Porsche tops list of Europe’s most popular classics

Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classicsClassic Trader, Europe’s largest classic car trading website, has announced that the total value of vehicles currently on sale on the site has eclipsed €1 billion for the first time. To mark the occasion, the website has revealed the most popular makes and models, ranked by the number of listings that currently appear on the site.

Porsche dominates the list, with four different 911s appearing in the top ten. Here, we rank the cars in reverse order.

10. Jaguar E-type Series 1Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £139,100

With an average asking price of £139,100, the Jaguar E-type S1 – or XKE in the US – is the most valuable car in the top 10 and arguably the most beautiful. “If a new car ever created greater excitement around our office than the new Jaguar XKE, we can’t remember it”, said Road & Track in September 1961.

The E-Type went on sale in 1961 with a bargain price tag, including taxes, of £2,097 for the convertible and £2,196 for the coupe. It was replaced in 1968 by the less desirable, and therefore less valuable, Series 2.

9. Mercedes-Benz SL R129Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £19,100

Few cars have aged as well as the Mercedes-Benz SL R129. Unveiled at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, the response was so positive, anyone who placed an order was forced to accept a delivery period of several years. Production continued until 2001, by which time more than 200,000 units had rolled off the Bremen production line.

The last truly beautiful Mercedes (discuss…) was the first car to feature an automatic roll-over bar, along with a soft-top that could be opened or closed within 30 seconds. The most common model is the 5.0-litre V8, with some 79,827 units built, while the entry-level SL 280 V6 is the rarest.

8. Porsche 993Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £81,900

If Mercedes-Benz struggled to keep up with demand for the R129, Porsche had a similar ‘problem’ with the 993. Launched in 1994, the 993 was able to boast a series of technical and visual changes, with only the doors and front bonnet carried over from the 964.

As the last air-cooled Porsche, the 993 is one of the most sought-after 911s on the classic car market, hence the average asking price. In the Ultimate History of Porsche, current editor of Evo magazine, Stuart Gallagher, wrote: “The fact that Porsche arrived at this beautifully honed vehicle when it did is fitting, because as the sun set on 1997 the air-cooled 911 had come to the end of its long and illustrious life.”

7. Alfa Romeo GiuliaPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £30,700

The Alfa Romeo Giulia was introduced in 1962 and wouldn’t bow out until 1977. In that time it evolved and spawned many variants, establishing the Alfa Romeo brand as we know it today. Regardless of the body shape, the Giulia was a true drivers’ car.

According to Classic Trader, the cars featured in the top 10 represent almost 12% of the total trading volume on the website, resulting in sales of €118 million. Other cars, such as the Citroen LNA, Saab 90 and Toyota Tercel weren’t able to contribute quite as much.

6. Mercedes-Benz SL W113Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £83,600

The fact that three generations of Mercedes-Benz SL appear in the top 10 suggests that the car is in strong demand. The W113 had the unenviable task of following the first generation SL, something it managed with startling ease. It’s all about the oh-so-pretty styling, with its hardtop earning it the nickname of ‘Pagoda’.

In truth, the second coming of the SL was more boulevard cruiser than it was precision instrument, but it remained a thing of beauty. This was the first sports car to feature crumple zones and a rigid passenger cell.

5. Fiat 500Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £9,800

The smallest car in the top 10 has a fittingly small price tag. The Fiat Nuova 500 was unveiled in 1957 and helped mobilise an entire nation. It measured just 9-feet long and was one of the very first city cars ever built. Perfect for navigating the congested streets of Turin, Rome and Milan.

The early cars featured suicide doors, but these were phased out in 1965 amid safety fears. Nearly 3.5 million units were built before production ceased in 1975 and the 500 was replaced by the 126.

4. Porsche 964Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £62,300

To the untrained eye, the Porsche 964 looked like an evolution of the outgoing 911, but it was in fact 85% new. The Carrera 4 was the first 911 to feature an all-wheel drive system, sending 31% of the torque to the front and 69% to the rear.

Power was sourced from a 3.6-litre flat-six engine, itself a development of the 3.2-litre unit found in the outgoing 3.2 Carrera. The all-wheel drive 964 may have upset the purists, but it appealed to a broader and affluent audience, with strong sales helping to secure Porsche’s future. Besides, a rear-wheel-drive variant arrived in 1990.

3. Mercedes-Benz SL R107Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £24,700

The SL R107 enjoyed a near two-decade production run, making it the second longest single series Mercedes-Benz after the G-Class. Just like its predecessors, the R107 – introduced in 1971 – was a huge hit on the tree-lined boulevards of America.

At the time of preparing this feature, there are 626 Mercedes-Benz SL models for sale on Classic Trader. Prices range from £3,995 for a 1982 380 SL to £1.6 million for a 1956 300 SL ‘Gullwing’.

2. Porsche 911 pre-impact bumperPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £98,100

In 1974, Porsche was forced into redesigning the 911 to satisfy new US safety regulations. The result was the so-called ‘impact bumper’, designed to keep their shape in the event of a 5mph accident. Many would argue that the new bumper only served to dilute the purity of the original 911.

The Porsche 901 – renamed the 911 as of model year 1965 – was unveiled at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show as a successor to the 356. Right now, there are more than 1,000 Porsche of all types for sale on Classic Trader, with prices ranging from £15,215 to £1.4 million.

1. Porsche 911 impact bumperPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £55,500

Regardless of what you think about the impact bumpers, the G-Series remains one of the most iconic 911s of all-time. It was, after all, the sports car so beloved of the ‘Yuppie’ generation, all red braces, shoulder pads and mobile phones the size of bricks.

The design of the impact bumpers differed according to the market. In the US, the bumpers were connected to the body using hydraulic impact absorbers, while non-US cars used more cost-effective impact pipes. In 1989, the G-Series was replaced by the 964.

No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

In a world obsessed with downsizing and turbocharging, the romance of fitting a car with the biggest possible engine seems to have been lost. We take a look at 25 of the largest displacement motors ever built for road use – and the cars they were fitted to. This is all about big-block motoring; you need in excess of six litres of displacement to join this club.

1993 McLaren F1 – 6.1-litre V12No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

There probably aren’t many lists where a McLaren F1 is found at the bottom. But when it comes to displacement, the Big Mac isn’t top of the pile. That’s not to say the BMW S70/2 engine isn’t impressive, even if those being unkind might refer to it as two BMW M3 six-cylinder engines bolted together. Yet 627hp is clearly nothing to be sniffed at, and was more than enough to make the F1 the fastest production car in the world, with a top speed of 240mph. It also had an engine bay lined with gold, which automatically makes it cool.

2017 Dodge Challenger T/A – 6.4-litre (392-cubic inch) Hemi V8

No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

American V8 engines are common in this list, and this latest motor from Chrysler proves the USA is still in love with big-block power. The Hemi name is derived from the hemispherical cylinder head design, which Chrysler first started using in 1951. This latest third-generation Hemi has been built since 2003, and is fitted to the Challenger, Charger and even the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 6.4-litre form. An output of 485hp (plus 475lb ft of torque) makes the Challenger T/A rather rapid.

2017 Ferrari 812 Superfast – 6.5-litre V12No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Aside from the V12 found in a rare Can-Am racer, this is the biggest engine Ferrari has ever produced. Which is apt for a car badged ‘Superfast’. The Tipo F140 family of engines has previously appeared in the Ferrari Enzo, Maserati MC12 and LaFerrari. But, at 6.5-litres, the version fitted to the 789hp Superfast displaces the most.

