Category Archives: Our Writing

The Rover P6 National Day and Why We Love Old Cars

The Rover P6 is an iconic British saloon car introduced in the late 1960s and supported by a number of well-established car clubs. The P6 Rover Owners Club is one of them, and their collective love of this four-door sedan peaks at the P6 National Day, held at Rufford Abbey Country Park, in Nottinghamshire. Tasked with reporting on the event from the inside, a classic car insurance company gave me a rental car, a pen and a free ticket. The gig was on.

Armed with nothing but a McDonalds coffee and the very best press credentials; I opted to bypass the queue of traffic that had already amassed along the A614 and instead drive the incorrect way down the English Heritage Property’s one way system. I intended to sneak past the waiting classic cars and talk my way into the staff car park – after all, when you’re documenting an event for a prestigious publication (and I was), there are liberties to be taken.

As soon as the car park attendant saw me, I knew the plan was flawed. The poor chaps mind was blown. No one had ever tried to drive the wrong way down an English Heritage Property’s one way system. I slowed to a crawl and dropped the passenger side window, leaning forward to address him as he stepped out of his booth. He locked eyes with me, waiting for the moment of glory when this sunglass wearing, rental car driving psuedo American would stop the car and experience a verbal dose of British car parking etiquette the likes of which Rufford Abbey had seen before.

I leant further forward and opened my mouth to speak… then cruised past him with the window down at 3mph. The look on his face said it all; there wasn’t any training for this. No one had ever lowered the window to talk and then gone right by without saying a word, it simply wasn’t the British way. He started to slump to the floor but the access road kinked to the right and with trees on both sides, I soon lost sight of the scene.

Continuing the wrong way down the access road, I abandoned the rental in the staff car park. Panicked looking green uniformed park wardens were sprinting towards the main road and clutching handheld radios, so I hid the car in a bush and continued on foot.

Rufford Abbey is a 16th century monastery, which was converted into a residence at some point in its I oh didn’t really care, the sun was shining, the cars had arrived and the cafe was open. One black coffee later and I was amongst over 50 classic Rover cars, blending into the crowds with my sunglasses and straw hat.

I’d been sent to Rufford Abbey by a British motoring title to write about the history of the Rover P6, but my main interest in the article was ‘Rover people’. What makes them tick? What is it about these rusty, badly made yawn boxes that make people want to join owners clubs? I’d also been asked to nominate a car for the ‘Visitors Choice’ award, although after what happened at the Land Rover show I was under strict instructions not to nominate the rental car.

The long access road leading down to the Rover P6 cars and the Abbey itself was lined with all manner of classic and modern show cars. Although the array of vehicles on display was impressive, it was nothing compared to what was going on behind the cars – the deck chair and picnic display.

Lightweight, folding camping chairs took precedent, with a smattering of older, wooden framed canvas deck chairs in for good measure; but the concours worthy folding chair with optional roof was a sight to behold, so I promptly made a note of the make and model on my piece of paper and nominated it for the ‘Visitors Choice’ award.

No darling, they’re not all the same” a well-dressed man replied to his equally well-dressed wife as they browsed the Rover P6 display. At this stage I thought she had a valid point.

The P6 fraternity were congregated in the main arena, where 50 or so of the seemingly identical cars were gathered, but my prey were all lined up along the main entrance road, parked in the shade of the trees. Ah ha, I thought. Here we go… The Real Rover People.

Nearest to the P6 circle were a trio of Rover 75s, four MGFs and two Rover Coupes. I got chatting to one of the owners.

Well I’ve got a Coupe, a 75 and a 25, but I’d really love a 45 quipped one, when asked what his dream car would be. Dream car. A Rover 25. Who are these people?! The Rover 25 was a hashed together design job based on an ancient platform and leftover running gear. The Ferrari F40, on the other hand, wasn’t.

“7” replied his friend, when asked how many Rover Coupes he currently owns. “And I’m always on the lookout for a bargain Coupe”. Knowing full well that a taxed and tested Rover Coupe can be bought for only slightly more than I’d just paid for a Panini and chips, I silently wondered what he considered a bargain, and why anyone would deliberately buy one of these cars, let alone seven of them.

