Opinion: Of course Stuart Pearce drove a Ford Capri

Stuart Pearce drove a Ford Capri

Stuart Pearce drove a Ford Capri. Of course he did. You can’t imagine ‘Psycho’ behind the wheel of anything other than a Ford Capri.

This isn’t news. Pearce hung up his boots in 2002 and hasn’t put on a managerial suit or tracksuit since 2015. But the story of Pearce and his Capri was the most interesting part of a recent press release.

Green Flag is celebrating its 25th birthday this year and has enlisted the help of the former Nottingham Forest and England left-back as a campaign spokesperson. Pearce played for England 25 years ago when Green Flag sponsored the national team.

The motoring organisation was the first brand to sponsor England in 1994, with the deal ending with the FIFA World Cup tournament in July 1998. Pearce didn’t make the squad, but he took part in the subsequent Euro 2000 qualifying campaign.

From Betsy Loo to Cruella de Ville

“Driving has always been a massive part of my life,” said Pearce. “I bought my first car in 1979, her name was Betsy Loo, it was a blue Aston [sic] Morris 1300 which cost me just £225.

“When I turned professional at the age of 21, I treated myself to a Ford Capri, named Cruella de Ville. This was my favourite ever car that I’ve owned – even though it refused to start in the cold weather.”

Let’s be honest, the Capri was made for geezer like Pearce. The only car more suited for a tough-tackling left-back from Hammersmith would be a Mk1 or Mk2 Ford Granada, but a Capri just feels right for a footballer of the 80s and early 90s.

Put it this way, you can’t imagine Pearcey in an Opel Manta, Volkswagen Scirocco or Toyota Celica. Given his penalty miss at Italia ’90, it’s probably best if we don’t mention that British Capri production ceased in 1976, meaning his Capri was almost certainly built in Germany.

This Guardian article references Pearce’s steadfast refusal to fall “for the rich man’s trappings” of a professional footballer, and how his Capri was “stubbornly parked among the Porsches” in the players’ car park.

He was almost certainly the last to leave the home ground, not because he was in the club bar or tied up signing autographs for young Coventry City or Nottingham Forest fans, but because the Capri would often fail to start.

“It used to take an eternity to start the car in the cold weather, my older brother would put his donkey jacket over the car engine in the winter so that it wasn’t as cold when he went to start it the following morning.

“I also remember having to start cars on hills in cold weather to get them going. Defrosting windscreens also took an age, as did warming up the inside of the cars – we didn’t have the luxury of heated seats!”

Please tell us that tough-as-nails Stuart Pearce doesn’t enjoy the ‘luxury’ of a heated seat. That would be like telling us that Dwayne Johnson has a knitted toilet roll cover in his downstairs cloakroom. Or Jason Statham insists on having fondant fancies served to him on a paper doily.

‘Flying cars will become the norm,’ says Stuart Pearce

Flying cars will become the norm

Still, if there’s one thing you didn’t expect to read today, it’s Stuart Pearce’s vision of what cars will look like in 25 years time.

“In the future, I have no doubt that cars will keep getting ‘greener’ which is really important considering the environmental issues we currently face. The research shows that 50 percent of Brits think that that cars will be self-driving in the future, and I count myself in that number.

“Likewise, the way that technology is developing, flying cars will become the norm in the not too distant future – although I don’t think I’ll be giving that a try any time soon”.

We’ll leave you with the news that Pearce has a “large punk collection in [his] car to help keep [him] entertained on long journeys”.

If you’re not imaging the footwells of a black Mk3 Ford Capri 2.8i loaded up to the air vents with cassettes of The Stranglers, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and The Clash, you’re not trying hard enough. 

Main image courtesy of Austin Osuide.

What is Amazon Echo Auto and how does it add Alexa to your car?

What is Amazon Echo Auto

With Amazon Echo Auto, Alexa has officially made the move from home to car. Amazon Echo Auto connects to the Alexa app on your smartphone, and plays through the car’s speakers via Bluetooth or auxiliary input. 

It means that, in theory, you can choose your music, change the radio station, stream podcasts, listen to the news, make a telephone call, or get directions – all without taking your hands off the wheel.

Right now,  exclusively by invitation only, for the discounted price of $24.99. Amazon says everyone who requests an invitation will be able to buy Echo Auto for the lower price, even after it has gone on general release for $49.99.

It’s not the first time Alexa has been available in a car, but it’s the first time you can get the personal assistant directly from Amazon.

How does Amazon Echo Auto work?

Amazon Echo Auto device

If you’re familiar with Alexa – or any voice-controlled personal assistants for that matter – Echo Auto will need no introduction.

