Jaguar supports Armed Forces Day with donated F-Types

Jaguar has donated two F-Types to forces’ motorsport charity Mission Motorsport to mark Armed Forces Day today (Saturday 30 June). But the cars didn’t come entirely for free – recruits and ambassadors for the charity had to first join the production line and help build them…

Mission Motorsport will use the cars to help support rehabilitation and recovery of ex-service personnel affected by their time in the military.

Rob Lummis is JLR’s head of employee experiences. He said the two F-Types “will make an immeasurable difference to the Mission Motorsport team, enabling them to reach even more veterans who don’t know what the future holds after their discharge from the military.

“At Jaguar Land Rover we have seen the benefits a programme like this can have in awakening new horizons, ambitions and careers. We look forward to seeing the next set of beneficiaries begin their new future with us”.

Jaguar Land Rover has supported the charity since 2014 and, through its Armed Forces Engagement Programme, runs a ‘Wounded Injured and Sick’ training scheme. To date, 45 personnel have taken part – and 29 of them have since gained full-time employment at JLR. Six more now work for JLR suppliers.

Jaco Van Bilion is one of them; he now works in the JLR powertrain division… and has also represented Great Britain at the Warrior Games, and Team GB at the Invictus games. He’s also about to start a sponsored degree. He helped build the Mission Motorsport F-Types, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a 5.0-litre V8 SVR.

“I did not know that my journey from Mission Motorsport to Jaguar Land Rover would be life-changing when I made that first phone call,” he said during the day.

“I left the military because of a degenerative condition and really didn’t know where to turn. Today, I’m here at Jaguar Land Rover in a job I love, with a team that support me and a bright and exciting future. It’s been quite incredible”.

Mission Motorsport will use the F-Types to inspire other ex-forces personnel, people who Mission Motorsport CEO James Cameron says “have so much to offer.

“This has been an incredible gesture by Jaguar Land Rover and an extraordinary commitment to reinforce our hard work in support of those leaving the armed services.”

DS Store

DS to consciously uncouple from Citroen

DS StoreDS Automobiles is the posh division of Peugeot Citroen, which has grown out of the Citroen DS range of cars. The French firm believes DS can be its answer to Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and as part of this upbranding, it’s getting its own dealer network.

From 1 July 2018, every DS dealer in the UK will be a solus operation, rather than one sharing showroom space (and customers) with Citroen. At launch, there will be 25 outlets, with the firm planning to double it by the end of 2018, and expand further into 2019.

There will be two types of DS dealer – a DS Store and DS Salon. Each will give a bespoke service, and all will be situated in “prominent locations”.

For Citroen dealers, 1 July marks the cut-off point when they can no longer trade with DS customers. A few of them have, however, invested in creating a DS Store or DS Salon, and so have secured a DS franchise contract.

DS Store

What’s the difference between the DS dealers? They’re defined thus:

  • DS Salon: the smaller of the two, these can be incorporated into Citroen dealer buildings, but most have bespoke DS flooring, ceiling, walls, sales desk and customer reception. There must be a DS totem outside, and have at least three DS cars in the showroom, with more available for demonstration drives.
  • DS Store: a bigger retail-style outlet, which the firm calls a “luxury boutique”. Everything will be bespoke to DS: the colours, furniture, lighting, mood music, even a DS essence fragrance. Five cars will be on display, there’ll be a DS virtual configuration screen (with HTC headset), bespoke customer car park and even a merchandise shop. Oh, and Nespresso machines.

The firm is basically promising a “French boutique hotel” experience to customers, what will be high end, bespoke and engaging. It will be “highly qualitative” and customer service will be “high end” as well.

Lucky dealers even get to spend some time training at the DS design centre and have “an immersion in Paris luxury sales”. Best leave the credit card at home.

Fancy seeing what it’s like, sitting on a fancy DS sofa while looking at a new DS7 Crossback and breathing in the rich new DS aroma while enjoying your Nespresso? The firm’s updated its dealer locator so you can find one near you.

