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The coolest classic and retro cars in Frankfurt

The classics of Frankfurt

When you’ve had your fill of concepts that will never see the light of day, supercars you can’t afford and middling hatchbacks that are as exciting as a wet weekend in Wakefield, there’s always a ready supply of classic cars at an international motor show. Our man Richard Aucock braved a few extra blisters to take some photos of the cars he found on his travels. He wants you to see them, so keep clicking to make sure he returns home a happy man.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4

The classics of Frankfurt

Ferrari isn’t at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find one in the German financial capital. You’ll need the pockets of a merchant banker to be able to afford this, though. The beautiful 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ was launched in 1968, followed by the 365 GTS/4 roadster at the 1969 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe

The classics of Frankfurt

You’ll pay upwards of £1 million for an immaculate Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe, a car inspired by the motorsport version of 1952. It was one of the world’s first supercars, boasting a top speed of 260km/h (162mph) and innovative, lightweight spaceframe construction. The iconic ‘gullwing’ doors were introduced when it was discovered that conventional doors were incompatible with the extra height of the sills.

Amphicar

The classics of Frankfurt

Potomac Classics is a Dutch firm specialising in the restoration and sales of the Amphicar. With (ambitious) visions of motoring across the North Sea, we had a look on the Potomac website for details of this stunner. It’s listed as ‘op aanvragg’, or ‘on application’, but there is a 1961 Amphicar available for €62,500 (£55,750). Does that float your boat?

BB Auto Porsche 996

The classics of Frankfurt

Rainer Buchmann founded Frankfurt-based BB Auto in 1974, converting a Porsche 911 into a Targa and painting it in the colours of Polaroid. This Porsche 996 is a more modern, but no less striking, interpretation of the 45-year-old classic.

Left or right?

The classics of Frankfurt

You’re heading home from Frankfurt and you have to choose one of these classics. Do you go Italian or German?

BMW 1600 GT

The classics of Frankfurt

Glas is a former German car manufacturer best known for the production of the Goggomobil. The company was purchased by BMW in 1966, with the Glas GT becoming the 1600 GT. The front end was given a subtle refresh to accommodate the BMW ‘twin kidney’ grille. Memo to BMW: this is how grilles should be done.

A classic, updated

The classics of Frankfurt

We expect the electrification of classic cars to become increasingly popular over the coming years, so it’s no surprise to see major manufacturers embracing the idea. Volkswagen has teamed up with eClassics to convert a Beetle to electric power, with the battery, transmission and motor lifted from the e-Up. Other electric classics will follow.

HK Engineering

The classics of Frankfurt

Nothing to see here, just a few million pounds worth of Mercedes-Benz 300 SL goodness in an exhibition hall in Frankfurt. HK Engineering has been restoring 300 SLs since 1984.

BMW Z8

The classics of Frankfurt

Designed to pay homage to the BMW 507, the production-ready Z8 (right) was unveiled in 1999. Built from the ground up using an entirely new platform, it was BMW’s first $100k+ production car and a star of Bond film The World is Not Enough. The Alpina version (left) used a 4.8-litre V8 instead of the stock 5.0-litre V8 from the M5, plus softer suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Bitter CD

The classics of Frankfurt

The Bitter CD began life as an Opel concept at the 1969 Frankfurt Motor Show. It used the running gear from the Opel Diplomat, which meant a 5.4-litre Chevy V8 with heaps of power and bags of torque. When Opel bailed out on a potential production version, it was left to Erich Bitter to take the baton. The result was a smooth running and classy German GT car.

Lamborghinietta

The classics of Frankfurt

You can’t buy a new Lamborghini Sian, because 63 people with incredibly deep pockets got there first. But ask nicely, and we’re sure you could drive home in one of these Lamborghinietta tractors. The hat is included. Probably.

Porsche Targa Moonracer

The classics of Frankfurt

It sounds like the name of a Bond movie, but we reckon spending a few hours behind the wheel of the Porsche Targa Moonracer would be preferable to sitting in front of the television for the umpteenth time.

Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet

The classics of Frankfurt

The Mercedes-Benz W111 enjoyed an impressively long life, debuting in 1959 before bowing out in 1971. Available as a saloon, coupe or convertible, the 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet arrived late in the production run and was powered by a 3.5-litre V8 engine. This one has been restored and is available for €425,000 (£380,000).

Ferrari Testarossa

The classics of Frankfurt

To many, the Testarossa is the archetypal Ferrari of the 1980s. Launched in 1984, the V12 supercar is as famous for its iconic slatted air intakes as for its role in Miami Vice.

Citroen DS Cabriolet Usine

The classics of Frankfurt

The Citroen DS Cabriolet Usine, or ‘Factory’ Cabriolet, was listed in the Citroen catalogue from 1961, with construction undertaken by coachbuilder Henri Chapron. Production continued until 1971, with sales falling to just 40 units. The best year was 1963, when Citroen sold 241 drop-top DS models.

Got wood?

The classics of Frankfurt

Either Richard has injected too many motor show espressos or this is a wooden Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster. Can anybody smell Mr Sheen?

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss

The classics of Frankfurt

The Stirling Moss was the final version of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, built to honour the racing driver’s success at the 1955 Mille Miglia. Just 75 were built, with a UK price tag of £660,000. Given how much you’d pay for one today, that seems like a bargain.

Benetton B194

The classics of Frankfurt

This is the Benetton B194, the car driven by Michael Schumacher during the 1994 F1 season. The German won the World Drivers’ Championship by finishing a single point ahead of Damon Hill.

More pictures:

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In pictures: classic Jaguars for the road and racetrack

Jaguar E-TypeIn the workshops of Woodham Mortimer, the 21st century has yet to happen. You’ll find no laptops or plug-in fault-finders here, just skilled craftsmen milling parts from raw and shaping body panels by hand. The 60-strong team has restored hundreds of road and race cars, with a particular focus on classic Jaguars.

If you stroll across a concours lawn this summer, or watch historic motorsport, you’ll probably see the company’s cars. They have won trophies at Pebble Beach, Salon Privé, Monaco Historique, Goodwood Revival and more. Here are our highlights from the showroom – followed by a gallery of work-in-progress photos from the workshops.

Jaguar D-TypeJaguar D-Type

One of Jaguar’s rarest and most valuable cars, the D-Type was designed to win Le Mans – and did so three years running, taking five of the top six places in the 1957 race. Famous drivers included Mike Hawthorn and Briggs Cunningham, while the cars frequently wore the blue and white livery of privateer Scottish team Ecurie Ecosse.

The D-Type was powered by a straight-six engine that ranged from 3.0 to 3.8 litres in capacity. It reached 172.8mph on the Mulsanne Straight, helped by an aircraft-inspired vertical stabiliser fin to boost stability at speed. Just 71 cars were built, plus 16 later converted to XKSS spec (see below), and survivors are worth well into six – or even seven – figures today.

Jaguar XKSSJaguar XKSS

After the D-Type retired from racing, Jaguar was left with 25 unused chassis. These were converted for sale as road cars, badged XKSS. Modifications included a full-width windscreen, fabric roof, chrome bumpers and a passenger-side door. The vertical stabiliser was also removed from the rear deck.

A fire at the Browns Lane factory destroyed nine cars, so only 16 were sold in-period. In 2016, however, Jaguar announced a run of hand-built XKSS recreations, using the leftover nine chassis numbers and priced at circa. £1 million each. The car seen here is a ‘tool room copy’ – built by Pearsons Engineering using an original XKSS as a template.

