Archive for the ‘General’ Category

This very rare, genuine, right hand drive MB 220SE convertible was registered in the UK on the 29th September 1965 is being offered for sale on behalf of the current owner who lives in Thailand.

Finished in very attractive metallic silver/blue paintwork with contrasting dark blue leather interior the car presents itself very well and wears an appealing patina of age combined with some tastefully restored and updated fittings. The car was originally a maroon colour but is recorded as being re-painted in 2000.

The chrome finishings are free of any serious corrosion with just minor localised pitting in some areas.

The blue leather interior and black hood appear to have been re-commissioned at some stage in the car’s life but since there is no service history available with the car it is difficult to determine exactly when the work might have been done. However, the condition of those items is very good including the blue tonneau cover for the hood when folded.

The odometer is currently showing 45948 miles and the mot history indicates that in 2007 the car had done 41258 miles, suggesting that only very light use has been made of the car during the past 12 years of its life. The next MOT is not due until July 2020.

The engine starts without fuss and idles very smoothly whilst the suspension shows no signs of sagging or lack of support on all four corners.

Although this 220SE does not present itself in concours condition it is both a perfectly usable, solid classic and an ideal base for a long-term project to turn it into a show-winning example.

Genuine 220SE convertibles are very hard to come by since there are many coupes that have been modified to soft-top versions. In addition this an original UK-registered, right hand drive model which adds even more rarity value to the car.

This 220SE convertible is currently on sale at £95,000 and for more details or to arrange a viewing in West Sussex please contact The Car Spy on 01892 506970 or email sales@thecarspy.net

 

Ferrari and Ford have both been in the news lately. A record euro amount was paid at auction for a 1957 335 Sport Scaglietti and Ford are back at Le Mans after 50 years with an ambition to win again.

The success of the Ford GT40 from the 60’s is well-documented and today remains one of motor racing’s all-time great successes. Thanks to Signore Enzo Ferrari.

So the story goes, the great man was willing to consider the sale of his company to Henry Ford II back in 1963 but because of a disagreement over how the motor racing division would be run Enzo cancelled the negotiations. HF II had spent a fortune in lawyer’s fees up to that point and was pretty miffed that EF just upped and walked away from the table.

As a result of the falling-out of the two alpha-males the racing division of Ford were tasked with building a Ferrari-beater to give Enzo a good spanking for his tantrum. A partnership with Lola ensued and the creation of Ford Advanced Vehicles Limited in England whose first-born was the fabled GT40. The rest is history as they say and now we look forward to the new Ford GT.

At about the same time Mr Ferrari was having another spat with a gentleman called Ferruccio. The chap who was making tractors had a few tips for Enzo to improve the ‘drivability’ of his cars which resulted in him receiving a bloody nose from the man from Maranello. Ferruccio Lamborghini decided to start building his own cars. Oh dear, Enzo did it again but we really should be grateful for the Miura, Countach, Gallardo, Aventador, Sesto Elemento etc etc.

On the face of it, if Enzo Ferrari had been a mild-mannered, passive, congenial individual neither the GT40 or the multiple creations from Lamborghini would have ever existed. Quite fortunate therefore that he wasn’t and not only did he create some of the world’s greatest cars himself but he also had a hand in the creation of some that did not wear a Ferrari badge.

Grazie mille Enzo Ferrari!

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January 2016. A memorable month perhaps for not many good reasons. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Lemmy and even Terry Wogan all gone from our world in a couple of weeks. Gone but of course never forgotten since each has left a legacy that will remain with their respective fans forever, including yours truly.

In the world of cars another British icon said farewell this month too. The Land Rover Defender is no more. Exactly 2,016,933 have been produced since 1948 and the car is probably one of the most recognised vehicles anywhere in the world and quite likely one of the most loved too.

Famous owners have included the Queen (of course), Winston Churchill, Steve McQueen, James Bond, Richard ‘The Hamster’ Hammond and The Car Spy (haha). There are many more ‘famous’ owners, of course, worth mentioning but that’s enough name-dropping for now.

Because you like music does not mean you would be be obliged to appreciate the many albums of David Bowie and because you like cars you might not appreciate a Land Rover (Series I, II, III, 90, 110 , Defender etc) and that is ok.

Notwithstanding individual opinion in cars and musical taste both the names of ‘Bowie’ and ‘Land Rover’ have been engraved into the stone tablet milestones of British history. You just know that in 100 years from now they will be a part of our ‘historical culture’. Just like Shakespeare.

Today this blog article was to be about a highly collectable Italian exotic that is the subject for a photo-shoot next week but instead it has turned out to be a eulogy for the Defender. But ‘eulogy’ means praising somebody or something that has just died so it’s really more of a ‘lifetime achievement award’ speech.

