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Steve Q

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Steve Q last won the day on May 30

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  1. Steve takes a look at brake discs. Everybody knows that brake discs help stop your vehicle as and when required, but did you know there are different types of discs available offering varying degrees of stopping efficiency. Most brake discs are made of iron and sit within a rotating spindle and work by converting kinetic energy (speed) into friction (heat) when the brake pads are applied to the discs. Disc brakes where introduced to vehicles due to their improved stopping potential and ability to be cooled a lot more efficiently by being exposed compared to drum brakes which were more restrictive and were more likely to suffer from brake fade. Here's a run through of the different types: Solid Brake Disc These solid iron discs are flat/smooth and are often found on smaller/lighter economy vehicles or older cars due to being cheap to replace and adequacy for stopping power. However, under excessive use the heat build up can cause the discs to warp which can be felt as a judder through the brake pedal. Vented Brake Disc This type of disc is also smooth in appearance but are vented in the centre thus improving the cooling ability of the brake disc and helping provide improved and consistent stopping power. Vented discs are currently the most popular type found on most modern vehicles and generally very reliable. Drilled Brake Disc As the name suggests these discs are not only vented, but also drilled to improve cooling and often found on modified or performance vehicles. Even though braking performance is greatly improved, these discs can fail by cracking around the drill holes due to excessive heat or over a long duration of use due to the fact the disc can contain less amount of heat over the surface area due to there being less metal to absorb heat. They also have the added benefit of being lighter which can help shorten the vehicles stopping distance. Grooved Brake Disc Similar to drilled discs, grooved discs vent heat away from the discs via the grooves and are also found on modified or performance vehicles but are often noisier than other types of discs and have a habit of wearing brake pads more often. Drilled & Grooved combination Brake Disc As the name suggests this type of disc combines both benefits/disadvantages of both drilled discs and grooved discs and are found on modified, performance or race vehicles. Waved Edge Brake Disc Compared to all other types of brake discs which are cylindrical, this type of brake disc has a waved edge which saves weight whilst not hampering stopping potential and is the most modern of brake disc design. Allegedly, they also improve cooling of the disc and are found on performance cars. Dimpled Brake Disc This type of disc also does not have a flat surface and is designed to help reduce heat whilst not compromising the integrity of the disc. Looking very similar to drilled discs, except the drill hasn't gone through the whole disc. I hope you've found this guide useful. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
  2. Steve reviews the worlds most iconic van on its 70th anniversary..... The Volkswagen Transporter. Just like the Volkswagen Beetle, the Transporter is just as famous worldwide and a true symbol of Volkswagen and recognised as a cult vehicle thanks to its involvement in the hippy movement and memories created over numerous generations for its use in holidays. Currently on is 6th version and 7th on the way, Steve takes a look at all generations of Transporter. T1 The first generation Transporter made its debut in 1950 and was a revolution being flat fronted and rear engined. Available in van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper they all were fitted with aircooled 4 cylinder engines and 4 speed manual gearboxes. Affectionately known as the splitty due to the split windscreen, they were manufactured in Europe between 1950-1967 but lived on in South American/African markets into the 1970s. They are now a true motoring icon and prices are rising. T2 Released in 1968 as a direct replacement to the T1 the second generation built on the reputation of its predecessor and was to become known as the bay window, again thanks to its windscreen design. Just like the T1 the T2 was also fitted with aircooled engines and 4 speed gearboxes and were also available as van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper. Despite production ending in 1979, the design lived on in South America up to 2015. T25 The T25 was the last rear ended Transporter but compared to the previous generations the windscreen was raked but was also available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper. Initially offered with a 1.6 or 2.0 litre aircooled engine, the world had moved on and the Transporter need to as well. As such the T25 was the first Transporter to be fitted with watercooled engines both in petrol and diesel form known as wasserboxers as they were watercooled flatfour configuration. Despite production ending in 1992, the design lived on in South Africa for another decade and ceasing production in 2002. T4 Released in 1990 the T4 was a revelation and a shock to Transporter fans, thanks to it being the first generation to be front engined. This helped boost space and flexibility for the Transporter which just like all previous versions came as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and as a chassis cab. It was also the first Transporter to be available in two wheelbases, either short wheel base or long wheel base. The T4 was available with a multitude of petrol and diesel engines which became renowned for their reliability and built between 1990-2004. T5 The second front engined version, the T5 again grew in size over its predecessor and was available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and chassis cab which allowed it to be used as tipper, recovery truck of flatbed. It is also available as a short wheel base, long wheel base and short or high roof. The T4 was available with a multitude of petrol and diesel engines which ranged from 1.9 to 3.2 litres and built between 2003-2016. T6 This is the current generation, released in 2016 and follows on from its T5 predecessor in terms of appearance and chassis design but benefits from new engines and major interior improvements/redesign. Just like the T5 the current model is also available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and chassis cab which allowed it to be used as tipper, recovery truck of flatbed. It is also available as a short wheel base, long wheel base and short or high roof. T7 - The Future Volkswagen have announced the T7 Transporter, also known as the ID Buzz will hark back to its routes by being flat fronted and is achieved thanks to being the first Transporter to be powered only by electricity. It will be available as a van and minibus but I suspect other body variants will be offered. It will also come with the next generation autonomous driving technology. I hope you've enjoyed this article, please tell us your opinion by leaving a comment below.
