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ONDA CIVIC TYPE R SPECIAL e joy of revs in the GTI-beating, third-generation Type R


BMW 318 The last affordable sporting E30





Proper M3 rival – for five grand less



el tinct Secrets of the 16-valve legend

Renault Clio Williams How to buy Renault’s fast-appreciating B-road weapon




Meet the team

Empty roads with three performance GTs... Heaven!

What car are you tipping to appreciate this year? JOHN-JOE VOLLANS EDITOR Honda S2000 ‘Already climbing but this drivers' favourite still has legs’

NATHAN CHADWICK ASSISTANT EDITOR BMW Z4 M Roadster ‘Prices are five grand off the tin tops. Can't stay that way for long’

SIMON RUSSELL ART EDITOR Jaguar X-Type ‘Still plenty kicking around, but minty mint ones are creeping up'


DON’T HIBERNATE THIS WINTER Have you ever put your pride and joy away at the end of the year knowing you could still get some use out of it? All too many of us – myself included – tuck our cars away in the garage at the first sign of frost. In reality, there's often weeks of enjoyment still to be had. It’s the reason why we spend so much time and money on our cars, to revel in those fleeting moments behind the wheel. On the right day, on the right road, it's suddenly all worthwhile. Yes, of course, your car is protected sat under that cover in the garage but this isn’t its natural habitat. That’s a twisting ribbon of tarmac rising and falling through a backdrop of epic scenery.

The owners of the three GT cars we borrow this month were happy to disconnect the trickle chargers and let us loose in their cars for three days in some of the UK's most stunning countryside. The alternative was leaving us to the mercy of the January sales in the middle of Manchester... we're eternally grateful. So, can the Porsche 911 Carrera S (997) retain its crown or will the Aston Martin V8 Vantage or Maserati Gransport prove too much to resist? Turn to page 18 to find out. The result will probably surprise you... I've now spent a year in the big chair at Modern Classics. It's been a huge amount of fun and I'm just getting started. Thanks to all of you for a fantastic 2017. This year's shaping up to be even better still. John-Joe Vollans, Editor

BMW E39 M5 ‘The E39 generation is stunning and it's still criminally cheap’

RUSS SMITH MARKETS EDITOR Audi TT 240 QS ‘Just 800 sold in the UK. Already seeing wanted ads for them’

TONY MIDDLEHURST DELIVERER OF WIT Suzuki Jimny ‘There's a new one out this year, which might provoke interest’

KEITH ADAMS FOUNDING EDITOR Saab 9000 Aero ‘These turbocharged icons are getting rare – time to buy’

EMMA WOODCOCK TESTING TYPE Ford Racing Puma ‘Rare, great interior, amazing presence – plus it's a fast Ford’

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How to buy the best Clio Williams


Escape to the country: which GT sets your pulse racing?



ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY Beat the January blues by cheering yourself up with motoring nirvana – Porsche 911 Carrera S, Aston Martin Vantage and Maserati GranSport




HONDA CIVIC TYPE R FN2 High-revving Golf GTI beater makes great sense...



Type R will drive you round the bend (in a good way)

HONDA CIVIC TYPE R FN2 MUGEN …and this one doesn't. It's still fabulous, though!



CLEVER MONEY CARS: BMW 318is E30 This design icon will never be this cheap again



BUYERS' FILE: CLIO WILLIAMS How to bag a great example of this B-road hero


Honda touring car hero Matt Neal talks to Modern Classics

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It's pure class – so why are there so few Audi S2s left on UK roads?


V8 thrills with bombproof reliability? Gotta be a Lexus IS-F



ENDANGERED SPECIES: AUDI S2 Move fast if you want to buy one (and you so should); there are just over 200 left



INTERVIEW: MATT NEAL Multiple British Touring Car Champion tells all about life behind the wheel of racing Civics




008 EVENTS All the best cars from the Race To Immortality preview screening 014 PRODUCTS The best temptations, from Atomic Blonde to a BMW M3 model 016 INBOX Your views on the latest articles

LEXUS IS-F The starting point for the sexy Lexus era, or an also-ran in the supersaloon arms race?

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084 COLUMNS Tiff Needell on the 600bhp Lister Storm; Keith Adams praises Toyota's Altezza RS200; and Tony Middlehurst explains why the Toyota RAV4 changed the game

The latest on your pride-and-joy modern classics, including Subaru, Saab and Escort Cossie



OUR DRIVES The editor's Mazda is finished and ready to go, photographer Dean introduces his Range Rover L322 and Nathan's Alfa takes a turn in the spotlight


Time's running out to buy a BMW 318is for sensible cash




Great modern classics in the wild, rocking our world


From left: Director Daryl Goodrich and producer Julia Taylor-Stanley talk to compere Henry Hope-Frost about their new film, Race To Immortality.

Tasty metal Studio 434 allowed owners to bring their cars up to the top floor while owners socialised and watched the film. Out of this selection, which one would you choose? Office opinion is torn between the blue 360 Spider, 458 Spider and 612 Scaglietti. Let us know via social media.

Ferrari Owners’ Club hosts screening of brilliant new documentary film at Studio 434 stunning 512 TR stood out among Maranello’s finest at a Ferrari Owners’ Club screening of a newly released documentary, Race To Immortality. The film tells the emotional story of some of the darkest years in the history of Scuderia Ferrari – in the mid-1950s, Enzo lost four of his drivers and his son. Stunning archive footage and fascinating insight from racing contemporaries make this a must-see for all petrolheads, regardless of your favourite era of motorsport. However, most of the cars that club members brought along were firmly in modern classic



territory, with the highlights including a blue 360 Spider and a Mondial with a lurid interior. The location for the screening, Studio 434 in Hertfordshire, stores plenty of interesting cars from the Rodger Dudding Collection and runs a wedding car hire service, so there was plenty of non-Maranello metal to savour too. Our favourites included a couple of WilliamTowns-designed Hustler vehicles and a vast collection of Aston Martin Lagondas. We’ve picked some of our favourite cars from the day – let us know yours too.;;

Rolls-Royce Phantoms This room of ghostly Phantoms awaiting their next outing caught the eye. Are they modern classics yet? Tell us what you think.

Ferrari 348ts Does the 348 look better in yellow than red? Controversial. The 348 was the final design from Leonardo Fioravanti, the man behind the F40, Daytona, 288 GTO and 512 BB.

Ford Orion 1.4 Studio 434 rents cars out for TV shows, which means this mint Orion could be on screen soon.

Ferrari Mondial T The first owner of this Mondial clearly loved Rhubarb and Custard sweets. Think you could live with it?

Ferrari 512 TR The Ferrari 512 TR is the last of the Testarossa line with pop-up headlamps. Produced between 1991 and 1994, its 4.9-litre (non-boxer) flat-12 makes 428bhp. Top speed is 198mph.

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti The venue was packed with cars, which meant that manoevering this 5.7-litre V12-endowed, 532bhp super-GT was a tricky logistical challenge.

Hustler 6 Space Shuttle This Mini-based car, designed by Aston Lagonda designer William Towns, is one of two in the Dudding collection.

Ferrari 550 Maranello One of the bestlooking 1990s Ferraris in perhaps its best colour? This 550 packs a 478bhp punch from its 5.5-litre V12.

