This is the world’s most immaculate McLaren F1

Restored McLaren F1

McLaren is flexing its official Certification program by MSO again this year, by showing off chassis F1 #63  in a freshly-restored and newly-certified state. You can see it in person at Hampton Court Concours d’Elegance 2019 next week.

The restoration took 18 months, and involved a full engine and transmission rebuild, and a complete interior retrim.

On the inside, new leather and alcantara trim is complemented by a new steering wheel taken from MSO’s stockpile of original parts. The owner kept the original wheel as a memento – so cool.

Restored McLaren F1

Following the rebuild, the BMW V12 engine was even dyno-tested to make sure it produced figures befitting an F1.

Other parts were also sent back to their original suppliers for refurbishment and rebuild. The dampers went back to Bilstein while the driveshafts and hubs were also refreshed by their original supplier.

The result, after those 18 months, and 3,000 man-hours, is a near good-as-new McLaren F1, track-proven and complete with a certificate of authenticity and history file. The owner even got a scale model created from a laser scan of the car.

Restored McLaren F1

MSO’s certified program is pretty well the closest thing anyone will get to experiencing taking delivery of a brand new McLaren F1. The catch is that you have to own one to send in for a restoration in the first place…

“Just 12 months ago we announced the MSO McLaren F1 Heritage programme with the unveiling of F1 25R, resplendent in Gulf Racing Colours”, said Ansar Ali, Managing Director, McLaren Special Operations.

Restored McLaren F1

“Following an extensive restoration, which was very much a labour of love for our team, it’s an honour to now display chassis 63 at the Hampton Court Concours d’Elegance.

“With the work the team has carried out, this car will continue to fulfil the original brief for the McLaren F1; to create the world’s finest road car.”

Toyota car production will pause a day after Brexit

Toyota production to pause in the UK after Brexit

Toyota UK is hoping to mitigate supply issues that could arise immediately after Brexit by pausing car production for one day.

“We will have a production pause on the first day of Brexit, which is Friday 1st November 2019,” said a spokesman.

“Then we will restart production on the Monday and the Tuesday.”

Toyota Corolla

In spite of the closure, Toyota doesn’t expect any volume to be lost due to the factory’s down-time. 

It remains unclear exactly what the effects of Brexit – be it with a deal or not – will be.

“We don’t know what the actual situation will be like. We’ve already pulled forward a couple of days of extra inventory which we will then use on the Monday and Tuesday and we will have to see what the situation is after that,” continued the spokesman.

Toyota Corolla production in Burnaston

UK automotive has been one of the most critical sectors of Brexit, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) claiming that no deal with the EU would be like ‘death by a thousand cuts’ for homegrown industry.

A recent report has suggested that the total cost of a no-deal Brexit could top £4 billion per year.

Toyota Corolla production in Burnaston

Toyota production comprises eight percent of the 1.52 million cars built annually in Britain.

It commenced making its new Corolla at the Burnaston factory in Derbyshire this year.

Volkswagen slashes price of electric e-Golf

Volkswagen cuts price of e-Golf

Volkswagen has cut the price of its e-Golf electric car by £2,765. That’s an 8.1 percent discount off the original £33,840 on-the-road price, now reduced to £31,075.

After the government Plug-in Car Grant, you can now get into an e-Golf for £27,575.

To grab buyers’ attention, Volkswagen is also offering free 48-hour test drives, so people can see how its electric model fits into their lives. Similar schemes are offered by other manufacturers

Volkswagen cuts price of e-Golf

The e-Golf has been part of the Mk7 Golf range since 2014. It offers a WLTP-certified range of 144 miles, 136hp and 393lb ft of torque.

However, the eighth-generation Golf is on the horizon, along with Volkswagen’s bravest foray into the electric car market yet: the ID.3. The first of a new ID line of electric cars, it will deliver more than 300 miles of range in top spec.

Both the Mk8 Golf and ID.3 should be on sale within six months, so a price drop feels timely for the ageing electric Mk7.

Volkswagen cuts price of e-Golf

“With ultra-low running costs and zero-emissions incentives, the e-Golf was already a value-packed offering by virtue of its electric powertrain,” said Geraldine Ingham, head of marketing at Volkswagen UK.

“A sizable price realignment only makes the e-Golf a more tempting proposition to buyers; after all, it’s a Golf – one of the UK’s most popular cars – but with all the added benefits and bonuses associated with electric propulsion.”