  3. Steve takes a look at another modern safety innovation the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). What is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System? The TPMS includes 4 individual sensors mounted inside the wheel which constantly monitor the air pressure within each tyre of the vehicle. If there is a loss of air pressure in any of the wheels, the driver will be alerted by a warning on the dashboard that this loss of air pressure has been detected. Dependent on manufacture or age of vehicle some vehicles can tell you on the dash which tyre and PSI its on. This also depends on the type of system fitted to your vehicle and there are currently two types. Indirect monitoring This system works by having the sensors monitor the diameter of each wheel to determine if one of them is under inflated. If they recognise a change they will alert the driver who then will have to check each tyres pressures to determine which wheel is affected (unless obvious), then inflate the tyres and reset the system. Direct monitoring. On this system each wheel has a sensor on each tyre valve which monitors the tyre pressures in real time allowing the driver to check them even when driving. Once this system detects a tyre with a low pressure it will alert the drive to which tyre is affected and what pressure it is currently on. This allows the driver to only focus in reflating the affected tyre. Where is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System located? One sensor is situated on the inside of each wheel. To determine the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle there will be a sticker similar to the one below on the B pillar, or on the inside of the fuel filler cap which will tell you what the pressures should be for your vehicle. It can also be found in your owners handbook. Does it go wrong? Yes, If there is a fault with the sensors a message will appear on the dash to alert the driver and they can go wrong in various ways: Through age/wear and tear The sensors batteries going flat which again can be due to age. Accidently getting broken during tyre changes. This is the symbol that will appear on the dash. Is it easy to replace? Thankfully the sensors are easy and often cheap to replace. Obviously the sensors don't replace the need to check your tyres pressures manually but act rather as a drive aid. I hope you've found this guide useful Please leave a comment to let us know your opinions.
  4. Steve reviews the worlds most iconic van on its 70th anniversary..... The Volkswagen Transporter. Just like the Volkswagen Beetle, the Transporter is just as famous worldwide and a true symbol of Volkswagen and recognised as a cult vehicle thanks to its involvement in the hippy movement and memories created over numerous generations for its use in holidays. Currently on is 6th version and 7th on the way, Steve takes a look at all generations of Transporter. T1 The first generation Transporter made its debut in 1950 and was a revolution being flat fronted and rear engined. Available in van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper they all were fitted with aircooled 4 cylinder engines and 4 speed manual gearboxes. Affectionately known as the splitty due to the split windscreen, they were manufactured in Europe between 1950-1967 but lived on in South American/African markets into the 1970s. They are now a true motoring icon and prices are rising. T2 Released in 1968 as a direct replacement to the T1 the second generation built on the reputation of its predecessor and was to become known as the bay window, again thanks to its windscreen design. Just like the T1 the T2 was also fitted with aircooled engines and 4 speed gearboxes and were also available as van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper. Despite production ending in 1979, the design lived on in South America up to 2015. T25 The T25 was the last rear ended Transporter but compared to the previous generations the windscreen was raked but was also available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper. Initially offered with a 1.6 or 2.0 litre aircooled engine, the world had moved on and the Transporter need to as well. As such the T25 was the first Transporter to be fitted with watercooled engines both in petrol and diesel form known as wasserboxers as they were watercooled flatfour configuration. Despite production ending in 1992, the design lived on in South Africa for another decade and ceasing production in 2002. T4 Released in 1990 the T4 was a revelation and a shock to Transporter fans, thanks to it being the first generation to be front engined. This helped boost space and flexibility for the Transporter which just like all previous versions came as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and as a chassis cab. It was also the first Transporter to be available in two wheelbases, either short wheel base or long wheel base. The T4 was available with a multitude of petrol and diesel engines which became renowned for their reliability and built between 1990-2004. T5 The second front engined version, the T5 again grew in size over its predecessor and was available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and chassis cab which allowed it to be used as tipper, recovery truck of flatbed. It is also available as a short wheel base, long wheel base and short or high roof. The T4 was available with a multitude of petrol and diesel engines which ranged from 1.9 to 3.2 litres and built between 2003-2016. T6 This is the current generation, released in 2016 and follows on from its T5 predecessor in terms of appearance and chassis design but benefits from new engines and major interior improvements/redesign. Just like the T5 the current model is also available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and chassis cab which allowed it to be used as tipper, recovery truck of flatbed. It is also available as a short wheel base, long wheel base and short or high roof. T7 - The Future Volkswagen have announced the T7 Transporter, also known as the ID Buzz will hark back to its routes by being flat fronted and is achieved thanks to being the first Transporter to be powered only by electricity. It will be available as a van and minibus but I suspect other body variants will be offered. It will also come with the next generation autonomous driving technology. I hope you've enjoyed this article, please tell us your opinion by leaving a comment below.
  5. Steve takes a look at another modern safety innovation the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). What is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System? The TPMS includes 4 individual sensors mounted inside the wheel which constantly monitor the air pressure within each tyre of the vehicle. If there is a loss of air pressure in any of the wheels, the driver will be alerted by a warning on the dashboard that this loss of air pressure has been detected. Dependent on manufacture or age of vehicle some vehicles can tell you on the dash which tyre and PSI its on. This also depends on the type of system fitted to your vehicle and there are currently two types. Indirect monitoring This system works by having the sensors monitor the diameter of each wheel to determine if one of them is under inflated. If they recognise a change they will alert the driver who then will have to check each tyres pressures to determine which wheel is affected (unless obvious), then inflate the tyres and reset the system. Direct monitoring. On this system each wheel has a sensor on each tyre valve which monitors the tyre pressures in real time allowing the driver to check them even when driving. Once this system detects a tyre with a low pressure it will alert the drive to which tyre is affected and what pressure it is currently on. This allows the driver to only focus in reflating the affected tyre. Where is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System located? One sensor is situated on the inside of each wheel. To determine the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle there will be a sticker similar to the one below on the B pillar, or on the inside of the fuel filler cap which will tell you what the pressures should be for your vehicle. It can also be found in your owners handbook. Does it go wrong? Yes, If there is a fault with the sensors a message will appear on the dash to alert the driver and they can go wrong in various ways: Through age/wear and tear The sensors batteries going flat which again can be due to age. Accidently getting broken during tyre changes. This is the symbol that will appear on the dash. Is it easy to replace? Thankfully the sensors are easy and often cheap to replace. Obviously the sensors don't replace the need to check your tyres pressures manually but act rather as a drive aid. I hope you've found this guide useful Please leave a comment to let us know your opinions.
