1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400

Banish the winter blues with this classic Lamborghini Countach

1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400

Late January is judged by some to be the most depressing time, with the holidays a fading memory and only the credit card bills left behind.

But the start of the year does not to be completely miserable if you are in the market for a classic collector car.

Whilst the recent Arizona auctions may have captured much of the spotlight, there are still cars out there looking for buyers. Like this rare Lamborghini Countach, for instance.

Cutting (w)edge machine

1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400

Currently being advertised by New York’s Gullwing Motor Cars on, this Countach is one of the earliest examples produced. 

It might seem hard to believe, but the original designs for the Countach now date back 50 years from when Lamborghini commissioned Marcello Gandini and Bertone to begin work on the prototype. 

The dramatic wedge-shaped supercar made its first public outing at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, wowing the crowds with features like scissor doors and a periscope in place of a traditional rear-view mirror.

1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400

Lamborghini would continue to develop the looks of the Countach over nearly two decades of production. However, the earliest LP400 cars like this one are considered to be the purest representation of Gandini’s original design idea.

Beginning production in 1974, the first LP400 Countach models used a 4.0-liter V-12 engine. Peak power was rated at 375 horsepower, with torque at 266 lb-ft. 

A five-speed manual transmission sent power to the rear wheels, with the LP400 capable of hitting a top speed of 179 mph. Commendable for the early 1970s. 

Even Canada gets the blues

1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400

A grand total of 157 examples of the Countach LP400 would be built before Lamborghini introduced the revised LP400S in 1978. This leaves the initial run of cars deeply sought after by collectors. 

This particular LP400 was delivered in October 1975 to Canadian importer Eugene Carrie of Ontario. Ordered with stunning bright Blu Tahiti exterior paint, the interior was fitted with equally dramatic blue and white upholstery. 

By 1978 the Countach had made its way to the United States, where it has resided ever since. A two-year restoration process was recently undertaken, with the work performed by Ultimate Motor Works in Florida.  

1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400

The seller notes that famed Lamborghini expert and test driver Valentino Balboni was consulted during the restoration process, and that he personally inspected the car. 

All areas of the car were party to the restoration, including the original Philips stereo system and the factory-fitted air conditioning. A set of Carello driving lights are found at the front, whilst the wheels wear Michelin XWX radial tires.

The odometer records a total of 15,845 kilometres (9,846 miles), demonstrating low usage for a car more than four-decades old.

Million-dollar retail therapy

1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400

An advertised sale price of $1,095,000 (£840,000) does place this Countach at the top end of values, but this is said to reflect the condition and desirable specification. 

The most expensive Countach sold to date achieved $1.21 million at a Bonhams auction in 2014. Notably, that car was also finished in Blu Tahiti, and had a slightly higher mileage on the odometer. 

Spending a million dollars might seem an extravagant way to beat away the blues, but it has to be better than joining a gym or trying out a new fad diet.

11 debuts in one day: new supercars at Salon Privé 2019

Salon Prive 2019

Exotic, exclusive and expensive, Salon Privé is the UK’s A-list supercar show, held on the manicured lawns of Blenheim Palace. This year, no less than 11 vehicles made their UK debuts, from a Slovenian supercar to a resurrected vintage Bentley. We donned our best suits and selflessly quaffed free champagne to bring you the highlights.

Read on for details of all 11 debuts at Salon Privé 2019, plus an MR-exclusive photo gallery.

Austro Daimler Bergmeister ADR 630 Shooting Grand

Salon Prive 2019

Try saying “Austro Daimler Bergmeister ADR 630 Shooting Grand” after a couple of glasses of Krug. Back in 1910, Austro Daimler built the world’s fastest car the 85mph Prinz Heinrich but the company closed its doors in 1931. Fast-forward nearly 90 years and it’s back, this time attached to a plug-in hybrid loosely based on the Mercedes-AMG GT. 

The headline stats are startling: 1,215hp, 1,180lb ft of torque and 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds. Combining the GT’s 3.0-litre straight-six with three electric motors, the ADR 630 Shooting Grand also offers an electric-only range of 155 miles. Top speed is ‘in excess of 200mph’ and kerb weight is a relatively modest 1,650kg.

The styling of the Bergmeister (let’s call it that for convenience) clearly owes much to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ it even emulates that icon’s trademark doors. The area usually occupied by the AMG GT’s boot is full of batteries, so a shooting break tail treatment provides added storage space. Other neat touches include a ‘double-bubble’ roof and Art Deco-inspired interior.

Puritalia Berlinetta

Salon Prive 2019

‘Puritalia Automobili Berlinetta’ is another name that could prove challenging to say when sloshed. If we were being cruel, we might suggest the designer of this 965hp Italian sports car also imbibed one too many. But beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

Hand-built near Naples, the Berlinetta has its roots in the 427 Roadster – a reborn AC Cobra. As such, most of its power (750hp, to be precise) comes from a good ol’ 5.0-litre supercharged V8, with the remaining 215hp via an electric motor driving the rear axle. In a 1,410kg carbon fibre coupe, that means 0-62mph in 2.7 seconds and 208mph.

HR Owen is the sole UK retailer for Puritalia and only 150 cars – each one taking 800 hours to build – will be sold worldwide. Be prepared to stump up £500,000 if you want one.

Tushek TS 900 H Apex

Salon Prive 2019

Slovenian racing driver Aljosa Tushek has launched his eponymous company in some style. The 1,410kg TS 900 H is billed as ‘the lightest hypercar on the road’ (don’t tell the McLaren Senna) and makes a combined 950hp from a petrol V8 and two electric motors. Performance? Yep, there’s plenty of that: 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 236mph.

The wedgy bodywork is all carbon fibre, mounted on a chrome-moly spaceframe. Upwards-opening scissor doors add some visual theatre, while the removable roof means you can ‘experience the full exhilarating symphony of the thunderous V8’. In the genteel gardens of Blenheim Palace, it sounded utterly ferocious.

In a nod to its racing roots, the TS 900 H Apex wears super-sticky Pirelli Trofeo R tyres. Can we expect a establishment-baiting Nurburgring lap-time, perhaps even with Aljosa behind the wheel? Watch this space.

Alpine A110S

Salon Prive 2019

The Alpine A110 was pretty much perfect from launch: an immaculate conception that marked a triumphant return for a largely forgotten brand. Now Alpine has launched the faster, stiffer and all-round sportier A110S. Has it gilded the lily?

Thankfully, the changes are subtle. The 1.8-litre turbo four has been tweaked to produce 292hp an increase of 40hp over the standard car while a switchable sports exhaust delivers a ‘more emotive engine sound’. Brakes, tyres and suspension have also been upgraded, with beefier Brembo calipers, wider Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber and a 4mm drop in ride height, plus stiffer anti-roll bars. 

On sale from 3 September 2019, the A110S is priced at £56,810: around £10k more than the entry-level ‘Pure’ spec A110. Worth the extra cash? We’re itching to find out.

