ADAS car windscreen

‘How to’ guide for recalibrating ADAS replacement windscreens

ADAS car windscreenCars fitted with ADAS Advanced Driver Assistance Systems rely on cameras mounted onto the windscreen – and if you need to replace your screen, you also need to have these safety systems recalibrated or they won’t work correctly, says vehicle safety expert Thatcham.

That’s why it has led a new working group called the ADAS Repair Group, which has just published a new code of practice for those fitting replacement safety windscreens.

  • More advice on Motoring Research

The guide helps technicians identify the various ADAS systems that may be fitted, show how to remove them from the old screen and fit them to the new one, and offer full guidance on how to recalibrate them.

ADAS car windscreen

This, says Thatcham, is a crucial safety measure: as they become more commonplace, customers are becoming increasingly reliant on them – any miscalibration can adversely affect performance and safety.

The guide also includes notes on how to explain this to customers so they have full confidence in a car with a new windscreen. Replacing the windscreen on a car with ADAS? Expect to have all this explained to you by the person doing the job.

Euro NCAP research shows ADAS systems such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) have helped reduce real-world rear-end collisions by 38%. Currently fitted to 6% of vehicles on the road, ADAS may feature in 40% of cars by 2020.

Hence the need to make sure the safety process for fitting new windscreens is robust; cracked screens are an inevitability and it is vital to ensure ultra-safe modern cars don’t become less safe because their advanced safety systems are compromised…

ADAS car windscreen

'How to' guide for recalibrating ADAS replacement windscreens

ADAS car windscreenCars fitted with ADAS Advanced Driver Assistance Systems rely on cameras mounted onto the windscreen – and if you need to replace your screen, you also need to have these safety systems recalibrated or they won’t work correctly, says vehicle safety expert Thatcham.

That’s why it has led a new working group called the ADAS Repair Group, which has just published a new code of practice for those fitting replacement safety windscreens.

  • More advice on Motoring Research

The guide helps technicians identify the various ADAS systems that may be fitted, show how to remove them from the old screen and fit them to the new one, and offer full guidance on how to recalibrate them.

ADAS car windscreen

This, says Thatcham, is a crucial safety measure: as they become more commonplace, customers are becoming increasingly reliant on them – any miscalibration can adversely affect performance and safety.

The guide also includes notes on how to explain this to customers so they have full confidence in a car with a new windscreen. Replacing the windscreen on a car with ADAS? Expect to have all this explained to you by the person doing the job.

Euro NCAP research shows ADAS systems such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) have helped reduce real-world rear-end collisions by 38%. Currently fitted to 6% of vehicles on the road, ADAS may feature in 40% of cars by 2020.

Hence the need to make sure the safety process for fitting new windscreens is robust; cracked screens are an inevitability and it is vital to ensure ultra-safe modern cars don’t become less safe because their advanced safety systems are compromised…

Motorsport fans invited to watch Formula E testing free of charge

Motorsport fans invited to watch Formula E testing free of charge

Motorsport fans invited to watch Formula E testing free of charge

It’s the motorsport series that’s proving controversial – but in a bid to stoke-up some excitement around Formula E, bosses are inviting fans to watch testing at Donington Park for free.

The 10 teams, including newcomers Jaguar and Techeetah, will have six days to prepare their new-look electric race cars ahead of the opening round of the third Formula E season held in Hong Kong on October 9.

Testing of the all-electric racing cars, which feature a new two-tier front wing, will take place from August 23. Members of the public are invited to watch the testing for no cost on August 24 and 25.

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said: “Formula E aims to be different, and this new front wing creates a look that’s different to every other car out there. I think this is a great addition to our car and further emphasises the fact that this is a modern, forward-thinking championship that is taking a completely different approach to all other racing series.”

As well as seeing the new-look cars being tested, fans will be able to meet the drivers, with access to the pitlane and autograph signing sessions during the lunch break.

Wristbands for pitlane access are priced at £5 per person and can be purchased from the Donington Park ticket booths on the day.

Access to the testing is available on a first come, first served basis – with fans asked to register their interest here.