  6. Just for fun, Steve looks at a selection of kit cars you could use daily. Kit cars are a great symbol of personalisation within the motor industry and people choose them for multiple aspects such as the building process, driving or social aspect of clubs. But believe it or not there are a selection of kit cars that can be pressed into daily service if required and you might have more fun in doing so! Quantum saloon Based on the humble Mk2 Ford Fiesta mechanicals the Quantum Saloon is a fibreglass monocoque body/chassis which can carry 4 people and more sportier looking than the Fiesta counterpart. Being based on the Fiesta Mk2 has meant replacement parts are cheap and the Fiesta interior is carried over to the Saloon. Engine options range from 1.0 litre to 1.6 litre but more modern Zetec engines can be fitted which offer greater performance. Jago Geep/Sandero The Geep, later renamed the Sandero for copyright reasons with Jeep is a small light weight Willys Jeep replica. The body moulds were taken direct from a WW2 Jeep and as such it matches in size to its WW2 counterpart but has a ladder frame chassis. The Geep/Sandero was fitted with mainly Ford Anglia or Escort running gear. it also comes with either a soft top or hard top but be warned it wont keep out the weather like a regular production car. Ginetta G26/G28/G30/G31 Based on Ford Cortina mk3/Mk4 mechanicals these Ginetta models are in many ways similar to the Quantum saloon and is a fibreglass body and galvanised chassis which can carry 4 people, as well as benefiting from a more sportier look than the Cortina counterpart. Being based on the Cortina has meant replacement parts are cheap and the Cortina interior is carried over. Engine options range are the Cortina's 4 or 6 cylinder engines. However, not all the components came from the Cortina as the doors and rear windows came from the Fiesta. Quantum 2+2 Also based on Mk2 Ford Fiesta mechanicals the Quantum 2+2 is a fibreglass convertible monocoque body/chassis which can carry 2 adults and 2 children and more sportier looking than the Fiesta counterpart. Being based on the Fiesta Mk2 has meant replacement parts are cheap and the Fiesta interior is carried over to the 2+2. Engine options range from 1.0 litre to 1.6 litre but more modern Zetec engines can be fitted which offer greater performance. Sterling Nova The Nova kit car is the most futuristic looking car on this list thanks to its jaw dropping roof opening design. Despite the supercar looks, underneath you'll find a humble VW Beetle chassis or Ford Cortina running gear which helps keep running costs low. The Nova is coming back into production by Sterling Sports Cars but will have a custom chassis and various engine options including V8's. The Nova has also featured in films such as Cannonball Run 2 and Death Race. Quantum H4 Based on Mk3 Ford Fiesta mechanicals the Quantum H4 is a fibreglass monocoque convertible body/chassis which can carry 2 people and more sportier looking than the Fiesta counterpart. The H4 also benefits from a unique folding roof design which allows it to be a targa top or complete convertible which is known as a Surrey top. Being based on the Fiesta Mk3 has meant replacement parts are cheap and the Fiesta interior is carried over to the Saloon. Engine options range from 1.0 litre to 1.8 litre including RS turbo and RS1800 engines for ultimate performance. Nu Dimension 911 The Nu Dimension 911 is a very good replica of the current Porsche 911 992 variant and unlike other kit car replicas Nu Dimension have based this car on the Mk1 Porsche Boxter. That's right, this is a hard top Porsche Boxter and as such all the mechanical and interior components are left alone. Instead, new body panels are grafted onto the Boxter's shell giving the look of the current 911. This replica is so accurate, that even the headlights/taillights come from the 992 911. Toyota MR2 based replicas For simplicity I have grouped these styles of kit car together but in affect they are all body conversions whereby you remove various body parts and fit/graft new ones on to give an impression of a different car. In most cases these will often be seen as Ferrari replicas styled to look like the Ferrari 355, Dino or 360 and produced by companies such as DNA. as such all the MR2 mechanicals and interior are retained to aid cheaper running costs and reasonable performance/handling. GTM Libra The Libra was developed as modern incarnation of the Midias and is a fibreglass monocoque which then has Rover Metro subframes and running gear mounted to it. Don't be fooled though as the Libra was a fantastic bit of kit and was available with Rover K series engines and can be converted to run with Honda engines. A targa model was also offered to further the cars appeal and they have been proven to be successful on the track. BMW Z3 based replicas For simplicity I have grouped these styles of kit car together but in affect they are all body conversions whereby you remove various body parts and fit/graft new ones on to give an impression of a different car. In most cases these will often be seen as Ferrari replicas styled to look like the Ferrari 250, AC Cobra or the unique Bertini GT25 and produced by companies such as Tribute Automotive or Bertini. as such all the Z3 mechanicals and interior are retained to aid cheaper running costs and reasonable performance/handling. I hope you've enjoyed this selection of kit cars and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
  7. Steve has a look at starter motors. What is a starter motor? As it sounds, the starter motors function is designed to assist in firing up the engine. when the key is turned this sends a message to the alternator and battery, which sends DC current electrical signal to the starter motor. The starter motor then activates a pinion with a mesh (cog), which engages with the flywheel thus turning the engine over which ultimately allows the car to start and run under its own power. Where is the starter motor located? The starter motor is located near to where the engine and gearbox meet, which is often quite low down in the car and can be recognised by being cylindrical in shape with another cylinder on top. VW Sharan starter motor in situ. Does it go wrong? I failing starter motor can manifest itself in various ways: Starter motor completely burnt out often caused by low voltage or persistent turning of the key when engine is either running or failing to start. Low voltage from the battery preventing it to engage properly. Corroded or broken terminals or wiring in the electrical system preventing the electrical connection passing to the starter motor efficiently. Sticking key switch Faulty neutral safety switch Is it easy to replace? In most cases it can be replaced fairly easily a competent DIYer and reqires you to: Disconnect the battery Locate the starter motor Unclip the wiring Unbolt it from the vehicle Refit in the reverse sequence. I hope you have found this guide useful, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
