Tag Archives: automotive

How AMG Is Keeping Mercedes, The German Juggernaut, Exciting

Mercedes is considered to be one of the world’s premiere luxury car makers. Even their entry level cars, like the A-Class, are fitted with amazing tech and made to a high quality. But Mercedes isn’t just one big, homogenous company. It’s an ecosystem of boutique suppliers and niche service providers.

Perhaps the most famous and most important of these is AMG, the performance arm of the company. AMG is like a company within a company. It finds its ways into all sorts of Mercedes cars, making them more exciting and more powerful. Although the name itself doesn’t suggest much, AMG are they guys and girls putting the fun into the brand.

Right now, fun is what Mercedes needs. Take away the AMG element, and you’re left with an otherwise run-of-the-mill lineup. It’s been a while since we saw a non-AMG Mercedes receive general critical acclaim. Most accolades in the SUV department, for instance, didn’t go to Mercedes’ GLA, they went to rival BMW’s X3.

Fortunately, Mercedes has a joker up its sleeve in the form of AMG. AMG have been supercharging Mercedes cars for over 25 years. And they’re not showing any signs of stopping. In fact, you can find AMG branding plastered over almost every category of high-end Mercedes car today.

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AMG first proved their muscle with “The Red Pig” back in 1971. This wasn’t a road car – it was a racing car on the European scene. AMG turned the competition on its head that year, by producing a car that had a 6.3-litre engine and dominated smaller rivals, like Alfa Romeo. Since then AMG has gone from strength to strength producing some of the best cars out there right now. However, of the many branded AMG Mercedes, two stand out as excellent.

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AMG GT

The AMG GT started showing up at approved dealers, like Eastern Western Motor Group, last year. And it represents a true return to form for the Mercedes brand. Up until last year, Mercedes didn’t have anything that could take on the likes of the Porsche 911, or the BMW Z series. Sure, there were the SL55 and the SL65 AMG grand tourers. But these cars were more targeted at the luxury end of the market, rather than on pure racing performance. AMG saw that Mercedes needed a car that could match up to, and even exceed its rivals.

The AMG GT and the GT-S are unique in the history of Mercedes. Both were designed and produced entirely by AMG itself. And boy, does it show. When the time came to review the car, practically everyone in the automotive press fell in love with it. They loved the sleek lines and the aggressive styling. They loved the luxurious interior, decorated with all the high-tech gizmos for which Mercedes are famous. And, more than anything, they enjoyed the performance, which is impressive. Of course, the car didn’t come cheap. But in many ways, that doesn’t matter. What is important is that AMG has finally given Mercedes something we can all get a little bit excited about.

AMG’s new supercar will rocket drivers from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds flat. And it’ll keep going up to 193 mph on the German autobahn.

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The other car in Mercedes’ arsenal, all thanks to AMG, is the C63. Back in the 1990s, Mercedes made big inroads into the luxury saloon market with their E-Class cars. Now AMG has worked its magic on the C-Class. And, yet again, they’ve pulled it off. The C63 comes with a twin-turbocharged four-litre engine that roars when you put your foot down. And according to most who have driven the car, the engine is to die for.

 

That, of course, should come as no surprise. The engine used in the C63 is actually the same engine that is used in the GT. It’s got the same 503 bhp and the same 700 Nm of torque. And despite the fact that the C63 isn’t a thoroughbred racer, it’ll get to sixty in the same time – 4.0 seconds dead.

Mercedes-AMG has been very smart, however, with the styling on this beast. It’s reminiscent of the styling one might find on a luxury Jaguar or Audi. It is, in many ways, understated, relative to the performance it can produce. Under the hood, it’s a raging beast. And yet, no executive would look out of place driving it.

 

As a result, AMG has blown the market for high-end Mercedes wide open. There are options for petrol heads who just love powerful, pinup cars. And there are also choices for those who want AMG under the hood without having to shout about it.

