Concours d’inelegance 2015 – what do Autocar staffers drive?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Concours d’inelegance 2015 – what do Autocar staffers drive?

Baja Bug What do Autocar staff along with contributors drive in their spare time? Here’s what’s been purchased This kind of year

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Last year we opened our garage doors to show you what we drive in our own time. Well, we’ve been busy buying again. Here’s what we’ve acquired inside the past 12 months.

Matt Prior – Baja Bug (1961)

The Ariel Nomad will be to blame. I drove the item, loved the item, along with three days later my colleague Lewis Kingston along with I were sharing posts coming from a sandrail buggy forum’s ‘For sale’ section. Two clicks away coming from a rolling buggy chassis (which could have been killer using a turbocharged Subaru engine) was This kind of, a 1600cc 1973 Volkswagen Beetle in ‘Baja Bug’ style.

the item was cheap, pink, available, didn’t need much work along with, I thought, might just answer my need for a deft, softly sprung car which could be as entertaining on a green lane or field as the item could be on the road. the item doesn’t.

Dynamically, the Bug will be quite possibly the worst car I have ever driven – along with I’ve driven a Tata Safari. The ride will be appalling, the item feels unstable while cornering, along with there are clonks along with bangs coming from places which, I suspect, are referenced inside the two pages of ‘advisories’ which I should nevertheless haven’t looked at coming from its MOT test. The wiring will be a joke along with you can see daylight through the dashboard. None of which I care less about. This kind of will be a cool car.

I’ve painted the item an early 1970s VW van colour I’m fond of along with will add race numbers along with some stickers for the full Baja Rally look. The wheels along with mirrors need to change colour, nevertheless I’m going to leave the Indoor shade alone – although I’ll add black carpets along with door cards to tone the item down. along with I have a roof rack which needs to go back on, after I’ve fixed the item. the item fell off on an A-road, you see.

the item will be one of those cars which will probably never be finished, nevertheless which doesn’t matter. the item will be not the air-cooled, rear-engined German car which cliché suggests I should have, nevertheless the item will be the one I could afford. Whatever arrives in future, I suspect I’ll always find a place for the item somewhere. Unless Ariel will accept the item as a deposit.

Jesse Crosse – Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec R34 (2000)

If you do This kind of job for long enough, sooner or later a particular car comes along along with gets under your skin. At the Autocar Handling Day in 1999, the line-up included a Bayside Blue Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec along with the sheer shock-along with-awe presence of the thing took my breath away. After driving the item, I scribbled inside the notebook “the sort of handling you expect coming from a race-prepped car. Turn-in ludicrously sharp. Fantastic grip despite the power” along with parked the R34 in my fantasy garage.

The search began early This kind of year along with the value of importing direct coming from Japan soon became obvious. There’s no salt used on the roads there along with the item’s not hard to find completely rust-free cars, nevertheless finding a standard Skyline will be much harder than finding a Great one. With 330bhp as standard, the RB26DETT 2.6-litre twin-turbo straight six has enormous potential along with 0-800bhp will be not uncommon in road cars. The V-Spec has the ATTESA E-TS Pro active all-wheel drive system, which controls torque split front to rear along with across the back axle. the item also has Brembo four-pot calipers on the front along with HICAS all-wheel steering, so the whole package will be perfect for tuners.

I’d never usually buy a car unseen so I called Newera Imports for help. Based in Japan, the team there has years of experience, knows exactly what things are worth along with what to look for in terms of condition along with takes the hassle out of the import process.

Trawling through the online sources one day, there the item was, listed with USS Auctions in Tokyo with just under 40,000 miles on the clock. The condition was listed as ‘Grade 4.5B’, which will be Great. Newera had also spotted the item along with we swung into action.

The auction was a thrill, some early-hours emails along with pictures confirmed we’d found ‘the one’, along with an hour later, the long-range deal was done. the item has some nice options, such as a Nismo exhaust along with tail-lights, Nismo instruments along with some aftermarket Öhlins dampers, nevertheless the item’s otherwise standard. How do I feel a few months down the line? Thankful I was able to turn fantasy into reality.