  8. Steve Q

    Guide To Alternators

    Steve takes a look at alternators What is an alternator? A car alternator converts mechanical energy into electricity, which is then used to charge the vehicles battery and help run vehicle electrical systems whilst the engine is running. Within the alternator is a rotating magnetic field where alternating current passes through a rectifier to be converted into direct current which allows a consistent voltage to be passed through the cars electrical system and battery terminals. To support the alternator is a volt regulator which monitors the electrical current passing around the vehicle and on modern vehicles can be found within the ECU. Where is an alternator located? The alternator is located in the engine bay connected to a belt driven by the engine. Does it go wrong? Yes, they do go wrong which can manifest itself in various ways You find your car has a dead battery which is caused by the alternator not charging the battery when driving The car struggling to start due to the battery being weak due to not being charged by the alternator whilst driving. Whilst driving a red battery light may appear on the dash to indicate an issue with the battery charging system. Whilst driving with lights on you will find them getting progressively dimmer. Electrical systems such as electric windows or locks may start to work intermittently or stop working completely. Funny engine noises. if the bearings within an alternator start to fail they can cause it to make unusual noises or become louder in its operation. Is it easy to replace? Before replacing the alternator the first thing you should do is have it tested to see whether it s producing enough electricity for it to power the vehicle. if it has failed then replacing it is your only option. Dependent on your skill level this is a job that can be done at home and will reguire you to: Disconnect the battery Locate the alternator and jack the vehicle up for access if required. Unclip the electrical connector attached to the alternator. Undo the bolts holding the alternator in place along with removing the belt. Refitting in the reverse order. Hope you found this guide useful. Let us know in the comments section.
  9. Steve has a look at starter motors. What is a starter motor? As it sounds, the starter motors function is designed to assist in firing up the engine. when the key is turned this sends a message to the alternator and battery, which sends DC current electrical signal to the starter motor. The starter motor then activates a pinion with a mesh (cog), which engages with the flywheel thus turning the engine over which ultimately allows the car to start and run under its own power. Where is the starter motor located? The starter motor is located near to where the engine and gearbox meet, which is often quite low down in the car and can be recognised by being cylindrical in shape with another cylinder on top. VW Sharan starter motor in situ. Does it go wrong? I failing starter motor can manifest itself in various ways: Starter motor completely burnt out often caused by low voltage or persistent turning of the key when engine is either running or failing to start. Low voltage from the battery preventing it to engage properly. Corroded or broken terminals or wiring in the electrical system preventing the electrical connection passing to the starter motor efficiently. Sticking key switch Faulty neutral safety switch Is it easy to replace? In most cases it can be replaced fairly easily a competent DIYer and reqires you to: Disconnect the battery Locate the starter motor Unclip the wiring Unbolt it from the vehicle Refit in the reverse sequence. I hope you have found this guide useful, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
  10. Steve takes a look at alternators What is an alternator? A car alternator converts mechanical energy into electricity, which is then used to charge the vehicles battery and help run vehicle electrical systems whilst the engine is running. Within the alternator is a rotating magnetic field where alternating current passes through a rectifier to be converted into direct current which allows a consistent voltage to be passed through the cars electrical system and battery terminals. To support the alternator is a volt regulator which monitors the electrical current passing around the vehicle and on modern vehicles can be found within the ECU. Where is an alternator located? The alternator is located in the engine bay connected to a belt driven by the engine. Does it go wrong? Yes, they do go wrong which can manifest itself in various ways You find your car has a dead battery which is caused by the alternator not charging the battery when driving The car struggling to start due to the battery being weak due to not being charged by the alternator whilst driving. Whilst driving a red battery light may appear on the dash to indicate an issue with the battery charging system. Whilst driving with lights on you will find them getting progressively dimmer. Electrical systems such as electric windows or locks may start to work intermittently or stop working completely. Funny engine noises. if the bearings within an alternator start to fail they can cause it to make unusual noises or become louder in its operation. Is it easy to replace? Before replacing the alternator the first thing you should do is have it tested to see whether it s producing enough electricity for it to power the vehicle. if it has failed then replacing it is your only option. Dependent on your skill level this is a job that can be done at home and will reguire you to: Disconnect the battery Locate the alternator and jack the vehicle up for access if required. Unclip the electrical connector attached to the alternator. Undo the bolts holding the alternator in place along with removing the belt. Refitting in the reverse order. Hope you found this guide useful. Let us know in the comments section.