A man in a hat was talking to a man with a beard about why the Rover 800 was better than a BMW 5 Series, whilst stood next to a Rover 75 with a plastic BMW badge stuck to the engine cover. This new world of appreciation of the mediocre was confusing me, so I slumped into a late model, wooden framed, canvas deckchair to ponder my findings.

How can there be so much love for these seemingly mediocre cars? How can it be that cars that were so average develop such a cult following years after the presses have stopped?

Longbridge, (the spiritual home of many of the cars on show at Rufford Abbey) was originally built in 1895 and made cars on and off for over a hundred years. For over a hundred years, ordinary lives of ordinary people have been touched by the Longbridge legend. The legacy of British Leyland, Austin Rover, Phoenix Consortium or whatever it was called at the time is huge. The amount of cars that come under the collective banners of the companies really was monumental. Maybe your schoolteacher drove a Montego. Perhaps your family holidays were in a Marina, or your first company car was an Austin 1800, or you learnt to drive in a Mini. Somewhere, at some point in your life, you’ll have come across a Longbridge car.

The point is, when it comes to buying, driving, restoring and cherishing classic cars, we don’t just want to re-live and cherish moments from the past; we want to relive and cherish moments from our past. The Ferrari F40 was the poster car of my youth, but I can’t relate to it – it never reached me. On the other hand, when Uncle Martin arrived at our family home in his dark grey Rover Coupe around 1994 my eight-year-old self thought it was the coolest car in the whole world.

For all of their pitfalls, for all of the head gasket rumours and unreliability and build quality issues that are part and parcel of the British Leyland and Rover cars; the fact of the matter is that they reached a lot of people. Yes, some were rubbish cars, yes, they probably still are, but the sentimental value of a memory can’t be bought for love nor money. There are so many classics out there that the glossy magazines skip over, “but Grandad had one as his last company car and kept it until he passed away, and even though it’s a worthless Rover 216 saloon, to our family, it’s priceless”.

With all the glamour and grandeur that is so prevalent in the classic car scene, with constant updates on the latest seven figure sales and stories of vintage race cars being found in barns it’s as though we’ve forgotten why we love the things in the first place.

Over a hundred people gathered to watch the P6 Rover Club Prize Giving and raffle, and it was at this point, looking around at the crowd of assembled owners in front of a circle of 75 of the same car that I realised the well dressed gentleman had been right – they’re not all the same.

Having reattached the numberplates of the hire car, I reflected on the day. The reason we feel so attached to these rubbish old cars is because they’re memorable. Yes, it broke down, yes, the doors fell off, no it didn’t have any window winders, but at least it had character.

It’s not just the build quality and reliability that make modern cars so forgettable, we live in an age of cheap credit and for many drivers, it’s easier to finance a brand new car every two years than to keep the old family wagon on the road through successive MOTs. To so many people, the car is no more special than the cooker, or the toaster, or the freezer… just another expensive item that works until it breaks and then gets replaced.

As I let that thought linger, I stamped my foot into the carpet as hard as possible, desperately trying to coax some character out of my rented toaster. The little car didn’t moan, it just did what it was told, sped up, and took me away from Rufford Abbey. There was no drama, no tappet noise, no smell of leather, no hint of petrol in the air, and ultimately no lasting memory of the journey or the car. Was this a sign of things to come?

Only time can tell, but right now I’ve got to get on eBay to find a Rover P6 before the values hit seven figures or the park wardens bust me for breaking the cardinal rule of the Rufford Abbey One Way System in a rented toaster.

The UK BMW E46 High Mile Club – 200,000 miles and above

Welcome to the UK BMW E46 High Mile Club, a blog post to round up high mileage cars and show some appreciation to the dedicated owners.

For the record, and a bit of context, when the moon as it it’s closest to earth it’s a mere 238,855 miles away.

Too many people think that 100,000 miles is ‘high’. It isn’t. A well built and well maintained car should last forever.

