Category Archives: Our Writing

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.

 

The coolest car on eBay RIGHT NOW: BMW Alpina B12

Browsing through eBay, trawling the usual searches, as we petrolheads do, we stumbled across this beauty.

Rare? Yup.

Right colour? Yup.

Right spec? Yup, all of it

This BMW Alpina B12 6.0 [E38] RHD is one of just 7 produced, and may well be the only car worldwide in Mora Metallic (do inform us if you know otherwise!).

It’s beautiful, it’s stylish, it’s understated and it’s highly investable.

With the modern classic movement in full swing, we’d take this over an E Type every day of the week.

Take a look here, original eBay listing here.

Photos all belong to The Classic Car Co NE

Modern Classic Alert – BMW X5 Mk1 and Merc ML Mk1

Modern Classic Alert – Here’s a theory, as the BMW X5 and Mercedes ML have gotten older, they’ve put on weight, bulk and grown up into hideous vehicles driven by a certain type of person… Usually a policeman, a rich woman or a total douche.
 
On the flip side, as generations have gone on and both cars have experienced a slow decline in taste and style, the earlier cars are starting to look appealing.
 
Find a MK1 X5 or ML in the right specification and they’re starting to look pretty good.
 
You’ve got to have the right wheels and colour, and probably NOT one of the really sporty ones.
 
Ideally your classic X5 will be blue, red or brown, and your ML anything other than green…
 
You heard it here first.
bmw x5mercedes ml mk1

Reading between the lines

In automotive news this week, there are 2 important things.

1. Volvo limiting speed to 112mph on all new cars

This means the death of the motoring dream. The future won’t be open roads, leather seats and sunglasses, it’ll be driverless. And you won’t be allowed to go anywhere beautiful, driverless cars are intended to be used for functional journeys, but that’s another story entirely.

2. Bugatti’s new car is £12,000,000

Remember the financial crisis, and human rights? These will be sold to people who made / make a lot of money out of living a life where the two gigantic issues mentioned above don’t exist. It’s an example of the gigantic gap of rich vs poor, and shows the state of the world supercar industry. Gone are the days of poster cars, and of ‘maybe one day i’ll have one of those‘, these days it’s more like ‘my god, I will never stand a chance of owning one of those, that car isn’t aimed at me and the people that made it KNOW that!‘.

The global economy has skewed what we now perceive as expensive.

Most people can’t keep up the payments on a Peugeot diesel and still eat real food in a month, and yet supercar companies are knocking out unfathomably expensive cars in small numbers and making more profit than building mainstream cars for the masses who can actually afford them.

They don’t even need to print the posters anymore.

I’m sorry sir, no, we don’t sell posters, our cars are only for people who have money, have always had money, and always will have money, not you aspirational types, this isn’t a Countach and this isn’t the 1980s you know

The future? More of point 2, unless it’s all stopped by the things mentioned in point 1.

Go out tomorrow and drive your car as fast as you can on a wide open road, before it’s too late, and you won’t be allowed to misbehave anymore.

A day with a Jaguar

I spend a lot of posting blogging about Mercedes-Benz but this time it’s a Jaguar…

Yesterday I spent some time with a ‘classic’ Jaguar, and it made me think.

Some of you who know me will know that I am a bit obsessed with UK big cats and black panthers in particular.

Black panthers are melanistic leopards or jaguars, and they are absolutely roaming the UK. The article linked here is well worth a read, where this quote comes from:

“Indeed, we planned to interview Nineham as one of these eccentric believers and had lined up the wildlife liaison officer at Gloucestershire police, Mark Robson, to balance his claims. 

Amazingly, however, he did no such thing. In fact, as I listened gobsmacked, Robson told me that most big cat sightings really are of leopards, and that there are enough eyewitness reports to follow individual animals’ movements on a map…”

Quote taken from Leopards and other big cats ARE on the loose in Britain – just don’t tell a soul by Mark Fletcher

What struck me while watching the Jaguar yesterday was it’s size. When we hear of black panther sightings in the UK, they are often discredited with people saying ‘that is just a large tabby cat’ or ‘that is too small to be a black panther’. I think we are too accustomed to seeing large male tigers and lions on our televisions. While watching the Jaguar I thought ‘this is not a huge cat’. Unless the cat seen in the UK is a really large male then it won’t look anything like the size of the tigers and lions we see on our televisions. Often people who have seen the cats in the UK use a large Labrador as a point of reference, which is a fair amount smaller than a tiger or lion.