  11. In the final instalment Steve takes a look at another 10 British vehicles. Morgan 4/4 The 4/4 has been produced by the Morgan Motor Company since 1936 and the current styling was introduced on the Mk2 in 1955. All 4/4 models are fitted with a ford 4 cylinder engine and manual gearbox and is still in production. the 4/4, like other Morgan models is made with traditional methods of using a wooden frame made from ash and then covered in an aluminium skin. This means all Morgan's are hand made and no two cars are identical, and can be fully personalised by the first owner. They have proven very popular both here and abroad and currently the waiting list goes into years rather than months. JCB Founded in 1945 by Joseph Cyrill Bamford, JCB was been producing a variety of earth moving, agricultural, construction, waste moving and demolition machinery which is renowned across Europe and other parts of the world, and a most famous for their bright yellow/orange digger and tractor range. JCB also broke the land speed record in their Dieselmax land speed record vehicle which clocked a speed of 350.092mph. Land Rover Series models The series Land Rovers were the first mass produced civilian 4 wheel drive vehicle with doors fitted and started production in 1948 to be a competitor at the successful yet 2 wheel drive Willy's Jeep. There were 3 Series variants built between 1948-1985 and all were available is a short wheelbase, long wheelbase, pickup, convertible and modified variants for different uses such as in cherry pick or recovery vehicle form. The series Land rovers proved an instant success both with farmers and the British military and as such helped Land Rover to build a reputation of building "go anywhere" vehicles. MGA Launched in 1955 the MGA replaced the TF-Midget and became an instant success in America and other export markets selling over 101,000 units. Of those fewer than 6,000 cars were sold to UK buyers making it one of the least sold cars at the time on the UK market. Engines came either as a 1500cc or 1600cc and a twin cam model was available. The MGA also proved to be very competitive in motorsport where it has won multiple regional and National events in the USA and was entered into the 1955 Le Mans race where two cars finished 12th and 17th. AEC Matador/Marshall The Matador was a lorry built by Associated Equipment Company between 1938-1953 and was available as a 4x2 or 4x4 configuration and distinctive due to its flat front, radiator grill and cured roof. A 6 wheeled version was also produced known as the Marshall but its design was the same. In civilian use the Matador proved very successful as a tow truck, in forestry work, construction roles but the Matador is most famous due to its invaluable service during the Second World War where it was used for troop transport, tanker roles, supply transport as well as an artillery tractor. Range Rover Classic The Range Rover was the first executive vehicle from Land Rover and notably the first executive four wheel drive vehicle, which combined Land Rovers off-road capabilities but the luxuries of an executive saloon car. Built between 1969-1996 it became an instant hit in the UK and America and was available either as a 2 door or 4 door with a V8 or later a diesel engine. Jaguar XJS The XJS was designed to be the replacement for the very popular E-Type and available as a coupe or convertible, the latter came much later during production. Designed to be a grand tourer the XJS was built between 1975-1996 with engines ranging from V6 through to V12, the latter being the first true mass produced V12 engine in a production car. Despite not looking as pretty as the E-Type, it certainly is a design that looks better with age. The last role of the dice for the XJS was when Ford owned both Jaguar and Aston Martin, of which Ford used the XJS chassis and bulkhead on the Aston Martin DB7. Rover BRM LE Named after Rovers BRM race car the Rover BRM was based on the Rover 200 3 door family hatchback but featured a British Racing Green paint job, red quilted leather, alloy wheels, sports suspension, alloy gearknob and other alloy interior trim plus an orange grill surround and fitted with Rover's 1.8 K-series engine and reportedly faster, with better handling than the MG ZR which was also a sportier version on the 200 bodyshell. With only 1,145 examples ever built it is now a very rare and future classic. Land Rover Defender The Defender was the successor of the Series 3 Land Rover and was also known as the 90, 110 or 130 dependent on chassis length. Built between 1983-2016 the Defender was able to build on the reputation of the former Series models and proved popular with the British military, farmers and general members of the public who had recognised the Defender as a UK cult vehicle. It has also been described as a classless vehicle as it has the ability to blend in on any street and have been driven from all walks of life. Even the Queen owns one. It could be argued the last iconic Land Rover which has a loyal following. DeLorean DMC-12 The DMC-12 is the only British car to be built in Northern Ireland between 1980-1982 and was devised by John DeLorean who was a former General Motors designer. With a chassis designed by Lotus, a stainless steel body with gullwing doors and a 2.8 V6 petrol engine, on paper the DMC-12 had the makings of a supercar. Unfortunately it wasn't to be due to quality control issues, poor vehicle performance and a drugs scandal surrounding John DeLorean, it left the company in tatters after only 2 years of making cars. The cars biggest claim to fame was in Back to the future when Doc Brown builds a time machine out of a DeLorean. Does it count? This is one I want our readers to decide on and let us know in the comments whether you think the ZS can be considered quintessentially British. MG ZS The MG ZS was based on the Rover 45 which technically was a Honda design with Rover influences which was down to Rover/Hondas partnership in the later 80s/early 90s. The last of the line ZS models were aimed towards younger buyers thanks to its pearlescent paint finishes, large spoilers, side air vents and bodykits which fitted right in with the Maxpower era and ultimately did help boost sales. Along with engines which ranged from the 1.8 K-series engine through to the 2.5 V6 engine found in the bigger Rover 75/MG ZT. Overview I hope you've enjoyed reading this 3 part installment on quintessentially British vehicles as much as I have enjoyed compiling them.