2011 Lamborghini Aventador – 6.5-litre V12

No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Lamborghini doesn’t like to change things much when it comes to engines. This 6.5-litre unit is only the second design of V12 in the history of the company, with the original version in use from 1963 to 2011. Built for the Aventador, it weighs a whopping 235kg alone, and is good for 690hp and 508lb ft of torque. The key question is whether Lamborghini will choose to go even bigger to stay ahead of Ferrari on size…

2008 Bentley Brooklands Coupe – 6.75-litre V8No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Even older than the first Lamborghini V12 is this Bentley V8, which can trace its lineage back to 1959. The 6.75-litre version first appeared in 1968, and has powered a number of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys in the decades since, including this Brooklands Coupe. Here, it produced 530hp and a tyre-shredding 774lb ft of torque. Top tip: be sure to refer to this engine as a six and three-quarter, rather than six-point-seven-five litres. It is British after all.

2003 Rolls-Royce Phantom – 6.75-litre V12No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Don’t be fooled. Although it might share the same displacement, this V12 has nothing to do with the Bentley engine, having been created by BMW. Munich had originally planned to endow the Phantom with a V16, but switched to a smaller V12 for production. With 454hp and 531lb ft of torque, this engine majors on smooth and unflustered progress, rather than racing to its 6,500rpm redline.

2000 Ford Excursion – 6.8-litre V10No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Even by American standards, the Ford Excursion was a vast SUV. Sharing a platform with the F-250 Super Duty pick-up truck means a kerb weight of almost 3,300kg, and seating for nine passengers inside. It therefore needed a suitably huge engine: a 6.8-litre version of Ford’s Triton V10. With average fuel economy in the low teens, the Excursion became a victim of rising fuel prices and a controversial image.

1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 – 6.9-litre V8No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

It might look unassuming, but back in 1975 this was the ultimate performance Mercedes-Benz. Based on the long-wheelbase version of the S-Class, the 450SEL 6.9 used an enlarged version of the M100 V8 engine fitted to the earlier 300SEL 6.3. Peak power of 282hp may seem tame today, but it enabled the 6.9 to hit 0-62mph in seven seconds and a top speed of 140mph – even with a three-speed automatic gearbox. It was also the first Mercedes to feature hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, with the driver able to lower the ride height from the cabin.

1968 Dodge Charger R/T – 426-cubic inch (7.0-litre) Hemi V8No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

In muscle car folklore, the 426 Hemi V8 holds a very special place. Essentially a NASCAR race engine sold for street use to meet homologation requirements, the 426 was nicknamed the ‘elephant engine’ for its size and power. Offered as an expensive option for a range of Mopar cars, around 11,000 were produced between 1966 and 1971, including the ’68 Charger R/T drag racer pictured here. As noted on the side, power output was 425hp. Today, original 426 Hemi-equipped cars command substantial sums at auction.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO Z/28 – 427-cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8

No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

When first launched in 1967, General Motors ruled that the first-generation Camaro could not be fitted with an engine larger than 400 cubic inches (6.6-litres). This placed the Camaro at a disadvantage against key rivals. However, certain dealerships – such as that ran by Don Yenko – would install a Chevrolet 427-cubic inch engine from the Corvette. Once Chevrolet became aware of this, it offered a Central Office Production Order option in 1969, allowing Camaros to unofficially come from the factory with the 450hp 427 V8.

1993 Lister Storm – 7.0-litre V12No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

It may be relatively unknown, but the Lister Storm gained a number of accolades when unveiled in 1993. Its Jaguar engine was developed from a Le Mans racer, and was the largest V12 fitted to a road car since World War II. With 546hp and 580lb ft of torque, it also held the record of being the fastest four-seater car in the world, with a top speed of 208mph. Just four road cars were built, with the Storm also taking to the track at Le Mans and in the FIA GT Championship. Curiously, in 1996 the Storm race car was sponsored by Newcastle United FC, although the partnership failed to produce success.

1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang – 429-cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8

No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

As a combatant in the muscle car wars of the 1960s, the Boss 429 Mustang is one of the rarest and most sought-after examples. The 429 V8 engine was built to challenge Dodge’s 426 Hemi on track in NASCAR, but Ford had to build 500 motors for street use, with the Mustang chosen to host them. Power was officially rated at 375hp, but claims of 500-600hp are commonplace. Just 1,350 were produced between 1969 and 1970, with auction prices today of more than $500,000 (£400,000) not uncommon.

1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda – 440-cubic inch (7.2-litre) V8No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

The 426 Hemi may have been the most powerful, but the 440-cubic inch version was the biggest, and thus ranks higher on our list. It was also far more common, with more than 20 different Chrysler corporation models making use of it between 1965 and 1978. The peak for the 440 was from 1969 to 1971, when a version with six carburettor barrels was offered, resulting in 390hp. Debate still rages between Mopar fans as to whether the 440 or 426 Hemi makes for the best choice.

2003 Pagani Zonda S Roadster – 7.3-litre V12No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Pagani has famously made use of Mercedes-AMG engines from the outset, with the current Huayra using a turbocharged 6.0-litre V12. But the biggest Pagani motor was used in the Zonda S, which gained a 547hp 7.3-litre version of the naturally-aspirated M120 AMG engine in 2002. A roadster version followed in 2003, making it even easier to enjoy the sonorous sound of the V12.

2010 Aston Martin One-77 – 7.3-litre V12No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Billed as the most powerful naturally-aspirated production engine in the world when launched, the 7.3-litre V12 fitted to the One-77 is rather special. With 750hp, the flagship Aston was capable of hitting 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed in excess of 220mph. Only 77 examples were built, with prices above £1.1million for the hand-built carbon fibre creation.

1972 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds – Rocket 455-cubic inch (7.5-litre) V8

No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Wikimedia | 1969ho

With name like ‘Rocket’ there should be no doubting the intentions of the 455-cubic inch engine used by Oldsmobile between 1968 and 1978. Most notable is its use in the 390hp Hurst/Olds, a collaboration between Oldsmobile and Hurst Performance that is often overlooked by muscle car fans. It was at good enough for the Hurst/Olds to be picked as pace car for the 1972 Indianapolis 500.

1968 Lincoln Continental – 462-cubic inch (7.6-litre) V8

No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Wikimedia | Jeremy

The fourth-generation Continental, featuring wondrous ‘suicide’ rear doors for the sedan, is perhaps the most recognisable version of the big Lincoln. But by 1966, with the Continental expanding rapidly in size, power needed to increase. The answer was a 462-cubic inch V8 variant of the Ford MEL engine, tuned to deliver big torque at low revs to shift the giant Lincoln, which weighed in at up to 2,600kg.

1997 Dodge Ram 2500 – 8.0-litre V10No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

If you wanted to tow big things with your new Dodge Ram in 1997, but had an aversion to diesel power, the Magnum V10 engine was for you. Offered only in the higher rated 2500 and 3500 versions of the Ram, the 8.0-litre powerplant delivered 300hp and 450lb ft of torque. Perhaps the answer to today’s dieselphobia could be found in equipping more cars with huge ten-cylinder engines?

2005 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport – 8.0-litre W16No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Four turbochargers, sixteen cylinders, 1,000hp, a price in excess of £1.1million and a top speed of over 265mph. Strangely, despite being a car defined by numbers, the 8.0-litre displacement of the Veyron’s W16 engine is one figure that seems to get left by the wayside. But it manages to be the biggest European-built engine on our list, and is still in use in the new Chiron. Just with even more power, of course.

2001 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 – 8.1-litre V8No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

If you thought the Ford Excursion was the biggest and baddest SUV on our list, think again. Like the Excursion, the Suburban is built on a pick-up truck platform – the Chevy Silverado in this case – and came in heavy-duty variants. Picking the 8.1-litre Vortec option meant 340hp, and the knowledge that your engine was the same as one used in U-Haul trucks, motorboats and even armoured cars. Perfectly suited for the school run, then.

