Following the success of the inaugural Abarth Festival in June 2021, it was not a hard decision to decide to repeat in 2022 and indeed such an event is scheduled for early July. Watch this space for the report! We decided that there would probably be interest in doing a slightly smaller event for the community earlier in the year as well, and so Abarth Spring Festival was born. Working once again with the ebullient Ciro Ciampi, Mr Petrolheadonism, we picked a date over the Easter Weekend, choosing the Monday to avoid clashes with other events and activities that would be in attendee diaries and Ciro proposed a venue of the Whilton Mill Karting and Activity Centre which is just outside Daventry and thus right in the middle of the country and easily accessible for many people. The site there is huge, easily able to accommodate 1200 cars, so to try to fill it up, we accepted Ciro’s suggestion of combining the Abarth presence with something else. He suggested a Japanese them as one which would contrast nicely, and this seemed like a good idea. Tickets went on sale in early 2022, but unlike the 2021 Abarth Festival, just did not seem to be selling, and with only three weeks to go, we had fewer than 50 Abarth takers. The Japanese side of the event was struggling even more with numbers, so for a while the event looked like it might fall flat. Undeterred, we reckoned that many would perhaps make a last minute decision, and that is what happened, once people had seen the weather forecast (sunny and pleasantly warm) and decided that they did not want to miss out. Abarth ticket sales rocketed from around 40 to 115 in the 48 hours before the event. Nothing like as many as had come to the 2021 Abarth Festival, but adding in a slightly smaller number of Japanese cars and others with supercars who had also been invited at the relatively last minute, we had a decent total on the day and were able to park cars so the event looked busy.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Although Whilton Mill is nice and central in the UK, it was no surprise that a few attendees decided that they would prefer to travel up the day before and spend a night at a nearby hotel, and indeed part of the fun of a big community event like this is the time that friends can have together. The most popular hotel choice was a Premier Inn a few miles away, and indeed that is where I booked.
When I arrived there was already one Abarth evident in the car park, though when I saw it, I had no idea to whom it belonged.
I had been at Caffeine & Machine in the afternoon (reported on separately) with Dave Quinn and Neil “Curly” Potter and although we did not actually manage to get here in a convoy, we did arrive within a few minutes of each other and so parked our cars together.
By the time I had gone inside to check-in and offload my bags in my room, the next Abarth arrived, this being the distinctive burnt orange-wrapped car of Georgina Taylor, who had made the much linger journey down from Harrogate where she lives.
Within minutes, more Abarths arrived, causing me to go back into the hotel and to ask for a bigger table for dinner, as the group was clearly expanding! Among the next cars was Matt Briggs, and then the very bold pink wrapped car of Lorraine Samnwell, among others.
I’d also picked up a message to say that Ben Waite, with his fabulous bright blue Punto Evo and his fiancee Hollie, who has a Toyota GT86 (conveniently theme compliant, so they brought both cars!) were only a few minutes away, and sure enough just as I was thinking of going in to the bar, they both showed up which was the cue for yet more photos.
Although the associated Beefeater restaurant struggled to allocate a table to us – they simply don’t have one that seats 20 people! – they were able to accommodate us all and those who arrived a little later, including Mark Rosales and Poppy Edgar who had been on the later booking slot at Caffeine & Machine, and we enjoyed a very convivial evening catching up with people who in some cases had not seen each other for a long time.
The vast majority of cars here were the 500-based models which have been on sale now since the end of 2008, following a launch at the Paris Show that year. Since that time there have been a number of detailed changes to the standard cars and a lot of limited editions. Those who really know the marque can spot most of them, but some are so subtle that unless there is a badge you can see, you will not be quite sure which version you are looking at. It used to be relatively easy, when the model was first launched, as there was only one version as shipped ex works called the 500. It had a 135 bhp 1.4 litre turbo-charged engine coupled to a five speed manual gearbox, with 16″ alloys as standard, and the option of 17″ wheels, and a colour palette comprising of two whites (BossaNova White, the standard colour, or the pearlescent Funk White), Red (Pasadoble), Pale Grey (Campovolo) or Black. If you wanted more power – 160 bhp – then you could order an Esseesse kit, which came in a large wooden crate, containing new wheels, springs, an ECU upgrade, the Monza exhaust system and badging. It was dealer fitted and could be applied at any time within the first 12 months or 10,000 miles from registration. Needless to say, it proved popular. As were many of the optional extras, with stickers for the sides, a large scorpion for the bonnet and even a chequered pattern for the roof among the personalisation options offered. There were not many of those original cars here, not least because sales volumes in the early years were much lower than they are now, and of course those first cars are now well over ten years old.
Whilst a sliding glass sunroof (Skydome in Fiat/Abarth parlance) was an option from inception, fans of open air motoring had to wait until Geneva 2010 for the launch of the 500C models, with a roll-back roof which provided the best of open-topped motoring and yet still with the rigidity of the regular body style. For the first few months these cars only came with the robotised manual gearbox, which limited the appeal in the eyes of some, but they also introduced us to the “bi-colore”, a series of two tone cars, with upper and lower halves of the body painted in different colours. It took us a while to get used to this, as no other production road cars had been painted like this for some time, but now this is seen as yet another of those marque defining attributes, and (perhaps with the exception of the rarely seen Rally Beige and Officina Red combination that would come for 2014) in the eyes of many this distinctive look enhances the appeal of the cars still further.
Having used the legendary 695 badging from the 1960s on the Tributo cars, at the 2012 Geneva Show, Abarth dusted off the 595 name that had been used on the less powerful of the Nuova 500 based cars of the same generation, and created two new versions which we should think of as Series 2 cars, the 595 Turismo and Competizione, both of which could be bought in either closed or open top C guise, with either the 5 speed manual or robotised automated gearshifts. Both models had the 160 bhp engine as standard. Effectively they were a replacement for the Esseesse kit, and it meant that the cars were produced complete at the factory, rather than needing the dealer to undertake the upgrade (and the associated paperwork), though Abarth did not withdraw the Esseesse kits from the market for some while. Turismo, as the name suggests was aimed slightly less extreme in intent, featuring standard leather upholstery, upgraded dampers and climate control, Xenon headlights and Alutex interior details. The sportier Abarth 595 Competizione replaced the leather seats with Sabelt cloth sport seats and Alutex with aluminium, while adding p-cross-drilled brakes and the Record Monza dual-mode exhaust. Some new colours were introduced, and very soon one of those, Record Grey, frequently combined with a tan interior became one of the most popular choices.
During the life of the 500-based model there have been an almost bewildering array of limited edition cars, not all of which have been sold in the UK. One of the most special is the 695 Edizione Maserati of Sam Cottenden, a car which was off the road for many months in 2021 awaiting a turbo actuator part, but once this finally arrived, her much loved car has been to many events and she brought it here. It was at the 2012 Geneva Show when Abarth first showed the 695C Edizione Maserati, a limited production version of the Abarth 500C convertible with the 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v engine rated at 180 hp, a 5-speed electrically operated manual Abarth Competizione gearbox with steering wheel controls, Maserati “Neptune” 17″ alloy wheels with performance tyres, Brembo 305 mm brake discs with fixed four-piston caliper and special shock absorbers, Record Modena variable back-pressure “dual mode” exhaust, Pontevecchio Bordeaux body colour, Xenon headlights with dipped and driving light functions, sand beige Poltrona Frau leather seats with containment strips featuring single-layer padding and the pista grey contrasting electro-welding, black leather steering wheel, aluminium pedal unit and sill plate, carbon fibre kick plate, boosted hi-fi audio system. Production was limited to 499 units, and around 20 of them came to the UK, all in the Pontevecchio Bordeaux colour. The grey cars were offered for sale in Asia, but such is the way with these things that several of these have subsequently been brought into the UK.
Rumours started to circulate towards the end of 2014 that Abarth were going to upgrade the Competizione model, so as better to bridge the gap between the Turismo and the 190 bhp 695 Biposto that had been added to the range earlier in the year. It was Geneva 2015 when the result was finally shown to an expectant fan base. Most exciting news was that thanks to a bigger Garrett Turbo, the engine had been tweaked to 180 bhp, and with reduced CO2 emissions. A standard spec that included Koni Dampers, Brembo brakes, Xenon lights, Sabelt seats, Climate Control, parking sensors as well as other refinements that had been added like the TFT instrument display all proved very compelling, so not long after the first cars reached the UK in June of 2015, I found temptation too hard to resist, and as is well documented here, swapped my 2010 car for one of these. At the time I ordered it, Cordolo Red, a tri-coat pearlescent paint which shimmers in bright sunlight looked set to become one of the most popular colours of the lot, even though it is a cost option. Indeed, the Launch Edition models were all offered either in this colour or Scorpion Black, with black wheels. Surprisingly, the colour was not carried over to the Series 4 cars.
It was around this time that Abarth announced a new colour, Podium Blue. There was a long wait during which everyone tried to guess just what shade it would be. We all got it wrong, but when it emerged, we were all stunned by this rich deep blue which looked great by itself, but also went well with stripes and stickers in red and yellow as well as white and grey. The colour proved very popular and was offered for several years.
What is known as the Series 4 version of the familiar 595 reached the markets in the middle of 2016. After rumours had circulated all winter following the launch of the facelifted Fiat 500 last year, Abarth finally unveiled the Series 4 at the end of May 2016. Initially, we were told that the cars would not be available in the UK until September, but that came forward somewhat, with dealers all receiving demo cars in June, and the first customers taking delivery in July. Three regular production versions of both the closed car and the open-topped C were initially available, all badged 595, and called Custom, Turismo and Competizione, as before, though numerous limited edition models have since appeared and in most case disappeared. The most significant changes with the Series 4 are visual, with a couple of new colours, including the much asked for Modena Yellow and a different red, called Abarth Red, which replaces both the non-metallic Officina and – slightly surprisingly – the tri-coat pearlescent Cordolo Red. as well as styling changes front and rear. The jury is still out on these, with many, me included, remaining to be convinced. At the front, the new air intake does apparently allow around 15 – 20 % more air in and out, which will be welcome, as these cars do generate quite a lot of heat under the bonnet. Competizione models for the UK retain the old style headlights, as they have Xenon lights as standard, whereas the Custom and Turismo cars have reshaped units. At the back, there are new light clusters and a new rear bumper and diffuser. Inside, the most notable change is the replacement of the Blue & Me system with a more modern uConnect Audio set up, which brings a new colour screen to the dash. Mechanically, there is an additional 5 bhp on the Custom (now 145) and Turismo (now 165 bhp) and the option of a Limited Slip Diff for the Competizione, which is likely to prove a popular option. Details of the interior trim have changed, with a filled-in glovebox like the US market cars have always had, and electric windows switches that are like the US ones, as well as a part Alcantara trim to the steering wheel in Competizione cars. These cars have now been on offer for five years and with Abarth sales on the rise, it was no surprise that they were particularly well represented here.
The Modena Yellow colour has proved particularly popular and indeed there is an interest group, known as Abarth Bees set up specifically for owners of these cars. We decided to try to park as many of them as we could in one group to maximise the impact of this bright colour.
There was another reason for doing so. The community was both shocked and saddened to learn a couple of weeks before this event of the passing of Mark Johnson, a very popular character who loved his cars and was an inveterate attendee at events. Mark had a Modena Yellow 595, which he had personalised somewhat, which was known as “Satan” and he had a personal plate on the car to remind us of this. No-one will ever forget this perfect gent and great friend of the community. Accordingly, at noon, we brought the whole site together, and stood in silence whilst two of his closest friends, Mark Lucas and Nicole Louise delivered poignant tributes, from the heart, to a character we will all miss very much.
The success of the bold colours encouraged Abarth to offer some further options, with Adrenaline Green being added to the palette in 2018.
New for 2021 was a deep blue colour, called Rally Blue which has a matt finish to it. I’ve only ever seen a handful cars so painted, but we had one here today and very smart it looks, too.
The 695 Rivale was a celebration of Fiat’s partnership with Riva, which had already seen a special Riva version of the 500,. Described as being “the most sophisticated Abarth ever”, it is available either as a hatch or a cabriolet, with both of them featuring a two-tone Riva Sera Blue and Shark Grey paintwork. The Rivale is adorned with an aquamarine double stripe, satin chrome finish on the door handles and satin chrome moulding on the tailgate, various aesthetic elements inspired by the Riva 56 Rivale yachts and ‘695 Rivale’ logos, joined by Brembo Brakes, Koni suspension, and 17-inch Supersport alloy wheels. Enhancing the nautical theme the new 695 Rivale features either a carbon fibre or mahogany dashboard, black mats with blue inserts, blue leather seats and door panels, carbon fibre kick plates, special steering wheel wrapped in blue and black leather and with a mahogany badge, blue leather instrument panel cover, and mahogany gear lever knob and kick plate. These are joined by the standard Uconnect infotainment with a 7-inch display, which is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and there is also a hand-written numbered plate that can be customised with the mane of the customer’s yacht on request. Powering the 695 Rivale is the same 1.4-litre turbocharged engine that makes 180PS (177hp) and 184lb/ft of torque, that features in the 595 Competizione, allowing it to go from rest to 100km/h (62mph) in 6.7 seconds and up to a top speed of 225km/h (140mph). This is a regular model in the range, but confusingly, there is also the Abarth 695 Rivale 175 Anniversary, created to celebrate 175 years of the Riva brand. Just 350 of these were produced, half of them the hatch and the other half cabriolets. These featured 17-inch alloy wheels with a special pattern, celebratory badge on the outside, hand-crafted details such as the two-tone colour – blue and black hand-stitched leather seats with a celebratory logo stitched onto the headrest, carbon dashboard silk screen printed with special logo, numbered plate. Standard Rivale cars arrived in the UK in April 2018, and quite a few have been sold. They always attract lots of interest when they do appear.
A top of the range 595 Esseesse model was added in early 2019. These cars have only sold in quite small numbers, so you don’t see them that often. The majority of these cars seem to be Campovolo Grey, and indeed that was the case here, though other colours including Scorpion Black are available. The most obvious change externally is the adoption of the neat white painted 17inch multi-spoke alloy wheels that are an Esseesse trademark, while elsewhere it gets the same recently reprofiled bumpers as the standard 595. Inside, there’s a pair of bespoke figure-hugging Sabelt high-backed seats with a carbonfibre shell and some natty red stitching, while carbonfibre trim also covers the pedals and the dashboard. Under the bonnet is the familiar 178bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre engine, but here it breathes in through a BMC filter and exhales from a switchable carbonfibre-tipped Akrapovič twin exit exhaust. There’s no more power than the old Competizione, but the Esseesse gets that model’s Brembo callipers for its 305mm front discs, plus a limited-slip differential. The suspension is largely carried over, including Koni’s frequency selective dampers. All this comes at a price though, and so this has remained a relatively rare sighting compared to the Competizione which many still feel offers rather better value for money.