In pictures: Classics on the Common 2016

In pictures: Classics on the Common 2016

In pictures: Classics on the Common 2016

It’s the biggest weekday classic car show in the country, and more than 1,000 classic car owners flock to the Hertfordshire town of Harpenden for Classics on the Common every year. We’ve had a scout around with a camera – here are some of the highlights.

Ford Escort

Ford Escort

We’ll start with one of our stars of the show – an immaculate Mk3 Ford Escort 1.3-litre GL. Although there’s no shortage of supercar exotica at the event, a humble 1980s Escort like this really does stand out. Just us?

Lamborghini Aventador

Lamborghini Huracan

OK, here’s some of that exotica we mentioned. A bright green Lamborghini Aventador, no less. You can’t say there’s not something for all tastes at Classics on the Common.

Vauxhall Senator

Vauxhall Senator

Remember a time when all the top cops drove one of these? The Senator B is a rare beast now – and this one’s the desirable 24v 3.0-litre straight-six.

Triumph 1300

Triumph 1300

It might not stand out, but the Triumph 1300 is quite a significant car – Leyland’s first front-wheel-drive model, in fact. And check out that Vauxhall Cavalier Cabriolet in the background.

Citroen GSA

Citroen GSA

Is there anything more French than a yellow (or is it beige?) Citroen GSA? The GSA replaced the GS, and with it came a five-speed gearbox.

Lancia Thema

Lancia Thema

This might look like a regular Lancia Thema (which itself is a fairly rare thing), but it is in fact an 8.32. With ‘8’ standing for the number of cylinders and ‘32’ for the number of valves, the Thema 8.32 used a 3.0-litre Ferrari V8.

Renault 5 GT Turbo

Renault 5 GT Turbo

When was the last time you saw one Renault 5 GT Turbo – never mind two? Although not as iconic as the legendary Peugeot 205 GTI, it still makes for a desirable 80s hot hatch today.

Morris Minor and MG Midget

Morris Minor and MG Midget

Is there a more British scene than a classic car show featuring a Morris Minor Traveller parked next to an MG Midget?

Austin Metro

Austin Metro

When was the last time you saw an Austin Metro on the roads? This morning, for us, as this one actually belongs to one of us. We drove it to the show.

Click through our gallery on MSN Cars to see more pictures from Classics on the Common

Top 10 used convertibles

Top 10 used convertibles

Top 10 used convertiblesLooking to buy a convertible to enjoy the hot weather this summer? While you might associate roof-down motoring with an old Italian sports car stranded on the side of the M25, topless cars don’t have to be a liability. Warranty company Warranty Direct has analysed its 50,000 policies to reveal which convertibles are least likely to leave you stranded this summer.

The study concentrates on cars aged between three and eight years old. Warranty Direct gives each car a Reliability Index: a figure based on a number of factors, from the amount of times a certain model breaks down to the average cost of repair. The lower the figure, the better it is.

10: BMW 3 SeriesTop 10 used convertibles

So, onto the most reliable convertibles. In 10th place is the BMW 3 Series. While the soft-top BMW is fairly reliable, its heavy repair prices knock its Reliability Index – with the maximum repair cost paid out by the warranty company nudging £6,000.

The survey picks out the E93 3 Series Cabriolet, produced from 2007 to 2013. When new, it was quite advanced, thanks to its retractable hardtop. You can pick up a leggy example from around £6,000 in the classifieds.

9: Audi A3 CabrioletTop 10 used convertibles

The Audi A3 Cabriolet makes for an affordable and practical soft-top on the used market. Its Reliability Index is a relatively low 145 – although the maximum paid out by Warranty Direct was an eye-watering £4,373.

 

Launched in 2008, the earliest A3 Cabriolets are now eight years old – meaning you should buy carefully if reliability is a concern. If you buy wisely, there’s no reason why a tidy example from a private seller for around £7,000 shouldn’t provide lots of pain-free miles.

8: BMW Z4Top 10 used convertibles

A two-seat, rear-wheel-drive roadster with a BMW badge… what’s not to like, as long as you’re not wanting to transport the family? The maximum Warranty Direct’s paid out for a 2009-16 Z4 is a relatively reassuring £2,152.40. It scores 136 on the Reliability Index.

A budget of £10,000 will get you a 2009 model Z4. Hunt out a 3.0-litre if you want the poke to go with the sporty appearance.

