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INSIDE: Classics galore! The best pictures from a summer of great shows across the North West

Issue 12

novembeR 2012

w w w. l i f e o n c a r s . b l o g s p o t . c o m

ENgLAND ExpEctS...

...the new Range Rover to be one of the Brit stars shaking up the motoring world next year


Exploring the wonderful roads of Wales in three very different cars

THE NIGHTS are drawing in, the leaves are falling and the air’s getting chillier. All of which means it’s time for most of the more exotic cars to go back into hibernation for the winter. No more shows for us petrolheads to peruse. But what a great summer of shows it was. I can honestly say that I’ve been to more shows in 2012 than any summer and I can remember, and seen scores of stunning machines in a host of different settings. Whether it’s the TVRs in the Lake District, the roar of the racing machines at the Ormskirk MotorFest or the glimmer of the Astons and Jaguars at either of two big events in Cholmondely, it’s been a summer that’s off the scale for great motoring events. That’s why I’m keen to show off just a few of the hundreds of photos I and other Life On Cars contributors have taken over the past few months, meaning almost every show in the North West

has been covered. It’s a good thing the old cliché of a picture being as good as a thousand words is true, otherwise this issue would be the thickest yet! So that’s it for motoring events? Err, no, because a bit of a new departure for Southport – and for me, because I’ve never organised as charity event before – is on the way. The Life On Cars pub quiz, as far as I know the only motoring-themed pub quiz to be held in the region, takes place in Southport on Sunday, November 18, giving likeminded enthusiasts the chance to have a natter, show off their knowledge and raise a few quid for the National Autistic Society at the same time. There’s also a flavour of the sort of questions I’ll be asking on the night, if you turn to page eight and have a go at guessing the cars. Otherwise, have a look at the back page for more information about the event itself. Hopefully, I’ll see you there...

David Simister Editor, Life On Cars


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Burnouts at Cholmondeley: The dragster JCB was one of the unexpected hits of CarFest North, a charity car show organised by Chris Evans. For more see page 12

In this issue 4 Coming soon The fastest Ferrari ever, a fire-breathing version of Volkswagen’s Golf cabriolet, and a frantic RS version of Audi’s A4 Avant are all on the way for Britain’s speed freaks. Brave pills at the ready...

6 Fire up the... of the most exciting and affordable driver’s cars for years, in the form of the much-hyped Toyota GT-86

8 Guess the cars How much of an automotive anorak do you reckon you are? Put your knowledge to the test with this full-throttle identity parade

9 British Invasion The UK star cars which have been dominating the headlines - with and without the motorshow hype

12 It’s showtime! Or rather, it has been all summer. Life On Cars guides you through some of the highlights of this year’s motoring events in a six page special feature dedicated to the best automotive draws of 2013

18 Welsh wonders The thrills of driving three very different cars on the stunning roads of North Wales en-route to the scene of a cult Sixties TV hit

20 Get quizzical! Join Life On Cars in Southport for a pub quiz with a difference - and help raise funds for a very good cause while you’re at it

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uLtrA vAux Open top giant takes Vauxhall into new territory

VAUXHALL has confirmed that its Cascada convertible will go on sale next March, just in time for the spring sunshine. Last month the company announced details of what will be its largest ever open-top offering - longer, in fact, than an Audi A5 Convertible - but now it has revealed what the new arrival will look like, and that it will be powered by a new 1.6 turbo petrol unit among other engines. Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s chairman and managing director, said: “Cascada is set to change people’s perception of Vauxhall once again. ”The full-size convertible sector tends only to be occupied by very high-priced cars from premium manufacturers. With Cascada, we’re offering customers high levels of equipment, technology and luxury but at an affordable price.“ While the company has offered large convertibles before - both the MK1 and MK2 versions of the Cavalier could be bought as al fresco models - the Cascada is the first time the company has designed and engineered such a model without outside help since the 1930s.

And it’s not just Vauxhall... IT MIGHT be cold, dark and rainy outside but that hasn't stopped Volkswagen from announcing a new open-top version of its latest Beetle. Sensibly, the new Beetle Cabriolet won't go on sale in the UK until next spring, but the company


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has confirmed this week that it will be available with a traditional soft top roof rather than a folding metal hard top, and be offered with a choice of seven different engines, including four petrol powerplants and three diesel units.