Abarth announced two limited edition cars in the autumn of 2020. One of them was represented here, the 595 Yamaha Monster Edition. One of two limited production (or Collector Edition, as Abarth have called them) cars released in September of 2020, this was the cheaper of the pair.. It was inspired by the MotoGP superbike, while the more expensive Scorpioneoro that was released at the same time was designed, so we are told. Based on the 165 bhp Turismo and like the Scorpioneoro, this limited-edition car gets new Abarth sports seats, albeit with blue finishes and the ‘Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’ logo on the head restraints. The blue lining contrasts with the black dashboard, while the numbered plate denoting the car’s special-edition status is placed on the central tunnel. Other features include the flat-bottomed steering wheel, sport button and the Record Monza exhaust with active valve. There’s a specially designed braking system, too, which complements the Koni rear suspension. That itself is fitted with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) technology designed to improve the ride and handling characteristics of the car. 2000 were produced globally.
Many owners modify theirs which is somewhat in the tradition of how Abarth started. Some focus very much under the bonnet, whereas others want visual changes, and of course there are plenty of owners who do both. The result is almost always something which is unique and these cars tend to become well known in the community. There were numerous examples here.
These two cars are particularly striking with their very bold colours. The pink one belongs to Lorraine Samwell and the burnt orange is the pride and joy of Georgina Taylor.
Also well known in the community is this car, Ben Au’s 500 GTO. He brought it to the UK when he returned back here from Hong Kong, and he has continued to modify it, not least as it is used to test out some of the products that his company, Tuning Art bring to market.
This much modified and lowered car belongs to Emma Louise, and she was won many awards at shows for the result of her imagination and her hard work. Her car is always beautifully presented, as well, a real tribute to her love of the car and the community.
This is not so much modified as bespoke. It made its first appearance at a UK event last October, following acquisition by Abarth fan Dave Quinn earlier in 2021 and a long process to get the car so it could be road-registered . Effectively this takes its inspiration from the Assetto Corse race cars produced in 2010 and it has a Romeo Ferrari bodykit on it. Just two were created and the other one is in Italy. It attracted lots of interest at this event.
Pleasingly there were several examples of the Abarth Punto here, thanks to a concerted effort by the Abarth Punto Collective to get a good showing of the model. These were never common but have now become really quite rare, especially the earlier Abarth Grande Punto. The Abarth Grande Punto debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt IAA Show, going on sale in the UK in late summer of 2008. Offering 155 bhp from its 1.4 litre T-Jet engine, coupled to a six speed gearbox, and riding on 45 profile 17″ alloys, the standard car got rave reviews from the journalists when they first tried it, and they were even more impressed by the changes wrought by the optional Esseesse kit. This increased power to 177 bhp, brought 18″ OZ lower profile wheels, whilst new springs lowered the ride height by 15-20mm, and high-performance front brake pads and cross-drilled front disc brakes helped the car to stop more quickly. The most distinctive feature of the car were the white alloy wheels, though, as owners found, keeping these clean is not a job for the uncommitted, and many have a second set of wheels that they use fro grubbier conditions. Despite the positive press at launch, the car entered a very competitive sector of the market, and the combination of being relatively unknown, a limited number of dealers and the existence of established rivals from Renault and others meant that this always remained a left-field choice. The owners loved them, though, and they still do. The oldest cars have now had their 13th birthdays, and some have amassed relatively big mileages, but they are still a car for the cognoscenti.
Also here were a number of examples of the follow-on model, the Punto Evo. This was 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.
Slightly surprisingly, there were fewer examples of the Abarth 124 Spider here than the Punto. This car was developed in parallel with the Fiat model. It does cost a lot more, and there are those who think you don’t get enough extra for your money, but those who have driven it will tell you otherwise. You certainly get more power. The 1.4 MultiAir turbo unit jumps up from 138bhp to 168bhp, while torque also increases by a modest 10Nm to 250Nm, which gives it a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds, which is half a second quicker than the 2.0-litre Mazda MX-5. The top speed is 143mph. It weighs just 1060kg meaning a power-to-weight ratio of 158bhp-per-tonne, and with the new Record Monza exhaust system it sounds great even at idle. The Abarth version gets a stiffer suspension setup than the regular Fiat 124 Spider, with Bilstein dampers and beefed-up anti-roll bars. Bigger Brembo brakes also feature, with aluminium calipers. It can be had with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with paddles, and the latter gets a Sport mode for quicker shifts. Many of the UK cars sport the ‘Heritage Look’ pack, which is a no-cost option. It brings a matt black bonnet and bootlid, plus red exterior trim detailing and has proved popular. The £29,565 starting price gets you standard equipment such as cruise control, climate control, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and satnav, plus Alcantara black and red (or pure black) seat trim. The automatic gearbox is a £2,035 extra, while an optional visibility pack brings LED DRLs, auto lights and wipers and rear parking sensors. Sales ceased during 2019, with around 1800 cars having been brought into the UK, so this is always going to be a rare car, and values are already increasing at a rate reflecting its desirability and the difficulty in finding one.
Follow on to the Cinquecento was the Seicento, and that was represented here by the Sporting version, debuting in 1997. It did not differ much from its predecessor, retaining the same engines, chassis and general dimensions, although it did gain a minor 9 cm in length (total length of 3.34 m). At launch, the Seicento was available with three trim levels; a basic ‘S’ with black bumpers and spartan equipment and initially the 899 cc 39 PS FIAT 100 series engine; an ‘SX’ model, a slight upgrade over the ‘S’ with colour-coded bumpers, electric windows, central locking and a sunroof – which was also available as a ‘Citymatic’ with a clutchless manual gearchange – and a ‘Sporting’ with the larger FIAT FIRE series 1108 cc 55 PS engine, 20 mm (0.8 in) lower suspension and anti-roll bars added. Cosmetically, this version gained 13″ alloy wheels, sports seats. An Abarth styling kit was also available with a body kit with optional Abarth 14″ wheels a close-ratio gearbox, sill kick plates, embroidered headrests, leather gear stick and steering wheel, colour highlighted trim in the bumpers, side skirts and a spoiler also available. Both the sporting and the Abarths were available with ABS, air-conditioning and power steering but due to cost not very many owners took up the options. In 1999, the FIRE engine was used in the special ‘Suite’ version, which came with air-conditioning. A special edition ‘Soleil’ model was available in some markets, which was based on the ‘SX’ model but came with a full-length electrically-folding fabric roof. In 2001, after the update, all cars were given clear indicator lenses, with the Sporting model getting a restyled bodykit. Power steering was still an option, in lower end Seicentos. A ‘Michael Schumacher’ edition of the Sporting, with ABS and the Abarth styling kit, was also launched at this time to celebrate the Ferrari driver’s Formula One success, This model was almost identical to the Abarth kit with the exception of chrome gear stick surrounds and Michael’s signature on the boot lid and side skirt. A limited edition plate and number was also on the passenger door. In 2004, the model was withdrawn from the UK market, and production of RHD models ceased, following the arrival of the new and more practical Panda. The LHD model was facelifted, gaining a new design for the wheel rims and the introduction of the new Fiat logo to the rear. In 2005, the name Seicento was replaced by 600 (on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first edition, in 1955) together with some changes in the front and in versions donations: now the name Fiat is written on the seats. The new versions now were named “Class” and “50 anniversary”, thus reminding the strict relationship between this model and the previous one. Production continued until 2010 by which time over 1.33 million units had been built. Is this an Abarth or not? By the 1990s, the Abarth badge was not being used on any standard production models, but there were Abarth accessories still available, especially for the smallest Fiats, the Cinquecento and Seicento so yes, I think this rather fabulous Seicento Sporting does count.
ABARTH OF THE DAY
Towards the end of the day, a number of prizes were presented. Overall Car of the Day went to Ed Tan whose somewhat bespoke BiColore 595C Competizione never fails to delight all those who see it. Ed keeps saying that the modifications are finished and then he shows up at another event with another couple of changes.
AND MORE PICTURES
Once a lot of the cars had gone, those who remained started to move their cars around, and there were all sorts of new groupings of cars and people pointing phones and cameras at them from all angles. I was among those people!
THE JDM CARS
The third generation of the Civic Type R was offered in two distinct models: one developed for the Japanese domestic market and the other for UK and international markets each matching the availability of their regular 8th generation counterparts. The Japanese market Civic Type R (FD2) went on sale on 30 March 2007. For the first time, the JDM Civic Type R was sold as a four-door sedan, rather than a three-door hatchback. The FD2 Type R was bigger, wider and heavier than the EP3 Type R. The wheelbase grew from 2,570 mm (101.2 in) to 2,700 mm (106.3 in), giving the FD2 more stability during high speed cornering. The Japanese model’s engine power output is higher than the European versions, with 225 PS (222 bhp) being generated at 8,000 rpm and 215 Nm (159 lb/ft) of torque peaking at 6,100 rpm (versus 201 PS (198 bhp) at 7,800 rpm and 193 Nm (142 lb/ft) at 5,600 rpm for the European model). Honda quoted that mid-range is increased by 10 PS (10 bhp). Power is sent to the front wheels through a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission, and a helical limited slip differential is fitted as standard. The front brake discs are 320 mm (12.6 in) diameter and fitted with four piston Brembo calipers. The car is fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres having a size of 225/40 R18. Honda claims the chassis is 50% more rigid than the previous Japan-only pre-facelift DC5 Integra Type R and 25% more rigid than the previous Japan-only facelift DC5 Integra Type R. The FD2 features an independent rear suspension rather than the torsion beam configuration used on the FN2 Type-R. To save weight, aluminium is used extensively and bonded with adhesive instead of welded. Though the chassis is larger and more rigid than the JDM Integra Type R, it is only 70 kg (154 lb) heavier. Exterior wise, the front bumper is wider and different from the standard Civic designed aerodynamically. The rear bumper features a diffuser built into the bumper and a large rear wing completes the aero package. Inside, the trademark black and red bucket seats are no longer made by Recaro as with previous versions but designed in-house by Honda. Also gone is the Momo made steering wheel, instead replaced by a Honda made version. The familiar red-on-black colour scheme or black-on-black scheme is offered on Championship White and Super Platinum Metallic Silver while a black-on-black scheme with red stitching is for the Vivid Blue Pearl model only. In October 2008, the Type R received new colours, those being Premium White Pearl, Premium Deep Violet Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl. The Vivid Blue Pearl colour was dropped. In back to back tests, the Civic Type R (FD2) was on average 1 second quicker than the Integra Type-R (DC5) at the Tsukuba Circuit and four seconds faster at the longer Suzuka Circuit. In a back-to-back test on the United Kingdom TV program Fifth Gear, the FD2 Type-R was three seconds quicker than the equivalent FN2 UK version around Castle Combe Circuit in wet conditions. However, the FN2 managed a 13.1 second quarter mile pass at Killarney Raceway. Approximately 13,000 units of FD2 Civic Type R were produced until it ceased production in August 2010 due to failure to meet the upcoming emission requirements. Following the previous success due to the introduction of the FN2 Civic Type R from Europe in 2009, another batch of FN2 Type R with minor updates was available in Japan from fall 2010. However, the engine was the same K20ZA straight-4 as used in the European version.
In September 2012, there were rumours about the confirmation of the next-generation of the Honda Civic Type R at the Paris Motor Show. A preview took place at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014. In January 2015, Honda announced that the production-ready model of the fourth generation of the Civic Type R (called the FK2) would debut at the 85th Geneva Motor Show held in March alongside the European debut of the NSX. It is the first factory turbocharged Civic Type R.The FK2 Civic Type R is powered by the K20C1 Direct Fuel Injection 1,996 cc turbocharged Inline-four engine with Earth Dreams Technology, having a power output of 310 PS (306 bhp) at 6,500 rpm and maximum torque of 400 Nm (295 lb/ft) at 2,500–4,500 rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission with a factory equipped plate-style limited-slip differential. Honda claimed that the Type R can accelerate from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.7 seconds. The engine is manufactured at Honda’s Anna Engine Plant in Ohio before being exported to the UK. The fuel tank has a capacity of 50 L (13 US gal) and fuel consumption is 30.1/46.3 mpg (5 l/100km-7.81 l/100km) and 38.7 mpg (6 l/100km) (combined). Combined CO2 emission is 170g/km and the car has achieved Euro 6 Emission Standard. The Civic Type R is equipped with dual front airbags, front side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags. Larger brakes are fitted for improved stopping power with front brakes having 351 mm (13.8 in) ventilated and drilled discs and rear brakes having 305 mm (12 in) solid discs. The anti-lock braking system, electronic brake-force distribution, hill start assist, and vehicle stability assist are standard. Introduced at the 2016 Tokyo Motor Show, the Mugen Civic Type R is an aerodynamic package for the Civic Type R. The package includes an adjustable front lip spoiler, front canards, side skirts and a rear diffuser. The rear wing has been replaced with a GT style fixed rear wing. These elements are made from carbon fibre, a carbon fibre hood was also included as an option. There were no changes made to the drivetrain although a new exhaust system having a single exhaust pipe instead of the quad was fitted. The Black Edition marked the end of the production of the FK2 Civic Type R. Based on the GT Trim Type R, notable features include black exterior paint with red accents, black interior with red stitching and red brake calipers. Production was limited to 100 units in UK. In other countries of Europe a White Edition was also released, still based on the GT Trim Type R, similar to the Black Edition but with white accents.
Also here was the follow-on Civic Type R, a model which was received to great acclaim (except perhaps visually, with few liking the rather edgy and fussy styling), and many proclaiming it the best hot hatch of the time. Production has just ceased in advance of a new model expected later this year.
The S2000 was first alluded to at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, with the Honda Sport Study Model (SSM) concept car, a rear-wheel-drive roadster powered by a 2.0 litre inline 4-cylinder engine and featuring a rigid ‘high X-bone frame’ which Honda claimed improved the vehicle’s rigidity and collision safety. The concept car was constructed with aluminium body panels and featured a 50:50 weight distribution. The SSM appeared at many automotive shows for several years afterwards, hinting at the possibility of a production version, which Honda finally announced in 1999. It featured a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout with power being delivered by a 1,997 cc inline 4-cylinder DOHC-VTEC engine. The engine produced outputs of 237–247 hp, and 153–161 lb/ft depending on the target market., and it was mated to a six-speed manual transmission and Torsen limited slip differential. The S2000 achieved what Honda claimed as “the world’s top level, high performance 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine”. Features included independent double wishbone suspension, electrically assisted steering and integrated roll hoops. The compact and lightweight engine, mounted entirely behind the front axle, allowed the S2000 to achieve a 50:50 front/rear weight distribution and lower rotational inertia. An electrically powered vinyl top with internal cloth lining was standard, with an aluminium hardtop available as an optional extra. Although the S2000 changed little visually during its production run, there were some alterations, especially in 2004, at which point production of the S2000 moved to Suzuka. The facelifted car introduced 17 in wheels and Bridgestone RE-050 tyres along with a retuned suspension to reduce oversteer. The spring rates and shock absorber damping were altered and the suspension geometry modified to improve stability by reducing toe-in changes under cornering loads. The subframe has also received a revision in design to achieve a high rigidity. In the gearbox the brass synchronisers were replaced with carbon fibre. In addition, cosmetic changes were made to the exterior with new front and rear bumpers, revised headlight assemblies, new LED tail-lights, and oval-tipped exhausts. Although all the cosmetic, suspension and most drivetrain upgrades were included on the Japanese and European S2000s, they retained the 2.0l F20C engine and remained designated as an AP1. A number of special editions were made, such as the more track-oriented Club Racer version offered in the US in 2007/8 and the Type S for Japan in 2008/9. The UK received a GT for 2009, which featured a removable hard-top and an outside temperature gauge. The S2000 Ultimate Edition (continental Europe) and GT Edition 100 (UK) were limited versions of the S2000 released to commemorate the end of production. Both included Grand Prix White body colour, removable hard top, graphite-coloured alloy wheels, red leather interior with red colouring for stitching on the gear lever gaiter. The Ultimate Edition was unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show and went on sale in March 2009. The GT Edition 100 was a limited run of 100 units released for the UK market. In addition to the Ultimate Edition’s specification, it featured a black S2000 badge and a numbered plaque on the kick-plate indicating which vehicle in the series it was. The car was never replaced, as Honda decided to head off in the same direction as Toyota, producing a series of very dull appliance-like cars that focused on low emissions and dependability but of no appeal to the sort of enthusiast who bought (and probably kept!) an S2000.
