Tuesday, December 15, 2015


latest installment of Automobile’s Design of the Year was almost too easy for us to pick. The Ford GT was the most exciting, most innovative, and most surprising meant-for- production car to make an appearance in 2015, period. No matter how you consider it—as a front-line competition car or a fabulous high-performance coupe—Ford’s decision to return to serious international sports-car racing 50 years after GT40s first showed up at Le Mans was the biggest perfor- mance-car news of the year. The fact Ford sprung the new GT on the world without the series of concepts and multiyear promises of “real soon now”—as heralded the Camaro’s return to market a while back—is all to the credit of the Blue Oval’s upper management, whose silo- centric methods were changed radically by former CEO Alan Mulally and carried on by present incumbents.
You do not often see a whole new way of shaping a specific category of automobiles. Most new designs are evolutions or derivations of what came before, with little variations in details, maybe as simple as inte- grating separate trunks into the body form, as was done in the early 1930s, or adding fins to enveloping shapes, as was done to the point of absurdity in the ’50s. In grand touring cars, we’ve seen gorgeous road- capable racers like the Ferrari GTO and the Ford GT40 evolve into very exotic supercars like Koenigseggs and Paganis, all still very much in the same mold. Racing “sports cars,” like the incredibly efficient (but also insuperably ugly) Prototype racers that now fight for overall victory at Le Mans, have absolutely no visual linkage to anything any of us would want to be seen driving on the road. That’s not true for the new Ford GT.

Design Analysis
1. Seen with the finned “cans” behind the lenses, the taillights look like something out of a 1930s Flash Gordon comic.
2. The “mustache” form in the rear is quite a bit more refined looking than the front one and integrates well into what is a very complex rear fascia.
3. The inside surface of the front fenders flows into a horizontal shelf on which the mirrors mount. The hard line continues into the tunnel where it fades to nothing.
4. This apparently hanging panel recalls the original BMW i8 concept car ... and some Formula 1 cars as well. It directs cooling air toward the front wheels and brakes and rests on the black under-nose extension as it wraps around the sides.
5. In June, I said, “This black band is the least a􏰱ractive aspect of the overall design ...
a li􏰱le thick and less refined than the rest of the car.” I still think so.
6. The grille texture is coarse, and the whole opening seems very big. But who knows? It could be necessary to provide sufficient cooling to the turbocharged engine.

Many of us have seen some shots on the Web wherein the GT is flanked by the very pretty McLaren 650S, one of McLaren design director Frank Stephen- son’s best efforts to date, and the beautiful Ferrari 458 Speciale. All three are great- looking machines. Yet the Ford, which is longer, wider, and taller than its ancestor—from which it is clearly influenced with multiple points of recognition artfully incorpo- rated—also looks fresh. And surprisingly, it manages to look smaller than both the half- century-old GT40, with its tiny, typically British racing 95-inch wheelbase, and Camilo Pardo’s brilliant GT follow-up of a decade ago, with 11.7 inches more wheelbase and nearly
4 inches more height.

Chris Svensson, British-born design leader for the new GT (and all North American Ford products), attributes the impression of it being much smaller to the body’s very narrow central portion, which includes the nearly vertical exterior cabin walls. Amko Leenarts, Ford’s global director of interior design, insists the cockpit is certainly cozy but also generous enough in width for two people to be truly comfortable in the car. The two top designers are genuinely our kind of people. Svensson has been with Ford for 22 years, having launched his career with the Blue Oval in Cologne in 1992. One of his first big projects was the Ka, a minicar highly polarizing in its style. We ran a Four Seasons test of the Ka soon after it appeared, in anticipation of it coming to the U.S. I liked it very much, to the point of buying the test car and running it happily for a few years. Others hated the look.
Svensson has moved around the Ford world, spending three years in Australia during one stretch. He drives our kinds of cars, too, with a Shelby GT350R 

The best-driving Audi A4 yet, with more tech and less weight: Auto Business News

Welcome to Auto Business News blogIf you hear someone call the 2017 Audi A4 boring, smack him in the back of the head. That clown doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Strap yourself into the A4, and you’ll find the crisp new Virtual Cockpit making up the instrument cluster and a large and equally beautiful display atop the center stack. Why do you need two nav screens? That’s like asking why your phone needs a screen at all. It didn’t, until it had one, and then you couldn’t live without it.

Audi A4 - Auto Business News

What makes the A4 special this time around is the fun you’ll have behind the wheel. This is the best A4 in that department by far. Even under heavy provocation, you’re not going to find any understeer even though the whole engine block is still hung out over the front axle. The redesigned strut-type suspension adds another link to separate steering and vertical forces. The setup provides a great balance between comfort and handling, especially when paired with the optional adaptive damping system.
The 2017 A4 that’ll likely be most popular with American buyers is the 2.0 TFSI with Quattro all-wheel drive, so we focused on that model during our drive time. It’s downright snappy thanks to its 252 hp and standard seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The European-spec car will hit 60 mph in about 5.6 seconds, according to Audi. U.S. cars might be even more agile thanks in part to a unique transmission tune.Expect a 2.0-liter TDI with Quattro at launch as well. (Given recent events, we’re guessing it will be tested within an inch of its life before it hits the road.) Front- wheel-drive models will follow soon after. Sadly, no manual transmission is in the works.
Part of the new A4’s graceful driving character comes from its decreased weight. American cars will be between 75 and 100 pounds lighter than the previous A4, depending on trim. Some of the biggest savings come from the brake system, where fixed aluminum calipers replace floating iron units for an 11-pound savings. The new A4’s forged aluminum suspension and the electromechanical steering rack shave a total of 35 pounds. Audi engineers found another 30 pounds or so by obsessing over small stuff throughout the car. The steering wheel rim, for instance,
is now magnesium. 

