check the tax status of any vehicle – all you need is the vehicle’s make and registration number. Car tax for cars first registered before 1 March 2001 Car tax for cars first registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017 Current car tax rules The current car tax rules in detail If you buy a new car today or buy a used car that was first registered since 1 April 2017: The first year rate (the VED paid at first registration) is based on official CO2 figures A flat standard rate of £140 (£145 from 1 April 2019) applies to all cars except those with CO2 emissions of zero for which the standard rate is £0. An extra charge of £310 (£320 from 1 April 2019) a year applies to cars with a list price over £40,000 in the first 5 ‘standard rate years’. Alternative fuel cars (tax class 59) pay £10 less than the First year and standard rates below. CO2 emissions First year rate* (2019 rate**) Standard rate (2019 rate**) 0 £0 (£0) £0 (£0) 1-50 £10 (£10) £140 (£145) 51-75 £25 (£25) £140 (£145) 76-90 £105 (£110) £140 (£145) 91-100 £125 (£130) £140 (£145) 101-110 £145 (£150) £140 (£145) 110-130 £165 (£170) £140 (£145) 131-150 £205 (£210) £140 (£145) 151-170 £515 (£530) £140 (£145) 171-190 £830 (£855) £140 (£145) 191-225 £1240 (£1280) £140 (£145) 226-255 £1760 (£1815) £140 (£145) 256+ £2070 (£2135) £140 (£145) Notes * For diesel cars first registered after 1 April 2018, the CO2-based first year rate of VED will be one band higher than shown in the table unless the car was approved to the RDE step 2 standard. ** 2019 rates apply from 1 April 2019 Car tax for cars first registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017 Your car will fall into one of a series of bands based on official CO2 emissions. A different first year rate, payable at first registration only and sometimes called the 'showroom tax', was introduced in 2010. Pre-2018/19 rates are shown only for comparison purposes VED Band CO2 Emissions (g/km) 2015/2016 First year rate² 2015/16 standard rate¹ 2016/2017 First year rate² 2016/17 Standard rate¹ 2017/18 Standard rate¹ 2018/19 Standard rate¹ 2019/20 Standard rate¹ A up to 100 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 B 101-110 0 £20 0 £20 £20 £20 £20 C 111-120 0 £30 0 £30 £30 £30 £30 D 121-130 0 £110 0 £110 £115 £120 £125 E 131-140 £130 £130 £130 £130 £135 £140 £145 F 141-150 £145 £145 £145 £145 £150 £155 £160 G 151-165 £180 £180 £185 £185 £190 £195 £200 H 166-175 £295 £205 £300 £210 £220 £230 £235 I 176-185 £350 £225 £355 £230 £240 £250 £260 J 186-200 £490 £265 £500 £270 £280 £290 £300 K² 201-225 £640 £290 £650 £295 £305 £315 £325 L 226-255 £870 £490 £885 £500 £520 £540 £555 M over 255 £1100 £505 £1120 £515 £535 £555 £570 Notes 1 12-month single payment rate. Alternative fuel car (tax class 59) discounts were/are £10 all cars 2015/20 2 Included cars producing over 225g/km and first registered between 1 March 2001 and 23 March 2006. Car tax for cars first registered before 1 March 2001 Car tax is based on engine size, as official CO2 data wasn’t generally available. So, if the engine is: 1549cc or smaller: £155 a year (£160 2019/20 rate) Bigger than 1549cc: £255 a year (£265 2019/20rate) Historic vehicle exemption Cars built before 1 January 1979 are exempt from 1 April 2019. Is it car tax or road tax? Cars started being taxed in 1920 as local councils had to start registering all vehicles. It was called Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and was based on horsepower. Tax discs were later introduced in 1921. This new tax was initially used for building and maintaining roads. As it was paid directly into the ‘road fund’ it was known as the Road Fund Licence or road tax. In 1936, road works were being paid for by government grants. As the road fund wasn’t needed any more, it was abolished in 1955. So while it might have been right to refer to it as road tax or the Road Fund Licence before 1936, this hasn’t been the case since. When did DVLA stop issuing tax discs? One of the biggest changes in DVLA history was the abolition of the 93-year-old tax disc, on 1 October 2014. Also, the DVLA now issues automatic refunds on car tax – for any full months left – to the registered keeper when a vehicle is sold, scrapped or a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) is made. In the past, when you bought a used vehicle, the tax disc and any unexpired tax remained valid. Updated 11 March 2019
  24. British motorists thinking of taking their cars across the Channel for holidays in Europe and the Republic of Ireland after the UK leaves the EU may feel they are driving into the unknown in the event of a no-deal Brexit And the issue does seem to be a long way from being resolved after Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was crushed in the Commons. Following that defeat the Brexit date has been pushed back to April 12 in the event of agreeing no deal or May 22 if Prime Minister Theresa May wins the backing of Parliament before the earlier deadline. Now British motorists face the possibility of being demoted to “third-country nationals” status, showing they are neither from the country they are visiting nor from another EU member state. It will also mean that British drivers could be legally obliged to carry a Green Card to prove their insurance status on their overseas driving trip. Many motorists have been asking: “How will Brexit affect travel