Rather different is this, the Honda e, an all-electric small car with retro-inspired looks which definitely has visual appeal. It does not come cheap and the range is very limited, to well under 100 miles, which has meant that sales have not been that great, more’s the pity.
The MX-5 was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show on February 10, 1989, with a price tag of US$14,000. The MX-5, with production code NA, was made available for delivery to buyers worldwide in the following dates: May 1989 (as a 1990 model) in the US and Canada; September 1, 1989 in Japan; and 1990 in Europe. An optional hardtop was made available at the same time, in sheet moulding compound (SMC). Demand initially outstripped production, fueled by enthusiastic press reviews. In Japan, the car was not badged as a Mazda, as the company was in the process of launching different marques for deluxe models, similar to Nissan’s Infiniti, Honda’s Acura and Toyota’s Lexus. Instead, the Mazda MX-5 was sold as the Eunos Roadster, and was joined by the MX-3/AZ-3/Eunos Presso (based on Japanese Mazda dealerships). The exterior dimensions and the engine displacement were also in compliance with Japanese Government compact car regulation. The body shell of the NA was all-steel with a lightweight aluminium bonnet. Overall dimensions were 3,970 mm (156 in) in length, 1,675 mm (65.9 in) in width, and 1,235 mm (48.6 in) in height. Without options, the NA weighed only 980 kg (2,160 lb). It had a drag coefficient of Cd=0.38. Suspension was an independent double wishbone on all four wheels, with an anti-roll bar at the front and rear. Four-wheel disc brakes, ventilated at the front, were behind alloy wheels with 185/60HR14 radial tyres. The base model came with stamped steel wheels from the then-current 323/Protege.The original MX-5, with standard manual transmission, came with a 1.6 L DOHC inline four-cylinder engine, producing 115 bhp at 6,500 rpm, and 136 N⋅m (100 lbf⋅ft) of torque at 5,500 rpm. The engine employs an electronic fuel injection system using a vane-type air flow meter and an electronic ignition system with a camshaft angle sensor instead of a distributor. This engine, codenamed B6ZE(RS), was specifically designed for the MX-5 and featured a lightened crankshaft, flywheel, and aluminium sump with cooling fins. An MX-5 with the optional automatic transmission had its 1.6L engine tuned to develop peak torque at lower rpm’s (136 Nm, 100 lb/ft at 4000 rpm) to better mate with the automatic transmission gearing and torque requirements. This tuning resulted in a lower peak power of 105 bhp at 6500 rpm. The standard transmission was a five-speed manual, derived from the one used in the Mazda 929/Luce (also rear-wheel drive) The gear shift was the subject of close attention during development, with engineers told to make it shift in as small a gear pattern as possible and with minimal effort. In Japan and the US, an optional automatic transmission was also offered. The Japanese and American markets also received an optional viscous limited-slip differential, although it was only available for cars with a manual transmission. To achieve the low introductory price, the base model was stripped. It had steel wheels, manual steering, roll-up windows, and no stereo or air-conditioning. Power steering, air-conditioning, and stereo were added as standard equipment in later years. The NA could reach 60 mph in 8.3 seconds and had a top speed of 203 km/h (126 mph) although Japanese market Eunos models were limited to 180 km/h (110 mph). This first generation of Miata (often referred to as the NA) included a special Limited Edition of 2000 examples in 1991, produced in British racing green with the first use of tan interior, to celebrate the highly successful launch of the MX-5 in the UK. These have a numbered brass plaque on the Windshield Frame and on the front of the Owners Book, and are fitted with alloy wheels from MSW (Mazda Sports Workshop) which are often mistaken for BBS, but which are entirely unique to this model. The NA with an automatic transmission reached 60 mph in 9.9 seconds and had a top speed of 181 km/h (112 mph). In 1993, 1,500 LE (Limited Edition) cars were produced. This model featured red leather interior, upgraded stereo, Nardi shift knob, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, limited-slip differential, power windows, power mirrors, power steering, air conditioning, BBS wheels, Bilstein shocks, front and rear spoilers, ABS brakes, stainless sill plates, and Harley style peanut tank door speaker trim. All 1993 LE cars came in black. For the 1994 model year, the first-generation MX-5 was freshened with the introduction of the more powerful 1,839 cc BP-ZE engine, dual airbags placed in a redesigned dashboard, the addition of a Mazda badge on the front fascia in the US and a limited-slip differential in some markets. The chassis was substantially braced to meet new side-impact standards, most visibly by adding a “track bar” between the seatbelt towers inside the car, but also to the front and rear subframes. Also, 1994 and 1995 were the only years in which Mazda offered a light metallic blue paint (Laguna Blue Mica), making these cars rare collectors cars to some. 1994 also saw the introduction of the “R” package, a sport-themed package with Bilstein shocks, stiffer sway bars, retuned springs, subtle front and rear underbody spoilers, and a Torsen LSD. Air conditioning was optional, but the “R” package was not available with power steering, leather, or an automatic transmission. It can also be identified by a red Miata badge on the rear instead of the usual black. No body style changes were made, however. Halfway through the 1997 model year the hazard light button was changed to a black button with red symbol as opposed to the earlier red button with white symbol. The new 1,839 cc engine produced 129 bhp at 6,500 rpm and 149 Nm (110 lb/ft) of torque at 5,500 rpm, which was then increased to 133 bhp at 6,500 rpm and 155 Nm (114 lb/ft) of torque at 5,500 rpm for the 1996 model year. The base weight increased to 990 kg (2,180 lb). Performance was thus improved slightly, because the additional weight was more than offset by the extra power. In some markets such as Europe, the 1.6 L engine continued to be available as a lower-cost option, but was detuned to 89 bhp. This lower-powered model did not receive all the additional chassis bracing of the new 1.8 L. Japanese and U.S. models offered an optional Torsen LSD, which was far more durable than the previous viscous differential. There were a number of trim levels and special editions available, determined by local Mazda marketing departments. In the US, the base model was offered for US$13,995 at launch and was very basic, with manual windows, steel wheels, and without air conditioning or power steering. The “A Package” offered power steering, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminium alloy wheels and cassette stereo. The “B Package” added power windows, along with cruise control and headrest speakers, while the “C Package” included a tan interior and top with leather seats. The “R Package” was for racing, and the annual special editions were formalised as “M Editions”. These included all of the luxury options from the “C Package” as well as special paint and, sometimes, special wheels. The first generation MX-5 was phased out after the 1997 model year (with the exception of 400 limited edition Berkeley models sold only in the UK in 1998 to mark the end of the NA), with the final 1,500 NAs produced for the US market being the “STO” (“Special Touring Option”) versions.
The redesigned MX-5 was previewed at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1997. In February 1998, Mazda released the second-generation MX-5, production code NB, for the 1999 model year. The NB featured a more powerful engine and external styling cues borrowed from the third generation Mazda RX-7, designed in 1995 by Tom Matano. Prices in the United States, the main market for the MX-5, started at US$19,770. Although many parts of the interior and body were different, the most notable changes were the headlamps: the first generation’s retractable headlamps no longer passed pedestrian safety tests and were replaced by fixed ones. The new car grew slightly in width compared to the earlier model and was slightly more aerodynamic than the original, with a drag coefficient of Cd=0.36. Other notable improvements include a glass rear window with defogger for the convertible top and a retractable wind deflector behind the seats. The NB continued to employ four-wheel independent suspension, with enlarged anti-roll bars at the front and rear, but the wheels, tires and brakes were significantly upgraded: anti-lock braking system was offered as an option; alloy wheels were now 14″ or 15″ in diameter and 6″ (150 mm) in width, depending on the trim package; sports models were equipped with the larger wheels and 195/50VR15 tyres. The BP-4W engine remained at 1.8 L but received several minor updates. The engine compression ratio was raised from 9.0:1 to 9.5:1 by adding slightly domed pistons. The intake cam was changed to a solid lifter design with a stronger cam; the intake runners in the head were straightened and the intake manifold was mounted higher up. Mazda’s Variable Intake Control System was introduced, which effectively gave a long narrow intake manifold at low rpm for better swirl, changing to a short, free-flowing manifold at high rpm for maximum breathing. Power output of the new engine was quoted at 140.0 bhp with 157 Nm (116 lb/ft) of torque. The 1.6 L B6 engine remained available in Europe and Japan. The base-model 1.8 L NB could reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.8 s and had a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). For the 2001 model year, a facelift to the second-generation MX-5 was released. There were some minor exterior changes, with a press-release of July 18, 2000, announcing the changes as “resulting in an even sportier and more forceful look”. Fog lamps, previously an option, were made standard. The headlamps now featured projector style low beams and separate high beam lenses. The rear turn signals lamps were changed from amber to clear to make the car look more modern. Some cockpit elements were changed, the most notable being the redesigned centre console, and the white faced and red backlit instrument panel gauges from the 2000 Special Edition were made standard, replacing the previous blue faced gauges. The seats were also upgraded, incorporating more support in the side bolsters and taller headrests. Added for top models (designated ‘Sport’ in the U.K) were 16-inch wheels with 205/45VR16 low-profile tyres, larger brakes at the front and rear, additional chassis stiffening braces, a limited-slip differential, a 6-speed manual transmission, Bilstein suspension and leather seats. The upgraded tires and suspension allowed the new model to pull 0.91 g in lateral grip in tests by Car and Driver magazine. The body was strengthened, gaining 16% in bending rigidity and 22% in torsional rigidity. With the minimum of options, the 2001 model weighed 1,065 kg (2,348 lb). The 1.8 L BP6D engine was slightly modified and now featured variable valve timing on the intake camshaft. The intake and exhaust system also received a minor upgrade. These modifications resulted in a power output of 152 bhp (Japan, UK and Australia) or 143 bhp (US only). In the United States, Mazda erroneously quoted the power figure for the Japanese and Australian model in early catalogues. Car and Driver magazine and numerous owners confirmed the missing power, and Mazda offered to buy back the 2001 cars due to those misleading power claims. Owners who did not take up the buy back offer were offered an apology and free servicing for the warranty period.
The BK series Mazda3 was launched in Japan in October 2003 as the Axela. The model was well received by the automotive press for its performance, handling, styling and interior, with some describing it as feeling like a more expensive sports sedan/saloon despite its value-oriented price. Some criticisms have included fuel economy and crash test results (only receiving four out of a maximum five stars from the Euro NCAP Safety Testing Programme) the latter of which was rectified by making six airbags standard. In 2006, the Mazda3 was the second best-selling car in Canada and the best selling car in Israel during 2005–2007. The Mazda3 is based on the Ford global C1 platform, shared with the latest European Ford Focus and Volvo S40. Previewed by the MX-Sportif concept car, the first-generation Mazda3 was available in two body styles, a four-door fastback sedan/saloon, marketed as a “4-door coupé style” in Europe, and a five-door hatchback, branded the Sport version in Canada, Japan, and the United States. Design work began under chief designer Hideki Suzuki in 1999 at three Mazda design centres in California, United States; Frankfurt, Germany; and Hiroshima, Japan. By 2001, Hasip Girgin’s design was chosen as a finalist. Girgin was sent to work in Hiroshima for 6 months, after which the final design was frozen for scheduled 2003 production. The front suspension comprises MacPherson struts, with coil springs and an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension is a Ford-designed “E-link” multi-link suspension, with four locating links per wheel and an anti-roll bar, suspended on coil springs that are mounted inboard of the shock absorbers to reduce suspension intrusion into the cargo area. The first generation of the Mazda 3 has been known to have spontaneous piston failure in the form of the piston itself cracking which is a result of manufacturing anomalies that has plagued a small percentage of the normally reliable car. Four-wheel Disc brakes are fitted, with 300 mm (11.8 in) discs in the front and 279 mm (11 in) discs in the rear; ABS and electronic brake force distribution are available as standard, depending on the model. Wheel and tire sizes vary with model, from 15″ on base models to optional 17″ wheels on upper-level models. The Mazda3 was used as a regular police patrol car by the Public Security Police Force of Macau alongside the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic police cars in Macau, China. When first introduced, United States-market Mazda3 models were available in only two trim levels, i and s, with the 2.0 L and 2.3 L engines, respectively. Since then Mazda has introduced additional models under the Touring and Grand Touring labels. British Mazda3s are offered in S, TS, TS2, Sport, and a top end 2.3 L turbocharged Mazda3 MPS (Mazda Performance Series) models. Since April 2008, when there was a mainly cosmetic facelift of the Mazda3, there have been some changes to the trim designations for UK cars, with the models now being the entry-level S, then Takara (which replaces TS & TS2), the Tamara Special Edition and the Sport and MPS as before. All three models use the inline-4 Mazda MZR engine, with various types, displacements and outputs including the MZ-CD turbodiesel, depending on model and market. Transmissions are a five-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic transmission; since the 2006 model year, a five-speed automatic is optional on models with the 2.3 L engine. This transmission has now been made standard on the 2.0 L engine in Japan (FWD models only), as part of a minor facelift in early 2008 which includes different front/rear bumper designs, new wheel designs and body colours, stiffened chassis, and better interior materials. The MPS / Mazdaspeed version is only available with a six-speed manual. The second generation Mazda3 debuted in November 2008 and went on sale around the world during 2009.