Aston Martin Lagondas Considering the reputation for expensive electrical gremlins, you’d think just one Lagonda would be enough. However, the collection has about 15 examples of this 5.3-litre V8-powered luxury saloon.



g 017 had plenty to amuse Saab and Volvo fans

iven Sweden’s prevailing weather, the latter months of the year see Saabs and Volvos come into their own. Blessed with clear (if chilly…) conditions at the end of November, cars from Scandinavia lined the perimeter of the famous Ace Cafe’s north London car park for this once-ayear Saab and Volvo


gathering – and iconic 1980s and 1990s models were in the majority. Among our favourites were the Nilsson-bodied Volvo 940 and 960 limousines. Fans of dump valves and five-cylinder warbling were serenaded by a pair of super-fast 850s – a T5-R and a hardto-miss, touring-carliveried T5 estate that’s up for sale as we go to press.

Hip to be square Evocative, touring-carliveried Volvo 850 T5 estate was joined by a Gul Yellow T5-R saloon, almost subtle by comparison.

Braving the elements Outgunned by the brace of 9000 Aeros to its right, the owner of the 9-3 Cabriolet nevertheless braved the elements, arriving and departing the Ace with the top down.

Under pressure Immaculate Saab 900 S16 valve had Aero S wheels and a full-pressure turbo with a 16-valve Convertible for company, advertised for £1750.


Dinner time Solid business for the Ace Cafe: Swedish car fans and owners crowded inside for food and anecdotes involving torque steer. Prancing Moose stickers were optional.



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XR-RATED DAY OUT The Ford XR Owners’ Club is aiming to create the largest gathering of XRs in one place at its national day. It takes place at Hatton Country World in Warwickshire on July 15. Weekend camping will be available, and various other Ford clubs will be in attendance too. For further details, visit Were Quattros really that red? And were jeans really that blue?


Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes star Philip Glenister to curate ultimate heist car display at the capital’s Classic Car Show hilip Glenister, star of Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes and For The Love Of Cars, will curate a display showcasing crooks’ favourite motors at the London Classic Car Show. The event, which takes place at ExCeL London between February 15 and 18, already has blaggers’ favourite, the Ford Sierra Sapphire 4x4 lined up, and more will be added closer to the show. ‘We’ll take our inspiration from TV, films and real life,’ said Glenister. ‘These cars need to be quick, handle well and, of course, have lots of


room in the back. I’m sure we’ll have an iconic red Quattro exhibited somewhere at the show, but this display will be about cars from the other side of the law.’ Elsewhere, the Grand Avenue theme will be ‘Specials’, paying tribute to the stars that helped form the legend of a marque (we’re hoping for an MG Maestro Turbo). The BMW Car Club Great Britain, Aston Martin Owners’ Club, Quattro Owners’ Club, RS Owners’ Club, Mercedes-Benz Club, Lamborghini Club UK and the TVR Car Club will also be in attendance.

VIRTUAL VISIT Porsche is to offer free virtual access to its museum. Using real-time video technology, visitors can experience a live, guided virtual tour of Porsche’s historic and modern vehicles via its website. The technology enables online visitors to explore Porsche’s unique history ‘in person’, without having to travel to the museum in Stuttgart, Germany.


The museum has more than 80 vehicles on display, including rarely seen prototypes. Special exhibitions change regularly; currently, one depicts the development of

the Cayenne, including a look back at 4x4 specials such as the 959 Dakar Rally cars and the 597 light military vehicle. Museum director Achim Stejskal says: ‘Everyone in all countries and regions of the world will be able to interact with us online. The virtual tour gives users the feeling of being right there in the exhibition.’ Online video tours of the Porsche Museum are held every Tuesday to Sunday between 3pm and 5pm.

PUGS HEAD TO PRESCOTT The Peugeot Sport Club UK has revealed the date for its national event. Peugeot Festival 2017 takes place at Prescott Hill Climb near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire on July 1. There will be special celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the 405 in the UK and the 20th anniversary of the UK-only 306 Rallye. Advanced bookings are £9 for club members and £12 for non-members. You’re welcome to come and camp, and there’s a chance to take your Pug up the famous hill climb. More details at

ARRIVE IN SUPERCAR STYLE If you’re getting hitched, it’s probably best for someone else to do the driving. After all, you’ll need a few stiff drinks to enable you to endure the speeches. Wedding Supercars has the answer – a chauffeur-driven service to take you to your knot-tying in style. The fleet’s modern classics include an Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari 308 and Maserati GranTurismo, but there are plans to add GTIs and a BMW M3 E30. More details at







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ESSENTIAL KIT The latest toys and gadgets to enrich your world


ALPINESTARS TECH-1 K START SHOE £74.50 This driving shoe has been designed to be especially Achilles-friendly. It has a reinforced external heel and is built from durable lightweight microfibre. For walking over hot coals, the heel is fireproof.


Our favourite temptations to spruce up any man cave

OTTOMOBILE 1:18 BMW M3 E30 DIECAST £52.89 Just 1500 of these 1:18-scale M3s will be built, and you’ll have to become a member of Club Otto to get one (it’s free to sign up), but it’s worth seeking one out. Wonderfully detailed and looking great in Brilliant Red, it’s a must for any E30 fan.

AUTOART 1/18 SUBARU IMPREZA WRC £TBA This model of Colin McRae’s 1997 Safari Rally-winning Subaru Impreza WRC is due for release this month. Prices hadn't been announced as we went to press, but it’s not going to be stocking-filler cheap. It’s lovely, though, with a super-detailed engine bay and interior.

WRENCHWARE WRENCH STYLE 3-PIECE STAINLESS STEEL CUTLERY SET £28.92 The ultimate space-saver for the hungry spanner monkey? This set is made from 18/10 stainless steel for durability, so yes, you can actually use them for light mechanical work. However, don’t blame us if any loose grease spoils your tag bol.

ITALIERI FORD TRANSIT MkII BRITISH GAS VAN £26.99 This will bring back memories for anyone whose 1980s Christmas was ruined by a faulty boiler. This 1:24 model kit from Italieri lets you choose RHD or LHD. Though we love the retro British Gas livery, we’d like to see one of these in very secondhand 1994 vintage, at an illegal rave with some hippies hanging out of the back of it.


Add a bit of class to your keyring with this fob from the makers of posh writing equipment and leather bags. It’s made from stainless steel, is engraved with Montblanc branding, and has two black enamelled bands. Classy.

HAMILTON ODC X-03 £3145 We’re big sci-fi fans at MC, so a watch that’s suitably other-worldly got our attention. This was styled by Oscar-nominated production designer Nathan Cowley, who provided the visuals for Interstellar. It’s driven by three different movements inside a hexagonal case made from PVD-coated titanium.


BOOKS & DVDs What to watch/read in between issues of MC

Getting grimy? You'll need all this


PIPERCROSS FIESTA RS TURBO PANEL FILTER (£37.99) AND INDUCTION KIT (£91.91) The Fiesta RS Turbo MkIII is breaking free of its disposable hot hatch status and becoming covetable. This Pipercross performance panel filter boosts power, fits in the same space as OEM filters, is 30 per cent more efficient and is claimed to protect the engine against damage. There's also an OEM-replacing Pipercross induction system that helps liberate extra power and torque.


96 pages on how to buy, own and restore an Esprit. A good read. JJ should get a copy to remind him to fix his! amberley-books. com

SUBARU IMPREZA HAYNES MANUAL £22.99 Twenty-five years of the Group A rally Imprezas are celebrated in this new manual from Haynes. Slidy fun!

Removing avian bombs can cause big damage. Instead, just spray this on, count to five and wipe away. For stickier droppings count to a few more before wiping. It works on paint/clearcoats, glass, plastic and vinyl, and can remove bugs and sap.

EPIC DRIVES OF THE WORLD £24.99 This Lonely Planet guide has great pictures and inspiring writing. You'll be on Expedia in minutes.

THE MARKET ANDROID APP FREE Car auctioneer The Market has launched an Android version of its mobile app. It lets you view, bid on and sell cars via your smart device. Plus it allows you to view market trends for each car.