Ateliers Diva Targa

Salon Prive 2019

The ‘backdated’ Porsche 911 – with classic looks and more modern mechanicals – is nothing new. However, the rise of Singer has supercharged this market so that no ropey old SC or 964 is safe from a ‘restomod’ makeover. Now French company Crubilé Sport, which has decades of experience restoring 911s, wants a piece of the action. 

The Ateliers Diva Targa is based on the 964-model 911, built between 1989 and 1994. Buyers can choose from a Carrera 2 or 4 drivetrain (the latter with four-wheel drive) and Coupe, Targa or Safari body styles – the Safari with raised suspension and rally accessories. Crubilé Sport will build 75 cars in total.

As ever, the heart of this 911 is behind the back axle: a race-derived 4.2-litre engine said to offer ‘the reliability of a modern 991’. No performance figures have been quoted yet, but with a kerb weight around 1,100kg, safe to assume it’s pretty swift. We want one. 

Jannarelly Design-1

Salon Prive 2019

Designer Anthony Jannarelly first grabbed the attention of petrolheads with the W Motors Lykan HyperSport, a money-no-object hypercar built in the Middle East. Now he’s put own name on a retro-styled, rear-wheel-drive roadster.

The Design-1 was originally a one-off for Anthony’s personal use. However, “such was the enthusiasm”, he explains, “we decided to go the whole way and launch our own sports car brand. And so Jannarelly was born”. Based on a steel and aluminium tubular frame, the Design-1 weighs just 810kg with composite bodywork, or 760kg in all-carbon. Power comes from a 330hp 3.5-litre Nissan V6, serving up 0-62mph in ‘less than four seconds’.

David Bagley, co-founder of Salon Privé said “I’m thrilled that Anthony and Thomas Ceccaldi, director of Jannarelly Paris, have selected our event to launch the thrilling Design-1 to the UK market. By and large, the guests who attend Salon Privé are knowledgeable, well-heeled enthusiasts and I’m confident that they will welcome this fabulous new sports car brand when it is unveiled on the lawns of Blenheim Palace.”

Rolls-Royce Ghost Zenith

Salon Prive 2019

Not even Rolls-Royce is immune to knocking out special editions when a car reaches its twilight days. The 10–year-old Ghost is due for replacement soon and 50 Zenith editions will mark its passing. Each car has a commemorative ingot inlaid into the dashboard, which is made from the melted-down Spirit of Ecstasy of the original ‘200EX’ Ghost prototype. 

The 200EX is also remembered by an engraving on the centre console. This blueprint-inspired artwork has been divided into 50 parts, ‘allowing each Ghost Zenith customer their own personal and individual work of art, while at the same time uniting the collection as a group homage to Ghost’. So now you know.

Three different colour combinations are available: Iguazu Blue with Andalusian White, Premiere Silver with Arctic White or Bohemian Red with Black Diamond. Whichever spec you go for, future classic status seems assured. Rolls-Royce doesn’t quote a price, but if you have to ask, etc, etc….

Bentley Corniche

Salon Prive 2019

The original Bentley Corniche was commissioned by Greek racer Andre Embiricos and styled by Georges Paulin. Thanks to its streamlined body, it topped 100mph on the banked Brooklands circuit. Sadly, the Corniche was damaged by a bus while road testing in France in July 1939. The subsequent outbreak of World War Two then saw it damaged by a Luftwaffe bombing raid, never to be seen again.

Now, Bentley’s bespoke Mulliner division has re-created the long-lost Corniche, which makes its public debut at Salon Privé. The car has been a true labour of love, aided by volunteers who gathered information and sourced parts to assemble the chassis. Using original technical drawings combined with modern CAD techniques, the end result is simply stunning. Mulliner carpenter Gary Bedson even devised a custom steam booth to bend sections of wood for the window surrounds.

“It’s been a fantastic team effort,” said Stefan Sielaff, design director at Bentley. “We have skilled craftsmen within Mulliner and around the rest of Bentley Motors and they all have massive pride in what they’ve achieved with this car.”

Pininfarina Battista

Salon Prive 2019

Pity the poor Pininfarina Battista. With a faintly ludicrous 1,900hp, it was (briefly) the most powerful production car ever until the Lotus Evija came along. Still, buyers who stump up the requisite £2 million aren’t likely to complain about 0-62mph in ‘less than two seconds’. 

All that oomph comes from four electric motors – one for each wheel – providing a combined 1,696lb ft of torque. Handling has been honed by ex-F1 driver Nick Heidfeld, along with chassis guru Peter Tutzer (formerly of Bugatti, Pagani and Porsche). 

Fittingly for the company that penned many of Ferrari’s finest, the carbon-bodied Battista is also utterly gorgeous. Sleek, curvaceous and devoid of aggressive aero appendages, it’s every inch the 21st-century hypercar. Just 150 will be built, after which Indian-owned Pininfarina Automobili plans to make an SUV.

Rimac C_Two

Salon Prive 2019

The Rimac C_Two was delayed en route to Salon Privé, hence the library pics here. To our knowledge, it’s the only car besides the first-generation Kia Pro_Cee’d to feature an underscore in its name. The Croatian electric supercar also promises the small matter of 1,913hp (yep, even more than the Battista) for 0-60mph in 1.85 seconds, 0-186mph in 11.8 seconds and a top speed of 258mph. Yowzers.

The £2.3 million Rimac also uses facial recognition rather than a key to unlock and start (don’t grow a beard or you’re going nowhere), plus it should deliver more than 400 miles range on a full charge.

Hands-down our favourite feature, though, is inside the cabin. After Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond famously crashed and burned its Concept One predecessor on camera, the C-Two has the words ‘In case of hill climb, extinguish fire’ inscribed on the leather strap that secures its fire extinguisher.

Bentley EXP 100 GT

Salon Prive 2019

Finally, back to Bentley. The EXP 100 GT is a celebration of the first 100 years of the British marque. It ‘reimagines the Grand Tourer for the world of 2035… a world of shared luxury experiences where passenger and driver enjoy equal status in their enjoyment of their extraordinary journeys’. In part, that means this concept EV can virtually drive itself.

A total of four electric motors produce 1,106lb ft of torque, enough to propel the 1,900kg EXP 100 GT to 60mph in 2.5 seconds and 186mph flat-out. The design, which looks stunning in the metal, hints at legendary Bentleys of old: spot the R-Type Continental rear haunches and headlights that evoke the iconic Blower. The illuminated matrix grille, however, is fearlessly futuristic. 

A quoted range of 435 miles is perhaps less impressive than the batteries’ ability to be recharged to 80 percent capacity in just 15 minutes. Inside, a ‘Bentley Personal Assistant’ analyses your eye movements and blood pressure, tailoring the car’s systems to suit. A unique ‘Enhance’ mode also adapts light, sound, smell and air quality to deliver a ‘feeling of open top motoring from under the glass canopy’. Only 16 more years to wait…


More photos from Salon Privé 2019

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Revealed: the classic cars most likely to be involved in an accident

Classic Car Accidents

Owners of older British cars are less likely to be involved in a road accident than drivers of modern classics, according to data released by ClassicLine Insurance. Ian Fray, managing director of the insurance company, said: “Our customers with British classics, especially older models, appear to be involved in the fewest road accidents as reflected in the number of insurance claims.” Here, we reveal the vehicles with the highest accident claim frequency, followed by those with the lowest. The results are presented in reverse order.

