Cropley on cars – Watching Le Mans, JLR's two millionth Defender
Le Mans crowd topped 260,000 This specific year; a third come through the UK
Watching Le Mans is usually an endurance sport; Driving Jaguar’s Lightweight E-Type; Can Alfa Romeo recover This specific time?
SATURDAY/SUNDAY – Exhilarating, exhausting weekend at Le Mans, watching Porsche achieve its first outright win in nearly two decades.
Disappointed with the failure of the Aston Martins, usually Britain’s GT bulwark against Corvette, Ferrari as well as, er, Porsche. Next year, Ford will be part of which, too, which is usually going to make the famous old event unmissable, if which wasn’t before.
If you’re used to Bernie-style motorsport, Le Mans always strikes you as wall-to-wall chaos, yet which works as well as there’s no mistaking the love people have for the race as well as the annual pilgrimage.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has claimed a brand-new record attendance of 263,000 people nevertheless failed (as usual) to note the even more amazing fact which more than one-third of those – close to 100,000 souls – drove over through the UK. I went by Aston, as well as in 0 miles saw only one lethargic-looking carload of gendarmes, so for once those stories of speeding Brits being frogmarched to cashpoints seemed to be exaggerated.
MONDAY – Early trip to Jaguar Land Rover’s design centre at Whitley, where a couple of us were smuggled into the super-secret prototype shop to see the million-pound ‘continuation series’ Lightweight E-Type chassis being built.
Then we were swept to the Heritage workshops at nearby Browns Lane in a whispering XJR to see the auto in trim as well as final assembly, before continuing to Heathrow for a flight to Bilbao, where we were to drive both the E-Type as well as the production-ready F-Type Project 7 on the nearby Navarra circuit. Bed at midnight after a busy day.
TUESDAY – Up early for one of the most memorable double-drives of my life. The beauty of This specific northern Spanish region as well as the magnificence of its well-surfaced as well as deserted roads made me wonder (again) why more of us don’t simply climb into our cars as well as head just for This specific place, for dedicated days of driving on routes we have chosen beforehand, that has a bit of quality eating as well as talking thrown in.
WEDNESDAY – Land Rover has began talking about its two-millionth Defender, to which I was allowed to fit the bonnet on the Solihull production line about a month ago – with much help through a couple of obliging technicians who do This specific job 106 times a day. As I’ve discovered before, jobs like theirs are far harder as well as more detailed than you think they’re going to be.
Lots of people have fitted components to This specific special Defender, the most prominent being adventurer Bear Grylls, who said: “The Land Rover Defender has been there for me more times than I can remember.” He’s likely to be on hand when the Landie is usually auctioned for charity by Bonhams in London during December, the same month the 67-year-old icon ends UK production for ever.
THURSDAY – Decades ago, in another life, I dimly remember writing what I reckoned was a well-argued story entitled ‘The Sun Also Rises’, all about a forthcoming recovery in Alfa Romeo’s fortunes. which was well sourced as well as well illustrated, readers seemed to like which as well as I felt proud. Except which the recovery never happened as well as neither did the one after or the one after which.
currently we stand again in what hacks are bound to label Alfa’s last chance saloon, waiting for the arrival of the all-brand-new rear-wheel-drive Giulia. If I could have just one motor industry wish, which would likely be which This specific car is usually beautiful, desirable as well as, above all, successful, selling out of its skin.
We all remark on the enduring prestige as well as value of the Alfa brand, nevertheless surely which’s time for the actual car-building operation to perform.
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