Spring 2016
$40,000 (est)
2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/252 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm, 273 lb-􏰲 @ 1,600-4,500 rpm 
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan EPA MILEAGE: N/A
L X W X H:
186.1 x 72.5 x 56.2 in
111.0 in
3,329 lb
0-60 MPH:
5.6 seconds (est)
155 mph 
Audi A4 - Auto Business News

The diet plan comes despite more equipment than ever on the A4, as Audi hasn’t forgotten that technology is what sets it apart in this crowded segment. The optional Virtual Cockpit acts like your typical luxury sedan’s center console display: a brilliantly crisp (1440 x 540 pixel) and fast (60 frames per second) unit. The difference is that it is right in front of you and can be controlled from the steering wheel. The screen lets you access an impressive array of features, including Audi’s latest and greatest MMI interface, new apps, and detailed Google Earth maps, without reaching for and glancing at the center console.
The large, responsive center display (7-inch standard, 8.3-inch when equipped with navigation) added to Virtual Cockpit nets you nearly as much screen real estate as the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with even smarter features. On top of all that, there’s an
optional head-up display. It also has crisp graphics, smart alerts, and all the information you’d want in front of your eyes. In practice, it’s basically redundant given the Virtual Cockpit screen just below it.
The center console’s touch- sensitive controller allows for quick, intuitive, and scroll-free text inputs via its capacitive-touch upper surface. When scrolling does become necessary, it now scrolls the right way. Yes, that’s right, Audi has finally yielded to logic and stopped with the up-is-down nonsense.
The center screen won’t be completely redundant, either, as the passenger (or greedy driver) can use it to access not just the full suite of items available in the Virtual Cockpit but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well. Audi is also planning an expanded form of Audi Connect that will include emergency roadside service, smartphone lock/unlock and status reporting, and smartwatch app functions.
Driving the Audi A4 through the Italian countryside near Venice, we discovered for ourselves how this display can aid rather than distract from driving. We’re able to keep a map of the overall route on the center screen while scanning a zoomed-in map on our instrument cluster to find curvier, less trafficked roads. No more trying to futz around with a single display, cursing at your harried passenger’s incompetence as you speed through unfamiliar territory.
When we do hit congestion, traffic jam assist keeps the pixel-fueled party going with the ability to follow the lane and control the vehicle speed from a stop up to 40 mph. The lane- recognition system works as well as most others we’ve tested, which is to say it had some difficulty. (Mercedes retains the edge here.) The adaptive cruise control works flawlessly though. When the systems are working in concert, they take the bulk of the load off the driver in heavy-traffic situations. It’s worth at least 10 points off your blood pressure reading. You can even take your hands off the wheel for a handful of seconds.
You’ll save another 10 systolic points—and possibly a life—with the exit warning system, which leverages the A4’s blind-spot detection sensors to scan for traffic approaching from the rear when you exit the car. If the car detects a threat, it will alert the driver or passenger by flashing lights in the door. The system activates once the A4 is stopped, and it remains active for up to three minutes after the car is turned off. It’s a simple and obvious application of existing sensors and data, but its impact is potentially enormous. Brilliant.
In the U.S., much of the equipment mentioned above will be standard, in addition to a 4G LTE data connection and a rearview camera. Must-have features such as the Virtual Cockpit and navigation will be “priced to be easily accessible” to most buyers. Of course, buyers will have opportunities to lay down extra cash, such as for a 755-watt, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system.
Audi hasn’t yet released U.S. pricing, but expect that information—plus U.S. trims, features, and other details—closer to the car’s launch next spring.
No matter the final spec sheets, however, with all that’s offered the Audi A4 makes a truly compelling case for your luxury sedan dollar. Is it smart? Sure. Fun? Without question. Boring? Never. 

The Performance BMW E28 535i

Welcome to Auto Business News-Sweden’s Christopher Björåsen has developed a habit for E28s that borders on the obsessive. This Hartge tribute throws into focus just how easy it is to get carried away with trying to find matching period upgrades... 

There’s a line between a homage and a poor imitation, and it’s not always a thin one. If you’ve got, say, a bone-stock E36 320i and you replace the badges with those from an M3 and maybe slap on a set of wheels from a better-spec’d model, that’s not going to fool anyone. It’s just a bit embarrassing, claiming it’s something it’s not. If, however, you spent some time collecting a variety of appropriate parts, building the thing up piece by piece, you could be onto something – M3 wheels with the appropriate brakes behind them, the suspension, the body addenda of the superior variant, the interior accoutrements and embellishments, the hallowed drivetrain... you’d be incrementally building something genuinely interesting there. It’s never going to be a real M3, but with care, patience and dedication, you can make a fairly close approximation. That’s a decent homage, a tribute, a job done well