ATOMIC BLONDE £12.99 An Audi V8 and a Porsche 911 spanking around East Germany makes this worth purchasing but this film is a good watch in its own right, cars aside, so win-win.

SOFT STRETCH INDOOR CAR COVERS FROM £99 These fleece-lined indoor covers will fit most cars and enhance their curves, even if you’ve got a car with more right angles than a Daily Mail column. They stretch around mirrors, are machine washable and come in red, navy, blue, black or silver/grey.

SEALEY SLIMLINE LED LIGHT £45.54 If you’ve got some jobs to do in the garage this winter but have restricted space to play with, this slimline light is just the job. The brightness of its 16 LEDs can be adjusted via a rotary switch, and there’s a hook and magnetic base for hands-free use.



CONTACT US Modern Classics, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA Tel 01733 395162 or 01733 468000 Fax 01733 468379 Web Email Facebook modernclassicsmagazine Twitter @Mdrnclassics

Tell us what you think

Volvos built to last - not just a tired stereotype.

like driving and can actually own, so keep up the good work! My only criticism is the classifieds – why don't you always specify the engine size? As an example, ‘BMW 3 Series’ just doesn't tell me enough. Chris Porges We're afraid the adverts are entirely generated by the sellers. Nathan


Gambia in a 240 GL

Reading your Volvo 240 article (November 2017) I must say I can vouch wholeheartedly for the reliability. Ten years ago, myself and a friend signed up to do the Plymouth to Banjul banger rally. The task was simple: find a car for around £100 and get it to the finish line over 4000 miles away in The Gambia, crossing a live minefield and the sands of the Sahara in the process. We stumbled across our rather rusty MoT-less 240GL parked up on the side of the road. We bought it for £200, welded on a huge sump guard (good luck for the next oil change), put some tights over the airbox (to stop the sand getting in), fixed a water leak with a gasket and set off with everything we might need to keep her going. Mechanically, the car didn’t miss a beat despite carrying a huge amount of weight across the desert (fuel, water, ex-MoD sand ladders etc). The air conditioning and a slightly soft sill had both seen better days, but it made it to the end and the car was auctioned off for charity in The Gambia for £500. Quite a journey for a car that originally started life in Canada! That wasn’t the case for all cars. We lost the last car in our convoy in the Sahara – a spotter plane was required to find the stricken Jeep Cherokee, though that is another story you can find on YouTube (search ‘Costa Blanca Dons’). Finally, I would like to say what an excellent magazine you have put together. I am on a three-year work assignment in Tokyo and this was the first subscription on my list. Pete Sell


Flogging the wrong horse

Sexy Sedicivalvole

I have enjoyed every issue of Modern Classics up to now, however when I opened the December 2017 issue I was dismayed to find 20 pages dedicated to Ferraris. The reason I, and I suspect many other readers, find your magazine refreshing is precisely because it does not have Aston Martins , Lamborghinis and Ferraris littering its pages, as that's precisely what all the other classic car magazines do – and one of the main reasons I no longer buy most of them . Please try and be a little more creative in future editions and not dedicate so many column inches to cars that have been written about hundreds if not thousands of times before elsewhere. Let's hope that this is just a temporary blip and you will get back to writing about interesting cars that don't get the coverage they deserve. Alan Otty We thought we'd go a bit glam just this once, but don't worry, normal service has been resumed. JJ

Your Fiat Tipo Sedicivalvole feature (December 2017) brought back lots of memories for me. My first car was a red three-door – I had lots of fun bombing around Kent in it. I always remember that if I drove it hard enough, the bonnet would remain warm for about half an hour. My then girlfriend (now wife) really appreciated that, as did I…

Classified conundrum Hello, as the proud owner of both an E46 M3 and 280 R107 SL, I was crying out for a classic publication focused on cars I actually

Sedicivalvole: brought back happy memories for some.

I spent about £2000 on a sound system for it, and upgraded the brakes and suspension. We had five very good years together. However, one day I came outside to discover a drunk driver had embedded his Audi A6 into the side of it overnight. It’s a big shame that just six examples of this model are left running – surely there must be more hidden away in barns? Gary Smith

You’ve ruined it!

Nathan deserves a suspended sentence, says one reader.

I’m hugely dismayed that Nathan’s chosen to ditch the standard suspension on his Alfa Romeo 147 GTA (Our Drives, December 2017). Alfa Romeo set up that car after years of testing. Junking the suspension is an insult to the original engineers. Terry Nolan



9 1 1




Sick of staying in for the winter? Then it's time to pick your favourite GT and get stuck in Photography Dean Smith

rowds. Painfully loud, misbehaving children. Noise. The January sales are a horrible experience, and the minor victory of some money off something you probably didn’t really need in the first place doesn’t come close to making up for the misery. That’s the situation we found ourselves in. As lovely as



Manchester’s Arndale centre is, there’s only so much you can take before you start daydreaming about open roads, glorious highrevving engines and pure driving pleasure. Thoughts soon turned to escape, but which cars to choose? Each one needs rampant thrust and engaging handling to take advantage of the Peak District’s finest roads. But each one needs to

be comfortable enough to make such a sortie a joy, not a chore – a sporty GT makes perfect sense. To add spice, each must cost less than a new, specced-up VW Golf R and have finished its depreciation slide. Step forward the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Porsche 911 Carrera S 997 and Maserati GranSport. Time to escape to the country.



V 8








The Porsche 911. It's the obvious choice for several superlative reasons –the coupé that really can do it all, argues Emma Red, red/amber, green, amber, red. The traffic lights run through their cycle and nothing moves. A toneless grimace of Monday morning congestion carries us nowhere, spewing further behind than the rear-view mirror can see. Up ahead, an unbroken line of metal boxes ricochets between time-stained


frontages and disappears in a haze of plate glass and condensing exhaust gas. Three hundred and eighty five brake horsepower sits under my right foot and I can use none of it. The traffic finally begins to move, rolling at a flat-footed putter towards the latest, greatest snarl-up. In moments like these, a Porsche 911 is the place to be. You see, my esteemed colleagues have the whole game wrong. Messrs Chadwick and Vollans

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are grasping at long-bonnet silhouettes and bombastic exhaust notes as evidence of the grandness inherent in their GTs, but they’ve missed the very point of the genre: a fast tourer needs to be able to tour. Boring it may be but, if you want a sports car that’s a true multitasker, you need something that tackles the tedious with talent. Fast-acting aircon, a competent satnav and a crisp, bassy audio system? The 997 Carrera S has you covered. Smoothshifting auto, ache-free ergonomics and 30mpg? Again, only the Porsche can help. From behind the wheel of Jonathan Lennard’s beautiful Gen II PDK example, I’m not yet enjoying myself… but nor am I suffering. We’ve stopped again. Time to crank up the tunes. Nath and photographer Dean are up ahead in the Maserati and, within a couple of songs, it’s clear

they’ve seen me. Oops. It’s enough to mute my private performance and set me staring around the cabin. Little details leap out, keeping the 997 special on this morning crawl. Whether it’s the squeak of a pillarless window finding its seal, the brace of analogue supplementary dials or the soapy tang of the Sand Beige leather interior, every part of the Porsche speaks of enduring, upmarket quality. Suddenly, the Maserati pulls over into a car wash. 'It's stopped working,' Dean explains as I pull in behind. While they try to get to the bottom of it, I motor on to find breakfast and – first of all – petrol. As the super-unleaded pump threads into the filler, a high-pitched 'Hiya!' pops in my left ear. A woman approaches, all careful coiffure and Mercedes CLA. 'It’s so good to see a woman driving a car like this,' she

1 The Arndale Centre in Manchester – scene of much stress. 2 The Carrera S produces a healthy 385bhp.



3 The S uses 911 Turbo's braking system. 4 Why does Nathan wear it? To keep his body warmer. 5 Despite learning materials JJ still struggles.


