Ormskirk MotorFest IssuE sEVEN
The highlights from the Lancashire full throttle spectacular - inside
tracking down the yeti
Why Skodaâ€™s rugged favourite is a real winter wonder
w w w. l i f e o n c a r s . b l o g s p o t . c o m
WINTER. IT'S cold, it's dark, it's wet and - if the last couple of years are anything to go by - the roads are covered with corrosive grit. Not really a petrolhead time of year, then. As the nights got darker I got to work creating this, the latest issue of Life On Cars, which is a very reflective issue looking back at motoring joys from summers - but also winters - past. It seems like an eternity ago that the sun shone on the first ever Ormskirk MotorFest, which attracted thousands when it was held in Ormskirk back on the August Bank Holiday weekend. After the success of the event (helped in no small part, I've been told, by the last issue of this very magazine) now is the perfect time to look back at why everything from Healeys and MGs to Porsches and Ferraris captivated a Lancashire market town, and to savour some of the great pictures taken on the day. Now that it's got a lot
chillier, you're going to need a car tough enough to cope with the worst the weather can throw at it while your classic's in the garage. That's when Skoda's Yeti comes in from the cold. Last year, it narrowly lost out to the wonderful Honda CR-Z for the title of Life On Cars' Car of The Year, but with the winter on the way it's the perfect time to rediscover what makes it such a class act. Speaking of Car of the Year, the time to declare 2011's best car, as tested by The Champion, is fast approaching. It's been a year of great contrasts, and I've been lucky enough to get behind the wheel of everything from the Kia Rio to the new BMW 6 Series Cabriolet, with just about every size and shape in between. Picking one that stands out head and shoulders above the rest is going to be a tricky task. But that's a different story for a very different issue. See you then...
David Simister Editor, Life On Cars
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In this issue
Ormskirk MotorFest:Visitors to the August 28 event check out this very clean MGA at Coronation Park in Ormskirk, see page 12. Image courtesy of Martyn Snape
4 Coming soon How many cars can Volkswagen squeeze out of its tiniest engineering project yet? At least three, if new models from VW, SEAT and Skoda are anything to go by. Interesting game of Spot The Difference too...
6 Fire up the... Fiat and Toyota try two very different bits of technology to make their existing models more eco-friendly, with some surprising results
Can you make a Volkswagen Golf into a rugged mudplugger which just happens to be cheap, practical and fun to drive? Yes, you can, as Davd Simister discovers in his bid to find the perfect winter car
12 MotorFest magic Life through a lens at the West Lancashire motorsport spectacular, plus a driverâ€™s perspective from David Simister, who entered his MGB GT
Ormskirk MotorFest: A Ferrari Enzo closes in on a Ford Anglia in an unlikely pairing at the parades in Ormskirk on August 28, 2011. Image courtesy of Martyn Snape Life On Cars
JenSen intercePtS cLaSSicS reViVaL
Reinvented Seventies supercar set to go on sale in 2014... start saving! THE biggest British sports car company you've never heard of is set to bring the iconic Jensen Interceptor back to life. You might not be familiar with Coventry-based CPP Global Holdings but it's already linked to some of motoring's best known names and is now vowing to reinvent the Sixties supercar for the 21st century. Brendan Oâ€™Toole, founder and co-owner of CPP, said: "I started my career by restoring bodies and components for classic British sports cars, so for CPP to take the lead role in reviving this iconic brand is very exciting for the business, and for me personally.