1976 Cadillac Eldorado – 500-cubic inch (8.2-litre) V8No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

With the land yachts of the 1970s expanding exponentially, horsepower needed to rise to shift the extra bulk. For Cadillac, the answer came with a 500 cubic-inch V8, billed as the world’s largest at the time of introduction in 1970. Changes to official horsepower ratings, and the need to meet emissions regulations, meant the power output dropped from 400hp in 1970, to just 190hp by 1976. Not ideal in a car rocking some 2,300kg of weight.

2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 – 8.3-litre V10No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

There is a definite pattern to Dodge wanting to have the biggest engines in a pick-up truck. Not many good things came from the ill-fated DaimlerChrysler merger, but let the Ram SRT-10 be one positive memory at least. Unlike the earlier Magnum version, the SRT-10 was all about acceleration rather than towing, which meant dropping the 8.3-litre engine from the Dodge Viper under the bonnet. With 500hp and 525lb ft of torque, 0-60mph was just 5.2 seconds away.

2015 Dodge Viper SRT – 8.4-litre V10

No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Seemingly not content with previous efforts, Dodge engineers managed to extract another 100cc from the big V10 in 2008. By its final fifth generation, power from the 8.4-litre motor had risen to 645hp. Performance was equally ridiculous, with 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and a 208mph top speed. With the Viper now consigned to the history books, we have to question whether we’ll ever see a production car with an engine this large again.

1998 Chevrolet ZZ572/620 Crate Motor – 572-cubic inch (9.4-litre) V8No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

If the previous 23 options aren’t big enough for you, how about the choice to simply buy an engine and fit it to whatever car you want? Crate motors are big business in the USA, with hot rodders and tuners being particular fans of Chevy offerings. For $17,225 (£13,700) Chevrolet will deliver you a 572-cubic inch V8 producing 621hp and 645lb ft. If you happen to run on race fuel, that output increases to a ridiculous 720hp. Just make sure you measure your engine bay before ordering…

2003 Cadillac Sixteen Concept – 13.6-litre V16No replacement for displacement: the 25 cars with the biggest engines

Ok, so we’ve bent the rules a little with the 1,000hp 13.6-litre Sixteen concept car. But, in our defence, Cadillac did produce a working version that was featured on Top Gear, and also in the films Click and Real Steel. In addition, Cadillac also built regular production V16-powered cars in the 1930s, even if they made do with a displacement of just 7.4 litres. The Sixteen featured ‘displacement-on-demand’ technology, allowing it to run on twelve or eight cylinders to save fuel.

Techno Classica: Europe’s best classic car show

Techno ClassicaIn 2016, more than 200,000 visitors from around the world visited the Techno Classica car show in Essen, Germany. It’s considered to be Europe’s best classic car show, as demonstrated by these photos taken at this year’s event.

Skoda standTechno Classica

The Skoda Fabia or Octavia parked on your street can their roots back to Václav Laurin and Václav Klement and the founding of a bicycle factory in 1895. Laurin & Klement – as Skoda was formerly known – began building motorised bicycles in 1899 and cars in 1905.

Skoda looked back on 122 years of the history with the help of so-called “impressive milestones”, including the 935 Dynamic aerodynamic prototype, Popular Monte Carlo, Rapid Dalnice and a display of Favorit variants. The Favorit was the last car built by Skoda before it was swallowed by the Volkswagen Group.

Volkswagen Karmann-GhiaTechno Classica

If we were dishing out awards for the coolest car in Essen, the Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia would be in with a shout. The Beetle-based coupe may have flattered to deceive when it came to performance, but it oozed West Coast cool.

As the name suggests, the pretty 2+2 was styled by Ghia and built by Karmann, positioned as an affordable – and slower – alternative to the Porsche 356. The Karmann-Ghia was superseded by the Porsche 914, the bodies of which were built at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück.

Volkswagen T1Techno Classica

The Type 2 was unveiled at the 1949 Geneva Motor Show and so-called because it was the German carmaker’s second model. The first generation models – built between 1950 and 1967 – retrospectively became known as the T1.

We suspect this 1950 model has never been stuck in a jam on the A303 or queued to get into a National Trust car park in Cornwall.

Ferrari 225 STechno Classica

The Ferrari 225 S first appeared at the 1952 Giro di Sicilia and was powered by a V12 which was being continually developed at the time. In this race, both open and closed versions were on show, each one bodied by Vignale, as seen here.

The 225 S emerged victorious in the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix, with Italian Vittorio Marzotto at the wheel. In the book, Ferrari 70 Years by Dennis Adler, it is claimed that 20 were built and that all but one had coachwork by Vignale.

Dino 246 GTTechno Classica

Despite looking almost identical to the earlier 206 GT, the Dino 246 GT introduced a number of changes. Eagle-eyed Ferrari fans at the 1969 Turin Motor Show would have noticed a repositioned fuel filler cap, longer engine cover, larger exhausts and new alloy wheels.

The wheelbase was increased by 60mm, while the engine capacity was boosted from 2.0- to 2.4-litres. A total of 2,487 units were built between 1969 and 1974.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut Coupe’Techno Classica

The hardtop version of the 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut Coupe’ was built to go racing in the 1956 season, but with Mercedes-Benz withdrawing from racing in 1955, it was left without a competition.

Instead, it provided transport for the head of the test department, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. Two were built, but while this one lives in the Mercedes museum, the whereabouts of the other model is unknown. Check your nearest barn…

BMW 328Techno Classica

The BMW 328 was the car that put the Bavarian company on the map and would influence the styling of roadsters for years to come. Indeed, the 328 – introduced in 1936 – inspired elements of the Z3 and Z4.

It was hugely successful on the race track, too, notching up a win whilst still in prototype form at the Nurburgring, averaging 67mph over 70 miles. Only 462 units were built, making it one of the most prized sports cars of the pre-war era.

Cadillac Eldorado BroughamTechno Classica

The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was one of the finest automobiles of the 1950s, driven exclusively by the rich and famous. None other than Frank Sinatra owned a third generation model, as seen here on display in Essen.

The Brougham cost a staggering $13,074 – more than double the price of a regular Eldorado – a price justified by opulent styling and lavish features. Air suspension, power seats, automatic boot opening, air conditioning and a perfume dispenser were just a few of the trinkets.

Porsche 356 BTechno Classica

The Porsche 356 B arrived in 1960 and introduced a number of styling changes to mark it out from the 356 A. The larger bumpers, increased amount of chrome and the repositioned headlights are just three of the distinguishing features.

Three body styles were available – Cabriolet, Roadster and Speedster – with power ranging from 60hp in the standard 1.6-litre 356 B to 140hp in the 2000 GS-GT Carrera 2.

Maserati 250FTechno Classica

According to Sir Stirling Moss, the Maserati 250F was “probably, of its era, the nicest Formula One, front-engined car to drive”.

Others believe the 250F is the most beautiful single-seater racing car of the post-war era. Is it? One to discuss over dinner…

NSU Prinz 30Techno Classica

The Prinz 30 was launched at the 1957 Frankfurt Motor Show and was the German company’s first post-war vehicle. It was powered by a motorcycle engine and despite its diminutive size, there was enough room for four people. It was a bit of a tight squeeze, mind.

Mercedes-Benz Model STechno Classica

The model S of 1927 was the first in a series of supercharged Mercedes-Benz sports cars nicknamed ‘White Elephants’. The ‘S’ stands for Sport and the Model S was victorious in its very first race at the Nurburgring.

BMW IsettaTechno Classica

Until the Mini arrived, microcars such as the BMW Isetta were all the rage. They provided cheap and reliable transport for many, and were economical enough prove invaluable during the Suez Crisis.

BMW 502Techno Classica

The 501 was the first car be produced by BMW after the Second World War and was nicknamed the ‘Baroque Angel’ by the German public. The 502 – which arrived in 1954 – was powered by a new V8 engine and was, at the time, the fastest saloon car in Germany.