6 Aluminium finished dials are bespoke to the Carrera S.




The Porsche feels so much more at home in the city than the others.

ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY 1 Useable rear seats make 911 truly practical. 2 Interior's super-comfy for long journeys. 3 Weighty rear traction makes acceleration electric.



4 PDK gearbox is better than the Tiptronic. But only just.


As great as the 911 looks in the city, it's begging for the open road.


shouts through an Aquafresh smile. 'You show the guys who’s boss!' She grins again and sashays away. A girl could get used to this. Not before time, we're out of town and heading towards the Peaks. We pass through villages of weathered stone, crawling through width restrictors and arcing around oblique junctions until the buildings fade away and the traffic disappears. The tarmac breathes towards the vanishing point, two strips of grey on an ocean of sepia-tinted green. An ancient wall marks the border to the right, the left verge commanded by the

THE BUDGET ALTERNATIVE AUDI TT 3.2 V6 Okay, so the driven wheels and engine location are at the 'wrong' end, but the Audi TT makes for an excellent useable 2+2 coupé. We've gone for the 3.2-litre V6 engine, which delivers 247bhp and 236lb-ft of torque in both MkI (pictured) and MkII form. Its 4WD system gives excellent traction but adds weight, so it doesn't feel much quicker than the 1.8-litre turbo car. However, it sounds truly exotic in a way the smaller-engined car doesn't. You can pick up decent MkIs for £3k-£7k, and MkIIs from £5k-£10k.


delicate purple of late-season heather. The road rises through a left, a right and a left, which yawn in from the straight and tighten towards the hillside in turn. Uncoiling from the third apex, the windscreen erupts into widescreen as the Porsche floats over the peak of the pass, accosting every sight, blink and peripheral with a valley of desolate beauty and epic proportion. The road shoulders through sweeper after sweeper, falling through a diagonal slash of scenery, shrinking to an apologetic intrusion in this colossal domain. All I can do is gawp, too entangled in the view to drive enthusiastically. JJ breaks the trance, pulsing the Vantage forwards on a wave of sky-crushing sound. Within seconds he’s disappeared, scudding over the yellow-brown plain, but the Aston Martin's gorgeous exhaust note carries for miles. It would be rude not to join in. For the first time today, foot finally meets floor. A breath passes, the 997 leans into its Midnight Blue haunches and drops a fistful of gears. The change in character is instant. The revs jump into the second half of the dial; the 3.8-litre flat six rises to a digital, tuning-fork call; the steering lightens and begins to chatter between your palms. Then, and only then, the Porsche launches. Hard. Barely a blink later you’re up to the

speed limit, stepping off the throttle and wondering what just happened there. JJ and Nathan may talk of ‘linear delivery’ and needing to rev their cars out but make no mistake: between 4000rpm and the 7600rpm redline, the 997 is easily the quickest car here. Alone on the hilltop, the 911 drops into a brace of corners – long, falling and constantradius horseshoes that lead down into the forest. Tread into the brakes and the Porsche decelerates as sharply as it gains speed; twist into the corner and the steering firms up as the car goes straight to its line. Crisp pedal feel and the occasional message through the leather-lined steering wheel confirm what you already know: in every measurable way, the 911 has far more to offer than you could reasonably use on the road. As the miles pass and each road proves more spectacular than the last, that knowledge moulds my 997 experience. The GranSport provides exquisite steering and the Vantage’s film star drama and wrist-crack gearshift is intoxicating – but neither is half as pleasant to drive smoothly as the Porsche. Blending from brakes to steering to throttle, there’s no better seat in the house as we rush headlong through sparks of red, orange and yellow. Screw the post-Christmas sales; this is the place to be.



There's a little body roll, but nothing that will dislodge breakfast.





Given his love for all things Maserati, Nathan's choice was obvious, but he insists the GranSport has the talent to entice everyone Gagging for it. That’s the only way I can describe it. While the Maserati can do the whole city life thing – much better than I’d imagine a paddleshift-equipped car of this era would be able to – what it really savours is the open road. Just a short trip to the jetwash, and… oh. Oh no. Turn the key, and nothing. Phone calls to the owner and specialists surmise that it’s likely to be the battery at fault – it had been on charge for a month or so. So, with the usual gags about Italian electrics ringing in my ears, the others carry on while I head to Autoshield Maserati to buy a fresh battery. It’s a big shame and I fear that, in the eyes of the others, the result of this test is done already. The Maserati was always going to struggle against the other two – most people would default to either. But I’m not most people; Maserati owners don't tend to be either. Despite some fans’ perceptions of bias against the marque, isn’t its


exclusivity what makes its cars so appealing? Anyone can buy a Porsche or an Aston. A Maserati requires independent thought. The GranSport has many appealing qualities that should stand it in good stead with everyone, though – a torquey, high-revving V8, beautiful looks and a sumptuous cabin. But is it just for the devoted? Time to find out – and with the low winter sun already lurching closer to the horizon, time was of the essence. It's up for the job – it's comfortably the most powerful here. Enough for me to forgive it? It takes the length of the M67’s on-ramp for me to forget the GranSport’s indiscretion. There’s nothing discreet about the Ferrari F136RB engine. With Sport mode engaged, extra valves open in the exhaust system, allowing the GranSport to clear its throat with a fizzing, soulful rasp, singing all the way to 7000rpm. It’s addictive, heady stuff, the entire car resonating as the needle slams around the dial. It’s not all at the top end, though. It really gets going at around 3000rpm,

Nathan finally catches up with the others – he did enjoy the challenge, mind.

WHAT TO PAY Concours

£40,000 Good

£30,000 Usable

£25,000 Project



1 Squidgy and cuddly. And some sort of pink toy thing. 2 Ferrari engine revs to over 7k. 3 Edale looks like fun, doesn't it? 4 Alloys measure 18in.




ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY with peak torque coming at 4500rpm – but with peak power coming in at the full 7000rpm, short shifting feels like a crime. Instantly I'm not just ambling along a motorway, I'm living the GT dream – sunlight glinting off the bonnet, a full tank of fuel and a pornographic soundtrack. I'm enjoying all this a bit too much, and before long I’m in Glossop, where the GranSport's biggest issue looms large. The problem is the suspension – it’s been tuned for smoother European roads. Each minor lump in the road is telegraphed directly to my lower vertebrae, and the slower I’m going the worse it is. It’s not me being silly and expecting it to tackle B-roads well – but high streets and smooth A-roads really should be in its remit. Taking it out of Sport mode barely makes much difference, so I leave it on – there are some corners to savour coming up. Photographer Dean sends me the co-ordinates for our next shot, near Edale. The A624 that takes me there is blissfully quiet – well, traffic-wise. The Maserati’s V8 perforates the air with its glorious metallic rasp. The gearbox does a great job of allowing it to play, bursting my expectations. There’s been plenty of criticism in the press and online for the Cambiocorsa semi-automatic gearbox for being slow-witted and clunky. And, if you lift off for each

shift, it is – but it’s best not to do that anyway. In true Italian style the best course of action is foot to the floor and pull the paddle. And while changes aren’t instant – it's 14 years old – it’s still quick enough to keep the blood up when pressing on. And my veins are pumping – as the roads become twistier I'm getting fully in tune with the GranSport – each surge from the engine makes my heart soar, each clipped apex feels meatily satisfying. Do I miss the Aston's manual gearshift? Maserati never offered a self-shifter with the GranSport, and I can't help but feel it would make a great car even better. I’ve made far better progress than I’d imagined – so I've time to try out the tighter corners on the pass between Edale and Chapel-en-leFrith. There’s still some pitch and roll carried over from the 4200, but it doesn’t wallow. Turn-in is supersharp, and there’s plenty of mid-corner grip – you really have to push it for the rear to unstick. If it does go, the rack is quick enough for instant correction. Before long, JJ, Emma and Dean turn up with more jokes about Italian cars. This time, it’s the steering, but I valiantly argue the case for the Maserati. From experience, lots of German cars tend to be set up for plenty of bite around the centre, but