  12. Steve runs through another selection of vehicles which defines Britain. Triumph Dolomite Sprint Launched in 1972 until 1980 the Dolomite Sprint was a performance saloon car designed to be the BMW M3 of its day. Fitted with a 1.8 litre 4 cylinder 127bhp engine and 4 speed gearbox with optional over drive and double wishbone suspension it was a great little machine but fragile. As you'd expect it also had success in racing, winning the Touring Car drivers championship in 1975. It also takes the credit of being having the first multi valve mass produced engine and to the engine credit, a version of it was still being used by Saab up until it went into receivership. Green Goddess - Bedford RLHZ The Green Goddess is a fire engine built by Bedford on their RL platform for the Auxiliary Fire Service after the Second World War between 1953-1956 and were kept in reserve by the Home Office up until 2004. In 1977 and 2002 the Green Goddesses saw action under the command of the Army during the Fire Service strikes. The Green Goddess was finally retired in 2004 when the Fire and Rescue Service Act was passed forcing Fire Services to make their vehicles available for use even when staff are on strike. However, that was not the end of the story as a lot of the Green Goddesses were shipped to Africa for fire Service duties. Rover SD1 The SD1 was an executive car built between 1976-1986 to replace the Rover P6 that featured styling allegedly taken from the Ferrari Daytona and was the last true rover to be built at the Solihull plant. The styling was praised both by the press and public as well as having a good variety of engines in 4 cylinder, 6 cylinder or 3.5 V8 variety meant the SD1 proved popular with fleet customers and police Forces. On one occasion a SD1 carrying a liver from Stanstead airport to Cromwell Hospital in Kensington completed the 27 mile journey across London in 30 minutes. The SD1 was also used successfully in both British Touring Cars and British Rally Championships during the 1980s. Rover 75/MG ZT Another Rover, this time the last large MG/Rover car to be built in the UK The Rover 75 and sportier looking variant the MG ZT were designed by BMW for the executive car sector, and was available with a 4 cylinder, 6 cylinder or Ford Mustang 4.6 V8 and was built between 1999-2005 up to the point MG/Rover went into receivership. Three body styles were offered which included saloon, estate and long wheel base also known as the Vanden Plas which was 200mm longer in the rear passenger compartment. this model proved popular with the British Government and was used by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. A MG ZT-T (estate) managed to break the land speed record for non production estate car reaching a top speed of 225.609mph. AEC Routemaster Just like the FX4 Taxi mentioned on our first quintessentially British vehicles list, another strong symbol of Britain is a red Routemaster double decker bus which were a pioneering design when launched, and a common sight in London from 1956 up to their withdrawal from public service in 2005. such is the Routemasters popularity with the British public is featured in a list of top ten of British design icons along side the Mini and Concorde. Austin Healey The Austin Healey is a sports car built by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) between 1959-1967 across 3 versions and ceasing production when BMC ceased trading. The Healey was available either a 2 seater or 2+2 with the most popular engine of a 3.0 litre. The Healey proved very popular in America with 91% of the Healey models being exported there. it also found success in circuit racing in the UK, Australia and America. Triumph Stag Yet another convertible graces our list but this one is both pioneering yet controversial. The Stag is a 4 seater convertible which was also fitted with a metal hard top giving the impression of a coupe. the car was pioneering for the T top roll over bar design which allegedly saved the convertible car market in the USA which at the time was under threat from being banded due to roll over safety concerns. The Stag was mainly available with a V8 engine to cater for the American market but this was to be the cars biggest drawback. The engines were notorious for overheating and having the cylinder head weld to the block due to excessive heat amongst other issues, but non the less it has developed a cult following in the UK due to its practicality and gorgeous design. Ford Escort Compared to the other vehicles on this list I have collectively included all Ford Escort variants within this list. The Escort was a economy family car built between 1968-2004 over 6 generations and was available as a hatchback, saloon, estate, van and disabled access vehicle. The Escort managed to claim the title of Britain's most popular car away from British Leyland's 1100. Not all models were based on economy car ethics though, as various sporty models were offered such as the RS1600, RS1800, Mexico, RS2000 and RS Cosworth to name but a few. The Escort also proved it self to be a very competitive rally car and the Mk1/Mk2 were the most successful. MGB GT The successor to the MGA the MGB was available as a coupe known as the MGB GT, roadster MGC and performance model known as the MGB V8 and were built between 1968-1980 but did make a comeback by Rover from 1992-1995 as a limited edition roadster V8 known as the RV8. The MGB was pioneering as it was one of the first cars to incorporate crumple safety zones into its design. The MGB was also successful in racing and notably one the 1000 miles guards race at Brand Hatch in 1965. Jensen Interceptor The Interceptor was a grand tourer built by Jenson in Birmingham between 1966-1976 in mk1, 2 and 3 which were available either as a hatchback, coupe or convertible. All Interceptor models were fitted with Chrysler V8 engines mated to a 4 speed manual or 3 speed automatic gearbox and were well equipped for their day, benefitting from electric windows, power steering, radio plus 2 speakers and a wood rimmed steering wheel all as standard with options of air conditioning or anti lock brakes. The latter, made the interceptor the first car in the world to have a form of anti lock braking system (ABS). The interceptor was the first production car to be fitted with a four wheel drive system and traction control. Overview I hope you enjoyed the second installment of our quintessential British vehicles series and don't be disappointed if your favorite didn't make the list as there will be a third and final installment.
  13. Steve takes a look at the first new Corolla model to grace our shores in over a decade. The Toyota Corolla, the world's most popular car. But with over a ten year absence on the UK market can the current model live up to its reputation? Exterior The styling of the new Corolla fits in nicely with the rest of the Toyota lineup including the Prius and the outgoing Auris, with it low nose and raked windscreen and thin LED headghlights make the Corolla appear to have come from a sci-fi program. The rear is quite bulbous thanks to a large rear boot lip but complimented with a large rear spoiler and finished off with alloy wheels. Visibility is very good but much like most modern cars thick C pillars obstruct the drivers view but generally the cabin feels airy. Interior Sliding into the interior, you'll find the seats supportive, especially the drivers seat which has lumbar support as standard. In addition the Corolla has plenty of leg and head space for both front and rear passengers and the boot is a very good size 361 litres but is slightly smaller on the 2.0 litre. the main issue I found with boot was the large bumper lip which would make it more difficult to get bulky items such as pushchairs in the car. As you'd expect from a Toyota the fit and finish of the cabin is superb with soft touch plastics, chunky controls and overall good materials being used. Furthermore, the equipment level is excellent with climate air conditioning, parking sensors, rear camera, 7" infortainment screen with Apple carplay/Android Auto, digital radio which provides a quality sound from the speakers, as well as Bluetooth, satnav all as standard. the dials are also clear to read and nicely laid out. On the road Engaging drive on the CVT gearbox the Corolla pulls away in electric mode which is silent and effortless, when the 1.8 petrol engine kicks in it is very quiet and is supported by low wind noise but road noise is prevalent. The engine on this model is the entry level unit producing 120bhp and a 0-62 time of 10.9 seconds which isn't as powerful or quick as its Ford Focus 1.0 litre 125bhp ecoboost rival but more the suitable for most scenarios. if you do want something more spritely then there is also a 2.0 litre 177bhp hybrid version which will fit the bill. The steering on Corolla is both light and positive making it easy to control and supported by brakes which have a good feel. The suspension is quite soft ironing out most lumps and bumps. The handling is geared more for relaxed driving rather than for exuberant driving. Overview The Corolla offers the traditional Toyota quality and technology with nice styling, however performance and handling falls short of some of its rivals such as the Ford Focus. Where I feel the Corolla will excel is in the fleet sector as hire cars or company cars.