So it is with the E28 5 Series you see here. It’s not a genuine Hartge E28, but its owner, Christopher Björåsen, is slowly but surely ticking off the details to make it a thoroughly respectable homage. The idea he’s shooting for here is a sort of modern interpretation of the old Hartge H5S; the legendary aftermarket tuner (who, incidentally, was approved as a manufacturer in its own right in 1985, a couple of years before Chris’s own 535i left the factory) raised the 3.4-litre M30’s power output from 218hp to 240hp, then tweaked various elements of the car to suit. The suspension was uprated and necessarily lowered and some spangly wheels appeared. Front and rear spoilers were bolted on – naturally, it was the Eighties – and a lesser H5 variant was offered based on the 528i powertrain. Most importantly of all, it had in- your-face side-stripes. Again, Eighties. All of this forms a neat picture of what Chris sought to emulate and, given the inherently retro nature of the concept, we can assume that it’s an aspiration that’s been simmering away for some time, right? “Er... no, not really,” he says, cutting us down in short order. “The first time I saw an E28, I thought it was really ugly. I was about 12 years old, I was at a friend’s house, and his grandparents came down the street in a stock beige 5 Series. I thought it was horrible. I couldn’t think why anyone would choose to buy such an ugly car.”
Well, that’s a pretty damning analysis. But time makes fools of us all and, as you’ve no doubt guessed, Chris’s sensibilities toward shark-nosed Bavarian executive saloons has mellowed somewhat over the decades.
“A few years after that, when I was 18 and working toward getting my driving licence, I was at a local hangout on a Friday night when this maroon E28 with the M package and 17” Contour wheels came drifting around corner with its straight-six screaming... from that moment I flip- flopped, and decided that I had to have one!”
Now we’re getting somewhere. If only that elderly couple had been a bit more aggressive in their beige runabout, maybe the ball could have got rolling a little bit earlier! But heigh-ho, here we are, and things seem to have turned out all right in the end. As luck would have it, a friend of a friend happened to have an ’83 528i for sale at this time, so with a fresh licence in hand, Chris pulled the trigger on a new era of shark- fancying. Which is rather a lot cooler than the average first car. “From the first time I drove it I was hooked!” he enthuses, revelling in the heady stew of rich, tasty memories. “I did a few small mods on it – lowering springs, 17” throwing stars and so on – but after a year I managed to slide it into a lamp post and totally trashed the front end. So that was the end of that one.”
But by this point, of course, the passion was set in stone. Grown-up Chris was thumbing his nose at his 12-year-old self, the enthusiasm for E28s growing ever stronger by the day. That early foray is something he describes affectionately but realistically as “just my first E28”, and there have been an impressive seven more since, ranging from daily-driven 518 up to an M535i. He’s really been ticking the boxes across the model range, keen to try every flavour. This is beginning to border on obsession.
The story of this suave Hartge-alike begins with its predecessor, the aforementioned M535i. “That was a Lachssilber example that I modded quite a lot,” Chris recalls. “I experimented with all kinds of different springs and dampers to get it low as well as quick, but one day my eye was caught by a 535i on a Swedish E28 forum. The owner had just bought a 635CSi and was thinking of selling the saloon, so I called him straight away to go and have a look at it! Since I already had a 535 in good condition and this one looked like it’d cost a bit much, I told myself that I was only going to take a look and I wouldn’t be coming home with it. But, boy, was I wrong! The thing was in mint condition. It was love at first sight.”
The car, it turned out, had been sold new in Nuremburg in 1987, and had stayed with the same owner right up until 2007, covering just 82,000km. At that point it found its way over to a new Swedish owner, who kept it for a couple of years before passing it onto the keeper who ended up selling it to Chris. It’s a pretty rare thing to be able to trace back the entire ownership of a car of this age, so that almost makes the purchase worth it in itself. And the fact that the fella who sold it to our plucky hero had thrown a lot of cash at the chassis was the real clincher. “It had E34 M5 brakes and E28 M5 anti-roll bars, as well as new arms and bushes,” Chris says, which made it seem pretty attractive. “He’d started the Hartge theme, too, although when I bought it a lot of things were stock 535i the wheels, the dampers and so on. So the first thing I did was to throw on a set of coilovers.” The units in question are super- adjustable XYZ Super Sport items, something the manufacturer describes as ‘suitable for daily use and weekend racing’ perfect for Chris. They also help the car get nice and low, taking the original old-school Hartge stance and refracting it through a modern filter. These new lows were swiftly augmented by a set of Hartge Type C three- piece splits that were already waiting in the garage, destined for the old M535i but suddenly feeling far more appropriate for the new project. And from this point on, the car became a sort of cross between a jigsaw puzzle and a retro treasure hunt.
“With the Hartge decor on the exterior and the wheels to match, I started hunting for the other period parts to complete the picture,” he explains, casually tossing into the conversation a concept that actually represents months of tireless and exhausting scavenging across the internet and beyond. Inside the car, complementing the leather dash and nifty heated leather M-Sport seats, you’ll find a Hartge steering wheel, gear knob, gauge cluster with unique rev counter, and the sought-after finned dead pedal on the floor. It’s all as Herbert Hartge would surely have intended in there, and the exterior was shaping up rather neatly, too. Working alongside the stripes ’n’ rims combo are an M5 front spoiler and a BBS spoiler on the bootlid, and it’s worth noting as well how utterly, mind-bogglingly clean the whole thing is. It’s a proper period-tuned showcase.
Now, as previously alluded to, Hartge’s own approach to tweaking the M30 motor was to liberate an extra 30hp+ by fiddling with the fuelling and ignition, as well as reworking the cylinder head and fitting a redesigned exhaust manifold. This isn’t the route that Chris has gone down, although his straight-six is rather feistier than you might expect. “I bought a genuine Hartge exhaust manifold from a guy in Montenegro, and I made a custom 2.5” stainless steel exhaust to fit,” says Chris, eager to assure us that his classic homage isn’t all mouth and no trousers. He’s certainly added some bark to it. “Because I run so low, and the oil pan on the M30 sits so low anyway, I had to modify it to stop it from hitting the ground all the time,” he continues. “It now sits 28mm higher from the road. I’ve had too many close calls, so this just seemed to make sense!” Indeed it does – particularly when you factor in that this car isn’t just hard- driven but daily driven, too.
“The reaction to the car has been great. E28 fans around the world really seem to love it,” Chris enthuses. “I even had Stanceworks’ Mike Burroughs getting in touch to talk about it. But I’m not finished yet, far from it... I’m still always on the lookout for period-correct Hartge parts for the car; I’ve already picked up a Hartge rear wing, and I’d really like a matching valve cover, too.” He seems keenly aware of the performance-oriented nature of the original H5S as well, and he’s certainly not done with the engine. New cams are on the cards, along with some head porting and a fresh management system, which should pull everything beyond that tweaked 1980s power figure. There’s talk of rebuilding the wheels, too, to provide a bit more dish from wider lips. Again, it’s all about reworking that classic tuning for the modern era. Subtle, but devastatingly effective.

So no, this isn’t a genuine Hartge H5S. But with every day that passes, it gets closer to being a faithful replica, with a few fun tweaks to contemporise it for modern use and a new-wave audience. This is no disrespectful parody. This is a loving and aspirational homage, and it just keeps on getting better 

BMW Might Build a McLaren-Based Supercar-auto business news

BMW and McLaren first got together in the early ’90s when the Germans supplied the 618-hp, 6.1-liter V-12 that powered the Brits’ 231-mph McLaren F1 supercar, but the tie between the two all but withered away after that. Or so we thought. Word is BMW has gone to McLaren for help on a new halo model, a supercar that would be based on the next-generation McLaren 650S. 

About a year ago, BMW’s recently discharged chairman, Norbert Reithofer, nixed the plan for the BMW M100 supercar, a lightweight, mid-engine two-seater with a 750-hp, twin-turbo V-8 and adaptive aerodynamics, as well as a concessionary proposal that would have rebodied and retooled a BMW i8. So Klaus Fröhlich, head of BMW research and development, met with McLaren in hopes of creating a high-performance halo car for BMW that would complement—not challenge— the i8. The idea of building a BMW-branded supercar based on a McLaren carbon-fiber monocoque that wouldn’t tarnish the brand image of either BMW or McLaren came to life, and the project is now underway. 
BMW plans to use its new 4.0-liter V-8 engine fitted with four turbochargers—two exhaust-driven, two electrically 
operated—and the total power output could be tweaked as marketing requires, with the stillborn M100’s 750-hp mark set as the baseline for now. (At the moment, a plug-in hybrid or fully electric version is not on the agenda.) A coupe has first priority, but a convertible might also be in the cards. The start of production is penciled in for late 2018, which means the timing could be right for BMW to take advantage of McLaren’s updated sports car architecture, which will be going under the next McLaren 650S. 
The suspension, steering, and brakes on this still-nameless joint venture will be of McLaren design, but it should be dialed in with a BMW-specific calibration. BMW design cues will be worked into the exterior and interior so the message of this supercar won’t be reduced to a BMW-powered McLaren. Think custom door treatments, unique aero concepts, and BMW-supplied infotainment, connectivity, and assistance systems. The plan is to reveal 

a concept car at the 2017 Frankfurt show and to have the production version, priced well above $225,000, at dealerships for model year 2019. 