7: Audi TTTop 10 used convertibles

The 2006-14 Audi TT Roadster isn’t the most entertaining car to drive, but it looks good and has a pleasant interior. It scores 132 on Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index.

The TT’s desirable image means they hold their money well. You’ll be looking at £7,000 for a high-mileage example from 2007.

6: Volkswagen EosTop 10 used convertibles

VW insisted the Eos was more than just a Golf cabriolet with a fancy folding hard-top when it was launched in 2006. It’s bigger than a Golf, but much of its extra space is taken up by the roof.

 

The Eos scores 126 in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. Alarmingly, the firm paid out £5864.46 for repairs to one example.

5: Volvo C70Top 10 used convertibles

The Volvo C70 isn’t a car for enthusiastic drivers. But for sunny days out with friends and family, it could make for an excellent used buy. Warranty Direct names it the fifth most reliable used convertible.

The second-generation Volvo C70 was launched in 2006, and you can pick one up for less than £3,000. Now that strikes us as an excellent summer choice.

4: Mercedes-Benz SLKTop 10 used convertibles

Stick a private plate on a second-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK, launched in 2004, and no one would believe it’s a 12-year-old design. It’s not often buying a flashy sports car like this can be done with the head as well as the heart.

Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index gives the 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK a score of 92. You can pick one up for less than £5,000 in the classifieds.

3: Peugeot 206 CCTop 10 used convertibles

The Peugeot 206 CC isn’t as desirable as the Mercedes-Benz SLK, but that means it’s ideal for those wanting to enjoy the sun on a budget. You can buy one for less than £500 – and even the tidiest examples are only around £3,000.

We’re a little surprised to see the Peugeot 206 CC ranked so highly by Warranty Direct. It doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations for reliability, and the retractable roof in particular is known for being problematic.

 

2: Vauxhall TigraTop 10 used convertibles

The stylish Vauxhall Tigra proves you don’t need deep pockets to run a convertible. The Corsa-esque interior is a bit disappointing, and the image won’t suit everyone – but the 1.8-litre petrol will be cheap to run.

With an impressive Reliability Index score of 36 and a maximum repair cost of less than £700, the Vauxhall Tigra is a car that should be easy to justify – especially with examples available for less than £1,000.

1: Mazda MX-5Top 10 used convertibles

So we’re onto the car with the title of being the UK’s most reliable convertible – and it’s the ever-popular Mazda MX-5. Yes, people rave about this little car, and they’re everywhere, but for good reason.

Featured here is the third-generation model, launched in 2005, but any MX-5 should prove to be reliable. It scores just 16 in the Reliability Index (remember, the lower the better) and the most Warranty Direct has ever shelled out for repairs is a fraction over £500. Not only are MX-5s reliable, but they’re also brilliant to drive.

Least reliable convertible: Porsche BoxsterTop 10 used convertibles

As a bonus, we thought we’d chuck in the least reliable convertible, according to Warranty Direct. And that’s the 2004 Porsche Boxster – with 42 in 100 suffering problems, costing an average of £731.01 to repair. It scores 310 on the Reliability Index. That Porsche badge comes at a price.

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever..."

Jeremy Clarkson: “I had the worst hangover ever…”

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever..."

A teaser clip for The Grand Tour has been released showing Jeremy Clarkson talking candidly about the time he was a rally co-driver with ‘the worst hangover ever’.

The Grand Tour: what we know so far

In the clip, which shows Clarkson, Hammond and May chatting in a quarry, the ex-Top Gear host describes praying for something to go wrong with the rally car to get him out of the race.

As the flag was lifted, there was an almighty bang and Clarkson diagnosed the problem as a failed driveshaft – something he has ‘no idea’ if true.

The clip is the third in a series of short teasers for the new Amazon Prime show, set to be launched in the UK this autumn.

Other clips show Jeremy Clarkson discussing Richard Hammond’s underwear, and laughing at a seemingly-broken hired Range Rover.

Clarkson is no stranger to controversy, including an incident in 2008 when he was shown drinking a G&T while driving a truck during a polar special.

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever..."

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever…"

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever..."