  14. In the final installment Steve takes a look at another 10 British vehicles. Morgan 4/4 The 4/4 has been produced by the Morgan Motor Company since 1936 and the current styling was introduced on the Mk2 in 1955. All 4/4 models are fitted with a ford 4 cylinder engine and manual gearbox and is still in production. the 4/4, like other Morgan models is made with traditional methods of using a wooden frame made from ash and then covered in an aluminium skin. This means all Morgan's are hand made and no two cars are identical, and can be fully personalised by the first owner. They have proven very popular both here and abroad and currently the waiting list goes into years rather than months. JCB Founded in 1945 by Joseph Cyrill Bamford, JCB was been producing a variety of earth moving, agricultural, construction, waste moving and demolition machinery which is renowned across Europe and other parts of the world, and a most famous for their bright yellow/orange digger and tractor range. JCB also broke the land speed record in their Dieselmax land speed record vehicle which clocked a speed of 350.092mph. Land Rover Series models The series Land Rovers were the first mass produced civilian 4 wheel drive vehicle with doors fitted and started production in 1948 to be a competitor at the successful yet 2 wheel drive Willy's Jeep. There were 3 Series variants built between 1948-1985 and all were available is a short wheelbase, long wheelbase, pickup, convertible and modified variants for different uses such as in cherry pick or recovery vehicle form. The series Land rovers proved an instant success both with farmers and the British military and as such helped Land Rover to build a reputation of building "go anywhere" vehicles. MGA Launched in 1955 the MGA replaced the TF-Midget and became an instant success in America and other export markets selling over 101,000 units. Of those fewer than 6,000 cars were sold to UK buyers making it one of the least sold cars at the time on the UK market. Engines came either as a 1500cc or 1600cc and a twin cam model was available. The MGA also proved to be very competitive in motorsport where it has won multiple regional and National events in the USA and was entered into the 1955 Le Mans race where two cars finished 12th and 17th. AEC Matador/Marshall The Matador was a lorry built by Associated Equipment Company between 1938-1953 and was available as a 4x2 or 4x4 configuration and distinctive due to its flat front, radiator grill and cured roof. A 6 wheeled version was also produced known as the Marshall but its design was the same. In civilian use the Matador proved very successful as a tow truck, in forestry work, construction roles but the Matador is most famous due to its invaluable service during the Second World War where it was used for troop transport, tanker roles, supply transport as well as an artillery tractor. Range Rover Classic The Range Rover was the first executive vehicle from Land Rover and notably the first executive four wheel drive vehicle, which combined Land Rovers off-road capabilities but the luxuries of an executive saloon car. Built between 1969-1996 it became an instant hit in the UK and America and was available either as a 2 door or 4 door with a V8 or later a diesel engine. Jaguar XJS The XJS was designed to be the replacement for the very popular E-Type and available as a coupe or convertible, the latter came much later during production. Designed to be a grand tourer the XJS was built between 1975-1996 with engines ranging from V6 through to V12, the latter being the first true mass produced V12 engine in a production car. Despite not looking as pretty as the E-Type, it certainly is a design that looks better with age. The last role of the dice for the XJS was when Ford owned both Jaguar and Aston Martin, of which Ford used the XJS chassis and bulkhead on the Aston Martin DB7. Rover BRM LE Named after Rovers BRM race car the Rover BRM was based on the Rover 200 3 door family hatchback but featured a British Racing Green paint job, red quilted leather, alloy wheels, sports suspension, alloy gearknob and other alloy interior trim plus an orange grill surround and fitted with Rover's 1.8 K-series engine and reportedly faster, with better handling than the MG ZR which was also a sportier version on the 200 bodyshell. With only 1,145 examples ever built it is now a very rare and future classic. Land Rover Defender The Defender was the successor of the Series 3 Land Rover and was also known as the 90, 110 or 130 dependent on chassis length. Built between 1983-2016 the Defender was able to build on the reputation of the former Series models and proved popular with the British military, farmers and general members of the public who had recognised the Defender as a UK cult vehicle. It has also been described as a classless vehicle as it has the ability to blend in on any street and have been driven from all walks of life. Even the Queen owns one. It could be argued the last iconic Land Rover which has a loyal following. DeLorean DMC-12 The DMC-12 is the only British car to be built in Northern Ireland between 1980-1982 and was devised by John DeLorean who was a former General Motors designer. With a chassis designed by Lotus, a stainless steel body with gullwing doors and a 2.8 V6 petrol engine, on paper the DMC-12 had the makings of a supercar. Unfortunately it wasn't to be due to quality control issues, poor vehicle performance and a drugs scandal surrounding John DeLorean, it left the company in tatters after only 2 years of making cars. The cars biggest claim to fame was in Back to the future when Doc Brown builds a time machine out of a DeLorean. Does it count? This is one I want our readers to decide on and let us know in the comments whether you think the ZS can be considered quintessentially British. MG ZS The MG ZS was based on the Rover 45 which technically was a Honda design with Rover influences which was down to Rover/Hondas partnership in the later 80s/early 90s. The last of the line ZS models were aimed towards younger buyers thanks to its pearlescent paint finishes, large spoilers, side air vents and bodykits which fitted right in with the Maxpower era and ultimately did help boost sales. Along with engines which ranged from the 1.8 K-series engine through to the 2.5 V6 engine found in the bigger Rover 75/MG ZT. Overview I hope you've enjoyed reading this 3 part installment on quintessentially British vehicles as much as I have enjoyed compiling them.