Nissan Johan Cruijff Arena energy storage system

Nissan helps Cruijff turn green

Nissan Johan Cruijff Arena energy storage systemOld and new Nissan Leaf batteries have been used to create Europe’s largest energy storage system at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam.

It’s a 3-megawatt storage system which comprises 148 Nissan Leaf batteries and Eaton power conversion units – and it can store enough energy to power the stadium (named Dutch after football legend Johan Cruijff), its visitors and the stadium’s neighbours, with enough left over to feed energy into the Dutch energy grid.

All the power is generated through 4,200 solar panels on the stadium’s roof, and the total capacity is such that the energy grid can be stabilised even when the stadium is hosting high-demand events such as concerts.

Nissan is championing it because it’s not only a more sustainable energy system, it’s a great example of how electric vehicle batteries can be given a ‘second life’ as part of a circular economy.

“Thanks to this energy storage system, the stadium will be able to use its own sustainable energy more intelligently and, as Amsterdam Energy Arena BV, it can trade in the batteries’ available storage capacity.” says Henk van Raan, director of innovation at the Johan Cruijff Arena.

“The Arena is assured of a considerable amount of power, even during an outage.”

Nissan Energy MD Francisco Carranza said Nissan was “delighted to be part of the Europe’s largest energy storage system developed for a commercial building.

“Thanks to the Johan Cruijff Arena we can demonstrate today that re-purposing the batteries of Nissan electric vehicles can contribute to make the whole energy system more efficient and sustainable.”

Crashed cars: what do these insurance write-off categories mean?

Car insurance is getting cheaper – especially for young drivers

Car crashCar insurance premiums are getting lower – and young drivers are the biggest winners. That’s according to analysis from Consumer Intelligence, which shows that average bills have dropped to £712 – a 5.5 percent fall in the past 12 months.

Under-25s, while still paying the highest premiums, saw bills fall by as much as 11.9 percent as they benefit from the continued growth of black box technology. Younger drivers pay an average £1,635 a year, compared with £412 for over-50s and £629 for motorists aged 25-49.

If you’re after another example of a north-south divide, it’s drivers in London who pay the most (£1,024), while motorists north of the border pay the least (£522). But Consumer Intelligence states that average insurance premiums are still 21.9 percent higher than in October 2013, when the research experts began collecting the data.

John Blevins, Consumer Intelligence pricing expert said: “Insurers are now free to compete on price without Insurance Premium Tax increases or changes to the Ogden rate which sets compensation for major personal injury claims.

“That is very welcome and should provide some relief for drivers when other motoring costs such as petrol prices are on the rise. The downward trend should continue with the increasing adoption of telematics helping to maintain the momentum. It’s interesting that around 22 percent of all the most competitive quotes are now from telematics providers.”

It pays to shop around

Commenting on the Consumer Intelligence analysis, Matt Oliver of GoCompare urged caution, saying: “Drivers have been on red alert over car premium increases for months and the big danger now is that they assume their next renewal letter will automatically make pleasant reading. It won’t.

“Premiums remain at historically high levels, as Consumer Intelligence points out, with average car bills still 22 percent higher than they were less than five years ago. Insurers don’t just uniformly handout 5.5 percent cheaper premiums to all existing customers.

“In fact, it is existing customers who regularly get the highest prices – particularly if they’ve renewed a few years in a row.”

Regardless of your renewal quote, you should shop around for the best deal before giving your current insurance provider the opportunity to match a like-for-like quotation.

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Ferrari 250 GTO

‘Box of bits’ Ferrari 250 GTO heads to auction

Ferrari 250 GTOThe Ferrari 250 GTO is among the most desirable cars in the world. Pristine examples change hands for tens of millions of pounds – so the opportunity to buy one that hasn’t ever been driven is likely to prove irresistible for bidders at Coys’ latest Blenheim Palace auction.