THE BUDGET ALTERNATIVE ALFA ROMEO GT 3.2 V6 You may be losing two cylinders and it may be front-wheel drive, but the GT really delivers a proper Maserati-style experience. Its 246bhp 3.2-litre V6 has plenty of torque low-down and it'll rev all the way to 7000rpm; and if you buy one with a Q2 or Quaife diff it'll handle sweetly too. Its biggest downside is also shared with the GranSport – it just can't ride bumps very well at all. Nevertheless, the Bertone styling is beautiful and its stylish interior is just as practical as the Maserati. You can pick up decent examples for £8k-£10k.


Enrico Fumiadesigned interior feels great to the touch.

Makes the 911 look a bit boring, doesn't it?




‘IT’S EXCITING, IMMERSIVE AND INTOXICATING’ when pushed to the limit there’s a lack of information just when you need it. A go in Emma’s 911 confirms this. The Maserati is the opposite. Though turn-in is sharp, it feels light around the centre. But when I really press the GranSport the steering comes alive. The carbonfibre-topped steering wheel sings with data about what the tyres are doing, giving me confidence and urging me on. And when it’s time to calm down? That lightness around the centre is perfect for motorway relaxation. It’s a while before we can do that – we’re en route to the Cat and Fiddle pass. It’s great fun in the GranSport, even if the speed limit is 50mph. Sure,

its weight may not shift as cleanly as the Porsche, but the Maserati is much more involving than the Porsche – the 911 may be faster and its acceleration astounding, but really that’s it. The Maserati will make you feel alive in a way the 911 can only dream of. But the GranSport isn’t perfect. The ride ‘comfort’ is as uncompromising as a drunken Brexiteer, and even I, a big Italian car fan, wouldn’t have 100 per cent faith in its ability to deal with the daily grind. But it’s far too special to waste it on commuting. If that’s your bag, you need to buy the Porsche. It’s fast and practical enough for everyday use, but more than a little dull. If you've an


immature need to pretend to be James Bond while surrounded by a cabin seemingly formed from Ikea returns, choose the Aston. The Vantage, while achingly pretty in isolation, is nowhere near as practical, and doesn't feel as special inside as the Italian car. The Vantage and the 911 will keep up appearances at the gym, golf club or office car park. But if you want to sit at your desk all week daydreaming about a weekend blast, you need to choose the GranSport. And when that time comes, do you want to be utterly seduced? The GranSport is exciting, immersive and intoxicating – and isn’t that what pure motoring escapism is all about?

1 You can't go to the Peaks and not have a Bakewell pudding. 2 Oh go on, then – for the sake of an extra quid, I'll have a large one. 3 GranSport's engine is tuned for torque. 4 Italian fizz and an English pudding. A bit like the Maserati and Nathan.






ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY Compact Aston is less practical than the Maserati.






The Porsche has the build quality, the Maserati the soundtrack but JJ reckons that the Aston Martin V8 Vantage brings the soul I’m out of Glossop on the A57. Full consciousness – as well as day – has dawned. As we’re in convoy – well, two of us anyway – and I’m following Emma in the 911, I can't help but start to push at her heels ever so slightly. It doesn’t take long for Emma to gather what I’m up to. I can’t tell if it’s the hastily ingested caffeine that morning, or the adrenaline that’s now


starting to be released by my brain upon hearing that Aston's V8 roar, but this is rapidly descending into the day’s first dogfight. Though we’re now pushing through the first glimpses of proper Peak District scenery, I’m oblivious. All I can see is that big ‘Carrera S’ badge and slatted boot spoiler lifting and falling as we hit the straights and rein it in again for the bends. The twisting A6013 is narrow and not the place to get over-excited but so far, I’m keeping pace with the Porsche in the bends.

WHAT TO PAY Concours

£50,000 Good

£45,000 Usable

£35,000 Project


On the straights, it’s a different story – Emma’s pulling away, and it’s all I can do simply to hold on to every last rev in a vain attempt to keep up. The infectious cacophony from the V8 bellowing through the cabin and reverberating off the cliffs and trees to either side of the road is quite the consolation, though. The Vantage is hardly disgracing itself, but the front end wants to push on whenever I lean on it. Clearly, I’m going too fast – the tight confines of the banks to either side seem to close in with every turn. Waiting to straighten up before flooring the throttle out of the bend gives the Porsche another chance to gain a few more yards on me. We soon emerge from the tree-lined passes and are presented with the majesty of Ladybower Reservoir, mist rising into the winter sky with the sun peeking over the top of the valley. It's breathtaking, and in an hour it'll all be


gone. We stop to take in the view – and Emma sneakily gains the Aston’s keys from me and roars off along the top of the dam. We give chase in Dean’s L322 Range Rover TDV8 (see Our Drives, page 96), our camera car for the day. With Emma passing by the lake we position ourselves in front. I once more take the opportunity to glance at the lake, but sadly this time the view’s quite different. Standing up on the passenger seat, his top half out of the sunroof as he points the camera at the 911, all I get is an eyeful of Dean’s arse. The moment has gone… Regaining the Aston’s keys, with a sulky Emma returned to her Porsche, the procession moves into the Hope Valley. The roads begin to get interesting again up around Speedwell Cavern. A cattle grid shakes our fillings as we take Winnat’s Pass up to the ominously named Dark Peak. At the summit, we stop to stretch our legs, admire the

1 Gateway to throbbing V8 glory... 2 A happy JJ. Well, until the fuel bill came in...



3 The sheep didn't flock to the Aston's aftermarket carbon spoiler. 4 The Aston's certainly got a lot of all three...


5 Aston's 4.3-litre V8 pumps out 380bhp.


6 Emma was rather more excited by the Aston than the Porsche.



ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY scene and ring Nathan. You may recall, the Maserati ‘failed to proceed’ earlier that morning – not a breakdown, says a defensive Nath. After comparing notes on the Aston with Emma for 15 minutes we hear the unmistakable crackle of an Italian V8 coming up the pass… and lo and behold, a red-faced Nathan reappears. I love Italian cars, but not as much as our assistant editor. As a result, I can’t help but tease him mercilessly as he sits with the car running while we’ve all switched ours off. ‘Just de-misting, are you?’ It would be the Italian that suffers electrical problems. We’re all rather annoyed at the fulfilment of this stereotype but in fairness the Maserati proves perfectly reliable once it has enough volts. Our excursions up and down Dark Peak become rather enthusiastic. This is quite the Peak, after all, its steep gradient alternating between helping and hindering our fun as we fight gravity on one side and ride it down the other. The brakes on the Aston do

‘THE MOOR-TOP ROUTES ARE WHERE THE ASTON STARTS TO IMPRESS’ get a good work-out – so much so in fact, that they begin to struggle, especially on the downhill sections. Brake feel is excellent and you can modulate pressure very easily. There's decent stopping power from these steel discs but they're just not quite up to the rest of the car’s performance. The afternoon marches on and as it does so the roads get progressively drier. Next up are the wonderful winding moor-top routes of the A54, A543 and A5004. This is where the Aston really starts to impress. Having collected this Vantage from Oselli (it’s actually proprietor David Eales’ daily drive) in Milton Keynes the day before our shoot, I’ve been behind the wheel for about six hours already. In that time, the Aston has been a consummate high-speed cruiser and a competent B-road contender, but now it’s definitely in its natural habitat.