Jaguar E-TypeJaguar E-Type

A recent poll declared the E-Type the greatest classic car of all. Seeing one in person, it’s hard to argue. Voluptuous and instantly iconic, the car caused a sensation when launched in 1961. It was a huge leap forward from the XK, with a monocoque chassis, independent suspension and disc brakes. A 150mph top speed grabbed headlines, too.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Jaguar E-Type S1 4.2 FHC – previously owned by Jack Brabham and midway through restoration.

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This restoration of this E-Type FHC was managed (under supervision) by one of Woodham Mortimer’s apprentices who has recently graduated. Upgrades include electronic ignition and an electric cooling fan for improved reliability, plus a five-speed gearbox, power steering and uprated suspension and brakes for better road manners. Originally sold in the US (where the E-Type was named XK-E), it has since been converted to right-hand drive.

Jaguar XK140Jaguar XK140

Following the XK120 was never going to be easy, so Jaguar played it safe. The XK140 of 1955 was a sensible evolution, with better brakes, rack and pinion steering and a roomier interior. Its 3.4-litre straight-six produced 193hp, or 213hp in SE-spec. Reflecting its shift from no-frills sports car to accomplished grand tourer, the XK140 was the first Jaguar offered with an automatic gearbox.

This British Racing Green XK140 DHC (drophead coupe) has remained in the same family since new, and never been restored. Its paintwork is beautifully patinated, while its Suede Green interior has a musty smell of heritage. The odometer shows just 30,460 miles.

Jaguar XK150Jaguar XK150

A further development of the XK120, the XK150 debuted in 1957 with a one-piece windscreen, leather-trimmed dashboard and tell-tale indicator lights atop the wings. In 1960 – the final full year of production before the E-Type arrived – the 3.8-litre engine from the Mark X saloon was introduced, boosting output to 223hp. Like its predecessor, the car was available in FHC and DHC guises, both with token rear seats, or as a two-seat Roadster.

A life spent mostly in Italy is perhaps why this XK150 SE DHC is so perfectly preserved. The Indigo Blue paint is the same shade it wore when in 1959 and the original seat trim has been preserved. The car returned to the UK in 2017.

Ferrari 250 GT LussoFerrari 250 GT Lusso

It wasn’t all Jaguars at Woodham Mortimer; this Ferrari 250 GT Lusso was among the stars of the showroom. It’s one of Maranello’s most elegant cars, designed and driven by Battista Pininfarina himself. Launched in 1963, it was also the last of the 250 series, a decade-long bloodline that includes legendary models such as the 250 LM and 250 GTO.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Naked attraction.

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Unlike those competition cars, however, this two-seat GT was intended solely for the road. Its 3.0-litre Colombo V12 develops 240hp – good for 0-62mph in less than eight seconds and 150mph. Only 351 Lussos were made before the car was replaced by the 275 GTB. Today, you’ll need millions in the bank to buy one.

Lotus SevenLotus Seven

Has there ever been a purer sports car than the Seven? It exemplifies Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s ‘simplify, then add lightness’ credo, with aluminium body panels, fabric doors and a rudimentary roof. Early cars mustered just 49hp from a side-valve Ford engine, but a kerb weight of 500kg meant swift acceleration and agile, immediate handling. It was available in kit form, so many buyers saved money and built the car themselves.

Production of the Lotus lasted from 1957 to 1973. However, its legacy lives on in the Caterham Seven, which remains on sale today. This restored example shows just how basic the original car was. The bench-style seats offer no support whatsoever, ventilation comes via the open roof and in-car entertainment relies on your right foot.

Wonders of the workshopRover SD1

After ogling the cars in the showroom, sales manager Stuart Batchelor takes me for a wander around the workshops. Here, cars are either restored to concours specification, uprated to ‘restomod’ spec (like the E-Type above) or prepared for the racetrack. It can be a painstaking process, but a full trophy cabinet is testament to the team’s success.

Among the eclectic mix of machines, I spot a Chevy V8-engined Rover SD1 (pictured), Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, BMW 507, Maserati Mistral Spyder and Heinkel Trojan bubble car. There’s also a bright red Jaguar E-Type 4.2 FHC that previously belonged to Sir Jack Brabham and is mid-way through restoration. Click through the gallery below to see more.

In pictures: Woodham Mortimer classic cars

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Inside Ford’s secret retro and classic car collection

Ford Heritage Centre

Tucked away on the outskirts of Ford’s sprawling Dagenham factory is a small, slightly ramshackle warehouse. Inside is a huge array of classic cars representing more than 110 years of Blue Oval history. From Cortinas to Cosworths, we lifted up the dust sheets to photograph the highlights.

Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

Ford Heritage Centre

The mighty Sierra RS Cosworth celebrated its 30th birthday in 2016. A turbocharged 204hp 2.0-litre 16-valve engine meant 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 149mph – serious stuff in 1986. This particular car was used for development work at Dunton, Essex, and is still fitted with a rollcage.

Ford Escort RS Cosworth

Ford Heritage Centre

The 1992 Escort witnessed the second coming of Cosworth. It retained the trademark ‘whale tail’ wing of its predecessor (albeit as an option), but boasted 225hp and four-wheel drive. The ‘Cossie’ was also a successful rally car, before being replaced by the Focus WRC in 1999.

Ford Fiesta

Ford Heritage Centre

The Fiesta is the UK’s most popular car. This 1976 model is 43 years old and – as a brief drive around Dagenham revealed – still in great shape. In fact, it was actually driven to Switzerland for a recent Geneva Motor Show. Not bad for 957cc…

Ford Fiesta

Ford Heritage Centre

The Mk2 Ford Fiesta arrived in 1983, facing rivals such as the Austin Metro and Vauxhall Nova. This is the back-to-basics 1.1 Popular Plus, with a four-speed manual gearbox.

Ford Fiesta XR2

Ford Heritage Centre

The 1980s were the halcyon days of the hot hatch, and the Fiesta XR2 was one of the biggest sellers. With a bodykit, spotlights and ‘pepperpot’ alloys, it looked the business. Performance was less spectacular: 0-60mph in 10.2sec and 112mph flat-out.

Ford Model T

Ford Heritage Centre

The 1908 Ford Model T was the first car to be mass-produced. Doing so brought costs down, putting cars within the reach of ‘normal’ people. Thus the Model T changed the world more, perhaps, than any other car. Unlike most old cars, it looks remarkably big alongside modern metal.

Ford RS200

Ford Heritage Centre

Now for something somewhat swifter… The RS200 is one of the fastest and most exclusive Fords ever made. A road-legal rally car, it had a mid-mounted 1.8-litre 250hp turbocharged engine and lightweight fibreglass body panels. Only 200 road cars were made.

Ford RS200

Ford Heritage Centre

The rallying version of the RS200 was even more extreme. Designed to compete in the notorious Group B, it was boosted to 450hp and could hit 62mph in 3.8 seconds. Sadly, the Group B era was cut short in 1986 after several fatal crashes.

Ford rally cars

Ford Heritage Centre

Ford has a long history of rallying. Indeed, the rear-wheel-drive Mk1 and Mk2 Escorts and are among the most successful rally cars of all time. The Mk2 RS1800 in the foreground won the 1977 RAC Rally with Björn Waldegard at the wheel.