This is an Evo V. These were produced for just one year, from January 1998 to January 1999 and represented a comprehensive reworking of the Evo IV, as opposed to being a brand new model. Many aspects of the car were changed such as: The interior was upgraded in the GSR version with a better class of Recaro seats; the body kit had flared arches at the front and rear and a new aluminium rear spoiler replaced the IV FRP version and gave an adjustable angle of attack to alter rear downforce. (In process of doing so, the Evolution V onwards was no longer considered “compact” according to Japanese dimension regulations, requiring Japanese owners to pay an increased annual tax as the car was now 70 mm (2.8 in) wider than regulated limit of 1,700 mm (66.9 in)); the track was widened by 10 mm (0.4 in), the wheel offset changed from ET45 to ET38 along with the wheel diameter which rose from 16 in to 17 in to accommodate Brembo brakes; in addition the brake master cylinder bore increased by 0.3 mm (0.01 in); the engine was strengthened in a few areas and the cam duration was increased. The pistons were lighter with a smaller skirt area. 510 cc injectors were replaced with 560 cc injectors for better engine reliability due to more electrical “headroom” and the ECU was changed to include a flash ROM, allowing more boost pressure to the same TD05-HR as the Mitsubishi Evolution IV. Furthermore, the turbocharger was again improved. Torque was increased to 373 Nm (275 lb/ft) at 3,000 rpm. Power officially stayed the same, at 280 PS (276 bhp), though some claim horsepower was actually somewhat higher. There were tow versions: RS – “rally sport” Close-ratio 5-speed, minimal interior, rally suspension, 1.5 Way LSD, (Shortened close-ratio 5-speed transmission, Auto Air Conditioner, Enkei Wheels, Recaro bucket seat, Brembo brakes, power window are available as option); and GSR – 5-speed, gauge pack, AYC (Active Yaw Control), Anti-Lock Braking System, Recaro front bucket and rear seat, auto air-conditioner, double-din audio, power window, Brembo brakes.
The eighth-generation 1996 Galant model continued the 1992’s design themes but a five-door station wagon (known in Japan as the Legnum, derives from the Latin word regnum, meaning regal power or rank) was added while the five-door liftback was dropped. This model won the 1996–97 Car of the Year Japan award for the second time. Despite being superseded in the US and Europe from 2003, it remained on sale in other countries until 2006. In Japan, the Legnum was sold only at a specific retail chain called “Car Plaza”, while the Galant remained exclusive to Galant Shop locations. The Japanese market model was the first mass-produced car to use a gasoline direct injection engine, when a GDI version of the 4G93 inline-four engine was introduced. This model was also produced in Barcelona, Venezuela, at the only Mitsubishi plant in Latin America. At the beginning, the Galant was marketed in that country under the “MX” and “MF” names in 1997 and 1998 (featuring a manual or INVECS-II automatic transmission respectively), then kept the Galant name until the end of its production in 2006. Although the equipment options were limited, the VR-4 appearance package was offered in that market. The American market Galant, introduced on 7 July 1998, graduated to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-size class. The front suspension design switched from multi-link to struts, though the rear was upgraded with a stabilizer bar standard on all but the base DE model. The ES, LS and GTZ models were offered with a 195 hp V6 engine, the 6G72 3.0 L, mated to a standard four-speed conventional automatic. Another difference between Asian and European models was the lack of ABS, which was only installed on 3.0 L models. In August 1998, Mitsubishi introduced the Aspire as the successor of Eterna. Externally identical to the facelifted Galant at the same time of introduction. Mitsubishi opted to further develop the technology in its range-topping VR-4, which was now powered by an enlarged 2.5 L V6 twin-turbo. The car features either a conventional five-speed manual or INVECS-II transmission. Some variants (all of the pre-facelift model and Type-S for the facelift model) were also fitted with the same advanced active yaw control (AYC) as the Lancer Evolution, to give it greater agility than would be expected of such a large vehicle. Finally, as with the rest of the range, the VR-4 could now be had either as a Galant sedan or as a Legnum station wagon. The MIVEC version of the 6A12 was drop down from the Japanese market model, but some Asian markets were offer this engine with the trim levels called “VX-R” or “VR-M”. The larger 2.5 L 6A13 was more common in the rest of the world. A ninth and final generation car was launched in 2003 but this model was not sold in Europe.
Nissan renewed the Auster and Stanza lines in 1986 (T12 series), introducing squared-off styling. Japan and the US received this model. The US Stanza used the same CA20E engine found in the previous generation. The car was unusually heavy for its class, due to sharing a platform with the contemporary Maxima and as a result of its small engine, underpowered. In part to offset this, some export markets offered turbocharged models, badged “Supremo”; and a cousin, the “Auster XTT”. Europe received a version of the Nissan Auster as a Datsun/Nissan Bluebird replacement. These were built in Sunderland, in the United Kingdom, and badged as the Nissan Bluebird. The estate was the only “real” Bluebird in this range, imported from Japan. In the Middle East, the T12 Auster/Stanza T12 was called the Nissan Liberta (not to be confused with the Nissan Liberta Villa), a partial replacement of the Nissan Liberta Violet T11. The Stanza line was not seen in most other export markets after the 1986 model year. The growth of the Sunny and Pulsar models from below meant there was little room for it. The T12 was introduced in Europe in 1985 as a replacement for the U11 Bluebird. From July 1986, the T12 was imported as a knock-down kit from Japan and assembled at Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK. The saloon versions (four door) were available first and the hatchback (five door) became available in January 1987. Using the U11 platform, Bluebird Estates were still sourced from Japan. Although it was not the first Japanese car to be built in Britain (the Honda-based Triumph Acclaim predated it by five years), the Bluebird was instrumental in proving that a British factory could produce vehicles to the same quality standards as those built in Japan. The Bluebird proved so popular that in December 1987 Nissan announced the institution of a third shift, in order to bump production from 29,000 to circa 40,000 cars annually. Being built in the United Kingdom, it was possible to sell the Bluebird in markets like Spain and Italy without the quota limitations imposed on Japanese-made cars. In Italy it was the only Nissan available in 1989, alongside the Spanish-made Patrol off-roader. The later T72 models replaced the T12 during 1987, followed by a facelift around a year later. This is a point to note, as it is a common mistake to class all pre-facelift models as T12s. The facelift models had a more modern and European look, with round front and rear bumpers and the corporate slatted grill. These were eventually built entirely in England. In 1990, Nissan replaced the Bluebird with the Primera series. In the late 1980s and early 90s, Nissan Bluebirds were very commonly seen as taxis, their drivers racking up phenomenal mileage on just routine servicing and there is one still in daily use as a taxi in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain (October 2018). The bodyshell’s resistance to corrosion has become legendary – it is not uncommon to see Bluebirds as old as 1987 or 1988 vintage still on British roads with virtually no trace of rust at all. However, the Bluebirds’ reliability and all-around robustness has ultimately led to its demise – as a banger racers’ car of choice. Almost all petrol T12/T72 Bluebirds came with 8-valve versions of Nissan’s CA Engine and either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The diesel models used the normally aspirated LD20 engine. Performance was average for its class, the 1.6 struggling more with its lower torque characteristics that did not seem suited to the weight of the car. The turbo models used the CA18ET engine with 133 bhp giving a 0 – 60 mph time of 8.6 seconds. This engine used a small turbocharger producing 0.60 bar of boost. This is the same engine used in the European Nissan Silvia S12. Power outputs for the naturally aspirated engines ranged from 83 to 114 bhp from the 1.6 through the 2.0-litre version, while the diesel offered 66 bhp. The car was replaced by the Primera in 1990.
This is a Sunny Pulsar GTi-R. In 1990, the N14 model saw Nissan turn to a more rounded design. The Langley and the Liberta Villa were replaced with the Nissan Primera, assigning the Primera to Nissan Prince Shop locations. This version of the car was launched in the United Kingdom as the Nissan Sunny from March 1991, the last generation of Sunny to be sold in the United Kingdom, where it was replaced late in 1995 by the Almera. One anomaly from this period resulted from Nissan taking control of its British import and distribution business from Automotive Financial Group (AFG); the acrimonious split between Nissan and Octav Botnar resulted in AFG sourcing the vehicle badged as the Pulsar and selling it concurrently in the UK alongside the “official” version (badged as the Sunny) by the newly established Nissan Motor GB. This version continued to be offered in CKD kit form in New Zealand as the Sentra (unrelated to the version sold in North America). In Europe, the Sunny name continued, applied to three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback and four-door sedan models, alongside the separate model line Sunny California station wagon from Japan (called either the Sunny Estate or Sunny Traveller). This was the last generation of the Pulsar (now with Sunny badges, as in the rest of Europe) to be assembled in Greece, where TEOKAR went out of business in April 1995.
There was no N14 Pulsar offered in the United States or Canada either. Instead, the North American Pulsar for those markets evolved into what was known as the NX1600. The NX cars are sport coupés sharing the same chassis, engines, body electronics and even dashboard with the Pulsar N14. The N14 series also saw the introduction of the GTI-R three-door hatchback (sold in Japan as a Pulsar with chassis code E-RNN14, and sold in Europe as a Sunny with chassis code EGNN14). This was a homologation variant produced between 1990 and 1994 in order to enter the WRC under Group A rules. It featured a turbocharged 2.0-litre SR20DET engine producing 227 bhp and 280 Nm (210 lb/ft). The body is largely the same as the standard N14 three-door model, but distinguished by the large rear wing and bonnet scoop. It has an ATTESA all-wheel drive system and a unique variant (coded 54C) of the SR20DET engine. With a power-to-weight ratio of 0.083 and AWD, the standard GTI-R is able to accelerate from 0–100 km/h in 5.4 seconds, cover the standing quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds, and reach a (manufacturer claimed) top speed of 232 km/h (144 mph).
The second-generation K11 Micra was built in the UK, Japan and Taiwan. It was launched in Japan in January 1992, and released in Europe in the fourth quarter of the year. It was powered by brand new all-aluminium 1.0 L (CG10DE) and 1.3 L (CG13DE) DOHC 16-valve engines, with 55 PS (54 hp) and 75 PS (74 hp) respectively (higher outputs were claimed in Japan, according to the JIS rather than DIN/ECE rating), both with ECCS (Electronic Concentrated Control System) fuel injection. It was the second Nissan model line to be produced in the UK at the Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK) plant, Washington Tyne and Wear. A diesel version was offered with the 1.5 L PSA TUD market in Europe as Micra 1.5 D. CVT automatic transmission and Power steering was an option on some models, and the equipment list included safety features not usually available in this market segment: a toughened safety-cage and side-impact door beams were standard and pre-tensioning seat-belts and a driver’s air-bag were optional. However, the Mk2 Micra scored only a modest two stars in Euro NCAP testing in 1997. Airbags, antilock brakes, electric windows, central locking and air conditioning were as either standard equipment or options on some models in the Micra range. The European model range consisted of 1.0L and LX, 1.3LX, SLX and Super S. The car soon won the European Car of the Year award for 1993 (the first Japanese car to do so) and the Good Design Award (a Trade and Industry Design award in Japan) along with the Car of the Year Japan award in 1992. At its introduction in 1993, it won the Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference Car of the Year award in Japan. Having won several awards, Nissan manufactured the V3 Award edition. After receiving minor changes in 1996, the Micra received a facelift in 1998, six years after its launch. There was a Cabriolet (FHK11) unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, but it was not sold until August 1997, with an electric top. These were produced in limited numbers for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) only. However, much like the Nissan Figaro, some have been imported into the UK unofficially. There was also an estate version called the March Box (WK11), which was unveiled on November 1999, with a double folding rear seat, along with an automatic transmission four-wheel drive model. In late 1997, a facelift version was introduced, and was built from late 1997 until early 2003. Only a few units were produced in 1997, as most of them started in 1998. The cumulative visual changes from the first models included a revised front grille and headlights, redesigned front and rear bumpers, oval instead of round side repeater indicators, major changes to the interior and dashboard, redesigned rear light lenses, and a radio aerial repositioned from the top of the right-hand A-pillar to the middle of the roof, towards the rear. In late 2000, the original facelift was replaced by a second version known as the K11C, While it still looked quite similar from the outside, the engines had been updated to run on the newer individual coilpack system (whereas the earlier models had been fitted with a distributor). As well as this, the secondary catalytic converter was removed and the primary catalytic converter (on the manifold) was enlarged. Other exterior changes included new lights on the bumper, an altered lower body, orange turn signals and minor changes to the interior. Further changes included a redesigned rear wiper which rested horizontally instead of vertically, and the centre high level brake lamp being reduced in size and mounted at the top of the rear window, instead of on the parcel shelf. The 1.3l (1275CC) CG13DE engine offered in previous K11s were removed in the second facelift, and replaced by a 1,348 cc “1.4” unit (CGA3DE). The 1.0l CG10DE remained in the second facelift models but had a slightly higher power output (60 hp compared to the earlier 53 hp). In 2001, Muji, the well-known Japanese “non-brand” issued a limited release of 1,000 badgeless and decontented Nissan Marches, only available online. It was intended as an exercise to test their online marketing systems and was sold as the “Muji Car 1000” (ムジ・カー 1000). The rear seat is upholstered in vinyl, the hubcaps are minimal, and the car was only offered in “marble white”. The Muji Car 1000 has a four-speed automatic transmission and the 1 litre CG10DE engine. By late 2002, the new K12 was introduced (although the S and SE models were still being built). They were fully replaced by K12 in early 2003.
The J31 series Teana was first introduced in February 2003 to the Japanese market as a sedan companion to the Murano with both vehicles exclusive to Japanese Nissan dealerships called Nissan Red Stage. It replaced the Bluebird and Cefiro in Japan, along with the Laurel. It was considered one level below the Skyline. The car was introduced with an optionally available internet-based, telematics and GPS navigation system called CarWings to Japanese drivers only. The J31 Teana follows the same chassis number pattern as the Maxima (J30). Despite being largely unrelated to its longrunning Cefiro line, Nissan marketed the Teana using the Cefiro nameplate in Hong Kong, Singapore, Mauritius, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Latin America and Caribbean while it was sold under the name of Teana in Japan, Thailand, Philippines, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. The car was marketed as the Maxima in Australia and New Zealand. In most of the world, the Teana was Nissan’s largest front-wheel drive sedan, while the Skyline and Fuga are rear-wheel drive, with optional all-wheel drive. It was introduced a month later to other Asian markets like Singapore. In 2004 the car arrived on European shores, replacing the Maxima QX. Powering the Teana was either a 1998 cc, 2349 cc or 3498 cc engine matched to automatic transmissions. Power outputs vary somewhat between the different markets. Trim levels were 200JK, 230JK, 230JM and 350JM. The car was based on the Nissan FF-L platform. In December 2005, the Teana received new headlights and taillights, chrome trimming on the bumpers, enlarged foglights, front legrests and newly designed gauges. The car was also shortened slightly, and the clear rear turn signals were replaced by amber ones. XTronic CVT was also mated to all the engines. In mainland China, the Teana was manufactured by the Dongfeng Motor Company, a joint venture with Nissan. In Taiwan, it was manufactured by Yulon Motor. In the neighbouring country of Pakistan, the Teana was known as the Cefiro and was assembled in Karachi. Additionally, it was sold in India, Russia, Ukraine as well as in New Zealand and Australia where it competes with the locally produced Mitsubishi 380 and Toyota Aurion under the Maxima badge. The first generation Teana was also assembled in Thailand for sale in the Southeast Asian market. A restyled version was sold in South Korea as the Renault Samsung SM7. In January 2005, Renault Samsung announced a lower-specification version of the Teana which it sold as the second generation (A34R) Renault Samsung SM5 and, from 2008, as the Renault Safrane. In some countries, the 200JK was not sold. This was replaced by the 230JK, basically a 230JM with less equipment. In Australia, the Maxima was sold in ST-L, Ti and Ti-L trim levels. The Ti-L trim was dropped after the facelift in 2005. In 2008, Nissan stopped production of the J31 but production continued in Thailand until 2009.