It’s much smaller than the cylindrical speaker or hockey puck Echo or Echo Dot you might have at home. At 85 mm x 47 mm x 13.28 mm, it’s small enough to find a home in most cars. Weighing just 45 grams, it’s also light enough to take on the move.

It connects to Alexa via the Alexa phone app and plays through the car’s speakers via Bluetooth or the aux-in. Each time you start the car, make sure the phone’s volume is turned up and that the stereo is set to the correct input, then say “Alexa”.

What are its key features?

Amazon Echo Auto

Echo Auto has eight microphones, which means Alexa can hear you over road noise, claims Amazon. It’s a claim backed up by early reviews in the United States, with The Verge reporting that “Alexa can hear [you] when [you’re] going 70 on the freeway with the windows rolled down”.

The device also features an action button, light bar, 3.5 mm audio output, micro-USB power and microphone off button.

Is Echo Auto any good?

Amazon Echo Auto for cars

Sean Hollister’s engaging and interesting review of Amazon Echo Auto suggests it could be a bit hit or miss.

On the one hand, Sean rates the quality of the microphones and the Bluetooth connection, arguing that “it’s worth paying the $25 promo price for the Bluetooth adapter functionality alone”.

But he also lists a number of reasons why “Alexa is really dumb about location”, going on to say that “Amazon has put remarkably little effort into improving the things you might want Alexa to do from a car”.

Of some of the claims advertised on Amazon’s website, Sean says they are “laughably bad right now”.

Is Echo Auto an alternative to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto?

2019 Skoda Scala Apple CarPlay

Sean’s review suggests that Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or Google Assistant are superior to Amazon Echo Auto.

Amazon says Echo Auto connects to most cars that support Bluetooth to play music or that have an auxiliary input. It works best on cars that do not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, it says.

What’s in the box?

Amazon Echo Auto comes with an in-car power adapter, micro-USB cable, 3.5 mm auxiliary cable and quick-start guide.

Amazon Echo Auto: specifications

  • Price: $49.99 ($24.99 via invitation)
  • Size: 85 mm x 47 mm x 13.28 mm
  • Weight: 45 grams
  • Supports: Android 6.0 and iOS 12 or greater
  • Plan usage: uses existing smartphone plan (carrier charges may apply)
  • Warranty: one-year limited warranty included
Corsa-E Rally racer debut at Frankfurt

Vauxhall has made an electric Corsa rally car

Corsa-E Rally racer debut at Frankfurt

Vauxhall’s European sister company Opel has made an electric rally car. It’s to be the first car manufacturer in the world to offer an electric car for customer rallying. The Corsa-E Rally, based on the EV variant of the new hatch, is to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

In appearance, it’s as much a grassroots rally hero as any internal combustion-powered car. A lurid silver and green livery covers aggressive front and rear bumpers. The wheels are lightweight, four-stud Speedlines and there are bonnet clips.

Corsa-E Rally racer debut at Frankfurt

We’ve no view of the cabin yet. You can bet that it’s been comprehensively stripped, though. Bucket seats in place of the standard items and a competition wheel are dead certs. We’d be surprised if there was a sequential shifter to be found in there, though…

The car will be used in the Opel e-Rally Cup, which is also the first branded cup for electric cars in the world. The series is set to begin in the summer of next year, and should offer young rally drivers a great first step on the rally ladder.

Each race will feature 15 examples of the electric Corsa rally car, which will cost less than £46,000. In terms of performance, it should produce around 130hp and 177lb ft. How that instant electric performance will feel off-road will be interesting to see.

Corsa-E Rally racer debut at Frankfurt

As above, the rally car, of course, complements the new road car. You can reserve one of those right now for £500. The first 500 customers will get a home charge kit for free.

The road-going Corsa-E will cost from £26,490 (after the £3,500 plug-in grant). It should be capable of up to 205 miles of range, and should recuperate up to 80 percent of its battery capacity within 30 minutes if connected to a fast-charger. 

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Ford Fiesta ST M225 review: Mountune making the best, better

Mountune Ford Fiesta ST M225

One could be forgiven for lamenting the loss of the true people’s performance car. Why wouldn’t you, if the newly-released, £50,000, four-wheel-drive, 415 hp Mercedes-AMG A45 S is what passes for a ‘hot hatch’ in 2019?

Thankfully, cars like the superb Ford Fiesta ST serve to remind us that bucketloads of fun is still available in small and inexpensive packages. 

It’s a car that is a class-leader straight out of the box. But if you want a lower, meaner and more aggressive Fiesta ST, and you haven’t managed to secure a bright orange ‘Ford Performance Edition’, well, the only way is Essex.

Mountune Ford Fiesta ST M225

Specifically, Hutton, near Brentwood, home to famed performance Ford wizards Mountune. For four decades, Mountune has been making magic with high-performance Fords. Today, it helps retain Essex’s reputation as the home, heart and soul of the fastest Fast Fords.