Ford Anglia 105E

Ford Heritage Centre

Harry Potter fans will recognise this one. The Anglia 105E was built from 1959 to 1968 and had American-influenced styling, including small tailfins. Its 997cc engine accelerated the Anglia to 60mph in 26.9 seconds – probably not fast enough to take off…

Ford Escort Mexico

Ford Heritage Centre

Now we’re talking. The Escort Mexico was a sporty special edition created to celebrate the Ford’s victory in the 1970 London to Mexico rally. This car was also displayed at the Geneva Motor Show, alongside the Sierra Cosworth featured earlier.

Ford Mondeo

Ford Heritage Centre

A future classic? Certain members of the Motoring Research team certainly think so. This Mondeo GLX, complete with blue velour trim, would have been a sales rep’s dream back in 1994.

Ford Escort

Ford Heritage Centre

Few people are likely to dream about a Mk5 Escort, but this example is notable for having covered just 800 miles from new. The much-maligned Escort was replaced by the Focus in 1998, a car that turned around Ford’s reputation.

Ford Escort XR3i

Ford Heritage Centre

Here’s an Escort we can get excited about. The Mk4 XR3i wasn’t particularly special to drive, or even very quick (0-62mph in 9.1sec). But with its red go-faster stripes and racy graphics, it sums up the 1980s for us. Everyone loves a bit of nostalgia, right?

Ford Capri

Ford Heritage Centre

Another car very evocative of its era is the Capri. This 1977 example is one of the later Mk2 cars, and boasts a herculean 72hp from its 1.6-litre engine. Still, it could be worse: the 1.3-litre Capri produced just 55hp…

Ford Capri 280

Ford Heritage Centre

With a 2.8-litre V6 under its lengthy bonnet, the 160hp Capri 280 had more than twice as much power as the lowly 1.6. This Brooklands Green beauty was the last hurrah before Ford discontinued the Capri for good – making it a highly sought-after special edition.

Ford Mustang

Ford Heritage Centre

The Capri was effectively the European version of this car: the iconic Ford Mustang.

Ford Mustang

Ford Heritage Centre

And here’s an example of the more recent Mustang – the full-fat 5.0-litre V8 version, no less. With 412 ponies to its name, the V8 ’Stang will hit 62mph in 4.8 seconds. Or you could just use the Line Lock function to create lots of tyre smoke. Better to burnout than fade away…

Ford Transits

Ford Heritage Centre

Now for something altogether more practical. The Ford Transit van is approaching its 55th anniversary, and it remains the UK’s most popular commercial vehicle. The record for the highest number of people ever squeezed into a Transit is… 48.

Ford Transit

Ford Heritage Centre

This is the oldest surviving roadworthy Ford Transit. It has a 64hp V4 engine, plus leaf-spring suspension front and rear. It would have cost £542 when new in 1965.

Ford Transit Connect X-Press

Ford Heritage Centre

This one-off Transit is a little racier. Its running gear comes from a Mk1 Focus RS, which means 215hp – amplified by a Bosal sports exhaust. The X-Press also has lower suspension, a stiffer chassis and hip-hugging Recaro seats. We bet it’s a riot to drive.

Ford Transit Supervan 3

Ford Heritage Centre

Ford built three Transit Supervans. This third version arrived in 1995, complete with a 650hp 3.5-litre engine from a Formula 1 car. It has since been fitted with a 2.9-litre Cosworth engine, which is being tinkered with here.

Ford Cortina

Ford Heritage Centre

Here’s another one that takes us back. There was once a Mk5 Cortina on every suburban street in Britain, but they are all-but extinct now. This 1982 Cortina Crusader has a 91hp 1.6-litre petrol engine, Strato Silver paint and grey velour trim.

Ford Cortina

Ford Heritage Centre

This is an earlier Mk3 Cortina from 1974. Its 1.3-litre Kent engine would have provided steady progress at best. However, we love the ‘Coke-bottle’ styling and very-70s lurid green paint.

Ford Granada

Ford Heritage Centre

Above the Cortina sat Ford’s flagship: the spacious and luxurious Granada. Three body styles were available: four-door saloon, two-door coupe and the estate seen here. Few cars say ‘East End gangster’ like an old Granny…

Ford Granada

Ford Heritage Centre

The squarer Mk2 Granada was launched in 1977 and boasted innovations such as fuel injection and air conditioning. A prime candidate for a future Motoring Research Retro Road Test?

Ford Escort RS Cosworth

Ford Heritage Centre

As if the Escort Cosworth wasn’t in-yer-face enough, how about one in bright yellow? The bloodline between the RS Cosworth variants of the Escort and Focus is clear to see.

Ford Focus RS500

Ford Heritage Centre

Ford has a knack for producing ultra-desirable special editions, and the matte-black Mk2 Focus RS500 is just such a car. Its 2.5-litre turbocharged engine is cranked up to 350hp, giving 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 165mph. Only 500 were made.

The meeting room

Ford Heritage Centre

The meeting room at Ford’s Heritage Centre is just as fascinating as the cars. It looks like it hasn’t changed since about 1965. The bookshelves are crammed with dusty tomes about Ford history.

Model magic

Ford Heritage Centre

There are some fantastic models on display, too. In the days before computer-aided design, scale models like the Mk1 Escort here were used to show managers and potential customers how a new car would look.

Ford Fiesta

Ford Heritage Centre

Some cars in the Ford Heritage collection get more love than others, and this 1996 Mk4 Fiesta clearly hasn’t moved for a while. Top marks for spotting the near-identical Mazda 121 version on the road.

Ford Fiesta XR2i

Ford Heritage Centre

Another unloved Fiesta is the 1989 Mk3 XR2i. This lukewarm hatch gained fuel injection (hence the ‘i’ suffix) but lost the cheeky, fun-to-drive character of the Mk2 XR2. Not one of the finest fast Fords.

Ford Fiesta

Ford Heritage Centre

Few things say ‘1970s’ like a beige Mk1 Fiesta with brown vinyl upholstery. Although this lovely example actually dates from 1981.

Formula Ford

Ford Heritage Centre

Tucked away behind the fibreglass front of the Supervan 3 (it’s having work done, remember?) is a Formula Ford racing car. The series has served as a springboard for many Formula 1 drivers since the 1960s.

Rolling chassis

Ford Heritage Centre

The Ford Heritage Centre isn’t a museum, and many of the cars are works-in-progress. Three guesses as to what this rolling chassis belongs to. We know it’s a Ford, but beyond that we’re stumped…

Ford Model A

Ford Heritage Centre

As the car that replaced the Model T, the 1927 Model A had a tough act to follow. UK versions had a 2.0-litre 28hp engine and were available in a huge range of body styles – from roadster to panel van. Note the rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors.

Ford Model Y

Ford Heritage Centre

The Model A gave way to the Model Y in 1931. A compact car well suited to European roads, the Y had a 933cc engine and a top speed of 60mph. It remained in production until 1937.

Ford Zodiac

Ford Heritage Centre

With its two-tone paint and plentiful chrome, the Mk2 Ford Zodiac was clearly influenced by more glamorous cars from across the pond. The Zodiac was the upmarket version of the contemporary Ford Zephyr.

Ford Transit

Ford Heritage Centre

Finished in what looks like period ‘British Telecom yellow’, this Transit will look oddly familiar to anyone who remembers the 1980s. Spot the promotional World Rally Transit from 2001 in the background.