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Dream cars that are actually a total nightmare

We all have that one dream car. It’s the vehicle that was plastered across our bedroom walls when we were younger. In our twenties, we might have started to save up for it, but we were sidetracked. Having children and other expenses tend to get in the way of going after the dream machines… For us, it was always the Ford Escort RS Cosworth, an iconic Fast Ford and the dream car for a generation of petrolheads.

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For those of you who never quite managed to save up the pennies, we have good news. Those cars that you desperately desired? They were probably nightmares on wheels, and we’re about to show you why.

High Insurance Costs

This always happens. You save up the money to buy your dream car. You finally reach your target and head down to your nearest dealer to pick it up. It’s just as beautiful as you imagined. It handles perfectly, and you feel like a winner driving it around. Then, you start to look into the insurance and find in ten years; it will have cost as much as the car!

What wonderful machine is guilty of this minor flaw?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? The AMG range of Mercedes-Benz cars are high performance machines, some of which are capable of phenomenal performance thanks to their large displacement supercharged engines. For this reason, a high performance Benz really is a dream car. In a recent survey, the popular Mercedes-Benz CLS was found to be one of the most expensive to insure on the market…! That might put a dark cloud over your supercar daydream…

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More time behind the wheel… or on the hard shoulder

There are plenty of reliable cars on the market, but for some of us, reliable means boring! Sure, it might break down on every second journey, have a temperamental V12 and the electronics might have a mind of their own, but that’s all part and parcel of owning a hand made, hand crafter supercar. After all, if you want reliability, go and buy a Vauxhall Astra. Yawn.

However, it’s not just the extreme exotic cars that are known for poor reliability. Porsche’s stellar reliability record has taken a beating with the last few incarnations of the 911, scoring a 39% failure rate in a recent reliability survey. That’s quite high and slots quite low down in the list of reliable cars. You’ll be taking your Porsche to a car servicing garage at least once a year, by the sound of it – might be easier to go for the one below, instead… Much cheaper to maintain!

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Darling, the fuel light is on… Again

If you’ve saved the money for your dream car then the price of petrol might not be something that bothers you, but with the latest raft of hybrid cars getting faster and more performance oriented, will more enthusiastic drivers be lusting after hybrids in years to come? Well, most petrolheads don’t daydream about hybrids as their dream cars, but with the BMW i8 and Porsche’s rumoured hybrid beast coming in a year or so, all that could be about to change.

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When it comes to fuel efficiency, a general rule of thumb is ‘more fun, more fuel’. That’s certainly true for two of the most exotic cars available… The Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and the Ferrari F12. These supercars might be fun on the race track, but try to use your Italian exotica to pop to the shops and you’ll soon be emptying your wallet… Single-figure MPG, maintenance costs, tyres… It all adds up,  plus, you’ll have to deal with crowds of snap-happy people wanting to take selfies with your ride, and who’s got time for that?

A BMW E36 M3 Evolution is a safer investment than property

If you can find one… And we have.

This BMW M3 3.2 Evolution is an exceptional example, having covered just 111,000 miles from new. It’s spent much of it’s life in storage, and even has the original service schedule and dealer sticker in the window.

Not only that, but this car has extensive paperwork, including the pre-delivery inspection sheet from the factory.

As you read this, we may have already re-homed this car, but if you are REALLY serious about buying one of the best BMW E36 M3 Evolution Convertibles in the country, then contact us through the usual channels… We know where it is.

Offers in the £8000 region (March 2016… We bet by March 2018 that looks a steal)

Should you buy a BMW M5? Yes you should.

What has a 4.4 litre V8 engine, goes 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds, can carry four adults in comfort and even has space for luggage?

Well, a BMW M5. This incredible beast has to be seen to be believed. On the outside it’s relative inconspicuous, there’s only a few styling tweaks that give the game away, but underneath the bonnet there’s a fire breathing dragon.

Should you buy a BMW M5? Well, if you love the way a big V8 engine sounds, like a car that accelerates likes a scalded cat and don’t want to compromise, then yes.

