Star-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Star-spangled, no bangers: 25 important American cars

Star-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American carsAlthough America may not have invented the car, nevertheless the country embraced it as if it had. We’ve picked 25 cars that celebrate what the United States has proudly contributed to the world of motoring.

More American cars on Motoring Research:

1908 Ford Model TStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Produced for 19 years, and with 15 million examples built, the Ford Model T still remains one of the best-selling cars of all time. It also represents one of the few cars that became cheaper as time passed, dropping from $825 in 1909 to just $260 in 1925.

What made the Model T significant, and cheap, was Henry Ford’s adoption and refinement of the modern assembly line. Efficiency savings meant the time needed to build a Model T reduced from some 12.5 hours, to just 90 minutes. Passing on the savings to customers opened up the potential for car ownership to become an affordable reality.

1932 Ford three-window coupeStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Ask any hot rodder which is one of the most sought after cars to customise, and the 1932 Ford will be guaranteed to be top of the list. In particular, the clean lines of the rarer three-window coupe are the most desirable – note that the front windscreen isn’t included in the window count.

The Beach Boys song and album ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ was named after the three-window Ford, whilst it also made an appearance in the iconic street racing movie ‘American Graffiti’. Despite a short production period, the 1932 Ford models made a big contribution to car culture.

1941 Willys MB ‘Jeep’Star-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

For those who don’t care too much about cars, the word ‘Jeep’ is virtually synonymous for any kind of four-wheel drive off-road vehicle. Although the US Army had developed 4WD vehicles before, the MB was born from the urgent demand created by World War II for large numbers of lightweight utility vehicles.

Although produced by both Ford and Willys during wartime, after the conflict Willys retained rights to the Jeep name. This allowed them to produce civilian models, and create a brand that still endures today, despite several changes in ownership.

1953 Chevrolet C1 CorvetteStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Intended to compete against sports cars like the Nash Healey, the original Chevrolet Corvette was rushed to production just six months after being shown to the world in 1953. Although fibreglass bodies had been used previously for limited production, the C1 Corvette marked the first time the material was put into mass manufacturing.

The first Corvettes were low on power – with just 150hp from a straight-six engine – and suffered from poor build quality. Yet 65 years later the model still endures, and represents a slice of the American dream.

1955 Ford ThunderbirdStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Whilst it entered the market at a similar time to the Corvette, and looked similar, Ford was careful to market the Thunderbird in a different direction. In doing so, Ford created the uniquely American ‘personal luxury car’ segment. This meant an emphasis on comfort and convenience, powerful V8 engines, and high levels of standard equipment.

The Thunderbird would grow ever larger and more gauche over time, culminating in the wallowing land yachts of the 1970s. However, the original Thunderbird of 1955 at least showed the simplicity of a two-seater convertible body, with a 292-cubic inch (4.8-litre) V8 engine.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado BroughamStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Self-levelling air suspension is still today mainly the preserve of luxury cars, but this is a tradition which Cadillac started all the way back in 1957. The Eldorado Brougham featured a complex air system, intended to give a smooth and comforting ride, although it proved to be untrustworthy.

Air ride was just one standard feature on this high-end personal luxury car. Cruise control, air conditioning, electric door locks, automatically dimming headlights, and electric windows were also part of the package. This pushed the price tag to more than that of a contemporary Rolls-Royce.

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 SkylinerStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Think the idea of a retracting hardtop roof was something invented by Mercedes-Benz in the late 1990s? Think again – Ford had been doing it some four decades earlier with the Fairlane 500 Skyliner, marking one of the first mass-produced car to feature a folding metal roof.

Requiring seven electric motors, six locking mechanisms, and almost 200 metres of wiring, the Skyliner was a complex piece of engineering. It also took over much of the luggage space in the trunk, and added additional weight and cost.

1960 Ford Country SquireStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

To understand the path to the modern crossover SUV, you need to look back at the American family station wagon of the 1950s and ‘60s. A full-size wagon like the Country Squire featured acres of – fake – woodgrain trim, lots of luggage space and seating for up to eight passengers.

The Country Squire managed to cling on to production from 1950 to 1991, and became a key piece of suburban America. Whilst the association with staid middle class life damaged the Country Squire’s image at the time, today it has developed a cult following.

1961 Lincoln ContinentalStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Designed to save the Lincoln division money, the fourth-generation was based around a single four-door design offered in sedan, hardtop and convertible forms. It was also considerably smaller than its predecessors, even if it still managed to weigh more.

What makes the 1961 Continental significant, and undeniably cool, was the use of rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors. Intended to make access to the rear seats easier, they also gave the Continental a unique profile. Notably, a ’61 Continental was the basis for the SS-100-X Presidential State car, used by President John F. Kennedy on his fateful 1963 trip to Dallas.

1962 Oldsmobile F-85 Turbo JetfireStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

The 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo is often seen as the first turbocharged production car, but General Motors took that triumph over a decade earlier. For a country obsessed with naturally aspirated V8 engines, the Jetfire version of the pretty Oldsmobile F-85 must have been something of a shock.

Producing 215hp and 301lb-ft of torque, the 215-cubic inch (3.52-litre) turbo V8 also featured water and methanol injection. Performance was on par with engines twice the size, but this was new technology and buyers were understandably cautious. Less than 4,000 Jetfires would be sold, and GM would shelve turbo petrol engines for another decade.

1964 Pontiac GTOStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Defining the original American ‘muscle car’ is harder than you might think. Some argue that the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 deserves the prize, whilst others cite the 300hp Chrysler 300-C. However, the 1964 Pontiac GTO embraced both the mechanical definition of having a large V8 engine in a two-door body, but also the ideas of low price and desirability.

With a 389-cubic inch (6.4-litre) V8 producing 325hp, the GTO also came with a standard three-speed manual transmission and stiffer suspension. In common with muscle cars to follow multiple options were offered, including a Tri-Power carburettor boosting power to nearly 350hp. This would set the benchmark for other manufacturers to follow.

1966 Ford GT40 Mk2Star-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Winning the Le Mans 24 Hours outright is a major achievement. Doing so to spite another manufacturer is even more impressive, but that’s exactly what Ford achieved with the GT40. Born from Henry Ford II’s frustration at Enzo Ferrari reneging on an agreement to sell him the Ferrari company, the GT40 would take victory at Le Mans four times.

After an initial troubled development, it was the Mk2 GT40 version with a 427-cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8 engine – and the help of Carroll Shelby – that would take Le Mans victory in 1966. Three more wins would follow, along with creating the lineage for the current Ford GT supercar.

1966 Jeep Super WagoneerStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Forget the Range Rover – this was the first premium SUV. Built by the Kaiser Jeep Corporation between 1966 and 1969, the Super version intended to bring even more luxury and comfort to the existing Wagoneer 4×4.

That meant a more powerful 327-cubic inch (5.4-litre) Vigilante V8 engine with 270hp, air conditioning, a push-button radio, tinted windows, and a power-assisted tailgate. With only around 1,500 produced, today Super Wagoneers are highly prized by Jeep collectors.

1969 Dodge Charger DaytonaStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

NASCAR in the late 1960s was ultra competitive, with manufacturers looking to exploit loopholes in the rules to gain an advantage. This gave rise to the Aero Cars, which used limited homologation requirements to build cars optimised for high speed on the superspeedway circuits.

With a giant 23-inch tall rear wing, extended nose cone, and vents above the front wheels the Charger Daytona was the first NASCAR to break the 200mph barrier on track. Today, of the 503 homologation cars sold for road use, the versions fitted with the 426-cubic inch (7.0-litre) Hemi V8 with 425hp are the most collectible.

1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘CudaStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Size matters in America, and even more so in the muscle car wars of the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Whilst the 440-cubic inch (7.2-litre) Hemi V8 offered in the Plymouth ‘Cuda might not have been the most powerful, it was one of the biggest. It’s also fair to say that 390hp and 490lb-ft of torque were still more than sufficient, too.