Opel KapitanTechno Classica

This Opel Kapitan rolled off the production line in 1956 and took the honour of being the two-millionth Opel vehicle ever built. Note the gold-plated fittings, which were also a feature of the cabin.

Mercedes-Benz 540 K StreamlinerTechno Classica

The one-off Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner was designed as a vehicle for competition but became a test vehicle for aerodynamics and efficiency. The priceless car was put into storage in 1945 before being restored in time for the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours.

Skoda Popular Monte CarloTechno Classica

Speaking of aerodynamics, the Skoda Popular Monte Carlo was at the forefront of research and development in this field. Only 72 coupe and cabriolet models were built between 1936 and 1938, each one marking the success of Skoda at the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally.

Best of Show: Alfa Romeo 3000 CM Superflow IVTechno Classica

This car was produced in four different body styles and had a clear influence on the original Alfa Romeo Spider. It was awarded ‘Best of Show’ at Techno Classica 2017.

BMWTechno Classica

BMW put on quite a show in its home country, as demonstrated by this stunning line-up of vehicles.

1937 Lagonda LG45 RapideTechno Classica

The Lagonda LG45 Rapide can boast an enviable competition history, including victory at Le Mans in 1935. Designed to rival contemporary Bentley models, the Lagonda was enjoyed by wealthy motorists of the time. Only 25 were built.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Black SeriesTechno Classica

When new, the 6.2-litre V8 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Black Series – catchy name – cost around £230,000. Top speed is limited to 196mph and it’ll sprint to 62mph in 3.6 seconds.

Citroen Traction Avant 11CVTechno Classica

The game-changing Citroen Traction Avant is the godfather of the modern motor car. It was the first front-wheel drive production car to boast a steel monocoque body, and also featured fully independent suspension.

Mercedes-Benz E500 LimitedTechno Classica

Given the popularity of the W124 in the early 90s, you’d have been forgiven for not spotting an E500 Limited looming into view. That’s until the Porsche-built, 5.0-litre V8 super-saloon breezed past you without breaking sweat.

Road tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

Road tax deadline pushes car sales to record highThe UK car market hit an all-time high last month as buyers rushed to beat the April 1 road tax changes. In total, 562,337 new cars were registered in March 2017 – a jump of 8.4% versus last year. It was also a record first quarter for the car industry, with 820,016 units sold. Let’s count down the top 10 best-selling cars…

10. Mercedes-Benz C-ClassRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

No C-words for Mercedes: its C-Class edged the BMW 3 Series out of the UK top 10 last month. A total of 9,471 were registered.

The sheer breadth of the C-Class range – comprising saloon, coupe, estate and convertible, not forgetting ballistic AMG versions – means there is a model to suit most. Attractive finance deals have also helped its cause.

9. Ford KugaRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

We wonder how many of the Kuga’s 9,561 sales were the top-spec Vignale seen here. Ford’s new sub-brand has an uphill struggle to convince buyers of its premium credentials, but the Kuga itself is proving popular.

One of the Kuga’s strengths is that it feels much like a Ford Focus to drive, with direct steering and good road manners. Its Sync 3 voice-activated media system is impressive, too.

8. MINIRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

Retro design is here to stay: just compare the fortunes of MINI (owned by BMW) and Smart (owned by Mercedes-Benz). Trading on classic cool helped MINI to 10,003 sales last month.

In contrast to the Issigonis original, the modern MINI is all about choice. There are numerous body styles and engines, plus a seemingly endless list of personalisation options. We’ll have ours in red with a white roof, please.

7. Volkswagen PoloRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

A new Polo arrives later this year, but the current model soldiers on. Dealers registered 10,711 in March, helping the VW to seventh place in the UK sales chart.

Commenting on the March sales stats, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief exec, said: “These record figures are undoubtedly boosted by consumers and businesses reacting to new VED changes, pulling forward purchases into March… This bumper performance probably means we will see a slowdown in April.”

6. Volkswagen GolfRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

The Golf was actually the UK’s second best-selling car in February, as dealers discounted pre-facelift versions of the current Mk7. Last month, it slipped back to sixth, with 10,819 cars registered.

Interestingly, the four-wheel-drive Golf R outsells the cheaper GTI in the UK – although both are comfortably beaten by the hot GTD diesel.

5. Vauxhall AstraRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

PSA Peugeot-Citroen will be pleased with the Astra’s strong showing; the French company has just bought the Vauxhall (UK) and Opel (Europe) brands from General Motors. A total of 11,680 Astras were registered in March.

The Astra’s success is also good news for the UK, as the car is built at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. Will Vauxhall jobs be safe after Britain leaves the EU? Let’s hope so.

4. Nissan QashqaiRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

Here’s another model that’s built in the UK. The all-conquering Nissan Qashqai is made in Sunderland, with one car leaving the line every 62 seconds. No wonder it gains fourth place, with 13,742 registered.

Nissan revealed the facelifted Qashqai – seen here – at the Geneva Motor Show. Apart from some extra chrome, it features an updated media system and the option of Nissan’s ‘ProPilot’ autonomous driving tech.

3. Vauxhall CorsaRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

Propping up the top three is the ubiquitous Vauxhall Corsa, with 16,045 sold. A yellow Corsa like the one seen here actually made the news recently after being vandalised for ‘spoiling the view’ in a picturesque Cotswolds village. A parade of yellow cars drove through the village to show solidarity with its owner.

We rather like the Corsa VXR hot hatch, although – inevitably – we’d rather have a Ford Fiesta ST. That’s true for most cars, though.

2. Ford FocusRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

Crossovers may steal the headlines, but the mid-size family hatchback is far from dead. The Ford Focus took second place in the March sales bonanza, shifting 17,119 units.

Some elements of the car market are changing, though. Sales of petrol-engined models are up 13.2 per cent following all the negative publicity about diesels. And alternatively-fuelled vehicles, such as hybrids, were up a whopping 31 per cent.

1. Ford FiestaRoad tax deadline pushes car sales to record high

Its replacement is just a couple of months away, but that can’t stop the evergreen Ford Fiesta topping the UK sales stats. An incredible 25,428 new Fiestas found homes in March.

We’ll miss the current Fiesta when it’s gone. Few small cars are so joyous to drive; even the basic models get the recipe right. Stay tuned for the Motoring Research verdict on the new 2017 Fiesta this June.

Exclusive: we drive a Volvo V90 police car

Volvo police carVolvo has form with police cars. Sure, your local bobby probably runs around in an Astra, while an unmarked BMW 5 Series is able to put the frights up any daring company car driver pounding up a motorway at 90mph. But the Swedish car firm has been making police cars since 1929 – and selling them to the British police since the 1960s.

Today, there are around 400 Volvo police cars on UK roads. The vast majority of these are V70 armed response vehicles or traffic cars. But, as the V70 is no longer produced, that could be about to change…

Volvo V90 police carVolvo V90 police car

Yes, say hello to the Volvo V90 police car. Here it is in Swedish livery, being tested on a frozen lake somewhere in the Northern Circle at a top secret military base. We say ‘tested’, that’s actually our man living out a childhood dream of driving a police car. On a frozen lake. Mostly sideways.

What’s the point of that?Volvo V90 police car

It’s not all in the name of fun and frolics. Honestly. Volvo’s test drivers spend at least 500 hours putting the latest police cars through their paces in hot and cold climates. The logic goes that if it can survive being driven hard in temperatures way below zero degrees, a pursuit through Bradford’s housing estates won’t phase it.

What’s under the bonnet?Volvo V90 police car

Under the bonnet of this V90 – and, indeed, all V90 police cars for now – is a standard four-cylinder D5 diesel engine. The twin-turbo unit produces 235hp and, before all the extra weight of the police equipment is added, propels the V90 to 62mph in 6.9 seconds.