If you’re scared of going fast, don’t like loud noises and find harsh acceleration unnerving, then it’s probably not the car for you.

Imperial Car Supermarkets have one for sale, and it’s beautiful. Check it out here.

Too many E numbers

We recently put together a blog series for Imperial Car Supermarkets on the history of the BMW 3 Series and it’s production timeline. All those E numbers got us thinking…

Why not put together two simple illustrations showing the timeline of model designations for the BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series at the same time?

So we did, and here it is:

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Ford just out-cooled everyone

The Ford GT is back… And it’s off the scale.

Powered by a 3.5l V6 engine, the 600bhp supercar will be on the tarmac near you in 2016, a fitting celebration of the 50 year point since the original GT40 crushed Ferrari at Le Mans.

The carbonfibre monster will use Ford’s latest twin-turbocharged Ecoboost unit, mounted in the middle and powering the rear wheels.

Visually, the car echoes many if the styling clues which adorned the 1960s shape, although this is a very modern supercar. Digital everything and intelligent aerodynamics ensure this Ford will be one hell of a machine.

Stylistically it’s like Ford have taken the very best bits of the most exotic cars available today yet still retained that wonderful retro feel… After all, the original GT40 was quite the looker. Maybe hold off on ordering your Lamberarri for now…

Expect prices nudging the £200k mark and yours can be ready sometime in Q3/4 of 2016.

Well done, Ford, Well done.

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Lego Ferrari vs Real Ferrari – How accurate are the Shell Lego Ferrari cars?

Shell and Lego have once again joined forces to offer Lego Ferrari vehicles to customers buying premium rate fuel, so we decided to take a look at the models on offer and see how they differ to the real thing…

The Lego Ferrari 458 Italia vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari 458 Italia vs the real thing

458 Italia Accuracy Score: 7/10
Well, it’s Yellow, and the front lights are the right shape, and the roofline slopes in a roughly similar way, and the rear haunches do the same thing… But that’s about it for the 458 Italia.


The Lego Ferrari 250 GTO vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari 250 GTO vs the real thing

250 GTO Accuracy Score: 6/10
Considering the 250 GTO is lauded as one of the most beautiful cars ever made, Lego have sort of ruined it. The stance is wrong, the track too narrow, the bonnet too flat, the window shape inverted, the rear arches nowhere near and the deck spoiler is way off.


The Lego Ferrari 150 Italia vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari 150 Italia vs the real thing

150 Italia Accuracy Score: 9/10
F1 geeks would probably be able to tell us all about the aerodynamics of the 150 Italia from the 2010 season, but we’re not F1 geeks, so we think the 150 Italia is pretty darn accurate.


The Lego Ferrari F12 Berlinetta vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari F12 Berlinetta vs the real thing

F12 Berlinetta Accuracy Score: 6/10
Overall, the F12 isn’t too bad. The front light/bumper/bonnet vent assembly and suage lines down the side of the car are good, but the car is let down by the roof and window lines. Still, it’s better than the F40…


The Lego Ferrari 512s vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari 512s vs the real thing

512S Accuracy Score: 7/10
Although it’s sort of ruined by the futuristic windscreen assembly, the Lego Ferrari 512s does a good job of emulating the iconic 1971 race car.


The Lego Ferrari 250 Berlinetta vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari 250 Berlinetta vs the real thing

250GT Berlinetta Accuracy Score: 8/10
Of the cars showcased here, the 250 GT Berlinetta is arguable the most accurate representation of any of the vehicles. The Berlinetta has an awkward roofline and almost awkward headlights, which the lego version captures well – although once again it’s the windscreen rake that let’s the side down.


The Lego Ferrari F40 vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari F40 vs the real thing

F40 Accuracy Score: 5/10
Hmmm, not so sure about this one. It starts well with the front bumper and light assembly/bonnet shape, and ends well with the classic 1980s square spoiler, but the whole thing falls apart in the middle.


