Having held a couple of Summer BBQ events for the Abarth Owners Club at the Sharnbrook Hotel, I thought it would be nice to go somewhere different for 2019. And when I finally got to pay my first visit at the Caffeine & Machine location in March, the answer was obvious: this would be the perfect place to choose, with lots of space and the attractions of plenty of other cars beyond our own for additional entertainment of something to look at. A conversation with the staff on-site confirmed that they were very much up for the idea, though with this being their first season, they were unsure quite how summer bookings and attendance would turn out. Weekends are popular at this venue, especially earlier in the day, so it made sense to plan for an early evening gathering, when there would be ample space and less pressure on the venue’s kitchen. That gave the opportunity to do something else in the earlier part of the day. A study of the map suggested that another recently opened, and ever more popular venue, would be the Classic Motor Hub, just outside Bibury, which is about 30 miles south of the Caffeine & Machine location, and there is both nice scenery and some interesting roads between the two. That also gave an event which people could dip in and out of should there diary not permit spending the whole day out enjoying Abarth-ness. The concept seemed appealing when I launched it, with lots of people signing up, most wanting to do the whole programme. What I would not find out until the day itself was that I had picked a day when not only would the sun shine throughout but the temperatures would be among the hottest of the entire summer. Here’s a summary of the day:
CLASSIC MOTOR HUB
The Classic Motor Hub is one of a number of business which has come to prominence within the car enthusiast community within a short space of time. At its heart, this is a Classic Car and Motor Cycle Sales business but there is a bit more to it than that. For sure, the highly experienced sales team at the Hub carefully select what they consider to be the most interesting, high-quality and exceptional classic and collector vehicles to display in their showrooms, specialising in vintage, classic and high-performance sports cars. However, they do also have modern and emerging classic cars on show as well, and there is a plentiful supply of motoring ephemera both on display and available to purchase. The business also works to prepare cars for major events such as Concours and Goodwood and some of the cars you will find there are being stored there by owners from around the globe so their cars are ready for that special event in the coming weeks and months. Unlike lot a lot of the Classic Dealers, the Motor Hub actively welcomes visitors, who can drop in for a chat, a coffee or to look around. The site itself is interesting, too, as the Classic Motor Hub’s home has an illustrious past as an RAF Fighter Command base during World War Two. Initially commandeered as a Relief Landing Ground (RLG) for the nearby RAF South Cerney flying school in 1940, it was soon used as a fully-fledged fighter station. It helped to protect Cheltenham and the area south of Birmingham, housing No 87 Squadron RAF (Hurricanes) and No 92 Squadron (Spitfires). By the end of 1944, the site had outlived its usefulness as an operational airfield, and RAF Bibury was transferred to Maintenance Command and used for storage until 1950. Today the site’s history is still very evident: The Cotswold Collectors hangar is an original ‘blister’ aircraft shelter and much of the original aircraft hard-standing remains in use for classic events today.
The venue also hosts a number of Cars and Coffee events, and indeed my first visit here had been earlier in the year when they had held one for Italian Cars, so not only had I spoken with the staff in person, but I had seen the layout of the site and knew that there was plenty of space and lots of possibilities for photo opportunities. It promised to be a great start for the day. Opening time was declared to be 10am, and I planned to be there around then, having found out how to get there without the detours around the country lanes which I had taken on my previous visit. Needless to say, I was not the first to arrive!
The majority of the Abarths present during this event were 500-based, with the usual variety of different versions of a car that has now been on sale for just over 10 years and whose popularity continues to increase. Oldest of those attending was the much loved and somewhat modified 500 Esseesse of Paul Hatton, and needless to say, he was the person who was waiting at the gates when I arrived and had been there well before the declared 10am start time.
It was not long before a lot more Abarths arrived, man of them in convoy having had a spirited over the Cotswolds, and these were parked up in long line.
Many of the other 500-based cars here were the latest and still current 595 Series 4 model, with an array of them in Modena Yellow, affectionately referred to as “The Bees” by their owners, which made a striking sight when they were parked up in a line.
There was just one example of the Abarth Punto in the group on this occasion, the Evo SuperSport belonging to James King. The Punto Evo was an update from the original Grande Punto, launched at the 2010 Geneva Show, with the cars reaching UK buyers in the summer of that year, and it incorporated many of the changes which had been seen a few months earlier on the associated Fiat models, the visual alterations being the most obvious, with the car taking on the nose of the associated Fiat, but adapted to make it distinctively Abarth, new rear lights and new badging. There was more to it than this, though, as under the bonnet, the T-Jet unit was swapped for the 1.4 litre Multi-Air, coupled to a 6 speed gearbox, which meant that the car now had 165 bhp at its disposal. Eventually, Abarth offered an Esseesse kit for these cars, though these are exceedingly rare. For those in the know – which never seemed to be that many people – this was a really capable and desirable car, and the owners love them, lamenting the fact that the model had quite a short production life and has not been replaced.
There were more examples of the 124 Spider, though not perhaps as many as you might expect on a day where open-top motoring would have been at its most enjoyable.
As well as enjoying the sight of all the various Abarths there was time to have a look around the Classic Motor Hub’s showrooms and display areas. Some of the cars were ones I had seen when I had been here a few week prior but there was some new stock as well.
One of the most impressive of the Classic Motor Hub’s cars, and indeed one which the duty manager arrived in, to open the site was this fabulous Giulietta TZ1. Alfa Romeo launched the first TZ in 1962 to replace the SZ. A new version of TZ was introduced at the Turin Auto Show in 1964 in the Zagato stand. In order to reinforce the structure and further reduce the car’s weight, Zagato replaced the light alloy body with an even more streamlined fibreglass body moulded tight to the chassis providing lower drag and reduced weight of 620 kg (1,370 lb). The new design was called the Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2. The TZ2 was only built as racing version; it was equipped with an Autodelta-prepared twin plug, dry sump lubrication 1,570 cc DOHC straight-4 engine producing around 170 bhp at 7000 rpm. With this engine the car reached top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph). The rear window was also changed, now single unit rather than three part window in TZ. Development of TZ cars was stopped in the end of 1965, to make room for the new Alfa Romeo GTA racing program. The TZ2 took class win on 25 April 1965 in the 1000 km of Monza, with Bussinello-De Adamich finishing seventh overall and first in the GT 1600 category. Also in 1965 it took class victories thanks to Rolland-Consten in the 12 Hours of Sebring; Bianchi-Rolland in the Targa Florio; and Adamich-“Geki” in the 1000 km of Nürburgring, the 6 Hours of Melbourne, the Giro d’Italia and the Criterium des Cevennes. There were further class wins the following year: at Monza (De Adamich-Zeccoli), Sebring (Andrey-“Geki”), in the Targa Florio (Pinto-Todaro) and at the Nürburgring (Bianchi-Schultze). Only 12 TZ2s were built. The car won the prestigious Gran Turismo Trophy at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
This is a 1933 Alvis Speed 20 SA Vanden Plas Tourer. It was first registered on July the 1st 1933, by Scotts of Southampton. It carries the very elegant ‘long-wing’ touring body by Cross and Ellis, believed to be 1 of 6 ever made. It was raced by Alf Nattriss in 1947 and used in the RAC Rally post war. From 1968, CG 4871 went on to spend a number of years in the USA under ownership of the renowned Triumph Motorcycle man Rod Coates, who started the rebuild but – due to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease – could not finish the project. It was eventually sold in 1984 to “Mac” McGrady, a keen collector of Nash Healeys (amongst other vehicles), who owned the car until 1995. It then passed through two other owners before the current owner acquired it in 2001. The current owner had this Alvis Speed 20 comprehensively mechanically rebuilt by Earley Engineering, after which it was completely stripped down to the bare chassis and had a full frame and body rebuild by Tim Hastings and Brian Martin, artisans located at the world famous Old Vicarage in South Stoke, Oxfordshire. In 2014 this Alvis Speed 20 was sold to the current owner who was intent on the car being absolutely perfect, and as a result, the engine was completely rebuilt by renowned marque specialists, Tim Walker Restorations.
Follow on model to the DB2 was the DB4. Technically it was a development of the DB Mark III it replaced but with a completely new body. The DB4’s design formed the basis for later Aston Martin classics, such as the DB4 GT Zagato, the Lagonda Rapide 4-door saloon. It was eventually replaced by the Aston Martin DB5. The lightweight superleggera (tube-frame) body was designed by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan, and its Continental looks caused a sensation on its unveiling at the 1958 London Motor Show. Although the design and construction techniques were Italian, the DB4 was the first Aston to be built at the company’s Newport Pagnell works. The 3670 cc engine, designed by Tadek Marek, was a double overhead cam straight-6, with cylinder head and block of cast R.R.50 aluminium alloy, a further development of the earlier engine. The engine was prone to overheating initially, but the 240 hp produced by the twin-SU carburettor version made buyers forgive this unfortunate trait. Servo-assisted disc brakes were fitted all round: early 11.5 in Dunlops were replaced by Girlings. The independent front suspension used ball-jointed wishbones, coil springs and rack-and-pinion steering. The live rear axle also used coil springs and was located by a Watt’s linkage. The normal final-drive ratio for British and European use was 3.54:1: in the United States the ratio was usually 3.77. Customers wanting a car with an especially high top speed could choose a 3.31:1 ratio. A car with the British standard 3.54 final drive ratio tested by The Motor magazine in 1960 had a top speed of 139.3 mph and could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 17.7 mpg. The test car cost £3967 including taxes. There were five “series” of DB4. The most visible changes were the addition of window frames in Series II and the adoption of a barred (rather than eggcrate) grille in Series IV. The Series III cars differed from the earlier ones in having taillights consisting of three small lamps mounted on a chrome backing plate. Earlier cars have single-piece units and the last Series V cars of September 1962 have similar taillights but recessed. The Series V also has a taller and longer body to provide more interior space, though the diameter of the wheels was reduced to keep the overall height the same. The front of the Series V usually was of the more aerodynamic style as already used on the Vantage and GT models, a style that was later carried over to the DB5 cars. A convertible was introduced in October 1961. It featured in-house styling similar to the Touring saloon, and an extremely rare factory hardtop was also available. In total, 70 DB4 convertibles were made from a total DB4 production run of 1,110 cars. 30 of these were Series IV, with the remaining 40 belonging to the Series V. 32 of the total convertibles built (11 and 21 of the different series respectively) were equipped with the more powerful Vantage engine. Top speed for the regular version is about 136 mph.