from the UK to Europe?” Here, HIC’s insurance experts ponder the questions that need answering for anyone planning to head off for a continental driving holiday this summer. And in basic terms, motorists are advised to organise their Green Card insurance and other travel admin before they set out – because it’s better to be safe than sorry. Will I be able to use my British driving licence for driving abroad? After Brexit UK driving licences will lose their EU validity. That means that if you move to a European Union country, you will need to apply for a new licence. It is still not clear what the rules will be for British tourists driving in the EU but you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP), according to the Department for Transport (DfT). But that’s not as simple as it sounds. Confusingly, there are two kinds of IDP required by different EU countries. The permits are governed under different guidelines: The 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic: an international treaty designed to facilitate international road traffic and increase road safety by establishing standard traffic rules among affiliated countries. This will be required for travel to Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus. The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic: this treaty attempted to update the aims of the Geneva Convention and is recognised in most EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland. The DfT has warned that UK licence holders may be turned away at the border or face other enforcement action, such as on the spot fines, if they don’t have the correct IDP. You can get the IDP which is appropriate for your travels at the Post Offices and it costs £5.50 a year. It’s not a great deal of money, but it is another administrative hassle before your holiday or business trip. How will Brexit affect travel to Spain, France and other EU countries? Motoring organisations have warned there could be long delays at the borders as EU countries will revert to more vigorous passport control post Brexit. There will be other administrative checks too, such as Green Card authentication that will delay your passage further. In the worst case scenario, motorways this side of the Channel and autoroutes in France could be turned into lorry parks for vehicles queuing for their passage. The Government already has a contingency plan to queue lorries in temporary parks on the M26 and the M20 in Kent. As well as the possible delays, if you plan to drive through France to holiday in Spain – a pretty typical journey for countless British families each year – both types of IDP will be needed. If you are driving to Europe, another document you will need is a Green Card which is explained later in this article. However, owing to the “unique social, political and economic circumstances” the UK government has said it would not introduce any new checks or controls on goods at the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. What will happen to expats living abroad but still driving on British licences? In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Brits living in other EU member states may have to take new driving tests in the country they are living in. To avoid that, they should exchange their UK licence for a European one before Brexit, the government has said. But it warned the closer Brexit draws the bigger the possibility of delays in processing exchange applications because of the increased demands. They advise expats to exchange licences now rather than leaving it until the last minute. When will Brexit affect travel to and from Europe? Britain is scheduled to withdraw from the EU on April 12 or May 22. If you take your car across the Channel shortly before then it should be plain sailing – but when you come back after that date Europe will have a very different complexion. With no deal, it seems there will be more border checks, more red tape and more inconvenience for British travellers. Will my Green Card international travel document still be recognised? It is currently not obligatory to hold a Green Card when driving in Europe. But it may become so in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as it was before Britain joined the then European Economic Community in 1973. A no-deal Brexit would probably mean that access to the Green Card-free circulation area would end. That could mean UK motorists will be legally required to carry a Green Card as proof of third party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland. The validity of UK Green Cards in these countries is subject to agreements that need to be reached between the UK’s Motor Insurers’ Bureau and the relevant National Insurers’ Bureau. These agreements ensure Green Cards are recognised and facilitate the settlement of claims for traffic accident victims. The Government has warned that motorists should expect documentation checks to be carried out when entering these countries. If you don’t have a valid Green Card you risk: being turned back at the border; or an on the spot fine; or being forced to buy expensive local insurance in the country you are visiting, also known as border insurance. The Green Card must be for 15 days or more from the date you travel, and it must be printed on green paper. If you are mailed your Green Card and you print it at home on white paper it will be