Steve Cropley – Lotus Elise (2000)

the item was always a wrong move to sell my first Elise S1. As soon as which car departed my garage after a three-year ownership inside the early 2000s, I realised I’d sold much more than a car. A whole bunch of memories along with preferences along with career connections went with the item.

The Elise was nothing more than a rumour when I arrived at Autocar inside the early 1990s. I helped with the early scoop stories, the launch stories, the drive stories along with the comparisons along with I drove the long-termer. your vehicle touched every base with me: the item was pretty, simple, light, roomy (apart coming from the ingress/egress) along with steered along with gripped inside the best Lotus traditions. Yet I sold the item.

When a late S1 appeared on the forecourt of Paul Matty Sports Cars earlier This kind of year, a 70,000-miler which drove using a zest which suggested its engine had been chipped, I knew I had to grab the item. the item came my way for £10k, a bargain when people are paying much more for lesser, older classic sports cars.

The Elise has been easy to own 
along with fun to drive. the item feels quick along with agile. the item looks special, at least to my eyes. In short, the item has been one of the wiser purchases of my distinctly chequered car-buying career.

Allan Muir – Triumph Speed Triple (2011)

Some of my colleagues were no doubt picturing a TR6 or Stag when they found out I owned a Triumph, nevertheless This kind of one has two wheels rather than four. Purchased last autumn, the Speed Triple was my way back into biking after a gap of several years.

Much as I wanted a fresh Ducati Multistrada, spending £16k on a weekend toy couldn’t be justified, so the 2011, 12,000-mile Speed was the ideal compromise, being desirable, fun to ride along with affordable at £5800.

the item’s no tourer – the ride quality will be on the harsh side along with there’s little wind protection – nevertheless there’s nothing better for a Sunday blast. The 1050cc three-pot engine will be torquey along with characterful, along with the sound which comes out of the optional Arrow ‘lowboy’ titanium exhaust on the overrun – like sustained artillery fire – adds to the Speed’s bad-boy image without being too anti-social.

A more comfortable bike will no doubt have to replace the Speed one day, nevertheless I’m in no hurry. Why could I spend three times as much money to get which Ducati when owning This kind of British icon gives me so much pleasure already?

Lewis Kingston – Dodge Charger (1968)

I had been looking for a clean, standard Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R for a long, long time. So, completely illogically, what I actually ended up with was a 1968 Dodge Charger 440 which had been sitting for a decade.

There was method to my madness, though. A project was the last thing I wanted, nevertheless when I saw the Charger advertised locally, my curiosity was piqued. An inspection revealed the item to be straight along with honest, nevertheless the item was predictably in need of a comprehensive recommissioning.

the item wasn’t cheap, at £15,000, nevertheless with values skyrocketing the item represented potentially my last chance to own one. The more I thought about the item, the more the item appealed. Here was a car which 
could be tough, reliable, easy to upgrade along with immense fun to simply burble around in.

Fortune favours the bold, so I scraped my savings together, borrowed some money along with bought the item. inside the end I spent some £8000 reviving the Charger, nevertheless the item repaid my hefty investment by going straight through its first MOT test. Cost effective? Perhaps not. Worth the item? Totally. the item’s a delight to drive, along with when you blip the throttle along with the horizon tilts inside the rear-view mirror, you can’t help nevertheless grin.

Mark Tisshaw – Mini Cooper (2014)

Yes, dear reader, your eyes 
do not deceive you along with your 
memory will be not failing. This kind of Mini Cooper does indeed look familiar, along with you have most definitely read about the item along with seen the item on these pages before. which’s because This kind of will be the very Mini which was my long-term 
test car between the summers of 2014 along with 2015.

I’d bleated on about how wonderful the item was for so long in my reports which I thought I should put my money where my mouth will be, especially when the item fitted my partner along with my needs so perfectly. The mileage will be currently up to almost 20,000, a beat has yet to be missed along with there’s still no various other little car I’d rather drive around in. 