Representing the longest lived design in Aston Martin’s history was this V8 Volante. By the mid 1960s, Aston Martin’s customers had been clamouring for an eight-cylinder car, so Aston Martin designed a larger car. The engine was not ready, however, so in 1967 the company released the DBS with the straight-six Vantage engine from the DB6. Two years later, Tadek Marek’s V8 was ready, and Aston released the DBS V8. Though the body and name was shared with the six-cylinder DBS, the V8 sold for much more. The body was a modern reinterpretation of the traditional Aston Martin look, with a squared-off grille and four headlights (though some consider the styling derivative of the early Ford Mustang). Distinguishing features of the V8 model are the larger front air dam and lack of wire wheels, though some six-cylinder DBS cars also used the V8’s alloy wheels. The tail lights were taken from the Hillman Hunter. A road test report of the time noted that the car had gained 250 lb in weight with the fitting of the V8 in place of the previously used six-cylinder unit, despite the manufacturer’s assurance that the engine weighed only 30 lb more than the older straight-six. Other contributions to the weight gain included heavier ventilated brake discs, air conditioning, fatter tyres, a new and stronger ZF gearbox as well as some extra bodywork beneath the front bumper. Marek’s V8 engine displaced 5,340 cc and used Bosch fuel injection. Output was not officially released, but estimates centre around 315 hp. The DBS V8 could hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and had a top speed of nearly 160 mph. 402 DBS V8s were built. In April 1972, the DBS V8 became just the Aston Martin V8 as the six-cylinder DBS was dropped, leaving just this car and the six-cylinder Vantage in production. The V8 became known as the AM V8, a model retroactively referred to as the Series 2 V8 to separate it from later models. Visual differences included twin quartz headlights and a mesh grille, a front design which was to last until the end of production in 1989. AM V8 cars, produced from May 1972 through July 1973, used a similar engine to the DBS V8, albeit with Bosch fuel injection rather than the earlier carburettors. Just 288 Series 2 cars were built. Although David Brown had left the company, he had overseen development of this model. The first 34 cars still carried leftover “DBS V8” badging. The car switched back to Weber carburettors for the Series 3 in 1973, ostensibly to help the car pass new stricter emissions standards in California but most likely because Aston Martin was unable to make the Bosch fuel injection system work correctly. These cars are distinguished by a taller bonnet scoop to accommodate four twin-choke (two-barrel) Weber carbs. The car produced 310 hp and could reach 60 mph in 6.1 seconds with an automatic transmission or 5.7 with a manual. Performance suffered with emissions regulations, falling to 288 hp in 1976. The next year, a more powerful “Stage 1” engine with new camshafts and exhaust brought it up to 305 hp. Production of Series 3 cars lasted from 1973 through October 1978, but was halted for all of 1975. 967 examples were produced in this time. While earlier V8 cars have louvers cut into the little panel mounted beneath the rear windshield, the Series 3 and later cars instead have a small lip at the bottom of this panel, just ahead of the leading edge of the bootlid. The “Oscar India” specification was introduced in October 1978 at the Birmingham International Motor Show. Visually, the former scoop on the bonnet gave way to a closed “power bulge”, while a spoiler was integrated into the tail. Most Oscar India cars were equipped with a Chrysler “Torqueflite” three-speed automatic transmission, with wood trim fitted for the first time since the DB2/4 of the 1950s. Just 352 Oscar India models were built from 1978 through 1985. The power of the now de-smogged engines kept dropping on American market cars, down to a low of 245 hp in the early eighties. The convertible “Volante” was introduced in June 1978, but featured the Series 4 bonnet a few months before the coupé received the Oscar India update. The Volante Series 1 weighs 70 kg (155 lb) more than the coupé, due to the necessity of reinforcing the frame. US market cars received much larger bumpers beginning with the 1980 model year, adding weight and somewhat marring the car’s lines. Owners of US-specified cars often modify them to have the slimmer European bumpers. By 1981, the success of the Volante meant that the coupé model was only built on individual demand. The fuel-injected Series 5 cars were introduced in January 1986 at the New York International Auto Show. The compact Weber/Marelli system no longer needed the space of the previous carburettors, so the bonnet bulge was virtually eliminated. 405 Series 5 cars were built before production ceased in 1989. The Volante Series 2 received the same changes; 216 were built.
Dating from 1939 is this 327/80 Cabriolet by Frazer Nash. This right hand drive car has the 2 litre 80 bhp engine and had nearly a quarter of a million Pounds spent on restoration between 2003 and 2010.
Alphabetically, the next car to present is one of Peter Mullin’s, from the collection of Citroen that he amassed in recent years and which formed a stunning display at is Oxnard, California museum in 2018. Like most of the other special bodied Citroen based on the DS, this one was produced by the French carrossier, Henri Chapron, who before the war had built custom made bodies for marques such as Talbot-Lago, Delage and Delahaye. After the demise of these marques, he turned his attention to Citroën. In 1955, he was commissioned to build a Décapotable for the French President based on a 15 CV Traction. In 1958, he showed his first DS-based creation at the Paris Salon. It simply bore the name Cabriolet DS 19 Henri Chapron, later called the la Croisette Cabriolet. This car is noticeable for employing the rear wings of the Berline and for covering the join between the wing and what would be the rear door of the Berline with an hideous vertical chrome strip. This conversion was undertaken without the approval of Citroën and Chapron was obliged to purchase complete cars rather than chassis and engines. However, such as the interest in the car, that there was demand to produce more, with the result that Citroën asked Chapron to build a cabriolet based on Bertoni’s design proposals. The result was the Usine Cabriolet below which was sold via the dealer network. The 1960 version used a new, one piece rear wing which was also used in the Usine cabriolet. In fact its likeness to the Usine car meant that the La Croisette was dropped in 1962. Chapron went on to produce a whole series of very elegant DS-based cars, all of which were produced in very small numbers – fewer than 100 in every case. This car is a Chapron le Paris and it dates from 1960.
This 1989 512 TR is one of just 7 UK right hand drive examples ordered in Giallo Modena, and indeed one of just 438 UK-delivered examples of the model. It’s only had one owner from new and has covered just 10,000 miles.
Launched in May 1994 as an evolution of the Ferrari 348, just about everything was changed, and improved for the F355, seen here in Berlinetta and Targa formats. Design emphasis for the F355 was placed on significantly improved performance, but driveability across a wider range of speeds and in different environments such as low-speed city traffic was also addressed, as the Honda NS-X had proved that you could make a supercar that could be lived with every day. Apart from the displacement increase from 3.4 to 3.5 litres, the major difference between the V8 engine in the 348 and F355 was the introduction of a 5-valve cylinder head. This new head design allowed for better intake permeability and resulted in an engine that was considerably more powerful, producing 375 hp. The longitudinal 90° V8 engine was bored 2mm over the 348’s engine, resulting in the small increase in displacement. The F355 had a Motronic system controlling the electronic fuel injection and ignition systems, with a single spark plug per cylinder, resulting in an unusual 5 valves per cylinder configuration. This was reflected in the name, which did not follow the formula from the previous decades of engine capacity in litres followed by number of cylinders such as the 246 = 2.4 litres and 6 cylinders and the 308 of 3.0 litres and 8 cylinders. For the F355, Ferrari used engine capacity followed by the number of valves per cylinder (355 = 3.5 litres engine capacity and 5 valves per cylinder) to bring the performance advances introduced by a 5 valve per cylinder configuration into the forefront. 5. The frame was a steel monocoque with tubular steel rear sub-frame with front and rear suspensions using independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs over gas-filled telescopic shock absorbers with electronic control servos and anti-roll bars. The car allows selection between two damper settings, “Comfort” and “Sport”. Ferrari fitted all road-going F355 models with Pirelli tires, size 225/40ZR 18 in front and 265/40 ZR 18 in the rear. Although the F355 was equipped with power-assisted steering (intended to improve low-speed driveability relative to the outgoing 348), this could optionally be replaced with a manual steering rack setup by special order. Aerodynamic designs for the car included over 1,300 hours of wind tunnel analysis. The car incorporates a Nolder profile on the upper portion of the tail, and a fairing on the underbody that generates downforce when the car is at speed. These changes not only made the car faster but also much better to drive,m restoring Ferrari to the top of the tree among its rivals. At launch, two models were available: the coupe Berlinetta and the targa topped GTS, which was identical to the Berlinetta apart from the fact that the removable “targa-style” hard top roof could be stored behind the seats. The F355 would prove to be last in the series of mid-engined Ferraris with the Flying Buttress rear window, a lineage going back to the 1965 Dino 206 GT, unveiled at the Paris Auto Show. The Spider (convertible) version came later in the year. In 1997 the Formula One style paddle gear shift electrohydraulic manual transmission was introduced with the Ferrari 355 F1 adding £6,000 to the dealer asking price. This system promised faster gearchanges and allowed the driver to keep both hands on the steering wheel, It proved to be very popular and was the beginning of the end for the manual-transmission Ferrari. Ferrari produced 4,871 road-going Berlinetta models, of which 3,829 were 6-speed and 1,042 were F1 transmissions. The Spider proved to be the second-most popular F355 model, with a total production of 3,717 units, of which 2,664 were produced with the 6-speed transmission and another 1,053 produced with the F1 transmission. A total of 2,577 GTS models were produced, with 2,048 delivered with the 6-speed transmission and another 529 with the F1 transmission. This was the last GTS targa style model produced by Ferrari. This made a total production run of 11,273 units making the F355 the most-produced Ferrari at the time, though this sales record would be surpassed by the next generation 360 and later, the F430.
Among the great marques of the 1920s “Golden Age”, Hispano-Suiza stands out. Famous for the Spanish-Swiss partnership between Emilio de la Cuadra and Marc Birkigt, Hispano-Suiza began producing petrol engines for automobiles before supplying powerful and reliable aircraft engines for WWI. After the war, Hispano-Suiza returned to producing automobiles, using their knowledge and experience from aircraft manufacture to launch their first car in 1919, the Hispano-Suisa H6. The H6 was an instant success. Admired for its impeccable build quality, reliability and refinement, the H6 was bodied by some of the finest coach houses in Europe resulting in the most elegant cars of the era. This 1926 model was ordered new by Mr. Manuel Coutinho, residing in Sao Paulo (Brazil), this Hispano-Suiza H6B chassis was delivered directly to Million-Guiet to be fitted with a Double Phaëton body. The car was finished to a very high specification with additions including Blériot headlights with a swivelling Grebel projector, a rear windshield from A. Dupré & C. Perrin of Paris and was of course featured luxurious interior upholstery. A plaque featuring Saint-Christopher, the patron saint of travellers by the sculptor F. Bazin was fitted by the first owner to bring a final exquisite touch to the rear cabin. The car was completed in 1927, and was promptly delivered to its fortunate buyer, through Grau & Co, Hispano Suiza’s agent in Rio de Janeiro. The car stayed in the same family until the 1970s, when it was sold and shipped to New York, the new owner being a Mr Ronald de Andrade. The car, now over 40 years old had been well looked after and was in good original condition. Nevertheless, Mr. de Andrade chose to repaint “11647” turquoise blue with black wings. After enjoying the car for several years, the Hispano-Suiza H6B was sold to collector Tom Lester who again chose to repaint the car, preferring a red/brown colour. Mr Lester used the car to take part in several events before moving the car on to its next owner, Dr Stanley Cope. Dr Cope’s ownership was short and in 1994 he sold the car to a Mr Dick Vento. Mr Vento enjoyed the car for several years before beginning a restoration project that he sadly was unable to complete. In January 2015, the current owner acquired the car in a partially dismantled state and commissioned a full restoration with renown Hispano specialist Paul Jaye Engineering in Towcester, England. The restoration was comprehensive, including work on the engine, chassis and bodywork. Paul Jaye also removed any non-original components, returning the brakes to the original specifications, repairing to the wiring harness and manufacturing a new soft top and barrel cover. All details are recorded in the accompanying invoices but suffice it to say the result of the work is stunning. Once completed, this splendid Hispano-Suiza was shown in 2017 at the Hispano-Suiza Club stand at the Salon Époqu’Auto in Lyon. It should be remembered that in its time, the Hispano-Suiza H6B was considered the best passenger car in the world thanks to Marc Birkigt’s remarkable design. Amazingly modern, it combined aeronautic and automotive solutions, the 6.5-litre six-cylinder engine was cutting-edge for the era with an overhead camshaft and equipped with brakes on all four wheels, controlled by a servo so efficient that Rolls-Royce later acquired the license for use on their own road cars. Lightweight for its size and fast for its time, the H6B seduced stars and celebrities alike.