Now, say hello to its latest creation, the Ford Fiesta ST M225. 

What makes the Mountune version of the new Fiesta ST stand out? Even at a glance, plenty. If you know your cars, you’ll know this is no ordinary Fiesta ST. 

The prototype wing extension and livery on this car deliver added theatre, without overdoing it. Step inside, and the quick shifter with a bespoke knob and Mountune-branded mats tease the potential of this hopped-up hot hatch.

In terms of real upgrades, this M225 packs 225 horsepower, achieved via an engine remap and a new induction kit. That’s a healthy rise over the standard car’s 200 hp output. Lowering springs provide added stiffness, upgraded brakes help to bring that extra muscle under control, and the new shifter improves gearshift weighting.

Mountune Ford Fiesta ST M225

What does it all add up to? Well, apart from a £2,866 bill, our test drive revealed a Fiesta ST with a newfound layer of aggression.

On first impressions, maybe too much of it. The suspension changes are immediately evident and, in the real world, not entirely welcome. On a track, we’re sure it would feel sweet, but British back roads aren’t blessed with the smoothness of Silverstone’s Hangar Straight.

Happily, we’re told the suspension package is still undergoing some refinements. And, on the positive side, the extra turn-in bite it lends the Fez is enjoyable. Don’t dial that out please, Mountune. Just tune out some of the harshness, if you can.

Mountune Ford Fiesta ST M225

The upgraded engine, we’re happy to report, is a peach. The M225 map and induction package gives it a welcome dose of extra muscle and vocals that the standard ST wasn’t exactly short on.

Mountune’s engineers told us that their goal with these packages is an ‘OEM-plus’ feel. That’s to say, the sort of car a factory engineer with too much time on their hands might pump out, given some donated unpaid hours in the development lab.

As you’re working the thrumming three-pot with the new slick shifter, it feels naughty and mischievous. There’s a real skunkworks vibe to this ST on performance-enhancers. We found it quickly became addictive. 

Happily, when the Essex back roads bleed into sleepy villages, the new brakes bring the ST under control. They’re a well-calibrated and worthwhile upgrade over standard items, both in terms of stopping power and feel.

Mountune Ford Fiesta ST M225

That near-three grand bill isn’t a blanket cost either, Mountune is keen to stress – you needn’t worry about too severe a disruption to your ability to make those finance payments. Instead, you can plump for what you want out of the menu of upgrades our car came with.

If it were us, we’d grab the 225 upgrade (including induction and map) the shifter and maybe the Mountune stripe. All of that’s just over £1,000, but it’s another £1,175 if you want those cracking brakes too.

The standard car’s suspension works so well on UK roads, corrupting it doesn’t feel entirely necessary. If you’re in the market for the all-essential ‘lows’, though, the finished suspension should ride more smoothly. We can’t wait to test the final package: it could be icing on the cake. 

Verdict: Ford Fiesta ST Mountune M225

Overall, Mountune has succeeded in furhter enhancing a lot of what makes the Fiesta ST such an essential grassroots hot hatch. But then, was a company this flush with fast Ford heritage ever going to botch it? Hardly.

Facts: Ford Fiesta ST Mountune M225

M225 power package cost: £795.50

Cost of upgrades to our car: £2,866

Engine: 1.5 3-cylinder EcoBoost

Power: 225 hp

Torque: 250 lb ft

0-62 mph: 5.9 seconds

Top speed: 144 mph+

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CCTV systems to catch people ‘ICEing’

EV parking enforcement against ICEing

Electric car charge point provider Alfa Power is poised to roll out parking enforcement with the help of EV Parking management. The installation of CCTV monitoring and ANPR will be used to penalise drivers who are ‘ICEing’.

What is ICEing?

I hate people sometimes. from r/electricvehicles

ICEing is the term used to describe the act of parking in an electric car charging bay in an internal combustion car. Doing so often robs EV owners of a potentially important charging spot.

It’s a problem that electric car owners are often vocal about on social media, posting pictures of ICE-powered cars taking up precious charging bays. For someone in dire need of some juice, we can understand their frustration.

Fighting ICEing

The CCTV and ANPR systems will be used to track down and send a fine to fossil fuel-burners when they abuse EV-only parking. EV Parking Management is a company set up specifically to help fight the people that aren’t using EV charging bays properly.

Electric car drivers can be fined too

EV parking enforcement

Although EV parking bays are for electric cars, drivers of any plug-in cars can be fined. The spaces are for people who are charging, specifically. Parking spaces aren’t limited commodities that need protecting. Places to charge your electric car are. That goes for plug-in hybrid drivers who elect to not plug in when they park up, too.