What’s different, then?Volvo V90 police car

All Volvo V90 police cars are start off as standard cars, taken from the production line at the same point ordinary models are shipped off to dealers. But, rather than being loaded onto a transporter, police-cars-to-be are taken around the back of Volvo’s factory in Torslanda, near Gothenburg, and modified by the special vehicles division.

And what happens next?Volvo V90 police car

Here, a special team of converters spend around six days turning it into a cop car. A special boot frame is fitted to cope with all the gear carried by traffic officers (and prevent it flying forwards in the case of a rear-end shunt), while brakes are upgraded to help bring the heavyweight V90 to a stop. The suspension also gets upgraded, with a 300mm lift and firmer dampers. The wheels are replaced by XC90 alloys.

Is anything done in the UK?Volvo V90 police car

Once police cars arrive in the UK, they’re sent to one of a small number of specialist converters where the finishing touches are put in place. The correct radio is fitted, for example, while British ‘battenburg’ livery is applied to make it stand out.

Why are they so close to standard?Volvo V90 police car

Police cars are generally bought outright rather than leased, so police forces want to be able to get as much of their investment as possible back when it comes to resale time. As such, once you remove the kit fitted by Volvo’s special vehicles workshop, the V90 looks like pretty much any other model.

It looks rather luxurious insideVolvo V90 police car

Inside, it’s exactly as you’d expect a high-spec V90 to be. Leather seats are fitted (they wear better than cloth and are easy to wipe down), while the standard infotainment system is left in place (the aftermarket computer system that controls the blues and twos, as well as having its own sat-nav feature, is hinged to cover the standard system but can easily be lifted up).

Does it have holes in the roof?Volvo V90 police car

You used to be able to spot an ex-police car by holes in its roof where the lights were fitted. That’s not the case any more… everything is flush mounted, and cabling for the LED roof lights runs through the roof bars. All this helps when the police car has to be sold after retirement.

How long do forces keep police cars?Volvo V90 police car

Traditionally, forces would keep traffic cars for a maximum of three years and 100,000-150,000 miles. Now, budget cuts dictate that forces must keep hold of them for longer – as much as five years and several hundred thousand miles – so they need to be pretty robust.

How often are police cars serviced?Volvo V90 police car

Most police forces have their own workshop for routine servicing, which is carried out regularly, while some even invest in diagnostic equipment to enable more serious work to be carried out. Obviously, under routine police work the cars can be damaged fairly regularly – and for bodywork they’re usually returned to a local Volvo dealer.

What other challenges do forces face?Volvo V90 police car

Over the last eight or so years, all traffic cars have been diesel, with police forces keen to save money on fuel. As diesel becomes a naughty word and police need to be seen to be doing their bit, we could see a shift towards petrol or hybrid police cars. Indeed, with a plug-in hybrid T8 V90 on its way, it’d be fair to assume these might be pressed into police duty.

What about driverless tech?Volvo V90 police car

Volvo is big on autonomous technology, and safety systems such the firm’s City Safety automatic emergency braking could prove to be problematic. If a car will do everything in its power to prevent a collision, how do police carry out tactical stops that involve making contact with other vehicles? Fortunately, for now, the technology can be turned off…

And in the future?Volvo V90 police car

Who knows? Police cars are a tiny part of what Volvo does, so it won’t hold back on developing its driverless features for those rare occasions when traffic officers need to take control. Will we see driverless police cars? “Cars will outskill even police drivers,” Volvo’s special vehicles chief, Ulf Rydne, told us.

Will we see Volvo V90 police cars on UK roads?Volvo V90 police car

There are a few hoops Volvo has to jump through before we’ll see V90 police cars on the roads. It needs to be added to the Home Office framework, which means it’s approved for UK police forces. But as Swedish police have already tested the V90 and given it a 9.2/10 rating – higher than any other car ever – it’s unlikely that it won’t be approved in the UK. We ought to see V90 police cars patrolling our motorways by the end of 2017.

20 embarrassing car publicity photos

20 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Audi 10050 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Skoda Felicia50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Daewoo50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Citroen Saxo VTS50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Peugeot 207 CC50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Fiat Panda50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Citroen XM50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Daihatsu Charade50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Renault Twingo50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Chrysler PT Cruiser50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Ford Focus50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Rover 100 Ascot SE50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Suzuki Vitara50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Proton GEN-250 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Renault Clio50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Citroen Xantia20 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Volkswagen Derby20 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Saab Sonett50 embarrassing car publicity photos

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

Revealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Revealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Revealed: the car brands with the most warranty claimsAnalysing data from 40,000 policies and £3 million worth of authorised claims, Warranty Direct has revealed the car brands with the most problems and the cost of repair should things go wrong.

Listed in reverse order, these are the 10 manufacturers which had the highest percentage of claims made against them, along with the average cost a claim. Owners of an Alfa Romeo, Porsche and Land Rover without warranty cover might want to look away now.

10. Citroen: 15% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

The number of Warranty Direct claims are measured as a percentage of the number of policies held per manufacturer. On this basis, Citroen finishes 10th, with 15% of drivers needing to make a claim against their warranty.

Philip Ward of Warranty Direct said: “With many cars becoming increasingly more complex in terms of component parts, repair costs will continue to rise throughout 2017. Vehicles which might initially seem reliable and reasonably priced can end up becoming a financial liability for the owner.”

£363.20 average claim

Meanwhile, Warranty Direct has revealed the cost of the average authorised claim, which ranks Citroen as the second lowest on the list. If something goes wrong, you can expect to pay £363.20 to repair your Citroen, unless you’re covered by a warranty.

=8. Volvo: 16% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Finishing joint 8th in terms of total claims is Volvo, with 16% of drivers needing to call upon their warranty for financial help.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Honda, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota are deemed to be the most reliable vehicles on the market. Between 3% and 6% of policies were claimed against throughout the year.

Volvo: £466.92 average claim

When something does go wrong with your Volvo, you can expect to pay just under £477 to repair it.

=8. BMW: 16% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Level with Volvo is BMW, with 16% of policies claimed against throughout the year. Predictably, it’s manufacturers of larger, more complex vehicles that feature on Warranty Direct’s ‘repair scares’ list.

The company reveals that superminis and hatchbacks did not receive many claims, largely due to the simplicity of their parts and reduced labour cost. Other brands to perform well in the survey included Smart, Kia, SEAT, Ford and Hyundai.

BMW: £609.13 average claim

Be prepared to dig deep should things go wrong with your BMW. At £609.13, this is the second highest average authorised claim on the list, which suggests you might want to consider an aftermarket warranty.

7. Lexus: 22% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

The figures make for good reading for the Japanese carmakers, although Lexus bucks the trend by finishing 7th.

Lexus might be the posh arm of Toyota, but if the Warranty Direct data is anything to go by, the more humble brand should provide fewer headaches.

Lexus: £469.68 average claim

If something goes wrong with your Lexus, you can expect to fork out just under £470 to put things right.

6. Jaguar: 23% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Finishing just outside the top five is Jaguar, with 23% of policies used throughout the year. On the flip-side, this does mean that 67% of Warranty Direct policies were unused.

Jaguar: £442.68 average claim

Jaguar performed relatively well in terms of the cost of the average claim, with £442.68 the third lowest on the list.

5. Mercedes-Benz: 25% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Into the top five, where we find Mercedes-Benz. According to Warranty Direct, this result is significant as “in 2015 alone the company sold 145,254 units in the UK, which equated to more than 5% of the market share”.

Mercedes-Benz: £559.99 average claim

Warranty Direct goes on to say that an average repair cost of £559.99 is the highest after Porsche and BMW.