The ‘car’ is a very last-minute entry into the sale this weekend, and is expected to sell for a small fortune. Just one problem: the winner will to now build it themselves…

Part of the Cavallino ‘shipping container hoard’, the complete kit of parts to build a Ferrari GTO-style car includes most of the relevant bits. Along with the chassis frame of a 1962 Ferrari 250 (chassis number #4105GT), the auction includes:

  • Original Ferrari Tipo 128S V12 engine
  • ‘Highly authentic’ GTO-style tubular steel frame
  • Suspension and braking components
  • Bodywork panels
  • Wheels
  • Cooling system
  • Various dials and gauges

All the parts were at the same site as the original find – but in a container located in a slightly different (and secret) location. Amazingly, it was discovered just a few days ago.

“We were over the moon with the first finds,” said Coys MD Chris Routledge, “but we are ecstatic about this. 

“It is completely unprecedented in the world of classic cars and we have rushed to get it into our Blenheim Palace classic car auction.”

Nick Wells is a specialist at Coys, and he’s incredibly excited about this week’s sale. “The 250 GTO is without doubt the most desirable classic car in the world.

“With one of the original 36 examples now changing hands at in excess of £50m, this blank canvas ‘build your own’ project, offered with unique provenance from Enzo Ferrari himself, is a mouth-watering prospect for the serious enthusiast.”

All eyes will be on the sale tomorrow (Saturday 30 June) to find out what those at the Blenheim Palace sale think it’s worth…

Harry Kane's Jaguar F-Pace

England players plan to spend World Cup bonuses on supercars

Harry Kane's Jaguar F-PaceWin or lose in Russia, England’s Premier League footballers will almost certainly score a new car this summer. That’s according to Magnitude Finance, which provides prestige vehicle funding for 13 of the 23-man England squad.

The company is preparing a range of finance packages for the players and their wives and girlfriends – or WAGs, in tabloid speak – with win bonuses said to be in the region of £215,000 per player.

Popular cars include the usual Premier League favourites, such as the Bentley Continental GT, Range Rover and Audi R8, along with the new Lamborghini Urus. Like Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere, the Mitsubishi Mirage and Suzuki Celerio are set to miss out.

In the longest press release quote in living memory, Tim Marlow, head of sales of Magnitude Finance, said: “From the proposals we’re putting together, it will be the largest amount of finance provided for our footballer clientele during a summer – irrespective of how England fare in Russia.

“Many of the England squad, their wives and girlfriends and Premiership-based players representing other nations are looking to buy new cars either to mark a good tournament or a treat at the end of the season.

“The players will have a lot of time on their hands in between training and matches at the World Cup.

“Since landing in Russia, there has been a significant increase in traffic from the region to our website which tells us they are busy looking at finance options for their next car purchase.”

We’ve shortened the quote, but Tim goes on to talk about an online calculator, concierge service and a fast turnaround. Apparently, some players look for an interest-only deal over two years, which allows them to change their car more often than Paul Pogba changes his hairstyle.

Regardless of whether England crashes out in a blaze of VAR glory or Harry Kane captains the team to a World Cup triumph, the players are almost certainly going to be laughing all the way to the polished floor of a prestige car showroom.

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Cars named after people

From Senna to Isabella: cars named after people

Cars named after people

The McLaren Senna is the latest in a long line of cars named after a person, with Woking’s new supercar badged in honour of three-time F1 world champion, Ayrton Senna. Indeed, the 800hp Senna is a double-barrelled delight, with the McLaren name stemming from Bruce, the legendary racing driver from New Zealand. We used the Senna to go off in search of other cars named after people.

McLaren Senna

Cars named after people

From our first drive of the Senna: “McLaren invited Bianca and Bruno Senna (Ayrton’s niece and nephew) over to its studio, to show them the project, then codenamed P15. It was to be the ultimate track car, one with ‘the purest connection to the driver ever’. One showing ultimate commitment and focus on details. Just like Ayrton. They loved it. The Senna was born.”

Lotus Elise

Cars named after people

In 1993, Bugatti took charge at Lotus and, three years later, the Elise was born, named after the granddaughter of chairman Romano Artioli. Elisa Artioli was sat in the Lotus as the covers were pulled off at its unveiling at the Frankfurt motor show and today, she has a Facebook page dedicated to her European road trips. Her choice of car: a S1 Lotus Elise. It couldn’t be anything else.