Basically, if you park in an Alfa Power charging bay, you’d better plug in.

Porsche Taycan is the world’s first car with built-in Apple Music

Porsche Taycan gets build-in Apple Music

The anticipation surrounding the launch of the Porsche Taycan is palpable. What performance will it deliver? How much will it cost? How far will it go? These are all headline questions. As for the more day-to-day stuff, an interesting tidbit to report is that it’ll be the first car to come with Apple Music built-in.

In reality, regardless of the hype and hysteria, this is the kind of thing buyers will actually care about long-term.

Apple Music and Porsche explained

Porsche Taycan gets build-in Apple Music

Think of Apple Music as the tech giant’s response to Spotify. For subscribers, it carries over 50 million songs ad-free, thousands of curated playlists and its own radio station called Beats 1.

In addition, Taycan buyers will also get access to playlists made by Porsche. New and existing Porsche owners can also get up to six months free use of Apple Music. All Taycans will also come with in-car internet for three years, including an external antenna and roaming package.

You can cultivate a quality music listening environment with your Taycan, too. Optional is a Burmeister surround sound system, which can be combined with Apple’s Digital Masters service to listen to music in high quality.

2019 Porsche Taycan electric orders

“Porsche and Apple Music fit perfectly,” said Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche.

“We share common values, and the same relentless attitude to user experience, to quality engineering, to design, to innovation. Together, we bring innovative digital entertainment technologies in our high-performance sports cars, starting with our fully electric Taycan.”

Volvo S60 gets 390hp hybrid, Polestar power to follow

Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

Volvo has given the S60 a stocky set of hybrid muscles. Meet the new T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. It’s got 390hp courtesy of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine connected to an 87hp electric motor.

S60 T8 Twin Engine: 0-62 in 4.6 seconds, 176mpg

Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

The T8’s clever powertrain delivers the best of both worlds. When you’re not getting to 62mph in 4.6 seconds, you could be getting a WLTP-tested 176mpg. Quite what it can do in the real-world remains to be seen, but it should be impressive for the performance of the car.

It has an electric-only range of 36 miles, and the overall CO2 output is just 39g/km. The only downside is that the T8 is over £10,000 more than the non-hybrid T5 packing near enough the same four-cylinder engine. The S60 T8 costs from £49,805, compared to the T5’s £37,935. As an uber-efficient hybrid, however, it does offer the benefit of cheap company car tax for 40 percent tax payers – just £265 a month.

R-Design Plus – looks to match the muscle

Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

The T8 Twin Engine S60 is available exclusively in R-Design Plus trim, which means all plug-in T8s will have sporty looks to hint at the power within. The visual upgrade consists of high-gloss black exterior trim pieces and a choice between 18-, 19- and 20-inch allows.

The T5 non-hybrid also gets a 12mm drop in ride height, stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars and faster monotube dampers.

On the inside for both, you get part-leather sports seats, metal mesh alloy inlays, gearshift paddles and a head-up display. As standard in the S60 R-Design Plus, you get a touchscreen with sat nav, voice control, adaptive LED lights, all-round parking sensors, hands-free boot and autonomous emergency city braking.

Polestar performance on the way

Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

The last tease from Volvo is that there is a ‘Polestar Engineered’ variant of the S60 on the way. No, that’s not the full fat 600hp+ Polestar, but it will be sportier, taking the T8 powertrain up to 405hp. Not quite an M car fighter, but appreciated all the same.

“With R-Design Plus and Inscription Plus, we can offer the choice of a more focused driving experience or something more luxurious – qualities that resonate strongly with private owners and business users in the premium mid-size saloon market,” said Matt Galvin, sales director of Volvo Car UK.

“Add the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid T8 Twin Engine to the mix and we’re sure the extended S60 range will make a significant contribution to Volvo Car UK’s continued sales success.”

Silverstone Classic 2019

The best motoring events for car enthusiasts in 2019

Silverstone Classic 2019

2019 is already turning out to be another another vintage year for car enthusiasts, with an ever-increasing number of motoring events to attend. Here, we have researched some of the UK’s biggest and best car shows and motorsport events, along with a selection of European shows within easy reach of French ports.

We’ll be adding to the list throughout 2019, so be sure to bookmark this page. Alternatively, get in touch if you fancy adding your own event to our list.

CarFest South – 23-25 August

CarFest South – 23-25 August

CarFest South is like CarFest North, just further south. So, you can expect more of the same, only this time at Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire, at the end of August.