Ford Thames 307E

Ford Heritage Centre

The Ford Thames was essentially a commercial version of the Anglia. In fact, it was renamed the Anglia van after 1965. The chrome grille marks this out as being the more capable 7cwt version of the 307E – others had a basic, painted metal grille.

Ford Quadricycle

Ford Heritage Centre

This Ford Quadricycle is actually a replica, made by apprentices in July 1963 for the Henry Ford centenary. It’s a faithful reproduction of the first vehicle Ford built in 1896.

Ford Fiesta XR2

Ford Heritage Centre

We couldn’t resist another XR2. We borrowed this car for one of our Retro Road Tests – and didn’t want to give it back. It’s crude and almost comically basic by modern standards, but fabulous fun. And it got a hero’s welcome on the streets of Dagenham.

Ford Fiesta ST

Ford Heritage Centre

Can’t afford the brilliant new Fiesta ST? Don’t worry, neither can we. The Mk5 ST, however, is a cheaper alternative that is ageing well. Prices are starting to rise, so grab one while you can.

More models

Ford Heritage Centre

How cool is this Mk4 Zodiac model? The real thing was powered by a 3.0-litre V6, and a very stylish way to travel in 1966.

Number crunchers

Ford Heritage Centre

Before microchips, mechanical adding machines were used to calculate Ford’s profit and loss. These perfectly-preserved examples are in the Heritage Centre meeting room.

Ford Cortina

Ford Heritage Centre

The Mk2 Cortina was launched in 1966, and in 1967 it became Britain’s best selling car. This dusty 1600 Super still looks great.

Ford Cortina

Ford Heritage Centre

We even love the Cortina’s chrome badges. From an era before ‘metal-effect’ plastic…

Ford Model T

Ford Heritage Centre

As our gallery draws to a close, let’s go back to the beginning with the Ford Model T. Looks like this Tin Lizzy has a slight oil leak…

A treasure trove of Ford history

Ford Heritage Centre

Sadly, the Ford Heritage Collection isn’t open to the public, but we hope you enjoyed this peek beneath the dust sheets.

Brexit for classics: UK cars leaving for Europe

UK classic cars leaving for Europe

Classic cars are leaving the UK bound for the EU, with European collectors benefiting from the weak pound.

That’s according to auction house Coys, which has seen a “noticeably higher than average sale rate of cars being shipped to European countries”.

At a recent Blenheim auction, a collector arrived from Marseille and bought a Mercedes-Benz 230 SL, a Fiat 500, a Jaguar E-Type and a Ferrari 308.

Meanwhile, a German buyer – new to the classic car market – purchased a Lamborghini Jalpa and a Maserati Merak. Coys referenced an “auction room bidding war between two Germans that left any English buyers in the dust”.

The Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 (pictured) left the UK bound for Spain, selling for £312,700.

‘Alignment of the planets’

UK classics leaving for EU

Chris Routledge of Coys said: “The strength of the Euro against Sterling has undoubtedly created a very advantageous buying climate for European classic car collectors, with not only sensibly priced cars but with the current exchange rate being perceived as being at least 25 percent discounted against European asking prices.

“This is a unique set of circumstances – an alignment of the planets if you like. The quality of the stock in the UK is of the highest international standard, European buyers know it and are very keen to get their hands on it, as with current exchange rates, the prices could not be more attractive.

“For UK sellers of classic cars and other collectibles who wish to sell in Sterling to European collectors, the outlook is very strong while these exchange rates continue, and they should consider grabbing hold of this opportunity while they can. We live in very interesting times.”

Needless to say, Coys is urging UK classic car owners to consider selling their classics at its next international auction at Schloss Dyck in Germany on 3 August 2019.

The auction house has made “special arrangements for discounted transport” to allow them to “copper bottom” their chances of selling their classic to a European buyer.

 

classic cars

Is this the new way to spot future classic cars?

classic cars

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be,” reads a press release from independent car auction specialist, G3 Remarketing. It thinks the way classics earn that status is changing and that there are new ways to spot such a car before it reaches the limelight.

The way we buy cars has changed. PCP affords us the instant gratification of more aspirational machinery without years of saving. Could nostalgia and buying the cars we never could when we were younger soon be a thing of the past? More on that in a bit. First, we’ll go through what G3 reckons are the things to look out for in a future classic beyond nostalgia.

Unloved, unwanted, rare

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say. In the world of cars, trash can turn to treasure over time, especially when we realise that being unloved in period makes a car rare.

G3 offers the perfect example – the BMW Z3 M ‘Breadvan’. Weird, unconventional, flawed; now rare, now desirable. Generally speaking cars age well, especially performance cars. Ugly becomes beautiful when styling convention changes and we miss what went before.

Still sounds a bit like nostalgia but we digress…

Extra Ordinary

classic cars

As the rules of car manufacturing change, so too do the car designs they dictate. According to G3, these days the rulebook is so thick that a lot of today’s cars are much of a muchness, cut from the same cloth and cast in the same mould.

The stuff that is a bit out of the ordinary, that breaks the mould a bit, is what we need to look out for. It cites the delightfully unconventional Citroen C4 Cactus as an example. We’re on board with that one.

Still, conventions change. There’s a word for pining for the quirkiness of yesteryear. We’re sure it begins with ‘N’…

Supply < demand

This is a simple one – a rule of value that goes back way beyond the era of the motorcar. Whatever you’re buying, with a view for it to make money, make sure few others have it and that many others want it.

The latter is a little more difficult but follow the other rules and you should see demand climb before too long. Fun stuff, weird stuff, it all has value. If it’s rare, that value is solidified.

Personality

Overall, G3 reckons you’re safe with a car that has personality. It ought to stoke emotions, maybe divide opinion. The broader a car’s place in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts, the broader its place in the history books becomes. If you’re passionate about a car and know others that are, your investment could be well-placed.

Is nostalgia no longer a factor?

classic cars

It will always be a factor. As a general rule, people don’t know what they’ve got, or even what they want, until it’s gone. Be the person scooping up the remains as a car’s supply circles the plug hole. Identify flickers of intrigue around a car before it becomes a blaze.

We’ll always look back in time wearing rose-tinted spectacles but nevertheless, G3 makes some worthy points to consider.

Are these Britain's best classic cars?

Are these Britain’s best classic cars?

Are these Britain's best classic cars?

It’s a strange competition that sees a 1978 Morris Marina square up against a 1972 Porsche 914 and 1936 Chevrolet Half Ton Pick Up – yet, happily, that’s exactly what’s happening at this year’s NEC Classic Car Show.

The biannual Pride of Ownership competition is held at the Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show in March and the NEC Classic Motor Show in November. The 20 finalists for this year’s NEC Classic Motor Show have been announced, with highlights including a former police Daimler Dart SP250 from 1961 and a 1979 Citroen CX 2400 GTi barn find.

A finalists will be displayed at the show, with visitors speaking to the owners and voting for their favourites over the weekend. The winner will be announced close to the end of the show on the Sunday afternoon.

The competition is held by Lancaster Insurance, with previous winners including a lovingly-restored 1989 Austin Metro City and a 1972 Triumph Spitfire. Any classic car made before 2000 can enter the competition, and those with an interesting story have the best chance of making the final.