This is an S15-generation Silvia, a car not sold new in the UK, though its predecessors had been, under the name 240SX. New in 1999, the engine of the S15 now boasting 250 PS (247 bhp) at 6,400 rpm and 275 Nm; 203 lb/ft at 4,800 rpm of torque from its SR20DET Inline-four engine, thanks to a ball bearing turbocharger upgrade, as well as improved engine management system. The non-turbo SR20DE produced 165 PS. The S15 Silvia included aggressive styling inside and out, updating the previous Silvia styling in-line with modern car design trends. The body dimensions were reduced from the previous generation so that it would comply with Japanese Government compact class, which had an effect on sales of the previous model. The S15 Silvia model lineup was initially simplified to just the Spec-S and Spec-R, both models offering an “Aero” variant with a large rear wing and side skirts/valances. This generation of the Silvia was only sold in Japan, Australia and New Zealand but was available as a grey import in most other countries. In Australia and New Zealand the car was sold as the Nissan 200SX. Within the Australian domestic market (AUDM), the S15 sold in 2 trim levels as noted above; Spec-S and Spec-R – however both models featured the SR20DET motor, albeit slightly detuned from the JDM spec cars. Nissan S15s were never officially sold with the naturally aspirated SR20DE engine in Australia or New Zealand. These two models were available at Nissan showrooms until the Nissan 200SX GT was introduced in 2002, the last year of production for the S15. Main differences here were namely the wheels being finished in a silver shadow chrome, chrome interior door handles, chrome gear selector surround, “sports” metal pedal set and an updated larger rear wing. As of August 2002, Nissan stopped producing the S platform with the S15-series Nissan Silvia being the final variant. Production of the Silvia ended amidst Nissan’s efforts to reduce its myriad of platforms. The S15 Silvia was therefore the last car to hold the Silvia badge. Nissan’s worldwide sports car platform is now the FM platform, which underpins the current Fairlady Z (the 350/370Z outside Japan), as well as the 2001–present Nissan Skyline (the Infiniti G35/37 in North America).
The Nissan Stagea is a station wagon produced by Nissan from 1996 to 2007. It was originally produced by Nissan in 1996 as direct competition for the Subaru Legacy Touring wagon in Japan, and was exclusive to Nissan Prince Store Japanese dealerships. The Stagea shares many mechanical parts with the Nissan Skyline and Nissan Laurel. There are 4 different versions of the Stagea: the WC34 Series 1 (September 1996 to July 1997), the WC34 Series 1.5 (August 1997 to July 1998), the WC34 Series 2 (August 1998 to March 2001), and the M35 Series (2001 to 2007). The M35 series, seen here, looks very different from the previous C34 models and is derived from the Skyline/G35 sedan (V35 platform). As per the Skyline the engine was changed from the RB series straight-six to the VQ series V6 engine. Production ceased in 2007.
Like its predecessor, the R33 GT-R was the most extreme version of a range of Skyline cars, which in R33 guise were launched in 1993 and would go on to be produced for 6 years. The previous R32 model was a well proven build but the R32 wasn’t without faults and suffered with uplift and balance issues. Along with that, Nissan was as other Japanese companies were under strict restrictions on power gains. So Nissan had to combat all these areas so the sophisticated strength Programme was made. Nissan increased the width by about one inch on the R33 to the R32 and made it about 4 inches longer. This gave the R33 a longer wheelbase overall and lower stance mixed with new technology now from the computer aerodynamic age. Each line on the R33 was intended to give the car ultimate aerodynamics with wider gaps in the bumper and angles of air movement which allowed better cooling, in addition to the fuel tank lifted; the battery moved to the boot/trunk. Rigidity points were added mixed with improvements on the Attessa and Hicas all now offered the R33 with the best aerodynamics, balance, and handling. Nissan engineers also found other ways to reduce weight, even by a few grams. This includes: Hollowing out the side door beams. Using high tensile steel on body panels. Reduction in sound deadening materials. Super HICAS becoming electric. Hollowing out of rear stabiliser bar. Use of high tensile springs front and rear. Shrinking the ABS actuator. Light aluminium wheels with higher rigidity The front and rear axles were made of aluminium (as in the BNR32) but also so were engine mount insulators and brackets New plastics were used for : fuel tank, head lamps, super high strength “PP” bumpers, air cleaner, changing the headlining material, changing material of rear spoiler. All this put together meant we saw an improved time against the R32 of 21 seconds faster around the Nurburgring and 23 seconds faster in V spec trim. Still making the R33 the fastest skyline around the Nurburgring. The BCNR33 GT-R version also had the same RB26DETT engine that the BNR32 was equipped with, although torque had been improved, due to changes in the turbo compressor aerodynamics, turbo dump pipe, and intercooler. The turbo core changed from a sleeve bearing to a ball bearing, but the turbine itself remained ceramic, except on N1 turbos (steel turbine, sleeve bearing). From the R33 onward, all GT-Rs received Brembo brakes. In 1995 the GT-R received an improved version of the RB26DETT, the ATTESA-ETS four-wheel-drive system, and Super HICAS 4-wheel steering. A limited edition model was created in 1996, called the NISMO 400R, that produced 400 hp from a road-tuned version of Nissan’s Le Mans engine. A stronger six-speed Getrag gearbox was used. An R33 GT-R driven by Dirk Schoysman lapped the Nordschleife in less than 8 minutes. The Skyline GT-R R33 is reported to be the first production car to break 8 minutes, at 7 minutes and 59 seconds. Other manufacturers had caught up since the R32 was released, and the R33 never dominated motorsport to the extent of the R32. The R33 saw victory in the JGTC GT500 dominating the class and taking victory each year until its final racing year in which it was finally beaten by the Mclaren F1 GTR. The R33 saw huge favour in the tuning world with it being a popular model on the Wangan and top tuning companies building heavily tuned version from Top Secret ran by Smokey Nagata to Jun etc. and later by companies like Sumo. HKS GT-R would hold a drag series record for several years in there drag series making a record win of 7.671-second pass at Sendai Hi-Land Raceway with Tetsuya Kawasaki behind the wheel and taking it to be the World’s fastest AWD car.
The GF-BNR34 (R34) Skyline GT-R, GT-R V·Spec and GT-R V·Spec N1 models were introduced in January 1999. The R34 GT-R was shorter (from front to rear), and the front overhang was reduced as compared to its predecessor. The valve covers were painted glossy red (colour code Cherry Red Effect Z24 or X1020), as opposed to black in previous models. A new feature on the R34 GT-R is a 5.8″ LCD multi-function display on the centre of the dashboard, which shows seven different live readings of engine and vehicle statistics such as turbocharger pressure (1.2 bar max), oil and water temperature, among others. The GT-R V·Spec model added two extra features to the display: intake and exhaust gas temperatures. Nismo Multi-function Displays (MFD) could be bought at an extra cost, they included a lap timer, G-Force meter and an increase in boost pressure measurement to 2 bar. The R34 GT-R was made shorter in response to customer concerns who thought the R33 was too bulky. Like the R33, the new R34 GT-R V·Spec (Victory Specification) models come equipped with the ATTESA E-TS Pro system and an Active LSD at the rear, while standard GT-R models come with the non-Pro system and a conventional mechanical differential. The V·Spec model also had firmer suspension and lower ground clearance, thanks to front and side splitters, as well as a rear carbon fibre air diffuser, designed to keep air flowing smoothly under the car. At the time of the R34’s introduction, like the R32 and R33, Nissan introduced an R34 V·Spec N1 model. The R34 V·Spec N1 was equipped similar to the R32 and R33 N1 models – a homologation special. It was sold without air conditioning, audio equipment, rear wiper, or boot lining, but ABS remained. The new R34 N1 was also given the new R34 N1 engine. Only 38 known R34 V·Spec N1 models were produced from the factory, 12 of which Nismo used for Super Taikyu racing. The rest were sold to various customers, mostly racing teams and tuning garages. The V·Spec version was also imported into the UK with a number of modifications carried out on these 80 cars. These included 3 additional oil coolers, revised ECU map, full Connolly leather interior, underbody diffusers, stiffer suspension, active rear limited slip differential, extra display feature on the in car display. In additional to the UK, 10 were sold to Hong Kong and Singapore, and 5 to New Zealand although with different changes for their respective markets. In October 2000, Nissan introduced the V·Spec II, replacing the V·Spec. The V·Spec II has increased stiffness in the suspension (even stiffer than the original V·Spec) and had larger rear brake rotors. It also comes equipped with a carbon fibre bonnet equipped with a NACA duct, which is lighter than the aluminium that all other GT-R bonnets are made from. Also different on the V·Spec II was an iridium center console and aluminium pedals. The seats were upholstered with black cloth rather than the gray cloth used on previous R34 GT-R models, and the amber turn lenses were replaced with white versions. With the exception of the carbon fibre bonnet, the standard trim level GT-R also received these updates. A total of 18 V·Spec II N1 were built. A total of 1855 V·Spec II were built for Japan, with an additional 2 being sold for the New Zealand market. The V·Spec N1 was replaced with the V·Spec II N1. The same changes applied to the V·Spec N1 were applied to the V·Spec II N1, with the exception of the V·Spec II carbon bonnet which was now unpainted. In May 2001, the M·Spec was introduced. It was based on the V-Spec II, but had special “Ripple control” dampers, revised suspension set up, stiffer rear sway bar and a leather interior with heated front seats. The ‘M’ on the M·Spec stood for Mizuno who is the chief engineer of Nissan. The only other change was the removal of the carbon fibre bonnet which was replaced with the standard aluminium bonnet. In February 2002, Nissan launched a final production model of the R34 GT-R called the Skyline GT-R V·Spec II Nür and the Skyline GT-R M·Spec Nür. The Nür was named after the famous German Nürburgring racetrack, where the Skyline was developed. In total 1,003 units R34 GT-R Nür(s) were produced, 718 were V·Spec II Nürs’ and 285 were M·Spec Nürs’. The Nür model featured an improved RB26DETT based on the N1 racing engine. The standard turbochargers were upgraded to larger versions with a slight increase in boost and the ceramic blades were replaced with steel versions. This has increased lag, but the turbo’s durability was improved while being able to handle a bigger boost increase. The V·Spec II Nür is based on the regular V·Spec II model, and the M·Spec Nür was based on the regular M·Spec model. Other than the addition of the Nür engine, the Nür models also included a different colour of stitching on the interior trim, as well as a speedometer reading up to 300 km/h (186 mph), gold valve covers instead of red and a gold VIN plate instead of silver. Due to Japanese car industry norms at the time, the car was advertised as having 276 bhp but it actually had over 330 bhp when it left the factory. In 1999, during Nissan’s testing session at the Nürburgring Nordscheleife. Unofficially the GT-R R34 ran a 7:52 minute lap around the track, driven by Nissan’s test driver Kazuo Shimizu. The car broke the GT-R R33’s record which was the fastest road-legal series production vehicle and second fastest road-legal production vehicle around the track at the time.
There was also an example of the still current R35 generation model.
The Nissan 370Z (known as the Fairlady Z Z34 in Japan) is a 2-door, 2-seater sports car (S-segment in Europe) manufactured by Nissan Motor Company. It was announced on October 29, 2006, and was first shown at an event in Los Angeles ahead of the 2008 Greater LA Auto Show, before being officially unveiled at the show itself. The 370Z is the sixth generation of the Nissan Z-car line, succeeding the 350Z. The 370Z marks the last production car with a naturally aspirated and high-rev V6 coupled to a manual transmission. Almost every piece and component of the 370Z has been redesigned from the previous 350Z. The wheelbase is 4 in (100 mm) shorter at 100.4 in (2,550 mm) and an overall length 2.7 in (69 mm) shorter at 167.1 in (4,240 mm). The overall width has been increased by 1.3 in (33 mm), the rear track by 2.2 in (56 mm), and overall height reduced by 0.3 in (7.6 mm). The smaller exterior dimensions and use of more lightweight materials helped reduce weight.
The 370Z features a front aluminium subframe, aluminium-alloy engine cradle, aluminium door panels, an all-aluminium hood, and an aluminium hatch. Front body torsional rigidity is improved by 10 percent with an extensively revised body structure, which includes a new front suspension cradle to reduce front body lateral bending, new rear structural reinforcements, and an underbody “V-bar” to help reduce rear lateral bending. Rear body torsional rigidity is improved by up to 22 percent and rear body vertical bending rigidity is improved by up to 30 percent. Additional enhancements include the use of a carbon fibre composite radiator housing and strengthening of the rear fender and hatch areas. The new structure weighs slightly less than the 350Z. The 370Z uses a front double wishbone suspension, with forged aluminium control arms and steering knuckle. The rear multi-link suspension uses a forged aluminium upper control arm, lower arm and radius rod, the toe control rod is steel and wheel carrier assembly is aluminium. The refreshed 2013 model uses new dampers with the Sport package models. The brakes have been changed from the more expensive Brembo racing brakes to Nissan branded brakes which are manufactured by Akebono. The coefficient of drag is 0.30 and 0.29 with the Sport Package, figures identical to the 350Z. The Japanese model of the 370Z Coupe went on sale in December 1, 2008. The vehicle was unveiled in the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, with sales of the North American model beginning at Nissan dealers in early 2009. Standard and optional equipment includes 19-inch RAYS wheels, Bluetooth, Sirius/XM satellite radio, heated electric seats, viscous limited slip differential, Bose sound system with dual subwoofers and 6-CD changer, and automatic climate control. Deliveries of the European model began in April 2009. There was also an open-topped car, the 370Z Roadster which went on sale in late summer 2009 as 2010 model year vehicle. Early models include the 370Z and 370Z Touring, with Sport Package and Navigation packages for the 370Z Touring. European models went on sale as 2010 model year vehicles. Although there were numerous limited edition models that followed, the car changed little over the next several years. The 2020 model year was the final model year for the 370Z. The line was continued by the Nissan Z (RZ34) on a modified version of the same platform.