Air-Ride BMW E30 325i

This super-clean bagged E30 keeps things deliciously clean, though the devil is in the detail. 

We probably say this about every E30 we feature but it really is a car that requires next to no exterior addenda to make it look addenda to make it look awesome. The older BMWs are definitely blessed with this natural elegance and irresistible appeal that means even a well- kept standard E24 or E34 will look fantastic. And, when enhanced with even just a subtle drop and the right wheels, the ‘cool’ and ‘want’ factors go through the roof! Drop it on a killer set of special wheels and, well, you’ve pretty much achieved automotive perfection right there. 
Just look at this E30. It looks absolutely awesome, a visual treat that’s hard to beat but break it down and there’s been precious little done to the exterior, minimising the risk of ruining the whole thing. It kisses the Tarmac when parked up thanks to that front splitter and the copper centres on those polished Gottis (which are tucked to perfection) add a fantastic flash of colour, but that’s it. It’s just so super-clean, so simple and so damn good you’d never get tired of ogling this piece of petrolhead porn 
Abraham Cruz is the American modifier behind this delicious build and, amazingly, this is his first ever BMW and only his second modified car, having come from a trio of Civics. Considering he’s conjured up this magnificent E30, we can forgive him for that. “I’ve been interested in BMWs since I sold my RHD Civic in 2011, which was a full show build. What makes BMW’s special to me is that they are incredible machines, mechanically and aesthetically. They are really fun to drive as well,” he says. “I have always loved the E30 model. Everything about it is beautiful. I also wanted a car that was an ’89, like the year I was born. I found ‘Eve’ on Craigslist. The condition she was in was pretty horrible, with faded paint, a bunch of dings and dents, a cracked dash, a beat up interior etc. I saw the potential in her and that’s why I decided to purchase her. She was actually supposed to be a daily driver but that quickly changed once I sent her in for paint.” With a fresh coat of black paint, the E30 was looking much better than when Abraham had purchased it and, presented with what was now an exceedingly clean car, the temptation to turn it into something even more special was too strong to resist. “I decided right from the beginning that I wanted to go with a simple but classy look,” he says, and that’s a philosophy he’s remained true to throughout the three years and numerous changes the car has been through during that time. The exterior perfectly captures this ethos, with minimal effort for maximum impact. Abraham turned his attention to the E30’s styling on our side of the Pond and opted for a Euro bumper trim, Euro rear plate filler and Euro grilles. These additions are complemented by a set of Hella Smiley headlights and a set of MHW smoked taillights. This smokey theme continues with some ZKW smoked repeaters and smoked foglights. The finishing touches, a flourish of OE additions, include an M Tech 1 rear spoiler, an iS front lip enhanced with a Ryan G splitter for optimum Tarmac interface, a BMW front plate filler and a set of Motorsport door handles. 
fabulous, though Abraham clearly figured that a flash of colour would work wonders, retaining the amber indicators in the front bumpers and then adding those wheels. These were actually purchased in tandem with a set of BBS RSs but we’ve got to say the Gottis it’s currently wearing (8x16” ET11 G1001s all- round) are a breath of fresh air, especially in that lush shade of copper. The custom colour is gorgeous but only covers the faces, including the faintest sliver between the edge of the lips and the centres; the sides of the spokes have been finished in gunmetal, along with the bolts, and then the lips have been polished to perfection. It’s a heady combination and the contrast against the all- black body really makes the wheels pop. 

On the suspension front, Abraham was already an advocate of the low lifestyle but his dedication to the cause was causing frustration as the poor E30 was scraping everywhere. So, in order to keep things lovely and low whilst also making the car that little more practical he decided to head down the air-ride route – now a road very well-travelled by many BMW owners. He grabbed himself an Air Lift kit with BC damping adjustable dampers, Viair compressor and a four-gallon tank, all watched over by Air Lift V2 digital management. Of course, when it comes air- ride, the suspension is only half the story; just as important is how it looks when it goes in your boot. Well, pop open Abraham’s boot and you’ll find a very clean, unique build, with the single air tank proudly on display, sitting on a wood grain floor. Under the bonnet you will notice two 
things: first, it’s very clean. Second, there be wood in here. Well, not actual wood, it’s a hydro-dipped wood grain valve cover that carries on the woody theme from the boot and interior. It’s certainly not something you see everyday, that’s for sure. The reason the bay looks so clean is because Abraham has carried out a mild wire tuck, just to make it all a little more presentable beneath the bonnet and he’s also added a few neat little touches like the E46 M3 oil filler cap, E30 M3 firewall harness covers, and the crackle black intake manifold. Dig a little deeper and you’ll also discover a chipped ECU and an Ireland Engineering cat-back exhaust. 
Abraham hasn’t done much to the interior but then again this is an interior that doesn’t really need much in the way of work to get the most from it, much like the rest of the car. While some of you out there might not be fans of light leather, we’re rather partial to it and the cream hide in here is the perfect contrast to the blacker-than-black exterior, with the front seats coming from already an advocate of the low lifestyle but his dedication to the cause was causing frustration as the poor E30 was scraping everywhere. So, in order to keep things lovely and low whilst also making the car that little more practical he decided to head down the air-ride route – now a road very well-travelled by many BMW owners. He grabbed himself an Air Lift kit with BC damping adjustable dampers, Viair compressor and a four-gallon tank, all watched over by Air Lift V2 digital management. Of course, when it comes air- ride, the suspension is only half the story; just as important is how it looks when it goes in your boot. Well, pop open Abraham’s boot and you’ll find a very clean, unique build, with the single air tank proudly on an E30 Saloon. We mentioned more wood in the interior and it takes the shape of that gorgeous Nardi steering wheel and Nardi gear knob, which has also been treated to a leather gaiter. Another leather gaiter protects the E36 leather handbrake handle, while a set of Schnitzer pedals, an analogue Euro clock and a custom E30dad cluster finishes the whole lot off. We can’t think of many places that would be nicer in which to spend some quality time than this exceedingly clean, classic interior. 
As gorgeous as Abraham’s car now is, having gone through numerous incarnations during its time with him already, it is in no way surprising to learn that he has more planned for the future. “I’m going to tackle the interior next,” he says. “I’m fitting a new custom black headliner and I have some Recaro LS seats that I’m going to get reupholstered. There’ll possibly be an interior colour change from tan to peanut butter. I’ll be swapping in an LS2 engine from a Corvette in the near future as well!” That sounds amazing; it sounds like this E30 will continue to be a breath of fresh air.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Turn an unassuming BMW E21 into a V8-powered pro-street monster-Auto News Blog

Back in the day, the quickest factory E21 you could buy was the 323i. It was quite some car, with great lines and a character defining, potent and seriously sultry six-pot. It was also a car that required a gentle touch when the going was wet or greasy, and it didn’t quite possess the charm of its predecessor, the 2002. But the 323i certainly melded style with substance and helped pin BMW to the aspirational and high-performance maps.