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"The Jensen design team has respected and honoured the great heritage and attributes of the original Interceptor, while injecting a contemporary edge and advanced technologies that will ensure it appeals to the passionate, discerning
motoring enthusiast of today." CPP might not be immediately familiar to most car enthusiasts but the brands it owns - offroader specialists Bowler and Dutch supercar makers Spyker - will be, while the Browns Lane factory
the firm operates on was for years synonymous with Jaguar as that company's main production site. Rich car enthusiasts can get their name down for the new Interceptor, expected to arrive in 2014, by going to jensensportscars.com
the coLd war Car companies, road safety groups and tyre giants join forces to urge drivers to adopt winter rubber BMW, Suzuki, Saab and Land Rover are among the manufacturers determined to bring winter tyres in from the cold this year. The manufacturers have joined the likes of Roadsafe, the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the Driving Instructors Association in suggesting more motorists fit winter tyres - relatively unknown in this country but compulsory in several EU states, including Germany, during the colder
months - in a bid to bring down the number of accidents in icy conditions. Suzuki's Michael-Le Flay is one of those keen to point out the safety benefits of winter tyres, and said: “Many people are unaware of the fact that when temperatures drop below 7°C, the rubber in standard tyres becomes harder and less flexible, which affects braking and cornering performance. “It doesn’t matter how many electronic aids your
car may have, the quality of its tyres is critical. The compound used for winter tyres, and their tread design are tailored to cope with adverse conditions, so that the best levels of car control can be maintained. A survey carried out in Canada concluded that they offer an improvement in braking performance of up to 25% and up to 38% less chance of having a collision.” For more information on winter tyres, visit www.tyresafe.org
The only way is Up Three new city cars, three very different badges, same VW engineering under the skin
Volkswagen up! VW gets its small car verve back with a city slicker more in the vein of the much-loved Lupo than the outgoing Fox. Smart styling. Clever engineering. Stupid name.
Skoda Citigo As above but brings a slightly less silly name and Skoda’s famously aggreesive pricing to the party. Brings the company’s number of models to six and set to slot in beneath the Fabia supermini.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO, it’s the new Renault Twizy, set to go on sale next year for a shade under seven grand. The two-seater Twizy is described by the French firm as “an urban compact vehicle”, and uses an electric battery to power a narrow four-wheeler which blurs the lines between an electric car, a scooter and a quad bike.
SEAT Mii Spain’s first city slicker since the Arosa of the Nineties is also based on the up! technology. Styled to appeal to a younger, slightly sportier set of buyers but in truth alll but identical to its two VW Group siblings.
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Eco engine aims to bring new verve to Fiatâ€™s city car favourite THE throb of a Subaru Impreza's flat four. The howl of a V12 Aston Martin. With some of today's most sought after motors, the engine note's more of a soundtrack than a noise. This Fiat 500 though, has just added to its own equally distinctive music to Britain's highways and byways - the offbeat clatter of a twin cylinder engine, which hasn't been heard from a new car since the Citroen 2CV dissapeared from the showrooms more than 20 years ago. If that sounds like a bad thing then don't worry, because it isn't. This new TwinAir packs one of the cleanest petrol engines you can buy today. Even before you fire it up you're in familiar territory, because aside from the badges it's the same cute â€˜n' cuddly Fiat 500 that became enough of a hit to earn itself the European Car of The Year gong back in 2008. Matching feelgood retro styling with proven Panda mechanicals, it's still appealing enough to find itself at the sharp end of the UK bestsellers list. But while the looks will earn you plenty of friends it seems the jury's still out on the new engine, an 85bhp petrol lump which is also on its way into the new Panda. On the plus side it's very rev-happy in
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fire uP the...
...fiat 500 twinair the way all Italian city slickers should be, it sips fuel and its got the lowest CO2 emissions of any production petrol engine on offer today, but it's also louder than most people would like at higher speeds. The sound itself also seems to be particularly divisive; I have spoken to fans smitten with its waspish
buzz, but while I tried my hardest to think back to Lambretta scooters and the original 1957 Fiat 500, all I could hear was a sewing machine. If however, you're unbothered by the clatter made by every diesel engine on a cold morning than you're unlikely to get annoyed with the TwinAir's engine note, meaning you
can enjoy the same sort of fuel economy without having to fill up with the sticky stuff at branches of Esso. The 500 TwinAir, then, is a bit like Kate Bush; it might sound slightly irritating at first but there's plenty to like. It's an impressive and likeable 500 but it's not the one for me.