“Year on year, the calibre of cars in the Pride of Ownership is always outstanding and it’s fantastic to once again see such a varied line-up on display. We can’t wait for the show and to see the beauties in all their glory,” said Lancaster Insurance’s senior operations manager, Andrew Evanson.

2017 Pride of Ownership: the shortlist

  • 1979 Citroen CX 2400 GTi, owned by Neil Osborn
  • 1961 Daimler Dart SP250, owned by Jonathan Smith
  • 1959 Ford Cortina Savage Mk2, owned by Rob Sargent
  • 1973 Ford Cortina 2.0 GT, owned by Mark Rogers
  • 1978 Morris Marina 1.8 Special Saloon, owned by Trevor & Brian Ford
  • 1965 K-code Mustang Fastback, owned by Gareth Jones
  • 1970 Dodge Charger, owned by Craig Marsden
  • 1936 Chevrolet Half Ton Pick Up, owned by Justin & Sally Ann Woolner
  • 1941 Willys Coupe, owned by Andy Crockett
  • 1972 Porsche 914, owned by Paul Hibbert
  • 1998 BMW E36 M3 Evolution, owned by Gerald McWhinnie
  • 1968 Sunbeam Stiletto, owned by Ian Thompson
  • 1959 MGA 1600 Mk1, owned by Dominic Taylor-Lane
  • 1959 Hillman Minx, owned by John Georgiou
  • 1983 Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk1, owned by Simon McNamara
  • 1985 Toyota Corolla GTi, owned by Mark and Paul Hart
  • 1989 Austin Mini Thirty, owned by Brenda Roberts
  • 1990 Fiat X1/9 Gran Finale, owned by Claire Lee
  • 1967 Fiat 500F, owned by Stefan Graichen
  • 1964 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Coupe, owned by Ronald Parry

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NEXT: Video – warehouse crammed with classic Fords

Sold! 10 bargain modern classics you missed this weekend

10 bargain modern classics sold at auction this weekend

More than 250 cars went under the hammer as part of Anglia Car Auctions’ July classic sale this weekend – with something to suit all budgets, from a £125 Austin Metro to a £115,000 BMW 3.0 CSL. Although marketed as a classic car auction, modern classics proved to be the real hot property. Here are 10 modern classics that caught our eye.


More modern classics on Motoring Research: 


E39 BMW M5

E39 BMW M5

Guide price: £7,000 – £8,000
Hammer price: £7,000

Powered by a 400hp V8 combined with a six-speed Getrag manual ’box, the E39 M5 is as desirable today as it was when launched in 1998. This example, finished in desirable Le Mans Blue, isn’t the tidiest left in existence – showing 131,000 miles on the clock and in need of a bit of TLC to the bodywork. Still, its hammer price of £7,000 makes it a very tempting buy. Don’t forget, though – like all cars here, it’s subject to an extra 5% (plus VAT) in auction fees.

Renault Sport Spider

Renault Sport Spider

Guide price: £22,500 – £25,500
Hammer price: £19,500 (unsold)

A bizarre French rival to the Lotus Elise… what’s not to like? The Renault Sport Spider, launched in 1996, combined an aluminium chassis with plastic composite bodywork. Power came from a mid-mounted four-cylinder engine producing 150hp which, helped by a 930kg kerbweight, accelerated the Spider to 62mph in 6.5 seconds.

One of just 60 examples in the UK, this example looks to be among the best. It’s covered just 5,000 miles and, judging by our quick walk-around at the auction, they don’t seem to have been spent on track. Surprisingly, it fell short of its £22,500 to £25,500 guide price – remaining unsold at £19,500.

Peugeot 306 GTi 6

Peugeot 306 GTi 6

Guide price: £4,750 – £5,750
Hammer price: £4,200

If the 205 GTi is anything to go by, French hot hatches definitely have investment potential. The newer 306 GTi 6 is a long way from being as desirable as the 205, but good examples are getting harder to find. This one, although not mint, is probably one of the tidiest on the market. It’s covered 62,000 miles and comes with full service history – a must when shopping with investment in mind. It sold for £4,200, falling short of its £4,750 to £5,750 estimate.

Ferrari 456GT

Ferrari 456GT

Guide price: £48,000
Hammer price: £58,000 – £65,000

Ferraris are traditionally hot property at auction – but reports suggest the market appears to have been slowing down as late, with a number of desirable models failing to meet their reserve. The 456 isn’t old enough to make serious money, as evidenced by this tidy example from 1994 selling for just £48,000 at auction – £10,000 short of its lower estimate. Admittedly it’s covered 55,000 miles – not a huge amount, but high enough to knock its value in Ferrari terms (collectors prefer examples that have been dry-stored from new).

Honda Beat

Honda Beat

Guide price: £5,250 – £6,250
Hammer price: £4,700

This plucky little Honda Beat is showing 111,773km on the clock (that’s around 70,000 miles), with a full rebuild for its tiny 656cc engine 5,000 miles ago. Designed as a Kei car to benefit from strict Japanese tax rules, the Beat makes an MX-5 of the same vintage look massive. This example has lots of history, apparently, and looked to be in great condition in the auction hall. Surprisingly, it sold for £4,700 – falling short of its £5,250 to £6,250 estimate.

Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000

Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000

Guide price: £7,000 – £8,500
Hammer price: £7,800

Many fast Imprezas have been abused, crashed or are dodgy Japanese imports lacking history – so finding a rare UK Turbo 2000 in this condition is a novelty. Incredibly, it’s covered just 34,000 miles with its one owner and comes with a history book boasting 18 stamps. It would definitely be a sound investment, we reckon, and its 211hp turbocharged flat-four makes it quick enough to still be fun today.

Jaguar XJR

Jaguar XJR

Guide price: no reserve
Hammer price: £1,800

As bargain barges go, the X308-shape XJR is surely at the bottom of its depreciation curve. This 2001 example isn’t the tidiest, having covered 137,000 miles, and not everyone will appreciate the rare solid red paint. As the hammer nearly fell at £1,000, we were close to putting in a bid – that’s incredible value for a car powered by a 4.0-litre V8 and capable of hitting 60mph in 5.0 seconds flat. Fortunately, the rest of the auction hall woke up at this point, and it ended up making £1,800 plus fees.

E46 BMW M3

E46 BMW M3

Guide price: £8,000 – £10,000
Hammer price: £8,100

Talking about desirable cars at the bottom of their depreciation curve… the E46-shape M3 can be had for as little as £7,000 now, and represents a true performance bargain. While buying one from auction would be a brave move (they’re not short of issues – from cracking rear subframes to big-end bearing failure), this Laguna Seca Blue version quite literally caught our eye. It’s a convertible, which wouldn’t be our first choice, but it at least comes with a hard top. Selling for £8,100, it scraped over its lower estimate.

Porsche Boxster S

Porsche Boxster S

Guide price: £5,500 – £6,500
Hammer price: £5,600 (provisional)

The Boxster 986 is another modern classic bargain in our eyes, especially in 3.2-litre S guise. Old enough to be affordable, yet new enough to be usable, the mid-engined Boxster makes for a very tempting buy. There are a few caveats, though. For a start, there are still plenty around, so values are unlikely to rise anytime soon. Plus, there are plenty of known issues, so it’s worth doing your research. Hunt out a good one with lots of history and you could be onto a winner.