1 Thanks for your efforts, Mick. 2 Aston handles with poise and delicacy.


3 Some of the Aston's switchgear is distinctly low-rent. 4 Cabin is tight for 6ft 2inches of JJ.


THE BUDGET ALTERNATIVE JAGUAR XKR X100 With a thunderous V8 and film-star good looks, the Jaguar XKR doesn't just make a great budget substitute, it stacks up as a direct Vantage rival. It's arguably better-finished inside, though like the Aston it's a bit cramped. You can pick a decent one up for around £10,000, though we'd go for a later 4.2 at £14k – which still qualifies as a great bargain.

Weight distrubution is 49/51 front/rear – perfect for B-road action.

Cutting through high-speed lefts and rights on open, well-sighted A-roads, this Vantage is simply sublime. The weight shifts forward as you brake, heel-and-toe to keep the revs alive and drop down, feeling your way through that amazing manual gearbox (that’s right – this is the only car here with a proper manual) with its well-machined and old-school mechanical precision. Feel for the front-end grip that’s there in spades, well communicated through the perfectly chunky wheel. At the apex, ease in the power and feel the weight shift to the back and squat a little as

you push the throttle through its long travel all the way to the happy zone, up against the bulkhead. This is pure petrolhead heaven. All too soon playtime's over and, with the thin, watery winter sun disappearing rapidly, we charge off the moors to our final destination of the trip. The Riverside House Hotel near Bakewell (riversidehousehotel. plays host, and as we roar into the gravel car park its ivy-clad exterior is a truly welcome sight. A nice meal, a roaring fire and a few glasses of whisky later, we've come to our conclusion...


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The Modern Classics view All of these cars are winners. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, and each will deliver the exact sort of sporty GT thrills we were looking for. But there has to be hierarchy. First to go – not without complaint from Nathan – is the Maserati. It’s a truly engaging car but it lacks the dynamic polish of the other two, and it’s a fact that it broke down (‘It was the battery, not the car!’ – Nathan). Though it’s much more reliable than legend would have it, day-to-day we’d have more faith in the Porsche and the Aston. The former feels more solid and both have more independent specialists around the UK – owning a Maserati isn’t always easy. But those who choose it will be rewarded with a bewitching experience.

The Porsche comes next. It’s solid, dependable and staggeringly quick. In-gear acceleration is electric, and with the flat-six singing, it is every bit the useable sports GT. It still feels like a car you could use every day – and that’s its biggest downfall. Once you’ve got over its acceleration, does it still offer pure exhilaration? Maybe if we’d had a manual gearbox to play with, it’d be different, but with PDK buttons this 911 didn’t excite as much as it should have. So the Aston wins. It’s not perfect – anyone north of 6ft 2in will struggle, the rear seats are a joke and the interior feels like a posh Mondeo – but you’ll forgive it everything every time you look at it. Then, once you’ve fired up that V8 and sampled its amazing

THANKS To David Eales, Osellli, Autoshield Maserati, Maserati owner James Rippey, 911 owner Jonathan Lennard and The Riverside House Hotel.

handling you’ll be in love all over again. The Porsche and Maserati have more space inside, but the Aston blends useability, style and substance the best. You could use a Vantage every day, and why wouldn’t you? It’s also the one that’ll go up in value most. We all (‘Oi, nearly all!’ – Nathan) loved the Aston and wanted to keep it. Now, which sod has just made off with the keys again?

1 Nathan tries to sing the Maserati's praises. Fails. 2 Which one would you choose? Let us know.




Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

3800cc, 6-cyl, DOHC RWD, 6-speed PDK 380bhp@6500rpm 310lb-ft@4400rpm 1425kg

4244cc, 8-cyl, DOHC RWD, 6-speed F1 paddleshift 395bhp@7000rpm 333lb-ft@4500rpm 1680kg

4280cc, 8-cyl, DOHC RWD, 6-speed manual 380bhp@7000rpm 302lb-ft@5000rpm 1630kg

4.7sec 180mph 27mpg

4.9sec 180mph 15mpg

4.9sec 174mph 16mpg


PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy



PLOT YOUR OWN ESCAPE RIGHT HERE All three cars have stopped depreciating – but which one is likely to make the best investment? PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S GREIG DALY



Greig, from RPM Technik (, believes the Gen II Carrera S is a safe bet. ‘They’re holding their money very well, and they certainly won’t get any cheaper. They’re robust cars,’ he says. ‘A manual Gen II Carrera S is the one to invest in – they’re fairly rare, though the PDK is still great.’ Greig suggests an average cost of £1500 a year to run one. Black interiors are easiest to sell, though any exterior colour will find a home. He advises against the Gen I cars. ‘They’re to be avoided, because we see a lot of engine dramas from those – we don’t sell them.’

Maserati specialist Richard ( believes the key to a happy ownership experience is to consider buying only the best cars – there's no such thing as a truly cheap Maserati. 'Good cars will sell easily – bad cars sit around for months,' he explains. Pick a good one and you can easily swallow running costs, says Richard. 'They're going up in value by around £2000 per year, which is about how much it costs to run one for a year.' Ultimate specification is a blue or black car with a beige or cream cabin. 'Avoid the blue tech cloth interiors,' is Richard’s advice.

Neal, of Aston Martin specialist Nicholas Mee & Company (, believes the time to buy a V8V is now. 'I believe they're the Porsche 993 of the future – buy one now for £30k and in a few years they'll be £60k,' he says. Neil says values for good, well-historied and well-maintained cars have been static for the past three years. 'We've yet to see them appreciate, because availability is still high, but as good cars become harder to find they will go up,' says Neal. 'The most desirable cars are postSeptember 2006 models, thanks to the more comfortable seats that came as part of the facelift.'

WHAT WE FOUND 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 S PDK RHD, white with black leather, optional CD autochanger, 41,000 miles. Sticker price £39,975 Deposit £15,000 Representative APR 9.5% Total amount of credit £24,975 Interest payable £6186 Total amount payable £46,161 Duration of agreement Five years 60 monthly payments £515.10 Estimated value after 5 years £42,000

WHAT WE FOUND 2006 Maserati GranSport RHD, Blu Nettuno with beige leather interior, clutch wear 67%, 49,500 miles. Sticker price £31,995 Deposit £15,000 Representative APR 9.5% Total amount of credit £16,995 Interest payable £4201.20 Total amount payable £36,196.20 Duration of agreement Five years 60 monthly payments £349.02 Estimated value after 5 years £42,000

WHAT WE FOUND 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage 4.3 RHD, Titanium Silver metallic with Chancellor Red interior, 31k miles. Sticker price £37,995 Deposit £15,000 Representative APR 9.5% Total amount of credit £22,995 Interest payable £5693.40 Total amount payable £43,688.40 Duration of agreement Five years 60 monthly payments £473.89 Estimated value after 5 years £60,000

£515 per month


£349 per month

£474 per month

The figures are representative and an APR figure could be higher or lower depending on your personal circumstances.


Replacing the UR Quattro was always going to present a challenge. Words John-Joe Vollans



208 LEFT alling the UR Quattro a game-changer is a bit like describing Lewis Hamilton as a decent driver. Not only did it trigger the arrival of mould-breaking cars like the Evo, Delta Integrale, Impreza and Celica GT4, the UR reshaped the entire sport of rallying. It also gave Audi a problem. How do you replace it? Going upmarket fitted the bigger plan of taking on BMW and Mercedes. The result, the Audi 80-based S2, certainly hiked refinement – but did it also dilute the rally DNA? And why have so few S2s survived?