We live in a wasteful, throwaway society.  Ask yourself a simple question: What’s better for the planet? Owning and maintaining an old car for many years, or replacing it with a brand new one every 3 years?

It’s great to see a good range of cars, and it’s not all diesels!

Own a high mileage E46 and wish to be included? Submit it here.

See your car here but you want to add some details? Let us know.

Display your ‘Club Membership’ with pride!

Get the 200,000 High Mile Club Sticker here.

BMW E46 High Mile Club Membership Sticker

The UK BMW E46 High Mile Club Gallery:

200000

Model: 2001 BMW E46 330d Manual Sport Touring
Miles: 200,000
Owner Notes: “Just ticked 200k recently”

Model:
Miles: 200,384
Owner Notes: “there’s not even a scratch or rip on it, it costs more than my ex girlfriend does 😂 its a stage 2 253bhp 637nm and smokes more than a Jamaican stoner”

Model: BMW E46 320d Touring
Miles: 201,000
Owner Notes: In 2012 I swapped my really crap Peugeot 20something and £800 for this at 130,000miles. Initially there was no love there at all, I got the interior thick in mud and all scratched up, the dog lived in there 10 hours a day, so much rubbish on the front seat that it couldn’t be seen. I use to drag the car over low ground coming into site (work) and couldn’t of given a shit. Then after about 7 years of heavy abuse something changed, I hit about 195,000 I realised I wasn’t gonna break her. Now there is so much love, all new leather interior n door cards, Meguiars compound 👌 new 17″ wheels, bit of turbo love from my mechanic and I love it, currently on 201,000 and drives like it always has”

202645

Model: 2003 BMW E46 325ci
Miles: 202,645
Owner Notes:bought it 2 years ago was an auto reverse Tumble went in the Autobox I got a kit from good old nick jup and I had auto barn fit it for me in waterloovile. Bc racing coilver 19in diamond cut alloy wheels running 255 30 19 on the back and 235 35 19 on front have a custom-made exhaust by myself run the auto diff of the 325ci it’s mapped has launch control better throttle response crack and pop mapped the rev limit has been raised for 7100 Android head unit carbon fibre front grille carbon fibre aerial fin carbon fibre spoiler carbon fibre rear diffuser list goes on”

204000

Model: 2001 BMW E46 converted to M3 spec 3.2 with manual gearbox
Miles: 205,000
Owner Notes:

205000

Model: 2004 BMW E46
Miles: 205,000
Owner Notes:

206000

Model: 2000 BMW E46 330d
Miles: 206,000
Owner Notes: “it’s 330d, hybrid turbo 277bhp 535nm, meister r coilovers, all PolyBushed, fiberglass wings, carbon bonnet, e90 M Sport seats”

207000

Model: BMW E46
Miles: 207,000
Owner Notes:

210847

Model: BMW E46
Miles: 210,847
Owner Notes:

211000

Model: 2004 BMW E46 320cd
Miles: 211,000
Owner Notes: “original clutch, flywheel, turbo etc, doesn’t smoke, use water or anything, exceptional runner and all year it’s cost me a track rod end!”

211111

Model: 2004 BMW E46
Miles: 211,111
Owner Notes:

211447

Model: 2005 BMW E46 320cd
Miles: 211,447
Owner Notes: “320cd 2005 with 211,447 miles, serviced every 10k since new. 👍”

213772

Model: 2005 BMW E46 320d SE 6 Speed Manual
Miles: 213,772
Owner Notes: “high spec late car in daily use. It’s like a family pet. we bought it showing 184,000 miles with a dent in the side, a whistling turbo and a grinding clutch release bearing. Now it’s on 213,00 miles, it’s been to souther Spain and back, it’s still got a dent in the side, the turbo is still whistling and the clutch release bearing still grinds! Had a couple of expensive MOTs, a couple of brake callipers and the handbrake has been repaired about 6 times”

216000

Model: 2005 BMW E46
Miles: 216,000
Owner Notes:

223000

Model: 2000 BMW E46 330ci
Miles: 223,000
Owner Notes: “Bilstein B12’s, H&R rolls bars, Cobra Bucket Seat, Quaife LSD, Been all over Europe!”