10. Chevrolet Corvette

Classic Car Accidents

Perhaps it should come as no surprise to find the Chevrolet Corvette propping up the naughty list. The first Corvette rolled off the Michigan production line in June 1953 and it has been delivering all-American thrills ever since.

9. TVR Griffith 500

Classic Car Accidents

Arguably one of TVR’s most famous cars, the Griffith 500 was powered by a 5.0-litre V8 producing 340hp and 350lb ft of torque. By TVR’s own admission, it “required close attention, especially in the wet”, which is why it appears on the ClassicLine list.

8. Rolls-Royce Corniche

Classic Car Accidents

We’re not sure what a Rolls-Royce is doing here, because luxury cars tend to be driven with care and consideration. The Corniche is essentially a two-door Silver Shadow and it was, at its launch, Britain’s most expensive new car.

7. Ford Mustang

Classic Car Accidents

Until the launch of the current Mustang, Ford’s ‘Pony Car’ wasn’t officially imported into the UK. But for some car enthusiasts, a Capri or Probe just didn’t cut it, which is why so many Mustangs arrived on these shores.

6. Mercedes-Benz SLK

Classic Car Accidents

With a premium badge, an electric folding hard-top roof and German engineering, the Mercedes-Benz SLK is a popular modern classic. Amazingly, you can pick up a perfectly serviceable SLK for less than two grand, but with so many to choose from, you’d be advised to look at a few before you buy.

5. Porsche Boxster S

Classic Car Accidents

Unveiled in 1996, the Boxster was a sports car designed for those who aspired to 911 ownership but didn’t have the means to achieve their dream. The Boxster S arrived in 2000, with power sourced from a 250hp 3.2-litre engine.

4. Nissan Figaro

Classic Car Accidents

The Nissan Figaro was based on the humble Micra and built purely for the Japanese market. But its retro styling meant that it became a popular ‘grey import’, with hundreds arriving on these shores. A total of 12,000 were produced, so finding a good one shouldn’t be a problem.

3. BMW Z3

Classic Car Accidents

The Z3 completes the trio of two-seater sports cars that competed with each other around the turn of the millennium. In truth, the BMW sat somewhere between the precision of the Boxster and the soft focus of the SLK. A role in Goldeneye shot the Z3 to stardom.

2. TVR Tuscan

Classic Car Accidents

Speaking of film connections, a TVR Tuscan starred in the 2001 movie Swordfish. The Tuscan name was first used in the 1960s, but was reintroduced for the Speed Six of the new millennium. Evo magazine described it as a “ballistic drive”. Enough said.

1. Jaguar XK8

Classic Car Accidents

The Jaguar XK8 is, according to ClassicLine Insurance, the classic car with the highest accident claim frequency. Ian Fray said: “As you would expect, modern classics have a higher top speed and faster acceleration than older cars, which might explain why they are more likely to be involved in a motoring incident.”

And the least likely…

Classic Car Accidents

But what about the classic cars least likely to be involved in an accident? According to Ian Fray, “drivers of older classics also know they have fewer safety features to protect them in the case of an accident, possibly meaning an increased sense of awareness of the limitations of their model if it is hit.” Read on to discover the classics with the lowest accident claim frequency.

10. Reliant Scimitar GTE

Classic Car Accidents

The Reliant Scimitar and Princess Anne connection has become a motoring cliche, but according to the Sporting Reliants website, other famous GTE owners include Noel Edmonds, Nick Hewer, Barry Sheene and William ‘Ken Barlow’ Roach.

9. Triumph Stag

Classic Car Accidents

With a reliable engine, the Triumph Stag could have been a British sports car to conquer the world. By now, most of the engine problems will have been solved, while many of the restored cars will be better than when they left the factory.

8. MG TF

Classic Car Accidents

It’s amazing to discover that all of the cars on the ‘safe’ list were built in Britain, which suggests that these old and modern classics are driven by careful and considerate types. Launched in 2002, the MG TF was as a comprehensive overhaul of the MGF and was Britain’s answer to the Mazda MX-5.

7. MGB

Classic Car Accidents

The MGB: the quintessential British sports car and a popular choice as a starter classic. More than half a million were built during a production run spanning nearly two decades. The last one rolled off the line in October 1980.

6. MG Midget

Classic Car Accidents

What is about MGs and careful owners? Forty percent of the cars on the ‘safe’ list wear the Morris Garages badge, with the Midget finishing sixth. Aside from the careful owners, we suspect the fact that these cars tend to be used at weekends and during fine weather also plays a part.

5. Austin Mini

Classic Car Accidents

Of the cars in the top five, three are Austins and one is an MG. First up is the Austin Mini, a car celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019. Coincidentally, it’s also 50 years since the release of The Italian Job, although the red, white and blue Minis weren’t too great at protecting their no-claims discount.

4. Austin A35

Classic Car Accidents

We reckon Austin A35 fall into two distinct camps. On the one hand, you have those who will spend hours polishing their A35 to within an inch of perfection, before attending a classic car show at the weekend. On the flip side, you have those who enjoy some historic racing.

3. Sunbeam Alpine

Classic Car Accidents

Designed to tackle the lucrative American market, the Sunbeam Tiger looked fantastic and was adept at providing a smooth and comfortable driving experience. It’s not the sharpest classic sports car you can buy, but the Alpine spawned the Sunbeam Tiger, complete with Ford V8 power.

2. Austin Seven

Classic Car Accidents

The Austin Seven was launched in 1922 and it helped to transform the British motoring scene. “The Seven has done more than anything previously to bring about my ambition to motorise the masses,” said Herbert Austin.

1. MGA

Classic Car Accidents

This is it: the classic car least likely to be involved in an accident, according to ClassicLine Insurance. Take a bow, MGA owners, along with a generous no-claims discount.

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

Classics on the Common isn’t just another classic car show. It’s the country’s biggest weekday classic car show, don’t cha know, with an eclectic mix of more than 1,000 cars taking over the Hertfordshire town of Harpenden for one afternoon in July.

The MR team was out in force at the event – and we’ve each chosen a car we’d like to take home. Click through our gallery at the bottom and let us know if you agree with our choices.

Peter: Ford Galaxie

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

When I was a kid I used to go to Silverstone to watch the amazing 7-litre Ford Galaxie battling with Jim Clark’s Lotus Cortina and Graham Hill’s Jaguar Mark II. The Galaxie still seems to be the size of a small battleship, and while its immense power worked down the straights, its bulk counted against it during braking for the corners. Exciting racing, certainly. This example has plenty of patina but perfectly encapsulates the spirit of an age of excess. Heaven only knows what you do about garaging it, though.