This is a Low Chassis S Type Invicta. Invicta was founded by Noel Macklin with Oliver Lyle of the sugar family providing finance. Assembly took place in Macklin’s garage at his home at Fairmile Cottage on the main London to Portsmouth road in Cobham, Surrey. Macklin had previously tried car making with Eric-Campbell & Co Limited and his own Silver Hawk Motor Company Limited. The Invicta cars were designed to combine flexibility, the ability to accelerate from virtual standstill in top gear, with sporting performance. With the assistance of William (Willie) Watson, his mechanic from pre-World War I racing days, a prototype was built on a Bayliss-Thomas frame with Coventry Simplex engine in the stables of Macklin’s house on the western side of Cobham. The first production car, the 1925 2½ litre used a Meadows straight six, overhead-valve engine and four-speed gearbox in a chassis with semi elliptical springs all round cost from £595. Two different chassis lengths were available, 9 feet 4 inches (2.84 m) SC and 10 feet (3.0 m) LC to cater for the customer’s choice of bodywork. As demand grew a lot of the construction work went to Lenaerts and Dolphens in Barnes, London but final assembly and test remained at Fairmile. The engine grew to 3 litres in 1926 and 4½ litres in late 1928. The larger engine was used in the William Watson designed 1929 4½ litre NLC chassis available in short 9 feet 10 inches or long 10 feet 6 inches versions, but the less expensive A Type replaced the NLC in 1930. In 1930 the S-type, the best known of the company’s models, was launched at the London Motor Show. Still using the 4½ litre Meadows engine but in a low chassis slung under the rear axle. About 75 were made.
In 1934, a team of three 4.5 litre Lagondas was prepared for competition by Fox and Nicholl. These were among the fastest British sports cars of the era and competed very successfully, culminating in victory in the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1935. They also looked particularly attractive, arguably more so than the later LG45 team cars. This car is an accurate replica, mirroring the original black team car, BPK201. It has been constructed by the finest specialists, using a 1934 Lagonda as an appropriate basis. The Lagonda Club registrar – a key expert who has written a number of authoritative books on the marque – writes of this vehicle: ‘….. the replacement body is an exact replica of the Lagonda factory team cars operated at one time by Fox and Nicholl.’ The body was expertly constructed by I. P. Pitney. This family business is exceptionally experienced in coachbuilding work on Lagondas – particularly through commissions from the late Peter Whenman and from Bishop Gray – and is of very good quality. The car has the correct 10ft 3ins wheel base and the 4.5 litre mechanics have been meticulously restored. It has the correct Girling brakes, the best Lagonda clutch and benefits from an excellent, restored synchromesh Alvis gear box of the appropriate period. Steering parts have been crack tested, the rear axle has been restored, new wiring has been installed, the wheels have been restored and there is a new radiator core and 20 gallon petrol tank. Ancillaries, including the magneto, dynamo, distributor, starter motor etc have all been restored by specialists. The carbs were sourced from the estate of the previous owner of an original LG45 team car and are believed to have once been fitted to this vehicle. The car is in fine form.
The original Elan was introduced in 1962 as a roadster, although an optional hardtop was offered in 1963 and a coupé version appeared in 1965, and there were examples of all of these here. The two-seat Lotus Elan replaced the elegant, but unreliable and expensive to produce Lotus Elite. It was the first Lotus road car to use a steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body. At 1,600 lb (726 kg), the Elan embodied the Colin Chapman minimum weight design philosophy. Initial versions of the Elan were also available as a kit to be assembled by the customer. The Elan was technologically advanced with a DOHC 1557 cc engine, 4-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and 4-wheel independent suspension. Gordon Murray, who designed the spectacular McLaren F1 supercar, reportedly said that his only disappointment with the McLaren F1 was that he couldn’t give it the perfect steering of the Lotus Elan. This generation of the two-seater Elan was famously driven by the character Emma Peel on the 1960s British television series The Avengers. The “Lotus TwinCam” engine was based on Ford Kent Pre-Crossflow 4-cylinder 1498 cc engine, with a Harry Mundy-designed 2 valve alloy chain-driven twin-cam head. The rights to this design was later purchased by Ford, who renamed it to “Lotus-Ford Twin Cam”. It would go on to be used in a number of Ford and Lotus production and racing models.
Very imposing indeed was this 1909 Benz 24/5 Six Seat Sporting Tourer. There can be little doubt that Karl Benz was the first to produce the petrol-engined car. Karl Benz started his engineering career making stationary engines running primarily on coal gas but soon realised the possibilities for mechanical personal transport. Benz pioneered the 4-stroke, 954cc single-cylinder engine and fitted it to a 3-wheeled “car”. Benz’s engine ran at a sedentary 400rpm and produced a grand 0.75bhp. For comparison DeDion Bouton’s engine ran at over twice the speed but Benz favoured a slower engine as it was less likely to shake itself apart. Benz’s 3-wheeler, the first petrol-powered motor vehicle was finished in Autumn 1885 and featured a tiller steering system. Benz had attempted to engineer a system to steer two front wheels but was unsuccessful, and was forced to wait until the Ackermann system was developed only a couple of years later. The 3-wheeler Benz was an innovative first attempt at a motorcar but sadly this innovation was not backed up with particularly strong sales figures as people had yet to come to terms with the idea of the horseless carriage. However, progress in this era was rapid and the first 4-wheeler came in 1893 and featured an enlarged engine now displacing 1745cc which produced a heady 3bhp and by the turn of the century this engine platform had been developed to displace almost 3 litres. This car, or more accurately this chassis template was named the Viktoria and was intended to be versatile enough for a large range of uses from 6-seater limousines to delivery vans and buses. However, it was the more compact, cheaper Velo launched in 1894 that solidified Benz as the premier motorcar manufacturer of the age. The Velo was the sales success the company needed. Sales of the Velo in 1900 outstripped the total sales of all vintage Benz cars sold before, with 603 Velos sold that year. With his cars now significantly outperforming the competition Karl Benz saw little need to change the design formula and his cars quickly became outdated as the industry caught up and by 1902 Benz sold only 206 cars. To rectify the problem Benz brought in new engineers headed by Hans Nibel who set to work on a 4-cylinder motor with 2 valves per cylinder and by 1908 Nibel had designed what was to be the template for the next series of successful Benz vehicles. Nibel’s cars were conventional machines featuring either chain or shaft drive which appealed to more conservative buyers as other manufacturers began to experiment with more diverse methods of propulsion. This 1909 car is one of those built on Nibel’s successful design. So versatile was Nibel’s impressive engine that Benz offered it in 25 different variations and sizes. The 25/45 was built between 1909 and 1912 and the in-line 4-cylinder engine had an enormous displacement of 6.3 litres fed by an improved spraying nozzle carburettor developed by Benz. In October 1909 the car was delivered new to its first owner Ing Otto Krause who lived in Buenos Aires. Ing Krause came from a wealthy family who ran the main shipping lines between Buenos Aires and Patagonia. The Krause family owned the car until 1961 when it was discovered in a barn on the Krause family farm by a collector named Jorge Parodi. The car had been used on the farm as a work vehicle, having had the body removed and engine and chassis most likely used as a motorised cart. Parodi purchased the car from the family but did little with it, seemingly unable to find a body for the car. In 1983 Parodi sold the car to another collector called Carlos Pujol who started a comprehensive restoration on the chassis and engine. Señor Pujol owned the car for 15 years but was unsuccessful in finding a body for the car and grew tired of the search and so sold the car to our client in 1998. For six years our client searched South America for an original Benz body and fortunately had more success than the previous two owners, finding an original Benz body built by A Vendrine et Cie of Courbevoie, Paris. The restoration was completed in 2004 and since then the car has participated in several local rallies in South America, notably winning its class in the Autoclasica concours in 2012.
O.S.C.A. was founded in 1947 by Ernesto Maserati (engineering manager) and his two brothers Ettore, and Bindo (operations managers) who had all left Maserati after their ten-year contract with Adolfo Orsi terminated. Ten years earlier, in 1937, the remaining Maserati brothers had sold their shares in the company to the Orsi family, who, in 1940, had relocated the company headquarters to their hometown of Modena, where it remains to this day. The O.S.C.A. factory was at San Lazzaro di Savena outside Bologna, where Maserati were originally made 1926 to 1940. Their basic business goal was to develop an automobile to compete in the 1,100 cc racing class. O.S.C.A.’s first automobile was the MT4, for Maserati Tipo 4 cilindri. The 1,092 cc engine, which produced 71 hp at 6,000 rpm, had a FIAT-derived block, alloy head, and the bodywork was built as a two-seater barchetta. The MT4 first raced in 1948 at the Pescara Circuit and the Grand Prix of Naples, where it was driven to a win by Luigi Villoresi. The engine was modified to 1,342 cc form with 89 hp at 5,500 rpm in 1949. In 1950, a new DOHC (MT4-2AD) raised power to a maximum of 99 hp at 6,300 rpm, and in 1953 the engine was enlarged to 1,453 cc, producing 108 hp at 6,200 rpm. The all new tipo 372 DS twin spark engine with 1,491 cc, which produced 118 hp at 6,300 rpm, was later used in the O.S.C.A. MT4 TN (for Tipo Nuovo, “new model”) of 1955. With this new engine, the car received the new name FS 372, of which five were built. One of these belongs to Sir Stirling Moss, who still races it in historic races across the globe. Versions of this engine went on to be used in coupé and convertible models of regular Fiats from 1959 to 1966. These automobiles were mainly barchettas, but a few were built with more luxurious berlinetta bodies by Pietro Frua, Michelotti, and Vignale. A Vignale bodied MT4 was run in the 1,500 cc class at the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 1954 12 Hours of Sebring was won by drivers Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd in an O.S.C.A. MT4 as part of the Briggs Cunningham Team. From 1951 to 1962, automobiles or engines made by O.S.C.A. also were entered in some Formula One and Formula Two events although they mainly built small sports cars of which some were designed by Pietro Frua. In the World Sportscar Championship OSCA ranked 10th (1953), 4th (1954), 6th (1957), 5th (1958) and 4th (1961). The 750 cc 70 hp type S 187 was introduced in 1956. Weighing 430 kg (948 lb), this car had a top speed of 110 mph (180 km/h). The name “187” refers to the displacement in cubic centimetres of each cylinder of the engine. In 1959 Jim Eichenlaub won the American H-Mod Title with this OSCA S 187. Operating on a shoestring budget, Eichenlaub often slept in his tow car because there was no money for a motel. However he won his first race at Pensacola in April 1959. The Formula Junior (FJ) used a Fiat engine of 1089 cc, and saw wins by Colin Davis and Berardo Taraschi in 1959. In 1963 the brothers sold the company to Count Domenico Agusta, owner of MV Agusta,
A 1929 Packard 640 Rumble Seat Coupe, this large car has a 6300cc straight 8 engine and was originally delivered new to New Zealand. Packard are one of the oldest names in the automotive industry. The company was founded in Ohio by James Ward Packard with his brother William Packard and their business partner George Lewis Weiss. At the time, Wiess was an important shareholder in Winton Cars, a prominent builder of the new horseless carriage. James Packard however was not impressed with the quality of the cars Winton produced and so when suggestions to Alex Winton to improve the cars were ignored James Packard decided to set up his own motorcar company which had reliability, quality, and refinement at its core. Packard therefore set about producing cars of the highest standard, beginning with a single cylinder engine which quickly grew to a twin then a 4-cylinder before the 106bhp, strong and silent straight-8 was developed. Packard were quick to embrace new technology, developing the modern steering wheel in place of the tiller-system and were therefore one of the first manufactures to adopt the modern control system. Packard’s dedication to quality was appreciated by their customers and their popularity soared. In the mid 1920s Packard outsold Lincoln, Cadillac, Peerless and Arrow combined. Packard’s clients were amongst the wealthiest people in the world and indeed they had to be as the cars did not come cheap. While Henry Ford’s vehicles were selling for $440 Packard’s cars started at $2,600. The company quickly gained a reputation across America and abroad being one of the 3 Ps of American Royalty along with Pierce-Arrow and Peerlees. This specific 1929 Packard 640 is a very rare RHD example that was originally delivered to New Zealand, incredibly the Auckland identification number can still be seen under the driver’s door. It was then bought by a farmer who had the rear of the vehicle converted to a ‘pick-up’ style body to haul wood and straw. A couple of years later the car was purchased by Nathan Clark, of Clark Shoes who had been looking for a Packard to add to his collection. He decided to acquire this particular car because the high import tax on new cars to New Zealand had created a community of well-kept older cars. He bought the car as a project in the 1960s, at that time the body behind the rear wheels had been removed but the frame and scuttle remained untouched. The rear deck-lid and spare wheel mount also came with the car unaltered. The interior of the car remained wonderfully original including the original paint, upholstery and interior wood. The car was purchased at auction in barn-find state by an Argentinian client in 2012 and was subsequently shipped to Argentina for a comprehensive restoration. The restorers have done a fine job returning this car to original standard, re-fitting the rear deck complete with dicky seat and golfing hatch.