To appreciate a Defender (we’ll just stick to that moniker for simplicity’s sake) you have to consider a car that did not pretend to do anything else that what it was originally designed for. It was meant to be basic but very fit for for purpose.

Stick it on the edge of a muddy field on the side of a steep hill and tell it get to the top of the hill. Whichever variant you picked it would get the job done. No computer-assisted driving aids but pure mechanical engineering genius to carry out the task in hand. That is why farmers the world over relied on them. You could do the same thing thing in a tractor but you couldn’t park it in Waitrose for the weekly shop on the way home. Well you could but you just wouldn’t.

A Defender didn’t need aerodynamics, satnav, electric windows, aircon or airbags. It was the antithesis of today’s ‘modern car’. Our workshop mechanic said you only needed a Philips screwdriver and a pair of pliers in your toolbox to look after one. A slightly optimistic view but nonetheless not that far from the truth.

And therein really lies the problem with the Defender and why it had to be terminated- it does not make any commercial sense for a car manufacturer in 2016.

Cars have to be complex these days. Profits are made not from just building the thing in the first place but from the spare parts and workshop bills accumulated thereafter. We live in a world of consumerism and therefore everything has to be disposable. We have suddenly got used to upgrading to a new iPhone very year even though deep down we know don’t really need too.

But hey ho this is how the world turns now.

However, just like the music of David Bowie the Defender hasn’t died at all. You can buy a 70’s variant and have access to the same after-market support offered to the latest (and last) model. You can do almost anything yourself to keep the car on the road. It is the last of the Meccano-cars and if you have even the basic of interests in car mechanics and engineering then buy yourself a Defender. It is a deeply satisfying experience and it should be a mandatory part of any engineering course at university.

So why all of the fretting of the so-called replacement for the Defender?

One of the reasons that Land Rover have not rushed in with a new ‘evolutionary replacement’ is that they don’t know what to replace the Defender with. They haven’t got a clue. Defender purists want a car they can strip down and rebuild themselves but the market wants designer handbags or at the very least a ‘lifestyle’ accessory. Good luck with that one JLR!

On the other hand if you are not a fashion victim and fancy getting your fingernails dirty over the weekend then you have a big pond to fish in and for some time yet. Over 2 million ‘Land Rovers’ have been made and most are likely to be on the road still so get stuck into the classifieds!

Until the EU bureaucrats and Whitehall mandarins ban these types of cars forever then there is still life in the Defender yet.

Dead maybe but not gone for a while yet. Long live H166 HUE!

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TVR Launch Edition

There are plenty of new releases in the car world this year and we thought it would be a great idea to bring you some highlights and predictions for the coming year…… 

Fresh off the back of our attendance at the 2016 WhatCar? Awards, we are looking forward with anticipation to some hot new models this year that are set to become future collectables and cult classics.

It is well known that 2015 saw a real increase in consumers continuing to invest in ‘modern collectables and classics’ with manufacturers now notably choosing to build special editions and models that are likely to become future classics. (For example BMW M2, Ford Focus RS, et al).

We have found interest in buying these types of models (both new and used) at an all-time high, with many vehicles fetching crazy premiums on the open market over and above the manufacturer’s list prices. The UK market has truly become a hotbed for speculators taking advantage of this situation.

For instance we have seen a huge influx of collectables heading our way from overseas such as the Lamborghini Murciélago SV, Ferrari Scuderia and GTO models, plus Porsche models consisting of the sought-after RS derivatives.

In the meantime new models to look forward to this year include the following….

Audi‘s new A5 and Q5, the Aston Martin DB11, Alfa Romeo’s Giulia, the most hotly anticipated BMW of recent times – the M2 plus a new 5 Series and the M4 GTS. The game-changing Bentley Bentayga and deliveries should also start for the Ferrari 488 Spider. The Ford Focus RS is definitely coming and ‘maybe’ the GT, the all-new Honda NSX, Jaguar‘s first SUV offering – the stunning F-Pace, two stunning Lamborghini Spiders – The Aventador SV Roadster and the beautiful Huracan Spider. High hopes for the new Land Rover Discovery 5 and the Range Rover Evoque ConvertibleMaserati will also join Bentley and Jaguar with a new SUV – the LevanteMcLaren‘s world-beating 570 and 540C start to hit the UK streets and Mercedes-Benz will deliver the new E-Class – a true benchmark saloon and (hopefully) an AMG GT Black SeriesNissan are penciled-in to bring us more NISMO lines and Porsche will be replacing the controversial yet brilliantly engineered Panamera. Renault should be bringing us a new Megane with an ‘R’ version to follow. The highlight of the summer months will arguably be the beautiful Rolls Royce Dawn. Tesla will be looking to head deep into the corporate sector with the new Model S, a smaller 3 Series and C Class competitor and finally, Volkswagen will be launching the potentially bonkers Golf R400!