Bradley: Lancia Delta Integrale

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

I’m not a big classic car fan like the rest of the MR team, but this Delta Integrale stood out for me. Its 16v 2.0-litre engine would have produced around 200hp when it was new, making it good for a 0-62mph run in 5.7 seconds. That’s quick for a turbocharged hot hatch today, so it’s hard to imagine how groundbreaking the Integrale was more than 25 years ago. It looks stunning, too. I love this metallic red colour.

Andrew: Morris Minor

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

A classic car show isn’t a classic car show without a Morris Minor, and there were plenty to choose from at Classics on the Common. I’ve got a real hankering for a Moggy at the moment, and this charming 1958 example leaped out, the antithesis to the garish orange Sierra pick-up parked next to it. Its Dove Grey paintwork, complete with a red pinstripe, looked to be in perfect condition, while the revitalised red interior was spotless. Most visitors walked past the humble Morris Minor without giving it a second glance, but it’s the one I’d love to have in my garage more than anything else.

Tim: Renault Alpine GTA Le Mans

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

A rear-engined 2+2 coupe with a lightweight fibreglass body, the GTA was Dieppe’s answer to the Porsche 911. Unfortunately, it was inferior to a 911 in almost every respect. Its 2.5-litre turbocharged V6 made a modest 200hp and build quality was decidedly ‘French’.

However, none of that matters because, when I was eight, my friend’s dad used to pick him up from school in a red GTA, and I thought it was the coolest car ever. This run-out Le Mans edition (one of 325) is even cooler, with polyester wheelarch extensions stretched over gorgeous ACT split-rims. Thirty years on, I still want one.

Gavin: Saab 95 V4

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

My father was a Saab man, owning a succession of 900s and 96s, so it was somewhat inevitable that I would drive one of Sweden’s finest at some point in my life. I started early, becoming custodian of a blue Saab 95 V4 at the age of 16. It was part of an ambitious plan to rescue and restore a pair of Saab estates from a garden in Hampshire. Ambitious, but rubbish, as we achieved little more than halting the growth of weeds in the footwell and the chances of a tree emerging through the engine bay. The Saabs were moved on, I bought a Daihatsu Charade XTE, and JTF 538P was last taxed in 2000. I still have its original front grille in the garage.

Richard: BMW 2002 Touring

6 cars we’d like to take home from Classics on the Common

This beautiful BMW 2002 Touring was like a concept car amid a field full of familiarity. It stood out because it’s such an unfamiliar sight: BMW barely made 25,000 in the early 70s and it was discontinued in 1974: back then, saloons sold way better. This one was gorgeous: totally original, even down to its period number plates, and unsullied in every respect. The silver panels gleamed, the blue-tinted glass showed off an impeccable interior and, all told, it was the car I lingered over longer than any other. A surprise, and a new classic car dream for me.

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More Classics on the Common on Motoring Research:

The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the yearThey say nostalgia ain’t what it used to be. But pressing rewind on a year of driving fabulous old cars certainly gives us that warm, fuzzy feeling. The MR Retro Road Test is published every Thursday, and 2016 has seen us cover the full spectrum of classic cars – from a Vauxhall Nova to the £200,000 Porsche 911S pictured above. Join us as we round-up the highlights.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

Launched in 1976, this outwardly-humble hatchback continues to influence car culture. Just look at the latest, seventh-generation Golf GTI: its tartan seats and red go-faster stripes are a direct homage to the classic Mk1. Richard, who owns a tidy Mk2 GTI, went to see what all the fuss is about.

Richard said: “If you want one, find one and can afford it, absolutely buy it. You’ll regret it if you don’t, and won’t be disappointed if you do. The Golf GTI Mk1 is a bona fide classic and fully lives up to the hype of being a legend. As hot hatches become ever more powerful and sophisticated, its delightful blend of simplicity, purity and performance shines ever brighter. It’s a lovely reminder of where the idolised hot hatch lineage started.”

Read the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1 Retro Road Test

Mercedes-Benz W123

The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the yearComfortable, understated and beautifully-built, the 1976 W123 may be the greatest Mercedes-Benz ever made. One man keen to make that case is MR’s Gavin, owner of the gold 1982 230E auto seen here. Is he biased? Possibly. But Gav has owned more old cars than most, and the W123 is a classic he recommends unreservedly.

Gav said: “It might not be the most expensive, the cheapest, the quickest or the most beautiful car we’ve ever bought, but it’s arguably the best. Spend some quality time with the W123 and evidence of the craftsmanship will shine through. Few cars offer such a supreme blend of charm and classlessness. Be warned: once you’ve own a W123, all other cars might seem rather ordinary.”

Read the Mercedes-Benz W123 Retro Road Test

Ford Sierra RS CosworthThe top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

Our Tim had two passions in the 1980s: Erika Eleniak (of Baywatch fame) and the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth. Erika, sadly, never reciprocated, but Tim finally met Ford’s winged wonder in Dagenham this year. Could the squared-jawed Sierra possibly live up to the legend?

Tim said: “Like shoulder pads and Shakin’ Stevens, the Sierra Cosworth is a product of its time. Drive one today and it’s fun, but ever-so-slightly underwhelming: a little bit baggy and not outrageously fast. Does that matter? Probably not. The Cossie remains one of the coolest cars ever made. If, like us, you grew up reading Max Power and lusting after hot hatchbacks, it’s still the daddy.”

Read the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth Retro Road Test

Vauxhall NovaThe top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

There was once a Vauxhall Nova on every street in Britain. Now, as Andrew points out, there are less than 1,800 left, which makes these endangered superminis worth saving. Andrew spent a week with the Nova seen here – a 1.2 Merit borrowed from Vauxhall’s heritage fleet – and compared it with the Austin Metro he owned at the time.

Andrew said: “Not everyone will understand the appeal of a 1.2-litre Nova. But as an affordable, cheap-to-run retro car, there’s a lot going for it. There’s a pure, simplistic pleasure to pootling around in a simple supermini such as the Nova. Just look after it more than you might have done as a 1990s 17-year-old.”

Read the Vauxhall Nova Retro Road Test

Porsche 964 Carrera RSThe top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

Here’s one for the fantasy garage. The lightweight 964 RS was the first 911 to wear the ‘Rennsport’ badge since the iconic 2.7 RS of 1973. Its 3.6-litre flat-six had a lightened flywheel and close-ratio five-speed gearbox, while 40mm-lower suspension sharpened the chassis. Tim was lucky enough to get behind the wheel.

Tim said: “The 964 Carrera RS is the Porsche 911 in one of its purest forms. Raw and unfiltered, it distils all that’s great about Germany’s sports car into a shot of pure petrolhead adrenalin. It’s a car you’ll ache to spend time with, to learn its quirks and exploit its talents. The buzz of driving it stayed with us many hours after we reluctantly handed back the keys.”