This example has covered close to 120,000 miles and is lacking a few stamps in its service book, which would make us wary. But it’s bright yellow and provisionally sold for £5,600… which could be cheap enough to compensate for any potential problems.

Opel Speedster (Vauxhall VX220)

Opel Speedster (Vauxhall VX220)

Guide price: £13,000 – £17,000
Hammer price: £12,600

The Opel Speedster (sold in the UK as the Vauxhall VX220) is said to be the thinking man’s Lotus Elise. It shared many parts with the Lotus, but with a more useable 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine. This one has an interesting history, bought new by a Vauxhall engineer and unregistered until 2013. It’s covered just 3,000 miles since then, meaning it remains in as-new condition. It’s spent the last three years of its life on display at a local Vauxhall dealer.

Classic car enthusiast has his STEERING WHEEL stolen

Classic car enthusiast has his STEERING WHEEL stolen

© Herb Real / Flickr

A rare steering wheel worth £250 has been stolen from a 1991 Volkswagen Polo parked on its owners driveway in Lincolnshire.

19-year-old Bradley Lawson’s is gradually restoring his Mk2 Polo saloon but had to leave it unlocked for a weekend while he went away, as the locks were being refurbished. The student was surprised to return home to find the Polo’s door left open with its steering wheel and speakers missing.


More Volkswagen news on Motoring Research


“[The steering wheel was] made by an American company, Grip Royal and it had been imported,” he told Lincolnshire Live. “There is only five of these steering wheels in the country.”

The custom-made steering wheel is carved out of mahogany and costs around £250 before import charges are added.

“All of the steering wheels are handmade so they are limited edition, you put the order in for them and when they are made they are shipped out to you.”

As the vehicle was left unlocked, it’s unlikely that his insurance provider will pay out for the stolen goods. Police are currently looking into the theft.

Lawson added: “They just opened the door and took it. The house is gated and fenced off – you don’t expect them to climb in, get it and then run off.”

Older cars are an easy target for thieves as they lack anything more than the most basic of security measures. Volkswagens of this era are popular with young drivers as they’re cheap to run and easy to modify, with a huge ‘scene’ of enthusiasts providing support.

Part thefts are nothing new – even modern cars such as the Vauxhall Corsa have been targeted by gangs looking to steal parts to sell online.

Top tips for protecting your classic car

1: Fit a tracker
2: Add an aftermarket alarm and/or immobiliser
3: Use a steering wheel lock
4: Park in a garage
5: Disconnect the battery to prevent it being started

Deutsch marques: fabulous classic German cars on show

Stanford Hall Volkswagen showThis year marked the 41st anniversary of the Stanford Hall Volkswagen show, set in the grounds of Stanford Hall itself, near Lutterworth in Leicestershire.

The show is organised by the Leicestershire and Warwickshire VW Owner’s Club, and a historic Volkswagen display has been a staple part of the event.

Air-cooled actionStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Stanford Hall brings out some of the best air-cooled Volkswagens, and some of the most unusual. ‘Bertie’ is a 1958 historic rally Beetle and driver Bob Beales drove ‘him’ in events as recent as the 2016 Wales Rally GB.

Beetles aboutStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Beetles have long been a key ingredient at Stanford Hall. Amanda Clampin’s 1972 ‘Marathon’ Beetle is well known in VW circles and on the show circuit. She has owned the car for almost two years.

Marathon milestoneStanford Hall Volkswagen show

A total of 1,500 ‘Marathon’ Beetles were built for the UK and celebrated the small VW overtaking the Ford Model T as the most-produced car in the world on 17 February 1972. Special features such as 10-spoke alloy wheels and the metallic blue body colour set the Marathon apart.

Karmann everybodyStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Of course, it’s not all about Beetles, though. Volkswagen’s other classic air-cooled models such as the Type 2 campervan and Karmann Ghia also have a starring role at Stanford Hall.

Ballistic busStanford Hall Volkswagen show

While the show prides itself on standard models, this Type 2 is anything but original, and packs a fearsome V8 punch. Your cutlery and plates would fly out of the cupboards…

Shaken, not stirredStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Similarly, this Martini-liveried Karmann Ghia has been inspired by Porsche. A lurid black and red 996/Boxster snakeskin interior features inside, while the running gear is taken from a 2004 Boxster.

Metal Ghia solidStanford Hall Volkswagen show

In contrast, this Type 3-based Karman Ghia is as it rolled off the production line at Osnabrück. Introduced in September 1961, the VW 1500 Karmann Ghia is also known as the ‘Razor Edge’.

As Volkswagen intendedStanford Hall Volkswagen show

The Concours d’Elegance at Stanford Hall is considered to be the best in the country, specialising in cars of original specification. Sixteen classes cover all VW, Audi and Porsche models and feature gems such as this very early 1975 Volkswagen Golf.

Clean machinesStanford Hall Volkswagen show

The concours judging is very strict and every car has to be as clean as when it left the factory, with points taken off for dirtiness and non-original accessories. A simpler design means air-cooled engines may be easier to clean than their later water-cooled counterparts. Here, a Mk2 Golf GTI 16V engine is so clean, the proverbial dinner could be eaten off it.

Mars Red Mk1 magicStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Stanford Hall used to be a predominantly air-cooled Volkswagen show, but in recent years there has been a surge in water-cooled cars’ presence. Golf GTIs are popular concours entrants.

Super Class winnerStanford Hall Volkswagen show

The concours ‘Super Class’ features only the previous year’s winners. 2017 Super Class and Best of Show winner was Chris Burt’s Mk 2 1989 Golf GTI 8V.

Derby dayStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Even Volkswagen’s sometimes ‘forgotten’ models get a look in at the Leicestershire gathering. Older Polos are regularly on display, and Vic Kaye’s booted Derby is one of the best Mk1 models.

The 1980s called…Stanford Hall Volkswagen show

David Cross’ super-rare Mk2 Jetta GT Special is a limited edition from 1986. An officially-marketed GTI Engineering conversion, special equipment included 15-inch alloy wheels, a 1.8-litre engine, a bodykit and two-tone paintwork.

There’s a Storm comingStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Volkswagen’s coupés were well represented at the 2017 Stanford Hall event. The later Corrado (background) contrasts nicely with this early Mk1 Scirocco Storm limited edition from 1979.

Audis on showStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Audis of all shapes and sizes are welcomed into the Stanford Hall concours fold, and there’s probably not a more disparate pairing than this 1980s 200 Avant and late 80-based Cabriolet.

Four-cylinder funStanford Hall Volkswagen show

Club stands are an important part of Stanford Hall, and the biggest gathering of Porsche 912s in the UK was aimed for at the 2017 show. We don’t know if that was achieved, but there were certainly more than we’ve ever seen in one place.

Germany’s favourite sports carStanford Hall Volkswagen show

And while the number of four-cylinder 912s may have outnumbered the number of 911s, the 912’s ‘big brother’ was still very much in evidence. 

The best motoring events of 2017

The best motoring events of 2017

The best motoring events of 2017

January: a time for planning. And car fans will be pleased to hear there is no shortage of motoring events on the agenda for 2017. Why not grab a brew, your shiny new calendar and join us for a look at what we have to look forward to this year?

Ace Cafe German Night (6 February)

If you’re a car enthusiast and have never been to an event at London’s Ace Cafe, make it your resolution to change that in 2017. The historic transport cafe, located on London’s North Circular, plays host to regular themed evenings. The German Night is a must for Mercedes and BMW enthusiasts.