The Lego Ferrari F138 vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari F138 vs the real thing

F138 Accuracy Score: 10/10
Looks good to us. It’s an F1 car, they’re all the same right?


The Lego Ferrari FXX vs the real thing

The Lego Ferrari FXX vs the real thing

FXX Accuracy Score: 2/10
This is a pretty desperate effort from Lego, who have somehow managed to make the agressive, batmobile looking stealth lines of the FXX look a bit like a 1980s Star Wars space ship, all pixelated and square.

Hunting for Hunter’s Lamborghini

Hunter S Thompson was a prolific writer, who’s writing changed the face of journalism and has a huge following around the world. As well as being a writer, Hunter was a ‘car guy’. Much of his work hints at his adventures (or misadventures) with two and four wheels, using vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

In the book Songs of the Doomed Hunter describes his experiences with the mighty Lamborghini LM002 4×4 supercar engined jeep. Our question is…

Did Hunter S Thompson own a Lamborghini LM002?

According to those that knew him, he was never flush with cash. Although he’d made money early in his writing career, by the late 1970s he was fading out of focus. The ‘Rumble in the Jungle Incident’ (being drunk in the hotel pool instead of actually reporting on the most significant boxing match of all time) of 1974 was the beginning of a strange and gradual decline…. So did he have the money to invest in a six-figure rare and exotic car?

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Where is Hunter S Thompson’s Lamborghini LM002 now?

Although much of his work has become widely read after his death, based on the blurred line between fact and fiction in much of Hunter S Thompson’s writing; it could be said that HST never owned an LM002. Despite being a well paid journalist and respected freelance writer, HST wasn’t the kind of person to have $100,000 at his disposal to lavish on outrageous purchases (If anyone can clarify or correct us on this point we’d love to hear from you).

Would he have spent it all on Heineken and ammunition before getting the chance to park an LM002 outside Owl Farm?

Cars like the Lamborghini LM002 don’t disappear, and they’re not cheap in 2014 (when this blog was first written). A recent auction of an LM002 is expected to make around $250,000, and the vehicles will only be appreciating. Edit.. It’s now 2020 and this blog is 6 years old, this one did $467,000 in 2017, this one did £157,000 in July 2020 and this one is currently for sale.

Being a rare vehicle, the chances are that someone knows what happened to Hunter’s Lamborghini, and knowing that the great HST himself had been listed on the vehicle registration document would be sure to cause a stir if the car turned up at auction. Perhaps Johnny Depp, or John Cusack, or Bill Murray have it squirrelled away in a lock up in California…?

We would love to think that Hunter S Thompson’s Lamborghini will turn up one day, a car will head to auction with Raul Duke listed as a previous owner… but until then, we can only wonder.

If you can share any knowledge on the whereabouts of Hunter’s Lamborghini, or whether he even owned the vehicle, then do get in touch – we’d love to find out more.

Here’s what Hunter S Thompson had to say about the Lamborghini LM002:

The big weird jeep was still there, lurking peacefully under the trees and almost invisible in the mist and the hanging Spanish moss… It was huge, but it had no colour. It came from the factory with no paint – only a dull stainless steel finish that soon faded to a filthy shade of yellow and millions of tiny reddish pits all over the hood and doors and even the Panzer-style undercarriage.

“Theses holes are not rust,” the pompous little factory rep assured me. “What you see here is priceless chemical development that was applied to the vehicle after fifty-five years of careful research at our secret Colour Lab in the Milanese Alps.. So you must be patient” he warned. “This process takes time. It involves the slow liberation of the Astro-Bacteria, which is frequently lethal to laymen. And which did, in fact, end the life of the tragic genius who first invented it, a man named Squane from Austria”.