The Rolls-Royce 20/25 was built from 1929 through 1936 with 3,827 examples delivered. It would go on to become the company’s most popular design prior to the Second World War. It was initially built on a 128.7-inch chassis and later offered on a long chassis of 131.9 inches, introduced in 1931. Later examples of the Rolls-Royce 20/25 models featured a four-speed fully-synchronised gearbox and a centralised chassis lubrication system. Powering the 20/25 was a 3.7-litre inline, overhead-valve six-cylinder engine with a cast-iron block. It has a separate aluminium crankcase with a seven-main bearing crankshaft with vibration damper and a detachable cast-iron cylinder head. It was lubricated by a pressurised system that also fed the rocker shaft and timing gears. They had an engine-driven water pump with fan which cooled the engine, and a thermostatically-controlled system open and closed the radiator shutters as required. Ignition was by independent coil, a centrifugal-advance distributor, and a backup magneto. The engine was fed fuel via a single-jet carburettor. The estimated horsepower produced was 65, though the company never publicly advertised such numbers, only stating it was ‘adequate.’ Every engine was run by the company on a dynamometer in order to ensure reliability. The transmission with its single dry-plate clutch was bolted to the rear of the engine block. The floor shift was located to the right of the driver’s seat. The cars were given four-wheel, servo-assisted drum brakes and a full-floating type rear axle. Once the chassis was built and tested by the factory, it was sent to a coach-builder selected by the customer to receive coachwork. A body was either installed from inventory or constructed and finished to the buyer’s specific wishes. This car, chassis number GXB-25, is a late Rolls-Royce 20/25 built on the longer frame. It was fitted with a Series B2 engine number M4E. Its original dynamometer records show it developed 60 horsepower at 3000 RPM. The chassis was then delivered to London coachbuilder Baker & Co on 13th November of 1933, where it was given a ‘Sedanca Limousine’ body. When completed, the car was finished to its new owner, a Mr. Rowley of Eversley Park Rd, W21 London, on February 2nd, 1934. Ownership appears to have then passed from Mr. Rowley onto Totnes Motor Museum where it was kept since 2004.
A pair of VW Type 2s, considered extremely collectible, were displayed together. The first generation of the Volkswagen Type 2 with the split windshield, informally called the Microbus, Splitscreen, or Splittie among modern fans, was produced from 8 March 1950 through the end of the 1967 model year. From 1950 to 1956, the T1 (not called that at the time) was built in Wolfsburg; from 1956, it was built at the completely new Transporter factory in Hanover. Like the Beetle, the first Transporters used the 1100 Volkswagen air-cooled engine, an 1,131 cc 24 bhp, air-cooled flat-four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine mounted in the rear. This was upgraded to the 1200 – an 1,192 cc 30 bhp in 1953. A higher compression ratio became standard in 1955; while an unusual early version of the 40 bhp engine debuted exclusively on the Type 2 in 1959. Any 1959 models that retain that early engine today are true survivors. Since the engine was totally discontinued at the outset, no parts were ever made available. The early versions of the T1 until 1955 were often called the “Barndoor” (retrospectively called T1a since the 1990s), owing to the enormous rear engine cover, while the later versions with a slightly modified body (the roofline above the windshield is extended), smaller engine bay, and 15″ roadwheels instead of the original 16″ ones are nowadays called the T1b (again, only called this since the 1990s, based on VW’s retrospective T1,2,3,4 etc. naming system.). From the 1964 model year, when the rear door was made wider (same as on the bay-window or T2), the vehicle could be referred to as the T1c. 1964 also saw the introduction of an optional sliding door for the passenger/cargo area instead of the outwardly hinged doors typical of cargo vans. In 1962, a heavy-duty Transporter was introduced as a factory option. It featured a cargo capacity of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) instead of the previous 750 kg (1,653 lb), smaller but wider 14″ roadwheels, and a 1.5 litre 42 bhp DIN engine. This was so successful that only a year later, the 750 kg, 1.2 L Transporter was discontinued. The 1963 model year introduced the 1500 engine – 1,493 cc as standard equipment to the US market at 51 bhp DIN with an 83 mm bore, 69 mm stroke, and 7.8:1 compression ratio. When the Beetle received the 1.5 litre engine for the 1967 model year, its power was increased to 54 bhp DIN. German production stopped after the 1967 model year; however, the T1 still was made in Brazil until 1975, when it was modified with a 1968–79 T2-style front end, and big 1972-vintage taillights into the so-called “T1.5” and produced until 1996. The Brazilian T1s were not identical to the last German models (the T1.5 was locally produced in Brazil using the 1950s and 1960s-era stamping dies to cut down on retooling, alongside the Beetle/Fusca, where the pre-1965 body style was retained), though they sported some characteristic features of the T1a, such as the cargo doors and five-stud 205 mm (8.1 in) Pitch Circle Diameter rims. Wheel tracks varied between German and Brazilian production and with 14-inch, 15-inch and 16-inch wheel variants but commonly front track varied from 1290 mm to 1310 mm and rear track from 1370 mm to 1390 mm. Among American enthusiasts, it is common to refer to the different models by the number of their windows. The basic Kombi or Bus is the 11-window (a.k.a. three-window bus because of three side windows) with a split windshield, two front cabin door windows, six rear side windows, and one rear window. The DeLuxe model featured eight rear side windows and two rear corner windows, making it the 15-window (not available in Europe). Meanwhile, the sunroof DeLuxe with its additional eight small skylight windows is, accordingly, the 23-window. From the 1964 model year, with its wider rear door, the rear corner windows were discontinued, making the latter two the 13-window and 21-window respectively. The 23- and later 21-window variants each carry the nickname “Samba” or in Australia, officially “Alpine”. The Volkswagen Samba, in the United States also known as Sunroof Deluxe, was the most luxurious version of the T1. Volkswagen started producing Sambas in 1951. In the USA Volkswagen vans were informally classified according to the number of windows they had. This particular model had 23 and later 21 windows including eight panoramic windows in the roof (the 23 window version had additional curved windows in the rear corners). To distinguish it from the normal Volkswagen van the name Samba was coined. Instead of a sliding door at the side the Samba had two pivot doors. In addition the Samba had a fabric sunroof. At that time Volkswagen advertised with the idea of using the Samba to make tourist trips through the Alps. Sambas were painted standard in two colours. Usually, the upper part was coloured white. The two colored sections were separated by a decorative strip. Further the bus had a so-called “hat”: at the front of the van the roof was just a little longer than the car itself to block the sun for the driver. The windows had chrome tables and the van had a more comprehensive dashboard than the normal T1. When Volkswagen started producing the successor of the T1 (the T2) the company also stopped producing the Samba so there are no Sambas in later versions of the Transporter.
Also here was a Type 2 “Bus” from the second generation, first seen in late 1967. It was built in Germany until 1979. In Mexico, the Volkswagen Kombi and Panel were produced from 1970 to 1994. Models before 1971 are often called the T2a (or “Early Bay”), while models after 1972 are called the T2b (or “Late Bay”). This second-generation Type 2 lost its distinctive split front windshield, and was slightly larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor. Its common nicknames are Breadloaf and Bay-window, or Loaf and Bay for short. At 1.6 litres and 47 bhp DIN, the engine was also slightly larger. The battery and electrical system was upgraded to 12 volts, making it incompatible with electric accessories from the previous generation. The new model also did away with the swing axle rear suspension and transfer boxes previously used to raise ride height. Instead, half-shaft axles fitted with constant velocity joints raised ride height without the wild changes in camber of the Beetle-based swing axle suspension. The updated Bus transaxle is usually sought after by off-road racers using air-cooled Volkswagen components. The T2b was introduced by way of gradual change over three years. The first models featured rounded bumpers incorporating a step for use when the door was open (replaced by indented bumpers without steps on later models), front doors that opened to 90° from the body, no lip on the front guards, unique engine hatches, and crescent air intakes in the D-pillars (later models after the Type 4 engine option was offered, have squared off intakes). The 1971 Type 2 featured a new, 1.6 litre engine with dual intake ports on each cylinder head and was DIN-rated at 50 bhp. An important change came with the introduction of front disc brakes and new roadwheels with brake ventilation holes and flatter hubcaps. Up until 1972, front indicators are set low on the nose rather than high on either side of the fresh air grille – giving rise to their being nicknamed “Low Lights”. 1972’s most prominent change was a bigger engine compartment to fit the larger 1.7- to 2.0-litre engines from the Volkswagen Type 4, and a redesigned rear end which eliminated the removable rear apron and introduced the larger late tail lights. The air inlets were also enlarged to accommodate the increased cooling air needs of the larger engines. In 1971 the 1600cc Type 1 engine as used in the Beetle, was supplemented with the 1700cc Type 4 engine – as it was originally designed for the Type 4 (411 and 412) models. European vans kept the option of upright fan Type 1 1600 engine but the 1700 Type 4 became standard for US spec models. In the Type 2, the Type 4 engine, or “pancake engine”, was an option for the 1972 model year onward. This engine was standard in models destined for the US and Canada. Only with the Type 4 engine did an automatic transmission become available for the first time in the 1973 model year. Both engines were 1.7 litre, DIN-rated at 66 bhp with the manual transmission and 62 bhp with the automatic. The Type 4 engine was enlarged to 1.8 litre and 67 bhp DIN for the 1974 model year and again to 2.0 litre and 70 bhp DIN for the 1976 model year. The two-litre option appeared in South African manufactured models during 1976, originally only in a comparably well-equipped “Executive” model. The 1978 2.0 litre now featured hydraulic valve lifters, eliminating the need to periodically adjust the valve clearances as on earlier models. The 1975 and later U.S. model years received Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection as standard equipment; 1978 was the first year for electronic ignition, utilising a hall effect sensor and digital controller, eliminating maintenance-requiring contact-breaker points. As with all Transporter engines, the focus in development was not on power, but on low-end torque. The Type 4 engines were considerably more robust and durable than the Type 1 engines, particularly in Transporter service. In 1972, exterior revisions included relocated front turn indicators, squared off and set higher in the valance, above the headlights. Also, square-profiled bumpers, which became standard until the end of the T2 in 1979, were introduced in 1973. Crash safety improved with this change because of a compressible structure behind the front bumper. This meant that the T2b was capable of meeting US safety standards for passenger cars of the time, though not required of vans. The “VW” emblem on the front valance became slightly smaller. Later model changes were primarily mechanical. By 1974, the T2 had gained its final shape. Very late in the T2’s design life, during the late 1970s, the first prototypes of Type 2 vans with four-wheel drive (4WD) were built and tested.