My summary is that we should never discount sightings in the UK because the cat seems ‘too small’ to be a panther!

They are undoubtedly out there.

Loved Not Leased in Spain

In Spain they tend to keep hold of cars a lot longer than the majority of Brits. Travelling through the country you see more 1990s cars here than back in the UK, cars get used to death instead of traded in after 3 years.

Things are changing, but it’s refreshing to see early Audi A4s, old Megans, the odd Renault 4 and the still active fleet of Citroen C15 vans which ceased production in 2005.

Here’s a couple that caught my eye, like this well loved Range Rover Classic, just being used for a run to the shops.

No auction hype, no restoration, no rust, just a great, old wagon being used.

range rover.jpg

The Megane is interesting, as this desire to keep old cars running means you see a lot of long since forgotten cars, like the MK1 Megane.

Here’s an attractive looking Estate version, that we never got in the UK.

Megane Estate

 

A journey into the heart of darkness – a morning in the Marrakech souk

This post was written by Geoff Thompson, a person who is in no way affiliated to, on the pay roll of, related to, involved with or even known to Good Shout Media. Sort of.

Guest Post:

A journey into the heart of darkness – a morning in the Marrakech souk

I sit drinking American Coca Cola and eating an Italian pizza on the balcony of a French restaurant in Morocco. The upper terrace is tranquil compared to the scenes below. I take advantage of the peace to hide from the relentless street traders and use the afternoon sun to simultaneously dry my swim shorts, bronze my skin, and charge my smartphone.

I’ve returned from the heart of darkness. A cold Coca Cola in the wide open square feels like truth and beauty amidst the melee.

The restaurant sits on the bank just south of the entrance to the jungle. From my second storey vantage point I can see the wonderings of those who venture further into its depths, the ebb and flow of the human traffic, all with looks of trepidation and anticipation, knuckles white from holding their chest mounted rucksacks as they prepare to enter the souk, hoping to buy bangles and delicacies but ready to reach for the antibacterial gel at the first sniff of trouble.

They enter cautiously, keeping away from the sides so as not to be snared close to the entrance. They set a central course at a steady pace and gradually leave the sunlight behind and progress into the darkness of the souk.

They navigate the marketplace with a nervous awe, looking, touching, holding, smelling, tasting, lusting and browsing stall after stall of products, each one a literal Alladins cave of endless opportunity, everything attainable for the right buyer, everything available from the right seller.

They won’t look the same when they return from the depths of the darkness. The ‘returners’ are a different breed. The madness of the Souk can change a man.

On their return the pace is slow and pointless, their gaze fixed yet distant, the excitement replaced by loss and bewilderment. They leave the souk drained and stripped of purpose. They drift from side to side, no discernible heading to their course, no ambition in their step, ambling toward the light like drunks towards a sunset, laden with treasures in bags and in hands, armfuls of wondrous mysterious plunder.

Two Australians wear woolen hand made tea cosy hats and looks of utter despair in the thirty five degree heat. A lanky Swede sports a Rolex wristwatch and a Touareg ceremonial war mask, yet has no idea why. A family of Norwegians confusedly clutch wooden camels, polished shades of teak and walnut burr, beautiful yet pointless, handcrafted yet worthless. A skinny German in his mid twenties wears a satchel of fine leather, having never in his life considered purchasing such a product.

The stench of confused consumers reeks in the afternoon heat, dirhams are exchanged indiscriminately – what enters as hard currency exits as worthless tat.

Oh the horror!

What terrible confusion in this, the heart of darkness.