...toyota auriS hyBrid
Toyota show theyâ€™re still the winners in the hybrid game with a car that even beats its own Prius for owner appeal TRAFFIC JAMS. You hate them just as much as I do, but it's where this clever hybrid hatchback from the world's biggest car company starts showing off. Slip the hybrid version of Toyota's mid-sized hatch into its EV - or Electric Vehicle - mode and it suddenly becomes your very own Coalition Government, refusing to let you spend any money at all by frittering away precious fuel. Instead it sidles along in silence, determining not to restart its 1.8 litre engine unless you mash your foot to the floor. Like its pricier Prius
sister, crawling through jams using absolutely no petrol at all is the Auris Hybrid's party trick. Toyota practically invented the hybrid - the car which combines petrol with electric motors in the quest for eco-friendly motoring - over a decade ago with the original Prius, but I reckon the Auris is actually the better buy. It might not come with the Cameron Diaz celebrity endorsement its more iconic sibling gets but what you do get is a slightly more resolved package. The Auris is, to my mind at least, not only better
looking than the Prius but also a better drive, giving you more confidence once you leave the jams, stick it Power Mode and drive it like, well, like a car. No, it isn't going to make you the Jenson Button through the bends but thanks to its effortless auto box, fingertip light steering and a handy amount of grunt from its petrolburning department it is startling easy to drive. Only the slightly fidgety ride and a lack of allround visibility let the side down but otherwise I reckon it's got the Prius an impressive car in its
own right, don't forget licked. If your drive to work involves lots of twisty lanes then this probably isn't the car for you; it's too woolly and not communicative enough for cross-country work, where the petrol-powered traditionalists like Ford's Focus still rule the roost. If, on the other hand, your commute seems to be a never ending series of traffic jams, the Auris Hybrid is well worth a look. Your wallet will thank you for it.
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Forty ye ability to pulled o 8
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ears ago the Range Rover caught the public imagination with its o be four cars in one. David Simister wonders whether Skodaâ€™s off the same trick by making its Yeti a rugged and roomy favourite Life On Cars
LEGWARMERS, the miners' strike, East Berlin and Spandau Ballet. These are things which, along with Skoda jokes, belong back in the dark days of the early Eighties. An admission; I'm not really old enough to remember any of those things, which is why I never thought the one about the Skoda with the sunroof was particularly funny. I haven't got any Skoda jokes of my own for you but I'll instead share with you one of my motoring secrets. Leave your preconceptions at Checkpoint Charlie, because I reckon Skoda's Yeti is the one of the best cars on sale in Britain today.
Someone clever within the Czech car company's realised that we aren't a nation of sports car driving hedonists, zipping along sun-kissed country lanes on the way to somewhere nice. We are in fact a nation of IKEA addicts, of school run mums, of Dad's Taxi
bracket as geared up to the task as the Yeti. The badge on the bonnet, I honestly reckon, is irrelevant. Having already won over rough â€˜n' rugged off-roader types with the Scout four-wheeldrive version of the Octavia estate it was
We are a nation of dog owners and there are few vehicles in any price bracket as geared up to the task as the Yeti. The badge is irrelevant
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stickers and garden centre gurus. We are especially a nation of dog owners - there are two million of us, remember and there are few vehicles in any price
only a matter of time before Skoda came up with a real mountain goat of a motor and this, a distant relation to Volkswagen's Golf and Audi's A3, is the result. Cute and
challenging at the same time. The best way to approach a Yeti is to think of it not as a rival for, say, a small off-roader or a people carrier, but as a car crafted especially with the needs of dog walkers in mind. A Golden Retriever, for instance, might well be man's best friend, but he's still a friend who slobbers a lot and enjoys nibbling car upholstery. That's why the interior's built sturdily out of lots of hard wearing but tastefully chosen plastics and leathers, which Fido is going to struggle to ruin. His home from home - the Yeti's boot - is also commendably commodious, although thanks to the Skoda's high
Previous page: The Yeti, thanks to its high ground clearance and four wheel drive system is more than capable of being driven in tricky off-road conditions. Clockwise, from left: Boxy stance makes Yeti a practical load-lugger and a useful family car . Images from Skoda UK sills it might take him a bit of a leap to get in. The Volkswagen-based Yeti's also been designed to conquer not racetracks but rutted bridleways and muddy backroads, because that's inevitably the sort of rural backdrop Fido's owner enjoys. Don't get me wrong; it's not a mudplugger in the vein of, say, Land Rover's Freelander but it's been built toughly enough and given enough ground clearance to get you across most obstacles without objections, and if you really are heading for the great outdoors then four wheel drive is one of its must-have optional extras. Clamber into the cockpit and you're definitely not in the driver's seat of a jackedup hatchback or an MPV