Salon Privé – 5-8 September

Salon Privé – 5-8 September

Salon Privé is a motoring event for fans of superlatives. ‘The most luxurious of garden parties set against the backdrop of Britain’s greatest palace (Blenheim Palace). Presenting the finest collection of supercars, hypercars and classic cars, along with a luxury retail village and exquisite cuisine, it is a truly unique experience’. Tickets are priced accordingly…

Concours of Elegance – 6-8 September

Concours of Elegance – 6-8 September

The Concours of Elegance 2019 will take place at Hampton Court Palace in September, with 60 of the finest cars ever built lining up in the Fountain Gardens. A number of car manufacturers will be attendance, including Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin and Geely.

Beaulieu International Autojumble – 7-8 September

Beaulieu International Autojumble – 7-8 September

If rummaging for oily car parts is your idea of a dirty weekend, the International Autojumble is the event for you. Some 2,000 stands are expected to fill the grounds of the Beaulieu Motor Museum, making it the biggest outdoor sale of motoring items this side of the Atlantic.

Goodwood Revival – 13-15 September

Goodwood Revival – 13-15 September

Step back in time at the Goodwood Revival. Visitors are encouraged to dress in period clothing at this event celebrating the golden era of motorsport. Tickets are available now and you’re advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

Wales Rally GB – 3-6 October

Wales Rally GB – 3-6 October

The 12th round of the FIA World Rally Championship drops in on Wales in October. Wales Rally GB takes place over four days of competition and each day is divided into a number of ‘Special Stages’.

Truckfest – 5-6 October

Truckfest – 5-6 October

The TruckFest calendar draws to a close at the Newark and Notts Showground in October, but there are seven other opportunities to get your trucking fix. The TruckFest year kicks off at the East of England showground in May, before rolling into Wolsingham, Malvern, Edinburgh, Kent, Shepton Mallet and Knutsford.

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run – 3 November

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run – 3 November

In 2018, 400 pioneering veteran cars gathered in Hyde Park for the start of the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. In total, nearly 90 percent of the starters made it to Brighton before the 4.30pm deadline to claim a finishers’ medal. How many will make it in 2019?

Classic Motor Show – 8-10 November

Classic Motor Show – 8-10 November

If you’re looking for a reason not to put your classic car into hibernation, this could be it. The Classic Motor Show is held at the NEC, were more than 3,000 classics are expected to go on display in an area the size of 18 football pitches.

If you’d like to see your event included in our next update, get in touch with us. Happy motoring.

The one’s you’ve missed… catch ’em in 2020!

Sunday Scramble – 6 January

Sunday Scramble – 6 January

Bicester Heritage welcomed around 5,500 car enthusiasts for the last Sunday Scramble of 2018, and the promise of good weather could tempt a similar number out of their beds for the first event of 2019. What better way to kick off the motoring new year? The Sunday Scramble will continue throughout 2019.

Haynes Breakfast Club – 6 January

Haynes Breakfast Club – 6 January

Alternatively, car fans in the South and South West might prefer to head to the Haynes Motor Museum for the first Breakfast Club of the year. The museum, which is located just off the A303 in Somerset, is home to around 400 cars, while the cafe opens at 9am on Breakfast Club Sundays. These events are free to attend and held on the first Sunday of each month.

Autosport International – 10-13 January

Autosport International – 10-13 January

Autosport International is the biggest pre-season motorsport show, bringing together racing, automotive and engineering sectors under the roof of Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Highlights include a live action arena, the Silverstone Auctions Autosport sale and a celebration of 50 years of Formula 5000.

Mini Fair 2019 – 27 January

Mini Fair 2019 – 27 January

Champagne corks will be popping at the Staffordshire County Showground as the classic Mini celebrates its 60th anniversary. This is also the 20th year of MINI Fair, with thousands of people expected to attend this event organised by the British Mini Club. Highlights include a Mini Jumble, Pride of Ownership competition and club displays.

Great Western Classic Car Show – 9-10 February

Great Western Classic Car Show – 9-10 February

The Footman James Great Western Classic Car Show is the biggest event of its kind in the South West of England, with thousands of car enthusiasts converging on the Royal Bath & West Showground.

Retromobile – 6-10 February

Retromobile – 6-10 February

Retromobile is held in the largest and most prestigious hall at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre, Paris, a location befitting an event of this stature. This year, highlights include a celebration of 100 years of Citroen and 45 years of the Peugeot Renault Volvo (PRV) V6 engine.

London Classic Car Show – 14-17 February

London Classic Car Show – 14-17 February

Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design, will receive The London Classic Car Show Icon Award 2019 at this year’s event, where you’ll also see a tribute to The Italian Job film, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. The London Classic Car Show is held at Excel London from Valentine’s Day.

Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show – 19-24 February

Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show – 19-24 February

The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show is the largest showcase of motorhomes, campervans, caravans, caravan holidays and lodges in the UK. The latest 2019 touring caravans and motorhomes will be on display, along with a new-for-2019 Camping Zone. Head to Birmingham’s NEC if caravans float your boat.