A teaser clip for The Grand Tour has been released showing Jeremy Clarkson talking candidly about the time he was a rally co-driver with ‘the worst hangover ever’.

The Grand Tour: what we know so far

In the clip, which shows Clarkson, Hammond and May chatting in a quarry, the ex-Top Gear host describes praying for something to go wrong with the rally car to get him out of the race.

As the flag was lifted, there was an almighty bang and Clarkson diagnosed the problem as a failed driveshaft – something he has ‘no idea’ if true.

The clip is the third in a series of short teasers for the new Amazon Prime show, set to be launched in the UK this autumn.

Other clips show Jeremy Clarkson discussing Richard Hammond’s underwear, and laughing at a seemingly-broken hired Range Rover.

Clarkson is no stranger to controversy, including an incident in 2008 when he was shown drinking a G&T while driving a truck during a polar special.

Buying a used car tips

What to look for when buying a used car

Buying a used car tips

You’ve fallen in love with a used car, so all that’s left is for you to hand over your hard-earned cash and drive away into the sunset. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Sadly, before you get too carried away, there are a few important things to check. Take note of our advice and you could save yourself a few sleepless nights, not to mention a few difficult conversations with your bank manager.

Documents

V5C registration certificate

Even before you look at the car, it’s important to make sure all the supporting documents stack up. The V5C registration document registers the vehicle with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and contains all the essential information about the car.

You must ensure the V5C is genuine (check the ‘DVL’ watermark), whilst checking to see if it has been tampered with in any way. Make sure you view the car at the address listed as the registered keeper and that the engine and VIN numbers match those on the vehicle.

While you’re at it, check the most recent MOT certificate, as well as any service history that will not only verify the mileage, but also provide evidence that the car has been looked after.

The gov.uk website includes a handy tool that allows you to check basic information about the used car you are intending to buy. Go to the website, key in the vehicle’s registration number and make, and you’ll be presented with useful info, such as date of registration, MOT expiry date, colour, engine size, year of manufacture, CO2 emissions and current vehicle tax rate.

You can also find a brilliant MOT history tool, supplying details of all MOT tests stretching back to 2006. This is useful for identifying work that has been done, along with any advisories from the most recent MOT.

If in doubt, walk away. Unless you’re viewing something super-rare, like a Sao Penza or SEAT Malaga, there are plenty more used cars to choose from. Don’t make an expensive mistake.

Visual check

Examining_a_car_park-scratch

Assuming the car has passed its pre-flight checks, it’s now time for a visual inspection. Ensure you view the car in daylight and start with the basics: scratches, dents, mismatched colours and uneven panel gaps are things to look out for.

It’s not essential to walk away from a car with light scratches or dents, especially if it has a few miles on the clock. Either use them as bargaining tools, or ask the seller to put them right before you agree a deal.

Uneven panel gaps and mismatched colours are more concerning. Ask the seller why the car has been painted and when. A front wing may have been replaced following a low-speed run-in with a shopping trolley, but it might be evidence of a serious accident.

Also, be on your guard if the car looks too good to be true. A vehicle with 80,000 miles on the clock and no stone chips on the front is unlikely, so find out if the car has been resprayed.

A few stone chips and signs of light use are nothing to be afraid of – they actually deliver some reassurance of the car’s authenticity. Similarly, original dealer number plates, window stickers and glass are signs that the car hasn’t been involved in an accident.

Finally, while you’re circling the outside of the car, check for signs of rust. Today’s cars offer far greater protection against corrosion than vehicles of old, but even a relatively new car might be suffering from tin worm. Do your homework: research the car’s known trouble spots.

More thorough checks

Tyre inspection

Having given the car a cosmetic check, it’s now time to dig a little a deeper. Start with the tyres – do they have sufficient tread? If not, you’ll need to factor in the cost of replacement. Alternatively, use the tyres as a bargaining tool.

Ensure the wear is even right across the width of the tyre. If it’s not, it could be a tell-tale sign of problems with the suspension, or worse, historical accident damage. Note: a set of premium-brand tyres could suggest the car has been cherished by its current owner.

While you’re outside, make sure all the lights work. Changing a bulb might seem trivial, but a short list of issues can soon turn into something quite lengthy. Oh, and look under the car for signs of leaks, which could be costly to repair.