The 1971 ‘Cuda represented the peak of the muscle car era, with paint options like Lime Light green, Vitamin C orange, and Moulin Rouge pink epitomising the outrageousness of it all. Emissions standards would result in less power the following year, and the ‘Cuda would be gone by 1974.

1974 Buick Electra 225Star-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Not only was the Buick Electra one of the biggest American land yachts ever created, stretching the tape measure to some 231.5-inches (5.8-metres) in length, it also contained safety features commonplace today. Much like with turbocharging, General Motors experimented with airbag technology several years before it was introduced in Europe.

The Air Cushion Restraint System was offered across Buick, Cadillac, and Oldsmobile models in 1974, protecting both driver and passenger in the event of an impact. This was combined with lap seat belts, as GM believed the airbag system would replace the need for full three-point belts.

1980 Ford F-150Star-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Admittedly the history of the Ford F-Series of pickup truck stretches all the way back to 1948, but the seventh-generation truck introduced in 1980 is especially significant. A year later in 1981, the F-150 would become the single best-selling vehicle in the United States, and maintain that position for every year since.

In 2016 Ford sold over 820,000 F-150s, representing a 5.2% increase from the previous year, and adding to the total of over 35 million sold since the range was first introduced. Contrast that to the 21.5 million Volkswagen Beetles sold, and that’s the reason the Ford pickup truck seems so common in the USA.

1981 DeLorean DMC-12Star-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

History has not always viewed the DeLorean DMC-12 kindly, tarnished by the bankruptcy and drug trafficking charges brought against company founder John DeLorean. That it was powered by a 2.85-litre V6 with a modest 130hp certainly did help win approval either.

Now the DMC-12 has a legendary status, thanks to featuring as the ‘time machine’ in the Back to the Future movie franchise. There is more to it than just film prop though, with stainless steel body panels and gull-wing doors making it extraordinary. John DeLorean was also ahead of the time in trying to appeal to the super-rich, with a gold-plated limited edition.

1984 Dodge CaravanStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Beating the Renault Espace to production by a matter of months, the Dodge Caravan (and related Chrysler brethren) became the first MPV on sale. Ruthlessly killing off the station wagon overnight, the minivan did at least hold on to that fake woodgrain trim.

Families loved the sliding rear door, the potential for three rows of seating, and the low cost from being built on a front-wheel-drive platform. The Chrysler Corporation sold over 200,000 minivans in 1984, and was selling more than 600,000 per annum by the late 1990s. Then came the crossover SUV; making the minivan instantly uncool, just as it had done to the station wagon.

1996 Dodge Viper GTSStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Being both achingly beautiful, and terrifyingly fast, would warrant the inclusion of the Dodge Viper here on merit alone. However, having one of the largest engines ever offered in a production car helps guarantee it making the cut.

With ten-cylinders displacing 8.0-litres, the Viper GTS was even more powerful than the RT/10 roadster introduced before it, making 450hp and 490lb-ft of torque. Later Vipers would have even more displacement and power, but the original GTS is just too pretty to ignore.

2002 Hummer H1Star-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Initially offered to the public after its success in Operation Desert Storm, the Hummer really was just a military vehicle with the faintest trimmings of civility. General Motors bought the brand name in 1999, and continued to market the original H1 alongside smaller SUV variants.

With a huge turbo diesel V8 engine, wide track suspension, and the ability to ford 30 inches (56 cm) of water the H1 was able to take on anything. But only a few people needed such capability at the best of times, and the economic rationale for improving the H1 to meet new emissions regulations meant GM abandoned it in 2006.

2006 Ford Crown VictoriaStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Imagine any typical American cop car or taxicab, and the Ford Crown Victoria is likely to be the image that appears in your head. Using the Panther platform body-on-frame construction gave the Crown Victoria dependability, and ease of repair should it be involved in a collision.

These qualities were desired by fleet operators, and saw almost 10 million Panther platform cars produced between 1979 and 2011. Ultimately the market for big, thirsty, rear-wheel drive sedans diminished, but the Crown Vic still remains an icon of car chases and movies.

2008 Tesla RoadsterStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Tesla and Elon Musk might not have invented the electric car, but with the pioneering use of lithium-ion batteries EVs became both practical and desirable. The Tesla Roadster is the genesis for current Model S and Model X, along with the forthcoming Model 3.

Adding an 185kW (248hp) electric motor to a chassis derived from a Lotus Elise resulted in 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds, and a top speed of 125mph, silencing those who criticised EVs for being slow. A theoretical range of over 240 miles on a single charge was the nail in the coffin for the haters.

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 MustangStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

Having been in production since 1964, picking a Mustang that exemplifies it the best is not easy. The Boss 429, the ’67 Shelby GT500, and even the newest GT350R all have considerable merit. Choosing which not to include is simpler, with the debatable second and third-generation cars best left alone.

Ford rediscovered Mustang greatness with the fifth-generation, and the 2013 Shelby GT500 marked a milestone with a top speed in excess of 200mph. It is still the fastest street Mustang, and the fastest muscle car ever built to date. Easily done with a 5.8-litre supercharged V8 engine producing 662hp and 631lb-ft of torque.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT DemonStar-spangled, no bangers – 25 important American cars

World’s fastest production car 0-60mph (2.3 seconds), world’s fastest quarter-mile production car (9.65 seconds), most powerful production V8 engine (840hp), first production car with the front-passenger seat deleted… Yes, the Challenger SRT Demon has set quite a lot of world firsts.

Being little more than a road-legal dragster, the SRT Demon encapsulates the craziness of a place where a Guinness World Record for the first front-wheel lift in a production car is a thing. As incredible as it is ridiculous, the SRT Demon is testimony to the American car industry catering to the most extreme of customer needs.

Barn-find cars on show in Birmingham

Barn-find cars on show in BirminghamThe barn-find display at the Classic Car & Restoration Show is as far removed from a concours d’elegance as you’re ever likely to get, but that doesn’t make it any less appealing. Indeed, there’s something bewitching about an old car emerging from its slumber, blinking its eyes as it sees daylight for the first time in years.

OK, so the term ‘barn-find’ has been massively diluted, with everything from a car stored on a front lawn to a vehicle left in the garage for a few years listed under the same umbrella. But we challenge you not to find something of interest in what the organisers are calling the “UK’s biggest collection of barn-finds”. We have photos of all 25, which you can see in the metal – or what’s left of it – at Birmingham’s NEC from 31 March to 2 April 2017.

Audi QuattroBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

There’s a good chance that all of the cars featured at the NEC will be restored to their former glory. Take this 1987 Audi Quattro, which must be the star attraction of the entire display. It belongs to serial Quattro owner Andy Bates, who discovered it sitting outside in Burton upon Trent.

“I had known about the car since 2011 but it took me until 2015 for its owner to sell it to me,” said Andy. “It had been standing outside for about eight years and the bodywork was much as you see it now; the wings, roof and sills were all in need of attention. However, the Audi was still drivable and the ‘talking dashboard’ still spoke to me!”

Ford Capri 2.0SBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

The Mk2 Capri was introduced in 1974 and ushered in a more practical body, complete with hatchback tailgate. In truth, the Mk2 never captured the imagination quite like the Mk1, and production figures tailed off year-by-year, until the introduction of the Mk3 in 1978.

The Capri S was unveiled at the 1975 Geneva Motor Show and was codenamed ‘Midnight’ after its black bodywork. Thanks to its gold stripes, the black Ford Capri S soon became known as the ‘JPS’, an unofficial name reflecting the Lotus F1 cars of the time.

Austin Metro LBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

We checked the MOT history of this 1986 Austin Metro L to discover that it has covered a mere 13,779 miles during its three decades on planet Earth. Indeed, it has only travelled 250 miles since 2006.