My sister had a 323i, but hers was an Alpina C1 with a tuned 2.3. Suffice to say, I ‘borrowed’ said Alpina whenever the keys were ‘available’, relishing its free-spirited and seamless 170hp. For the most part, I even managed to keep this Bavarian beautypointing in the right direction. Fun times. Which is why I've always held a candle for the E21... and who I scan classifieds from time-to-time. Just in case!

Like me, Andy Tidy’s a big fan of the E21. Plus he’s a long-time devotee of drag racing, and is particularly fond of the ‘pro-street’ scene. And, as you can see, he’s managed to morph these two passions quite brilliantly. Over to Andy for some background info: “I’ve been in and around BMWs for years. Especially E30s and E36s. I’ve got a thing for the E21 too. It’s got such classic styling and you don’t see many around. Then there’s my drag racing interests, hence the pro- street. Pro-street is basically a car that has the shell modified from the firewall back, typically referred to as a back-half (tubbed)  car. The arches are kept standard, the axle is narrowed and wide rear wheels are fitted within modified wheelwells.  Its also usal to have interior trim and cars can often be road legal too.  I'd been contemplating building a pro-strate E21for sometime but things only started to take shape in 2010. 

Things actually started to take shape following a visit to Santa Pod, where Andy happened to bump into his good mate, and pro-street legend, Winston Sewell. Fuelled by the on-strip action, and the heady and high-octane atmosphere, imagination went into overdrive. “Winston, who’s a good friend of mine, is well-known and respected in the pro-street world,” explains Andy. “He’s the man behind Gimme 5 Racing and has a superb pro-street Rover P5 and an equally nice pro-street Cortina Mk5. Anyhow, I was caught up in the heat of the moment and mentioned that I’d like to do something similar with an E21.”
To cut a longish story short, a plan was hatched and Winston, and a bunch of other mates agreed to help out. Enthused, Andy went in search of a suitable E21. One that was ripe for conversion... but not too ripe. “The E21 is a rare car nowadays, which is why I didn’t want to convert a really nice example,” he elaborates. “I’m a classic car enthusiast too! Luckily, through the E21 forum, I found one that had failed its MoT, been stripped, and then laid up. What’s more, it was just three miles away! It was minus its engine, box and interior, and had been sitting outside for some months, but was surprisingly sound. Perfect for what I had in mind.”
As already alluded to, what Andy had in mind was to convert this forlorn farmyard find into a pro-street machine. What’s more, it was going to be of the highest calibre and blessed with a lot of power. “As well as being built to the best standards, it was always going to be a high-power car,” says Andy. “As soon as the project was mooted, I knew I was going to fit a V8, a small-block Chevy V8 in fact. It made sense!”
With the kind of power he was aiming for, and with the distinct possibility of the E21 seeing some action on the drag strip, Andy also knew it made sense to get the shell and chassis race-prepped. So, heeding good advice, he headed in the direction of the supremely-skilled and delightfully-named Guinea Pig Racing.
“A mate of mine, Mick Melford, suggested that I took the car to George and his son Kai, at Guinea Pig Racing,” continues Andy. “Happily, they agreed to do the conversion. They started by fitting new sills, a new rear panel and repairing the A posts. Then they fabricated a tubular rear chassis, fitted a ten-point roll-cage, moved the front bulkhead back by eight inches and modified it, and fabricated the engine mounts, gearbox tunnel and rear floor. They also supplied and fitted the narrowed Ford 9” axle and ladder bar suspension. The end result is astonishing. They had the car for around four months and brought it to life.”
George and Kai certainly breathed new life into this E21, giving it a whole new purpose, and there’s no denying that the transformation has been beautifully executed and well integrated. But it’s also important to appreciate that many of Andy’s friends contributed to this project too; bringing with them a wealth of knowledge, skills and, importantly, enthusiasm. “After the car came back from Guinea Pig, Dave Gunther came over and welded in a new front panel, cross-member and front valance,” adds Andy. “Dan, Rob, Kenny, Winston, John and Lenny all pitched in too. I used to be a panel beater/sprayer and the paintwork, which is Ford Monza blue, I did with the help of John Gale at his bodyshop in Rainham. To be honest, I’d never done anything remotely like this project before and I certainly couldn’t have done it on my own. This car is a real team effort.”
A team effort for sure. Yet it’s important to remember that Andy, who’s very modest about what he’s achieved, came up with the idea, masterminded the project; and spent every spare minute working in his cramped single garage or, whenever the weather was clement, working outside on his drive. The work included the engine build, transmission fitting and most of the running gear install. The end result is a car that has been finished to an exceptionally high standard, looks drop dead gorgeous and is kitted out with high quality components.