Subaru introduced the “New Age” Impreza, the second generation car, to Japan in August 2000, and it arrived in Europe towards the end of that year. Larger in size compared to the previous iteration, the sedan increased its width by 40 millimetres (1.6 in), while the wagon notably increased by just 5 millimetres (0.2 in)—placing the two variants in different Japanese classification categories. The coupe body style from the first generation did not reappear for the new series, and the off-road appearance package that included contrasting-coloured bumpers did carry over forward. Marketed as a separate model line, this North America-only variant was, as before, badged the Outback Sport. Naturally aspirated flat-four (boxer) engines comprised the 1.5-litre EJ15, the 1.6-litre EJ16, the 2.0-litre EJ20, and the 2.5-litre EJ25. Turbocharged versions of the 2.0- and 2.5-litre engines were offered in the WRX and WRX STI models. STI models featured a more powerful 2.0-litre (2.5-litre outside of the Japanese market) turbocharged engine. WRX models featured a 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer engine until 2005, after which they switched to the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine. As with the first generation, the turbocharged STI variants were available in numerous specifications with a myriad of limited edition variants sold. The bug-eyed styling was not well received, and Subaru had two further attempts at the front end, neither of which was entirely successful, either, but enthusiasts were happy to overlook the gawky looks because the way the car drove. Subaru issued yearly updates to the STI, tweaking cosmetics and equipment levels, and also improving performance and handling. The car was replaced in 2007 by the third generation Impreza, widely regarded as inferior in many ways to this version.
The 170-series Crown, launched in September 1999, features shorter front overhang therefore maximizing interior and trunk space. There are two different 170-series 4-door Saloon; the Royal and Athlete. The Majesta, while sharing the same S170 chassis, is a separate vehicle which is larger and longer than the Crown and has distinctive front and rear styling. The four-door Hardtop was discontinued and no left-hand drive versions were produced, restricting exports to right-hand drive markets like Singapore. The 170-series Estate launched in December 1999 was the first new Crown Wagon after the 130-series and continued in production until March 2007. The engine installed is either the 2.0, 2.5 or 3.0 in-line-six. The Athlete V has 2.5-litre 1JZ-GTE turbo and was offered in both sedan and wagon versions, however the Athlete V wagon was only available until 2003, despite Crown Estate production continuing until 2007. The Royal Saloon was also offered with a 3.0-litre 2JZ-FSE mild hybrid from August 2001 to 2003, using a belted alternator starter system. Later non-hybrid models were offered with the direct-injection version of the 2JZ engine. For the updated Athlete versions starting from August 2001, the tail lamps were changed from incandescent to LED lights and the front grille changed to a mesh design. Furthermore, the grey cloth interior was changed to black cloth, with black leather becoming an available option. Optional 17-inch wheels were also offered starting from 2001. An innovation was the electronically controlled (Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension) air suspension combining nonlinear H-infinity control of damping force and roll-orientation control. The 170-series Crown replaced the aging 130-series in the Indonesian market. A total of 10,545 Athlete V sedans were manufactured, with a further 5,012 Athlete V Estates manufactured.
The MR2 derived from a 1976 Toyota design project with the goal of a car which would be enjoyable to drive, yet still provide good fuel economy – not necessarily a sports car. Design work began in 1979 when Akio Yoshida from Toyota’s testing department started to evaluate alternatives for engine placement and drive method, finalising a mid-transverse engine placement. Toyota called the 1981 prototype SA-X. From its original design, the car evolved into a sports car, and further prototypes were tested both in Japan and in the US. Significant testing was performed on race circuits including Willow Springs, where former Formula One driver Dan Gurney tested the car. All three generations were in compliance with Japanese government regulations concerning exterior dimensions and engine displacement. The MR2 appeared around the same time as the Honda CR-X, the Nissan EXA, the VW Scirocco from Europe, and the Pontiac Fiero and Ford EXP from North America. Toyota debuted its SV-3 concept car in October 1983 at the Tokyo Motor Show, gathering press and audience publicity. The car was scheduled for a Japanese launch in the second quarter of 1984 under the name MR2. Toyota introduced the first-generation MR2 in 1984, designating it the model code “W10”. When fitted with the 1.5-litre 3A engine, it was known as the “AW10”. Likewise, the 1.6-litre 4A version is identified by the “AW11” code. The MR2’s suspension and handling were designed by Toyota with the help of Lotus engineer Roger Becker. Toyota’s cooperation with Lotus during the prototype phase can be seen in the AW11, and it owes much to Lotus’s sports cars of the 1960s and 1970s. Toyota’s active suspension technology, called TEMS, was not installed. With five structural bulkheads, the MR2 was quite heavy for a two-seater of its size. Toyota employed the naturally aspirated 4A-GE 1,587 cc inline-four engine, a DOHC four-valve-per-cylinder motor, borrowed from the E80 series Corolla. This engine was also equipped with Denso electronic port fuel injection and T-VIS variable intake geometry, giving the engine a maximum power output of 112 hp in the US, 128 hp in the UK, 116 or 124 PS (114 or 122 hp) in Europe (with or without catalytic converter), 118 hp in Australia and 130 PS (128 hp) in Japan. Japanese models were later detuned to 120 PS (118 hp). A five-speed manual transmission was standard, with a four-speed automatic available as an option. In 1986 (1988 for the US market), Toyota introduced a supercharged engine for the MR2. Based on the same block and head, the 4A-GZE was equipped with a small Roots-type supercharger and a Denso intercooler. T-VIS was eliminated and the compression ratio was lowered to 8:1. It produced 145 hp at 6,400 rpm and 186 Nm; 137 lb/ft of torque at 4,400 rpm and accelerated the car from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.5 to 7.0 seconds. The supercharger was belt-driven but actuated by an electromagnetic clutch, so that it would not be driven except when needed, increasing fuel economy. Curb weight increased to as much as 2,494 lb (1,131 kg) for supercharged models, due to the weight of the supercharger equipment and a new, stronger transmission. A fuel selector switch was also added in some markets, to allow the car to run on regular unleaded fuel if required to. In addition to the new engine, the MR2 SC was also equipped with stiffer springs, and received special “tear-drop” aluminium wheels. The engine cover had two raised vents (only one of which was functional) that visually distinguished it from the naturally aspirated models. It was also labelled “SUPER CHARGER” on the rear trunk and body mouldings behind both doors. This model was never offered outside of the Japanese and North American markets, although some cars were privately imported to other countries. Toyota made detailed changes to the car every year until replacing it with a second generation model in 1989.
This is an example of the sixth, and penultimate generation Celica. Launched in October 1993, the styling of this version was quite different from the car it replaced. Initially it was offered in notchback coupe or liftback form, with a convertible coming later, though the 2 door Coupe was not sold in the UK. ST and GT trims were offered, with the former using a new 1.8 litre 4 cylinder engine and the latter using the larger 2.2 litre that had been in its predecessor. There was also a GT-Four version, the most powerful Celica to date, which produced 239 hp in export versions from an updated 3S-GTE engine. Influenced strongly by Toyota Team Europe, Toyota’s factory team in the World Rally Championship, the final version of the GT-Four included improvements such as an all-aluminium bonnet to save weight, four-channel ABS (with G-force sensor), an improved turbocharger (incorrectly known by enthusiasts as the CT20B), and Super Strut Suspension. The 2500 homologation cars built to allow Toyota to enter the GT-Four as a Group A car in the World Rally Championship also sported extras such as all of the plumbing required to activate an anti-lag system, a water spray bar for the Intercooler’s front heat exchanger, a water injection system for detonation protection, a hood spoiler mounted in front of the windscreen to stop hood flex at high speed and the standard rear spoiler mounted on riser blocks. The car proved to be quite competitive in the 1995 World Championship. However, the team was banned from competition for a year after the car’s single victory due to turbocharger fixing – a device that meant there was no air path restriction on the intake – when the jubilee clip was undone this would flick back into place so as to go un-noticed by inspectors. Toyota has always claimed that they knew nothing of the fix – but opponents say it was one very cleverly engineered device. In some respects this car was a true sports car; in order to qualify for rallying it has a lot of special features and a unique strut arrangement. A minor facelift was applied for 1996, with new bumpers, a smaller air dam and revised rear spoiler. This version of the Celica was replaced in 1999 by the last car to bear the name.
This is a fourth generation Supra. Known as the A80, 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.
Not surprisingly, there were a number of examples of the recently superceded GT86 here.
The Yaris GR is a definite “car of the moment”, following its rave reception in the autumn of 2020. Long waits quickly built up, but deliveries ramped up during 2021, so the majority of those who ordered a car have now got them, with the result that you tend to see more and more of them where enthusiasts are gathered.
To increase numbers further, Ciro had opened the event up to those with supercars and anything else “interesting” and a small of owners responded.
Among the first to arrive, as we were still setting up was Adam Canfield, better known as Adam C, a YouTuber, who was able to buy his dream car, of a replica AC Cobra, a couple of years ago.
Launching a £100k supercar with just a 1.5 litre petrol engine was something of a gamble, but when waiting lists exceeded 18 month even before the car went on sale, BMW must have felt that their bold venture was a risk worth taking. As well as the striking and somewhat futuristic looks, BMW’s i8 could claim, with some justification, on launch in 2013 to be the world’s most progressive 2+2 seater plug-in hybrid sports car. With an electric motor and that small capacity petrol engine, the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid combines the performance and appeal of a sports car with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car. It accelerates from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds, using just 2.1L of petrol per 100kms and emitting just 59g/km of emissions. An all-embracing sustainability concept runs throughout the entire value chain of the BMW i8 using 100-per cent renewable electricity along with a high proportion of recycled and environmentally friendly materials. It has impressed everyone, not just with the way it looks, but anyone lucky enough to have driven it (sadly, that’s not me, at least not yet!), also loves the way it drives.
It was with the 360 Modena that sales of Ferrari models really took off, with unprecedented volumes of the car being sold. The 360 Modena was launched in 1999, named after the town of Modena, the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. A major innovation in this all new model came from Ferrari’s partnership with Alcoa which resulted in an entirely new all-aluminium space-frame chassis that was 40% stiffer than the F355 which had utilised steel. The design was 28% lighter despite a 10% increase in overall dimensions. Along with a lightweight frame the new Pininfarina body styling deviated from traditions of the previous decade’s sharp angles and flip-up headlights. The new V8 engine, common to all versions, was of 3.6 litre capacity with a flat plane crankshaft, titanium connecting rods and generates 400 bhp Despite what looks like on paper modest gains in reality the power to weight ratio was significantly improved on over the F355, this was due to the combination of both a lighter car and more power. The 0 to 100 km/h acceleration performance improved from 4.6 to 4.3 seconds. The first model to be rolled out was the 360 Modena, available as a manual, or an F1 electrohydraulic manual. Next up was an open car. The 360 was designed with a Spider variant in mind; since removing the roof of a coupe reduces the torsional rigidity, the 360 was built for strength in other areas. Ferrari designers strengthened the sills, stiffened the front of the floorpan and redesigned the windscreen frame. The rear bulkhead had to be stiffened to cut out engine noise from the cabin. The convertible’s necessary dynamic rigidity is provided by additional side reinforcements and a cross brace in front of the engine. Passenger safety is ensured by a strengthened windscreen frame and roll bars. The 360 Spider displays a curvilinear waistline. The fairings imply the start of a roof, and stable roll bars are embedded in these elevations. Due to use of light aluminium construction throughout, the Spider weighs in only 60 kg heavier than the coupé. As with the Modena version, its 3.6 litre V8 with 400 bhp is on display under a glass cover. The engine — confined in space by the convertible’s top’s storage area — acquires additional air supply through especially large side grills. The intake manifolds were moved toward the center of the engine between the air supply conduits in the Spider engine compartment, as opposed to lying apart as with the Modena. In terms of performance, the 0-60 mph time was slightly slower at 4.4 seconds due to the slight weight increase, and the top speed was reduced from 189 to 180 mph. Despite the car’s mid-mounted V8 engine, the electrically operated top is able to stow into the compartment when not in use. The convertible top was available in black, blue, grey and beige. The transformation from a closed top to an open-air convertible is a two-stage folding-action that has been dubbed “a stunning 20 second mechanical symphony”. The interior of the Spider is identical to that of the coupé.
Latest in the line of special versions of Ferrari’s V8 models, the 488 Pista was launched at the 2018 Geneva Show but it has taken until now before UK customers have got their hands on the cars they ordered all that time ago. Compared to the regular Ferrari 488 GTB, the 488 Pista is 90 kg lighter at 1280kg dry, features a 20 percent improved aerodynamic efficiency and makes 49hp more from its twin-turbo V8 that now produces 711hp (720PS). These are some stunning specs to be honest, especially when you consider just how good the car it’s based upon is. Ferrari claims a 0-62mph (100km/h) in 2.85 seconds, 0-124mph (200km/h) in 7.6 seconds and a top speed of over 211mph (340km/h). Ferrari has opted to call the new special series sports car “Pista”, which is Italian for ‘track’, joining a celebrated lineup of hardcore models that includes the Challenge Stradale, the 430 Scuderia and the 458 Speciale. The whole bodywork has been reshaped, with the designers using innovations such as the S-Duct at the front and the unique edges of the front bumper and side sills that guide the air flow in -apparently- all the right places. The 3.9-litre V8 engine is essentially the same unit found in the Challenge race car and features specific valves and springs, a new cam profile, strengthened pistons and cylinder heads shorter inlet ducts, radiators with an inverted rake, a larger intercooler and more. It’s also 18kg lighter than the standard engine. For the first time ever in a Ferrari, the new 488 Pista can be fitted with a set of optional single-piece carbon-fibre wheels that are around 40 percent lighter than the GTB’s standard rims. A new generation of Ferrari’s Side Slip Control System is also present (SSC 6.0) because who doesn’t like to slide around a Ferrari with some help from the gods of Maranello. The 488 Pista was not a limited production model and was offered along the regular 488 GTB until it went out of production.
This car is the recently completed Fiat 124 Special T of Michael Ward, photographer for and owner of Auto Italia magazine. It underwent a lengthy rebuild before making its first appearances in the summer of 2021. At the November 1970 Turin Motor Show Fiat introduced a round of updates for the entire saloon and wagon 124 range, as well as a new model variant—the 124 Special T. All models had gained air outlets added to the C-pillar for better ventilation, and a split brake circuit; while some features previously exclusive to the 124 Special such as servo-assisted brakes, back-up light and an alternator were made standard across the range. Berlina and Familiare both had a new grille with alternated chrome and black horizontal bars, and larger bumper over-riders. Additionally the Berlina had large, nearly square tail lamps made up by two stacked rectangular elements. The renewed Special sported a completely redesigned front end. A black, square-mesh radiator grille was crossed by a horizontal bright bar joining the dual headlamps; each of the four round lamps was set in its own square, bright-edged housing. The grille-headlamps assembly was flanked by the turn indicators. Front and rear the bumpers had lost their over-riders, replaced by full-width rubber strips. At the rear the lamps were also new—still horizontal and rectangular in shape unlike the ones used on the standard saloon—and the whole tail panel was surrounded by a chromed profile. Inside there was a new dashboard with imitation wood inserts, carpets instead of rubber mats, and cloth upholstery. The “T” in 124 Special T stood for twin cam, hinting at the car’s 1,438 cc dual overhead camshaft engine, derived from the Sport Coupé and Spider but in a milder state of tune. Coded 124 AC.300, this engine had revised valve timing and fuel system and produced 80 DIN-rated PS at 5,800 rpm and 112 DIN-rated Nm (83 lb/ft) of torque at 4,000 rpm. According to the manufacturer top speed was 160 km/h (99 mph). Externally the Special T was identical to the Special, save for model badging at the rear. There are only a couple of 124 Special T left in the UK, and whilst this one is (quite intentionally) not original any more, it is really rather special.