Well, maybe so, I figured. It was ugly and pitted all over with millions of festering poison pits, which boiled and bubbled constantly and infected all who touched it…But it was a full-bore Lamborghini hot rod, a monstrous thing that weighed 5000 pounds with bulletproof glass and twelve cylinders with a top speed of 125 miles per hour and a .50 caliber machine-gun mount behind the drivers seat… One night on the Big Sur Highway I beat a Porsche 928 from the Carmel Bridge to Nepenthe by nine minutes, mainly because I beat her like a cheap hound on the curves. It was a small woman driving the 928 and she went all to pieces when I passed her at 110 on the Bixby Creek Bridge and then squeezed her into the sand dunes…

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Why not? It happened to me once – in Sacramento, when some Japs in a brute Lamborghini ran me down The Parkway like I was standing still, then bashed me repeatedly at top speed until I finally lost control… It was one of the ugliest moments of my life and I’ll never forget it. Those tattooed swine! I should have had them locked up, but I was helpless. After that, I got one of my own, for $150,000

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It was still early and we still had an hour to kill, so I drove around for a while and listened to Bob Dylan songs while I took the big Lambo through Cherokee Park at speeds that caused Andrew to lose his grip again. He wept and jabbered and cursed me as I aimed the huge tank of a jeep down narrow roads full of S-curves at a hundred miles an hour without even touching the brakes…

– Hunter S Thompson, Songs of the Doomed

Do you know any more about Hunter S Thompson’s alleged ownership of an LM002? Contact u.

Classic Motor Show 2014: What’s Hot and What’s NOT – Our Verdict

The 2014 Classic Motor Show, hosted at the NEC just outside of Birmingham has been widely reported as the biggest and best yet. Although there are plenty of gushing articles detailing the most impressive cars of the show, we thought it’d be worthwhile rounding up our own choices – and naming and shaming the cars that were simply wasting valuable stand space.

Cars that are HOT:

1. The WalkerSport Ferrari 328GTB

WalkerSport Ferrari 328 Good Shout Media Black and White

The WalkerSport Ferrari 328

We really fell for this Ferrari 328, which is why it ranked first in our What’s Hot round up. The combination of perfect colours, great ride height and well-chosen wheels have changed the way we think about Ferrari 328s. We wrote a full blog about it which you can find here – The Ferrari 328 by WalkerSport

2. Cardock Classics Mercedes 280SL

Cardock Classics Mercedes 280SL

Cardock Classics Mercedes 280SL

There were a number of immaculate Mercedes SL cars at the show, and we spent a great amount of time debating between this and a silver model on a nearby stand. In the end, we chose the Cardock Classics Mercedes due to the fantastic colour combination. The paintwork is incredible, and suits this car perfectly – especially with tan leather.

3. The Silverstone Auctions Lotus Elan Sprint

1972 Lotus Elan Sprint

1972 Lotus Elan Sprint

This 1972 Lotus Elan Sprint was for sale in the Silverstone Auction, and made a respectable £40,000 – bang on it’s upper estimate. We’ve clearly developed a thing for cars with a gold and white combination this year, The proportions of these early Elans are just perfect; it’s the quintessential British two seater sports car.

4. The Cardock Classics Porsche 911

Cardock Classics Porsche 911

Cardock Classics Porsche 911

We may appear biased featuring two cars from Cardock Classics, but we love a good Porsche 911 and the final decision came down to this one and the fantastic 911 on the Swissvax stand. In the end, the bright orange paintwork tipped the balance, so we tip our hat to Cardock Classics for putting on such a show stopping display.

5. The Auto Finesse Volkswagen Caddy

AutoFinesse's Volkswagen Caddy

AutoFinesse’s Volkswagen Caddy

There’s a lot to like about this incredible pick up truck that the AutoFinesse guys have put together. The way it sits on the floor, those huge gold wheels, the impeccable paintwork and the signwriting all combine to make this a mean looking commercial vehicle… Though we suspect it’s days of heavy lifting are long gone!

Cars that are NOT hot…

Where there’s winners, there has to be losers, and the swansong that is the 2014 Classic Motor Show did feature a couple of bum notes. In 2013 it was a 1993 Vauxhall Cavalier that we deemed ‘Worst In Show’ and once again, the top spot has been snagged by a Vauxhall.