4. Chrysler: 26% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

When assessing the top five manufacturers on the list’s most frequent reasons for a claim, axle and suspension issues were common, along with electrical problems. Chrysler – which is now defunct in the UK – finishes fourth with 26% of total claims.

Chrysler: £474.28 average claim

Although not one of the most regular faults, Warranty Direct says gearbox repairs come at a significant cost and averaged over £1,250 across the top five brands. Meanwhile, it’ll cost £474.28 to repair your Chrysler.

3. Land Rover: 34% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

A total of 34% of Land Rovers covered by a Warranty Direct policy suffered a fault of some kind. Perhaps a Japanese SUV would have made more sense…

Land Rover: £513.31 average claim

If something goes wrong with your Land Rover you can expect to receive a bill for just over £513.

2. Porsche: 36% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Finishing second is Porsche, with a claims rate of 36% across policies held with Warranty Direct. Common claims for Porsche owners included suspension and electrical issues, along with steering faults.

Porsche: £1,019.07 average claim

The average cost of £1,019.07 per repair is eye-watering in the extreme and just goes to prove how valuable an aftermarket warranty can be.

1. Alfa Romeo: 40% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Sitting at the top – or should that be bottom? – of the list is Alfa Romeo with a claims rate of 40%. Suspension, electrical and cooling system problems were the most frequent cause for payouts in 2015.

Alfa Romeo: £335.47 average claim

To provide some balance, Alfa Romeo is able to claim the lowest average repair cost on the list of worst offenders, although if you’re making regular trips to the garage, this could turn out to be a red herring.

Spoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

Spoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

Spoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wingsSpoilers: not great if somebody ruins the ending of a latest boxset as you make idle conversation at the watercooler, but from an automotive perspective, a spoiler can be a thing of beauty.

We should point out that spoilers and wings are two different devices. A spoiler is designed to reduce lift and improve aerodynamics, while a wing serves to increase downforce. A nutshell guide in the extreme, but it provides a little background. Read on to discover what has made our shortlist.

Porsche Panamera TurboSpoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

‘Wildest’, perhaps not, but ‘stylish’, most certainly. None other than the good people at GQ magazine described the slice of engineering genius found on the Porsche Panamera Turbo as “the world’s most stylish rear wing,” and they know about style than we do.

It trumps the rear wing on the outgoing Panamera courtesy of a slick two-stage deployment, arising majestically at 80mph. Not the wildest rear wing you’ll ever see, but it inspired the creation of this gallery…

Ford Sierra RS CosworthSpoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

The rear wing on the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth is the hammer to the Panamera’s precision engineered electronic wizardry. In 1985, when Ford introduced this whale-tailed blue-collar hero, the Sierra was transformed from family motor to homologation special.

If nothing else, that whale tail perched on the back of the RS Cosworth acted like a beacon for would-be car thieves, and an object of desire for young and impressionable car fans. Later, Ford upped the ante once again with a two-piece set-up on the RS500.

Ford Escort RS CosworthSpoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

Ford became synonymous with wild body kits and ‘in-yer-face’ rear wings and spoilers. The Escort RS Cosworth – which was actually based on the Sierra RS Cosworth platform – picked up where its curvaceous predecessor left off, complete with double rear wing.

This was no mere cosmetic exercise. The whale tail provided a huge amount of downforce at high speeds and its design was the result of endless hours of development in Ford’s German wind tunnels.

BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’Spoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

We’re keeping gallery free of motorsport and aftermarket DIY creations, but homologation specials are fair game. Take the BMW 3.0 CSL, for example. It’s an iconic in its own right, arguably one of the greatest homologation cars of all-time.

But the ‘Batmobile’, of which only 39 were ever made, took things to an entirely new level. Feast your eyes on the deep front air dam, then move to the left, past the fins perched atop the front wings, past the roof spoiler and then, boom, that ginormous rear wing. That’s the point at which your chin hits the floor with an almighty thud.

Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution IISpoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

Anything BMW can do, Mercedes-Benz can do… er… bigger? If the 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II looks wild today, just think what it must have looked like when it was unveiled at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show.

From the speed hump sharpening chin spoiler to the 17-inch alloy wheels, the Evo II was a world away from the regular 190E. The highlight, of course, was the huge, adjustable rear wing, designed to keep this 155mph DTM car for the road on the straight and narrow. A total of 502 units were produced, each one finished in blue black metallic.

Lamborghini CountachSpoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

Some people will prefer the purity and simplicity of the original Lamborghini Countach, and that’s their right. Indeed, the LP400 is so effortlessly beautiful, you’d swear blind it was sculpted by an artist.

An optional V-shaped wing first appeared on a Walter Wolf Countach, improving stability, but reducing the top speed. As the Countach matured, the rear wing became Lamborghini’s equivalent of that other 80s favourite: shoulder pads.

Honda Accord Type RSpoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

The rear wing on the Accord Type R might not be the biggest or the most outlandish example you’ll ever see, but it warrants a place on our list by virtue of the sheer madness of the thing. It’s hard to think of a more conservative car than the Honda Accord, yet here is a Type R that’s able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Integra and Civic.

Even with that Touring Car style rear wing, the Accord Type R oozed Q-car appeal, but it had an ability to show a BMW M3 a thing or two. The wing was a delete option from the factory, but fortunately the majority of owners saw sense and kept it on.

TVR SagarisSpoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

TVR’s final model was perhaps its very best. The Sagaris appeared to have it all: the theatre and excess we’d become accustomed to during TVR’s twilight years, along with an ability to keep up with any self-respecting supercar.

On the face of it, the transparent rear spoiler, complete with machined-aluminium posts, looks like another example of TVR letting its hair down. But it served a purpose: giving the driver an unobstructed view of the car they had just overtaken.

Ferrari F40Spoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

In Ferrari’s own words, the F40’s integral full-width rear wing “presented the ultimate eighties power statement”. That it looked the part was in no doubt, but it also helped to keep the F40 on the straight and narrow at speeds of up to 201mph.

McLaren P1Spoiler alert: cars with the wildest rear wings

The McLaren P1 boasts what is arguably one of the most beautiful rear wings of recent years. It’s part of an ‘active aerodynamics’ programme, designed to produce more downforce than any other road car.

The moveable front and rear wings can produce a peak of 600kg of downforce in Race mode, while the rear wing incorporates an F1-style Drag Reduction System (DRS), which reduces the angle to zero degrees when a button is pressed, reducing drag by 23%.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great deals

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great deals

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsCar prices have risen 5.2% on average since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, costing the consumer nearly £2 billion. That’s according to data released by What Car? Magazine, which is urging consumers to “fight back” against surging new prices.

Vehicles costing less than £200 per month now make up 9.9% of the market, compared with 13% seven months ago. But What Car? says deals are still available and it has launched a new online car buying marketplace to make it easier to find them. These are the best discounts and finance deals available by segment.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsCity cars, discount: Fiat Panda 1.2 Pop

Discount: 26.8%

The 1.2-litre Pop is the Fiat Panda at its most basic, with prices starting from £9,245. Not that you should be paying that, with What Car? suggesting that a 26.8% discount is available.

City cars, finance: Smart Fortwo Coupe

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with a £140 deposit

The Smart Fortwo Coupe isn’t the cheapest city car on the block, with prices starting from £11,370. A three-year 0% PCP deal with a tiny £140 deposit makes it more appealing.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsSmall cars, discount: SEAT Ibiza

Discount: 24.7%

There’s a new SEAT Ibiza on the way, so discounts will be available on the outgoing model. What Car? says you should be looking to save just under 25% across the entire range.

Small cars, finance: Mazda2

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with a £750 deposit

The Mazda2 is a seriously underrated small car and a more exciting alternative to the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. Prices start from £12,595, although a three-year PCP deal is available with a £750 deposit.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsFamily cars, discount: Citroen C4

Discount: 24%

The Citroen C4 isn’t the sharpest family car in the sector, but a 24% discount across the range makes it more attractive. Prices start from £15,595.