A sporting version of Ford’s front wheel drive Escort was announced at the same time as the “cooking” 1.1, 1.,3 and 1,6 litre cars in October 1980. This was the XR3, and it came initially with a carb fed 1.6 litre engine generating 105 bhp and had a four speed gearbox. Fuel injection finally arrived in October 1982 (creating the XR3i), eight months behind the limited edition (8,659 examples), racetrack-influenced RS 1600i. The Cologne-developed RS received a more powerful engine with 115 PS, thanks to computerised ignition and a modified head as well as the fuel injection. For 1983, the XR3i was upgraded to 115bhp thanks to the use of fuel injection and a five speed transmission had been standardised. Both variants proved very popular, getting a significant percentage of Escort sales and also as a slightly more affordable alternative to a Golf GTi. For those for whom the performance was not quite enough, Ford had an answer, withe the RS Turbo. This 132 PS car was shown in October 1984, as a top of the range car, offering more power than the big-selling XR3i and the limited production RS1600i. Going on sale in the spring of 1985, it proved to be somewhat of a disappointment, with the chassis coming in for severe criticism. The RS Turbo Series 1 was only marketed in a few European nations as production was limited to 5,000 examples, all in white. They were well equipped, with the alloy wheels from the limited production RS 1600i, Recaro seats, and a limited slip differential.
There were a number of Mustangs here, bot from the current generation, which is sold new by Ford in right hand drive form, for the first time in the history of this long-running model, as well as its predecessor, which was not, and so which have all been personally imported.
Like many low volume specialist producers, there’s quite a complex history around GTM. The firm started out creating small and relatively inexpensive kitcars in 1967, when they produced the Cox GTM, a mid-engined Mini-based machine with styling inspired by the Ferrari Dino (so it is said!). Production stopped after 5 years, and ownership of the company changed a few times over the next few years, with production of new cars, as opposed to spares, starting again in 1980, with an updated version of the GTM Coupe. The model continued to be developed and the company took advantage of the Austin-Rover K Series engine when it became available. In 1998 they launched a new car, the Libra. Three years in development, it was a collaboration between GTM Cars directors Peter Beck & Paddy Fitch, designer Richard Oakes and suspension designer Bryn Davies. Conceived as a lightweight sports car, it uses no subframes for its suspension with all the mountings being bolted straight to the GRP monocoque tub. At the front it uses unequal length wishbones of GTM design locating uprights from the Rover Metro/100 range and a forward mounted steering rack for extra legroom. The rear suspension is an unusual double trailing arm design, bolted to the rear bulkhead and using the same uprights as the front. The engine/transmission unit is held in a frame hanging off the rear bulkhead, a frame which also locates the rear hinging engine cover which incorporates a sizeable boot which can accommodate a full size set of golf clubs. The front ‘clamshell’ conceals the radiator, battery, master cylinders etc. and also manages to stow a full size spare wheel (either 16″ or 17″). A removable roof panel can be stowed behind the seats for an open top experience. Initially launched with the 1.4 litre Rover ‘K’-Series engine, the Libra has been fitted successfully with 1.6, 1.8, 1.8 VVC and KV6 2.5 litre Rover engines as well as some Honda units and the Audi 1.8 turbo engine. Production ceased in 2010, as supply of the necessary parts dried up.
It is now more than a thirty years since Honda stunned the world with a true Ferrari-beater. Its origins go back all the way to 1984, when Honda commissioned the Italian car designer Pininfarina to design the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental), which had a mid-mounted C20A 2.0 L V6 configuration. After Honda committed to the project, management informed the engineers that the new car would have to be as fast as anything coming from Italy and Germany .The HP-X concept car evolved into a prototype called the NS-X, which stood for “New”, “Sportscar” and “eXperimental”. The NS-X prototype and eventual production model were designed by a team led by Chief Designer Ken Okuyama and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara, who subsequently were placed in charge of the S2000 project. The original performance target for the NS-X was the Ferrari 328, and later the 348 as the design neared completion. Honda intended the NS-X to meet or exceed the performance of the Ferrari, while offering targeted reliability and a lower price point. For this reason, the 2.0L V6 of the HP-X was abandoned and replaced with a more powerful 3.0L VTEC V6 engine. The bodywork design had been specifically researched by Okuyama and Uehara after studying the 360 degree visibility inside an F-16 fighter jet cockpit. Thematically the F-16 came into play in the exterior design as well as establishing the conceptual goals of the NSX. In the F-16 and other high performance craft such as unlimited hydroplanes, single seat race cars etc. the cockpit is located far forward on the body and in front of the power plant. This “cab-forward” layout was chosen early in the NSX’s design to optimise visibility while the long tail design enhanced high speed directional stability. The NS-X was designed to showcase several Honda automotive technologies, many derived from its F1 motor-sports program. The NS-X was the first production car to feature an all-aluminium monocoque body, incorporating a revolutionary extruded aluminium alloy frame, and suspension. The use of aluminium in the body alone saved nearly 200 kg in weight over the steel equivalent, while the aluminium suspension saved an additional 20 kg; a suspension compliance pivot helped maintain wheel alignment changes at a near zero value. Other notable features included an independent, 4-channel anti-lock brake system; titanium connecting rods in the engine to permit reliable high-rpm operation; an electric power steering system; Honda’s proprietary VTEC variable valve timing system (a first in the US) and, in 1995, the first electronic throttle control fitted to a Honda. With a robust motorsports division, Honda had significant development resources at its disposal and made extensive use of them. Respected Japanese Formula One driver Satoru Nakajima, for example, was involved with Honda in the NS-X’s early on track development at Suzuka race circuit, where he performed many endurance distance duties related to chassis tuning. Brazilian Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna, for whom Honda had powered all three of his world championship-winning Formula One race cars before his death in 1994, was considered Honda’s main innovator in convincing the company to stiffen the NSX chassis further after initially testing the car at Honda’s Suzuka GP circuit in Japan. Senna further helped refine the original NSX’s suspension tuning and handling spending a whole day test driving prototypes and reporting his findings to Honda engineers after each of the day’s five testing sessions. Senna also tested the NSX at the Nurburgring and other tracks. The suspension development program was far-ranging and took place at the Tochigi Proving Grounds, the Suzuka circuit, the 179-turn Nurburgring Course in Germany, HPCC, and Hondas newest test track in Takasu, Hokkaido. Honda automobile dealer Bobby Rahal (two-time CART PPG Cup and 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion) also participated in the car’s development. The production car made its first public appearances as the NS-X at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1989, and at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1989 to positive reviews. Honda revised the vehicle’s name from NS-X to NSX before final production and sale. The NSX went on sale in Japan in 1990 at Honda Verno dealership sales channels, supplanting the Honda Prelude as the flagship model. The NSX was marketed under Honda’s flagship Acura luxury brand starting in 1991 in North America and Hong Kong. It sent shockwaves through the industry, as the car was considerably better than the Ferrari 348 in just about every respect. But that was not the end of the story, of course. While the NSX always was intended to be a world-class sports car, engineers had made some compromises in order to strike a suitable balance between raw performance and daily driveability. For those NSX customers seeking a no-compromise racing experience, Honda decided in 1992 to produce a version of the NSX specifically modified for superior on-track performance at the expense of customary creature comforts. Thus, the NSX Type R (or NSX-R) was born. Honda chose to use its moniker of Type R to designate the NSX-R’s race-oriented design. In 1995, a Targa model was released, the NSX-T, which allowed customers to experience fresh air thanks to two removable targa top panels. The original NSX body design received only minor modifications from Honda in the new millennium when in 2002 the original pop-up headlamps were replaced with fixed xenon HID headlamp units. There was just one of these much admired cars here.
This is the much loved and well-known Aventador belonging to Ciro himself.
It was not the only Aventador here as another one (wrapped) turned up during the morning. The Aventador has been a huge success for Lamborghini. It was first seen at the 2011 Geneva Show, with the full name of Aventador LP700-4 Coupe, the numbers denoting the output of 700 bhp from the all-new V12 engine and the 4 meaning four wheel drive, something which has featured on every Aventador since. The launch price was £250,000 but even so within a month, Lamborghini had a year’s worth of orders, and within a year, 1000 had been built. In November 2012 a Roadster version arrived, which was very similar to the Coupe, but with a lift-out roof panel. A suite of mechanical changes came at this point, with a cylinder deactiviation technology helping to improve fuel consumption and cut emissions. To mark half a century of car production, in April 2013, the LP720-4 50th Anniversary was launched, with 100 units available. As well as the extra 20 bhp, these had a mildly redesigned nose and tail, special paintwork and unique interior trim. A Roadster version followed in December 2014, the LP 700-4 Pirelli Edition. This did not have the extra power, but did feature two tone paint, unique wheels and a transparent engine cover, with the engine bay finished in carbon fibre. Lamborghini turned up the wick in march 2015 with the LP750-4 SuperVeloce, or SV for short, which featured and extra 50 bhp and a 50 kg weight reduction largely thanks to the use of more carbon fibre. A Roadster version followed a few months later.
Lancia launched the Delta in 1979, as what we would now think of as a “premium hatch”. Offered in 1300 and 1500cc engines, this car, which collected the prestigious “Car of the year” award a few months later, brought Italian style and an expensive feeling interior to a new and lower price point in the market than Lancia had occupied since the early days of the Fulvia some 15 years earlier. The range grew first when a model was offered using the 4 speed AP automatic transmission and then in late 1982, more powerful models started to appear, with first a 1600cc engine, and then one with fuel injection, before the introduction of the HF Turbo. All these cars kept the same appearance and were quite hard to tell apart. These were the volume models of the range, but now they are very definitely the rare ones, as it is the performance versions which have survived and are now much loved classics, even though relatively were sold when they were new, thanks to a combination of the fact that they were quite costly and that they only ever came with left hand drive. The Integrale evolved over several years, starting off as the HF Turbo 4WD that was launched in April 1986, to homologate a new rally car for Lancia who needed something to fill the void left by the cancellation of Group B from the end of 1986. The Delta HF 4X4 had a four-wheel drive system with an in-built torque-splitting action. Three differentials were used. Drive to the front wheels was linked through a free-floating differential; drive to the rear wheels was transmitted via a 56/44 front/rear torque-splitting Ferguson viscous-coupling-controlled epicyclic central differential. At the rear wheels was a Torsen (torque sensing) rear differential. It divided the torque between the wheels according to the available grip, with a maximum lockup of 70%. The basic suspension layout of the Delta 4WD remained the same as in the rest of the two-wheel drive Delta range: MacPherson strut–type independent suspension with dual-rate dampers and helicoidal springs, with the struts and springs set slightly off-centre. The suspension mounting provided more isolation by incorporating flexible rubber links. Progressive rebound bumpers were adopted, while the damper rates, front and rear toe-in and the relative angle between springs and dampers were all altered. The steering was power-assisted rack and pinion. The car looked little different from the front wheel drive models. In September 1987, Lancia showed a more sophisticated version of the car, the Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V. This version incorporated some of the features of the Delta HF 4WD into a road car. The engine was an 8-valve 2 litre fuel injected 4-cylinder, with balancing shafts. The HF version featured new valves, valve seats and water pump, larger water and oil radiators, more powerful cooling fan and bigger air cleaner. A larger capacity Garrett T3 turbocharger with improved air flow and bigger inter-cooler, revised settings for the electronic injection/ignition control unit and a knock sensor, boosting power output to 185 bhp at 5300 rpm and maximum torque of 224 lb/ft at 3500 rpm. The HF Integrale had permanent 4-wheel drive, a front transversely mounted engine and five-speed gearbox. An epicyclic centre differential normally split the torque 56 per cent to the front axle, 44 per cent to the rear. A Ferguson viscous coupling balanced the torque split between front and rear axles depending on road conditions and tyre grip. The Torsen rear differential further divided the torque delivered to each rear wheel according to grip available. A shorter final drive ratio (3.111 instead of 2.944 on the HF 4WD) matched the larger 6.5×15 wheels to give 24 mph/1000 rpm in fifth gear. Braking and suspension were uprated to 284 mm ventilated front discs, a larger brake master cylinder and servo, as well as revised front springs, dampers, and front struts. Next update was to change the engine from 8 valves to 16. The 16v Integrale was introduced at the 1989 Geneva Motorshow, and made a winning debut on the 1989 San Remo Rally. It featured a raised centre of the bonnet to accommodate the new 16 valve engine, as well as wider wheels and tyres and new identity badges front and rear. The torque split was changed to 47% front and 53% rear. The turbocharged 2-litre Lancia 16v engine now produced 200 bhp at 5500 rpm, for a maximum speed of 137 mph and 0–100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. Changes included larger injectors, a more responsive Garrett T3 turbocharger, a more efficient intercooler, and the ability to run on unleaded fuel without modification. The first Evoluzione cars were built at the end of 1991 and through 1992. These were to be the final homologation cars for the Lancia Rally Team; the Catalytic Evoluzione II was never rallied by the factory. The Evoluzione I had a wider track front and rear than earlier Deltas. The bodyside arches were extended and became more rounded. The wings were now made in a single pressing. The front strut top mounts were also raised, which necessitated a front strut brace. The new Integrale retained the four wheel drive layout. The engine was modified to produce 210 bhp at 5750 rpm. External changes included: new grilles in the front bumper to improve the air intake for engine compartment cooling; a redesigned bonnet with new lateral air slats to further assist underbonnet ventilation; an adjustable roof spoiler above the tailgate; new five-bolt wheels with the same design of the rally cars; and a new single exhaust pipe. Interior trim was now grey Alcantara on the Recaro seats, as fitted to the earlier 16V cars; leather and air conditioning were offered as options, as well as a leather-covered Momo steering wheel. Presented in June 1993, the second Evolution version of the Delta HF Integrale featured an updated version of the 2-litre 16-valve turbo engine to produce more power, as well as a three-way catalyst and Lambda probe. A Marelli integrated engine control system with an 8 MHz clock frequency which incorporates: timed sequential multipoint injection; self-adapting injection times; automatic idling control; engine protection strategies depending on the temperature of intaken air; Mapped ignition with two double outlet coils; Three-way catalyst and pre-catalyst with lambda probe (oxygen sensor) on the turbine outlet link; anti-evaporation system with air line for canister flushing optimised for the turbo engine; new Garrett turbocharger: water-cooled with boost-drive management i.e. boost controlled by feedback from the central control unit on the basis of revs/throttle angle; Knock control by engine block sensor and new signal handling software for spark park advance, fuel quantity injected, and turbocharging. The engine now developed 215 PS as against 210 PS on the earlier uncatalysed version and marginally more torque. The 1993 Integrale received a cosmetic and functional facelift that included. new 16″ light alloy rims with 205/45 ZR 16 tyres; body colour roof moulding to underline the connection between the roof and the Solar control windows; aluminium fuel cap and air-intake grilles on the front mudguards; red-painted cylinder head; new leather-covered three-spoke MOMO steering wheel; standard Recaro seats upholstered in beige Alcantara with diagonal stitching. In its latter years the Delta HF gave birth to a number of limited and numbered editions, differing mainly in colour, trim and equipment; some were put on general sale, while others were reserved to specific markets, clubs or selected customers.