On the inside

Car interior inspection

Moving to the inside, the first thing to check is that the condition of the cabin tallies with the mileage. You wouldn’t expect to find a worn-out seat bolster, smooth steering wheel and tired pedal rubbers on a low-mileage car.

In the past, a ‘clocked’ car was relatively easy to spot, thanks to a misaligned milometer, but today’s digital displays can be changed using a laptop. Check the service history and pay for an HPI check to ensure the mileage is genuine. This will also alert you to any outstanding finance and previous accident damage.

While you’re inside, check everything works. Do the seats recline as they should? Does the air conditioning blow hot and cold? Does the radio work? Do the electric windows wind down and up again? All simple checks that could save you time and money in the long run.

Be on the lookout for nasty stains, which might be difficult to remove. Similarly, the smells of cigarettes and wet dogs are notoriously hard to remove, so factor unpleasant whiffs into your cabin check.

Under the bonnet

Ford Mustang under bonnet

Before you start the engine, open the bonnet for a visual inspection. Is the oil level correct? Too low is a sign of neglect, whilst too much could be a sign that the engine is using lots of oil, with the seller over-compensating to allow for the issue.

Remove the oil filler cap and inspect the underside. A mayonnaise-type sludge could indicate a lack of use or a series of short trips. Worse, it could suggest the head gasket is on the way out. That’s a big concern.

The coolant should be the colour of antifreeze – if it’s rust-coloured, that’s a sure sign of neglect.

Starting the engine

Exhaust

Before you drive away, there are some visual checks to do when starting the engine. Turn the key to illuminate the dashboard lights. The warning lights should come on before you start the engine, before going out once the engine is ticking over. If they don’t, you could have a problem.

Have somebody with you to check for smoke from the exhaust. Some white vapour is perfectly normal when the engine is cold, but blue smoke could mean the engine is burning oil.

A diesel car will emit a puff of faint blue smoke on start up, but black smoke generally means there’s a serious fault with the engine. If in doubt, walk away. Also listen out for unwelcome noises or rattles that could indicate a costly repair job.

The test drive

Test driving

Only now, after the car has passed all the previous examinations, should you take it for a test drive. Give yourself plenty of time on a mixture of different roads, making sure you use every gear, including reverse.

Does the car accelerate smoothly? Does it pull to one side under braking? Is the clutch biting point too high? Does the handbrake work? Does the car steer in the correct manner?

If nothing else, you could be living with the car for many years to come, so make sure you enjoy the experience. Faults are one thing, but ensuring you actually like the car is another consideration.

Other checks

Buying a used car

There are also a number of specific checks that will vary depending on the car. Find out when a cambelt needs to be changed, as this is an expensive job. Similarly, ask a dealer about service schedules – if the car is due a major service, it could be on the brink of a costly bill.

Other considerations, especially if you’re looking at an older car, include: diesel particulate filters (DPF) – bank on upwards of £1,000 if you need to replace one; catalytic converters – check the most recent emissions test; and ABS – does the light go out once the engine has been started?

You should also ask for the spare set of keys, as replacements can be expensive. In short, you should draw up a shortlist of everything that’s required if you decide to take the plunge.

Add up the total cost and then decide whether or not it’s worth proceeding with the purchase. There are plenty more cars in the classifieds.

Lots-of-cars

It’s often said that you ‘buy the seller’, as much as you buy the car. In other words: if you get a good feeling about the seller, that’s a positive start. Are they keen to answer questions? Do they speak with knowledge and enthusiasm when describing the car? Go with your gut feeling.

Also, beware of a car that’s been over-prepared for sale. Don’t be swayed by a layer of tyre polish, bumper black and some interior air-freshener. It’s always better to view car warts-and-all. Finally, remember, if the deal seems too good to be true, it most probably is.

Bristol Bullet

New Bristol Bullet supercar revealed

Bristol Bullet

Bristol is back! The Bullet is the first car from the British marque for 10 years. And this V8-engined roadster marks 70 years since the birth of Bristol Cars in 1947. Only 70 will be made, at a price of ‘less than £250,000’.