“I was never going to skimp on quality,” mentions Andy. “Every part is the best I could afford and more than fit for the purpose intended. The narrowed Ford axle is fitted with Strange halfshafts and a Detroit ‘Locker’ diff. It’s good for 1000hp apparently. The transmission is a Chevy TH350 auto, but with manual valve bodies. This means it will ‘flat’ shift. Mixing and matching the parts we had, Rob Knibbs and I built the Chevy V8, which is stroked to 5.8 litres. We did have a small problem early on, with low oil pressure, so we pulled the engine. With the help of John Tudor, it was rebuilt with a roller cam, roller rockers, monster-sized valves, and AFR heads. The carb is Holley 650 ‘double-pumper’, and there’s a Mallory distributor and MSD ignition. The headers and system were made by Powerspeed.”
To be honest, the engine didn’t really need any power, but the upgrades added another 100hp or so. Power is now in the region of 500hp and Andy reports that the performance is stunning and the torque colossal! Thankfully, the chassis revisions including the ladder bar rear setup, the huge and exceedingly grippy 325/50 15 Mickey Thomson tyres, and the aforementioned Locker diff, ensure that this E21 handles the power and torque with ease. In drag racing terms: it ‘hooks up’ very nicely indeed.
It steers well too and in-keeping with the pro-street look, the front tyres are much slimmer. Wheels are Image three-piece splits all-round. “With pro-street, and drag racing in general, the front wheels/tyres are much narrower,” reveals Andy. “I went for a 185 width because the car doesn’t have power steering. It drives really well, very manageable, and it stops well too. There are Hi Spec discs and four-pots up front and Mercedes 190E discs and Wilwood calipers at the rear.”
So, this E21 is blessed with sublime bodywork, goes like the proverbial off a shovel and has seriously effective brakes. It even sports a very purposeful interior: one that’s been kitted out for the strip... but not quite stripped out. “I wanted the race car look,” says Andy. “But I also wanted some creature comforts. It has Perspex side and rear windows, but it is fully carpeted (by James Allitt) and has carbon door trims. The seats are Steve Tillett carbon, which I bought as ‘slight seconds’. Lenny Millet did the wiring and the instruments are from Autometer. I’m really delighted with how the car has turned out. It’s exactly as I envisaged. It’s perfect in fact – and most definitely a keeper!”

Little wonder Andy is so pleased... and little wonder that this E21 is a keeper. It’s something of a sleeper too. True, when viewed from the rear, the gargantuan tyres and sizeable silencers are something of a giveaway. However, from many angles, DJF 737Y provides few clues as to its stratospheric performance potential. This is a truly fabulous creation and the perfect embodiment of a pro-street machine. It exudes quality, has masses of street presence, yet is still very much an E21. It’s a family classic... with attitude. Speaking of family, Emily, Andy’s daughter, has nicknamed it the ‘Bavarian Beefcake’. Great name, great car 

Hot Pursuit BMW M135i : Auto News Blog

Welcome back to another post of Auto News Blog.

Hatches have never been hotter and while the M135i arguable rules the roost, can it fend off the onslaught from the competition?
BMW M135i-Auto-News-Blog

Let’s do a track-based comparison test, Let’s do it at Bruntingthorpe. It’ll be fun, Well, I didn’t need
asking twice! The idea was to assemble a handful of suitably well-endowed rivals to take on what remains the undisputed king of the hot hatches, BMW’s spectacular M135i. Could the trio of challengers we’d lined up be able to worry the Bavarian champion?
Organising a test like this is not an easy feat, though, as juggling the vagaries of track availability, editorial staff to assist, and buttering up the relevant PR folk to entrust us with their prized press car can see such plans unravel before we’ve so much as checked the weather. Ah, the weather...
Serves us right for running this test in British ‘summer time’, I suppose. Either way, we arrived at Bruntingthorpe to test the M135i’s track capabilities alongside three key rivals under gloomy grey skies, which continued to dump sporadic rain showers throughout the day. Ho-hum.
If you’ve ever driven Bruntingthorpe in the wet, you’ll know that it is extremely slippery in places, with grip dropping off rapidly on the runway sections thanks to the old-fashioned patchy asphalt surface which has soaked up years and years of aircraft emissions. Imagine the grip coefficient when old slipper meets wet linoleum floor, and you’re not far off. This explained our difficulty in approaching the manufacturers’ quoted acceleration times (well, that and mechanical sympathy), but it magnified the chassis balance of our quartet, so the exercise proved hugely informative, and was definitely a lot of fun...

So, which rivals to pitch against the M135i? From the Japanese corner, we chose the all- new Civic Type R, which starts at a fiver under £30k, and boasts 310hp and 295lb ft of torque from its 2.0-litre turbocharged four- pot, which means a brisk 0-62 time of 5.7 seconds and a very precise top speed of 167.8mph. We also brought along the Subaru WRX STI, taking a different approach to the typical ‘choose a group of FWD hot hatches’ method. With a similar power output, price point and the only one with a rear spoiler to rival the Civic’s, the latest WRX should be on the list for anyone considering buying a £30k performance family car. As should the Volkswagen Golf R. Whilst mechanically similar to the bewinged Scooby – also four- wheel drive, 300hp – it’s difficult to think of a more divergent philosophical approach. Where the Subaru is all boisterous rally rep, the Golf remains the sober-suited sophisticate. Both should be a stiff test for the M135i.
And that’s a car that needs no introduction in this magazine. We’re huge fans of the hottest non-M hatchback and it’s been wowing us since day one, which is a good thing because we couldn’t get hold of the face-lifted version from BMW at short notice, but luckily our good friends at Evolve stepped in to loan us their original example, so huge thanks go to all the guys there. With a lightning-fast eight-speed auto on board and a 320hp turbocharged straight- six under the bonnet, the M135i will launch from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds and won’t stop until you’re nudging the 155mph speed limiter (it’s true, we’ve been there). It’s similarly priced to its class rivals but offers the sort of pure rear-wheel driving thrills that front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive just can’t match.


And so to the track. We decide to conduct some impromptu acceleration tests. Although the manufacturers’ own figures give us an idea of what to expect, we are particularly interested to discover how easy (or not – yes, we’re looking at you Subaru) they are to launch. We also want to push the cars up to, and beyond, their limits on track to see just how ‘hot’ those hot hatch credentials really are, and to see where the car of the moment sits in amongst this lot.
The M135i has the strongest powertrain – in a straight line it simply cruises away from anything else here – and it’s a joy to use, thanks to the sonic qualities of the straight-
six and the fantastic ZF eight-speed auto, which is crisp and responsive. The engine is the star of the show, delivering massive lag- free low-end torque that’s spread wide across the rev range and it pulls hard all the way to the redline with an intoxicating straight-six howl. As far as outright performance is concerned the M135i is a beast. It’s a beauty when it comes to the corners, and while it’s most definitely designed as a road car rather than a track day escapee, the chassis is wonderfully balanced, the steering precise and full of feel and it requires very little effort to drive very quickly. Where the Honda is feisty and
frenetic, the BMW is cultured and mature; it’s possibly the most grown-up car here and while it might not be as ultimately sharp on track as the Type R, for example, it’s still massively fun to drive, not least in part thanks to being RWD. Power oversteer is never far away if you want it; the E-diff does its best to ape an LSD but there’s no beating the real deal for controllability, though it’s far from a deal breaker. While its rivals might be a little sharper on track, the combination of outright performance and RWD adjustability make the M135i a package that’s hard to beat and as all- rounder road car, it’s even harder to beat. 