QUEEN SQUARE CLUB HOT HATCH DAY
A couple of days before our visit, I became aware of the fact that the Queen Square Car Club were also planning to meet at the Classic Motor Hub, and I did wonder if this would give rise to some space problems. However, I was also aware of the fact that the timings were such that we were planning to get there well before they were, so was hopeful that we would not arrive and find that there was not space for us. In reality, the Hot Hatch Day amounted to just 6 cars, with most of the focus being around the organiser, Dan Grazier, trying to produce some video content on the new Renault Megane RS 300 Cup which he had borrowed for the weekend from an obliging local dealer, and the cars that Queen Square brought along simply provided additional interest for everyone present.
This Alfa Romeo 147 GTA is very familiar to me, as it belongs to Michael Woodford, who joins many an Italian Car meet in the South West and beyond.
As well as the latest Megane RS, which Dan told me has frustrating ergonomic issues and a truly terrible ride was a hot hatch Renault from an era when the marque really was producing cars at the top of the class, a Clio 182
More recent, and pleasingly subtle looking was this Seat Leon Cupra.
And finally there was a second generation VW Golf GTi. VW launched the second generation Golf in August of 1983, nearly 9 years after production of the first model to bear the name had begun. This time, a GTi version was included in the product plans from the start, and the new GTi was announced in May 1984. Like the regular Golf 2, it was almost 7″ longer than the Mark 1, with 3″ extra in the wheelbase and a 2″ wider track. It was also 10% heavier, but with significantly improved aerodynamics, resulting from attention to detail which included integrated gutters and flush glass as well as more rounded styling, the cd fell from 0.42 to 0.34. Initially it was powered by the same 1781cc fuel injected engine, but there were all round disc brakes and longer suspension travel improved the ride. Competitors came snapping at its heels, though, so after 2/5 years, VW responded by giving the car 24% more power, achieved by doubling the number of valves to 16. Lower stiffer suspension and bigger front brakes were also fitted, all of which restored the Golf GTi 16V to the top of the Hot Hatch pile. For most people that is, though the 8v car retained a following thanks to its broader torque spread. This less powerful car changed from a mechanical K-Jetronic injection system to a new Digifant electronic set up in 1987 at which point the front quarterlights were deleted, and a digital instrument pack became an option on the 16v car. Power steering became standard in late 1990 and the 8v gained the interior from the 16v model. Production ran through to February 1992, by which time the Mark 3 GTi was waiting in the wings. over 600,000 were built over an 8 year period, around 10% of all Mark 2 Golf production.
Second destination of the day was the Broadway Tower, a well-known land-mark from which there are splendid views over the Vale of Evesham and the surrounding area. It is a popular place for people to visit, and as we turned off the main road and found cars parked on the side of the narrow lane that takes you towards to the Tower, it occurred to me that we may struggle to find parking spaces. Pleasingly, though as we got to the end of the road, having passed the overspill carpark which had plenty of vehicles in it, there were in fact plenty of places in the main car park. Not quite all together, initially, though as other cars departed, there was a certain amount of moving of our cars to get them so they were all parked together.
I had seen a number of Ariel Atoms and a Nomad out on the roads while en route to the Tower, and when we arrived, we found them all parked up in a line. With no weather protection at all, this was probably the perfect day to take one of these fun machines out for a drive, without the need to wrap up in multiple layers of clothing!
The only other car of note in the car park was this Jaguar Mark 2. Many will tell you that it is not the 3 Series BMW that “invented” the “compact sports saloon” car class, but this model, which dates back to 1959. A thorough revision of the small Jaguar saloon that had joined the range in 1955, the Mark 2 was notable in that it was the first car to use the Arabic numeral in its name, as opposed to the Roman numerals of the larger Jaguar models. At launch, the earlier model which had hitherto been known by its engine size was christened the Mark 1. Although clearly based on that car, the updated car looked significantly different, with an increase of 18% in cabin glass area greatly improving visibility. The car was re-engineered above the waistline. Slender front pillars allowed a wider windscreen and the rear window almost wrapped around to the enlarged side windows now with the familiar Jaguar D-shape above the back door and fully chromed frames for all the side windows. The radiator grille was amended and larger side, tail and fog lamps repositioned. Inside a new heating system was fitted and ducted to the rear compartment (although still notoriously ineffective). There was an improved instrument layout that became standard for all Jaguar cars until the XJ Series II of 1973. As well as the familiar 2.4 and 3.4 litre engines, what made this car particularly special was that it was also offered with the potent 220 bhp 3.8 litre unit that was fitted to the XK150 and which would later see service in the E Type. This gave the car a 0 – 60 time of around 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. No wonder that the Mark 2 became popular as a get-away car for the criminal fraternity, and to keep up with and catch them, many police forces bought the car as well. With revised suspension and standard four wheel disc brakes, the car was effective on the track, taking plenty of class wins when new, and it is still popular in historic racing circles today. The quickest and most successful private entries came from John Coombs, a man with significant race experience who operated a large Jaguar dealership in Guildford. Coombs would undertake modifications to meet the demands of his customers, so not all the cars that he worked on are the same. Jaguar replaced the Mark 2 with simplified and slightly more cheaply finished 240 and 340 models, as an interim measure until an all-new model was ready to take over from them. The 3.8 litre disappeared from the range at this time, but in the 7 years it had been in production, it had been the best seller of the range, with around 30,000 cars produced, as compared to 28,666 of the 3.4 litre and 25,741 of the 2.4 litre model.
As well as the attractions of the Tower itself, with even more stunning views from the top than you get just by standing on the ground, the site also boasts a tea room which serves a variety of home-cooked temptations and beverages which extend far beyond just tea and coffee. Although not particularly cheap, I was very impressed with the quality of what I had, which filled a lunch-sized hole, whilst still leaving space for the food that was to come.
With everyone back at the cars, before heading off, we spotted a large area of grass on a slight slope which looked like it could provide the perfect backdrop for a group setting of all the cars.
Manoeuvering them all into position took some time, under the direction of Bradley Lawrence, a professional photographer and videographer, who had a tripod which he could position on the roof of his car (a Vauxhall Corsa – his plans for an Abarth are still in gestation!), to get some height, which was going to be needed.
It took a surprising amount of time to get all the cars in close enough, and I have a couple of pictures of him standing on the rear seat of his car, in what looked quite awkward positions, trying to get shots better than I could manage. Just as he declared success, Tom Bryant’s father had a different idea and simply picked Tom up like you would a small child, as opposed to a 21 year old, onto his shoulders. A much easier solution, which yielded impressive results!
CAFFEINE & MACHINE
And so to Caffeine and Machine, reached following a spirited drive on some interesting local roads. Some Abarth owners had gone straight to Caffeine and Machine and had reported that earlier in the day, the venue had been absolutely packed, which was exactly what we had been hoping to avoid by timing our arrival for later in the day. When we pulled into the site, there were still a number of cars there, but there was also plenty of parking, and it was possible to get many of the Abarths grouped up together.
As well as the Abarths that I had seen and photographed earlier in the day, there were a few more here, and of course the setting meant there was a chance to get some additional photos, an opportunity I did not miss.
Follow on to the DB7 was the DB9 (there has never been a car called DB8 – supposedly because people might have assumed this meant a V8 engine), and there was a nice example here. The Aston Martin DB9, designed by Marek Reichmann and Hendrik Fisker, was first shown by Aston Martin at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show, in coupe form. It was widely praised for the beauty of its lines. This was the first model to be built at Aston Martin’s Gaydon facility. It was built on the VH platform, which would become the basis for all subsequent Aston models. The Aston Martin DB9 was initially launched equipped with a 6.0 litre V12 engine, originally taken from the V12 Vanquish. The engine produced 420 lbf·ft of torque at 5,000 rpm and a maximum power of 444 hp at 6,000 rpm, allowing the DB9 to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 299 km/h (186 mph). The engine largely sits behind the front-axle line to improve weight distribution. Changes to the engine for the 2013 model year increased the power to 503 hp and torque to 457 lb-ft, decreasing the 0 to 60 mph time to 4.50 seconds and with a new top speed is 295 km/h (183 mph). The DB9 was available with either a six-speed conventional manual gearbox from Graziano or a six-speed ZF automatic gearbox featuring paddle-operated semi-automatic mode. The gearbox is rear-mounted and is driven by a carbon-fibre tail shaft inside a cast aluminium torque tube. The DB9 was the first Aston Martin model to be designed and developed on Ford’s aluminium VH (vertical/horizontal) platform. The body structure is composed of aluminium and composites melded together by mechanically fixed self-piercing rivets and robotic assisted adhesive bonding techniques. The bonded aluminium structure is claimed to possess more than double the torsional rigidity of its predecessor’s, despite being 25 percent lighter. The DB9 also contains anti-roll bars and double wishbone suspension, supported by coil springs. To keep the back-end in control under heavy acceleration or braking, the rear suspension has additional anti-squat and anti-lift technology. Later versions of the car also features three modes for the tuning: normal, for every-day use, sport, for more precise movement at the cost of ride comfort, and track, which furthers the effects of the sport setting. The Aston Martin DB9 Volante, the convertible version of the DB9 coupe, followed a few months later. The chassis, though stiffer, uses the same base VH platform. To protect occupants from rollovers, the Volante has strengthened windscreen pillars and added two pop-up hoops behind the rear seats. The hoops cannot be disabled and will break the car’s rear window if deployed. In an effort to improve the Volante’s ride while cruising, Aston Martin have softened the springs and lightened the anti-roll bars in the Volante, leading to a gentler suspension. The retractable roof of the Volante is made of folding fabric and takes 17 seconds to be put up or down. The Volante weighs 59 kilograms (130 pounds) more than the coupe. The coupe and Volante both share the same semi-automatic and automatic gearboxes and engine. The car was limited to 266 km/h (165 mph) to retain the integrity of the roof. Like the coupe, the original Volante has 420 lb·ft of torque at 5,000 rpm and a maximum power of 450 hp at 6,000 rpm. The 0 to 60 mph slowed to 4.9 seconds due to the additional weight. The DB9 was facelifted in July 2008, which mainly amounted to an increase in engine power, to 476 hp and a redesigned centre console. Externally, the DB9 remained virtually unchanged. For the 2013 model year revision, Aston made minor changes to the bodywork by adapting designs from the Virage, including enlarging the recessed headlight clusters with bi-xenon lights and LED daytime strips, widening the front splitter, updating the grille and side heat extractors, updating the LED rear lights with clear lenses and integrating a new rear spoiler with the boot lid. .On newer models, like the coupe’s, the Volante’s horsepower and torque increased to 517 PS (510 hp) and 457 lb·ft respectively. As a finale for the model, a more powerful DB9 was released in 2015, called the DB9 GT. This had 540 bhp and 457 lb-ft of torque at 5500 rpm, giving a 0 to 60mph time of 4.4 seconds and 0 to 100mph in 10.2 seconds, with the standing quarter mile dispatched in 12.8 to 12.9 seconds and a top speed of 183mph. Production of the DB9 ended in 2016 being replaced by its successor, the DB11.
This is the latest version of the Continental GT, a car which was launched and went on sale in 2018, so still not yet that common a sight. That will surely change over time, as its predecessors have sold in large (by Bentley standards) numbers.
