In pictures: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

Most wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroomNestled in a sleepy Hampshire village is one of Britain’s most exciting showrooms. The selection of cars for sale at 4 Star Classics stretches from from Fiats to Ferraris, and from GTIs to GT3s. Frankly, it looks like our lottery-win garage made real. Join us for a guided tour.

Ferrari 430 ScuderiaMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

Harder, faster and lighter, the special-edition Ferrari 430 Scuderia was launched with help from Michael Schumacher. It’s the ultimate track-day tool, hitting 62mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 202mph. This particular car is for sale at £180k.

You’ve gotta love a Ferrari in traditional Rosso Corsa red – even if gold wheels are best suited to Subarus. Inside, the stripped-out ‘Scud’ has carbonfibre seats with racing harnesses and no carpets. You also get a Ferrari-branded fire extinguisher – just in case.

Fiat 500 DMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

A very different – but equally iconic – Italian classic. The original Fiat 500 was built between 1957 and 1975, and nearly four million were sold. This 1965 Fiat 500 D has rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors. Conventional, front-hinged doors were adopted later the same year.

We adore the sparse simplicity of the 500’s cabin. There’s a speedometer, a couple of toggle switches and… that’s about it. This left-hand-drive car was recently imported from Italy and has covered just 39,241 miles. It’s priced at £12,495.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk2Most wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

The Mk2 Golf was vastly better built than French hatchbacks of the same era, which makes this 1990 Tornado Red GTI 8v all the more tempting. We actually prefer the torquey 8v engine, as opposed to the high-revving – and more expensive – 16-valver.

Red carpets and go-faster stripes? Nein danke. The Golf’s interior is typically German: only the signature golf ball gearknob hints at its sporting intent. With 112hp, it reaches 60mph in 8.2 seconds and 114mph flat-out. You’ll need £11,495.

Renault Clio V6Most wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

Now for a somewhat hotter hatch. The mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive Renault Clio V6 looks like an escapee from Max Power magazine. Inspired by the original Renault 5 Turbo, it’s already a cult car – a fact reflected in 4 Star’s £35k asking price.

What you lose in practicality (there’s just a small boot under the bonnet where the engine used to be), you gain in driving excitement. This ‘phase two’ Clio V6 packs a 255hp punch: good for 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 153mph.

Lancia Stratos HFMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

At £449,995, this Lancia Stratos HF was comfortably the priciest car in the 4 Star showroom at the time of our visit. Designed by Bertone, the wedge-shaped wonder won the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

There many Stratos replicas in existence, but only 492 genuine HFs were made – making this a very desirable Italian supercar. Oh, and we’ll make an exception for gold wheels this time: those 14-inch Campagnolo rims look fabulous.

Audi RS2Most wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

The RS2 was a joint-effort between Audi and Porsche. It boasted a 315hp five-cylinder engine, Quattro four-wheel drive and beefed-up Brembo brakes. Performance was on par with a Porsche, too: 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 163mph.

We’re suckers for a fast estate, especially one wearing 17-inch Porsche Cup alloys. The RS2 was the first in a long line of RS-badged Audis, and is a bona fide modern classic. This high-mileage car is priced at £28k.

Ferrari DinoMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

People always extol the aesthetic virtues of the Jaguar E-Type and Lamborghini Miura. However, for our money, the Ferrari Dino is the most beautiful car ever made. Sadly, we would need quite a lot of money: £310k for this 20,000-mile Dino 246 GT.

Ferrari 208Most wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

No, that’s not a misprint. The Ferrari 208 was effectively a 308 with a smaller engine – designed as a tax-dodge for the Italian market. With just 2.0 litres and 155hp at its disposal, the 208 is slower than many hot hatches (0-60mph in 8.5sec, 134mph), but who cares when it looks this good? On sale at £75k.

Ferrari 458 SpecialeMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

A Ferrari with stripes can only mean one thing: another lightweight special. This is the aptly-named 458 Speciale – a 458 with an 27 extra horses and 90kg less to carry around. It hits 62mph in 3.0 seconds and is barely slower than the V12-engined F12 around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track.

BMW 635 CSiMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

The shark-nosed BMW 635 CSi is effortlessly cool. But look a little closer and you’ll spot this car’s wider rear pillars, along with the absence of BMW’s trademark ‘Hofmeister kink’ in the side window. That’s because this one-off ‘Observer Coupe’ – created for the 1983 NEC Motor Show – has an electrically-retracting glass roof and rear screen. Looks good value at £30k, we reckon.

Jaguar XJS V12Most wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

The much-maligned Jaguar XJS has suddenly come back into fashion. A three-speed automatic gearbox and soft suspension mean this 1991 V12-engined Jag, advertised at £17k, is decidedly more grand tourer than sports car. But there’s nowt wrong with that.