  15. Steve runs through a selection of vehicles which defines Britain Mini A true motoring icon, the Mini was designed to be an economy family car by Austin and Rover between 1959-2000. It was fitted with a transverse engine which allowed for 80% of the vehicle space to be used for people and luggage. But also had other innovative features such as rubber cones for the suspension which saved space along with being built as a monocoque which improved handling. The Min came about due to the threat of competition from other manufactures bringing small cars to Britain such as the Fiat 500 and the Bubble car. The Mini managed to win the nations heart, not only by being very successful in rallying, even winning the Monte Carlo Rally but it also appeared in the cult classic film the Italian Job. This cemented our love affair with the Mini. Jaguar E Type Enzo Ferrari described the E Type as the most beautiful care ever made and he wasn't wrong, the body was exquisite craftmanship. it wasn't just a fancy body on rubbish mechanicals either as the E Type was built as a unity construction, V12 petrol engine which could hit 150mph and was actually based on Jaguars successful D Type Le Mans racing cars which had run the race in 1955, 1956 and 1957. Not only did the E type look prettier and out perform its rivals but what sealed the deal for most buyers was that it was cheaper too. When the E type saloon was deputed, there was such a demand for the car Jaguar had a test driver take a convertible version over to Geneva, driving on through the night to make sure it got there the following morning. It naturaly had a very successful production run being built between 1961-1975. Reliant Regal/Robin/Rialto The Reliant brand made some of the worlds most popular 3 wheeled vehicles from the 1940s right through until the year 2000. The Reliant pioneered using fibreglass to make the bodies for their vehicles along with galvanising the chassis which helped provide longevity for their products. Reliant also made their own aluminium engines Their popularity and cult status is in part thanks to a yellow Regal Supervan which featured in the TV series Only Fools and Horses. The Reliant 3 wheelers have a loyal following and friendly/social clubs. Aston Martin DB5 No list of British cars would be complete without including the Aston Martin DB5 which despite selling in limited numbers, came to fame due to its role in the James Bond 007 franchise. Roger Moore could be seen tearing round in the films with a DB5 full of futuristic gadgets such as elector seats, machine guns, smoke sprayer and the ability to drop oil slicks. One of the Bond DB5 cars was later used in the Cannonball Run film with Roger Moore behind the wheel. Due to demand the DB5 is back in production but with a limited production run. Morris Minor The Morris Minor also known as the Moggy Minor was the successor to the Morris 8 and made its depute in 1948 and remained in production until 1972 on which point over 1.6 million had been sold. The Minor was available in 2 door or 4 door saloon as well as convertible, van and as an estate known as the Traveler. Designed to be a family car the Minor was fitted with rack and pinion steering and independent suspension which was modern technology in 1948 and engines were either 1000cc or 1.1cc. the Minor bowed out of production thanks to competition with other British Leyland products such as the Mini and Austin 1100 proving more popular. However the Minor has proved popular with British culture thanks to its popularity and god looks. Bedford Val coach The Bedford Val was a 6 wheeled chassis designed by Bedford and with 4 wheel steering which was quite a novelty at the time. various coach builders built bodies for the chassis including Plaxton, Major Vega, Harrington and Dupel to name a few and were aimed at being an executive coach. They were also sold abroad to some Asian countries as well as Australia and New Zealand. Some of the coaches were used as race transporters most notably the Brabham race team had a Plaxton bodied version. However, the Coaches main claims to fame are in part due to two other British Icons, the Beetles and the film classic the Italian Job. The Beetles used a Plaxton bodied Val on their Magical Mystery Tour and in the Italian job a Harrington Legionaire coach is used as the get away vehicle to transport the 3 Minis. Austin/Carbodies/LTI FX4/Fairway Taxi The FX4/Fairway was built between 1958 and 1997 by Austin, then Carbodies and finally London Taxi International and became a symbol of Britain due to their popularity as Hakney carriages and affectionally known as the black cab. Offered with a variety of diesel engines over its life time the FX4/Fairway was replaced in 1998 with the LTI TX1 which along with its successors has managed to gain as much affection as its FX4 predecessor. Rolls Royce Silver Shadow Is still the best selling Rolls Royce model made between 1965-1980 in two versions the Shadow 1 and shadow 2, on which most found owners of Royalty or celebrities such as Freddie Mercury, Elton John and Keith Moon who famously drove his Silver Shadow into a swimming pool. The Silver Shadow was the first Rolls Royce to use unitary chassis and body construction which offered increased space. the car was powered by a v8 engine, automatic gearbox and hydropneumatics suspension which allowed it to waft down the road. Austin 7 The Austin 7 is truly the first British peoples car built between 1923-1939 and was sold as an economy known and known as the baby Austin and available as a saloon or convertible known as a tourer. It proved very successful both here and abroad and both Japanese car manufacturing and BMW both owe credit to this humble Austin as it was the first BMW car made under licence as well as being made under licence in japan after the Second World War. Also the 7 was used as the basis by Bruce Mclaran and Lotus for their first specials in racing. Overview I hope you've enjoyed looking through this list as much as I did creating it, but don't be disappointed if your favourite classic isn't on it, as there will be a sequel.
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