This is an example from the fourth generation of cars to use Cadillac’s long-running Coupe de Ville nameplate. First seen for the 1954 model year, the Series 62 included a lower sleeker body, a new cellular grille insert, and inverted gull wing front bumpers and tapered dagmar style bumper guards. Round jet style dual exhaust outlets were incorporated into the vertical bumper extensions and the rear bumper was entirely redesigned. An Eldorado style wraparound windshield was seen on all models. Sedans used a distinctive style of window reveal moulding, which created a built in sun visor effect. For coupes a smoothly curved wraparound backlight was referred to as the “Florentine” style rear window. A wide ventilator intake was now stretched across the base of the windshield on all body styles and the chrome visored headlamp look was emphasised. The Series 62 could be distinguished by the lack of rear fender louvres. V-shaped ornaments and crests were used in the hood and deck and there were full length body underscores in bright metal. Coupe de Ville script was seen on rear corner pillars of the luxury hardtop, which also had wider sill mouldings. The Eldorados had golden identifying crests centered directly behind the air-slot fender breaks and wide fluted beauty panels to decorate the lower rear body sides. These panels were made of extruded aluminium and also appeared on a unique one of a kind Eldorado coupe built for the Reynolds Aluminum Corporation. Also included in the production Eldorado convertible were monogram plates on the doors, wire wheels, and custom interior trimmings with the Cadillac crest embossed on the seat bolsters. Automatic windshield washers, power steering, 12-Volt electrical system, and aluminium alloy pistons made the long list of standard equipment for the first time this year. Power steering, windows, seats, and auto headlight dimming were optional. A parking brake release reminder light was new. Popular Mechanics rated the 0-60 mph time as 17.3 seconds.In 1955, the grille was redesigned with wider spaces between the blades and the parking lamps were repositioned beneath directly below the headlights. On the sides of the body the rub-rail mouldings formed a right angle with the vertical trim on the rear doors or fenders. This accentuated the character line in the sheet metal. The Florentine curve rear window treatment was adopted for sedans. Three chrome mouldings bordered the rear license plate on either side and deck lid decorations consisted of a V-shaped ornament and a Cadillac crest. The Coupe de Ville had a golden script nameplate at the upper body belt just forward of the rear window pillar. The Eldorado sport convertible featured extras such as wide chrome body belt mouldings, a distinctive rear fender design, with twin round taillights halfway up the fenders and flatter pointed tailfins. Tubeless tires were a new standard Cadillac feature. Sales reached a record 118,190, accounting for nearly 84% of all Cadillacs sold. Standard equipment included back-up lights, turn signals, and automatic transmission. In 1956, there was a new grille, with finer textured insert, and the repositioning of the parking lights in the bumpers, below the wing guards. Buyers were given an option of the standard satin finish grille or an optional gold finish. Cadillac script was found on the left side. A narrow chrome molding and nine vertical louvers were seen. The Coupe de Ville had a model nameplate and a Cadillac crest on the sides of the front fenders. The Coupe de Ville was joined by the Series 62 Sedan de Ville, Cadillac’s first standard production 4-door hardtop. Similarly to the Coupe de Ville, it was also more expensive and more luxuriously trimmed that the standard 4-door Series 62. With 41,732 sold, it also easily outsold the Series 62 sedan in its very first year. Given their sales success, it was only natural that the Coupe de Ville and Sedan de Ville were moved to their own separate series in 1959, the Series 6300, being joined by a De Ville convertible in 1964. The Eldorado sub-series also gained a new bodystyle, a 2-door hardtop called the Seville. An Eldorado script finally appeared with fender crest on the car which was further distinguished by a twin hood ornament. Extras featured on the Eldorado convertible, now known as the Biarritz in order to distinguish it from the Seville, were a ribbed chrome saddle molding extending from the windshield to the rear window pillar along the beltline and flat, pointed rear fender fins. Power steering was now standard. The turning circle was 43.5 ft. wide and ground clearance is 8.25 inches. Popular Mechanics rated a 0-60 mph time of 12.0 seconds, fuel economy for a traffic route at 8.3mpg, and a very accurate speedometer. Series 62 sales reached an all-time record in 1956 at 134,502 units, accounting for an all-time record 86.4% of all Cadillacs sold. This included 66,818 De Villes and 6050 Eldorados.
Perhaps rarer than the Abarth derivatives are the Fiat versions of the current 124 Spider. There was one here.
Another massive American car, this is a Galaxie Convertible dating from 1963. The 1960 Galaxie introduced all-new design with less ornamentation. A new body style was the Starliner, featuring a huge, curving rear observation window on a pillarless, hardtop bodyshell. The thin, sloping rear roof pillar featured three “star” emblems that served as the Galaxie signature badge for all 1960 – 62 models. The formal roofed 2-door hardtop was not available this year, but the roofline was used for the Galaxie 2-door pillared sedan, complete with chromed window frames. It had been the most popular body style in the line for 1959, and sales dropped off sharply. Contrary to Ford’s tradition of pie-plate round taillights, the 1960 featured “half-moon” lenses turned downward. The “A” pillar now swept forward instead of backward, making entering and exiting the car more convenient. For 1961, the bodywork was redone again, although the underpinnings were the same as for 1960. This time, the tailfins were almost gone; the small blade-like fins capped smaller versions of 1959’s “pie-plate” round taillamps once again. Performance was beginning to be a selling point, and the 1961 Galaxie offered a new 390 CID (6.4 L) version of Ford’s FE series pushrod V8, which was available with either a four-barrel carburettor or, for higher performance, three two-barrel carburettors. The latter was rated at 401 hp (298 kW) (gross). The 352 was downgraded in favour of the 390; it was equipped with a 2-barrel carburetor and single exhaust. The Starliner was again offered this year, and Ford promoted this model with luxury and power equipment, but it was dropped at the end of the year, as the re-introduced square-roof hardtop coupe, the Galaxie Club Victoria, took the bulk of sales. For 1962, the Galaxie name was applied to all of Ford’s full size models, as the Fairlane name was moved to a new intermediate model and Custom was temporarily retired. New top-line Galaxie 500 (two-door sedan and hardtop, four-door sedan and hardtop, and “Sunliner” convertible) models offered plusher interiors, more chrome trim outside, and a few additional luxury items over and above what was standard on the plainer Galaxie models. Base Galaxie models were available in two- and four-door sedans as well as the plain Ranch Wagon. In an effort to stimulate midseason sales, Ford introduced a group of sporty cars along with a “Lively Ones” marketing campaign. These models featured the bucket seats and console that were popularized by the Chevrolet Corvair Monza, and included a Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe, and a Falcon Futura. The full-size line was available with new bucket-seats-and-console “Lively One,” the Galaxie 500/XL (two-door hardtop and convertible). Ford stated in its sales literature that XL stood for “Xtra Lively.” The 223 cu in (3.7 l) “Mileage Maker” 6-cylinder was the base engine. The 292 cu in (4.8 l) V8 was standard on the 500/XL. The XL had sportier trim inside and out. This model was Ford’s response to Chevrolet’s Super Sport option for the big Impala, which was introduced the previous year and saw a significant rise in sales for 1962. A 406 cu in (7 l) engine was available in single four-barrel or triple-carbureted “six-barrel” form. Tailfins were gone, giving the 1962 models a more rounded, softer rear end look. Taillights were set lower into the rear panel and were partially sunken into the newly sculpted rear bumper. Outside, XL models got a thicker body side chrome spear, along with a new “Galaxie 500XL” emblem on each rear fender (including the convertible, where this badge replaced the “Sunliner” script). An oval version of the Galaxie “star” emblem replaced Ford crests on the roof sail panels on hardtops. Front fenders shapes were the same as 1961; a slightly modified flat-face grille featured a large “star”emblem in its center for all 500 and higher-priced Galaxie models. The 1962 models were overweight by comparison to the Super Duty Pontiacs with their aluminium body panels and larger-displacement engines. Therefore, late in the production run, Ford’s Experimental Garage was ordered to reduce the weight of the Galaxie. It produced 11 “lightweight Galaxies”, making use of fibreglass panels, as well as aluminium bumpers, fender aprons, and brackets; the result was a Galaxie weighing in at under 3,400 lb (1,542 kg). The base 2-door Club Sedan was 3,499 lb (1,587 kg). It was an improvement. The 1963 model was essentially unchanged save for some freshening and added trim; windshields were reshaped and a four-door hardtop 500/XL was added. A lower, fastback roofline was added mid-year to improve looks and make the big cars more competitive on the NASCAR tracks with less drag and reduced aerodynamic lift at high speed. This 1963½ model, the industry’s first official “½ year” model, was called the “sports hardtop” or “fastback” (it shared this feature with the for 1963½ Falcon). Galaxie buyers showed their preference as the new sports hardtop models handily outsold the “boxtop” square-roof models. The sports hardtop was available in both Galaxie 500, and Galaxie 500/XL trim. Mercury also received the new roofline (under the Marauder badge) in Monterey, Montclair, and Park Lane models. This year, a no-frills big Ford, priced around $100.00 below the base Galaxie sedans. was offered, badged as the Ford 300. It was offered for 1963 only, and was replaced by the Custom series in 1964. The “Swing-away” steering wheel became optional. The Fairlane’s newly enlarged “Challenger” V8 engine of 260 cu in (4.3 l) replaced the Y-block 292 cu in (4.8 l) as the entry level V8. Later in the year, the 260 was replaced with an enlarged version displacing 289 cubic inches. At the beginning of the 1963 model run, the 292 Y-block V8 was replaced as the base V8 engine with the Fairlane’s new small block 260. The 260 proved under-powered for the heavy full size Ford and was replaced midyear (coincident with the introduction of the 63 and 1/2 models) with the 289 V8. The 289 was then the largest of the “small block series” that was first used (221 cubic inch version) in the 1962 Fairlane. The 260 was offered on the Falcon Sprint and later, in mid 1964, in the early version of the 1965 Mustang. By 1965 model introduction (in the fall of 1964), the 260 (which had disappointing performance in all versions including the Sprint and Mustang) was replaced by the 289 in all models. Ford continued to offer the FE series 352 in the 1963 full size, as well as 3 versions of the 390 V8 (regular, high performance, and police). Five different transmissions were offered for 1963. A 3-speed manual column shift was standard on all models except the 406 V8, which required the heavier duty Borg-Warner 4-speed manual. A three speed manual with overdrive was optional, but rarely ordered. The two-speed Ford-O-Matic was common with the 6-cylinder and small block V-8s, while the majority of big blocks (352 and 390) were ordered with the 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission. The availability of several different rear end ratios, along with 5 transmissions, and 8 different engines, led to a huge number of different driveline combinations for 1963. The most produced combination for the Galaxie and Galaxie 500 was the 352 V8, with Cruise-O-Matic and the 3.0 rear end ratio. Ford’s “Club,” “Town,” and “Victoria” monikers for body styles were retired in 1963, replaced by generic labels, “2-door”,”4-door”, and “Hardtop.” Partway through this year and in limited quantities, a new 427 replaced the 406 for racing applications. It was intended to meet NHRA and NASCAR 7-litre maximum engine size rules. This engine was rated at a 425 hp with 2 x 4 barrel Holley carburettors and a solid lifter camshaft. Ford also made available aluminium cylinder heads as a dealer option. The 1963½ was still overweight, however. To be competitive in drag racing Ford produced 212 (around 170 from Ford Norfolk, about 20 from Ford Los Angeles) lightweight versions of the “R” code 427, in the Galaxie 500 Sport Special Tudor Fastback. Available only in Corinthian White with red vinyl interior, and with a list price of about US$4,200 (when a base Ford 300 went for US$2,324, and XL Fastback was US$3,268), these cars came stock with Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed, 4.11:1 rear axle, heavy-duty suspension and brakes, and were fitted with a fibreglass hood (a flat piece at first, late in 1963 the popular blister hood also used on the Thunderbolt), trunk, front fenders, and fender aprons, as well as aluminium bumpers and mounting brackets, transmission cases, and bellhousing. Hood springs, heater, trunk lining and mat, spare wheel and tire (and mounting bracket), trunk lid torsion bar, jack, lug wrench, one horn (of the stock two), armrests, rear ashtrays, courtesy lights, and dome light were removed to reduce weight. The first 20 cars had functional fibreglass doors, which shaved 25 lb (11 kg); these were deleted because of Ford’s concern for safety if used on the highway. The cars had all sound-deadening material removed, lightweight seats and floormats, and no options. They were not factory equipped with cold-air induction, as the Thunderbolt would be. In addition, they were built on the 45 lb (20 kg)-lighter Ford 300 chassis, originally intended for a smaller-displacement V8. In all, the 427s were 375 lb (170 kg) lighter than before (425 lb (193 kg) with the fibreglass doors). The first two lightweight Galaxies, using 289 cu in (5 l) bodies, were assembled at Wayne, Michigan, late in January 1963, to be tested at the 1963 Winternats. They were delivered to Tasca Ford (East Providence, Rhode Island) and Bob Ford (Dearborn, Michigan). Bill Lawton’s Tasca Galaxie turned the best performance, with a 12.50 pass at 116.60 mph. It was not enough against the 1963 Chevrolet Impala Z-11s in Limited Production/Stock, however. Three more were assembled from parts and tested at Ford’s Experimental Garage in Dearborn. One of the next two, the last Winternationals test cars, was prepared by Bill Stroppe in Long Beach, California, for Les Ritchey; it was featured in the July 1963 issue of Hot Rod. For all their efforts, Ford discovered the Galaxies were still too heavy, and the project was abandoned. Some of these cars competed in England, Australia and South Africa after being modified by Holman and Moody who fitted them with disc brakes and other circuit racing components. Jack Sears won the 1963 British Saloon Car Championship driving Galaxies and Cortinas and the racing Galaxies were also driven by Sir Jack Brabham, Graham Hill and other notable drivers of the period. The heavy Galaxies suffered from persistent brake failure that led to a number of crashes, and in late 1963 started using the 12-inch disc brakes from the Ford GT40 program. By this time the Lotus Cortinas were being developed and the big Galaxie became uncompetitive. Model year 1964 was the fourth and final year of this body style. Interior trim was altered, and the exterior featured a more sculpted look which was actually designed to make the car more aerodynamic for NASCAR. The formal-roof “boxtop” style was no longer available, all non-wagon models now featuring the “fastback” roof design that was the runaway best-seller in 1963. The base 300 was replaced by a line of Custom and Custom 500 models. The 289 continued as the base V8 and was standard in the XL series. XL models got new thin-shell bucket seats with chrome trim. Federal regulations now required lap-style safety belts for both front outboard occupants. The ignition switch was moved from the left side of the steering column, to the right, but otherwise the attractive instrument panel remained unchanged from ’63. The 1964 XL two-door hardtop became the best seller of any XL produced in any year. The 427 cu in (7.0 l) engine was used in 50 lightweight fibreglass-equipped cars for drag racing. These competed in North America but were still too heavy and Ford introduced the lightweight Fairlane Thunderbolt. The Ford Country Squire station wagon, while wearing “Country Squire” badging, was actually part of the Galaxie 500 line. Some Country Squires had “Galaxie 500” badging on the glovebox indicating the series name. These station wagons featured the same trims as Galaxie 500s, and were a step up from the base-model Country Sedan.