Read a Jaguar XJS Retro Road Test on Motoring Research

Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver ArrowMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

The 1980-2002 R129 Mercedes-Benz SL is already looking like a thoroughly sensible modern classic – and this run-out Silver Arrow edition is perhaps the most collectible of all. As well as ‘ultra-metallic’ silver paint, it features brushed aluminium on the dashboard and unique alloy wheels. Priced at £35k, with a modest 42,313 miles on the clock.

Audi R8Most wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

This Audi R8 is another ‘silver arrow’ of sorts, with a 420hp 4.2-litre V8 mounted just behind the driver’s left ear. For £42k (the price of a new Porsche Boxster with a few options), you could have a full-fat 4WD supercar. Best of all, this one has the six-speed manual gearbox – with a Ferrari-style exposed metal gate.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

Moving bang up-to-date, here’s the latest Porsche 911 GT3 RS. This Lava Orange car has delivery miles and is advertised at £240k – a whopping £109k more than list price when new. Still, who’d bet against this critically-lauded 500hp Porsche appreciating further in future?

Porsche 718 RS61 replicaMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

Even replica Porsches can cost big bucks – as this £115k 718 RS61 ‘recreation’ reveals. Its aluminium body was formed over a wooden buck, created from a 3D scan of a genuine 1960 car. Underneath, it uses a 2.1-litre Porsche 914 engine producing ‘approximately 130hp’.

As 4 Star Classics points out, a real, ex-Stirling Moss RS61 sold at auction for more than £1.9m in 2015. The 718 name has recently been resurrected for Porsche’s new four-cylinder Boxster and Cayman models.

Lancia Fulvia Rallye 1.3SMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

We’re a little bit in love with this 1970 Lancia Fulvia Rallye 1.3S. It’s covered just 24,604 miles and is priced at a modest £14k. Just look at those slender roof pillars: great for visibility (and looks), albeit not so good for crash safety…

Inside, the Fulvia has a period eight-track stereo and a wood-trimmed dashboard with a lovely patina. This 1970 car has covered 24,604 miles from new and wears its original 14-inch steel wheels. It’s one of 16,827 1.3S Rallyes produced.

Mercedes-Benz 190 SLMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz”, sang Janis Joplin in 1970. And we’d need the power of prayer to afford this perfectly restored 1958 190 SL – priced at £90k. Highlights include the optional hard-top roof and retro whitewall tyres.

From the painted dashboard, to the thin-rimmed steering wheel, the interior is just gorgeous. The 190 SL has a 190hp straight-four engine and four-speed manual gearbox. It gets to 60mph in 13.3 seconds, with a top speed of 107mph.

Mercedes-Benz E500Most wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

This 1994 Mercedes E500 Limited, priced at £25,500, also caught our eye. Like the Audi RS2, it was built with cooperation from Porsche; a 315hp 5.0-litre V8 hides beneath that subtle exterior. The ultimate classic Q-car?

BMW 323iMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

The original E21 3 Series is another BMW with classically elegant styling (no ‘Bangle butt’ here). And there can’t be many as tidy as this 1981 Henna Red 323i. The car has covered 97,768 miles from new, and 4 Star Classics is asking £8,500.

With a 141hp 2.3-litre straight-six, the 323i offers brisk performance: 0-60mph in 9.5 seconds and a 118mph top speed. Engineer Paul Rosche apparently chose the largest engine that would fit, with the first cylinder effectively tucked under the dashboard.

Porsche 964 Carrera RS RCTMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

A 964 Carrera RS with a RUF turbo conversion? Yes please. Although possibly not on a wet road. This 1992 Guards Red RS has been boosted to 370hp and is for sale at £140k. Feeling brave?

Ford Cortina LotusMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

We finish with perhaps our favourite car in the 4 Star Classics showroom: a Mk1 Lotus Cortina (or ‘Ford Cortina Lotus’, to use its official name). On the outside, the Cortina wears traditional Ermine White with a Sherwood Green stripe. Inside, it’s stripped-out and ready to race.

The Lotus Cortina was a very successful competition car, winning the European Touring Car Championship in 1965. This car has the original twin-carb Ford/Lotus engine with a four-speed gearbox. Can anyone lend us £90k?

Four to the floorMost wanted: inside the UK’s coolest car showroom

Many thanks to 4 Star Classics for allowing us to explore its showroom. Look out for some MR Retro Road Tests with help from 4 Star in the near-future. Yes, it’s time for us to stop dreaming and start driving…

Visit the 4 Star Classics website

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