Having escaped from the depths of the souk I think of England, the land of the pure and true, so many miles away from this land of plunder, this savage wilderness where Trading Standards never surfaced from beneath the vicious rolling tide of today’s ‘special price’. The western concepts of chip and pin, receipts and the description of goods act all drowned in an ocean of the unnecessary and the bizarre.

This jungle of consumption is a dangerous free-for-all, trade without limits, sales without scruples.

England, land of the free, home of the brave.

You won’t be locked in a traders stall and forced to exchange your currency for cut rate tat in England.

You won’t have to fight off hordes of salesmen all anxious to pry the pennies from your pockets in England.

You won’t have to buy a bangle of bone for every minute with a monkey in England.

The dark, brutish commercial practise of the souk is abhorrent to us enlightened westerners – it is savage, primal, prehistoric and dangerous.

Us enlightened westerners are far above all that.

We like our salesmen to be impeccably presented with a script well rehearsed.

We like our products to be arranged with clinical precision, symmetrically placed under artificial lights beneath the knowing glare of giant, beautiful, airbrushed idols.

We need our Rolex watches to be presented in photoshopped glory on the inside cover of glossy magazines.

We need our tat to be spread over a two minute segment between airings of our favourite television program.

We need the monkey to be clean and talkative and selling toilet paper.

We don’t have time to barter over price, just give it to us marketed and branded and gift wrapped so we can ignore the 75% profit margin.

Oh the horror, the horror!

I order another Coke, then leave fifty euros and the shirt off my back to make up for a morning of haggling over prices.

We come from the West and oggle at the complexities of business relations in the souk, blind to the fact that the connection between trader and client, between product and price, between value and worth; the central pillars that hold up the purchasing process are entirely lost within western consumer society.

We come here to barter with poor men over pennies to return home and be ripped off by rich men over pounds.

We work jobs we hate to finance products the television told us we wanted, to put in the house we won’t own for decades.

We walk around shopping malls knowing the clothes are substandard and overpriced yet we queue up at cash registers like lemmings off a cliff.

We pay good money for crap products made by poor workers and marketed by well paid geniuses because ‘that’s the way it is’.

The true heart of darkness lurks not within the seedy confines of the old world souk but within the veneer and sheen of everything that motivates and controls humans within the western capitalist machine.

It is vile to its core yet the developed world carries on regardless whilst the poor nations attempt to play catch up, ensnaring the people with the enchantment of exported status symbols and brand names, selling the bandwagon of unreality, until all nations tear down the forests and rip up the grass to build shopping malls and parking lots so humans have somewhere to spend thier wages on worthless products that they use to impress their wealth and prominence upon others.

Oh the horror, the horror!

I consult my €20 Breitling wristwatch and rush to catch my plane, towing a suitcase full of wooden camels, bronze bangles, counterfeit Calvin Kleins and replica Rolexes; gifts for friends and family who will laugh at what they see as the amusing unreality of a counterfeit product – when the reality in which these status symbols and brand names actually exist is a more bizarre illusion than a penniless Arab riding a stinking donkey through a sewage ridden city whilst wearing a Rolex Submariner.

Wake up, world, it’s time we all stopped living in Disneyland and started thinking about doing something worthwhile as a species.

Or we could carry on exactly as we are and wait for everyone to own a Range Rover and a Rolex but what’s the point in that…?

Check out this home made BMW E30 M3 Touring

There was no factory BMW E30 M3 Touring, but that didn’t stop this guy…

Where is it now? Do you know? Get in touch.

BMW-E30-M3-Touring-4

Original Listing:

One of only a few in the world – BMW E30 M3 Touring tribute! All custom made on e30 US chassis using Euro e30 Touring and US E30 M3 Body plus Euro E36 M3 s50b30 engine. There is nothing left original on this car except for the floor, roof, side glass and rear gate. Everything has been completely modified – body, interior, suspension, engine, wheels etc.

This Touring has been featured in Performance BMW Magazine (April 2013 issue) It also won numerous awards at different BMW shows! This car can be enjoyed as the show car or as a new daily driver depending on owner’s preference. Once thing for sure, the new owner will not be disappointed and most likely will never see another e30 M3 Touring on the road! I have all the receipts and documentation from the restoration as well as the documentation for the donor cars (US chassis, Euro Touring Body & US E30 M3 Body used in the conversion) plus all the parts that were used. This car is registered, insured and inspected as a collector’s vehicle. I have clean title in my possession.