Phew, quite a list! I’m sure you are as excited about the coming year as we are since there are going to be some cracking new cars to drive.

Next stop the Geneva Show in March when we will be giving further updates to the individual model releases!

For more information on the new releases for this year please call MARK on 0044 (0) 7894 501457 or RICHARD on 0044 (0) 7809 890969. You can also email us at sales@thecarspy.net

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Here in my (electric?) car….

Posted: January 15, 2016 by The Car Spy in Audi, BMW, General, New Cars, Tesla, Volkswagen
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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The company hack recently got t-boned by a Defender and whilst the latter shuffled off with a slightly bent front bumper the poor Audi S3 looked like it had been side-swiped by a demolition ball. Even before making the tentative call to the insurance company the phrase ‘write-off’ was the only polite way we could think of describing the state of our car. And so began the search for a replacement.

The prospect of choosing a new car, depending on your budget of course, can be a daunting prospect not least of which there is simply too much to choose from these days.

However, the criteria were simple. The new car had to be everything the S3 was in terms of practicality, sportiness, fun factor and reliability for a company runabout.

Too many cars are good right now at that level and you have to allow for a bit of subjectiveness when it comes to the badge on the bonnet. Well, you don’t really have to but you end up being picky about that sort of thing in the final stages of choosing the car.

Very long story short, the choice was whittled down to one of the following:-

Another S3, the BMW 135i or the Golf R?

Another S3 was quickly discounted because, well, we had owned one already and we might get bored very quickly with a similar replacement.

The 135i was a tempting proposition. Not the best-looking of sporty hatches but extremely practical and a complete hoot to drive. Not a car for the winter though. Where we are based in the bowels of Kent the roads can suffer from black ice and appearances by council gritting lorries are a bit hit and miss so anything with 300-plus bhp on tap at the rear end is a potential drift machine. Having got used to the S3’s quattro system the fun factor could quickly disappear with the 135i. Strike that one out then.

The Golf R at least has four-wheel drive and based on the press reviews of the latest car it has to be one of the favourites. Great handling, terrific build-quality, very useful performance and you can turn it into a small van if you need to. It very much ticks all of the boxes on paper and yet on a visit to the local VW dealership there was one thing that made us think twice. The Golf Gti.

The Gti is essentially the same car but with a little less power and just the front wheels being driven. It is also less adorned with some of the cosmetic frippery of the R which is a good thing and of course it is cheaper to buy. Given the way this car will be used the Gti just makes the most sense and the deals on the table from VW dealers right now suggest that it is the right time to take the plunge for this hot hatch.

But hold on tiger, there was a left-field player waiting to be considered. A visit to the BMW dealership just down the road from VW threw a surprise candidate into the mix. The i3. Yep, an electric car.

Now don’t get us wrong here but we have a growing respect for (certain) battery-powered automobiles. If you have any doubts about the forthcoming world domination of this form of transport then go and test drive a Tesla Model S. Break yourself in gently with the 70D and then work your way up to the P90D. Even the slowest version will reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and the fastest will get there in 2.8 seconds. Speed freaks will love the way the car gathers momentum and in the fastest version you will be hunting down 911 Turbo’s and the odd Aventador to embarrass at traffic light drag races. For the moment though, the Model S is outside of our budget and is a bit too executive-saloon for what we need right now.

Enter the i3. To some it is a freakish design but to us it is a spacious funky-looking little machine that has some interesting and endearing features, like the eco-friendly materials used for the interior. Bits of the door card look like compressed paper but so what? We have suffered decades of naff black plastic interiors in our cars so it’s about time for a change. It is cute and very clever too, like a pet dog. Lots of goodies for the iPad generation will make you feel as though the car knows exactly where it is going all of the time and it will give you lots of notice about running out of juice. Range is about 100 miles but the Range Extender version adds another 80-plus to that.

BMW claim the i3 is their fastest accelerating car to 30 mph and in the real world that actually matters since that is about as fast as you can get most of the time on the South East of England’s horribly congested, pot-holed roads.

A decent drive on a dual-carriageway and stop-start town driving allowed us to test the mettle of the car and impressed us it certainly did. BMW had just released some very attractive financial incentives for buying an i3 so suddenly this little car was heading to the top of our list. And apparently we could bring an end to the melting ice-caps to boot!

But we didn’t buy it. In fact we didn’t buy any of the above. We put a deposit on a BMW M2.

Yep, in spite of it hardly ticking any of the boxes and contradicting our thought process completely the M2 was the car that won our hearts and not our minds.

So not electric this time, but pretty soon battery ranges will be 400 miles plus according to Tesla and that will be a game-changer in the car world. According to a recently published government report for ULEV’s (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles – our bureaucrats love an acronym) registrations of electric vehicles doubled last year from 2014.

Our M2 might be the last of our combustion-engined indulgences, forever. Still time to change our minds though.

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