Model: BMW E46
Miles: 224,000
Owner Notes:  

226000

Model: BMW E46
Miles: 226,000
Owner Notes:

Model: 2003 BMW E46 320d M Sport
Miles: 231,000
Owner Notes:

231000

Model: BMW E46
Miles: 231,000
Owner Notes:

Model: BMW E46
Miles: 231,000
Owner Notes: 240k still going strong with Mpg

238000

Model: 2002 BMW E46
Miles: 238,000
Owner Notes:

251000

Model: 2005 BMW E46
Miles: 251,000
Owner Notes:

251000a

Model: 2002 BMW E46
Miles: 251,000
Owner Notes:

255000

Model: 2005 BMW E46 320d SE
Miles: 256,000
Owner Notes: “This car has a great story which is covered here

Model: 2003 BMW E46 320d SE
Miles: 272,000
Owner Notes: “Bought on eBay for £490 and an ongoing project” You can follow Jake on Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/tjt_e46/

355103

Model: BMW E46
Miles: 355,103
Owner Notes: “it’s still going!”

Isolation-Opoly – The ultimate lockdown family isolation board game

Got a printer? Got a fiver? You’re in for one long, long evening with the family.

Isolation-Opoly is a family friendly board game.

Buy it here on Etsy

Instead of buying properties and building houses, hoard the best areas of the house and fill them with pizza. Then charge a fee to players who land in your parts of the house.

Will you try and own the Espresso Machine, or is the Hot Tub more your thing?
Will your Universal Credit application be rejected, or will you fail your MOT?
Will you be sent to isolation in the box room or will you dominate the HD TV?

With completely rewritten game board and game cards, this will be sure to make you laugh. Easy to print and prepare, instructions provided.

Coronopoly-Product-Images4

It’s super easy to print and play, all you need is your existing monopoly set and away you go. Any home printer will do the job. Once you’ve purchased online via Etsy, you’ll be able to download the A4 PDFs to print the board and game cards. These are perfectly sized, all you need to do is trim the edges.

Buy it here on Etsy

How to make a Jurassic Park HotWheels Scene for your children

With the current CoronaVirus Lockdown in full swing, we’ve been busy creating fun things at home that are either super cheap of virtually free.

In our house there are an absolute ton of Hotwheels and Matchbox cars, and dinosaurs are never far away… So naturally this happened:

Here we have a Jurassic Park style scene that’s super fun the play with, great as a photo backdrop for cars and super satisfying to make.

How to make a Jurassic Park HotWheels Scene out of Paper Mache:

This is how you do it:

Get a nice, large, flat box. Mine was from Aldi, a fruit crate. Perfect.

Draw out your design and the way you want the land to lie

Find some recycling junk and stick it down to form the rock islands (we used packaging from a laptop!)

Mix up some Paper Mache! 4 parts PVA glue to 1 part water.

Crunch up some newspaper into balls, cover it in the PVA mixture and start to stick it in place

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0023_IMG-1297

Cover everything with a good solid layer of PVA mixture

Let it dry, really, really well

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0000_20200405_135222

Paint the rock areas in a dark grey

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0021_IMG-1369

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0020_IMG-1370

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0019_IMG-1371

Paint the road / grass / track areas in green

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0018_IMG-1372

Mix up some light brown, and dip some HotWheels (or Matchbox or other) cars in it.

Drive them all around your imaginary routes until you’ve got a nice sandy looking dirt track

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0016_IMG-1380

Finally I added a waterfall and a pool… Paint the area you want the water the flow with white paint

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0013_IMG-1434

When that’s dry, add a blue top coat. Ours has sparkles in it, so the water shimmers

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0010_IMG-20200406-WA0006

Hum the Jurassic Park theme tune and play with your favourite toy T Rex

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0008_IMG-20200406-WA0008

Enjoy!

Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0006_IMG-20200406-WA0004Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0011_IMG-20200406-WA0003Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0003_IMG-20200406-WA0007Paper-Mache-Jurassic-Park-Hotwheels_0000s_0002_IMG-20200406-WA0005

Malvern Hills Concours D’Elegance and 4X4 Fest – Classic Car Show Review

The Coronavirus crisis has impacted classic car shows nationwide, none more so than the Malvern Hills Concours D’Elegance and 4X4 Festival. The event wasn’t scheduled to take place at all in 2020, but as the virus took hold the event was pencilled in for March 31st. One local resident reacted angrily at the news, stating it was an ‘unnecessary use of resources and a freshly cleaned kitchen’. Nonetheless, organisers pushed ahead and cars came from the lounge, both bedrooms and even the garden to attend.

Concours 1

In charge of the Concours D’Elegance was James, an experienced Classic Car Show designer who spared no expense on glitter. A fantastic variety of cars were on display, including three Gulf themed racing cars, even a Ford GT40. Next to the GT40 was an incredibly rare Mastretta MXR, a Mexican supercar not usually seen in Malvern. Other unique cars included no less than two early Dodge Vipers, one of which was loaned to the event from the exclusive and private collection known as Daddy’s Special Shelf.

After a peaceful morning, problems began to arise when a BMW M3 Competition began sneering at two of the Gulf livered cars, spreading rumours that they were ‘50p from a petrol station’. The BMW was quickly escorted from the premises by a Police Land Rover; who issued a ticket to the BMW for ‘poor social distancing’

Problems continued on the podium, with two of the top three prizes being taken by Porsche 993s. Most vocal of the disgruntled bunch was the black Mercedes 500, an elder of the group who was particularly irked having been fished out of a sandpit just minutes before the show. Despite complaints from entrants, Daddy said it was all his idea and the therefore the judges decision was final.

Concours 2

Over at the 4X4 Fest, entrants were thrilled with the quality of the off road track, although some complained that it looked like a three year old had planned the layout. Alby, another experienced classic car show designer was in charge of the show, although his idea to hold the Concours Prize Ceremony in the compost patch was quashed by the committee.

As the cars began to leave both shows, there were smiles and glitter all round. The event was heralded as a great success by all involved – except the aforementioned angry local resident who was left to tidy up the mess.

4x4 2

 

H&H Duxford Classic Car Auction – Our Top 10 Picks

With the H&H Imperial War Museum Classic Car auction about to start, here’s our Top 10 picks for today:

We’ll update sale prices as and when we get them. Which would you pop a bid on?

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Spider

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Spider

Is there any other car you’d rather have on the Italian coast? (when it opens again). One of the most delightful and beautiful cars ever made. Of course it has to be red.

Estimate £65,000 to £75,000 – Hammer Price TBC

1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL Racecar

1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL Racecar.

Why? #BecauseRaceCar! Also, just LOOK AT IT. It’s mean, it’s wild, and it’s sure to be fast. OK we would lose the paint, but you’d get some sponsors and go to Goodwood, wood you not? (See what we did there). This car needs to be a Doc Hudson tribute with a clever wrap.

Estimate £70,000 to £80,000 – Hammer Price TBC

1964 Mercedes-Benz O 319 D MOT, Tax and ULEZ exempt

1964 Mercedes-Benz O 319 D.

Why? It’s a Party Bus! Fill it full of your #mates and this thing is an instant party! Its old and slow but speed is dead, so what’s the matter with that? No tax, no MOT, no problem, just bring some beers! (not for the driver)

Estimate £30,000 to £40,000 – Hammer Price TBC

1975 Mercedes-Benz 350 SL

1975 Mercedes-Benz 350 SL.

Why? If the Mercedes-Benz SL is having it’s day then it’s about time people realised the early R107 are a cooler than the late ones. Mexican Hats! The lack of the front spoiler and the more characterful alloy wheels make earlier cars just… cool. Also, no outside mirror on this one. Very, very cool.