invalid and you will have issues with border security personnel. I have heard I will need a separate Green Card for my caravan. Is that true? Some countries require hauliers to have separate trailer insurance to that of the towing vehicle, which means a separate Green Card. It is not yet clear if the same rules will apply to tourists towing caravans, but it is possible. What will happen to my British passport? British passports that expire after Brexit will continue to be valid as UK travel documents, but they will no longer be “European Union” passports. That means you will lose the automatic right of free movement within the 27 countries that make up the EU. In legal terms, British travellers will become “third-country nationals”, and there are complex rules about passport validity in these circumstances. The Schengen Border Code – covering almost every EU nation – stipulates that third-country nationals must have at least three months’ validity remaining on their passports on the date of intended departure from the Schengen area; however the Government is advising British travellers to have at least six months validity remaining on the date of arrival. British passports issued after Brexit will not include the words “European Union” on their covers and by the end of the year all newly issued passports will revert to a dark blue rather than the EU’s burgundy. Will I need a visa to travel in Europe? The jury is still out on whether you will need a visa to travel in Europe. In its Brexit white paper, the Government proposed reciprocal visa-free travel for UK and EU citizens to continue. But Brussels has insisted that third-country nationals – such as British passport holders post-Brexit – will have to register with ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) prior to their trip. It’s not quite a visa, but it works in a similar way, making security, criminal, credit and other legal checks. And if you plan to take your pet with you, that will be the subject of documentation checks too. Currently dogs and cats can travel anywhere in the EU as long as they have a “pet passport”. Three weeks before travelling, owners must go to the vet to have their pet vaccinated against rabies and microchipped. But in the worst case no-deal Brexit, pet owners would have to visit a vet at least four months before visiting the EU. The animal would have to have a rabies vaccination followed by a blood test at least 30 days before travel, to prove the vaccination was successful. Pet owners would then have to get a health certificate from the vet no more than 10 days before departure. How will Brexit affect travel insurance? Even though you have insurance for your car and caravan on your European motoring holiday, for your own protection and peace of mind you should take out travel insurance. It is unlikely there will be a dramatic change in the way travel insurance works post Brexit, even without a deal. The Foreign Office has updated its foreign travel insurance advice with Brexit in mind. Will my EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) still be valid? In its Brexit white paper, the government said it wanted UK citizens to still be able to use the European Health Insurance Card to receive healthcare while on holiday in the European Economic Area. That would mean British holidaymakers in the EU would qualify for medical treatment on the same basis as the citizens of the country they are visiting – but that would depend on the stance taken by each independent EU country. What will happen with regards duty free shopping? The cloud over European travel post Brexit does have a silver lining. If you are taking your car abroad and you intend stocking up on duty free goods on the way back, chances are you will pay less than you have done in recent years though you probably won’t be able to bring back as much. After Brexit, Britain will have the same status as the rest of the world in terms of duty-free allowances, meaning cheaper spirits, tobacco, perfume, electronic goods and jewellery. Has the Government done enough to allay motorists’ fears about a no-deal Brexit? Andy Morton from insurance experts HIC thinks much more travel advice should be made available to those thinking about driving to Europe or Southern Ireland post Brexit. He thinks confusion about what may or may not be demanded of British drivers abroad could have a detrimental impact on the number of people taking their cars across the Channel this year. He said: “I think motorists will be less inclined to take their cars abroad this year because of the uncertainty – though much depends on the state of the pound against the euro. If the pound does well post Brexit, the slump might not materialise. “But motorists must remember they will need to get Green Card insurance prior to their visit, and if they are regular cross-Channel trippers they will have to get one for each trip, unless they do the sensible thing and take an annual Green Card. Andy advised motorists planning trips to Europe or the Republic of Ireland after a no-deal Brexit to prepare for every eventuality: “Get your Green Cards early and take out good travel insurance to be safe rather than sorry.” He added: “There are many scary stories about what may or may not happen come Brexit. The Government should be doing much more to separate the fact from the fiction for motorists.” ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY FRAZER ANSELL - JANUARY 17, 2019 Information last updated 26 March 2019