Does the fact that it has visited an MOT station every year for the past decade render the ‘barn-find’ tag null and void? Answers on a postcard.

Rolls-Royce Silver ShadowBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

This Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was built in 1975, registered in 1979 and last taxed in 1984. If the moss and grime is anything to go by, this sleeping beauty will need more than some light recommissioning before the 6.75-litre V8 engine roars into life.

Beneath the layer of vegetation you’ll find silver paintwork, while the cabin is filled with wood and grey leather. It sold at a Sheffield auction in February 2017. We’d love to know its backstory.

Mini 850 Super DeluxeBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

We’re reliably informed that Tom Larkin’s Mini is an 850 Super Deluxe. This trim level was formed when Super and Deluxe models merged to create something even more… well, super and deluxe. In its day, this was the flagship model of the standard Mini range, with a hint of the iconic Cooper.

It’ll be a while before Tom’s Mini is either super or deluxe, but we’re looking forward to seeing the results.

Porsche 924Barn-find cars on show in Birmingham

The two-tone beige and brown bodywork gives this Porsche 924 the air of a Toffifee caramel cup. Both were big hits in the 1980s and both were exported from Germany.

But that’s where the similarities end, because you can’t wander down to your local supermarket to buy a Porsche 924. This 1982 example was last taxed in 2000.

BMW 728iBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

One of two cars on display belonging to John Ducker, this BMW 728i spent over a decade sat outside, exposed to the elements. “I had previously owned two 7-Series and thought that in their day they had a better ride than a Silver Shadow,” said John.

“My BMW is a very unusual manual gearbox model and the clutch is on the floor, so although the engine sounds sweet is cannot be run. For a car that was kept outside for so long, the body is comparatively free of rot, but the front passenger seat has deteriorated,” continued John.

Jensen FFBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

The Jensen FF on display at the NEC was purchased from a dealer in 1995 and remained in the same ownership for 22 years, although a long-term illness meant that the owner was unable to drive it. It remained in a workshop for many years, until the owner passed away and the FF was purchased by Andrew March.

Andrew intends to restore the Jensen to its former glory. The artwork seen here centres on William Boyd’s Solo novel of 2013, which featured a Jensen FF in its publicity campaign.

Volkswagen Golf GTIBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

What a find! A good Mk1 Golf GTIs could be worth anywhere between £10,000 and £20,000, which means a ‘barn-find’ example will be in demand.

What you can’t see is the interior, which is covered in a thick layer of mould. You might need to dress up like Walter White in a meth lab before tackling this job.

Isuzu Piazza TurboBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

Got your eye on something tasty on eBay? Put a cheeky bid on it – you never know, you might be lucky. That’s exactly what happened when John Ducker made a low bid for one of the few surviving Isuzu Piazza Turbos. The next morning he discovered he was was the new owner, and although it required some welding, Ducker describes the overall condition as “not too bad”.

“It is also a nice machine to drive,” continued John, “and my 1989 example is one of the only turbo automatics in the UK.” The Giugiaro-penned Piazza was influenced by the stunning Asso di Fiori concept of 1979. John certainly played his cards right.

Nissan Cherry EuropeBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

There’s little love for the Nissan Cherry Europe and its sister car the Alfa Romeo Arna, a factor that has contributed to their spiral into the abyss. So it’s nice to see a Cherry Europe on display at the NEC.

“It had been lying in a garage in Stoke-on-Trent for the past 10 years,” said owner David Roberts. “The Nissan was surrounded by junk and its interior used for storage, but it wasn’t a complete mess and there were just 32,597 miles on the clock.” The Cherry was MOTd in May 2016 and the exterior is as David found it.

Opel Commodore A CoupeBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

Opel’s General Motors parentage ensured that the styling of the oh-so-pretty Commodore A Coupe had a distinct whiff of Americana about it. The ad copy of 1969 is superb, claiming that the car “is not exactly everybody’s idea of a director’s car,” before going on to say “it’s the first one that doesn’t look too portly and dull.”

“A true pillarless coupe that’s in a class of its own – the sort of look you don’t often see in Britain.” Today, that statement holds true, with very few Commodores left in the country.

Marcos GTBarn-find cars on show in Birmingham

Marcos was established in 1959, its name a combination of the surnames of its founders, Marsh and Costin. The GT was launched in 1964, complete with a wooden chassis and fibreglass shell.

It was notable for having a fixed seat and movable pedals, with a cabin designed around founder Jem Marsh, who happened to be 6ft 4in tall. This particular GT, which dates from 1970, was last taxed in 1987. It’s powered by a Ford Essex 2.0-litre engine.

Revealed: the cars hit hardest by new tax rules

Revealed: the cars hit hardest by new tax rules

Research by What Car? has revealed that the cost of taxing a new car after 1 April 2017 could be up to 25 times more expensive, with even environmentally-friendly plug-in hybrids facing stiff penalties. Vehicle tax for the first year is based on CO2 emissions, but after that the rate depends on the type of vehicle.

From year two it’ll cost £140 for a petrol or diesel car, £130 for an alternative fuel vehicle and £0 for vehicles with zero CO2 emissions. Crucially, all cars with a list price of more than £40,000 will be subject to an £310 surcharge for five years from year two. Read on to discover the top 10 tax increases. Buy now or pay later…

10. Lexus GS 300h 2.5 F-Sport 4dr CVT: £990 increase

Register a Lexus GS 300h before the end of March and you’ll pay just £40 in tax over the first three years. Under the new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates, that figure increases to £1,030, an astonishing 2,475% change over three years.

9. Lexus RX 450h 3.5 SE 5dr CVT Auto: £990 increase

As What Car? is keen to point out, conventional hybrids such as the Lexus GS 300h and RX 450h will be hardest hit, meaning luxury cars with low emissions will be less attractive than before. It’s another 2,475% change for this luxury SUV.

8. Lexus RC 300h 2.5 F-Sport 2dr CVT Auto: £990 increase

8. Lexus RC 300h 2.5 F-Sport 2dr CVT Auto: £990 increase

The three-year cost of £1,030 is made up of a £150 first-year tax rate based on its emissions, followed by two subsequent payments of the new hybrid flat rate of £130. Further misery comes in the form of the £310 a year charge for cars costing more than £40,000, payable between years two and six.

7. Mercedes-Benz C220d AMG Line 2dr: £1,000 increase

There’s worse news if you’re thinking of buying a Mercedes-Benz C220d Convertible in April, with the AMG Line model subject to a £1,000 increase in tax. Buy now and pay £60. Buy in April and pay £1,060, which represents a 1,667% hike.

6. Audi A5 2.0 TDI Sport 2dr S tronic: £1,000 increase

What Car? editor, Steve Huntingford, said: “The new tax laws are designed to increase the advantage of running a zero emissions car, but they make things much more complicated and push up the prices of many ‘bread and butter’ models.”

5. Mercedes-Benz E200d AMG Line Premium 4dr 9G-Tronic: £1,000 increase

5. Mercedes-Benz E200d AMG Line Premium 4dr 9G-Tronic: £1,000 increase

The new VED rates apply to all new cars registered on or after the 1 April 2017, but do not affect old cars or new cars registered before or on the 31 April 2017. Be quick and you can escape the increase.

4. Mercedes-Benz C250d AMG Line Premium Plus 4dr 9G-Tronic: £1,000 increase

The £310 surcharge for cars costing more than £40,000 will affect drivers of even the most fuel efficient vehicles. Take the Tesla Model S, for example, which, while free to tax in year one, will cost £310 a year between years two and six.

3. Audi A6 3.0 TDI S Line 4dr S tronic: £1,000 increase

The Audi A6 3.0 TDI with the S tronic transmission will jump from £60 to £1,060, a percentage change of 1,667%. Head down to your Audi dealer before the end of the month to escape the hike.