Estimate £9,000 to £11,000 – Hammer Price £7,000 provisional

1977 Ferrari 308 GTB 'Vetroresina'

1977 Ferrari 308 GTB ‘Vetroresina’.

Why? These will never ever ever not be cool. Also, red with tan leather. There can’t be a person in the world that doesn’t want to own this car, plus it’s an early Vetroresina which all writers will tell you is a nightmare for autocorrect when it’s just posh italian for PLASTIC. But most people call it lightweight. Rare, collectable, and just effortlessly cool. In fact, this car is cool, but not in a ‘look at that guy with all the money’ sort of way.

Estimate £80,000 to £90,000 – Hammer Price TBC

1981 BMW 635 CSi

1981 BMW 635 CSi.

Why? If you need an answer to that then you clearly aren’t one for spotting industry trends. 1980s #German stuff is gold. Watch it (unless you can buy it). Even if it doesn’t make you money, you’ll still be cruising around in one of the ultimate 1980s icons.

Estimate £24,000 to £28,000 – Hammer Price TBC

1983 Porsche 911 Turbo 'Flachbau' Cabriolet UK Delivered RHD

1983 Porsche 911 Turbo ‘Flachbau’ Cabriolet.

Why? FLATNOSE! This is a £100k car all day long on a good day. Also, LOOK AT THAT COLOUR! It’s just wonderfully Purple. Super rare, much maligned, misunderstood and underappreciated. Get in while the going is good.

Estimate £75,000 to £85,000 – Hammer Price TBC

1986 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

1986 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth.

Why? Most of them were stolen, crashed or set on fire. Or stolen, crashed AND set on fire. Good ones are gold. Buy. They ain’t coming down again. They have dipped a bit, but the hype seems to have vacated the market temporarily, so this could be a good time to jump back on the Fast Ford bandwagon.

Estimate £40,000 to £45,000 – Hammer Price UNSOLD

1997 Aston Martin DB7

1997 Aston Martin DB7.

Why? Better looking than any modern Aston. Best looking car for less than £15k? Possibly. Doesn’t look like a £15k car. Winner.

Estimate £10,000 to £12,000 – Hammer Price UNSOLD

2000 Subaru Impreza P1

2000 #Subaru Impreza P1.

Why? Money in the bank, that’s why. Good ones are really hard to come by. Buy any MK1 Impreza now while you can. Especially wagons.

Estimate £22,000 to £26,000 – Hammer Price TBC

2007 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

2007 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

11 out of 10, which is how you grade this thing on performance and looks. Best looking E Class to date, with the best #engine, in a great colour.

Estimate £14,000 to £16,000 – Hammer Price TBC

2002 Bentley Arnage Red Label

2002 Bentley Arnage Red Label

Why? It cost almost £200k new, someone did 52,000 miles in it and lost £185k. Who wins? YOU. Just call me Martin Lewis.

Estimate £13,000 to £16,000 – Hammer Price £12,500 provisional

Classic Cars with 5, 7, 9 and 13 Seats

When it comes to owning a classic car, the two seat sports cars and Grand Tourers get far too much attention. A hobby is best enjoyed with friends, and just how many of your favourite people can you fit inside an E Type or an SL?

We’ve put together a round up of the best classic people carriers* currently available.

*We mean vehicles with the ability to carry people, whilst still looking cool. Sorry if you thought this was going to be a blog about the MK1 Ford Galaxy. It’s just not there yet.

Table for 5, please – A classic car with 5 seats

1992 Volvo 240 SE Estate from Wizard Classics

The Swedish Classic with room enough for 5

Offered for sale by Wizard Classics, price £5,995 – Click to view listing

0030 1992 Volvo 240 SE Estate from Wizard Classics 2

Straight in at the top spot is our very own Volvo 240 Estate, the ultimate and iconic Swedish brick. These are have always been in demand, and right now the very best are appreciating rapidly.

The Volvo 240 offers perfect family transport, reliable daily use, the ability to lug loads of all shapes and sizes AND plenty of classic car kudos at your local classic car show. That’s a very long sentence but it was necessary to describe exactly how many boxes this Swedish box can tick.

Buy a good one while you still can, because there’s headroom in the current prices.