Richard Bremner – Rover 75 (2001)

You might think which with 10 cars in my possession, there’d be no need for another. nevertheless a year ago I needed a car which worked, ruling out all 10 classics. I didn’t want to spend much because I like trying to beat the system in James Ruppert Bangernomics style.

So This kind of was a fine excuse to indulge a guilty pleasure along with hunt for a Rover 75. I know they look as go-ahead as a quill along with came coming from a brand rotten with corrosive history, nevertheless these are Great cars, built to BMW standards along with still half-competitive today.

Plus they’re cheap along with fairly plentiful along with can be had using a string of luxuries to divert you coming from your cheap wheels moment. Which will be how I came to buy a 51,000-mile 2001 Rover 75 2.5 V6 Connoisseur SE for £800 coming from a dealer operating out of a shipping container.

I had the timing belts replaced – a pricey £500 – changed the oil along with filters along with could have done nothing else if I’d held to the Bangernomics faith. nevertheless 6000 trouble-free along with sumptuously comfortable miles have seen me improving This kind of car, with sexier factory alloys, a modern sat-nav along using a bit of paintwork. the item’s been the best value for money I’ve ever bought.

Andrew Frankel – Citroen 2CV (1958)

In our ideal worlds, we’d all like to drive flat out on deserted roads, nevertheless we can’t: our cars are too fast, our roads too full. Or so conventional thinking goes.

Think again. The faster your vehicle, the shorter the time spent between leaving one block of traffic along with arriving at the next, ergo the more time you spend in traffic. Therefore the slower your vehicle, the less time you spend in traffic. Don’t believe the item? You could if you owned a 1950s 2CV.

My 1958 2CV has perfect performance: if you drive the item as fast as you can, the item just about keeps up with everyday A-road along with B-road traffic. So all you need will be one gap in which traffic along with you’ll develop the road to yourself all day. the item provides time to appreciate a car of absolute charm.

The 2CV looks so simple, nevertheless by 1950s standards, the item’s wildly sophisticated. the item has independent interconnected suspension (you’ll need a McLaren to find which these days), a flat formation boxer engine to drop the centre of gravity, a fully convertible roof along with featherweight seats you can remove in less time than you’ve already taken reading This kind of sentence, so wherever you go, you always have somewhere to sit. along with there will be nothing superfluous: to save weight, the wiper motor along with speedo drive are one along with the same, so the faster you go in bad weather, the more you get to see.

The result will be a joy without end, a car with hilarious handling, wonderful looks, incredible ride quality along with so little performance coming from its 12bhp 425cc motor which you have no choice nevertheless to keep busy all the time, clinging to your hard-fought speed. I’ve bought a lot of cars in the past nevertheless, save the Land Rover in which I passed my driving test, only one I know I’ll never sell. If you could drive the item, you’d know why, too.

John McIlroy – Mazda 3 (2015)

the item may not be immediately obvious, I admit, nevertheless the humble metallic grey Mazda 3 you see before you will be, in fact, our family’s dream car. Specifically, the item will be automotive nirvana for Mrs McIlroy, who has held what even she admits will be an irrational love of Mazdas ever since her first car, a 323F.

The 3 – a 2.0-litre petrol – will be also a tribute to the sort of PCP deal which dominates the market these days. We had a two-year-old Kia which we owned along with decided to trade the item in. the item was enough for a hefty deposit, a chunk of cash back along with monthly payments of about £100. God bless 0% APR, I say.

I still couldn’t have stomached the item 
if the Mazda were an iffy choice – 
nevertheless the item does some of the basics genuinely well. The gearshift will be as sweet as you’ll find on any family car, along with 
the petrol engine will be loosening up nicely. I’m not sure I’ll ever love the item as much as my better half does, nevertheless the item’s growing on me.