Read the Porsche 964 Carrera RS Retro Road Test

Bentley Turbo RThe top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

In 1985, the Bentley Turbo R was the fastest saloon money could buy. With a 6.75-litre V8 producing around 300hp, it reaches 60mph in 6.6 seconds: pretty respectable for something that weighs 2.4 tonnes. Andrew captained the Turbo R to ‘slightly illegal speeds’ and came away charmed – and thoroughly relaxed.

Andrew said: “A Bentley Turbo R would be a lovely thing to drive every day. Even the fanciest massaging seats of today’s super saloons can’t compete with the huge, cosseting leather of the Turbo R for pure stress relief after a tough day in the office, while the V8 engine will never get boring. There’s a line of thought that suggests the Turbo R much prefers regular use to being left standing, but you’ll have to have deep pockets to run one as a daily-driver.”

Read the Bentley Turbo R Retro Road Test

Sinclair C5The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

Sir Clive Sinclair pitched his C5 electric trike as the future of commuter transport, but safety concerns and a distinct lack of weather protection meant it became little more than a historical footnote. Today, the C5 has a cult following, particularly among electric car fans. Richard Gooding wrapped up warm and clambered in…

Richard said: “The C5 is such a recognisable and symbolic piece of motoring folklore, due to both its promise and failure, that it will always be a talking point. ‘Driving’ a C5 in the UK is mostly a cold and draughty experience. And we’d dispute the ‘extremely safe’ claims, too. We certainly wouldn’t want to have an accident in one, however minor.”

Read the Sinclair C5 Retro Road Test

Ford Fiesta Mk1The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

Amidst all the hype about the new, eighth-generation Ford Fiesta, we quietly published a Retro Road Test of the 1976 original. And guess what? The response was fantastic. Ford fans on social media got in touch to share their photos and wax lyrical about this simple small car. Andrew was somewhat smitten, too.

Andrew said: “It’s an absolute delight to drive. You forget how small superminis were 40 years ago, yet the interior manages to be surprisingly spacious, while the large windows and tiny windscreen pillars mean visibility is much better than modern cars. There’s a sense of vulnerability, though, which brings out an element of cautiousness. But once you get into the groove of the first-gen Fiesta, it’s a really fun little car.”

Read the Ford Fiesta Mk1 Retro Road Test

Toyota Corolla GT AE86The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

Most people would look at the picture above and see an old Toyota Corolla. A remarkably rust-free example, sure, but an old Corolla all the same. Yet to fans of drifting and hot Japanese cars in general, the rear-wheel-drive AE86 is close to the Holy Grail. Tim grabbed the keys and went in search of wet roundabouts.

Tim said: “It just looks so cool (especially to in-the-know petrolheads), and that analogue driving experience can’t fail to make you grin. We’d have one in our dream garage, no question. Back in the real world, though, a nearly-new GT86 offers similar thrills with all the convenience and reliability of a modern car. And it’s a guaranteed future classic, too. Alternatively, you could pick up an original MR2 for around a third of the price.”

Read the Toyota Corolla GT AE86 Retro Road Test

Shelby Cobra Daytona CoupeThe top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

We bent the rules a little here, as the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe is actually a new car. This beautifully-detailed Daytona replica is built in South Africa and was officially sanctioned by Carroll Shelby himself before he died. Powered by a 520hp Corvette LS3 V8, it’s the automotive equivalent of raw rib-eye. Richard was the man wearing the brave pants.

Richard said: “Looking for a head-turner that will cheer others as much as it delights you? This beautiful machine might just be for you. It’s a tantalising collectable that is packed with character, yet has abilities and long-striding comfort that may well surprise. It’s undoubtedly a challenge, of course, but far from insurmountable and, as a possession to have in your garage, is seriously tempting for any committed petrolhead.”

Read the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe Retro Road Test

Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6 vs Peugeot 205 GTI Mi16The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

The first rule of motoring journalism states: ‘thou shalt not question the greatness of the Peugeot 205 GTI’. But can the original GTI be bettered – perhaps with the addition of a more powerful Mi16 engine? Richard and Andrew compared a 1.6 GTI – the hot 205 in its purest iteration – with a modified Mi16 built by Peugeot apprentices.

Andrew picked the standard car as his winner, saying: “As a car to truly enjoy, the light and nimble 1.6-litre 205 GTI is hard to beat.” Richard preferred the Mi16, however. His verdict: “It’s the greatest GTI that never was. It takes all that’s wonderful about the regular car and builds upon it with a searing, exotic, race-bred engine”. Tough call.

Read the Peugeot 205 GTI Retro Road Test

Mazda MX-5 Mk1The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

The world’s best-selling sports car seems a fitting subject for a Retro Road Test. As a former owner, Andrew knows the original MX-5 better than most, yet familiarity hasn’t blunted his enthusiasm. The car tested has the 130hp 1.8-litre engine, introduced in 1993, and little in the way of luxuries. It’s all you need for back-to-basics driving fun.

Andrew said: “There’s a reason why the original MX-5 is so popular. It’ll be a while before it draws crowds at classic car shows, but for a sunny weekend nothing will make you smile as much for the money. Find the elusive rust-free example while you still can.”

Read the Mazda MX-5 Mk1 Retro Road Test

Honda NSXThe top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

The NSX gave Ferrari a bloody nose, proving that mid-engined supercars don’t need to be unreliable or difficult to drive. It looked sensational (try to ignore the ‘1990s Honda Civic’ interior) and was laugh-out-loud thrilling to drive. Andrew, ahem, quite liked it.

Andrew said: “The NSX is incredible. It feels like a supercar should – how we’d want a supercar to drive if we could go back to a time when manufacturers weren’t pandering to ever-more-stringent emissions and safety regulations. The engine is out of this world. It wails like a nymphomaniac on acid. You hit the redline at 8,000rpm, but before you get to that point the VTEC variable valve timing kicks in and you surge down the road in a much more satisfying way than a modern turbo engine could manage.”

Read the Honda NSX Retro Road Test

Audi ur-QuattroThe top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

“Fire up the Quattro!” Forget Philip Glenister, the undisputed star of Life On Mars was a Tornado Red Audi ur-Quattro. Boxy, butch and brilliant, the four-wheel drive Quattro redefined the performance car – not least for a young and impressionable Gav. Years later, on rural Welsh B-roads, he met his childhood hero.

Gav said: “This is a bona fide legend of road and track, so you’re unlikely to lose any money if you buy a good one. Given the prices being asked for certain fast Fords and a particular hot Pug, we think £20,000 is a small price to pay for a car that changed the fortunes of an entire car company and revolutionised world rallying. In fact, we think it’s a bit of a bargain.”

Read the Audi ur-Quattro Retro Road Test

Renault Clio V6The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

The Clio V6 is an unholy alliance between supermini and supercar. Following the template of the original 5 Turbo, Renault stuffed a 3.0-litre V6 behind the front seats, creating an instant classic. Andrew found out if this mid-engined monster is as wild as it looks.

