Ace Cafe Petrolhead Nirvana – June 2013

There are an awful lot of car enthusiasts out there, and with a vast array of cars also, it is no surprise that many people’s interest tend  to focus in a particular way, on a genre, brand or model, or time period. So, whilst there are lots of themed events at the iconic Ace Cafe, some will have a lot more appeal to me than others. As something of a purist, the heavily modified car scene is not really for me, so some of the Ace Cafe evenings would hold little interest, as I have learned the hard way, when trying a couple and only staying for a few minutes! Encouraged by reports I had seen on the PistonHeads site, I concluded that the PetrolHead Nirvana meeting, which takes place on the second Monday of the month could be one which I would enjoy, as although it attracts a few heavily modified vehicles, it also seemed to be the one where performance machines and plenty of supercars tend to appear. Finally, with a clear diary and an evening forecast to remain dry, I set out from the office in central London to see what this particular theme had in store. Although the supercars all appeared to be hiding, there was still plenty to divert me for more than a couple of hours. Here are my highlights.


In keeping with the theme, it was only right and proper that the Alfa present should be one of the more powerful cars made by the marque, a 147 GTA.

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To be honest, it did not occur to me that I could have brought my car into the event, but when I saw a new shape Audi A3 parked up (albeit one that had been subject to a certain amount of modification), and an S4 Avant then clearly I could have done. Later on a rather nice RS6 arrived, and this ended up with a very central parking position.

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The M-Coupe, as I believe this car was officially called, despite its clear Z3 basis, was fearsomely expensive when new, and even now the few cars on British roads are highly prized.

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A couple of Sevens.

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This Camaro SS made a rather noisy appearance, and certainly attracted lots of attention.

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Later there was an earlier 1972 Camaro as well.

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An even later arrival was this C6 model Corvette Convertible.

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This pair of Viper models arrived and departed in convoy, making a lot of noise in the process.

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Probably the largest vehicle of the evening was this Ram Pickup, in SRT 10 guise, which means a very large engine under the very large bonnet. The whole contraption is just massive and must be quite a daunting vehicle to thread through the narrow streets of Britain..

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Fast Fords are exactly the sort of car you would expect to be at an event like this, and sure enough when I arrived, a bright green Focus RS had a prominent position in the car park backing onto the Cafe building.

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Although I still think that the very original Mustangs were the nicest of all, this 1970 Fastback had plenty of appeal, too.

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Hethel cars were an S2 Elise and an Esprit V8.

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In the spirit of the evening, then this was not just any old SL Mercedes, but an SL63 AMG. Not perhaps the prettiest to look at, but it certainly sounds good.

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That a GT-R was present was no surprise. Indeed I would almost have expected a few more of these modern day supercars.

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Not a car for the quiet shy retiring type, this 911 GT3 RS was certainly prominent among the display cars.

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There were some less extreme versions of the 911 as well

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There were probably more TVR on site than anything else, which should probably not have been too much of a surprise, given the popularity of this marque. What I perhaps did not expect is that the dominant model was the Cerbera, as these cars tend to play something of a backseat to the more numerous Chimaera and Griffiths and the later Tuscans.

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Among the other TVRs were a couple of Sagaris, a Chimaera, a Griffith, a couple of Tuscan, and relegated to a position up the road as the main car park was full, a T350C.

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This Mark 2 Golf GTi was parked up across the road, and its proud owner spotted me admiring it and came over to have a chat. Although it looked to be in excellent condition, he pointed out some of the minor details where he still wants to improve it further. His goal is to try to restore it back to original appearance, and although he intends to put the later VR6 engine under the bonnet, he wants that change to be well hidden, too. It turned out that the car has had one owner for most of its life and had gradually deviated further and further from standard,, but had remained structurally very sound. A nice project, and a nice car.

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A very different sort of Volkswagen was this Baja Beetle, complete with all the evidence of its interesting and varied history.

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What caught my eye on arrival, and intrigued me, and everyone else all evening was this, a Carver. Dutch made, the owner has had this once since about 2005, soon before the company who made them went into administration, and he said that once you get used to it, it is a lot of fun. He proceeded to demonstrate how you can tilt the body from side to side, much to the alarm of his rear passenger!

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Although it was disappointing not to see the Lamborghinis and other supercars which often attend, this was still an enjoyable gathering and a themed evening that is attractive for those who are not “in” to the modified scene. I will be back, for sure.

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