Race Retro – 22-24 February

Race Retro – 22-24 February

At the end of February, all motorsport roads will lead to Stoneleigh Park for the Race Retro international historic motorsport show. Highlights include a live rally stage, ‘arrive and drive a classic car’, Pride of the Paddock and a Silverstone Auctions sale.

Practical Classics Restoration Show – 22-24 March

Practical Classics Restoration Show – 22-24 March

Last year’s Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show attracted around 28,000 visitors across three days, with 150 car clubs also in attendance. Highlights include the UK’s biggest ‘barn-find’ display, the Practical Classics Live Stage, the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership competition and an autojumble. Head to the NEC at the end of March.

Britcar, Silverstone – 30 March

Britcar, Silverstone – 30 March

The Britcar Endurance Championship gets underway at Silverstone on 30 March, with further races at Brands Hatch, Donington, Oulton Park and Snetterton. At the time of writing, the dates remain provisional, so be sure to check the Britcar website for more details.

BTCC, Brands Hatch – 6-7 April

BTCC, Brands Hatch – 6-7 April

Brands Hatch will host the curtain-raiser of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship in April, before the BTCC juggernaut heads to Donington Park at the end of the month, Thruxton in May, Croft and Oulton Park in June, Snetterton and Thruxton in August, Knockhill and Silverstone in September, before culminating at Brands Hatch in October.

Techno-Classica Essen – 10-14 April

Techno-Classica Essen – 10-14 April

Techno-Classica Essen is a European classic car show with a global reputation, with around 1,250 exhibitors from 30 countries. In 2018, the event attracted 188,000 visitors from 41 different nations. Essen is a four- to five-hour drive from Calais.

The Easter Motor Show at Weston Park – 21-22 April

Amazing cars of the Goodwood Revival car park

Happy Easter! If you’re trying to escape Easter Egg temptation, why not get along to Weston Park in Staffordshire for The Easter Motor Show, a new classic vehicle event. The organisers are promising plenty of cars plus trade stalls, a craft tent, a special classic commercial theme – and even some contemporary cars from invited modern vehicle dealerships. Adults tickets cost £10, kids aged 4-16 are £5, and a family ticket is £25.

Donington Historic Festival – 3-5 May

Donington Historic Festival – 3-5 May

At the time of writing, the timetable for the 2019 Donington Historic Festival hasn’t been announced, but if previous events are anything to go by, this is a must-visit event for fans of historic motorsport. ‘Early bird’ tickets are available until the end of January.

Gaydon Land Rover Show – 11-12 May

Gaydon Land Rover Show - 11-12 May

Hundreds of Land Rovers will be on display at the Gaydon Land Rover Show in May. Owners can enter their vehicle for just £7, giving entry to display the Land Rover, as well as admitting the driver and one passenger to enter the show for the weekend. The event is held at the British Motor Museum, which is five minutes from junction 12 of the M40.

Beaulieu Spring Autojumble – 18-19 May

Beaulieu Spring Autojumble

The Beaulieu Spring Autojumble is 25 years old in 2019. To celebrate, organisers are encouraging all jumblers to decorate their stands in a silver theme – and as over 1,000 stands are expected, it should be quite the spectacle. The fast-growing Land Rover Rummage is another highlight of the Spring Autojumble: bargain-hunting starts at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday. 

Power Maxed MotoFest Coventry – 1-2 June

Power Maxed MotoFest Coventry– 1-2 June

Formerly known as the Coventry MotoFest, the Power Maxed MotoFest Coventry is ‘a unique blend of motorsport demonstrations, static displays, live music and anything else with a connection to Coventry and transport’. The organisers are hoping to make it the ‘Edinburgh Festival of motoring’. Nice.

Goodwood Breakfast Club: Supercar Sunday – 2 June

Goodwood Breakfast Club Supercar Sunday

The latest FREE TO ATTEND Goodwood Breakfast Club is celebrating all things supercars – and Motoring Research will be there, in a bright blue brand new Audi R8 V10. Look out for our logo and come along to say hello! 

Classic & Performance Car Spectacular – 1-2 June

Classic & Performance Car Spectacular – 1-2 June

Tatton Park, Cheshire, is the venue for the Classic & Performance Car Spectacular on 1 and 2 June. Around 2,000 cars will be on display, along with 250 stalls and 90+ clubs. If you miss this one, Tatton Park will also play host to a Classic American show in July and a ‘Passion for Power’ show in August.

The Isle of Man TT – 1-7 June

The Isle of Man TT– 1-7 June

The fastest road race on the planet gets underway on Saturday 1 June, although qualifying begins on Saturday 25 May. All eyes will be on the Isle of Man as the world’s bravest riders test their mettle on the formidable 37.73-mile course.