  25. Speed limiting technology looks set to become mandatory for all vehicles sold in Europe from 2022, after new rules were provisionally agreed by the EU The Department for Transport said the system would also apply in the UK, despite Brexit. Campaigners welcomed the move, saying it would save thousands of lives. Road safety charity Brake called it a "landmark day", but the AA said "a little speed" helped with overtaking or joining motorways". Safety measures approved by the European Commission included intelligent speed assistance (ISA), advanced emergency braking and lane-keeping technology. The EU says the plan could help avoid 140,000 serious injuries by 2038 and aims ultimately to cut road deaths to zero by 2050. EU Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said: "Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error. "With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when safety belts were first introduced." What is speed limiting technology and how does it work? Under the ISA system, cars receive information via GPS and a digital map, telling the vehicle what the speed limit is. This can be combined with a video camera capable of recognising road signs. The system can be overridden temporarily. If a car is overtaking a lorry on a motorway and enters a lower speed-limit area, the driver can push down hard on the accelerator to complete the manoeuvre. A full on/off switch for the system is also envisaged, but this would lapse every time the vehicle is restarted. How soon will it become available? It's already coming into use. Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot-Citroen, Renault and Volvo already have models available with some of the ISA technology fitted. However, there is concern over whether current technology is sufficiently advanced for the system to work effectively. In particular, many cars already have a forward-facing camera, but there is a question mark over whether the sign-recognition technology is up to scratch. Other approved safety features for European cars, vans, trucks and buses include technology which provides a warning of driver drowsiness and distraction, such as when using a smartphone while driving, and a data recorder in case of an accident. What does it all mean in practice? Theo Leggett, business correspondent The idea that cars will be fitted with speed limiters - or to put it more accurately, "intelligent speed assistance" - is likely to upset a lot of drivers. Many of us are happy to break limits when it suits us and don't like the idea of Big Brother stepping in. However, the new system as it's currently envisaged will not force drivers to slow down. It is there to encourage them to do so, and to make them aware of what the limit is, but it can be overridden. Much like the cruise control in many current cars will hold a particular speed, or prevent you exceeding it, until you stamp on the accelerator. So it'll still be a free-for-all for speeding motorists then? Not quite. Under the new rules, cars will also be fitted with compulsory data recorders, or "black boxes". So if you have an accident, the police and your insurance company will know whether you've been going too fast. If you've been keeping your foot down and routinely ignoring the car's warnings, they may take a very dim view of your actions. In fact, it's this "spy on board" which may ultimately have a bigger impact on driver behaviour than any kind of speed limiter. It's easy to get away with reckless driving when there's only a handful of traffic cops around to stop you. Much harder when there's a spy in the cab recording your every move. All of this may well reduce accidents, but it won't eliminate them. You can force people to slow down, you can watch what they're doing, you can help them with emergency braking - but you can't get rid of basic bad driving. Unless, of course, you have self-driving cars. How has the idea been received? The move was welcomed by the European Transport Safety Council, an independent body which advises Brussels on transport safety matters. But it said it could be several months before the European Parliament and Council formally approve the measures. The European Parliament will not be able to consider the provisional rules until after its elections take place in May. UK statistics show more than 1,700 people are killed on UK roads every year, while Brake says speed is a contributory factor in about a quarter of all fatal crashes. Brake's campaigns director, Joshua Harris, said: "This is a landmark day for road safety. These measures will provide the biggest leap forward for road safety this century." The UK's Department for Transport said: "We continuously work with partners across the globe to improve the safety standards of all vehicles. These interventions are expected to deliver a step-change in road safety across Europe, including the UK." The Association of British Insurers held out the possibility that premiums could be reduced as a result. It said: "Motor insurers support measures aimed at improving road safety. Any steps that can be shown to make our roads safer, reducing road crashes and insurance claims, can be reflected in the cost of motor insurance."
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