2. Mercedes-Benz C250d AMG Line Premium 2dr Auto: £1,000 increase

2. Mercedes-Benz C250d AMG Line Premium 2dr Auto: £1,000 increase

Under the current scheme, all cars with sub 130g/km CO2 emissions are exempt from VED in the first year, with sub 100g/km cars free of tax from year two. From 1 April, only cars with zero emissions are tax exempt. This is why luxury cars with low emissions are the hardest hit.

1. Mercedes-Benz S300h L AMG Line 4dr Auto: £1,000 increase

Your typical Mercedes-Benz S-Class owner is unlikely to be too bothered about VED costing 25 time more than before, but £1,000 remains a chunky wedge of cash to find over three years.

Which hybrid cars will cost more to tax?

Which hybrid cars will cost more to tax?

The £310 surcharge for vehicles costing more than £40,000 is going to hit buyers of luxury hybrid models in the wallet. On the flip-side, some vehicles will be eligible for a government grant of £2,500 if their CO2 emissions are less than 75g/km. What Car? has provided details of six popular hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.

Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid Inscription 5dr Geartronic: £880 increase

Register a Volvo XC90 T8 before the end of March and you’ll pay nothing in VED. From April, you’ll pay £880 for the first three years. Our advice is simple: buy now.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 4hs 5dr Auto: £880 increase

It’s a similar story for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which goes from zero to £880 overnight. Makes that £2,500 grant seem even more appealing.

Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro e-tron 5dr Tip Auto: £880 increase

Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro e-tron 5dr Tip Auto: £880 increase

Without wishing to sound like a broken record, it’s the same story for the Audi Q7 e-tron. Although the 48g/km Q7 is tax exempt in year one, it costs £130 from year two and is also subject to the £310 surcharge for cars costing more than £40,000.

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid 5dr Tiptronic S: £895 increase

Thanks to CO2 emissions of 75g/km, the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid is subject to a first year alternative fuel VED rate of £15, which makes it slightly more expensive than the Audi Q7 e-tron.

BMW X5 xDrive40e SE 5dr Auto: £970 increase

At 78g/km CO2, the BMW X5 xDrive40e is even less efficient than the previous two cars and slots into the fourth tier of the new VED tax bands. Alternative fuel cars emitting between 76 and 90g/km will pay £90 in year one.

Lexus RX 450h 3.5 SE 5dr CVT Auto: £990 increase

Lexus RX 450h 3.5 SE 5dr CVT Auto: £990 increase

It’s the Lexus RX 450h once again, and a reminder of that 2,475% increase in VED.

Britain’s best-sellers

Buyers of Britain’s most popular cars won’t escape a tax penalty, with six out of the top 10 best-selling vehicles set to incur eye-watering tax increases. As the What Car? analysis reveals certain derivatives of the top-sellers will command an extra tax bill of between £400 and £1,000 over three years.

Vauxhall Astra 1.0T ecoFLEX Design 5dr Easytronic: £400 increase

Register a Vauxhall Astra with a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine and Easytronic transmission before the end of March and you’ll pay no VED. From April, you’ll pay £400.

Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi 120 ST-Line Navigation 5dr Powershift: £400 increase

Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi 120 ST-Line Navigation 5dr Powershift: £400 increase

The same penalty applies to the Astra’s chief rival, the Ford Focus. From zero to £400 overnight.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta (Comfort/Tech Packs) 5dr: £400 increase

Britain’s most popular crossover will be slightly less attractive in April. Well, buyers will be £400 worse off.

Audi A3 1.6 TDI SE 5dr S tronic: £400 increase

And, the same is true of the Audi A3 1.6 TDI in SE trim and when fitted with the S tronic transmission.

BMW 340i M Sport 5dr Step Auto (Business Media): £845 increase

BMW 340i M Sport 5dr Step Auto (Business Media): £845 increase

Right now you’ll pay £555 to tax a BMW 340i M Sport for the first three years, but that figure rockets to £1,400 in April. That’s an increase of 152%.

Mercedes-Benz C350e Sport Premium 4dr Auto: £895 increase

And finally, the Mercedes-Benz C350e hybrid shoots from zero to £895. Remember, the new VED rates apply to vehicles registered on or after 1 April 2017, so there’s still time to beat the taxman. Just.

Parking chaos expected as ticket machines aren't prepared for new £1 coin

Parking chaos expected as ticket machines aren't prepared for new £1 coin

Motorists are being warned that the new £1 coin could cause chaos in car parks across the UK, as ticket machines haven’t been updated to accept the new 12-sided version.

The new coin is being introduced from today to cut down on the number of fake pound coins in circulation – but many business aren’t prepared and might not be able to accept the new £1 piece.

According to the British Parking Association, more than a quarter of Britain’s 100,000 parking machines have not yet been updated to process the 12-sided coin, meaning drivers could struggle to park in many places over the coming months.

Fortunately, the so-called ’round pound’ will be accepted as legal tender until October 15, which gives car park operators more than six months to update their outdated machines.

Online parking marketplace is grabbing the opportunity to encourage motorists to use its service to book a parking space online.

“The fact that a significant number of cash-operated machines aren’t ready for the new coins is likely to be extremely irritating for drivers, who will be faced with the inconvenience of having to leave their car to go and change money  – or alternatively find somewhere else to park”, said the website’s managing director, Harrison Woods.

“To avoid frustration as well as possible delays to their journey I would recommend drivers reserve their parking in advance online. Our platform allows drivers to book and pay for their parking through a secure system, meaning you’ll never have to root around for the correct change again.”

The firm says that a backlog in ticket machines requiring modification could mean it’s several months before the new coins are widely accepted.

Of course, many car parks also accept payment via phone with a small convenience fee. Or you could just pay using different coins…

You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

You won't believe how expensive these old cars areSpend a few moments on Auto Trader and you’re guaranteed to stumble across Ferraris, McLarens and Lamborghinis with telephone number price tags. But for this gallery we’re after the less obvious cars that have rocketed in value over recent years.

If you keep an eye on the auction circuit, these might come as no surprise. But stay tuned for some eye-watering price tags. As usual, inclusion does not represent an endorsement on our part.

Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet: £2,500,000You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

A Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet will come pre-loaded with more than just service history. When you can list the likes of Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceausescu, Pol Pot and Ferdinand Marcos on the list of former owners you soon realise that a Grosser’s history will be more chequered than most.

Only 59 were built, and this one happened to be owned by Josip Broz Tito, the former president of Yugoslavia. The six-door ‘Presidential Landaulet’ is on for sale for a cool £2.5m. Know any corrupt dictators who’d be happy to lend you the cash?

Porsche 911 2.7 RS Touring: £995,000You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

If you bought a Porsche 911 2.7 RS Touring in 2004, pour yourself a celebratory drink and give yourself a pat on the back. Three years ago, it was revealed that an RS Touring was worth £65,000 in 2004, upwards of £200,000 in 2011 and half a million plus in 2014.

Today, a million pounds isn’t out of the question, as demonstrated by this sublime 1973 example. A comprehensive restoration by Porsche means that this RS Touring is arguably better than new. You’d be afraid to drive it…

Land Rover Defender: £77,500You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

Land Rover marked the final year of Defender production with a trio of limited edition models, including the lavishly-appointed Autobiography. It was about as far removed from the 1948 original as it’s possible to get, including the £61,845 price tag. Yes, that’s sixty-two-grand for a Defender.

Only 100 were built, one of which is now on sale for £77,500. We miss the Defender, but not that much.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Convertible: £13,500You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

Compromised GTI or the best of both worlds? Whatever your opinion, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better Volkswagen Golf GTI Convertible.

This 1985 example has covered a mere 20,139 miles and is on sale for a cool £13,500. More appealing than an Eos? We think so.

Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500: £109,925You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

The Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 is a rare beast, with only 500 ever made. This, along with the RS badge, gives it elite status in the world of fast Fords, and values are only going one way.