Table for 7, please – A classic car with 7 seats

1997 Volvo 940 Torslanda Estate from David Stockton

Another iconic Swede and a youngster in Classic Car years

Offered for sale by David Stockton, price £6,995 – Click to view listing

0033 1997 Volvo 940 Torslanda Estate from David Stockton 2

Built from 1990 until 1998, the Volvo 900 series was introduced to replace the 700 series… Which was introduced to replace the 200 series, which it failed to do. The 200 series was still in production when the 900 series was launched! In the classic car world we always refer to the Mercedes-Benz R107 SL when talking about lengthy production runs, as that car enjoyed an 18-year run. The Volvo 200 boasts a production run of some 19 years!

Knowing they needed an absolute stormer of a car to replace the long-lived and long-loved 240, Volvo presented the 900 series. This was to be the last of the large rear wheel drive cars from Volvo, switching to front-wheel drive with the introduction of the 800 series (remember those T5 estate cars loved by the police)

This one is a very end of line car from 1997, making it one of the very last. Many children of the 1980s fondly remember the folding rear seats…. Naughty boys and girls who are now in their 30s will probably remember sitting in the rear facing seats at the back of the car and making rude gestures at other drivers. Dad was always wondering why people cut him up so often….

A fine choice for family transport; and entirely respectable at your local classic car show. Like the 240, buy a good ‘un while you can.

Table for 9, please – A classic car with 9 seats

1973 Volkswagen Type 2 23 Window Split Screen from Custom Classic Campers

The one that’s been a popular choice for half a century

Offered for sale by Custom Classic Campers, price £29,500 – Click to view listing

0002 1973 Volkswagen Type 2 23 Window Split Screen 2

Originating in the mid 1950s, Volkswagen’s Type 2 has been the ideal choice for load lugging for more than five decades. Built in huge numbers, these were numerous and cheap at the advent of the ‘hippy era’. The affordability, availability, reliability and repairability of these cars made them the perfect choice for the love generation. They didn’t buy them because they were cool; they were just plentiful and affordable… It’s the equivalent of today’s alternative youth driving around in Citroen Berlingos…

The size of these vans also made them popular with the surfing scene, which was blossoming in California and elsewhere in the 1960s. With room enough for surfboards and sleeping, its no wonder these found love among the beach dwelling communities of the West Coast.

Classic Volkswagens have always had a very strong following, and it’s one of the few branches of the classic car world where modification and customisation isn’t a dirty word.

In the last two decades the popularity of these buses has grown exponentially. Whether purchasers are recreating their youth or buying into an age-old mantra of change and good vibes, we don’t know, but the prices have gone haywire, with some exceptional examples reaching almost a quarter of a million pounds.

This beautiful 9 seater ‘Microbus’ listed by Custom Classic Campers is a great example of elegant transport for 9. It’s stated as ‘investor grade’, and of course it’s the desirable 23 window ‘Samba’.

Read more about Custom Classic Campers

Table for 13, please – A classic car with 13 seats

1964 Mercedes-Benz O319 9 Seat Mini Bus 

13 seats available offering the ultimate in stylish, retro travel

Offered for sale by H&H Auctions, March 18th Sale, price £30,000 to £40,000 (estimate) – Click to view listing

0004 1964 Mercedes Benz O319 9 Seat Mini Bus 1

At the very top of the transport ladder is the coach, and this Mercedes-Benz 319 sits right on the fence between cool private transport and retro corporate travel. Built between 1955 and 1967, the 319 was intended to be larger than a delivery van and smaller than a light truck of the period.

With 13 seats and a sliding door, its years of being a school bus are definitely over. In recent years the occupants have been much less likely to write their name on the seats, or scratch it into the windows with a compass…

As a classic car and as an investment, this bus is entirely charming. Having been used for weddings and events, the seller also informs us that he has regular bookings for film and TV work. Being rare (have you ever seen one) makes this an ideal choice for someone looking for unique corporate travel. We can imagine this bus living at a luxury Golf resort, giving tours and whisking people off to afternoon tea on an old-fashioned country estate.