Andrew said: “A budget of £35,000 buys you a lot of car. You could treat yourself to the brilliant Ford Focus RS, fresh out of the factory, and have a couple of grand left over. Or, on the secondhand market, how about a mint Lotus Exige, a more useable Porsche Cayman, or even a three-year-old BMW M3? None of these have the novelty factor of being an ageing French supermini from a time when Renault was bonkers enough to use a mid-engined V6. Do you want to be different that much? Only you can make that call.”

Read the Renault Clio V6 Retro Road Test

Toyota MR2 Mk1 vs. Toyota MR2 Mk3The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

A visit to Toyota’s heritage collection gave Andrew a chance to sample both Mk1 (1984) and Mk3 (1999) iterations of the MR2. They’re both mid-engined and very impractical, but the similarities end there. Which proves more appealing as a budget classic sports car?

Andrew said: “The Mk3, despite its limitations in a practical sense, is a much more usable buy. If you pack light and want to take it on a European road trip, you can feel pretty reassured it’ll get you there – and in more comfort than the Mk1. But if you gave this reviewer £5,000 and told him to buy a Mk1 or Mk3 Toyota MR2? I’ll take the original, thanks.”

Read the Toyota MR2 Retro Road Test

Fiat 500The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

The inspiration for one of motoring’s most successful retro-remakes, the original Cinquecento is a car even non-petrolheads recognise. It’s as cute as it is slow (this 500F develops 18hp) and driving one can’t fail to make you smile – as Richard Gooding discovered.

Richard said: “As with almost all classic cars, there’s characterful appeal to the 500 that rubs off on you as you drive it. A happy little car with plenty of personality, for retro-chic appeal, a Nuova 500 beats the current Fiat 500 hands down.”

Read the Fiat 500 Retro Road Test

Ford Fiesta XR2The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

The Fiesta XR2 has always lived in the shadow of other 1980s hot hatches, such as the 205 and Golf GTIs – and perhaps deservedly so. But there’s still lots to love about this underdog 97hp fast Ford, as Tim discovered on yet another trip to Dagenham.

Tim said: “Of all our Retro Road Tests so far, this one surprised us the most. We approached the XR2 with low expectations and it resolutely won us over. Its engine is rough, performance is mediocre and it’s hardly the last word in dynamic finesse. But the XR2 is also a car that you can wring every last horsepower from. It connects you to the road in a way that few modern cars can.”

Read the Ford Fiesta XR2 Retro Road Test

BMW Z1The top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

That’s ‘Z’ for ‘zukunft’ – the German word for ‘future’. And yes, the future looked pretty damn good in 1986, even if we didn’t all adopt disappearing, drop-down doors. The Z1 is one of the bravest BMW designs ever to make production, and now a fast-appreciating classic. Richard borrowed one for his journey to Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Richard said: “Very few Brits know what the BMW Z1 is. Most were sold in Germany and its lack of official right-hand status here affords it an exclusive image. This makes it a genuine modern-classic BMW curio, one that you can pick up for similar-to-E30 M3 money and turn far more heads. It’s not as thrilling to drive as an M3 but it’s surely a bona fide classic that, so long as you’re careful with it and keep it in tip-top condition, will surely only go up in value in years to come.”

Read the BMW Z1 Retro Road Test

Porsche 911SThe top 20 Retro Road Tests of the year

We finish with this beautiful Blood Orange Porsche 911S, one of our most exquisite (and expensive) Retro Road Tests yet. A lifelong 911 fan, Tim jumped at this one – and he wasn’t disappointed. The classic Porsche was a feast for the senses, a car that commands respect and admiration in equal measure.

Tim said: “The 911S is so much more than a set of figures on a balance sheet. I loved every minute of driving it – climbing back into a modern car seemed desperately dull by comparison. Sadly, I’m firmly in the ‘dreamer’ category when it comes to cars of this calibre. But if my numbers came up…”

Read the Porsche 911S Retro Road Test

The classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

The classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

The classics that will be tax-free and MOT-freeThe government has announced plans to reclassify 40-year-old cars to make them exempt from the annual MOT test. This means cars built before 1977 will no longer need to be taxed or MOT’d. The move has angered some campaigners, with Quentin Willson tweeting: “New govt proposals to exempt any car over 40 years from MOT are totally insane. I happily pay £40 a year for MOT safety check on my classic.” We list some of the cars that will no longer need to visit a garage for an MOT test.

Rover SD1 3500The classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

In July 1976, Rover launched one of the greatest missed opportunities of the British car industry. Here was a car which, in launch guise, offered a 3.5-litre V8 engine and the styling of a Ferrari Daytona, yet was unable to fulfil its potential. Six-cylinder versions followed in 1977.

Mercedes-Benz W123The classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

From a missed opportunity to one of the greatest cars of the 20th century: the W123 represents a high watermark in the history of Mercedes-Benz. At its launch in January 1976, the W123 was available only as a saloon, but estate and coupe models followed. If ever a car was designed to sail through an MOT test, the W123 is one, although rust is an issue.

Ford FiestaThe classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

From one icon to another: the Ford Fiesta turned 40 in 2016, by which time it had cemented itself as Britain’s best selling car. Its arrival was timed to perfection, with the economical Fiesta launched as the world was gripped by an energy crisis. Buy one of the earliest cars and you could enjoy a tax- and MOT-free life.

Chrysler AvengerThe classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

In 1976, all the remaining Hillman models were given a Chrysler badge, with the Avenger not looking too dissimilar to the Alpine. Figures suggest there are fewer than 30 Chrysler Avengers left on the road, although there’s a rich supply of Hillman-badged models.

Lamborghini SilhouetteThe classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

Reckon you could find a Lamborghini Silhouette for sale in the UK? It was based on the Urraco and was on sale for a two-year period between 1976 and 1977. Of the 52 built, very few were sold here. Keeping a Silhouette on the road won’t be cheap, so saving on road tax and MOTs might come in handy.

Renault 14The classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

You’ll have better luck finding a Renault 14, but only just. In truth, the Peugeot-engined 14 wasn’t Renault’s finest hour and many have long since rusted away. A case of the car dubbed ‘the pear’ at launch becoming the ‘rotten pear’?

Volkswagen GolfThe classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

Under the new scheme, the earliest Volkswagen Golfs will be eligible for a tax- and MOT-free existence, but you might have to wait a while for the GTI. Although the Mk1 Golf GTI was launched in 1976, the first right-hand drive cars didn’t arrive in the UK until 1979.

Volkswagen SciroccoThe classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

Contrary to popular belief, the Scirocco came before the Volkswagen Golf. This must rank as one of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s finest pieces of work, which arrived during a high-point of Volkswagen design.

Triumph TR7The classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

Few would ever class the Triumph TR7 as a high-point of anything, except, maybe, bad taste. It had been on sale in the US for over a year when it arrived in May 1976 and sports car buyers never came to terms with the wedge-like styling. Time has been kind to the TR7, especially the V8-powered models.