But even with this context, we’re struggling to come to terms with the fact that there’s one for sale for a price tag in excess of £100k. Not bad, especially when you consider the car originally cost £19,950.

Vauxhall Lotus Carlton: £99,999You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

When Vauxhall went hunting BMW M5, the result was spectacular. Unfavourable headlines in the Daily Mail gave the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton instant notoriety and propelled the 176mph family car to iconic status quicker than you could say “fastest production saloon in the world.”

How much do you want to own one? Enough to drop a pound short of £100,000 on a 19,000-miler?

BMW M3 E30 Convertible: £64,990You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

What’s more 80s than a ‘Brilliantrot’ E30 BMW M3? A ‘Brilliantrot’ E30 BMW M3 Convertible, of course. While the roof mechanism and chassis strengthening will only serve to dilute the performance, we can’t help but love the look of this thing.

This is a late example, built in 1991, and it has covered a mere 28,000 miles in 26 years. If Miami Vice was filmed in Bavaria, this would have been the choice of ‘Sonny’ Crockett. Wunderbar.

Toyota Corolla AE86: £34,990You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

Toyota has sold more than 44 million Corollas since its introduction in 1966, but few, if any, are as highly regarded as the AE86. This rear-wheel drive legend is a hero of drifting circles and prices remain high.

But this high? This comes as a shock and probably means that we need to remove another car from the achievable dream garage.

Ford Fiesta XR2: £29,995You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

This Fiesta XR2 must be one of the best in the country, but it has a price tag to match. The XR2 arrived in 1981 and was the first Fiesta to top 100mph.

We suspect the dealer is testing the market with the £29,995 price tag, as the description includes ‘price on application’. Lovely thing.

Ford Escort RS Turbo: £28,990You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

Not to be confused with the series two model, the original Ford Escort RS Turbo was a proper homologation special. Princess Diana liked the car so much, she convinced Ford to build a black one just for her.

If you think £29k is a lot to ask for a front-wheel-drive Escort, remember that one sold at auction in 2015 for £60,108. Admittedly, it had mere 5,568 miles on the clock, but these things tend to influence the entire market.

MG Metro Turbo: £19,995You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

Yep, a £20k Metro. In fairness, it’s a super-rare MG Metro Turbo with 7,000 miles on the clock and we doubt you’ll be able to find a better one. It’s worth it for the red seat belts alone.

Porsche 924 Turbo: £19,995You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

The 924 Turbo was introduced in 1979 and was designed to sit between the regular 924 and 911 in the Porsche model range. Visually, the Turbo is set apart from other 924 models by the various air intakes and black rear spoiler. Note the ‘Pasha’ interior, which looks like a chequered flag on acid.

Mazda RX-7: £19,968You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

Is this a lot of money for a Mazda RX-7 FD? We’re not so sure, especially given the fact that far too many have been modified in the name of ‘Fast and Furious’. A UK-supplied example of one of the world’s most beautiful cars – that has to be worth £20k, right?

Vauxhall Astra GTE: £17,775You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

In fairness, this one-owner, 43,203-mile Mk2 Vauxhall Astra GTE looks to be in minty-fresh condition, but that’s still a jaw-dropping price tag. On the plus side, it probably escaped a joyride on the Blackbird Leys estate.

Peugeot 205 GTI: £17,000You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

Along with fast Fords, the Peugeot 205 GTI is probably the most high profile example of the boom in classic car prices. This one-owner car has a mere 52,100 miles on the clock and is on sale for £17,000.

Mercedes-Benz 230 CE: £16,000You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

The W123 Coupe offered all the quality and robustness of the saloon in a more elegant and alluring suit. The advert doesn’t give much away, but this 1985 230 CE is up for £16,000.

Toyota Land Cruiser: £14,995You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

The J60 was the Toyota Land Cruiser for the 1980s, and this 1982 example appears to have survived in excellent shape. Power is sourced from a six-cylinder 4.0-litre diesel engine, which has been nicely run-in at 96,200 miles. We’d take this over a brand new RAV4 every day of the week.

Alfa Romeo 75: £13,950You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

When was the last time you saw an Alfa Romeo 75, let alone one in such great condition? This 1988 example comes with the all-important 3.0-litre V6 engine and has covered a mere 50,080 miles. Yours for the price of an entry-level MiTo.

Honda CRX: £11,000You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

If you think £11,000 is a lot to ask for the undoubtedly brilliant Honda CRX, the same dealer is – or was – selling another example for £16,500. This 1.6i-16 model is the pick of the CRX range and in its day it had the potential to give a European hot hatch a bloody nose.

Toyota Corolla: £8,995You won't believe how expensive these old cars are

We conclude with a £9k Toyota Corolla of 1983 vintage. It’s a survivor, which makes it the Destiny’s Child of the Japanese classic car world.

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealedDiesel emissions testing carried out by Which? has revealed the worst diesel cars for air pollution. The figures highlight a huge variation across the industry, with the worst offenders emitting up to nine times the level of dangerous pollutants permitted in official tests. Read on to discover more about the dirtiest diesels and how Which? conducted the tests.

There are emission laws in place to limit the amount of NOx produced by cars, but Which? has uncovered huge differences in the amount of NOx emissions produced by diesel cars from different brands. Crucially, Which? uses real-world tests, replicating the way drivers really drive their cars.

Which? has provided the averages for diesel cars tested between 2012 and 2016, with the results based on data for Euro 5 compliant cars, rather than the stricter Euro 6 emission limit. The results are presented in reverse order, with Euro 6 information included where applicable.

21. Mitsubishi: 0.31 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

The Euro 5 diesel limit is 0.18g/km of NOx, which means even the cleanest car on the list fails to meet the target. The Which? data is more accurate as the tests use more realistic cycles, including motorway testing, where the car is accelerated to and then sustains motorway speeds.

20. SEAT: 0.32 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Of the figures, Richard Headland, Which? magazine editor, said: “While our tests show that some car manufacturers are making progress on reducing the amount of toxic emissions from their models, many have a long way to go in cleaning up their act.”

SEAT, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

19. Audi: 0.33 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Headland continued: “We hope that the improved official tests brought in later this year will more clearly name and shame those manufacturers that are failing to meet their obligation to lower emissions.”

Audi, Euro 6: 0.15 NOx g/km.

18. Skoda: 0.33 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

The improvements mentioned by Richard Headland refer to the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which replaces the much-criticised New European Drive Cycle (NEDC). In a nutshell, WLTP will introduce stricter controls and cycles to reflect normal driving behaviour.

Skoda, Euro 6: 0.14 NOx g/km.

17. Volkswagen: 0.34 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the NOx figures for SEAT, Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen are within 0.2g/km of each other. As Which? points out, the Euro 5 diesel cars tested are part of the ongoing VW emissions investigation, so a question mark remains over the results.

Volkswagen, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

16. Volvo: 0.40 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Which? says it recorded a (comparatively) low NOx average across the seven Euro 5 Volvos it tested, but the four Euro 6 Volvo cars actually emit more NOx than the Euro 5 vehicles.

Volvo, Euro 6: 0.43 NOx g/km.

15. Toyota 0.40 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Toyota performed well, with the Euro 6 figure even lower at 0.13g/km. However, this is still higher than the 0.08g/km European limit for Euro 6 vehicles.

Toyota, Euro 6: 0.13 NOx g/km.

14. BMW: 0.41 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Which? is quick to praise BMW and MINI, saying that the 33 cars tested produced some of the lowest NOx averages for diesel cars. While MINI doesn’t feature in the Euro 5 results, it did produce the best result for Euro 6 compliant cars. A figure of 0.08g/km means it just meets the European target.

BMW, Euro 6: 0.14 NOx g/km.