Ferrari Enzo

Cars named after people

Ferrari’s hypercar of 2002 followed in the tyremarks of some of Maranello’s all-time greats, including the GTO and F40. It was, even by Ferrari’s standards, a landmark car – a benchmark for others to aspire to. Little wonder it was named after the company’s founder.

Citroen Saxo Jordan

Cars named after people

In the 1990s, lads dreamt about one thing: taking Jordan to a McDonald’s in a Citroen Saxo to enjoy a McFlurry. With this in mind, Citroen launched the Saxo VTS Jordan. Actually, we may have made this one up, but there was a Honda Civic Jordan, named after Eddie’s F1 team. But few lads dreamt of treating Eddie to a McFlurry. Moving on…

Ford Edsel

Cars named after people

Poor Edsel Ford. Of all the cars to be named after, the late son of Henry Ford had to be associated with the ‘Disaster in Dearborn’. It could have been very different. Among the names proposed for the ill-fated Edsel, you’ll find the likes of Utopian Turtletop, Anticipator, Mongoose Civique and, wait for it, The Intelligent Whale. With the benefit of hindsight, these may have been preferable to Edsel.


Cars named after people

The world is littered with examples of companies named after their founders – Toyota, Honda and Porsche, to name but three. But, perhaps with one eye on a future of text speak, Trevor Wilkinson abbreviated his forename to create TVR. Smart work, Tvr Wlknsn.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Cars named after people

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Giulietta name was chosen as a direct link to the Romeo in Alfa Romeo? Romeo and Giulietta – geddit? There’s a story on Jalopnik which provides just enough evidence to support the romanticised view that this may have been the case.

Renault Clio

Cars named after people

According to “In Greek mythology, [Clio was] one of the nine Muses, patron of history. Traditionally Clio, after reprimanding the goddess Aphrodite for her passionate love for Adonis, was punished by Aphrodite, who made her fall in love with Pierus, king of Macedonia. From that union, in some accounts, was born Hyacinthus, a young man of great beauty who was later killed by his lover, the god Apollo. From his blood sprang a flower (the hyacinth). In art Clio was frequently represented with the heroic trumpet and the clepsydra (water clock).” That’s as maybe, but the Renault Nicole would have been better…


Cars named after people

Mercédès is a Spanish girl’s name that means grace: she was the daughter of businessman Emil Jellinek, who, in the late 1800s and, in 1900, arranged to build a new series of cars, called Daimler-Mercedes. The rest is history…

Ferrari Dino

Cars named after people

As the first son of Enzo Ferrari, Alfredo (or Alfredino) was destined to work for the family business. Indeed, Enzo always intended for Alfredo to take the reins when the time was right. Tragically, Alfredo died of Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 24, leaving this parents devastated and heartbroken. The Dino range of race and road cars were named in his honour.

Vauxhall Adam

Cars named after people

Would you ‘Adam and Eve’ it? Adam Opel was the founder of German car manufacturer of the same name. The Opel Adam is a small car unveiled at the Paris motor show in 2012. The name makes more sense in Germany than it does in the UK, where the car is badged as Vauxhall.

TVR Tina

Cars named after people

Martin Lilley took charge at TVR in 1965 with the aim of rejuvenating the ailing company. The Tina was the result of his vision for a more compact and affordable TVR, and a pair of prototypes were unveiled at the 1966 Turin motor show. Tina was the daughter of Gerry Marshall, a business associate of Lilley.

Fiat 125S Samantha

Cars named after people

The Fiat 125S Samantha is one of the prettiest and underrated coupes of the 1960s. You can thank Vignale for the flowing lines. Was it named after Samantha Jones, Vogue and Cosmopolitan cover star of the late 60s? certainly thinks so.

Brabham BT62

Cars named after people

Jack Brabham’s son, David’ is leading the rebirth of Brabham with the launch of the £1m BT62 supercar. But it’s not the first time the Brabham name has adorned a car…

Vauxhall Viva Brabham

Cars named after people

“What happens when a 3-times-world-champ racing driver breathes on Britain’s most exciting 1-litre saloon?” asked the Vauxhall press ad in 1967. “Brabham Viva: sounds hot, doesn’t it?” the ad continued. Yes. Yes, it does.

Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss

Cars named after people

What does $1 million get you these days? Back in 2009, when Mercedes-Benz launched the SLR Stirling Moss, it didn’t stretch as far as a windscreen or a roof. Come back Smart Crossblade, all is forgiven.

Fiat Seicento Michael Schumacher

Cars named after people

What is the highest honour in motorsport? Having a small car named in your honour, of course. Sadly, the Renault Clio Nigel Mansell never materialised, but the Clio Williams was a perfectly adequate alternative.


Cars named after people

Monica was a manufacturer of luxury cars in the 1970s, headed up by Jean Tastevin, a French industrialist, whose wife just happened to be called Monique. We suspect the Santa Monica reference may have helped when they were deciding on a name over a French beer and a couple of Gitanes.

Borgward Isabella

Cars named after people

We conclude with the Borgward Isabella, a pretty name for a very pretty car. In 2017, the company unveiled an all-electric four-door design concept under the same name. It’s not as pretty.

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1958 Maserati Eldorado

Race on a Sundae: 60 years of the Maserati ‘Eldorado’

1958 Maserati EldoradoWhat’s the greatest motorsport livery of all time? The subject is guaranteed to stir some lively debate, with the likes of Martini Racing, Marlboro McLaren, John Player Special and Gulf Racing just four examples from a very, very long list of candidates.

But while each one is evocative, few can rival the Eldorado ice cream Maserati Tipo 420/M/58. It changed motorsport forever, and today it’s celebrating its 60th anniversary.

1958 Maserati Eldorado

In 1958, the ‘Eldorado’ Maserati became the first single-seat racing car in Europe to be sponsored by a brand not linked to the world of motorsport. Significantly, it was also the first time a car was painted in the colours of the partner company, rather than the traditional colour assigned to each country by the FIA.

A big deal for motorsport fans who watched on from the side of the track, but an even bigger deal for race teams, who could call upon a whole host of new financial backers.

Maserati was commissioned to build the car by Gino Zanetti, owner of the Eldorado ice cream company. He turned to the House of the Trident to create a single-seat car to compete in the Trofeo dei due Mondi at Monza, where top American and European drivers were lined up to race.

Not one to miss an opportunity to promote his brand, Zanetti had the Maserati finished in a cream livery, rather than the traditional Italian racing red. The company logo of the smiling cowboy looked out over the nose and on the fin, while the company name was emblazoned on the sides of the car.

Other text included ‘Italia’, to denote the nationality of the sponsor and the manufacturer, along with the name of the driver: none other than Stirling Moss.

Engineer Giulio Alfieri created the ‘Eldorado’ in a matter of months. The 4,190cc V8 engine developed 410hp at 8,000rpm, which was enough to propel this 758kg sundae driver to a top speed of over 217mph.

The ‘Eldorado’ Maserati took to the Monza track for the ‘Monzanapolis’ on 29 June 1958, competing in three heats to decide the final points total. Moss finished fourth and fifth, before a steering fault ended his hopes of a strong finish in the third race.

Given that the steering gave way at 160mph, it’s quite miraculous that Moss walked away relatively unscathed, while the ‘Eldorado’ only suffered limited damage.

1958 Maserati Eldorado

Following the race, the car was modified by the Gentilini bodywork shop, which removed the rear fin and reduced the hood scoop before the car entered the Indy 500 in 1959.

This time it was finished in Italian racing red, but still emblazoned with the ice cream company’s name, but the inexperience of the driver meant that the car failed to qualify. Maserati claims that it would have been a different story with a professional driver behind the wheel.

Today, the ‘Eldorado’ proudly wears its original livery and is part of the Panini Collection, housed in Modena. You know what they say: race on a Sundae, sell on a Monday…

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Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric priced from £29,495 – but it may fall further

Hyundai Kona ElectricThe new Hyundai Kona Electric will cost from £29,495 when ordering opens on 2 August. The car will be sold exclusively through Hyundai’s Click to Buy online ordering site – and the price may yet fall further, the firm adds.