Prices and specification are due to be announced by Volkswagen closer to the car's official launch in this country. Life On Cars test drove the hardtop version of the new Beetle back in May and was impressed with its style and solidity.

In other news... Think tank’s ideas to revise road tax get a cool reception from rural 4x4 owners

tAxED Off thE rOAD? FARMERS in and motorists in rural areas will be among the hardest hit by Government-backed proposals to make cars greener by revamping the road tax system. That's the claim being made this week by the Country Land and Business Association, or CLA, who said that while plans to replace Vehicle Excise Duty with a one-off purchase tax would encourage car companies to make more ecofriendly models, it would hit rural residents, who depend on larger 4X4 vehicles for their livelihood, hard by making their vehicles more expensive to run. Douglas Chalmer, CLA North director of policy and public affairs, said: “These requirements significantly restrict the choice of vehicles to buy. Purchasing a Land Rover Defender under this new system would add around £10,000 to the purchase

price. Many rural businesses simply cannot afford this raid on their cash flow. The cost saving of having to pay no road tax would only be realised if the vehicle were kept for twenty years. “It is hard to argue against a drive to make vehicles cleaner and greener, but any proposed measure must be rural proofed to prevent anyone who has to use a bigger engine from being unfairly penalized.” The proposals, which have been drawn up by the think tank The Centre Forum and have already won the backing of Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Davey, propose replacing the current tax system with a one-off tax where buyers would pay £50 for every gram of CO2 the car's engine emits over 94g/km, in a bid to force car makers to come up with cleaner engines. The writer of the Centre

Forum's report on the scheme, Tim Leunig, said: “This scheme gives every manufacturer an incentive to make every car more economical, and gives every individual an incentive to buy a more economical version of the car they were planning to purchase. “Broadly speaking the lowest emission cars will do better under this scheme, and the highest emissions cars will pay more. Since the charge will be impossible to evade, honest motorists will gain at the expense of tax evaders. Most importantly, because this scheme will reduce average fuel use, it will also reduce petrol costs. We estimate that this policy will lead the typical car to use 450 fewer gallons of fuel over a 100,000 mile lifetime. This translates into a saving of around £2,700 for the motorist.”

MotorFest 2013

SOURCES close to the Ormskirk MotorFest have confirmed that the Lancashire event is set to return on Sunday, August 25 for a 2013 event, subject to it being fully ratified by co-organisers West Lancashire Borough Council. Our special edition focusing on the event (pictured above) was the most successful Life On Cars magazine to date, having been read by over 5,000 enthusiasts.

Ford closures The Blue Oval is to close its last vehicle plant in the UK, after confirming that as part of a Europe-wide move to cut costs that it will close its facility in Southampton, which makes the Transit. Production will be transferred to Ford’s factory in Turkey. Ford’s Dagenham plant stopped making cars in 2000, while the former Escort factory at Halewood now produces the Land Rover Freelander and Range Rover Evoque.

A3 gets practical A ROOMIER version of Audi’s A3 is expected to go on sale next year. The A3 Sportback is closely related to the existing three-door hatchback but gives buyers a longer wheelbase, an extra set of doors and an extended rump, making it a sort of cross between a five-door hatchback and a small estate car. Crucially, it can carry more than the three-door A3, offering up 1,220 litres of luggage capacity. The A3 Sportback, which costs £620 more than its smaller sibling, starts at £19,825 and can be ordered now from Audi's showrooms.

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fIrE up thE... NO SUPRA. No Celica. No MR2. Not so long ago, it looked as though Toyota had left the sports car business for good. In one of the very first motoring articles I wrote a Toyota dealer told me this high performance trio had been banished because of their high emissions levels, and that the Japanese giant's next sports car would be a hybrid to suit a leaner, greener age.