BMW-E30-M3-Touring-11

ENGINE:

  • Euro S50B30 (Euro E36 M3 3.0L OBD1) engine with about 80k miles, all new gaskets, water pump, seals, hoses etc at the time of swap. Super Clean Swap – all wires are tuck + engine bay shave – very nice look!
  • One of the cleanest swaps you will ever see in an E30!
  • Brand New Radiator, Custom cold Air intake
  • 5 Speed transmission with New Clutch, 3:46 LSD,
  • Vented Z-Roadster rear cover, Custom Headers and Exhaust.
  • New M3 Harness covers.
  • All New power steering and reservoir lines
  • Engine runs super smooth and pulls like a freight train! Mobil1 Synthetic oil always used !
  • Engine Needs Nothing !
  • There is no AC in this car. Heat is disconnected as I never drive it in the winter.

BMW-E30-M3-Touring-9

BODY:

  • All Metal OEM BMW M3 parts, custom work + custom paint, only the best materials are used, quality primer, paint and clear!
  • This car is stunning in person! There is pretty much nothing original left on this car except the side glass, everything else was modified, updated and replaced!
  • New windshield, Shaved hood, shaved front bumper (EvoIII style)
  • Rare carbon fiber front brake ducts, evo II hood gasket seals, Euro grills, Euro
  • Smoked smileys with HID slim Xenon 6k, Auto art smoked turn signals, AC
  • Schnitzer pedals
  • All new door seals, hood seals, bumper seals, sunroof seals (all OEM from BMW) at the time of repaint!
  • Custom Porsche Rennline front tow hook
  • Very RARE original Euro e30 MHW tail lights! Euro rear license plate holder.
  • Euro front headlight wipers (for looks) and many many other unique & rare parts!

BMW-E30-M3-Touring-3

INTERIOR:

  • Fully custom e30 M3 sports interior in Audi Cork color with blue stitching!
  • New Shift and Emergency brake boots, E34 leather hand brake, BMW ZHP weighted shift knob,
  • New M3 Mats, custom instrument gauges: red needles, titanium rings,
  • Euro e30 clock, custom cup holder with 2 outlets for 12v supply.
  • Headliner was dyed black (has few pushpins to hold it tight).
  • Over $2500 was spent on Music and Entertainment system + alarm: Nakamichi CD 400 head Unit, Kicker box, JL Audio and Alpine speakers, Alpine pdx SUB, custom wiring,
  • Remote control alarm system with DIGITAL remote display (lets you know in case of an alarm what caused it and which part of the car was tempered with)

SUSPENSION/BRAKES/WHEELS:

  • Everything is NEW !
  • Front control arms with M3 bushings, front links, rear control arm bushing!
  • Megan racing 34 click adjustable coilovers with adjustable CAMBER PLATES, Euro 320 brake booster, stainless steel brake lines,
  • Rebuilt front calipers, new cross drilled rotors, BBS RS style wheels: 17×8.5 front with 205/40/17 tires and 17×10 245/35/17 rear tires, new alignment!
  • The adjustability of the suspension can make this car from race machine to city cruiser in just a few clicks, you will also have the ability to raise or lower the car according to your liking!

Check out this home made BMW E39 M5 Touring

As we’ve already established, there was no official BMW E39 M5 Touring

But that didn’t stop some people from making one.

The listing states:

The car started life as a 540i automatic and was originally sold by a Bimmer dealer in Missouri. As most things do, it found its way to California where it was bought by an individual with a vision, and that vision was of one fast wagon.

A donor M5 sedan was obtained and all of that car’s unique features—everything from the S52 mill and six-speed Getrag 420G to the interior and exterior elements—were transferred over. The project changed hands mid-completion but was wrapped up by the next owner. It has been under the current proprietor for the past four years and 4,000 miles.

We think this car looks quite simply cool as hell.