In September 1987, a redesigned Civic was introduced with increased dimensions and a lower bonnet line. This was the fourth generation of Civic, and it was visually like an updated version of the third, though it was a completely new car. A wide range of models and trim levels were offered for various markets around the world. The most notable of which was the Japanese market SiR (featuring the B16A DOHC VTEC engine). All U.S. models featured electronic fuel injection, but carburettor models were still available elsewhere. The fourth generation saw the introduction of a fully independent rear suspension across the entire model range. In addition, the Honda CRX continued to be part of the Civic family which included the HF, DX and Si model in the U.S.A / four door version called the Ballade was built, under agreement, by Mercedes-Benz South Africa / models were 1500 16V, 1600i 16V and 1600i 16V DOHC. The first 800 cars produced at the then brand new Honda plant in Alliston, Ontario, Canada were SE model cars. These Special Edition models included all white side moulding that matched the white body and colour matched dual mirrors. In the body moulding was a wrap around blue stripe. Each car had interior upgrades as well as a chrome-tipped exhaust. The model had a four year life before being replaced by the quite different fifth generation range.
Few people even saw this car, let alone got a picture of it, as it pulled into the site, drove through and straight out again. I had assumed that he would return and park near the main buildings, but no, it was not to be seen again, which was a shame, as this was a real star appearance, albeit extremely brief! The car is of course a Grifo, the best known of the small number of different models produced by ISO in the 1960s and early 70s at this event, but this time there was just the one. The prototype ‘Grifo A3/L’ was revealed at the Turin show in 1963 to overwhelming approval. First production Iso Grifo’s followed and all used reassembled and blueprinted Chevrolet Corvette 5.4 litre engines until a 7.0 litre option was introduced in 1968. The larger engined cars were distinguished by some detail modifications, such as a “subtle” bonnet scoop, necessary to accommodate the taller engine and a black band across the rear roof pillar. 322 Series I Grifos were produced before the design received a facelift in 1972 after which time a further 78 Series II Grifo’s were built. In total 90 Grifos were specified in seven-litre form, with only four being built in right-hand drive. The 7 litre cars had a 454 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 engine, and following a rebuild, this car recorded dynamometer results of 490bhp at 5,500rpm. The engine is mated to a modern Tremec TKO600 five-speed gearbox capable of handling this mighty power house.
There were a number of Porsche 911 cars here. A couple of them are resident, belonging to the venue’s owners, so can usually be seen somewhere on site.
In 1978, Porsche introduced the new version of the 911, called the ‘911SC’. Porsche reintroduced the SC designation for the first time since the 356SC (as distinguished from the race engined 356 Carrera). There was no Carrera version of the 911SC. The “SC” stands for “Super Carrera”. It featured a 3.0-litre aluminum engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a 5-speed 915 transmission. Originally power output was 180 PS later 191 PS and then in 1981 it was increased to 204 PS. The move to an aluminum engine was to regain case reliability, something missing for many years with magnesium. In 1981 a Cabriolet concept car was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The convertible body design also featured four-wheel drive, although this was dropped in the production version. The first 911 Cabriolet debuted in late 1982, as a 1983 model. This was Porsche’s first cabriolet since the 356 of the mid-1960s. A total of 4,214 were sold in its introductory year, despite its premium price relative to the open-top targa. Cabriolet versions of the 911 have been offered ever since. In 1979, Porsche had made plans to replace the 911 with their new 928 company flagship. Sales of the 911 remained so strong however, that Porsche revised its strategy and decided to inject new life into the 911 editions. 911 SC sales totalled 58,914 cars. The car was replaced by the 911 Carrera which ran from 1984 until the arrival of the 964 generation in 1989.
From the 993 generation is this RSR. The Carrera RS is a lightweight variant of the Carrera. It features a naturally aspirated 3.8 litre engine generating a maximum power output of 300 PS achieved by the use of lightweight forged pistons, dual oil coolers, big intake valves, Varioram variable-length intake manifold, a modified Bosch Motronic engine management system and lightened rocker arms. The 6-speed G50/31 manual gearbox with a short shifter used on the Carrera RS had modified gear ratios for the first three gears. The larger 322 mm cross drilled and ventilated discs brakes front and aft with four piston calipers were shared with the 911 Turbo and limited slip differential was included as standard equipment. The exterior is easily distinguishable from a normal Carrera by a large fixed rear wing, small front flaps and 3-piece 18 in alloy wheels. The headlight washers were deleted for weight saving reasons. A seam welded body shell with an aluminium bonnet supported with a single strut was used along with thinner glass. On the interior, the rear seats were removed, and special racing seats along with spartan door cards were installed. Sound proofing was also reduced to a minimum. The suspension system used Bilstein dampers and the ride height was lowered for improved handling. Adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars and an under-bonnet strut-brace further increased handling. The final weight of the car amounted to be 1,280 kg (2,822 lb). The Carrera RS Clubsport (also referred to as the RSR or RSCS in some countries) was a track-oriented iteration of the Carrera RS with relatively limited road usability. The Clubsport came equipped with a welded roll cage. Certain comfort features such as carpets, power windows, air conditioning and radio were deleted. Exterior wise, it sports a larger rear wing and a deeper chin spoiler than the standard RS. The Carrera RS was produced in model years 1995 and 1996. It was street legal in European and many other countries around the world, but was not approved for export to the United States. Production amounted to 1,014 cars including 213 Clubsport variants.
The “GT3” nameplate was introduced in 1999 as part of the first generation of the Porsche 996 model range, as a homologation model for the cars entered in the FIA GT3 cup. As with Porsche’s previous 911 RS models, the 996 GT3 was focused on racing, and so was devoid of items that added unnecessary weight to the car. Sound deadening was almost completely removed, as were the rear seats, rear loud speakers, sunroof, and air conditioning, although automatic air conditioning and CD/radio became no-cost optional add-ons. The engine of the 996 GT3 set it apart from most of the other 996 models, although it shared the same basic design of the standard so-called “integrated dry sump” flat-six engine. The engine is naturally aspirated and based on the unit used in the 962 and 911 GT1 race cars. That engine was known as the ‘Mezger’ engine, after its designer Hans Mezger. The engine uses the original air-cooled 911’s versatile dry-sump crankcase, with an external oil reservoir. The 996 GT3 has 360 PS compared to the 300 PS of the standard 996. In GT3 configuration, this so-called “split” crankcase (meaning the parting line of crankcase is on the crankshaft centreline) uses, instead of a fan and finned cylinders, separate water jackets added onto each side of the crankcase to cool banks of three cylinders with water pumped through a radiator. Thus, the GT3 engine is very similar to the completely water-cooled 962 racing car’s engine, which is based on the same crankcase. The 962 differs, however, by using six individual cylinder heads while the GT1/GT3, like the air and water-cooled 959, uses two cylinder heads, each covering a bank of three cylinders. The GT3 engine could thus also be thought of as similar to a 959 engine, but with water-cooled cylinders. Up to early model year 2004 996 GT3 production, the basic casting used for the crankcase of the GT3 was the same as the air-cooled engine. The “964” casting number was visible on the bottom of the crankcase, and on areas normally machined in air-cooled applications, but not in water-cooled ones. The crankcase casting was changed in mid-2004 to a “996” casting number crankcase to eliminate these external air-cooled remnants, but internally it was the same. Because the 911 air-cooled crankcase uses the Porsche 356 engine to transmission mounting flange configuration, the 996 GT3 used a 6-speed manual gearbox also of air-cooled 911 heritage. This gearbox has interchangeable gear ratios and is more durable making it more suitable for racing than the standard type 996 gearbox. To bring the vehicle’s track-prowess to the maximum level, Porsche endowed the GT3 with enlarged brakes, a lowered, re-tuned suspension system, lighter-weight wheels and a new front bumper with matched rear spoiler to help increase downforce, thereby increasing grip. Porsche offered a no-cost option for the GT3 called the ‘Clubsport’ package. This option replaced the standard electrically adjustable leather front seats with manually adjustable racing bucket seats finished in fire-retardant fabric, single mass flywheel, bolt-in half-roll cage, 6-point drivers racing harness (also replacing the standard side airbags), fire extinguisher (mounted in the front passenger footwell) and preparation for a battery master switch. The Clubsport option was never offered to US customers, ostensibly due to the additional DOT crash testing that would have been required to allow US sales. Porsche made significant updates to the GT3 for 2004 model year (the first year the car was offered to US customers), using the 2002 996 facelift including headlights that were differentiated from the entry-level Boxster. This model is commonly known as the 996.2 GT3. Engine power output rating was raised to 381 PS and torque to 284 lb/ft (385 Nm), 80% of which was available from 2,000 rpm. The braking setup was upgraded, now featuring 6-piston calipers on the front (rears remained 4-piston), and the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake system was offered as an option. The GT3 now used the body shell of the Carrera 4. In track testing by American automotive journals, the GT3 managed a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration time of 4.5 seconds and a quarter mile time of 12.0 seconds at 118 mph (190 km/h). During skidpad testing, the GT3 posted 1.03g. Porsche’s official test-driver Walter Röhrl completed the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the 996 GT3 in 7 minutes 56 seconds, a feat which was used by Porsche to promote the car.