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But their comeback kid isn't a hybrid at all. It's a driving tool that's definitely from the old school. The GT-86 doesn't have a clever hybrid powerplant or a socket to plug it into the mains but it has been made with some rather more mouthwatering ingredients instead; a limited slip differential, a six-speed gearbox, and a four cylinder petrol engine, albeit one with 16

valves, double overhead camshafts and no less than 197bhp to play with. It's also got all the creature comforts you'd expect of a modern day coupe contender electric windows, cruise control, climate control and options like heated leather seats and a rear view camera - but this isn't a gadgets ‘n' gizmos luxury car to waft you to your destination. Think of it as all the best

...tO bits of the Ford Capri in a more modern package and you won't be far off; a rear-wheel-drive coupe with a sleek, purposeful look to it, aimed more at giving it good aerodynamics and a low centre of gravity than good looks alone. While it's got plenty of poke in a straight line the dash to sixty's over in 7.7 seconds, and flat out it'll crack 140mph - the GT-86, a coupe closely

Jointly developed with Subaru, the GT86 harks back to Toyota’s sports car past. Has it been worth the long wait?

OyOtA gt86 related to Subaru's BRZ, isn't really about the sheer grunt from the engine. Nope, this is a car that sets out to prove Toyota's still got a sense of fun, and it shows. What it lacks in performance superlatives it makes up for with the feel it gives you the corners, the eager-to-please nature of its rev happy engine and the intoxicating noise of its exhaust note. The novice driver might get

caught out by its tail happy nature, particularly with the traction control switched off, but it's exactly what fans of this sort of car look for and in the right ircumstances, of course - it's an absolute hoot. Forgive me for going along with the hype that's already made Toyota's first performance car for nearly a decade such an eagerly awaited motor, but in terms of feel and

handling the GT-86 delivers more thrills than some cars costing twice as much as it does. Which, seeing as you're asking, is a whisker under ÂŁ25,000. Plushly trimmed and politically correct it isn't but the GT-86 is the steal of the century if you're looking for a driver's car with a sense of mischief. It's been worth the wait.

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guESS thE cArS... Can you identify the cars on this page? Each correct answer will get you two points; one for the make, and one for the model. The maximum score is 20.












Turn to the back page for the answers... Life On Cars

Jaguar F-Type They say: “ The new Jaguar F-Type represents a return to the company’s heartland: a twoseater, convertible sports car focused on delivering performance, agility and maximum driver reward.”

thE brItISh ArE cOmINg

We say: “Jag gives sports car fans the focused two-seater they’ve waited years for. Looks great, but it’s a shame it’s priced well above Porsche Boxster territory.”

The stars of this year’s Paris Motorshow are stylish new cars made in the UK. Are they ready to take on the world? Life On Cars 9

MINI Paceman They say: “Its two doors and large tailgate, powerful proportions and dynamically stretched lines allow the MINI Paceman to perform the role of the sporty yet elegant individualist in the premium compact segment.. ” We say: “It’s still a Countryman in a party frock. That said, it looks good and - like the rest of the MINI range should be fun to drive too.”


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McLaren P1 They say: “Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit. It is the true test of a supercar’s all round ability and a much more important technical statement. Our goal is to make the McLaren P1 the most exciting, most capable, most technologically advanced and most dynamically accomplished supercar ever made.” We say: “McLaren resists the urge to go Veyron-chasing and reclaim the title of world’s fastest car in favour of taking on Ferrari’s forthcoming hypercar for thrills and lap times. Given the accomplishments of McLaren’s previous two models - the F1 and the MP4-12C - this should be one to watch.”

Range Rover They say: “This is a vehicle that will take us to the next level of success. Range Rover is our flagship and a true British success story, designed, engineered and built in Britain. Its distinctive design, breadth of capability and class-leading refinement and comfort have always made it unique.” We say: “The styling may be evolutionary rather than revolutionary but the big changes for the Range Rover are in its engineering, including managing to shave nearly 500kg off its predecessor.”

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Life On Cars takes a look, in pictures, at some of the most stunning cars from a summer of car shows, starting with this mouthwatering collection from Chris Evan’s CarFest North

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carfest north Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire September 8 and 9 What happens when you let Chris Evans organise a car show... Life On Cars


bank hall 2012 Bretherton, Lancashire July 15

woodvale rally Southport, Merseyside July 28 - 29 Managed to attract hundreds of car nuts despite a change of venue...

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A great community feel at this show, held to fund Bank Hall’s restoration...

ultimate classic Oulton Park, Cheshire July 15 Classics of all ages converge at this growing Cheshire event...

pageant of power Cholmondeley, Cheshire June 16 - 17

gold cup 2012 Oulton Park, Cheshire August 28-29

The North’s answer to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. One to watch...