This bus is the great, great, great grandfather of the Mercedes-Benz sprinter that parked on your kerb and delivered an Amazon parcel earlier today. That’s right, the Mercedes-Benz 319 would spawn the T2, which at the end of its production run was then split between the Vario (bus) and Sprinter (Van).

A lovely looking thing with a rich heritage and an important figure in the family history of the Mercedes-Benz models we know and love. Just beautiful.

1964 Mercedes-Benz O319 9 Seat Mini Bus – Click to view

Offered for sale by H&H Auctions, March 18th Sale, price £30,000 to £40,000 (estimate)

Click to view listing

What is the most iconic racing car of all time?

(Written for Classic & Sports Finance, for the December 2019 issue of Revolution, the digital magazine of Motorsport UK)

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What is the most iconic racing car of all time?

What is the most iconic racing car of all time? There aren’t any right or wrong answers, but there are certainly a lot of them… Give yourself a minute or two and a grid full of contenders present themselves for discussion. 250GTO? D Type? GT40? 917? Stratos?

For every iconic racing car there are hundreds that time has forgotten, so why do certain cars capture our imagination? Every racing car is built to achieve success on the track, but when it comes to achieving iconic, timeless status, track success plays second fiddle to a plethora of other attributes. Timing, design, cultural significance, impact on the motor industry and road car sales are also measures of the historical significance of a car. What about the team behind the racing car and the motivation that drove them? Why was that car on that grid on that particular day?

The Ford GT40 story is hot right now, with the ‘Le Mans 66’ movie in cinemas and ‘The 24 Hour War’ documentary available on Netflix. The story behind those crucial years at Le Mans is detailed, convoluted and absolutely riveting – the Ford GT gained it’s legendary status through so much more than driving across the finish line ahead of some other cars. It’s not the ‘what’ that makes the car, it’s the ‘how’, the ‘when, and the ‘why’. This story would never have come to fruition, we wouldn’t be writing about the GT40 today if there had never been the finance behind the project. You can have the worlds best drivers, engineers, pit crew and logistics team but without the finance to make it happen the car will never make it onto the grid.

You might not have the finance of an automotive behemoth behind you, but equally you’re probably not trying to achieve a one-two finish at Le Mans… Having the right people involved in your operation puts you one step closer to achieving your automotive dream, whatever that may be. Traditional sources of funding have always been wary of financing motorsport aspirations, but this is exactly what we do. At Classic & Sports Finance, we have been working in the motor racing industry for more than 20 years. Whether you are looking to release the capital in a classic car or asset to direct the funds towards motorsport, or to fund a purchase of racing equipment like a motorhome or trailer; we can help. We understand how best to structure your assets and your finance to give you what you want to achieve – you’d be surprised how much can be done once we start a conversation.

Ragley Hall Classic Car Show – Our Pick

We visited the Ragley Hall Classic Car Show, and this rare Ferrari Mondial in ‘Plum’ is our pick of the show.

I find it quite bizarre that these Mondials can be had for less than an approved used BMW 5 Series, between £20,000 and £30,000 – it seems like an incredible bargain for what is actually a genuine Ferrari with real classic car kudos.

The problem the Mondial had was being a bit too tame, for a Ferrari. Critics slated it for not being a ‘real’ Ferrari as it lacked the performance credentials necessary to compete with other supercars. Sadly, this is a reputation that the Mondial has never shaken… but that’s great news for buyers! After all, are you really going to use your classic car to storm the Nurburgring every weekend, or are you more likely to take it for a weekend drive, then rock up at a classic car show and get your deckchair out?

People get far too hung up with car reviews and reputations, many of which are written by journalists who use a benchmark for grading cars completely removed from the expectations of the average owner. You arne’t going to be driving your classic on the redline everywhere you go, and chances are, in any given year, you’ll probably only want to do a 0-60 dash at the ‘manufacturers quoted time’ on a number of occasions… and let’s be honest, you’re not going to get anywhere near the quoted top speed, even on a continental roadtrip!

All you really need to know is that a Ferrari Mondial looks like superb value for money right now.