14th Dalai Lama 1966 Land Rover auction

The Dalai Lama once owned this classic Land Rover up for auction

14th Dalai Lama 1966 Land Rover auctionMany cars come to auction with celebrity ownership stories. But very few will have ownership provenance like this humble Land Rover

Forget being part of a collection owned by a sports star or musician. This 1966 Series IIA was originally the property of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

It was even used as his official vehicle during the early years of his exile to India, and this special vehicle will soon be available for auction.

Holy roller

14th Dalai Lama 1966 Land Rover auctionBuilt in February 1966, the 88-inch short-wheelbase station wagon was delivered to Nepal the same month. 

There it entered ownership of the Dalai Lama, and became his personal vehicle. Based on the documents shown by RM Sotheby’s, the name of His Holiness, Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, does appears on Indian registration documents. 

Befitting the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama did not drive the Land Rover himself. Instead, his brother (Tenzin Cheogyal) took responsibility for ferrying him around the rocky roads of the Dharamsala region of India. 

14th Dalai Lama 1966 Land Rover auctionFor a decade the Series IIA was put to use in the hills of India, whilst the Dalai Lama remained exiled from Tibet. Tenzin Cheogyal was in charge of maintaining the Land Rover and its four-cylinder engine. 

Even after His Holiness had stopped using the Series IIA, Tenzin Cheogyal and his family continued to keep it running until 2005.

Then the four-wheel drive vehicle was donated to the Dalai Lama Foundation in Palo Alto, California in December 2005. The aim was to help raise funds for Tibetan refugees living in the United States.

Reborn from the original

14th Dalai Lama 1966 Land Rover auctionUpon arrival in California, it became clear that the Land Rover was in need of restoration work to capture its original glory. 

Worked on by Land Rover specialists throughout 2006, the final bill for repairs came to an impressive $49,000 (£40,000). This included bringing the classic Bronze Green paint scheme back to life.

Tenzin Cheogyal had preserved the original seats, interior parts, and even the tires from when the vehicle was new, adding to its history.

14th Dalai Lama 1966 Land Rover auctionDue to the incredible ownership lineage of this particular Series IIA, it has been the cover star of Land Rover Lifestyle magazine. Original documents, including the insurance policy listing His Holiness as the owner are included as part of the sale. 

The Series IIA is set to be sold at the RM Sotheby’s Auburn Fall sale, held at Auburn Auction Park in Auburn, Indiana. 

Crossing the block on Saturday August 31st, bidding is expected to be high for the chance to own this unique vehicle.

New Tesla car insurance monitors drivers to assess risk

Tesla now does insurance

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has revealed details of an insurance scheme that Elon Musk mooted a few months ago. It hopes to provide a ‘competitively priced insurance offering’.

Tesla owners could apparently save up to 20 percent, with the potential for some to save 30 percent.

So how can Tesla undercut an established market of insurance companies? It wouldn’t be Tesla if it wasn’t down to something a little bit innovative…

Data makes for cheap insurance

Tesla now does car insurance

Musk explained that the information always-online Teslas deliver about how they are driven, including speed and driving style, can be used to accurately assess risk.

This means Tesla owners could have a price quoted relative to how much of a risk they really are.

The proviso is that the data-gathering stops at details like location and camera footage.

Tesla now does car insurance

“We essentially have an information arbitrage opportunity where we have direct knowledge of the risk profile of customers,” said Elon Musk in April, explaining the concept.

“If they want to buy Tesla insurance, they would have to agree to not drive the car in a crazy way. Or they can, but then their insurance rates are higher.”

At launch it’s only available in California, although other American states are being considered. The eventual possibility is a worldwide in-house insurance network via Tesla.

Tesla or Big Brother?

Tesla's Model 3 is the most popular electric car to lease in the UK

The question, especially for car enthusiasts, is whether the benefit of the lower price outweighs the looming surveillance, particularly when you fancy going for a brisk drive.

Do you risk taking a road-trip to Wales, only to return with increased premiums? We’ll be intrigued to see how this pans out.

How to drive safely on the school run

Stay safe on the school run

The school run starts again soon, with another year of learning shortly to begin.

It can prove to be one of the most hazardous journeys we take in our cars. The distraction of noisy children, along with the hustle and bustle of other parents competing with you for space… it can all add up to trouble on the road.

As such, IAM RoadSmart has advice on how to make this twice-daily journey go as smoothly and as safely as possible.

Driving safely to school 

Stay safe on the school run

Sit tight, buckle up

Make sure all your children are in their child car seats and that they fit those seats properly.

Ensure they’re strapped in, too. With any luck, they’ll be in so securely they won’t be able to reach each other…

Snack hack

Pack snacks and trinkets to distract them when the going gets stroppy. A bite to eat or something to amuse them should help keep spirits up.