The 720S – a complete replacement for the 650S – was a star of the 2017 Geneva Show, and it was clear on looking at it, that the Woking firm really is increasingly a serious threat to Ferrari’s supercar supremacy, even before learning that total sales in just five years of production had passed 10,000 units. The 720S was presented as the firm’s new core model and the first of 15 new-generation McLarens, half of which will be hybrids, promised by 2022 under CEO Mike Flewitt’s ambitious Track 22 development plan. The 720S obeys all existing McLaren design rules. It is a two-seat supercar based on an all-carbonfibre tub, with aluminium space frames carrying the front and rear suspension, and it is powered by a twin turbo V8. However, within that envelope, it has been redesigned and updated in every detail. The exterior introduces a new ‘double skin’ door construction that eliminates the need for the prominent side air scoops previously thought essential in supercar design, while the engine grows to 4.0 litres, up from 3.8-litres, and now produces 710bhp. McLaren has further developed its carbonfibre chassis tub and upper structure, taking lessons from previous models, including the P1. Now dubbed Monocage II, the structure is cited as the key to the 720S’s 1283kg dry weight, which undercuts all competitors and beats that of its predecessor by 18kg. Monocage II’s stiffness has allowed McLaren’s designers to give the 720S remarkably thin A-pillars, a deep windscreen, B-pillars set well back and slim, glazed C-pillars, all of which contribute to first-class all-round visibility for the driver. The body panels are made either of carbonfibre or superformed aluminium, and their novel shape plays a key role in the 720S’s impressive aerodynamic performance. Low down at the front there are anti-lift aero blades reminiscent of those on the P1, while ultra-compact LED headlights fit into frontal ‘eye sockets’ that allow room for vents to feed the air conditioning and oil cooler. The body sides incorporate channels, formed by two skins and flowing past the dihedral doors, so cooling air can be directed along the body into the engine bay, uninterrupted by turbulence and resulting in a 15% improvement in cooling airflow. On the outer, lower part of the doors, there are F1-inspired blades that direct air away from the front wheel arches, assisting downforce and cutting drag. A big under-body diffuser at the rear sweeps up from the 720S’s flat floor almost to its rear wing, where the two elements frame the ultra-thin LED tail-lights. Because the top of the 720S’s engine is a remarkable 120mm lower than that of the 650S, the car also has a low, teardrop-shaped engine cover that allows an uninterrupted flow of air over the roof to the hydraulically actuated rear wing, which has a DRS drag reduction setting for optimal straight-line performance, an Aero setting for downforce in corners and a Brake setting (which sets the wing a steep 56deg from the horizontal) to increase drag and improve chassis balance under heavy braking. The result, says McLaren, is that the wing has 30% more downforce and its aero efficiency (the ratio of downforce to drag) is doubled. McLaren claims “new heights of performance” from its expanded turbo V8, now re-engineered for a capacity of 3994cc, thanks to a 3.6mm lengthening of its stroke. The engine also has lighter pistons and conrods and a stiffer, lightened crank, plus twin-scroll turbochargers with faster-spooling turbines, capable of spinning at 145,000rpm, and electronically controlled wastegates. In total, 41% of the engine’s components are new. A cast aluminium air intake system, visible through the mesh engine cover, feeds extra air to the more potent engine that now uses two injectors per cylinder. But rather than simply pumping in more fuel, the improved injection system gives more accurate metering, which helps to cut CO2 emissions by around 10%, to a class-leading 249g/km. Combined economy falls by a similar percentage to 26.4mpg. The 720S’s peak output of 710bhp is produced at 7000rpm, while maximum torque of 568lb ft is delivered at 5500rpm. The engine, longitudinally mounted behind the occupants, drives as before through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox mounted end-on to the engine, but McLaren says further refinement of its control software brings smoother gearchanges at low speeds and faster, sharper shifts at higher speeds. The launch control has also been improved, and as before, there are three driving modes — Comfort, Sport and Track — that govern both engine and dynamics. The chassis weight savings, allied to other reductions in mass, including 2kg from the brakes, 3kg from the electrics and 1.5kg from the airboxes, contribute as much to the 720S’s enhanced performance as its 11% power increase. The power-to-weight ratio is now 553bhp per tonne (up 15%) and, according to McLaren, beats the best in the segment. As a result, McLaren claims a “crushing” 0-60mph time of just 2.8sec, 0-124mph in 7.8sec and a top speed of 212mph. The 720S will also dispatch a standing quarter-mile in 10.3sec, representing a blistering performance for a pure road car. To accompany the performance, the 720S has a carefully engineered engine note which can be further enhanced with an optional, louder, sports exhaust system. Despite its performance potential, McLaren is adamant that its new car is as easily handled by ordinary drivers as it is by experts, with throttle response calibrated to provide “the optimum blend of immediate reaction and progressive comfort”. Although only five years old, McLaren’s all-independent system of front and rear double wishbones has been completely re-engineered, both to allow wheel geometry changes and, thanks to a redesign of the uprights and wishbones, to cut unsprung mass by 16kg. The 720S has an updated version of the Proactive chassis control electronics used by the 650S. The system features hydraulically interlinked dampers at each corner that remove the need for anti-roll bars, but the big improvement for the 720S’s system, which is dubbed PCCII, results from new software developed during a six-year collaboration with the University of Cambridge and using sophisticated information gathered by 12 new sensors and accelerometers. The result is even better contact between the tyres and the road surface. The system can assess conditions and adjust the suspension every five milliseconds. It also includes a Variable Drift function, which allows you to slide the car without losing control, and McLaren Brake Steer, pioneered in F1, which enhances agility in corners and traction out of them by braking separate wheels. McLaren engineers have retained electro-hydraulic steering for the 720S, despite rivals’ adoption of electric only systems, because they still feel it gives superior “clarity of feel”. Brakes are large, ventilated carbon-ceramic discs and the tyres are specially developed Pirelli P Zeros, 245/35 ZR19s at the front (up from the 650S’s 235s) and 305/30 ZR20s at the rear. McLaren claims a 6% increase in mechanical grip, which is about the same advantage as fitting track-focused Pirelli Corsas to a 650S. Although the 720S closely follows the outgoing 650S in its major dimensions, there are differences between them. The thin pillars, the depth of the windscreen and the all-round glass give a commanding view to all points that modern supercar drivers will find surprising. The redesigned interior surfaces have been ‘pushed away’ from the occupants as much as possible, to further enhance the feeling of space. Unlock the door and various instrument and courtesy lights go through a welcome sequence as the mirrors unfold. Opening the door also triggers an elaborate sequence on the upright TFT screen which changes its configuration according to driving mode. The driver can also ‘declutter’ the instruments, for example when on a track, via a special Slim mode. There’s a central 8.0in infotainment screen on the centre console, with ventilation settings carried along the bottom. The layout of switches, most of which are machined from aluminium, is simple. Standard cabin trim and seats are plush but, as with previous models, colour and trim material upgrades are available. McLaren has already begun taking orders, with the first cars due to be delivered in May. The entry price in the UK was £207,900. All 400 units of the Launch Edition version were sold even before the general public saw the car though many of these then hit the pre-owned market quite quickly, traded in once owners could take delivery of a car in the spec that they really wanted. McLaren’s goal is to sell around 1200 – 1500 720S models a year.
Sitting below the 720 in the range are the 540 and 570 models. The first of these were revealed at the 2015 New York Auto Show, going on sale towards the end of that year. These were labelled as part of McLaren’s Sports Series. This mid-engine sportscar features the lightweight carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis, and a highly efficient 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine generating 562bhp and 443lb/ft of torque. Although the model has been conceived with a greater focus on day-to-day usability and refinement, but it is still very much a pure McLaren, boasting a class-leading power-to-weight ratio of 434PS per tonne, and electrifying performance. The 570S Coupé accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds, reaches 200km/h (124mph) in 9.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 204mph. Pricing for the 570S Coupé started at £143,250, though like all cars of this type, that figure can quickly rise once you raid the options list.
This is also in Ciro’s fleet, as would be rather obvious from the numberplate!
The 991 introduced in 2012 is an entirely new platform, only the third since the original 911. Porsche revealed basic information on the new Carrera and Carrera S models on 23 August 2011. The Carrera is powered by a 350 hp 3.4-litre engine. The Carrera S features a 3.8-litre engine rated at 400 hp. A Power Kit (option X51) is available for the Carrera S, increasing power output to 430 hp. The new 991’s overall length grows by 56 mm (2.2 in) and wheelbase grows by 99 mm (3.9 in) (now 96.5 in.) Overhangs are trimmed and the rear axle moves rearward at roughly 76 mm (3 in) towards the engine (made possible by new 3-shaft transmissions whose output flanges are moved closer to the engine). There is a wider front track (51 mm (2 in) wider for the Carrera S). The design team for the 991 was headed by Michael Mauer. At the front, the new 991 has wide-set headlights that are more three-dimensional. The front fender peaks are a bit more prominent, and wedgy directionals now appear to float above the intakes for the twin coolant radiators. The stretched rear 3/4 view has changed the most, with a slightly more voluminous form and thin taillights capped with the protruding lip of the bodywork. The biggest and main change in the interior is the center console, inspired by the Carrera GT and adopted by the Panamera. The 991 is the first 911 to use a predominantly aluminium construction. This means that even though the car is larger than the outgoing model, it is still up to 50 kilograms (110 lb) lighter. The reduced weight and increased power means that both the Carrera and Carrera S are appreciably faster than the outgoing models. The 0–60 mph acceleration time for the manual transmission cars are 4.6 seconds for the Carrera and 4.3 seconds for the Carrera S. When equipped with the PDK transmission, the two 991 models can accelerate from 0–97 km/h in 4.4 seconds and 4.1 seconds. With the optional sports chrono package, available for the cars with the PDK transmission, the 991 Carrera can accelerate from 0–97 km/h in as little as 4.2 seconds and the Carrera S can do the same in 3.9 seconds. Apart from the reworked PDK transmission, the new 991 is also equipped with an industry-first 7-speed manual transmission. On vehicles produced in late 2012 (2013 model year) Rev Matching is available on the 7-speed manual transmission when equipped with the Sport Chrono package. Rev-Matching is a new feature with the manual transmission that blips the throttle during downshifts (if in Sport Plus mode). Also, the 7th gear cannot be engaged unless the car is already in 5th or 6th gear. One of Porsche’s primary objectives with the new model was to improve fuel economy as well as increase performance. In order to meet these objectives, Porsche introduced a number of new technologies in the 911. One of the most controversial of these is the introduction of electromechanical power steering instead of the previous hydraulic steering. This steering helps reduce fuel consumption, but some enthusiasts feel that the precise steering feedback for which the 911 is famous is reduced with the new system. The cars also feature an engine stop/start system that turns the engine off at red lights, as well as a coasting system that allows the engine to idle while maintaining speed on downhill gradients on highways. This allows for up to a 16% reduction in fuel consumption and emissions over the outgoing models. The new cars also have a number of technologies aimed at improving handling. The cars include a torque vectoring system (standard on the Carrera S and optional on the Carrera) which brakes the inner wheel of the car when going into turns. This helps the car to turn in quicker and with more precision. The cars also feature hydraulic engine mounts (which help reduce the inertia of the engine when going into turns) as part of the optional sports chrono package. Active suspension management is standard on the Carrera S and optional on the Carrera. This helps improve ride quality on straights while stiffening the suspension during aggressive driving. The new 991 is also equipped with a new feature called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). Porsche claims that this new feature alone has shaved 4 seconds off the standard car’s lap time around the Nürburgring. PDCC helps the car corner flat and is said to improve high-speed directional stability and outright lateral body control, but according to several reviews, the car is more prone to understeer when equipped with this new technology. In January 2013, Porsche introduced the all-wheel-drive variants of the Carrera models. The ‘4’ and ‘4S’ models are distinguishable by wider tyres, marginally wider rear body-work and a red-reflector strip that sits in between the tail-lights. In terms of technology, the 4 and 4S models are equipped with an all-new variable all-wheel-drive system that sends power to the front wheels only when needed, giving the driver a sense of being in a rear-wheel-drive 911. In May 2013, Porsche announced changes to the model year 2014 911 Turbo and Turbo S models, increasing their power to 513 hp on the ‘Turbo’, and 552 hp on the ‘Turbo S’, giving them a 0–97 km/h acceleration time of 3.2 and 2.9 seconds, respectively. A rear-wheel steering system has also been incorporated on the Turbo models that steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction at low speeds or the same direction at high speeds to improve handling. During low-speed manoeuvres, this has the virtual effect of shortening the wheelbase, while at high speeds, it is virtually extending the wheelbase for higher driving stability and agility. In January 2014, Porsche introduced the new model year 2015 Targa 4 and Targa 4S models. These new models come equipped with an all-new roof technology with the original Targa design, now with an all-electric cabriolet roof along with the B-pillar and the glass ‘dome’ at the rear. In September 2015, Porsche introduced the second generation of 991 Carrera models at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Both Carrera and Carrera S models break with previous tradition by featuring a 3.0-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder boxer engine, marking the first time that a forced induction engine has been fitted to the base models within the 911 range
The Beetle Cabrio was produced by Karmann at their Osnabruck facility. Production of an open-topped Type 1 Beetle Cabriolet began in 1949. The convertible was more than a Beetle with a folding top. To compensate for the strength lost in removing the roof, the sills were reinforced with welded U-channel rails, a transverse beam was fitted below the front edge of the rear seat cushion, and the side cowl-panels below the instrument panel were double-wall. In addition, the lower corners of the door apertures had welded-in curved gussets, and the doors had secondary alignment wedges at the B-pillar. The top was cabriolet-style with a full inner headliner hiding the folding mechanism and crossbars. In between the two top layers was 1 in (25 mm) of insulation. The rear window was tempered safety glass, and after 1968, heated. Due to the thickness of the top, it remained quite tall when folded. To enable the driver to see over the lowered top, the inside rearview was mounted on an offset pivot. By twisting the mirror 180 degrees on a longitudinal axis, the mirror glass would raise approximately 2 in (5.1 cm). The convertible was generally more lavishly equipped than the sedan with dual rear ashtrays, twin map pockets, a visor vanity mirror on the passenger side, rear stone shields, and through 1969, wheel trim rings. Many of these items did not become available on other Beetles until the advent of the optional “L” (Luxus) Package of 1970. After a number of stylistic and technical alterations made to the Karmann cabriolet, corresponding to the many changes VW made to the Beetle throughout its history, the last of 331,847 cabriolets came off the production line on 10 January 1980.
Thanks probably in no small part to the weather, this event turned out to be a major success, with a good showing cars, some interesting variety ot just among the Abarths but also with the rest of the displays, a venue I had not been to before, and of course that all important cameraderie among enthusiasts. A fitting end to a very busy Easter weekend which had seem attend five very different events and venues over five days.