13. Honda: 0.45 NOx g/mDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

To produce the figures, Which? analysed 278 diesel cars from leading manufacturers between 2012 and 2016. Five Honda vehicles were tested, producing a result of 0.45 NOx g/km.

12. Vauxhall: 0.46 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Other brands for which only Euro 6 compliant cars are tested include Dacia (0.59g/km), DS Automobiles (0.26g/km), Mazda (0.21g/km) and Jaguar (0.18g/km). Meanwhile, in the Euro 5 table, Vauxhall achieves a figure of 0.46g/km.

Vauxhall, Euro 6: 0.25 NOx g/km.


11. Fiat 0.48 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Meanwhile, four Fiats were tested, with a result of 0.48 NOx g/km.

10. Mercedes-Benz: 0.48 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

A total of 17 Mercedes-Benz cars were tested (7 Euro 5 and 17 Euro 6), with a Euro 5 result of 0.48g/km.

Mercedes-Benz, Euro 6: 0.15 NOx g/km.

9. Peugeot: 0.52 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Peugeot finishes 9th in the Euro 5 table, making it the best performing French brand on the list. Its Euro 6 performance is one of the best recorded by Which?.

Peugeot, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

8. Kia: 0.53 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Kia finishes eighth, with a NOx figure of 0.53g/km.

Kia, Euro 6: 0.29 NOx g/km.

7. Citroen: 0.56 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Slightly behind Kia we find Citroen, with a NOx figure of 0.56g/km.

Citroen, Euro 6: NOx 0.16g/km.

6. Ford: 0.58 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

There’s not a huge amount of difference between Ford’s Euro 5 and Euro 6 figure, with the more lax Euro 5 test revealing an output of 0.58g/km.

Ford, Euro 6: 0.49 NOx g/km.

5. Hyundai: 0.60 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Hyundai is committed to delivering 14 or more new environmentally-focused models by 2020, which should go some way to improving this top five finish.

Hyundai, Euro 6: 0.40 NOx g/km.

4. Renault: 0.73 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

NOx emissions from the 16 Renault diesel cars tested are seven times higher than the Euro 6 MINIs tested. In response, Renault said: “Since mid-2015, Groupe Renault has committed to improve the performance of its anti-pollution systems. The vehicles tested by Which? would not have benefitted from this improvement plan”.

Renault, Euro 6: 0.72 NOx g/km.

3. Land Rover: 0.78 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

In third place is Land Rover, which was one of six manufacturers for which the consumer group only has average figures for Euro 5 compliant cars.

2. Nissan: 0.81 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

In response to the results, Nissan said: “We are committed to upholding the law and meeting regulations in every market where we operate. Specifically in Europe, all our vehicles sold in Europe meet the Euro 5/6 emission standards. This report, which looks at the variation between lab and ‘real world’ conditions, shows significant variances for most brands tested”.

1. Jeep: 1.74 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

That leaves Jeep to secure the unwanted position at the top of the dirty diesels tree. Jeep failed to provide a response to the research.

‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auctionYou know how it is: you wait an age for a sand-beige coloured Porsche 911 S to turn up and then a pair of near identical twins roll into view. The Porsche double act from 1967 represents the star attraction at the IWM Duxford Auction on 29 March 2017.

These cars are only 300 chassis numbers or so apart, so the chances are they ‘met’ in Stuttgart all those years ago. Since they left Germany in 1967 they have taken different journeys, and while one car has been restored, the other still wears its original paint and interior. Remarkable, given its 50-year vintage.

Porsche 911 S: £220,000 – £250,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

Choosing your favourite will be tough, not least because the pre-auction estimates for the two 911s are rather similar. If patina and originality are your thing, this one is for you.

It was delivered new to a dealership in Pennsylvania and is said to be “absolutely unique in that it’s completely original and unrestored”. The interior is similarly untouched and unrestored, displaying a wonderful 50-year-old patina.

We understand the 911 S recently completed a 1,000-mile tour of the Alps without issue, as you’d expect from a well-maintained Porsche. We only hope the new owner does the right thing and retains the car’s originality. If you’re after something restored, its twin sister might appeal…

‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

Although both cars made their way from Stuttgart to the USA, they trod a different path once on American soil. This 911 S was sold new via a dealer in Texas, a full three months earlier than the unrestored car.

Its second owner bought the car in 1979 and it remained part of a private collection until 2015. The present owner then sent it for a 1,500-hour restoration project, resulting in what H&H is calling a “better than new condition”.

This restoration has shaved £10,000 off the upper end of the pre-auction estimate. We wonder if a buyer will be tempted to drop the £500,000 required to keep the siblings together. Read on to discover what else has caught our eye at the forthcoming IWM Duxford Auction.

BMW 2002 Turbo: £65,000 – £75,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

As Europe’s first turbocharged production car, the BMW 2002 Turbo is guaranteed a place in the big book of motoring. But this German performance hero is more than just a footnote in a weighty tome. The 2002 Turbo is a 70s icon, and it could be yours for £65,000.

If that seems like a lot to ask when you can order a brand new M2 for £44,000, let us remember that this thing could show many an illustrious sports car a clean pair of heels. Nothing screams intent quite like a set of riveted arches and a KKK turbocharger.

This is a rare car – only 1,672 were built – and this one was delivered new in Italy back in 1975. Later, it became a showroom model for a BMW dealer in Spain, which might help to explain why it has covered a mere 23,720 miles since new.

Lotus Esprit JPS: £30,000 – £40,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

To many people, the Lotus Esprit World Championship Commemorative will be forever known as the ‘JPS’, a reference to the black and gold F1 cars of the era. It was the first limited edition Esprit ever built and was built to commemorate “the world-beating combination of Mario Andretti and the Lotus 79 Formula One car”.

Along with the obvious black and gold cosmetic upgrades, each car featured a commemorative plaque signed by Colin Chapman and number on the three-quarter top panel. The original owner also received a framed photo of the Lotus 79 signed by Chapman.

The ‘JPS’ offered at the Duxford sale is number 99 of 99 built for the UK and was subject to a mechanical overhaul in 2007. A little online research reveals that the car was up for sale in 2014, at which point it had the same 61,000 miles on the clock and was ‘living’ in Switzerland. Interesting car, and the last numbered status gives it added provenance.

Audi Quattro: £45,000 – £55,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

The Gilder Group was one of the UK’s oldest VAG dealerships in the UK and had managed to assemble a collection of cool classics. When JCT600 bought the VAG dealerships, the chairman shifted the cars to his own private collection. Now, they’re up for sale, with the lots including this 1985 Audi Quattro.

We’ll forgive H&H for using the phrase “time-warp example” to describe this Audi, because it really does look factory-fresh. There’s a mere 8,200 miles on the clock, along with a letter of provenance relating to its time in the Gilder Group Collection.

According to the vendor, the Audi “has never even had a touch-up stick applied to it, or one of its wheels refurbished”. The original WR engine is present and correct, along with factory stickers and an MOT until May 2018.

Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe: £600,000 – £800,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

No need to adjust your set, because this really is a Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe. It’s just that it has been rebodied to look like a 250 GT LWB California Spyder. You’d be looking at a pre-auction in the many millions if it was the real deal.

Ferrari 512 TR: £135,000 – £155,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

Eight years after the launch of the original Testarossa, Ferrari unveiled the much updated 512 TR model. Power from the 12-cylinder engine was increased, while improved aerodynamics contributed to a higher top speed. This particular car was supplied new to former England and Rangers legend Mark Hateley.

Ferrari F512 M: £170,000 – £190,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

The third evolution of the Testarossa signalled the end for the pop-up headlights and the introduction of circular rear lights. It was Ferrari’s last mid-engine flat-12-cylinder engine production car and 501 units were built before production ceased in 1996. This example was delivered new in the Netherlands and has 16,500 miles on the clock.