London Classic Car Show, Excel (23 – 26 February)

If classic cars are more your thing, you don’t have to wait long until the London Classic Car Show, held at the Excel in February. The central Grand Avenue will feature more than 50 classic cars in action every day, while a special display will celebrate 70 years of Ferrari road cars.

Race Retro, Stoneleigh (24 – 26 February)

Those who like to see classic race cars being used as their maker intended should head to Warwickshire for Race Retro. Highlights include an auction of historic cars, interviews with legendary racing drivers and, of course, a live rally stage.

Retro Classics, Stuttgart, Germany (2 – 5 March)

Retro Classics, Stuttgart, Germany (2 - 5 March)

Looking for an excuse to travel further afield? Stuttgart hosts Retro Classics, one of the biggest classic motor shows in the world. There’s something for everyone, say organisers, from exotic Maseratis to motorbikes, and even a timeline of European local buses from 1950 to 1955.

Geneva Motor Show (9 – 19 March)

The Geneva Motor Show is one of the biggest events on our calendar – we attend every year to bring you the latest concept and production cars on display in Switzerland’s second biggest city. But you don’t need to be a journalist to attend the Geneva Motor Show, it opens its doors to the public from 9 March, allowing you to get up close with the latest reveals. It makes for a fantastic road trip.

Ultimate Dubs (12 March)

From Geneva to… Telford. Ultimate Dubs is the UK’s largest indoor VW Group event, catering for modified Volkswagens, Audis, SEATs and Skodas. If slammed VW Golfs and Audi TTs with more attitude than a bored teenager are your thing, Ultimate Dubs is the ultimate place to be in March.

BTCC season launch, Donington (16 March)

Where else can you see names such as Gordon Shedden and Jason Plato hammering souped-up road cars on tracks around the UK? The 2017 British Touring Car Championship kicks off at Donington in March.

Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Goodwood (18 – 19 March)

Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Goodwood (18 - 19 March)

The exclusive Goodwood Members’ Meeting is a weekend of motor racing, enjoyed only by members or a small number of lucky ticket holders. By keeping attendance down, spectators can enjoy motorsport with limited crowds. Alternatively, watch it unfold online.

Brooklands Mini Day (19 March)

Brooklands is a historic venue and always worth a visit – but its special Mini Day in March is unmissable for fans of Britain’s favourite pocket-sized car. Drivers of modern MINIs are welcome too.

Great Escape Cars & Coffee, Redditch (26 March)

The best classic car events can involve little more than getting a gathering of enthusiasts (and their motors), giving them coffee and letting them chat cars. Hire firm Great Escape Cars lets enthusiasts do just that – and donates £1 to charity for every classic that turns up.

Practical Classics Restoration and Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham (31 March – 2 April)

The Practical Classics Restoration and Classic Car Show is a relatively new addition to the calendar, but 19,000 enthusiasts headed to the NEC for the show in 2016. This year, it promises more than 800 cars on display – from restored classics to neglected barn finds. Adult tickets start at £16 in advance.

The Fast Show, Santa Pod (2 April)

The Fast Show, Santa Pod (2 April)

If your idea of a car show is a village green full of MGBs and, at a push, a beer tent, The Fast Show at Santa Pod probably isn’t for you. It involves an open ‘run what ya brung’ drag strip sessions, a nightclub in the evening and even dancing girls.

Techno Classica, Essen, Germany (5 – 9 April)

The five-day-long Techno Classica show at Essen, Germany, is a must for British classic car fans who’ve outgrown our own shows. It attracts nearly 200,000 visitors from around the world.

Top Marques, Monaco (20 – 23 April)

The Fast Show this is not. Top Marques is held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, and allows visitors to get up close to the world’s hottest supercars. Demonstrations take place on the iconic F1 racetrack and, if you’re a serious supercar buyer, you might even be able to take some test drives.

Drive It Day (23 April)

Drive It Day is a nationwide thing, introduced by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) to encourage classic car owners to drive their cars. It’s held in spring every year – giving enthusiasts the perfect opportunity to get their cars on the road after winter. Events are held all over the country, including at Beaulieu, Brooklands and Gaydon.

Auto Italia – Italian Car Day, Brooklands (29 April)

Auto Italia – Italian Car Day, Brooklands (29 April)

Back to Brooklands, these time for Auto Italia’s fabulous Italian Car Day. Visitors in Italian cars – whether it’s a Fiat or Ferrari – get to park in a special area, while fans can enjoy track demonstrations.

Japfest, Silverstone (30 April)

Meanwhile, over at Silverstone, Japanese car nuts can enjoy the enormous Japfest event. Watch drifting demos, take part in club line-ups and even get out on track. There’s even a show and shine for those who like to keep their motors in mint condition.

Truckfest, Peterborough (30 April – 1 May)

And now for something a bit different. For one weekend, the East of England showground becomes the country’s biggest truck park – with more than 2,000 lorries heading along the A1 to take part. You don’t have to be a trucker to attend, with adult visitor tickets starting at £17.50.

National Kit Car Motor Show, Stoneleigh (30 April – 1 May)

If you like your cars to be of the DIY variety, the National Kit Car Show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire is a must. From have-a-go opportunities to live music and hundreds of trade stands, there’s plenty for the casual fan as well as the serious kit car enthusiast.

London Motor Show (5 – 7 May)

London Motor Show (5 - 7 May)

After a number of years without a motor show in the UK, the London Motor Show returned last year. And it’s back for 2017 – hosted at Battersea Park, with celebrity guests including Jodie Kidd and former Stig Ben Collins likely to put in appearances.

Mille Miglia (18 – 21 May)

The original Mille Miglia race took place between 1927 and 1957, but has been brought back since 1977. The thousand-mile event crosses Italy and is only open to cars made before 1957 that participated in the original race. While most of us aren’t lucky enough to own such a car, it’s worth a trip to see the spectacle of such exotic motors being put through the challenge.

London to Brighton Mini Run (20 – 21 May)

Who doesn’t like a Mini? The London to Brighton Mini Run takes place every year, with 2,100 Minis old and new taking part in the event. At Madeira Drive in Brighton, there’s a line-up of all the entrants, plus a live action arena featuring autotest demos and stunt bike displays.

Worthersee, Austria (24 – 27 May)

If you’re a VW enthusiast and want to travel a little further afield, the Worthersee Volkswagen festival attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year. There’s a manufacturer-backed element – usually a few pimped cars and the occasional special reveal alongside Lake Worthersee – but the whole town is taken over by retro and modified Vee-dubs.

Nurburgring 24-hour, Germany (25 – 28 May)

Nurburgring 24-hour, Germany (25 - 28 May)

Why not combine a trip to Worthersee with a visit to the infamous Nurburgring for its annual 24-hour race? More than 200 cars take part in the event on the 15.5 mile Nordschleife circuit, making it a mesmerising spectacle.

Isle of Man TT (27 May – 9 June)

The Isle of Man TT is a must-visit event for bike fans. It’s been taking place every year since 1907, with star racers such as Guy Martin taking to public roads to test their limits. It’s a thrilling event and well worth the cost of a ferry.