Return of the tailfinBristol Bullet

Designed in Britain, with help from an unnamed ‘Italian styling house’, the Bullet bears more than a passing resemblance to the iconic AC Cobra. Bristol’s traditional tailfins make an appearance at the rear, along with speedster-style humps behind the seats.

Muscle from MunichBristol Bullet

The Bullet’s heart is a 375 hp 4.8-litre BMW V8. In a car weighing just 1,250 kg, it provides 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. As our brief ride in the Bullet proved, it also sounds like a TVR that’s had elocution lessons. Fantastic.

Carbon fibre compositesBristol Bullet

Bristols were traditionally made from aluminium, but the Bullet is carbon fibre composite. This provides high strength and low weight – and the panel gaps and paint finish on this ‘near production’ prototype look excellent. No visible carbon fibre weave here…

Hand-crafted cabinBristol Bullet

The interior of the Bullet mixes traditional materials with up-to-date technology. Bristol describes it as ‘perfectly suited to the modern age’. Apart from, er… the complete absence of a roof. We’ll come to that shortly.

Luxurious leatherBristol Bullet

The seats are trimmed in soft British-sourced leather and are said to be ‘contoured for support and comfort over long distances’. The car’s suspension has also been tuned for road-biased comfort, rather than ultimate track-day agility.

Space for a caseBristol Bullet

In keeping with its ‘grand touring’ premise, the Bullet has a leather-lined boot big enough for a couple of small suitcases. Note the beautifully-scripted Bristol badge.

LED lightsBristol Bullet

No premium car is complete without an LED light signature, and the Bristol doesn’t disappoint. But why not a single spotlamp in the middle of the grille – in trad Bristol style?

Slippery when wetBristol Bullet

As noted previously, the Bullet is somewhat lacking in rain protection. There isn’t even a tonneau cover for when the car is parked. This half-height windscreen is optional, too. Owners can have no ’screen at all if they prefer.

Connected classicBristol Bullet

An eight-inch touchscreen controls ‘infotainment’ functions, with smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth or wi-fi. It can mirror your phone screen for instant familiarity, and even has a button to contact the Bristol showroom in Kensington, London.

Delicate detailsBristol Bullet

Some of the detailing on the Bullet is exquisite, such as these flush-fitting door handles that pop out from the bodywork when the button is pressed.

Birthday presentBristol Bullet

Bristol started life building buses in 1908, then moved on to aircraft engines and finally – in 1947 – cars. The first Bullets should reach customers in January 2017, marking 70 years since the original Bristol 400 left the factory.

On sale nowBristol Bullet

However, you can place your order now. We were quoted a price of ‘less than £250,000’, although the final figure depends on personalisation options – such as custom paintwork or interior trim. If you can afford it, the factory in Chichester will tailor the Bullet to your individual taste.

Bullet timeBristol Bullet

We attended the UK unveiling of the Bristol Bullet at Coworth Park, near Ascot. The car was displayed alongside several of the high-points from Bristol’s history – including one of the first 400s.

Production-ready prototypeBristol Bullet

This isn’t quite the finished article, but it’s not far off. Bristol is still fine-tuning some details to meet production regulations. Thankfully, despite ominous grey clouds overhead, the rain steered clear of Bristol’s priceless prototype.

Won’t get fuelled againBristol Bullet

That prominent fuel filler is one of the details that will be changed. In production cars, it will sit flush with the bodywork. Thankfully, the voluptuous curves and twin exhausts are staying.

Traditional meets modernBristol Bullet

Here’s another glimpse of the Bristol’s rather inviting interior. Note the exposed carbon fibre on the dashboard. ‘Classic wood’ is also an option.

Pap starBristol Bullet

The Bullet was swarmed all over by the UK press, before being shipped off to London’s famous Dorchester hotel for a formal premiere. Today, the car really is the star.

Ready to rumbleBristol Bullet

We had a very brief passenger ride in the Bullet around the Coworth Park estate. The engine’s ample torque was obvious – along with its great soundtrack. The ride felt well-damped over various speed humps.

Bristol 400Bristol 400

Here’s the car that started it all: the Bristol 400. It’s essentially a licence-built BMW 328, hence the oddly familiar kidney grille.