Ferrari 360 Spider F1: £68,000 – £75,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

The 360 Spider F1 was unveiled at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, with styling penned by Pininfarina. This particular car was delivered new in Colchester and was treated to a number of options, including split-rim wheels and red brake calipers.

Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole: £50,000 – £60,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

Don’t be fooled by the M-reg number plate, this Ferrari 308 GTS QV was built and supplied new in 1984. The 1995 plate refers to its date of registration in Japan, although it was actually imported to the UK last winter. We’d be hunting down a B-reg number plate if we owned this Fezza.

Ferrari 330 GT Nembo Spyder: no reserve‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

Proceeds from the auction of this car will be going to the East Anglia Air Ambulance, so we invite you to dig deep. It’s the work of Nembo, a company that rebodied sports and race cars, in this case a Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Former owners include the founder of the Bluebird Caravan Company and the chairman of the Ferrari Owners’ Club. You can expect to spend £500,000 on this bespoke creation.

Ferrari 330 GT 2+2: £200,000 – £240,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

This is clearly a series one Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, as highlighted by the little-loved quad headlights, influenced by American trends of the time. These were later dropped, but not before Enzo Ferrari had used a S1 model as his own personal transport in and around the Maranello factory. A total of 1,080 units were built before production came to an end in 1967.

Ferrari 360 Spider F1: £85,000 – £95,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

None other than David Beckham owned this 2001 Ferrari 360 Spider F1 and the former footballer was often pictured out and about in ‘D7 DVB’. Today, re-registered, the car has covered 7,800 miles and has recently had a cambelt change in Leeds. We doubt Beckham would have been that keen on a visit to Leeds.

Ferrari 348 TS: £36,000 – £40,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

The 348 TB and TS models had it all – pop-up headlights, Testarossa-style slatted side air intakes and a glorious, longitudinally-mounted V8 engine, to name but three highlights. It overshadowed just about everything at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show. Yes, even the Vauxhall Calibra.

Ferrari Mondial 8: £30,000 – £35,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

If the opportunity to buy ‘his and her’ 911s doesn’t grab you, perhaps you might prefer something Italian. The Mondial 8 never recovered from a lukewarm reception at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show, but it represents one of the most affordable ways into Ferrari ownership. This is one of just 145 right-hand drive coupes and it has a mere 14,000 miles on the clock.

Ferrari Mondial 8: £15,000 – £17,000‘His and hers’ Porsche 911s up for auction

If the previous Mondial 8 is ‘good to go’, this 1982 example will require a little work. ‘RET 295X’ is offered from a deceased estate and was last run some three years ago. Yours for the price of a well-equipped Ford Fiesta. Remember, the H&H sale takes place this weekend at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

The UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

The UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

The UK’s most popular cars for new driversThe excitement of passing your driving test is overwhelming, but even more thrilling is the emotion when you buy your first car. Price comparison website MoneySupermarket has used its car insurance data to find out which are the most popular first cars for the UK’s 17- and 18-year-old drivers.

15th – Volkswagen GolfThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Propping up the list, the Golf also happens to be the biggest car of the top 15, making a somewhat surprising entry into a sea of superminis and city cars. Managing to be both classless and classy at the same time, Volkswagen’s long-standing family hatchback succeeds in being all things to all people. Including fresh-faced teenage drivers, it seems.

MoneySupermarket has not specified which particular version of Golf – or any of the cars on this list, in fact – proved the most popular. So we’ve hedged our bets on the Mk5 being a strong contender. Prices today have slipped firmly into the ‘affordable’ category, while engines like the 74hp 1.4-litre petrol should be sufficient to keep insurance prices vaguely sensible.

14th – Toyota AygoThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

This is more what we would expect for a first car. Built alongside the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 in the Czech Republic, as a petite city car the original Aygo is perfect for those who are still getting to grips with driving. Plus, it was once used on Top Gear for a football match with cars, so it must be cool, right?

Specifically targeted at new and younger drivers, the first-generation Aygo had a tiny 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with just 67hp. Top speed was less than 100mph, and parents could be satisfied with the four-star Euro NCAP safety rating and strong reliability.

13th – Toyota YarisThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Although it might look slightly dumpy today, when it was introduced the first-generation Yaris caused a genuine stir in the supermini world. Running costs with the base 1.0-litre petrol engine are dirt-cheap, with the added bonus of a roomy interior and that Toyota reputation for build quality.

Known in Japan as the Vitz, and by the Echo name in Australia and Canada, the Yaris is a truly global car. The original version, sold from 1999 to 2005, won the European Car of the Year award in 2000, placing it in the same high regard as the Citroen XM and Porsche 928. Surely that must make it a worthy choice for any eighteen-year-old driver?

12th – Peugeot 107The UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

As one of the three Toyota/Citroen/Peugeot triplets, the 107 had quite a hard task in following the Peugeot 106 which had gone before it. That car had been a particular favourite with new drivers during its 12-year lifespan, meaning the badge-engineered 107 had a lot to live up to.

Like the Aygo, a 1.0-litre petrol engine came as standard in the original 107, with a 1.4-litre diesel also on offer. Three- or five-door versions were available, although only there is only space for four people inside the 3.4-metre-long 107. Peugeot gave a 107 away as a prize for young drivers in 2009, so maybe that helped boost it to 12th on this list.

11th – Nissan MicraThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Beloved of students and pensioners alike, that the diminutive Micra makes an appearance on a young driver favourite list shouldn’t be a surprise. Easy manoeuvrability, a choice of low-power 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre engines, plus cheap insurance make it a natural choice for a first car.

The K12 Micra – as pictured – was quite radical when it hit the market in 2003, thanks to that distinctive styling. All those curves meant interior space was somewhat limited, however. The K12 would also be the last Micra produced at Nissan’s Sunderland factory, now responsible for the Juke and Qashqai crossovers.

10th – MINI OneThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

In the small car stakes, the new MINI is a pretty big deal. So it’s no wonder that it manages to be popular with teenagers taking their first steps onto the highway. They might need slightly deeper pockets if they plump for the MINI, as even in One specification it features a 90hp 1.6-litre engine that might cause insurers some alarm.

Offsetting the higher insurance bracket is the fact that the first-generation MINI hatchback is now fairly affordable to buy. Add in a funky interior, sharp handling, and the badge kudos of owning a MINI, and you might be able to overlook those insurance premiums. Just don’t go expecting to carry much in the boot.

9th – Peugeot 206The UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

It might not have been sold in the UK for almost a decade, but that doesn’t stop the venerable 206 from still being a top-10 favourite with new drivers. The 206 managed to continually feature in best-seller lists in the early 2000s, and such ubiquity means prices today are low and parts plentiful. There’s also the added patriotic bonus of the 206 being the last Peugeot to be built at the Ryton plant in Coventry.

Engine choices included new driver-friendly options such as a 1.1-litre four cylinder with 59hp, while the 1.4-litre was the most popular in the range. Even today, the 206 looks pretty neat – in an early 2000s way – although the scratchy interior plastics and cramped seating position are the price you pay for such style.

8th – Citroen C1The UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

You probably know the drill with this one by now. Much the same as the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 107 save for badging, the C1 is a Czech-built city car with a 1.0-litre 67hp engine. Citroen is renowned for offering cheap finance deals and substantial discounts, which may have helped push the C1 higher up the list.

All original C1s came with power steering, a CD player, and full-size spare wheel, while higher specification cars had remote central locking and body coloured bumpers. In 2013, there was even a special edition based on feedback from Facebook, called the Connexion, which featured alloy wheels and air conditioning.

7th – Fiat PuntoThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Spanning three generations and nearly 25 years in production, the Punto has become a favourite for holiday hire cars and first runarounds. With rock-bottom prices, stylish Italian looks and the benefit of a ‘City’ button for making the power steering even lighter when parking, the Punto makes a strong case for itself.