with countryside styling cues; if a Land Rover Discovery went on the Atkins diet, chances are this is what it would feel like. Even though the version I drove stuck to powering just the front wheels everything about the commanding driving position, the view along the bonnet and the defiantly diesel noise the 2.0 TDi engine makes screams pure off-roader. That's the reason why you're not going to find hot hatch handling when you head into the corners a tad too quickly, but both on the backroads and out on the motorways the Yeti performs impressively enough. It's just a shame that with some of the sillier options the version I drove cost almost ÂŁ22,000, which I'd rather spend on the
optional four-wheel-drive system and make it truly capable over tricky terrain. The Yeti's not only the best car Skoda makes but I reckon it's got the measure of MINI's Countryman, Nissan's Qashqai and even the entry-level Freelanders, because it's gone for substance where they've gone for style. Almost everyone who came across the Yeti loved it for exactly the same reason; if you have a dog and enjoy going for walks in the muddy countryside, you're going to struggle to better the Yeti without resorting to much more expensive machinery. Buy one and your Labrador is going to love it. Luckily, so will you. www.lifeoncars.blogspot.com
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THE sight of Ferraris and Formula 1 racing cars roaring around Ormskirk's streets could happen again after the local council hailed Ormskirk's MotorFest as a boost to the region. The local authority said the MotorFest attracted around 10,000 visitors to Ormskirk town centre and Coronation Park on Sunday, August 28, and said that it was looking at the possibility of holding a
similar event. Councillor Ian Grant, leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said: "This was a fantastic event which really put Ormskirk - and the whole of West Lancashire - on the map. Not only did it attract thousands of visitors into the town during a bank holiday weekend, but it proved a bonus for local businesses, who had a real boost to their trade.
"It was a great day out for people of all ages and the council is incredibly proud to have supported it and look forward to the possibility of another similar event in the future." The Life On Cars-backed event, which was free to attend, saw more than 230 cars ranging from a 1915 Model T Ford to a Ferrari Enzo formerly owned by Rod Stewart taking part, with the
highlight of the event being the closure of the town's one-way system to allow a series of parades along the streets of the market town. The event, organised by Aintree Circuit Club with the backing of the borough council, had been billed as a one-off event, but entrants, visitors and West Lancashire councillors have overwhelmingly told Life
rmSkirk motorfeSt: our SeaL of aPProVaL
David Simister reports on how a full throttle spectacular could return after proving a hit with petrolheads of all ages earlier this summer On Cars they would like to see the event happening again, including some who feel it should become an annual event. John Bailie, MotorFest co-ordinator, said: "This was a real demonstration of civic pride at a local level. With the support of West Lancashire Borough Council and the superb co-operation of the police and involvement of local
businesses, we were able to put on an access-allareas event which might normally be expected to take place at a conventional motorsport venue or the grounds of a stately home...we did it on the streets of a vibrant Lancashire market town. â€œThe feedback we are receiving from participants and spectators is very positive, and it seems
that we've hit on a formula that works. The aim was to bring all aspects of motor sport and motoring literally to the man in the street, and it proved most effective. Over 90% of the participants were from Lancashire.â€?
Turn the page for the best pictures from the MotorFest...
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Clockwise, from top left: C Coronation Park; Morgan and sports car entries; motorspo centre; Ferraris Enzo and Mo attention; TVR strikes a pose tower; MGs from decades go David Simister on the parade
Classics on display in d Healey among trad ort machinery in the town ondial attracted plenty of e near the historic clock one by. Previous page: e route in his MGB GT
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in the neXt iSSue The best cars, events, and drives of 2011 revealed in a Christmas special of Life On Cars, available online soon!
Check out previous editions online... AUGUST 2010 NOVEMBER 2010 JANUARY 2011 APRIL 2011 JULY 2011 MOTORFEST SPECIAL
More of the latest car news and reviews with Champion motoring correspondent David Simister.