Family cars, finance: Skoda Rapid Spaceback

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with an £1,800 deposit

The Skoda Rapid Spaceback majors on practicality, with plenty of rear legroom and up to 1,380 litres of boot space. A three-year 0% PCP deal is tempting, but you’ll need to find £1,800 for the deposit.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsExecutive cars, discount Volvo S90 T4 SE Nav (Leather)

Discount: 21.4%

The Volvo S90 has only been on sale five minutes, but some seriously tempting discounts are available. If you were struggling to shift your attention away from the Germans, a 21.4% discount might sway you in the direction of the stylish Swede.

Executive cars, finance: Lexus IS

Finance: 3yr 2.9% APR PCP with a £3,000 deposit

Meanwhile, What Car? believes the best finance deal in the segment is the three-year 2.9% PCP offer available on the Lexus IS. You’ll need to find £3,000 for the deposit and prices start from £29,995.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsLuxury cars, discount: Mercedes-Benz S350d SE L 9G-Tronic

Discount: 19.2%

You could wander into a Mercedes-Benz showroom and drop £70,425 on an S350d in SE L trim. Alternatively, you could negotiate a 19.2% discount. You can spend the savings on a few tanks of diesel.

Luxury cars, finance: Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with an £8,443 deposit

Sticking with the S-Class, What Car? believes the three-year 0% PCP deal on the big Merc’ is the best finance deal in the luxury car segment. Just be sure you have £8,443 for the deposit.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsEstate cars, discount: BMW 535d Luxury Touring Step Auto

Discount: 22.6%

The BMW 5-Series Touring is a big estate car, with 560 litres of space with the seats in place, or 1,670 litres with the seats folded down. The discount is generous, too, with 22.6% available on the 535d Luxury model.

Estate cars, finance: Skoda Octavia Estate

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with a £2,000 deposit

The Skoda Octavia Estate is one of our favourite cars at any price, and with a facelifted version imminent, now’s the time to bag a great deal on the outgoing model. A three-year PCP deal is available with a £2,000 deposit.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsMPVs, discount: Citroen C3 Picasso

Discount: 30.0%

MPVs might be as popular as Donald Trump at a Clinton family get-together, but the Citroen C3 Picasso is one of the best of a seemingly dying breed. Prices start from £16,975, but you can expect a 30% discount across the range.

MPVs, finance: Ford S-Max Vignale

Finance: 3yr 0.9% APR PCP with a £1,000 deposit

Vignale is Ford’s posh trim level – a Ghia for a new generation, if you like. Order a Ford S-Max Vignale and you can enjoy a three-year 0.9% PCP deal for a £1,000 deposit.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsSmall SUVs, discount: Renault Captur 0.9 TCe 90 Expression+

Discount: 11.8%

“We knew average prices were going up, but rather than a gradual rise, our research has shown that there has been a perfect storm of elements that has conspired to create a big bang in price hikes,” explained What Car? editor Steve Huntingford. But don’t worry, a 11% discount is available on the Renault Captur.

Small SUVs, finance: Skoda Yeti SE and SE L

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with a £1,500 deposit

The Skoda Yeti might be getting long in the tooth, but it remains one of our favourite small SUVs. A three-year 0% PCP deal on the SE and SE L models is a tempting proposition.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsLarge SUVs, discount: BMW X5 xDrive50i M Sport Step Auto

Discount: 12.7%

“Our new car buying marketplace saves you the hassle of shopping around, letting you configure a car to your desired spec and then directly compare prices from dealers in your area,” said Steve Huntingford. Why spend £67,505 on a BMW X5 xDrive50i M Sport when you can save 12.7%?

Large SUVs, finance: Jeep Cherokee Limited

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with a £2,750 deposit

Right now, the three-year 0% PCP deal available on the Jeep Cherokee Limited is the best you can hope for in the large SUV segment. For more deals, consult the What Car? Target Price, which is the most you should have to pay for a particular model.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsCoupes, discount: BMW 650i Sport Gran Coupe Auto

Discount: 22.1%

The BMW 6 Series features heavily in the What Car? data, appearing in five of the final six deals to be featured. First up, the 650i Sport Gran Coupe, of which you can expect a 22.1% discount.

Coupes, finance: BMW 6 Series SE and M Sport Coupe

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with a 0% deposit

Meanwhile, the 6 Series SE and M Sport Coupe are available with a three-year 0% PCP deal and a 0% deposit. That should make the £60k+ price tag a little easier to stomach.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsConvertibles, discount: BMW 650i Sport Convertible Auto

Discount: 23.6%

A BMW 650i Sport Convertible has an on-the-road list price of £75,800, but nobody pays that. Not when there’s a massive 23.6% discount available.

Convertibles, finance: BMW 6 Series SE and M Sport Convertible

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with a 0% deposit

The BMW 6 Series Convertible also features as the What Car? best buy in the convertible segment. It’s that same three-year 0% PCP deal once again.

Car prices soar since Brexit, but you can bag these great dealsPerformance cars, discount: Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S Tip Auto

Discount: 18.6%

Breaking from the BMW 6 Series for a moment, you can expect an 18.6% discount on the Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S.

Performance cars, finance: BMW M6

Finance: 3yr 0% APR PCP with a 0% deposit

Finally, the gloriously good looking but eye-wateringly expensive BMW M6. The list price of £93,265 is on the large side, but a three-year 0% PCP deal and 0% deposit should soften the blow.

Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be botheredWhat’s the worst crime in the world of car design? Sure, you might find a particular car ugly or offensive, but at least it encourages some kind of reaction. In our view, there’s nothing worse than a car that goes by unnoticed, failing to register on anyone’s radar.

Which is why we’ve assembled 20 cars that are so bland and so derivative, you might struggle to find them in a supermarket car park. Whether designed by committee or simply because the designer fancied a day on the beach, these are the cars that style forgot.

Vauxhall VectraPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Of the Vauxhall Vectra, a certain Jeremy Clarkson said: “Trying to road test it is like trying to road test a microwave oven”. In a memorable episode of Top Gear, Clarkson went to great lengths to talk about anything other than the replacement for the Cavalier.

In desperation, he pointed to the “cunning little tool which gets the dust covers off the tyre valves” and the “great door mirrors” as the only reasons to buy a Vectra. In a stroke, Clarkson wrote himself into motoring TV history and off Vauxhall’s Christmas card list.

Mitsubishi MiragePhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

You’ve resisted the all-round brilliance of the Up, Citigo and Mii siblings, the cheekiness of the Suzuki Ignis, the joie de vivre of the Renault Twingo, and the value-added Hyundai i10. Against all the odds, you arrive at a Mitsubishi dealer.

Somehow you manage to look beyond its ditchwater-dull exterior and drab interior, getting to the point of discussing finance options with the dealer. You’re not having a good day, but it’s not too late to turn back. From April 1st, even the tiny carrot of free road tax will be removed from the very short list of reasons to buy a Mirage.

Ford Escort Mk5Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

“These days you can’t help noticing how cars are becoming increasingly alike. More and more efficient but, some would say, less and less enjoyable. That’s the Law of Averages at work. Whatever happened to the idea that, above all, a car should be a pleasure to drive? Ford haven’t forgotten. For that’s precisely the idea behind the new Ford Escort. It breaks the Law of Averages in every possible way.”

It did, but not in a good way. The press ad introducing the fifth generation Escort promised a lot, but the car delivered so little. It was all-new, but the styling was bland beyond belief, so much so that Ford was forced into a facelift after just two years. Average? This Ford couldn’t even reach that benchmark.