Be the journey long or short, it doesn’t take much for a little one’s mood to change, so back-ups are always good to have.

Stay safe on the school run

Punctual parent

The best way to set yourself up for a smooth school run is to make sure you’re not in a rush. A ride with time to spare is far more relaxed, for everyone involved.

Rushing about trying to beat the clock can rile up children, while being calm can preserve morale among your tribe.

Slow and steady

Following on from the above, if you’re not rushing, you’re not speeding. A slower car is a safer car, particularly when kids are running around. As many of the signs say, ’20’s plenty’.

Stay safe on the school run

Rules of the road

The learning doesn’t have to start on the school premises. Teach your kids as much as you can about road safety as possible. Set a good example as a patient, considerate and observant driver.

You can even park a short distance away when dropping them off, so a brief walk to school can offer a practical demonstration of road safety. 

Dirty car child seat

“Traffic always picks up again after the school holidays so your journey will take longer and potentially be more stressful,” said Richard Gladman, head of driving standards at IAM RoadSmart.

“Make sure the car is fuelled up and fit and ready for stop-start traffic so you have one less thing to worry about. Be vigilant around schools as there’s likely to be children getting out of cars or walking to school.”

New Skoda tech spies on your kids when they borrow your car

Skoda geofencing tool for young drivers

Skoda has revealed new technology that lets you limit where your kids are allowed to drive.

The ‘geofencing’ function within the Skoda Connect infotainment system can also keep you updated about where young drivers are taking your car.

Skoda geofencing tool for young drivers

More than half of 17-24 year-olds rely on their parents’ cars after they’ve passed their test. Car sharing can be the best solution in financial terms, which is where the app comes in. It’s ‘ideal for when the parents are on holiday this summer and don’t want their offspring at home racking up the miles driving up and down the country,’ says Skoda.

The app will send phone notifications if the car steps outside of a ‘green area’ on the map. You can select regions on the map that are ‘green’ or ‘red’. The former is where drivers can go and the latter is where they can’t. 

Skoda reckons this spells the end of vague explanations like ‘just popping to the shops’ that previously might have resulted in unsanctioned joyrides…

Skoda Kamiq dials

Geofencing can be active on specific days and times, keeping at bay arguments about who gets the car and when.

Skoda Connect also allows you to keep an eye on fuel levels, driving data, whether the car is locked and its exact location when parked.

While the app itself is free via Apple AppStore and Google Play, the Skoda Connect online services package is an option.

Revealed: the best road-trip routes in the UK

Best road trip routes UK

New research shows 45 percent of drivers intend to take a road-trip across the UK this year. Even among those without a trip planned, 25 percent said they liked the idea.

So where are the best routes to go for a drive? The AA reckons it has the answers with its route planner, covering all corners of the UK.

The best UK road-trips

Best road trip routes UK

In the south, the AA is touting Barnstable to Newquay and Swanage to Lyme Regis as the best areas for driving, particularly if you’re a fan of beaches. The former route is 77 miles long and takes you through Dartmoor National Park and along the Atlantic Highway.

The Swanage route is 56 miles long and allows you to enjoy the Jurassic Coast, the famous Chesil beach and the Fleet lagoon. The Jurassic Coast is a UN World Heritage Site.

Best road trip routes UK

East-of-England and Norfolk road-trippers should sample the Norwich to Hunstanton (via Cromer) route.

‘This is one of the few places on the coast where you can see the sun setting over the sea. It’s the perfect place to pause and watch a sunset,’ said a spokesman.

We didn’t necessarily need the AA for recommendations for the north and west. The famous North Coast 500 circular route, starting in Inverness, takes you via Loch Ness on a loop around Scotland.

Best road trip routes UK

Meanwhile, in the west, the geographical gift that is Wales keeps on giving. The 85-mile route from Aberystwyth to Llandudno via Snowdonia is recommended. We can confirm it’s a spectacular route.

The AA says ‘driving those winding roads will be worth it once you see what Snowdonia has to offer’, as if the winding roads aren’t an attraction all their own. Mount Snowdon would be the icing on the cake for us.

Is your car child seat dirtier than your toilet?

Dirty car child seat

A new investigation into germs on child car seats by consumer group Which? has yielded troubling results. Your child’s chair could harbour more bacteria than your toilet seat.

Swabs were taken from the harnesses, headrests and buckles of car seats – areas touched often by both parents and children. Researchers then compared what they found with swabs taken from toilet seats.

If we asked you which had 30 different types of bacteria and which had 16, you can guess the result.