BMW M135i-Auto-News-Blog2

The Type R is by far the most track-focused car here. The seats are sensational – comfortable and supportive. The wheel offers lots of adjustment and the pedals are almost ideal – my only gripe is that there is a touch too much distance between the brake and accelerator. The engine is great. Of course it lacks the aural thrill of the M135i but in terms of power delivery and character it certainly delivers. Sub-3000rpm it feels a bit laggy but keep the revs up and the power delivery builds and builds and it revs all the to way to 7000rpm. It sounds fine – it’s hardly inspiring, but it’s an aggressive, tough, mechanical note that suits the car, though it can’t hold a candle to the M135i for aural satisfaction.
With 300hp on tap the front Continentals can get a substantial workout, so Honda employs a clever ‘dual axis strut’ system to dial out torque steer – 50% less than the standard Civic, and it works well. The limited-slip diff aids traction and the steering remains faithfully precise unless you’re deliberately clumsy with the throttle in a slow corner at which point it’s quite possible (in the wet at least) to light up both front tyres and head straight on regardless of which way the wheels are pointing. It’s an impressive car but falls short of the M135i’s rounded character and blistering performance.
Conditions like this should play right into the hands of the remaining four-wheel drive contingents, so I jump into the Scooby next to see if a wet track will reveal a more engaging side to its dynamic makeup. The initial impression is good. The seats are comfortable and suitably sporting, the Alcantara wheel falls nicely to hand and the gearshift feels positive. The cabin might look a bit dated but we’re concerned with what’s
going on outside today. Getting the Scooby off the line briskly proves tricky because of the laggy nature of the power delivery, with lots of revs and clutch slipping required. Find yourself in the wrong gear and it seems to take an age before the boost arrives, then power comes in a torrent from 4000rpm to the 6500rpm cut out. It’s exciting but makes it tricky to get the best out of it. The WRX’s biggest problem is revealed when pushing ten-tenths on track. The initial heft to the steering disappears under pressure and washes out into understeer, cured only by trimming the throttle or a dose of handbrake. With the inconsistent steering delivering little in the way of feel, no rear limited-slip diff, and precious little throttle adjustability the WRX proves a bit one dimensional on track. Whilst there’s fun to be had in its frenetic delivery, and you can lean on the four-wheel drive traction, it lacks the biddable nature to satisfy a keen driver.
Which leaves us with one more protagonist in the German corner: the VW Golf R. You’d be forgiven for thinking the Golf might be a bit dull, for the elegant-but- restrained exterior merely hints at the R’s 300hp powertrain, but a few laps of the sodden track reveals a really enjoyable car. It finds great front end grip so you can hustle it into the apex more often than not, and there’s enough poise and adjustability to bring the rear into play if you want. The Golf’s Haldex four-wheel drive system ensures terrific traction, although it never quite manages to oversteer under power – the system is set up to send power to the rear only when the front loses traction. It’s nicely damped and the quick steering feels natural and intuitive and it’s a hugely enjoyable car on track.
BMW M135i comparison Auto-News-Blog

Well, there are no prizes for figuring out the clear winner amongst these four. While the other German and Japanese rivals put up a good fight, ultimately the M135i remains the hot hatch to have.
While the Honda is rather more hardcore and feels like a more focused machine, and the Subaru and Golf offer the sort of grip and traction you’d only get from a 4WD machine, the M135i is the best all-round machine.
We found the engine to be magnificent, the chassis beautifully balanced and as an all-round package that can deliver white-knuckle B-road thrills and then cruise in comfort on the motorway and return over 30mpg, it remains the one to beat .

SUPER DUTY NEW FORD 2017 :Auto News Blog

Welcome to Auto News Blog. Ford is calling the new 2017 Super Duty pickups the “toughest, smartest, most capa- ble” Super Duty trucks “ever.” We’ll reserve judgment until we get engine output num- bers and towing and hauling specs, but it looks like Ford is making every effort to stay competitive in this hard-fought truck segment.

auto news blog

The 2017 Super Duties have been revised from the ground up. They’re built around an all-new, fully boxed ladder frame that is made almost entirely of high-strength steel, so it is far stiffer than the previous frame. Ford also says the trucks will get “heavier duty four-wheel-drive components, driveline, axles, and towing hardware,” though no details about these components are available yet.
The truck will be offered in five wheelbase lengths, from 141.6 to 176 inches, which should correspond to a long box behind the regular cab, and short and longbeds behind the SuperCab and Crew Cab cabins.
Taking a page from the F-150, the Super Duty bodies are now made from aluminum alloy, offering both corrosion resistance and weight savings. In fact, Ford says the combination of the high-strength steel frame and alloy body sheds up to 350 pounds, weight that will be “reinvested” in the truck’s towing and hauling capabilities.
A neat feature about the truck bed: The tailgate can be locked and unlocked and opened with the key fob.
Powertrain choices will include a 6.2L gas V-8, a 6.8L gas V-10 (for chassis-cab trucks), and the second-generation 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8. All engines will be mated to TorqShift six-speed auto- matic transmissions, although F-250 models with the 6.2 V-8 will be fitted with a new version, the TorqShift-G, capable of improved capability and increased fuel economy and torque, says Ford. 

Ford offered quite a bit more detail about the new electronic tech going into the Super Duties than the mechanical com- ponents. There are a lot of cameras (up to seven), including high-def cameras in the grille, mirrors, and roof to give drivers a 360-degree view around the truck. Those who tow (especially with fifth wheels) will like the rearview camera in the high-mount- ed center brake light. An optional camera can be attached to the trailer for better visibility while backing up.
High-tech driver assist systems onboard include lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control (with brake support), and a sys- tem called BLIS (Blind Spot Information System). BLIS uses radar sensors in the taillights to monitor areas that may not be visible to the driver. If you’re towing, the sensors extend the length of a trailer.
The Super Duty trucks will go on sale in fall 2016 in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trim levels. We’ll bring you more details as they come in from Ford. 

Read this auto news blog if you going to buy old bentlee car

"Wanting a Beetle but not wanting the potential trouble of an old car, Jim Fuller opted for a brand new Mexican Beetle. Here’s how he got on"

beetle-auto news blog

Beetle ownership came fairly late in life for Jim Fuller. He’s always been a classic car enthusiast, and always harboured a desire to one day own a Beetle, but had just never quite got round to it. “It’s the styling I love They’ve stood the test of time better than almost

any other car, gradually evolving over the years to become an icon, a legend of world motoring. And that distinctive exhaust note whistle is so endearing,” enthuses Jim. “Every time I was out and about and saw a Beetle parked anywhere, I just had to go and have a closer look.” The reasons why it took him so long to take the plunge were simply spending money on other things, getting married and thinking a Beetle wouldn’t provide enough space for children and luggage. Oh, and having free company transport to and from work. Before he knew it, he’d reached the grand age of 52 and was standing at a crossroads in his life, knowing it was now or never.