Bristol 400Bristol 400

The link between Bristol and BMW persists to this day, as evidenced by the Bavarian V8 in the new Bullet. The 400 was no slouch, though – it’s engine actually came from the racing version of the 328.

Bristol 400Bristol 400

The dials in the the 400 are scattered – seemingly at random – across the dashboard. Later Bristols would take their cues from the company’s aircraft heritage, with a more structured and ergonomic ‘cockpit’.

Bristol 404Bristol 404

Built between 1953 and 1955, the 404 was known as the ‘Gentleman’s Express’. This stylish two-door coupe was impressively aerodynamic for its day – again, influenced by aircraft design.

Bristol 404Bristol 404

The 404 was powered by a free-revving 2.0-litre Bristol engine. It’s a beguiling, and uniquely British, alternative to Italian grand tourers of the day. Spot the tailfins, also seen on the new Bullet.

Bristol 404Bristol 404

The 404’s dashboard is much closer to what you’d find in a modern car, with clear, white-on-black dials. And the classic wood-and-leather combo never goes out of fashion.

Bristol 405 Drophead CoupeBristol 405 Drophead Coupe

Wow. This soft-top 405 really is something special. One of just 43 built, its sleek bodywork was designed by Abbotts of Farnham and looks resplendent in deep blue.

Bristol 405 Drophead CoupeBristol 405 Drophead Coupe

The 405 was first launched as a saloon, which remains the only four-door Bristol ever made. The Drophead boasted an extra 21 hp from its 2.0-litre, six-cylinder engine – bringing its grand total to 126 hp.

Bristol 405 Drophead CoupeBristol 405 Drophead Coupe

How inviting does that soft red leather look? The 405’s thin-rimmed steering wheel is still rather bus-like, but its short gear lever offers snappy shifting. Front disc brakes were an option.

Bristol BulletBristol Bullet

Lastly, here is the car that inspired the new Bullet. This one-off Speedster was discovered under covers in a dusty corner of the Bristol factory. Details of its past are sketchy, but the ‘Bullet’ nickname has stuck.

Bristol BulletBristol Bullet

Looking at the original Bullet, it’s easy to see where the new car got its looks. It’s simple, sleek and utterly gorgeous.

Bristol BulletBristol Bullet

The Bullet might look like a racing car, but its well-appointed interior suggests otherwise. Like the modern car, the half-height windscreen wraps around into the front half of the doors. Good luck getting a replacement from Autoglass for that one.

Best of BritishBristol Bullet

The 2017 Bullet is a confident return for a once-great British brand. We’re not totally sold on the styling, but quality seems very good – and the driving experience promises much. Motoring Research will be getting behind the wheel later this year, so stay tuned for more Bristol news soon.

Unleaded and diesel pump nozzles

Be fair and cut prices NOW, RAC tells fuel retailers

Unleaded and diesel pump nozzlesUK fuel prices should immediately be cut by 3p per litre and if fuel retailers were playing fair they would have chopped prices already, says the RAC.

Pump prices are currently hovering around 11p per litre for diesel and petrol, but RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams believes they should be around 109 per litre, with the most competitive filling stations selling unleaded and diesel for around 106p per litre.

Some motorway services are charging a shocking 127p per litre, he points out, despite the price of oil dropping to its lowest level since the start of May.

FairFuelUK has already this week accused British fuel retailers of “opportunistic and abhorrent” profiteering by not passing on savings, and now the RAC is adding weight to the call for prices to fall.

Staycation surprise

“We would hope that retailers are not taking advantage of public perceptions that fuel prices would rise following the Brexit vote last month,” said Williams.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, he added: “Retailers have a reasonable recent record of passing cost savings on, and we would like to think this is a blip rather than a new norm.

“With millions of families currently away on holiday or soon to leave, combined with a boom in staycations this year, a cut now would be widely welcomed and would give motorists confidence that retailers are not keeping prices artificially high.”

RAC Fuel Watch data shows the oil price is the biggest factor determining UK fuel prices after fuel duty.

UK fuel prices have risen since winter 2015 when unleaded hit a low of 101.27p per litre, tantalisingly close to dipping below the £1 per litre mark.

Pump prices have risen since then but now the world oil price is dipping, it’s time for fuel retailers to play fair, pleads the RAC.