Coventry MotoFest (3 – 4 June)

You can imagine the conversation that led to the inaugural Coventry Motofest taking place in 2014. A group of petrolheads got together and decided it’d be fun, for one weekend a year, to take over the city of Coventry with motoring-related activities. Could they show off the city’s motoring heritage, display classic cars in the centre and even hold demonstrations on the ring road? Turns out, yes they could. It’s definitely worth a visit.

Classic Ford Show, Santa Pod (4 June)

Classic Fords, run what ya brung and DJ Pied Piper… wait, what? Yes, the Classic Ford Show at Santa Pod in June really has it all. Well, if you like old Fords, drag racing and tasteless garage music. Adult tickets cost £18 in advance.

Cholmondeley Power and Speed, Cheshire (9 – 11 June)

Cholmondeley Power and Speed, Cheshire (9 - 11 June)

Dubbed the Goodwood Festival of Speed of the north, Cholmondeley Power and Speed (formerly known as the Pageant of Power) is a three-day motorsport extravaganza. A record 40,000 visitors attended last year.

24 Hours of Le Mans, France (17 – 18 June)

Even if you’re not a big motorsport fan, no one can fail to get caught up in the atmosphere at Le Mans during its annual 24-hour race. Enjoy a ride on the ferris wheel, watch cars hit 200mph on the Mulsanne Straight in the early hours of the morning and find out exactly what a ‘beer mountain’ is. Book campsites well in advance as they do fill up.

MG Live, Silverstone (17 – 18 June)

Think of MG enthusiasts and you might picture a small gathering of classic MGBs at a village car show, but MG Live is a much bigger event than you’d expect. Held at Silverstone, the two-day motoring festival celebrates all that’s great about MG: from historic racing to displays of the latest models.

Bromley Pageant of Motoring (18 June)

With more than 3,000 classic cars in attendance, the annual Bromley Pageant of Motoring claims to be the world’s largest one-day classic car show. Entry is £12.50 in advance, and cars are grouped into special one-make parking areas.

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood (22 – 25 June)

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood (22 - 25 June)

In 1993, Lord March hosted a hillclimb in the grounds of Goodwood House in Sussex and created the Festival of Speed. Back then, 25,000 spectators attended – today attendance is capped at 150,000. It’s a brilliant opportunity to see historic race cars driving up the infamous hill climb and the recent addition of the Moving Motor Show even allows visitors to get behind the wheel.

The Supercar Event, Dunsfold (24 – 25 June)

How would you like to take a passenger ride in a supercar on Top Gear’s test track and to raise money for charity at the same time? That’s precisely what The Supercar Event at Dunsfold offers, with owners giving up their time and petrol for nothing. Book ahead for £30 to be guaranteed a ride.

PSCUK’s Peugeot Festival, Prescott Hillclimb (2 July)

The Peugeot Sport Club’s Peugeot Festival, formerly known as Pugfest, has been held at the historic Prescott Hillclimb since 2002. Whether you’re a fan of the legendary 205 GTI or slammed 306s are more your bag, the Peugeot Festival is a must visit for Pug fans. Tickets start at £12 for non-members, and visitors can drive their car up the hill for just £7.

The BMC and Leyland Show, Gaydon (2 July)

The chances of seeing an Austin Allegro or Leyland Sherpa on the roads today are slim, but if your boat is floated by these unloved classics, the BMC and Leyland show is the place to be. It’s held at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon and is open to all British Motor Corporation, British Leyland and Rover Group vehicles.

Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone (14 – 16 July)

Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone (14 - 16 July)

Like Le Mans, you don’t need to be a huge motorsport fan to be caught up in the atmosphere of the F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Tickets for the main event on Sunday are officially sold out, but you might find some if you shop around.

Classics on the Common, Harpenden (26 July)

It’s the biggest week-day classic car show, with more than 1,000 classics heading to the Hertfordshire town of Harpenden for its annual Classics on the Common event. Starting around lunchtime and running throughout the afternoon and into the evening, the event combines a great atmosphere with an eclectic mix of old and new cars.

Silverstone Classic, Silverstone (28 – 30 July)

Disappointed to have missed out on the Grand Prix? Or just prefer older cars? Don’t miss Silverstone Classic, held on the last weekend of July. It’s more than just classic motor racing: there’s live music, classic car line-ups and even a special retro run on the roads around Silverstone.

CarFest North (28 – 30 July)

CarFest was the mad idea of Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans. He may not have succeeded at Top Gear, but his charity event has been a runaway success since its launch in 2012. Millions of pounds have been raised for Children in Need, with tens of thousands of fans heading to CarFest North’s venue at Bolesworth Castle in Cheshire each year.

CarFest South (25 – 27 August)

CarFest South (25 - 27 August)

For those of us in the south, there’s a second CarFest event held at Laverstoke Park Farm near Basingstoke, Hampshire. Highlights include live action on the hillclimb, as well as live music and even cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs.

Salon Privé, Blenheim Palace (31 August – 2 September)

Salon Privé describes itself as “the UK’s most exclusive automotive garden party”. If rare and exotic Ferraris are your thing, it’s the place to be. Tickets for the supercar show on the Saturday cost £125 plus fees.

Beaulieu International Autojumble (2 – 3 September)

If a giant car boot sale full of automotive paraphernalia is your idea of a good day out, head to Beaulieu for its world-famous autojumble. More than 2,000 stalls will be selling every car-related item you could possibly imagine, and there’ll even be around 200 vehicles offered for sale by private sellers.

Goodwood Revival (8 – 10 September)

Step back in time at the Goodwood Revival. Visitors are encouraged to dress in period clothing (in fact, you’ll stand out if you don’t), while historic race cars recreate the golden era of 50s and 60s motorsport. There’s even a period Tesco store on site.

Frankfurt Motor Show (14 – 24 September)

Frankfurt Motor Show (14 - 24 September)

The Frankfurt and Paris motor shows alternate every year, with 2017 being the turn of Frankfurt to host the world’s car manufacturers in September. If you want to know just how much money German car manufacturers have, head to Frankfurt. Volkswagen Group, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all attempt to outdo each other with the size of their show stands.

Manchester Classic Car Show (16 – 17 September)

The Manchester Classic Car Show lives somewhat in the shadow of its Brummy cousin, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re a classic car nut. From a wide array of classic car clubs to a concours event and even a live rally stage, there’s plenty to keep the family entertained.

Land Rover Owner International Show, Peterborough (16 – 17 September)

Once a year, Peterborough plays host to the Land Rover Owner International Show. Whether you drive a tricked-up Disco or a rare Series One, there’s plenty see for every Land Rover enthusiast. Visitors will even be able to take part in a little light off-roading at the nearby Tixover Grange.

Rally GB, Wales (26 – 29 October)

The penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes place in Wales – and you can get your rallying fix later in the year. While special stages such as Cholmondeley Castle are a good starting point, we suggest being more adventurous and travelling deep into Wales to get closer to the action without the crowds.

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (5 November)

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (5 November)

The annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is an annual celebration of the 1896 Locomotives on Highways Act, which increased the national speed limit to 14mph. Apart from a break for WW2, it’s been held every year since 1927, with more than 400 cars taking part. Our tip? Head into London early to watch the historic cars passing famous landmarks.

NEC Classic Motor Show, Birmingham (10 – 12 November)

The NEC Classic Motor Show is always a brilliant way to end the year. The show takes over five halls and features classic car clubs, exhibitors selling everything from rare parts to old magazines, and even an auction. Book in advance to save money on tickets.