Negotiating a minefield
So, in 1999, Jim started looking in earnest for the motoring love of his life, but exactly which Beetle should he purchase? “I didn’t want a project car. My DIY restoration skills aren’t really good enough, so
I had to decide whether to purchase a cheap or an expensive used example,” he reflects. “Once I started looking, it pretty quickly became clear that buying a Beetle was like negotiating a minefield! I looked at a couple of examples locally at around £2,000,
but they looked like they needed as much spent again, if not more, to make them even half-decent examples. The more expensive ones looked better but, at the back of my mind, I still had this niggling worry that all the mechanical parts were 40 or more years old.
“It was then it dawned on me – why not purchase a brand new Beetle?” This being 1999, remember, Mexican Beetles were still being imported into the UK and sold by a small number of specialists. “My thinking was buying one of these would give me the classic Beetle styling I so love, but I’d also be buying reliability, rather than possibly having to sort out someone else’s problematic old car. At the time there were three importers of Mexican Beetles, and the closest to me was Volkspares in Sydenham, South East London.”
So, on November 13 1999, Jim travelled to Volkspares to view and test drive a brand spankers Mexican Beetle. How did he find it? we asked. “I was impressed. It really did drive

like a new car. Everything felt tight, there were no noticeable sqeaks or rattles and the engine ran very sweetly. One of the things that really drew me to
the Mexican cars was the fuel injection. I’d heard a lot of horror stories about dodgy starting, poor fuel economy and carburettors icing up in the winter, and really wanted a car that would be totally reliable.

“The same with the electrics. I’d been told
old Beetles often suffer from voltage drop, that regulators can be troublesome and that the headlights are very bad at night. I thought if I bought a new one, none of that would be a problem. At least, that was what I thought...” 

Deposit down
We’ll come back to that in a moment, for we don’t want to spoil Jim’s elation. “I was sold. I placed an order for a brand new Beetle costing £9,620, right there and then. My wife, Jenny, chose the colour of Windsor Blue, a beautifully rich dark blue metallic, and I left a deposit of £500. “I could barely contain my
excitement waiting for the telphone call to say the car was ready for collection and, three days later,
on November 16 1999, Volkspares telephoned me to say they had located a suitable car for me that had been imported into the country by Beetles UK in Bristol. Once the car had been converted to right- hand drive, UK registered and an insurance cover note obtained, my son, Paul, who owned a 1973 Beetle at the time, and I took the train to Sydenham to collect the car, and drove it back to my Suffolk home. That was on December 29 1999.”

At last, Jim was the proud owner of his first Beetle, fulfilling a life- long dream. But that dream was shortly to be shattered. A little over two weeks later, on January
17 2000, he went out to the garage, only to find the car wouldn’t start. Telephone calls were made, the warranty paperwork was processed and the Beetle was taken away by Jim’s local garage, VW Cars of Burwell, Cambs. They initially diagnosed a faulty battery, which was duly replaced, but while still at the garage the new battery went flat overnight. Further tests pointed to a problem with the heated rear window that had been fitted as an optional extra and, after some fiddling around, the problem was solved with a new relay.
The reality was it was a pretty simple fault and, once the errant relay had been identified, easy
to rectify, but it put a bit of a damper on Jim’s excitement about his new car, especially as one of the reasons he’d gone for a Mexican Beetle 
in the first place was the perceived electrical problems he might encounter on an old German Beetle! “During this period with the Beetle’s electrical problems, Jim became dispirited,” reveals his wife, Jenny. “He’s a perfectionist and things have to be right. Jim was becoming a nightmare with the car, so I told him, either get it sorted or sell it!” To try and rekindle his enthusiasm for the car, Jenny drove it around for a couple of months. “In that time, it proved to be totally reliable, to the point that one day Jim said perhaps it was time he had his car back!”
The first show Jim attended with the car was
the Alternative Motor Show Treffen at Mildenhall, Suffolk, a show that caters primarily for Eastern Bloc cars. “Being the only Beetle on display, I was invited to bring my car onto the showfield, and it received a great deal of interest,” he remembers. “That was when I really started to fall back in love with the car again. In case I had any more problems in the future, I decided to join the Mexican and Brazilian Beetle Register, who invited me to display my car at Stanford Hall in 2002, where it won Class 4 and I received my first trophy. I remember being overtaken by BMWs and Mercedes on my way home and thinking to myself, yes, you may be faster than me, but you haven’t got a trophy for your car sitting next to you on the front seat!”

As you can see from the picture to the right, Jim really got the show bug and started displaying his Beetle on a regular basis. But the car also remained his daily driver, and was mostly left out in the open on his driveway. Indeed, it was driven daily for 11 years up until 2011, when it was put into ‘semi- retirement’, and now it’s used mostly for shows, high days and holidays.
Clean freak
So did you make the right decision buying a newBeetle? we asked. “Definitely. The car has been totally reliable, and it still gets comments wherever I go in it. I’m fastidious about cleaning it, and I’ve never driven it anywhere without seat covers fitted. No one has ever sat in the back seat, and there’s never been any luggage in the boot! It’s also been

maintained as per the VW schedule by VW Cars.” There was one surprise along the way when the
car needed a bit of a touch up in the paint shop. After years of thinking the car was Windsor Blue, it transpired it’s actually Battik Blue.
“Dirt doesn’t apply when it comes to my Beetle,” Jim grins. “Yes, it obviously gets dirty when I drive it in the rain, but it soon gets clean again.”
Jim has now clocked up 84,000kms and has accumulated 25 awards, including six Class 4 wins at Stanford Hall, class wins at Stonor Park, VW Action and Best of Show at the Battlesbridge VW Show in 2010. “I love the car, because it represents the last
of the breed (a bit like me!) but it’s just as lovingly cherished as the very earliest models. I’ve made many good friends over the years at VW and classic car shows, which are always good days out,” Jim enthuses. “There’s a particular slogan I’ve seen printed on a car sticker that really appeals to me and sums my car up perfectly: “Conceived in Germany, Born in Mexico, Raised in Britain.”