1. Vauxhall Astra Ex-Police Car

The Ex Police Vauxhall Astra

The Ex Police Vauxhall Astra

Overheard at the Classic Motor Show:

“It was shit when it was new, it’s been ragged around by the police for the last 20 years and it’s shit now”

Not the voice of Good Shout Media. But we agree.

2. Rover 400

The Rover 400. Unimpressive at best.

The Rover 400. Unimpressive at best.

Overheard at the Classic Motor Show:

“Of course it’s a great shame that so many of them have been used for banger racing”

Not the voice of Good Shout Media. But we don’t agree. We think ALL of them should be used for banger racing.

The Rover 400 was taking up valuable exhibition centre floorspace.

**FINAL NOTE**

OK so this post created quite a stir on twitter when Greg from Classic and Sports Car tweeted us that it was ‘bad form to slam the Cav and 400 – they’re someone’s pride and joy’

If you do own a Cavalier or a Rover 400, we didn’t mean to offend you.

You have your reasons, and they’re the same reasons we don’t own a Cavalier or a Rover 400.

Well, they’re not, but that’s what the classic car scene is all about.

You like one thing, I like something else and we all come together at a car show to appreciate the variety, learn more about what we like and don’t like, form our own opinions and go away inspired.

It’s just that some cars inspire us more than others.

The Cavaliers and Rovers of this world have huge followings, and one person writing a silly blog about it on the internet isn’t going to change the fact that these more ‘unloved’ classics have plenty of people cooing over them at car shows nationwide.

Yes, it’s very cool that people give up their time to display these vehicles at car shows…

Just don’t mind us if we scoot past in a hurry.

Porsche 993 values on the up

This weekend’s Classic Motor Show at the NEC featured the annual Silverstone Auctions Sale, and the quality of this years entries was once again top notch.

Sitting pretty in the centre of the auction area were a brace of Porsche 993 models, the oft-forgotten 911 of the mid 1990s that’s due it’s turn in the classic car limelight.

Porsches of the 60s and 70s get plenty of attention on the classic car scene, and judging by the results achieved by the five models listed below, there has never been a better time to invest in a Porsche 993…

The 5 Porsche 993s of the Silverstone Auction, NEC Classic Motor Show 2014:

1996 Porsche 911 993 Targa Manual

1996 Porsche 911 993 Targa Manual

Lot No 332: 1996 Porsche 911 993 Targa Manual
Estimate: £37-42k
Sale Price: £47,725

 

1996 Porsche 911 993 Turbo X50

1996 Porsche 911 993 Turbo X50

Lot No 348: 1996 Porsche 911 993 Turbo X50
Estimate: £75-90k
Sale Price: £90,000

 

1996 Porsche 911 993 Carrera Targa S Tiptronic

1996 Porsche 911 993 Carrera Targa S Tiptronic

Lot No 613: 1996 Porsche 993 Carrera Targa S Tiptronic (White)
Estimate: £40-45k
Sale Price: £42,188

 

1998 Porsche 911 993 C2

1998 Porsche 911 993 C2

Lot No 624: 1998 Porsche 911 993 C2
Estimate: £38-42k
Sale Price: £48,375

 

1995 Porsche 911 993 Carrera RS

1995 Porsche 911 993 Carrera RS

Lot No 626: 1995 Porsche 911 993 Carrera RS (Red)
Estimate: £140-170k
Sale Price: £159,750

 The real question is though, which Porsche 993 would Good Shout Media go for?

Of the cars sold at the Silverstone Auction at the Classic Motor Show, it just has to be the Yellow 993 C2. Those Cup wheels, that paintwork… it’s almost the perfect 911, however if there had been a Turbo in Arena Red, then that would have clinched it.

Maybe next time we spot a Porsche 993 at a Silverstone Auction we’ll be bidding instead of blogging!

Good Shout Media's dream Porsche 993… A Turbo, in Arena Red.

Good Shout Media’s dream Porsche 993… A Turbo, in Arena Red.

All photos credit Silverstone Auctions