Audi's S2 was a worthy successor – so why are there so few left? Photography Chris Frosin


ENDANGERED SPECIES The march of progress has sunk the expectations of many a driving enthusiast. We petrolheads tend to expect more power and better handling from each new generation of our favourite models – but then the rest of the motoring fraternity put their ten pence in. They lust after fripperies like comfort, practicality and economy, things that are usually at odds with our desire for feedback and visceral theatre. Philistines! The Audi S2 has traditionally been seen as one such victim of progress. It was a clear step forward in many ways over its predecessor, but where the UR Quattro was a fairly raw performance car that looked as purposeful as it sounded, the S2 had less of an immediate impact. Which is odd, because we reckon the styling is one of this model’s strongest sells. The bluff front end works well, giving the car presence while keeping it within the Audi canon. The lift-back tailgate's subtle rake ends with a high tail spoiler, giving the S2 a more than passing resemblance to its more popular VAG stablemate, the Corrado. Performance was strong. The characterful Audi fivecylinder turbo engine was tuned for 217bhp, firing the S2 from a standstill to 60mph in just 5.7 seconds. Top speed was a bonkers-for-the-early-1990s 154mph. On paper at least, the S2 improved significantly on the UR Quattro's headline figures, reaching the national speed limit half a second faster and outrunning it by 13mph. As part of a mild 1993 facelift featuring new projector headlamps and clear front indicators, power was boosted

Window down to fully appreciate five-pot soundtrack.


No messing: S2 cockpit is all business.

WHAT TO PAY Concours

£17,000 Good

£12,000 Usable

£8000 Project


to 227bhp by a revised distributor-less ignition, and a new six-speed transmission was added to make the most of the extra shove. New comfort options larded the S2 up to a not-so-light 1525kg, all but negating the extra power. More excitingly, the 1993 revamp included some new S2 body styles, namely a BMW M3-rivalling saloon and an Avant (estate). You could be forgiven for missing these because only 306 S2 saloons were built, alongside a similar number of Avants. These new body types were built on the newly updated (B4) platform, which would form the basis of the later A4 and, more importantly, the Porsche co-developed RS2.

I BOUGHT ONE DAVE SWIFT Dave runs Audicoupeparts. so has real-world experience with the S2. 'I've owned nine Audi S2s. It's one of the most under rated modern classics around – it has the looks, handling and speed. Watch out for rust and crash repairs, otherwise they're bulletproof. More right foot equals more fun. Find your favourite road, whether dual carriageway doing a midnight race or dodging tractors along country lanes, and it will please much more than a Golf! Few poor ones are surviving, so grab a good one.'

Now the background’s covered, let’s get into the nitty gritty of how the S2 actually drives. The fine example of the breed that you see before you (a post-facelift car) came on loan to us from Fender Broad classic cars ( Not unusually for S2s, this one’s been modified. Resisting the temptation to twiddle is tough in the face of low values and tuning ease. Here, the mods are minimal: just a Milltek exhaust system and a remap that's upped the power to a very healthy 284bhp. The cabin impresses from the moment of entry. The wonderful three-spoke steering wheel complete with fourring motif isn’t corrupted by a bulky and ugly airbag. There was no need for one as the S2 had Audi's tried and tested procon-ten ('programmed contraction-tension') safety system. In very simple terms, a cable connects the engine to the steering wheel. In a frontal impact the steering wheel is pulled away from the driver and any slack in the seatbelts is taken up in a split second. This is very much an early 1990s car, so plastic features heavily, but the strategic use of leather to trim the wheel and gear knob adds a welcome dose of 'premium'. The seats, though fabric-trimmed, features the diagonal ‘Quattro’ script in that same evocative 1980s font that adorned its predecessor's rear windows. Dead ahead, two stylish white dials greet your eyes. It’s a clear and functional layout, if rather restrained. Three more white-faced gauges at the base of the centre console give readings for oil pressure, temperature and battery

'GETTING THE S2 WARMED UP GIVES ME A CHANCE TO REVEL IN THIS CAR'S REFINEMENT' volts, but they're hardly visible. The fact that they’re not placed in the driver’s eye line, as would be the case in a Delta Integrale for example, could be interpreted as Audi's lofty old-school attitude towards mechanical breakdowns. A manual diff lock and corresponding illuminated driveline diagram beside the driver’s armrest remind you that this car isn’t just built for negotiating city centres. But that’s where it finds itself today, in the middle of Bristol. The engine stirs into that trademark five-pot burble after the briefest of starter turns. As with its predecessor, this S2’s engine is placed way out in front of the axle, giving it an inherent propensity to understeer, but none of that is evident as we creep through midday traffic. Getting the S2 warmed up and out of the congestion gives me a chance to revel in this car's refinement. I’ve driven a number of UR Quattros, and the much finer environment this S2 offers to its passengers is immediately apparent. Sound insulation in particular is in a different league, and even at low speeds the shell feels a lot stiffer. I’m already contemplating a fictional scenario in which I’m using this car every day, something I couldn’t easily imagine happening with a UR Quattro.






THE FINER POINTS 1 Audi's procon-ten system does away with the need for an airbag (er, sort of).

3 Not every 1990s car manufacturer managed to make white dials look cool. Audi did.

5 It's worth buying an S2 just for the instantly recognisable quattro typeface on the seats.

2 2226cc turbo five blends six-pot torque with four-pot revvability – and sounds amazing.

4 None of your effete ECU-controlled diff lockery nonsense here: just press this button.

6 AVUS-style alloys came with 1993 update. By '93, one in 12 Audis had all-wheel drive.



'BUILD THE REVS AND RELEASE THE CLUTCH. THE TRACTION IS STAGGERING' There’s no mistaking that five-cylinder Audi thrum, and this Millteked one sounds every bit as fruity as its forebear. Point-to-point acceleration is rapid once we get onto Bristol’s ring road, the urge coming in big 1980s-style boost spikes. There’s a significant shove in the back when the turbo gets going, accompanied by a sound straight from Group B. Once on boost, power delivery is fairly linear up to the redline at 7000rpm, though it does begin to lose urgency from about 6500rpm. Pausing for a traffic light presents an opportunity for a full-bore start that’s too good to miss. Build the revs and release the clutch. The traction is staggering. In fact, the shock of the grip almost stalls the engine. More revs are the cure. We’re hurtling up to the top of first gear and getting second before the start of the slip road. By the end of it we’re pushing third and the national speed limit. The gearshift is deliciously precise, so positive and mechanical that it feels as if there’s a Ferrari-like closed gate at the base of the stick. In fact, it’s just a really nicely made and precise transmission with an excellent shortthrow linkage. Lots of fun can be had going up and down the six ratios, despite the extremely heavy clutch action. While we’re on the subject of things that aren’t as good as they should be, we can’t let the brakes go unmentioned. They’re simply terrible. The pedal is stiff and doesn’t provide any feel. Only the most violent of shoves reins in the Audi’s considerable performance. We know we’re in a car with greater-than-stock performance, but we can imagine that even in factory tune, this would be considered below par.


The Modern Classics view Coupé style is still sharp after 27 years.