Dirty car child seat

Child seats were found to harbour 30 different types of bacteria, including those common to the human digestive system, and indeed what it produces. They include e-coli, staphylococcus and c.difficile.

Worrying amounts of bugs that could cause sepsis, including enterobacteriaceae and enterococci, were found. As germs that cause ‘opportunistic infections’, these are dangerous if your child has any open cuts or grazes.

How to clean your child’s car seat

Dirty car child seat

Remove and vacuum

Start by removing the seat and vacuuming it. Take off all the trinkets and toys that may be attached to it, for ease of cleaning.

Remove the cover and wash it

If you can, remove the car seat cover (see your instruction manual), and get it in the washing machine. If you can’t remove it, hand-scrub the fabric with a gentle soap and water mix before leaving it to air-dry.

Get the dirty spots

It’s worth emphasising there will be hot spots for grubbiness and bacteria. Deal with the stains and, less obviously, the problem areas listed above.

Dirty car child seat

Rub down the plastic areas

The ‘chassis’ of the car seat could always do with a wipe down, too. Surface cleaner and a wipe with a wet cloth should do the trick. Give any plastic toys attached this treatment as well.

Reassemble and install

Once the seat is dry, put it all back together and reinstall it in your car. The best cure is prevention, so if your car seat is cleaned regularly, you have the best chance of fending off nasty bugs.

A beginners’ guide to electric car charge points

Guide to electric charge points

If you’re considering an electric car, you might be getting tangled up in the various charge point types. Unfortunately, there’s no industry standard for these, so it pays to do a little homework before you buy an EV.

There are three types of electric car charge points: rapid, fast and slow. The names represent the charging speed, with power measured in kilowatts (kW). Here, we provide a brief description of the three different charge points and the associated connectors.

Rapid chargers

BP Chargemaster rapid charging hub at Milton Keynes Coachway

You’ll find rapid chargers at motorway service stations and close to major roads. As the name suggests, these provide the quickest charging time, recharging batteries up to 80 percent in just 20 to 40 minutes.

Manufacturers and press articles will often refer to an ‘80 percent’ charge in electric car literature as chargers have an automatic cut-off at this point. The reason is to protect the life of the battery.

You’ll find three different types of rapid charging in the UK: rapid AC (alternating current), rapid DC (direct current) and the Tesla Supercharger. The charging ranges from 43kW to 120kW, depending on the connector type.

The cable is tethered to the charging unit and only cars with rapid-charging capability can use the machines.

BP Chargemaster rapid charging hub at Milton Keynes Coachway

Rapid AC chargers use a Type 2 connector to will deliver power at 43kW, with the car’s onboard rectifier converting AC into DC. The Renault Zoe and Renault Kangoo ZE are examples of cars using rapid AC.

Rapid DC delivers power at 50kW straight to the electric car, bypassing the converter, making it quicker than rapid AC. There are three connectors: CHAdeMO (Charge de Move), CCS (Combined Charging System) and Tesla Type 2.

Cars with a CHAdeMO connector include the new Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV. Those with a CCS connector include the BMW i3, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Ioniq and Jaguar I-Pace. As the name suggests, the Tesla Type 2 unit uses a Type 2 connector, but delivers charge at 120kW for Tesla vehicles only.

In the future, we can look forward to 150kW and 300kW chargers, which will deliver incredibly quick charging times.

Fast chargers

Mini Countryman PHEV charging in London

You’ll find fast chargers in locations where cars tend to be parked for longer periods of time, such as car parks, supermarkets, leisure centres and retail outlets. All fast chargers draw AC current from the grid and use the car’s onboard converter to turn it into DC.

This is the most common charger type, and almost all EVs can use fast charge points, with the network featuring both tethered and untethered units.

The majority of fast chargers are untethered and deliver power at 7kW, with a 30kWh battery recharged in 3-5 hours. A more powerful 22kW charger will do the same in just 1-2 hours.

Most EV owners will find a Type 2 connector in the boot, giving them full access to the fast charger network. Other fast chargers use a Type 1 connector (7kW) or Commando (7-22kW). Tesla ‘Destination’ chargers deliver 11kW to 22kW of power.

Slow chargers

Man charging BMW i3 at home

Slow chargers tend to be found in homes and offices, where a car can be left on charge overnight or during the working day. Most are 3kW, but some lamp-post installations will charge at 6kW.

Charging can be carried out by a standard three-pin socket, but the installation of a charging unit is highly recommended. There are three connector types: Type 1, Type 2 and Commando. All of these deliver power at 3kW, and it will typically take up to 12 hours to charge an electric car.

To find a charge point near you, visit