Ford Escort RS Mexico/RS2000The classics that will be tax-free and MOT-free

Launched in 1975, the Mk2 Escort waved goodbye to rear-wheel drive, but not before a handful of performance specials graced the road. The RS1800 was a good starter, the RS Mexico (pictured) a reasonable main course, while the RS2000 was the delightful dessert.

Aston Martin DB3S 1953

Famous Aston Martin DB3S racer fails to sell for £5 million

Aston Martin DB3S 1953A 1953 Aston Martin DB3S racing car once driven by Sir Stirling Moss and which later went on to star in a hit film with Terry Thomas has failed to sell at auction despite a hefty bid of £5 million.

Held at Aston Martin’s former base in Newport Pagnell, now home to the Aston Martin Works division, the Bonhams sale saw a capacity crowd pack out the restoration workshops with the DB3S being the flagship sale of the 250-lot May auction.

Aston Martin DB3S 1953

Estimated to sell for between £6 million and £7 million, the legendary racer didn’t quite pull in the bids on the day – but it wasn’t through any lack of provenance from the car.

The Aston Martin DB3S even carries Sir Stirling Moss’ signature on the rear racing number roundel – and was offered for sale with an array of period images showing it in action during the 1950s.

Aston Martin DB3S 1953

An Aston Martin Works heritage certificate was also included in the sale: this was displayed in a cabined next to the car during the Works auction.

Aston Martin DB3S 1953

The former car of Aston Martin’s famous owner David Brown, it was built using an experimental glass fibre body in early 1953. The road car was later commandeered by the factory to go racing though, after it lost a number of cars in the 1954 Le Mans race: and so began another of many chapters in this storied cars’ life.

Aston Martin DB3S 1953

The seasoned racing car was driven by a range of stars in the 1950s, including Peter Collins, Tony Brookes, Roy Salvadori, Reg Parnell and F1 champ Graham Hill. It was a serial winner throughout the 1950s, until crashing in 1958.

So serious was the damage, the car was rebuilt with a new body – which saw it take on a second life as a film star. The restyled Aston was driven by Terry Thomas’ character Raymond Delauney in School for Scoundrels. It was then sold again and, fittingly, began racing again, including in the Le Mans Historic events which began in the 1970s.

Aston Martin DB3S 1953

Fully restored by Aston Martin Works in 2014 (work costing more than £300,000), the DB3S’ appeal was further enhanced by its eligibility for the Mille Miglia, which ran on the same weekend. That and the fact it’s one of only 30 cars.

But although it didn’t sell in the 2016 Aston Martin Works sale, plenty of other cars and automobilia did. Come back later for Motoring Research’s rundown of the 25 cars that made almost £4 million on the day…

Haynes Motor Museum

25 cars you don’t want to miss at the Haynes Motor Museum

Haynes Motor MuseumThe Haynes International Motor Museum is one of our favourite car museums, offering an eclectic blend of supercars and everyday classics.

We’ve selected 25 of our favourite exhibits, leaving you to create a shortlist of your own. You’ll find the museum in Somerset, just off the A303.

Multimillion pound ‘Doozy’

Haynes Motor Museum

Sitting proudly in the hall entitled ‘The American Dream’ is this 1931 Duesenberg Model J. The Duesenberg company was established by E.L. Cord of the Cord Motor Company, with the sole aim of building the most luxurious cars in the world. The example in the Haynes Museum is one of eight built and was formerly owned by Mrs Payne Whitney of Pratt & Whitney fame. The museum values the ‘Doozy’ at a cool £8 million.

Gandini’s greatest triumph?

Haynes Motor Museum

Once upon a time, this Lamborghini Countach took pride of place in the famous ‘Red Room’, but following the museum’s multimillion pound revamp it was moved to the supercar collection. The Countach is one of Marcello Gandini’s most famous creations and remains the pin-up star for a generation of petrolheads.

When Ford gave Ferrari a bloody nose

Haynes Motor Museum

Legends are born out of the strangest of circumstances. Back in the 1960s it looked highly likely that Ferrari would be sold to the Ford Motor Company, with the American giant keen to go racing. Having spent millions of dollars on due diligence, Ford bosses were left high and dry when Enzo Ferrari famously pulled out of the deal. Ford reacted in the best possible way, by creating the GT40 and winning Le Mans. The rest, as they say, is history.

Just don’t mention the electronics

Haynes Motor Museum

This might be a gallery featuring cars you don’t want to miss at the Haynes Motor Museum, but with the Aston Martin Lagonda it’s more a case of can’t miss. A flawed gem it might be, not least because of the eye-wateringly expensive electronics, but you can’t help but marvel that such a car exists. We’d be tempted to say they don’t make’em like they used to, but Aston Martin has launched an all-new Lagonda super-saloon.

Big cat crippled by the economic crisis

Haynes Motor Museum

We all know the backstory: Jaguar builds a four-wheel drive, V12-engined prototype; people get rather excited; huge deposits are put down; car becomes rear-wheel drive, V6-engined; economy collapses; potential buyers pull out; Jaguar struggles to sell the car, even at a reduced price. Back in the early 90s, the Jaguar XJ220 was a bit of a laughing stock, but time has been kind to the 212mph supercar from Oxfordshire. And let’s face it: Jaguar has built nothing else quite like the XJ220.

Who ya gonna call?

Haynes Motor Museum

Fans of Ghostbusters will tell you that Ecto-1 was a 1959 Cadillac Professional ambulance/hearse, but that hasn’t stopped Haynes slapping a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on the roof of this Pontiac Superior ambulance and having a little fun. Press one of those buttons to the right of the former City of Lewistown emergency vehicle and Ray Parker Jr. will do his thing. Who ya gonna call?

Maserati and Citroen: a match made in heaven?

Haynes Motor Museum

This has to be the most eccentric corner of the Haynes Motor Museum. To the left of this Citroen SM you’ll find a DS and Traction Avant, with a 2CV appearing further down the line. The DS gets its fair share of press, so we’ll focus on the SM, which was powered by a Maserati V6 engine.

The most desirable Porsche in the world?

Haynes Motor Museum

This is one of the most highly sought-after 911s on the planet and to some, the most desirable Porsche in the world. A total of 1,580 RS examples were built, in either Touring or Lightweight specification. This example could be worth as much as £1 million.

Classic Pininfarina styling

Haynes Motor Museum

The 250 GT Cabriolet on display at the Haynes Motor Museum is a series II, first launched at the 1959 Paris Motor Show. The original 250 GT Cabriolet made its debut at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show and a mere 40 were built before Ferrari toned down the styling, increased the size of the boot and treated the cabin to a more luxurious feel.

Mark Webber’s Red Bull RB6

Haynes Motor Museum

Next to the display of supercars you’ll find a section of the Museum dedicated to Mark Webber and his Red Bull RB6 F1 car. This is the actual car the Australian drove as he raced to victory in the British and Hungarian Grand Prix of 2010. His dulcet tones are played through speakers as you wander around the car.