That’s because it’s not yet been accepted onto the UK Plug-in Car Grant scheme. There’s little reason why it won’t be (the Hyundai Ioniq Electric already is), so when it is officially confirmed, the effective transaction price will drop by a further £4,500.

The Hyundai Kona Electric will thus become a £24,995 EV.

Hyundai Kona Electric

It’s offered with two batteries, a 39kWh and a beefy 64kWh. The latter promises a range of over 300 miles, says Hyundai, which will exceed even that of the new 90kWh Jaguar I-Pace. But then, prices of the 64kWh model do start a little bit higher – from £33,995, or over £29,495 once the Plug-in Car Grant is factored in.

The firm hasn’t yet quoted a range for the 39kWh model; a 40kWh Nissan Leaf has a WLTP range of 168 miles (and is priced from £21,990, with the Plug-in Car Grant added in).

Ordering is initially online-only, because supplies are strictly limited, says Hyundai. Test drives will be organised via a dealer roadshow – there are so few models, dealers won’t be getting demonstrator cars just yet. The Kona Electric will fully be launched in Hyundai UK dealers from 2019.

As expected, equipment is ample on all, with every Kona Electric received 7-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, climate control, Bluetooth, rear parking camera and keyless entry. Premium and Premium SE models take things yet further, with luxurious such as Krell audio, a larger 8-inch infotainment system and, on the Premium SE, LED headlights and heated/ventilated leather seats.

Compared to a regular petrol or diesel Kona, the Kona Electric gets a redesigned, more aero-optimised front end, reprofiled lower side skirt and wheelarch claddings, plus ultra-aerodynamic alloy wheels.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Tony Whitehorn, president and CEO Hyundai Motor UK, said: “Kona Electric has already attracted a phenomenal level of interest from customers across the globe and we are expecting demand to be high with limited vehicle availability.

“With the 64kWh offering a potential 300-mile range, Kona Electric will not only appeal to customers who are already familiar with battery electric technology but perhaps more importantly, will enable some customers to take the step into electric vehicles by not only removing range anxiety but by doing so with a stylish, technically advanced and affordable package.”

Hyundai Kona Electric prices

  • SE 39kWh: £29,495
  • Premium 39kWh: £30,870
  • Premium 64kWh: £33,995
  • Premium SE 64kWh: £36,295

All prices do NOT yet include the Category 1 £4,500 Plug-in Car Grant

Average speed camera

Average speed cameras DO work says new research

Average speed cameraMotorists say average speed cameras are a far better way of making drivers stick to the speed limit than single-location fixed cameras, new research by the RAC has revealed.

The motoring organisation surveyed 2,172 people for their views on speed cameras: 79 percent agreed average cameras are effective at making people slow down over long motorway stretches.

Less than 1 in 10 said traditional fixed cameras were effective – and four in five think they have little effect at managing speed beyond the location they’re sited at.

25 percent of motorists also think average cameras are fairer; just 7 percent of people felt fixed cameras were fair.

 “We know that some drivers can be very cynical about speed cameras, with a significant minority having told us they believe they are more about raising revenue than they are about road safety,” said RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams.

“Interestingly, these latest findings show there is now a strong acceptance that they are there to help save lives and prevent casualties on the road, although more than a third claim they are about both road safety and raising revenue.”

People say they like average speed cameras because they encourage a smoother driving style and more consistent speeds: with average cameras, they say other drivers infuriatingly tend to slam on the brakes as they drive past them.

More than half believe they’re fairer to drivers who may accidentally drift over the speed limit, then reign in their speed.

They’re effective too, says the RAC: since their introduction on a stretch of the A9 in Scotland, road deaths have halved.

“This type of use of average speed cameras, together with the constant addition of more miles of smart motorways with strictly enforced variable speed limits, may be contributing to a shift in perception in favour of regulated speed enforcement over longer stretches of road,” said Williams.