It might seem a little bit clichéd, but the trade-off for the Punto’s ‘Italian charm’ is the potential for unreliability, with head gaskets a known weakness. Still, all that time waiting at the side of the road for breakdown recovery does let you post some amazing Instagram photos, or send sarcastic Snapchats.

6th – Fiat 500The UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Cramped, noisy and based on a platform shared with the Fiat Panda that was introduced way back in 2003 – but does anyone who buys one care? We imagine not. No, if you’re looking for ultimate in city car retro-chic then the 500 is for you. Offered in a range of fancy colours – including pink – to make you look totally ‘on fleek’, the little Fiat is certainly a fashion-conscious buy.

Engine choices include the four-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol with 69hp, while a tiny 0.9-litre two-cylinder Twinair offers 85hp. The 500 also scored a full five stars in Euro NCAP, giving teenage buyers another line of persuasion when trying to explain to their parents why they must have one. Like, right now.

5th – Ford Ka

The UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Into the top five and, although older than the 17-year-olds who might be buying it, we’ve picked the original Ford Ka for the fact it screams ‘first car’ so loudly. It managed to be the best-selling city car in the UK for a number of years, and proved popular with young drivers on account of its forgiving unpainted plastic bumpers. As an added bonus, there is the potential for hours of fun debating the pronunciation of the name ‘Ka’.

The earliest Ka models came with a 1.3-litre ‘Endura’ engine, which dated back to the 1970s, and made just 59hp. Rust will have undoubtedly claimed most of those initial cars, meaning options today will more than likely focus on the later ‘Duratec’ motor with 69hp. Insurance is cheap whatever version, and all benefit from go-kart handling, plus the knowledge you’re driving one of Ford’s original ‘New Edge’ designs.

4th – Renault ClioThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

With extra ‘va-va-voom’, the second-generation Renault Clio was perhaps most famous for an advertising campaign that featured Thierry Henry and Hélène Mahieu. Those cultural references are probably a little lost on the teens getting behind the wheel now. More relevant is a cheap supermini, with a little extra Gallic flair, and affordable prices.

The interior of the second-gen Clio was cramped and uncomfortable at best, and might feel very dated for those used to touchscreens and soft plastics. Thankfully, the entry-level engines are surprisingly sprightly, with the 75hp 1.2-litre 16v the pick of the bunch if your insurance company will play ball. Safety is also strong, courtesy of being built in the period where Renault was relentless in the pursuit of top Euro NCAP scores.

3rd – Volkswagen PoloThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Taking the bronze medal is a supermini that has been around since 1975, with five generations of small Volkswagen on offer. Recent marketing campaigns have emphasised the toughness of the little VW, with the latest Polo even featuring an advert that pitched it as the perfect first car. Electronic Stability Control, Hill Hold Control, fatigue detection, and multiple airbags help seal the safety deal.

Interestingly, despite being related to the Skoda Fabia and SEAT Ibiza, neither of the Polo’s lower-priced brethren make an appearance on this list. Perhaps badge snobbery matters a lot, even to those buying their very first car. Volkswagen does offer free insurance for those aged 18 and over, which may help it snag some teenage customers.

2nd – Ford FiestaThe UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Persistently top of the charts for best-selling cars in the UK, it comes as no surprise that the Fiesta appears second on the list of first motor favourites. Some 120,000 Fiestas were bought new in 2016 alone, meaning there are plenty out there to tempt youngsters. Engines start with a 1.25-litre four-cylinder in 59hp and 80hp flavours, combined with a range of trim levels, meaning there really is a Fiesta for every teenager.

The latest Fiesta also features an option that could make it ideal for young drivers, or their parents. MyKey allows owners to programme individual keys for each driver, with options to limit top speed or even the volume of the radio. Add a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and the Fiesta becomes an easy choice to justify for concerned parents. But just what could keep it from taking the top spot?

1st – Vauxhall Corsa

The UK’s most popular cars for new drivers

Boom! No, it might not be the most exciting car on this list, the safest, or even the most fashionable. In fact, the Corsa has a reputation for being straight-down-the-line and playing it safe. Yet that middle of the road status proves that it can be suited to virtually any circumstances, and the fourth-generation Corsa proved to be a big success with young drivers who just wanted to get behind the wheel.

Cheap finance deals, a range of endless special editions and a variety of engine options mean there can be a Corsa for any young driver. Parts are cheap, mechanical reliability is generally good, and running costs should be kept to a minimum. Engines like the 59hp 1.0-litre 12v scrape into the lowest possible insurance group, which may well be the biggest concern for any teenage driver, and help explain why it takes first place here.

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20 embarrassing car publicity photos

20 embarrassing car publicity photos

50 embarrassing car publicity photosWe often stumble across awkward, dodgy and slightly embarrassing press photos. Now, for the first time, we’ve assembled a collection as some kind of press office rogues gallery. Get ready for cheesy grins, awkward poses and images that shouldn’t be taken out of context.

Audi 10050 embarrassing car publicity photos

One to be filed under ‘embarrassing holiday snaps’? Not exactly, because this happens to be an official Audi press photo, from the days when the German company required the help of ladies to promote its brand.

Skoda Felicia50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Mate, you really ought to think about moving your Skoda.

Daewoo50 embarrassing car publicity photos

How do you celebrate the opening of a new dealership? By asking the company’s MD and dealer’s aftersales manager to clamber into the boot, of course.

Citroen Saxo VTS50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Ah yes, the good old days. When the Citroen Saxo VTS ruled the streets – or at least the McDonald’s car park – and Katie Price was still known as Jordan. Some might say the car has aged better than the lady…

Peugeot 207 CC50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Here’s Britain’s favourite pantomime dame, Christopher Biggins, out enjoying his Peugeot 207 CC. Check out the motion blur on his hand. Jazz hands, Biggins?

Fiat Panda50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Here’s the cast of the Italian version of Fame demonstrating how many people you can’t fit in a Fiat Panda. Probably.

Citroen XM50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Back in the day, nothing said business car quite like the Copthorne Hotel and a huge mobile phone…

Daihatsu Charade50 embarrassing car publicity photos

The child is wearing a look that says “Daddy, do we have to downsize from the Range Rover?” Mum’s response: “If it means we get to keep the cottage in the country, Tabitha, then yes.”

Renault Twingo50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Here we find two sumo wrestlers about to demonstrate the flat-folding seats in the Renault Twingo. We’re pretty sure they managed to get in, although getting out again was a different matter.

Chrysler PT Cruiser50 embarrassing car publicity photos

In 1998, Michael Owen had the world at his feet following an outstanding goal against Argentina. He was also given a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Life is all about pleasure and pain, Michael.

Ford Focus50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Some photos need a little context. In reality, Ann Widdecombe was demonstrating Ford’s self-parking technology. Taken out of context, it looks like she’s been left horrified by the Ford Focus.

Rover 100 Ascot SE50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Hats off to you, Rover, that’s not a bad way to promote the Ascot special edition. The hat shop is still there. The Rover, we suspect, has long since retired.

Suzuki Vitara50 embarrassing car publicity photos

That look might work on the American West Coast, but at a British marina, we don’t think so. We wouldn’t like to say how many dogs have cocked their leg on that lamp post.

Proton GEN-250 embarrassing car publicity photos

Des looks delighted to have won a Proton GEN-2, although he quite fancied a Jumbuck.

Renault Clio50 embarrassing car publicity photos

We’ve got absolutely no idea what’s going on here, but we really fancy a Renault Clio Baccara.

Citroen Xantia20 embarrassing car publicity photos

Glynis Barber, is that you? And is that Boris Becker? Not, it’s another period press photo.

Volkswagen Derby20 embarrassing car publicity photos

She could have dressed for the occasion. It’s not everyday you’re asked to stand alongside a Volkswagen Polo saloon.

Saab Sonett50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Don’t start stripping off now, for goodness sake. You’ll catch your death in rural Sweden.