Nobody mention the fuel bill

Haynes Motor Museum

If we had to name the car we’d most like to drive home in, this Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 would be in with a shout. This was the flagship of the S-Class range, featuring the likes of hydropneumatic suspension, ABS brakes and the small matter of a 6.9-litre V8 engine. The Museum’s patron, John H. Haynes OBE, used it as his personal car, clocking up 130,000 miles in the process. We won’t ask what he spent on fuel.

Fast Ford to Mexico

Haynes Motor Museum

Even when surrounded by such illustrious and exotic vehicles, a fast Ford still manages to hold its own. Of course, it helps when the Ford in question is an Escort Mexico, so named following success in the London to Mexico World Cup Rally. The Mexico was powered by a detuned version of the engine found in the Escort RS1600 and soon became a hero of road and track.

The ultimate Haynes registration number?

Haynes Motor Museum

If we’re honest, as nice as this 1987 Bentley Continental Convertible is, the registration number is the only reason it makes our 25-car shortlist. CAR 800K – or CAR BOOK – is a reference to the Haynes Publishing Business, famous for producing the Haynes Manual.

We don’t need roads…

Haynes Motor Museum

It needs no introduction, does it? The DeLorean DMC-12 is a prime example of a seriously flawed vehicle, elevated to a higher status by external factors. The story surrounding the development and collapse of the DeLorean Motor Company would have ensured a lasting legacy for the Belfast-built sports car, but its starring role in Back to the Future presented it with an iconic status.

Genesis of the hot hatch?

Haynes Motor Museum

Was the Volkswagen Golf GTI the first hot hatch? Strictly speaking, no, because the likes of the Simca 1100 TI and Renault 5 Alpine/Gordini got there first, but the Golf GTI is credited as perfecting the recipe and taking the idea to the mainstream. Hard to believe it is 40 years old in 2016.

Good enough for Ringo Starr

Haynes Motor Museum

How can a car so large and imposing look so elegant and beautiful? The HK500 is arguably the ultimate Facel Vega, not least because of its huge Chrysler 6.3-litre V8 engine. This gave it a tremendous turn of pace, but it wasn’t the most nimble of creatures to chuck into a corner. But does that matter when something looks this good? Previous owners such as Stirling Moss, Pablo Picasso, Ava Gardner, Ringo Starr and Tony Curtis didn’t seem to mind.

Gordon Bennett, that’s pretty

Haynes Motor Museum

OK, cards on the table: of all the cars at the Haynes Motor Museum, this the one we spent the most time gawping at. There’s just something about the Gordon-Keeble GK1, with its Italian styling, American V8 engine and British engineering. This four-seater coupe featured a glassfibre body, two petrol tanks and an interior that could shame more illustrious rivals.

Who needs a 280 Brooklands anyway?

Haynes Motor Museum

With all the hoo-ha surrounding the auction prices of Mk3 Ford Capris, it would be all too easy to forget there was a Mk1 and Mk2. The model on display at the Haynes Motor Museum is actually a Mk1 facelift model, notable for its larger headlights and separate indicators. The facelift also benefited from a revised suspension, larger taillights and new seats.

Born to be the miniMetro…

Haynes Motor Museum

Here’s a rarity and a must-see exhibit for fans of the classic Mini. It’s a 1978 British Motor Corporation (BMC) Mini prototype, otherwise known as the 9X. Sir Alec Issigonis was convinced he could create a small car superior to the original Mini and to this end the 9X was blessed with more interior space in a smaller overall package. Sadly, it never saw the light of day and – three years later – British Leyland launched the Austin miniMetro.

Electric dream turns to nightmare

Haynes Motor Museum

This one doesn’t take up a great deal of room in the Museum, but it deserves its place amongst the more exotic exhibitions. Sir Clive Sinclair’s vision of the future was a great British failure and there were too many problems to list in one short paragraph. That said, who wouldn’t want a go in this 1980s electric dream?

Prince William and Prince Harry’s Zip Cadet Karts

Haynes Motor Museum

Here’s another blast from the past, with two Zip Cadet Karts, designed for children aged between 8 and 11. The karts remain the property of Princes William and Harry. We wonder if the Duke of Cambridge will present these to Prince George and Princess Charlotte?

Corvettes overload

Haynes Motor Museum

Fans of the Chevrolet Corvette will not be disappointed with the display of Vettes at the Haynes Motor Museum. You can chart the history of this all-American sports car thanks to six historic models. We think these cars are unlikely to fall down a sinkhole.

The Lotus position

Haynes Motor Museum

Not to be left out, there’s one corner of Haynes devoted to Norfolk mustard. We adore this four-car collection, consisting of Elise, Europa, Elan and Elite. One day, somebody might fix the Elite’s headlights…

In the corner stands a Boxer…

Haynes Motor Museum

In its day, the Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer (BB) was one of the fastest cars you could buy. The 512 stands for 5.0-litre, 12-cylinders – an engine that developed 360hp. With a top speed of 188mph, this wasn’t a Ferrari for the fainthearted.

A Triumph of British engineering

Haynes Motor Museum

When you see cars like the Dolomite Sprint, you have to ask yourself, where did it all go wrong for Triumph? Of course, the reasons for the decline in the British car industry have been well documented, but in the ‘Dolly’ Sprint, Britain had a performance saloon to take on the world. It seems like a fitting conclusion to our round-up of the best exhibits at the Haynes International Motor Museum.

Thoroughbreds under starter’s orders at the Coys of Ascot sale

We select 25 of our favourite cars on offer at this weekend’s Coys of Ascot sale

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Jaguar XKSS

Jaguar to build 9 new XKSS 1957 supercars – for £1 million each

Jaguar XKSSJaguar will once again start producing the ‘world’s first supercar’ with nine brand-new XKSS set to be built to exactly the same specification as the original 1957 models list in the Browns Lane factory fire.

Jaguar Classic will hand-build the nine new cars using the original designs and specifications: a hand-picked group of collectors and customers will be offered a chance to buy one of the new models – each costing more than £1 million.

Jaguar XKSS

The XKSS was based on the Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-type, which scooped the 24-hour prize in 1955, 1956 and 1957. It was Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons’ decision to convert 25 remaining D-type into road-going cars.

Experts now commonly agree this made the XKSS the world’s first supercar.

16 were built but the remaining nine cars – destined for the U.S. – were lost in the devastating 1957 Browns Lane fire.

Now, Jaguar’s going to restore order with the ‘modern classic’ XKSS series, with production set to begin soon at the new Jaguar ‘Experimental Shop’ in Warwick. Expertise from the continuation Lightweight E-type project will be called upon and first deliveries are due to begin in early 2017.

Jaguar XKSS

Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: “The XKSS occupies a unique place in Jaguar’s history and is a car coveted by collectors the world over for its exclusivity and unmistakable design.

“Jaguar Classic’s highly skilled team of engineers and technicians will draw on decades of knowledge to ensure each of the nine cars is completely authentic and crafted to the highest quality.

“Our continuation XKSS reaffirms our commitment to nurture the passion and enthusiasm for Jaguar’s illustrious past by offering exceptional cars, services, parts and experiences.”