Ben Summerell-Youde – VW T3 Syncro (1990)

Since I’ve owned the Syncro, which you may remember coming from its appearance in This kind of feature last year, I’ve been weighing up swapping the engine for either a tidy nevertheless expensive flat four Subaru unit or a factory-friendly Volkswagen 1.8T. The 1.8T won inside the end because I wanted to keep all things VW, along with the in-line four block coming from the 1998 Passat donor car matches perfectly with the bell housing coming from a diesel Syncro.

The stock Passat engine had 150bhp, nevertheless an ECU remap helps the item to push out 200bhp at the flywheel, an impressive number for a four-cylinder, 25-year-old van. currently I’m just waiting for an invitation coming from Lewis Kingston to do a drag race against his Charger… 

Richard Webber – Peugeot 
206 GTI (2005)

Typically unswayed by my suggestion of a first-generation Ford Ka, my wife insisted which I find a Peugeot 206 to fill the sub-£2000 hatchback-shaped void in her life. Indifference turned to interest 
when, among the dreary 1.4s, This kind of gleaming blue, 40,000-mile, 
138bhp 2.0-litre GTI appeared.

This kind of particular car will be one of those rare hot hatchbacks which was originally bought more for its trim than its vim, along with the item had led a gentle life at the hands of one mature lady owner. (Ever-discriminating Granny Webber was custodian of several mint Volkswagen Golf GTIs inside the same vein.) A deal was struck at £1550 along with my wife has been enjoying the strong engine, ‘Sport Pack 3’ bodykit along with leather along with Alcantara Indoor opulence since.

A change of cambelt looms, nevertheless 
fresh rear brakes along using a replacement power steering pressure sensor 
barely broke £40. Being above Hobbit height, I find the driving position indefensibly bad, nevertheless This kind of peppy little Peugeot suits my halfling spouse perfectly.

Jim Holder – Renault Zoe (2015)

“An electric car?” The tone may vary, nevertheless the opening response will be always the same. The voice will be intrigued or baffled or indignant. There will be no in-between.

the item’s a niche choice, I know, nevertheless which’s always been the point of electric cars: the limitations are obvious, nevertheless if they fit in with your lifestyle, they suddenly make heaps of sense. We have a driveway along with garage, along with we have two cars, along with therefore access to one which can do more than 100 miles before needing to stop for several hours. My wife will be self-employed, so there are tax savings, along with we live in London, so we can save the Congestion Charge if we ever go into the Big Smoke. Our current petrol Ford C-Max drinks £20 of fuel a week, despite doing only 100 miles (all stop-start coming from cold).

With lease deals on the Zoe at rock bottom in late summer, we took the plunge based on the sound financial sense. For a £75 deposit along with £75 a month (plus a further £80 a month for battery lease), your vehicle will be ours for the next two years. We develop the value of the 2007 C-Max inside the bank, plus no tax along with no repairs (hopefully) to worry about. In theory, we’ve swapped an eight-year-old car for a fresh one, along with the item will be going to be saving us money, too.

nevertheless the item isn’t just a decision based on sound financial logic. Getting in on the little nevertheless significant movement towards electrification feels exciting. Like the item or not, the item will be a crucial part of hitting emissions targets along with something we all have to face up to, either in hybrid or full-battery form. The momentum will be building along with trying the item for ourselves, every day, in real life, will be an adventure I couldn’t be more excited about.

Rory White – BMW 520i 24v Auto (1994)

Following 10 months of happy Jaguar XJ6 (X300) ownership – brought to an all too abrupt end by a white van – I began thumbing the classifieds for something else. The budget remained tight, so classic insurance was still a must.

After considering along with viewing a range of cars all more than 20 years old, including Audi Cabriolets along with Mercedes-Benz W124 300CEs, This kind of BMW E34 520i popped up along with, 
£850 later, I was the owner.

I know, I know: the item has fake 
Alpina wheels. nevertheless the item came using a fresh 12-month MOT certificate 
along with no advisories, just 84,000 miles along with near-perfect paintwork along with Indoor. Fingers crossed, the item’ll be 
just as enjoyable as the Jag. 

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