Motorsport action as classic race and rally machines take to the track...

Oulton Park pictures courtesy of Gareth Connerty and Katie Massam Life On Cars


ormskirk motorfest Ormskirk town centre, Lancashire August 28 250 classic cars, bikes and motorsport icons take over a market town for the day...

tvr in the lakes Newby Bridge, Cumbria May 6

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A gathering of Blackpool’s finest rock up at the Lakeland Motor Museum... On Cars

lydiate classic show Lydiate, Merseyside July 8 Small but friendly fundraiser for Cancer Research, packed with great cars...

tatton park 2012 Tatton Park, Cheshire June 2-4 The cream of the region’s classics at a well established gathering...

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thE StOry Of wALES

What’s the most thrilling way to get to Portmeirion? Discuss, using three very different driver’s cars 18 Life

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THIS wasn’t where we were meant to wind up. The road between Pentrefoelas and Ffestiniog wasn’t the one were supposed to be on. Not that it mattered, because in straying away from the squiggly, fluorescent lines of highlighter ink on our map and off the beaten track our convoy of cars had discovered something much better. The B4391, after an eternity of farmyard gateways, cattle grids and errant lambs, taken us onto a twisty mountain pass, complete with hairpins, sheer drops lined only with dry stone walls and – best of all – a glorious view to Porthmadog and the Irish Sea beyond. It’s probably one of the best roads I’ve driven all year. Best of all, we had a trio of tools perfectly suited to the job in hand. In the blue corner, my 1990 Mazda MX-5 MK1, a ragtop roadster keen petrolheads will be familiar with as one of the best balanced small sports cars of all time. In the, err, even darker blue corner is Ford’s Racing Puma, a hand built, motorsportorientated take on the feisty coupe and a bit of a classic-in-waiting because the Blue Oval, having been ambitious with its pricing, only sold 500 of them. Finally, there’s the wildcard in the form of the Saab 9-3, and a diesel one at that. It doesn’t sound like much of match until you realise that it’s got 150bhp, 240 ft lb of torque and a turbo thrown in for good measure. Our destination is the picturesque Italianate

village of Portmeirion, best known for its use as a filming location in cult ITV show The Prisoner in the 1960s, but between it and our overnight stay in Betws-y-Coed is mile after mile of the sort of gloriously open road North Wales seems to do better than anywhere else. Not only is it staggeringly beautiful, it’s also the perfect place to safely put each of our three cars through their paces. A few things become immediately obvious – for starters, it’s obvious the Saab is the quickest, particularly when the roads straighten out, thanks to the sheer wallop from its turbo motor. From where I’m sitting at least, the Racing Puma makes by far the best noise, and while all three cars look great it’s the rally-inspired Ford, with its flared arches and widened track, which looks the meanest. And the Mazda? Well, even I’ll admit that it’s the oldest car here, the most likely to twitch its rear end in a tight bend and – thanks to only having 115bhp to play with – the slowest in this trio. What it does wonderfully, however, is making 50mph feel more like twice that, meaning you can have all the fun in the world without bothering the speed cameras. The three couldn’t be more different - wind-inthe-hair sports car, tarmac tearaway coupe or saloon car-shaped roadgoing missile. The jury’s out on which is best, but I think I know which is the most fun on these stunning roads...

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pEtrOLhEAD pub quIz Are you a bit of an expert on all things motoring?

Do you know your stuff when it comes to motorsport, driving and car culture? Then help Champion motoring correspondent David Simister raise vital funds for the National Autistic Society in this motoring-themed pub quiz - and get the chance to win prizes too, of course!

Sunday, November 18 7.30pm onwards ÂŁ2 per person The Cheshire Lines Inn King Street, Southport IN AID OF ANSWERS TO GUESS THE CAR: Renault Floride, Porsche 914, Nissan Pixo, Tata Safari, Dare DZ, Venturi Atlantique, Mazda Xedos, Austin Gypsy, Maserati 3200 GT, Volvo 262 Bertone.

Find out more at

Life On Cars Magazine, Issue 12, November 2012  
Life On Cars Magazine, Issue 12, November 2012  

The latest issue of the online motoring magazine from Champion writer David Simister, taking a look at the Toyota GT-86, Jaguar F-Type and t...