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How to save money on NEC Classic Motor Show car parking

NEC car parking Classic Motor Show

Your visit to this year’s NEC Classic Motor Show could be cheaper thanks to a new parking option. It’s all thanks to the show’s organisers and parking giant NCP.

You will be able to park in NCP’s Birmingham Airport Car Park 5 between 8am and 7.30pm for £9 – if you book in advance.

You must to stick to the prescribed times, otherwise standard charges will be apply and these can be rather expensive.

NEC car parking Classic Motor Show

The code Classic19 must be entered on the parking firm’s website to get the deal. There’s a free shuttle bus to get to the show from the car park, or a free monorail service to the concourse by the railway station, which leads to the NEC.

Last year’s Classic Motor Show was bigger and more popular than ever, and this year’s event is sure to pick up where that left off. Given parking is probably one of our only gripes, this discounted scheme is likely to sell quickly.

“It is important to us that we give our visitors the best experience possible when enjoying their day out at the show,” said show director Lee Masters.

NEC car parking Classic Motor Show

“We know travel and parking is a key factor in this and have secured discounted parking at an NCP car park at the nearby Birmingham International Airport to give visitors more choices when planning their visit.”

This will save you paying £12 in advance or £16 on the day to park at the NEC. Tickets for the show are on sale now, in advance of the show’s running, from 8 to 10 November 2019.

For more information, visit the NEC Classic Motor Show website.

Classic cars converted to electric ‘are not historic’

Lunaz electrified classics

The international federation of historic vehicles says it is unable to promote or support the conversion of classic cars to electric power.

FIVA (the Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens) ‘understands the motivation of some owners to electrify their vehicles” and that ”all modifications are a matter of personal choice”.

It also acknowledges that electrification allows vehicles to meet modern environmental standards, with the additional benefit of increased power and performance.

However, in a rather damning statement, FIVA has slammed the electrification of historic vehicles, saying it ‘cannot promote, to owners or regulators, the use of modern EV components (motors and batteries) to replace historic vehicle’s powertrain’. 

An increasing number of classic cars are being converted to electric, including the Volkswagen Beetle, Jaguar E-Type Zero, Renault 4L Plein Air, Jaguar XK120, Aston Martin DB6 Volante Electric and Ferrari 308 GTE.

What is a historic vehicle?

Lunaz electrified classics

According to FIVA, a historic vehicle is ‘a mechanically propelled road vehicle’ that is:

  • At least 30 years old.
  • Preserved and maintained in a historically correct condition.
  • Not used as a means of daily transport.
  • Part of our technical and culture heritage.

The final point is open to interpretation, but the reference to ‘historically correct’ leaves us in little doubt. An electrified classic cannot be classed as a historic vehicle.

Tiddo Bresters, FIVA’s vice president, legislation, said: “It is not, in our opinion, the shape or body style of a vehicle that makes it ‘historic’, but the way in which the entire vehicle has been constructed and manufactured in its original form.

“Hence if any owner, motor engineer or manufacturer chooses to make such conversions to a historic vehicle, FIVA would strongly recommend that any changes are reversible, with all the original components marked and safely stored.

“In this way, the vehicle may – if so desired in the future – be returned to its original state and may once again become a historic vehicle.”

FIVA’s stance is certain to spark a debate in the pubs of Great Britain and on classic car forums. Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

Thinking about investing in a classic car? Seek legal advice first, warns solicitor

Thinking about investing in a classic car? Seek legal advice first, warns solicitor

Thinking about investing in a classic car? Seek legal advice first, warns solicitor

With interest rates stuck at paltry levels and the stock market wallowing due to Brexit, research from Footman James suggests more investors are considering buying exotic classic cars.

But a solicitor at law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, David Stedman, has warned that people risk losing large amounts of money if they make ill-informed investments.

He said: “The Footman James research suggests that 1 in 5 people are considering investing in classic vehicles in place of more traditional asset classes.

“I have acted on all too many occasions in cases when recent retirees, having decided to use their pension lump sum to purchase a classic as an investment, have ended up with a car worth a fraction of what they paid or, even worse, a car that they do not even have title to with the rogue trader disappearing over the horizon.”

‘Buy a Lamborghini with your pension’

The warning comes several years after former pensions minister Steve Webb suggested it wasn’t for the government to concern themselves if individuals chose to use their pension savings to buy a Lamborghini.

Stedman added: “In perhaps one of the best known such cases on which I assisted, Gray v Smith 2013, a rogue trader was paid many millions of pounds by an investor to build up a collection of classic cars including a McLaren F1. The actual ownership of the F1 was just one of the issues in the case.

“Although the values involved in this particular case were extreme, the case highlights the importance for the amateur investor to obtain legal advice from the outset and the need to be wary of provenance, misrepresentation, and title.”

Great British classic cars by the sea

Classic cars at the seaside

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside, strolling along the prom, where the brass bands play, etc, etc. To many Brits, a trip to the seaside conjures up images of fish and chips, ‘kiss me quick’ hats and arcade machines, plus the smell of suncream and seaweed. Apropos of nothing, here’s a selection of Great British classic cars basking in the sun at the seaside. All photos by Martin Charles Hatch.

Vauxhall Chevette

Classic cars at the seaside

There’s something quintessentially British about this photo. All that’s missing is a pair of deckchairs and two people arguing about Brexit.

Triumph Herald

Classic cars at the seaside

Triumph called the Herald Convertible ‘a suntrap on wheels’, with a press advert picturing the car alongside a topless model sunbathing on the beach. Very racy and quite risque for the 1960s. What would the people who have the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) on speed dial say about that?

Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

Classic cars at the seaside

The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow became a firm favourite of ‘end-of-the-pier’ entertainers, lending it a kind of faded seaside glamour. Those days are gone – turn up in one of these and folk will think you own the bingo hall.

Lotus Elan+2

Classic cars at the seaside

The first Lotus not to be sold in kit form arrived in 1969, with the Elan+2 designed to be ‘capable of transporting two adults and two children, 1,000 miles in comfort with their luggage’. This one has made it to the beach.

Nash Metropolitan

Classic cars at the seaside

The Nash Metropolitan was a little slice of Americana, built in Longbridge. There’s an almost toy-like quality to its styling and it must have lifted the mood in post-war America and the UK.

Triumph TR7

Classic cars at the seaside

‘It only has two seats. It confirms her mother’s worst fears. And if you ever drove it flat out they’d probably lock you up.’ Triumph’s press ad from 1979 is yet another example of copywriting from a different era.

Morris Minor Traveller

Classic cars at the seaside

A beautiful example of a Morris Minor Traveller, complete with optional dog bowl. Dog not pictured, sadly.

Austin-Healey Sprite

Classic cars at the seaside

The famous headlights earned the Austin-Healey Sprite the nickname ‘Frogeye’, but the original plan was for the car to feature pop-ups. When these were ruled out on the grounds of cost, the familiar ‘bug eyes’ were added to the bonnet.

Jaguar E-Type

Classic cars at the seaside

The Jaguar E-Type: second only to the Nissan Sunny ZX Coupe on the list of the most beautiful two-seaters ever made.

Triumph TR6

Classic cars at the seaside

Up until its demise in 2009, Karmann was the largest independent car manufacturer in Germany. Although it’s most famous for the Karmann Ghia, the German coachbuilder was also responsible for the styling of the Triumph TR6. So now you know.

Triumph 2000/2500

Classic cars at the seaside

Here’s another British car to benefit from European input, with the last big Triumph styled by the Italian, Giovanni Michelotti. He also designed the Leyland National bus.

Triumph TR4

Classic cars at the seaside

Although the TR4 looked very different to the Triumph TR3/TR3A, it was based on the same chassis. Unlike its predecessor, the TR4 featured side windows and air vents, which prompted some Triumph purists to accuse the car of going soft.

Ford Escort GT

Classic cars at the seaside

The Escort arrived in 1968, with Ford marketing it as ‘the small car that isn’t’. Four models were available: De Luxe, Super, Super 1300cc and GT.

Jensen C-V8

Classic cars at the seaside

This Jensen C-V8 is powered by a massive 6.3-litre Chrysler V8 engine, giving it a top speed of 140mph. It was a fine Grand Tourer, but it’s not the Jensen everyone remembers.

Morris Oxford MO

Classic cars at the seaside

Believe it or not, this Morris Oxford MO was dumped on Landguard Common in Felixstowe in the mid 1960s. After life as a makeshift children’s playground, it found its way to the port where it spent years under a tarpaulin. The transformation is incredible.

Humber Sceptre

Classic cars at the seaside

Too often overlooked, the Humber Sceptre was a posh, plush and almost flamboyant British family car. The Humber name disappeared in 1976.

Standard Vanguard

Classic cars at the seaside

The Standard name died earlier, in 1963, but the company had an illustrious past. It developed a strong reputation in the 1930s, before buying Triumph after the Second World War.

Ford Popular

Classic cars at the seaside

Today’s Ford Focus can trace its roots back to the Popular via the Escort and Anglia.

Austin A40

Classic cars at the seaside

Having enjoyed watching historic racing, this looks ripe for some kind of motorsport conversion. Andrew Jordan has got a lot to answer for.

Does your car deserve a dehumidifier this winter?

A dehumidifier for use in a garage

As summer ends, many motorists will consider putting their car into hibernation for the winter. Which is where a dehumidifier comes in.

Used correctly, a dehumidifier will minimise the effects of rust, stop mildew growing on seats and prevent carpets and cardboard boxes from going soggy.

If you’re storing a car, motorcycle, machinery or tools in a garage, you probably need a dehumidifier. But how do you choose the right one?

For unheated garages, a desiccant system is preferable to a compressor unit as they operate at lower temperatures. They also tend to be lighter, which could be a factor if you intend to move the dehumidifier.

Crucially, from a classic car perspective, desiccant dehumidifiers have the ability to reduce the relative humidity to 40 percent or lower – below the rusting point of metal.

A basic compressor unit will be ineffective at temperatures below 15ºC. 

DehumidifiersUK recommends buying a unit with auto restart, which means the dehumidifier will restart after a power cut, rather than going into standby mode. Meanwhile, a unit with continuous drain-off means you have the option to feed a hose into a sink, drain point or separate holding tank.

How to get the best from a dehumidifier

Using a dehumidifier

Manufacturer Meaco has the following advice for motorists storing a car in a garage:

  • Place the dehumidifier on a level surface
  • Drain the water using a hose, preferably into a sink, to avoid the unit going into standby mode when the tank is full
  • Use as little hose as possible as too much will create a negative air pressure
  • Don’t use a plug-in timer, as desiccant dehumidifiers have a cool-down facility to prolong the life of the unit
  • Seal the garage the best you can
  • Leave the doors of the vehicle open so that damp air can migrate to the dehumidifier
  • Cleaning the filter will increase the lifespan of the dehumidifier and maintain efficiency

A quick look on the Meaco website reveals desiccant units are available from £170. Cheaper than repairing a rusty vehicle or replacing damp carpets in the spring.

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.