London Concours – 5-6 June

London Concours

Billed as the ‘ultimate automotive summer garden party’ London Concours takes place at the Honourable Artillery Company, in the heart of the city. More than 100 high-end classics and supercars were on show last year, from American muscle to a McLaren F1. Tickets for the 2019 event are on sale now, priced from £35.

Le Mans 24 Hours – 15-16 June

Le Mans 24 Hours – 15-16 June

The 87th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours will take place on 15-16 June, and for the first time ever, the event will mark the end of the World Endurance Championship. Qualifying begins on 12 June and Le Mans is located less than three hours from the ferry terminals at Cherbourg, St-Malo and Le Havre.

MG Live – 15-16 June CANCELLED

MG Live – 15-16 June

Sorry, MG fans – the popular MG Live event has been CANCELLED this year, due to resurfacing work at the Silverstone circuit. The organisers are bitterly disappointed but hope the event can return in a new guise next year. 

Bromley Pageant – 23 June

Bromley Pageant – 23 June

The Bromley Pageant is one of the world’s largest one-day classic car shows, with more than 3,000 vehicles expected to be on display in Kent. Highlights include an autojumble, trade village and a chance to meet Jimmy de Ville of Goblin Works Garage and Fifth Gear fame.

Goodwood Festival of Speed – 4-7 July

Goodwood Festival of Speed – 4-7 July

In 1993, Lord March hosted a hillclimb in the grounds of Goodwood House in Sussex and created the Festival of Speed. It has grown to become one of the world’s biggest and most famous motoring events, but the hillclimb remains central to its success. 

Motoring Research is there all weekend… we have already checked out the performance car park and looked at the new cars being showcased at the 2019 Festival of Speed… check out our other Goodwood news throughout the weekend! 

BMC and Leyland Show – 7 July

BMC and Leyland Show – 7 July

In stark contrast to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this is a show celebrating the vehicles produced by BMC, British Leyland and Rover Group. Convoys will run from the BMW Mini plant in Cowley and MG Longbridge, while the event will celebrate 60 years of Farina. Head to the British Motor Museum, Gaydon, if BL is your thing.

Japfest – 13 July

Japfest – 5 May and 13 July

Fans of Japanese cars have two Japfest events to choose from – the Silverstone was in May, and the Donington round runs in July. Highlights include the Japfest Sprint Test, club displays and track time.

British Grand Prix – 12-14 July

British Grand Prix – 12-14 July

With no deal in place beyond 2019, this could be the last time Silverstone hosts the Formula 1 British Grand Prix. In 2018, the British GP had the highest attendance of any race on the F1 calendar – will Silverstone’s fate be sealed before Lewis Hamilton and co. return to Northamptonshire?

Festival of the Unexceptional – 20 July

Festival of the Unexceptional – 20 July

For 2019, the Festival of the Unexceptional will move to the Claydon Estate, Buckinghamshire, where everything from Marinas to Metros and Chevettes to Corollas will line up to compete in the Concours de l’Ordinaire. The event is open to classic cars and light commercial vehicles built between 1966 and 1996.

Silverstone Classic – 26-28 July

Silverstone Classic – 26-28 July

To some people, this is one of the highlights of the motoring calendar – a three-day, non-stop historic motoring racing extravaganza. Once in, there’s free access to the paddocks and grandstands, with displays from more than 100 car clubs featuring more than 10,000 classic cars (with more than 100,000 visitors expected over the weekend). Celebrations this year include 50 years of the Ford Capri and 60 years of the Mini. 

Silverstone Classic 2019

Silverstone Classic 2019

Top racers will be in attendance too, including three-time BTCC champion Colin Turkington (pictured above), who’ll be driving an ex-Steve Soper BMW M3 racer. Other headline races include pre-66 touring cars, FIA Masters historic Formula One and a massive 60-car grid full of classic Mini racers.

CarFest North – 26-28 July

CarFest North – 26-28 July

CarFest North takes place at Bolesworth Castle, Cheshire, where you can expect to find the usual mix of music, cars and family fun. BBC Children in Need will receive 50 percent of the total profits, with a number of other charities also benefiting from the proceeds.

Classics on the Common – July

Classics on the Common – July

For one Wednesday every July, Harpenden is invaded by classic cars as it plays host to the UK’s largest weekday car show. Classics on the Common takes place on our doorstep, so we’ll be there to bring you the most interesting cars from the event. Come and say hello.

Ford Fair – 4 August

Ford Fair – 4 August

Ford Fair is Europe’s biggest Ford event, with around 4,000 cars and 18,000 guests expected to flood Silverstone. You can expect the usual mix of showroom-quality vehicles, sprint tests and track time.