Renault 9Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The Renault 9 is a former European Car of the Year award-winner, but that’s hardly a barometer of brilliance. Throughout the 60s and 70s, Renault built some legendary cars: the 4, 16 and 5, to name but three. And the signs were good when Robert Opron was chosen to work on the design of the 9.

The Frenchman had penned the SM, GS and CX for Citroen, not to mention the redesign of the DS. For Renault, he had already sorted the svelte and futuristic Fuego. In contrast, the 9 was a backward step, and a rare dead branch on an otherwise brilliant family tree.

Toyota PriusPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The first Toyota Prius was launched in Japan back in 1997 and soon became the darling of green-washed celebs, doing their bit for the environment. It became the brand generic, not only for hybrid vehicles, but for green cars in general.

So it’s a disappointment that Toyota made no effort with the styling. One day, we’ll look at the dawn of the hybrid vehicle and ask: really, was that the best we could do? Such a shame that the better looking and technologically brilliant Honda Civic Hybrid has been largely forgotten.

SEAT ToledoPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The first generation SEAT Toledo was a stylish, Giugiaro-designed five-door hatchback, designed to look like a saloon. The follow-up was a handsome, if forgettable saloon version of the SEAT Leon. The third generation: well that just made us long for the sanctuary of mediocrity.

In fairness to the designers, they were hampered by the need to base the Toledo on the Altea, whilst retaining the Toledo’s big boot. The result was something with the face of the Elephant Man and the bottom of Kim Kardashian.

Toyota CorollaPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The Toyota Corolla started life as a pert and pretty saloon, coupe and station wagon, but time hasn’t been kind to the world’s most successful nameplate. That’s the problem when you’re trying to cater for a mass audience: the result is something terribly generic.

It’s the vanilla ice cream of the automotive world. The magnolia paint. The music you’ll hear in a lift. The Rich Tea biscuit. Toyota knows this, which is why it has placed an attractive woman to the right of this photo, in the hope that you might overlook its blandness.

Skoda Fabia saloonPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Not everybody shares our obsession with hatchbacks. In some markets, buyers prefer the security of a compact saloon, in the mistaken belief that a closed boot offers more class and prestige than a glass tailgate.

As a result, carmakers are all too keen to graft a stubby boot onto the back of an otherwise inoffensive hatchback, creating monstrosities such as the Skoda Fabia saloon. It’s an abomination. A stain on the pants of the automotive world.

Fiat MultiplaPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The original, modern-day Fiat Multipla was an interesting, radical and genuinely practical compact MPV. Despite being shorter than the Fiat Bravo/Brava upon which it was based, it was able to offer two rows of three seats, giving it a genuine standout quality in a crowded sector.

But some people found the styling offensive and small children had nightmares. Fiat bottled it, and gave the Multipla a facelift akin to slapping a layer of magnolia paint over its unique and bold exterior. A victory for blandness and a defeat for originality.

Skoda YetiPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

It’s a similar story with the Skoda Yeti. When it arrived in 2009, the Yeti impressed us with its bold styling, which was a welcome tonic to the ubiquity of rival crossovers. Skoda had a hit on its hands, leading to waiting lists of up to six months and a legion of new and loyal fans.

Everything changed in 2013. In an effort to bring the quirky Yeti into line with the corporate look, Skoda furnished it with a bland new face, removing its character in the process.

Toyota RAV4Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Remember the original Toyota RAV4? Launched in 1994, the RAV4 was a crossover before the Qashqai was a twinkle in Nissan’s eye, with an ability to offer car-like dynamics in an SUV suit. In three-door guise especially, it was also bold and interesting to look at.

The current RAV4 is neither bold or interesting. Both inside and out, it’s the automotive equivalent of the television test screen. In 2016 it was the seventh best-selling car in the world. In other news: McVitie’s Rich Tea biscuits are more popular than Ginger Nuts, Hobnobs, Custard Creams and Jammie Dodgers. Proof that being popular isn’t necessarily a reliable barometer of fine taste.

Nissan SunnyPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Even as recently as 1978, the Nissan (neé Datsun) Sunny was an interesting alternative to the humdrum saloons being offered by European carmakers. The 120Y coupé was quite an iconic car of the 1970s, if only for the fact that it kept moving when other family cars were struggling to cope with damp mornings in suburbia.

By the turn of the 1990s, the Sunny outlook had turned to drizzle, as the family car spiralled into an abyss of blandness and mediocrity. Worse was to come: it would have to suffer the ignominy of being replaced by the Almera. Oh, the shame.

Fiat 500LPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

‘Divisive’, ‘challenging’ and ‘quirky’ are just three of the more pleasant words we’ve seen used to describe the looks of the Fiat 500L. Others aren’t repeatable before the watershed.

You can understand the rationale behind styling a compact MPV to look like one of the world’s most popular small cars, but doesn’t make it right. Even moody photos fail to make the 500L look anything other than bed-wettingly distasteful. And to think some people found the Multipla hard to look at.

McLaren MP4-12CPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Its inclusion is likely to be controversial, but the McLaren MP4-12C has always felt a bit too clinical. It’s the cold and aloof member of the sports car fraternity: a car that’s easy to admire but hard to love.

Even the name – later shortened to 12C – sounds like a laptop. “The shape is not overpowered by styling elements that don’t need to be there,” said designer Frank Stephenson. Fair enough, but this is one McLaren that’s unlikely to be battling for bedroom wall space.

Ford Ka+Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Once upon a time there was a small and cheeky city car with the world at its feet. It was fun to drive and blessed with quirky good looks that enabled it to stand head-and-shoulders above its tedious rivals. That car was the Ford Ka.

Then Ford replaced it with a second-generation model that was a shadow of its former self. Its character and charm ripped from its core. The current Mk3 Ka+ plays the role of a ‘world car’, catering for the masses and majoring on blandness. The Ka, as we once knew it, is dead. The end.

Toyota AurisPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The Auris name is derived from ‘aurum’, which is latin for gold. That’s about the most interesting thing we can say about the Toyota Auris. Sorry, Toyota, a new name doesn’t make it any more interesting than the Corolla.

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Vauxhall MerivaPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

No child has or will ever grow up wanting to drive a Vauxhall Meriva. It’s dull to drive, dull to look at and dull to be inside. We’ve seen more excitement in the cardigan department at Marks & Spencer.

Vauxhall facelifted the Meriva in 2006, in the mistaken belief that a chrome strip across the tailgate would make the world of difference. It didn’t. Comically, Vauxhall also built a VXR version, which was akin to sticking a firework under a beige riser-recliner chair.

Lamborghini HuracanPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Look, we’re not saying the Lamborghini Huracan isn’t good looking. Park one of these on your driveway and net curtains will be twitching. But by Ferruccio Lamborghini’s own standards, is it a true Lamborghini? The Italian always maintained that if passers-by didn’t turn around in astonishment, the styling was not good enough.

Compare and contrast the Huracan with some of Lamborghini’s past greats: does it pass the bedroom-wall test? Sure, it might be a more civilised and useable Lamborghini, but is that what we really want from Sant’Agata? Heck, it might even be upstaged by the Audi R8…

Nissan LeafPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

If the automotive world wants us to get behind an electric future, it might want to start building cars we’d want to be seen in. Renault has made a good fist of the Zoe, but the Nissan Leaf is dull, bordering on ugly.

We’ve seen more stylish hospital bedpans.

Mitsubishi CarismaPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The irony of this car’s name isn’t lost on us, but this Mitsubishi suffered from more than just a charisma bypass. Reliable it might have been – you probably wouldn’t need to call upon that AA badge – but the Mitsubishi Carisma could so easily have been called the ‘Tiresome’ or the ‘Bleak’.

Amazing to think that it was based on the first generation Volvo S40 and that its chassis would be used for the Proton Impian. Actually, those aren’t amazing facts. Mount Everest is the height of 643 double-decker buses: that’s an amazing fact.