Another of the on-site residents, this is a P1 version of the first generation Impreza. To counter the grey imports of high-performance Japanese variants, Subaru UK commissioned Prodrive to produce a limited edition of 1,000 two-door cars in Sonic Blue, called the WRX “P1”. Released in March 2000, they were taken from the STI Type R lines and used for the P1. The car was the only coupé version of the WRX STI GC chassis to receive ABS. In order to allow for ABS, the DCCD was dropped. Engine output was boosted to 276 bhp, and the suspension optimised for British roads. Options were available from Subaru consisting of four-piston front brake calipers, electric Recaro seats, 18-inch wheels and a P1 stamped backbox. The P1, or Prodrive One, is echoed in the name of the Prodrive P2 concept car. They are among the most sought after of all Subaru Impreza models now.
Immaculate in its presentation, this is an example of the long-lived J40 series Land Cruiser, a series which ran from 1960 until 2001. Traditional body on frame SUVs, most 40 series Land Cruisers were built as 2-door models with slightly larger dimensions than the similar Jeep CJ. The model was available in short (J40/41/42), medium (J43/44/46) and long (J45/47) wheelbase versions, with petrol and diesel engines. Only minor changes were made during the vehicle’s production run whic was in 1984 except for the Brazilian-built version which continued right up to 2001.
Less familiar is this one, a Mark II Hardtop. Arriving in August 1984, the fifth generation of the Mark II family dropped the “Corona” name in Japan and became simply the Toyota Mark II. This generation Mark II had a lot of rivals including the Nissan Leopard, as well as the traditional competitor Nissan Laurel sedan. The Mark II continued to remain very viable for fleet sales, government agencies and taxi services. There are two different variations of the Mark II; the Hardtop and the Sedan. Visually they are different on the exterior while the interior remains untouched. Exterior changes on the Hardtop version includes a slanted nose which requires a new grille, a thinner headlamp assembly that match the slanted nose, frameless door windows, thinner tail lamp, front fenders and bumper. Body panel is stamped different from the standard version. The Standard version is exactly like the MX73 Toyota Cressida. It does not have the aggressive slanted front end, conservative body panels and framed windows. The Mark II (and its sister cars) received a Twin Turbo version of the 1G inline-six in October 1985. This powerful engine made the earlier turbocharged M-TE engine superfluous and it was discontinued. In August 1986 the range received a minor facelift and some technical improvements. The 1.8-liter LPG engine was replaced by a 2-liter version. The X70 station wagon was produced from 1984 to 1997 with only a few minor revisions over the years. In most markets, sales of this wagon was stopped when the next model of the sedan was introduced but they continued to be sold in Japan for use as delivery vehicles. It was finally superseded by the front-wheel-drive Mark II Qualis that was based on the Camry Gracia. In 1984 for the 1985 model year, a new Cressida was introduced by Toyota. This was the MX73 (MX72 for wagon). The 5M-E engine was mostly unchanged from the 1984 model year but gained a knock-sensor, which detected pre-ignition and adjusted timing accordingly when a lower-grade fuel was used. The 5M-E SOHC also was available in some markets. The bodystyle was all-new, larger, and more aerodynamic than previous generations. Like its main competitor at the time, the Nissan Maxima, it was given the “compact” designation, though it had grown in size. New options included were an electronic shock absorber control (TEMS), CD player, super monitor, digital gauges, standard woodgrain trim, and secondary radio controls that were placed right by the steering wheel for easier access while driving. The automatic transmission retained its Normal/Power selector as many other Toyotas would, but later in production, the Economy selection was dropped. In 1987 the automatic transmission was changed to the A340E that was also used with the 7M-GE and Lexus 1UZ-FE engine at the time. The 1988 model was not offered with a manual transmission and the wagon was discontinued in 1987. By 1988, power output was at 161 hp. Cressida badging was also used in other export markets with smaller engines. In Indonesia, the Cressida GLX-i was available with a 109 PS version of the two-litre 1G-E engine with no emissions controls and low compression suitable for lower-octane petrol. The Chaser GT Twin Turbo hardtop (GX71) series first appeared in August 1984. The “Avante” series previously introduced became a luxury upgrade starting with this generation and body styles were reduced again to a 4-door hardtop only. The exterior dimensions of this car were slightly smaller in comparison to sister cars Mark II and Cresta, but the Chaser was more performance oriented, while maintaining the advanced features and luxurious interior of the Cresta. October 1985, Mark II / Cresta 1G-GTEU vehicles equipped with “GT twin turbo” has appeared. Disc brakes are larger in diameter, and was now equipped with bucket seats, but Toyota’s TEMS electronic suspension wasn’t installed. Only Chaser “GT twin turbo S” 5-speed MT that there was only low-cost upgrades (early types only.) Minor changes were made in August 1986. The 1G-GEU engine received improvements, while the LPG engine was changed to the larger 3Y-PU, larger bumpers, front grille and changes in, substantial efforts were made to the equipment. Was popular in early-type rear combination lamps are kept to a minor change. January 1987 a special edition “Lordly” was released, May 1987 a special edition “Chaser Avante” was released. August 1987 special edition “New Extra XG Chaser” was released. In September 1987 the 2L and 2L-T diesel engines were now compliant with the 1986 passenger car emissions standards. In January 1988 special edition “Avante Supra” released as a companion to the third-generation Supra. April 1988 special edition “with extra XG Auto Air Conditioner” launch. A sixth generation Mark II arrived in August 1988.
Final Toyota I spotted was this A80 generation Supra. The fourth generation car to bear the name development work began in February 1989 under various teams for design, product planning, and engineering. By the middle of 1990, a final A80 design concept from Toyota Technical Centre Aichi was approved and frozen for production in late 1990. The first test mules were hand-built in A70 bodies during late 1990, followed by the first A80 prototypes being hand-assembled in 1991. Again using subframe, suspension,and drivetrain assemblies from the Z30 Soarer (Lexus SC300/400), test model pre-production started in December 1992 with 20 models, and official mass production began in April 1993. This redesign saw Toyota placing great emphasis on a more serious high-performance car. The new Supra was completely redesigned, with rounded body styling and featured two new engines: a naturally aspirated Toyota 2JZ-GE producing 220 hp at 5800 rpm and 210 lb·ft at 4800 rpm of torque and a twin turbocharged Toyota 2JZ-GTE making 276 hp and 318 lb·ft of torque for the Japanese version. The styling, while modern, does seem to borrow some elements from Toyota’s first grand touring sports car, the Toyota 2000GT. For the export model (America/Europe) Toyota upgraded the Supra turbo’s engine which increased the power output to 320 hp at 5600 rpm and 315 lb·ft at 4000 rpm. The turbocharged variant could achieve 0–60 mph in as low as 4.6 seconds and 1/4-mile in 13.1 seconds at 109 mph. The turbo version was tested to reach over 285 km/h (177 mph), but the cars were restricted to just 180 km/h (112 mph) in Japan and 250 km/h (155 mph) elsewhere. The twin turbos operated in sequential mode, not parallel. Initially, all of the exhaust is routed to the first turbine for reduced lag. This resulted in boost and enhanced torque as early as 1800 rpm, where it already produced 300 lb·ft (410 N·m) of torque. At 3500 rpm, some of the exhaust is routed to the second turbine for a “pre-boost” mode, although none of the compressor output is used by the engine at this point. At 4000 rpm, the second turbo’s output is used to augment the first turbo’s output. Compared to the parallel mode, sequential mode turbos provide quicker low RPM response and increased high RPM boost. This high RPM boost was also aided with technology originally present in the 7M-GE in the form of the Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) which is a way of managing the air compression pulses within the intake piping as to increase power. For this generation, the Supra received a new 6-speed Getrag/Toyota V160 gearbox on the turbo models while the naturally aspirated models made do with a 5-speed manual W58, revised from the previous version. Each model was offered with a 4-speed automatic with manual shifting mode. All vehicles were equipped with 5-spoke aluminium alloy wheels, the naturally aspirated model had 16″ rims and the turbo models were 17″. The difference in wheel size was to accommodate the larger brakes equipped as standard onto the turbo model, but in Japan were optional extras. Both models had a space saver spare tire on a steel rim to save both space and weight. Toyota took measures to reduce the weight of this new model. Aluminium was used for the hood, targa top (when fitted), front crossmember, oil and transmission pans, and the suspension upper A-arms. Other measures included hollow carpet fibers, magnesium-alloy steering wheel, plastic gas tank and lid, gas injected rear spoiler, and a single pipe exhaust. Despite having more features such as dual airbags, traction control, larger brakes, wheels, tyres, and an additional turbo, the car was at least 200 lb lighter than its predecessor. The base model with a manual transmission had a curb weight of 3,210 lb (1,460 kg). The Sport Roof added 40 lb while the automatic transmission added 55 lb. It had a 51:49 (front:rear) weight distribution. The turbo model weighed 3,450 lb (1,560 kg) for the manual, automatic added another 10 lb (4.5 kg). Weight distribution was 53% front/47% rear. The Supra was heavier than the spartan Mazda RX-7 and all aluminium bodied Acura/Honda NSX, but it was lighter than the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4. The Supra soon became something of a legend, establishing itself as an effective platform for drifting in Japan, and for roadracing, with several top 20 and top 10 One Lap of America finishes in the SSGT1 class. Despite its curb weight, in 1994 the A80 managed remarkable skidpad ratings of 0.95 lateral g’s (200 ft) and 0.98 lateral g’s (300 ft), and the car has proved popular even as it ages in the UK, with several “grey market” cars having been brought here over the years.
And finally there was this Caddy-based camper. Although you don’t see this sort of arrangement that often on new vehicles, the idea of the motor-carvan type plug-in to a pick-up had plenty of fans a while back, and that is what this was. Released in 1979, the first Volkswagen Caddy was based on the Volkswagen Group A1 platform, shared with the small family car Volkswagen Golf Mk1. The Caddy came to fruition when Volkswagen was experimenting with Golf derivatives, an estate and a pickup. Volkswagen of America was interested in the pickup, and Volkswagen released the Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup in North America, produced at the Volkswagen Westmoreland Assembly Plant in Pennsylvania from 1978 to 1984. Trim levels such as LX and Sportruck were available. In North America, the Caddy came with two engine choices. The 1.6 litre diesel and the 1.7 litre petrol. One unique feature of the diesel was that it came with a five speed gearbox, with the 5th gear labeled as “E” or “Economy”. The Caddy actually was not called Caddy until 1982 when it was released in Europe. European Caddys were built in Volkswagen’s plant TAS in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, back then within SFR Yugoslavia, from 1982 till 1992. The original Caddy was produced in South Africa until 2007, alongside the first generation Golf itself (which was sold until 2009). The stamping equipment was shipped from the closed plant in Westmoreland for both models. Subsequent generations of the Caddy changed to become a small panel van.
This was an excellent day. That the weather was so good – if a little too hot in the middle of the day – was an added bonus. What it did prove is that with the popularity of Caffeine and Machine increasing with the passage of every week, whilst it is an excellent venue to visit, you have to allow for the fact you will be sharing the space with a lot of others, so it is probably not the best choice for an exclusive type of event, but if you want good food at decent prices and plenty of cars to look at, then it scores highly. And the rest of the day worked out really well, too, leaving the organiser pleased as well as entertained by a day of great cars, friends, scenery and driving.