Ultimate Street Car – 9-11 August

Ultimate Street Car – 9-11 August

Ultimate Street Car (USC) at Santa Pod Raceway is the ‘largest, loudest, hottest and fastest modified car festival in Europe’. Expect drifting, stunt displays, drag racing, music and tyre smoke. Lots of tyre smoke.

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Britain’s first contactless car vending machine open for business

buy a car via contactless payment

Auto Trader has launched Britain’s first contactless car vending machine. Yes, a car vending machine, through which you can buy a car with contactless payment on your phone.

The machine is located at Spitalfields Market in London.

It is, of course, a bespoke machine, one that allows purchases of up to £21,000. The car comes ‘pre-haggled’. There’s no negotiating on price, because the discounts have already been factored in.

This is all on-message for Auto Trader: the new and used car marketplace aims to encourage “buy and go” simplicity, confident in the price you’ve found through its service. 

The stunt is in response to research that suggests that Brits find the process of buying a car burdensome and unappealing.

buy a car via contactless payment

The machine took three months to design and build, by a team of six engineers. There’s even a key release and door release function.

A modern way of buying a car should put you in a modern car, shouldn’t it? Hence the vehicle on offer is the Renault Zoe. That ‘pre-haggled’ price is £16,000, taking into account the significant discounts buyers can find via Auto Trader.

The Zoe is one of the most-searched-for electric cars in the country, reveal Auto Trader search figures.

buy a car via contactless payment

“Today we’re showcasing a real-life version on what can be found on Auto Trader; brand new cars at transparent pre-haggled prices that you can drive away today,” said a spokesman from Auto Trader.

“The only difference is that this Renault Zoe can be purchased at the touch of a card, testing London car buyers’ appetite for electric cars as well as a more instant purchasing future.”

Ban regular car sales by 2035 or face ‘dire consequences’, says report

The government should not wait until 2040 to ban the sale of ‘conventional’ new cars and vans.

That’s one of a number of hard-hitting recommendations laid out by the Science and Technology Committee in its report on clean growth.

“The UK is not even on course to meet its existing legally binding targets for 2023 and 2032”, it says, and petrol and diesel cars are at the centre of the problem.

In 2017, the government announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, with all conventional vehicles banned from the road by 2050. But environmental groups have called for the ban to be brought forward.

Last year, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said that it “may be necessary for the sales of petrol and diesel vehicles to end by 2035”.

It called for ultra-low emission vehicles to account for 60 percent of the new car market by 2030 to “keep open the possibility of 100 percent of new sales by 2035”.

But the government isn’t doing enough, says the Science and Technology Committee, and “urgent action is required to reverse the current policy trend of cut backs and slow progress”.

Ban cars by 2035 at the latest

ban cars sooner

Ten areas of shortfall have been identified in a wide-ranging report. The government has been slammed for not delivering a promised White Paper on ‘The future of the energy market’, and there are concerns over the complexity of obtaining planning permission for onshore wind farms.

The cut in the plug-in car grant for the lowest-emission cars, the abolition of the grant for other low-emission cars and the freeze in fuel duty are the shortfalls relating to cars.

The Committee has made a series of recommendations to get the UK ready for net-zero by 2050. The priorities for transport include:

  • Bring forward the date of the proposed ban on the sales of petrol and diesel cars to 2035 at the latest.
  • Ensure the ban covers hybrid vehicles.
  • Reconsider the fiscal incentives for consumers to purchase new AND used low emission vehicles.
  • Accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charge points.
  • Introduce measures to ensure that charge points are interoperable and compatible with a smart energy system.

Crucially, the report says that the government “should not aim to achieve emissions reductions simply by replacing existing vehicles with lower-emission versions”. 

“Their manufacturer generates substantial emissions,” it warns, so “widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation”.

‘Dire consequences for the environment’

Norman Lamb MP, chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said: “Parliament has declared a climate emergency.

“The worrying effects of climate change, such as heatwaves, wildfires and flooding are already occurring at an alarming rate and will have a huge impact on future generations. 

“If governments across the world fail to act, it will have dire consequences for the environment and generations to come.

“The scale of the challenge cannot be underestimated.”

‘Giving up on emerging science and technology’

Motoring organisations have been quick to shift the spotlight away from personal cars, with the decarbonisation of light commercial vehicles viewed as a priority.

Edmund King, AA president, told BBC News: “Stating that widespread personal vehicle ownership isn’t compatible with significant decarbonisation seems to be giving up on emerging science and technology.

“Technology is developing at a rapid rate with great potential from more efficient electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

“More emphasis should be going into renewable energy and greener vehicle production rather than higher fuel duty or banning hybrids, as the report recommends.

“The fastest growth in traffic is by vans due to internet deliveries so more technological effort should be put into decarbonising that sector as a priority.”