After an afternoon with the S2 we can't help but draw a comparison to another 1990s turbocharged rally star, the Subaru Impreza. The Impreza is a stunning machine, but it comes across as distinctly lowbrow next to the grown-up Audi. In standard trim, the S2 chassis might not be quite as adept in the corners as its Japanese rival, but feedback from owners on the S2 forum ( suggests great results can be had from fitting aftermarket KW Variant 3 coilovers and upgraded, adjustable anti-roll bars. Some S2 owners have even reported tuning their cars to favour oversteer. As it is, the S2 provides many of the Impreza's thrills without the supercar servicing costs, and it's pretty exclusive too, with just over 200 examples left on UK roads. That, plus the famous five-cylinder turbo/fourwheel drive layout, surely guarantees long term interest. A rally-inspired modern classic with added class. SPECIFICATIONS AUDI S2 Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

THANKS Fender-Broad classic cars (fenderbroad. com)

2226cc, 5-cyl, DOHC 4WD, 5-speed manual 227bhp@5900rpm 258lb-ft@1950rpm 1525kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

5.7sec 147mph 28mpg

1992 Porsche 944 S2 Est: £9,000 - £11,000

2004 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII by ARC Est: £13,000 - £15,000

1997 Mercedes Benz SLK230 Kompressor only 19,000 miles Est: £6,000 - £8,000

1993 Toyota MR2 Turbo Est: £3,500 - £4,500

1991 Porsche 944 Turbo Est: £8,000 - £10,000

1988 Volkswagen Synchro LHD Est: £10,000 - £12,000

1983 Nissan/Datsun 280ZX 2+2 Targa only 33,000 miles Est: £6,000 - £7,000

Modern Classics Auction Thursday 1st February 2018 at 12 noon Celebrating the Next Generation of Classic Car Regularly with over 80 modern classics on offer, many at no reserve A fully illustrated catalogue and details on how to purchase, including Online Bidding, are available at

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Honda’s Civic Type R FN2 offers great performance per pound. More than ten years after launch, it's a bargain too Words Nathan Chadwick Photography Chris Frosin


HONDA CIVIC TYPE R FN2 here’s a certain coolness to being hardcore. Can you climb a Welsh mountain wearing little more than a bin bag? Hero. Eat takeaways in front of Japanese slasher movies? Takashi Miike would be proud, and I salute the rigidity of your stomach. You get my drift. The Honda Civic Type R EP3 is one such hardcore experience. It’s possible to use one everyday but you’ll have to put up with a hard ride, an all-or-nothing gearbox and noise levels to make a death metal band roadie wince. It’s utterly loveable – but more as a weekend toy. A daily driver needs to be a little more accommodating. Into that space bounds the Civic Type R FN2. Bigger, more practical and styled like a poached egg that went to space camp, it couldn’t be more different to the stripped-out, minimalist EP3. This was a dramatic change to the Type R template. Previously, from the Civic to the NSX, they’d been hardcore, with only the Accord bucking the trend. A non-hardcore Civic Type R? Isn’t that heresy? That was the attitude of some, but it didn’t stop 12,000 FN2s finding homes. More than a decade on, it’s time to reassess the Type R. EP3 values are rising rapidly for the best ones, fuelled by scarce superb examples, demand for UK cars from Europe and people priced out of Integra DC2s seeking analogue thrills elsewhere. With great examples of the FN2 available for £5000 or less, does the FN2 represent a performance bargain? Right now, the answer is pointing to ‘yes’, just as the needle is encroaching on 7000rpm. The digital dash is flickering indistinguishable digits at me, there’s a corner ahead and in most other hot hatches, I’d have waved goodbye to the current gear ratio long ago. A quick dab on the brakes on the way in, then point the FN2’s blunt nose at the apex. Plant the throttle, hear the engine scream and beg for more and hold on. Sensory overload? Imagine the front row of a Muse concert while being pumped with hallucinogenics. Where once there was the visual certainty of objects like trees and hedges outside, now the world’s a strange green smear. Finally the red shift lights cry enough and it’s time to slam into fourth, ready for it all to begin again. The FN2 dull? Not from where I’m sitting. As much as I love the earlier EP3, it does have a few problems. That noisy engine is



great for a B-road thrash, less good when late for a 9am meeting on a wet Tuesday in November. The sparse interior may focus the mind, but if the mind in question has a migraine after a motorway slog, we’d go for more comfortable cabins every time. Honda’s own journey with the Civic Type R is at least logical then. EP3 owners tended to be single males in their mid-20s. To keep those now older, more mature Civic owners in the Honda fold, the FN2 needed to be bigger, comfier and practical enough to swallow potential offspring. The VW Golf GTI MkV’s blend of everyday performance was now target number one. It certainly hits the mark in terms of visual aggression over its German rival. There’s no confusing the Type R with a base-model, unlike the GTI. There’s the sharply aggressive bodykit, 15mm lower suspension, gorgeous 18in alloys and, of course, the rear spoiler. True, the latter does make the view out of the rear window about as much use as an international intervention from Boris Johnson, but it looks suitably mean. Add in the best bits of the standard Civic – I love the ‘arrow’ door handles – and it’s a car that makes the Golf GTI look as interesting as stale porridge and a luminously orange Ford Focus ST feels as if it’s trying a little hard too. Honda’s zeal for science fiction theatre wasn’t restricted to the exterior. Inside it’s

WHAT TO PAY Concours

£11,000 Good

£8500 Usable

£5000 Project


1 Not so much a rev counter, it’s more of a target... 2 Alloy wheels are 18in jobs. 3 You’ll get used to seeing this if you play hard enough... 4 Ge

ox is ised v n of EP3’s unit.





’IT’S A CAR THAT MAKES THE GOLF GTI MkV LOOK ABOUT AS INTERESTING AS STALE PORRIDGE’ I BOUGHT ONE KEITH ADAMS 'I’d been looking for something to use as a daily driver for around £4k, and choose this one because of my love of VTEC-R powered cars – and the need for it to be reliable. Since I bought it early in 2017, I’ve used it on a semi-regular basis, and haven’t needed to spend a penny on it, other than regular servicing items and a set of Bridgestone Potenzas for £400. The clutch was badly out of adjustment, but that’s been sorted – a simple job, marred by dreadful access. I love the way it drives on B-roads – firm, but welldamped suspension, all the revs you’ll ever need, and super-direct steering. It’s a proper old-school hatch.' Alcantara chairs hug you tight in the twisties.




Maz Christofi of Hond-R (hondaperformanceparts. says: ‘FN2s are bloody reliable and very little goes wrong. Build quality is much better than the EP3’s.’ ‘The biggest thing to check for is oil consumption,’ says Maz. ‘Take a look at the service history for regular oil changes. If it’s around the 75k-85k miles mark, check it’s had its major service, which includes all fluids plus valve clearance check, etc. ‘All of them suffer from a screechy clutch pedal – it could indicate a clutch on the way out, but the pedal might just need some grease,’ says Maz. ‘Early cars on 07/57 plates can have crunchy gearboxes, which may indicate worn synchros,’ says Maz. ’However, the engine mounts are a bit


cack, so it’s best to check them first before removing the gearbox. An engine mount insert kit sorts it for £80.’ And that’s really all that goes wrong – but there are many ways to improve an FN2. ‘Fitting a limited-slip diff is the best thing you can do as it counteracts the basic rear suspension,’ says Maz. Very late FN2s had them fitted as standard. Diffs start at £720 before fitting. Maz suggests doing this when you swap the clutch. For steering sharpness without the uncomfortable ride, Maz recommends fitting KW V3 coilovers. ’Sorting out the breathing is a big plus,’

he adds. ‘Intake kit, larger throttle bodies, inlet manifold, exhaust system and an ECU reflash. Most 75k miles FN2s will be putting out around 185bhp; get all that done and it’ll be 240bhp.’

Cornering ability is high despite rear beam axle.

like sitting on the bridge of a starship, with two instrument binnacles wrapping around the steering wheel. Perhaps anticipating the importance of revs over speed, the counter is directly behind the steering wheel and resembles a giant target. The speedo is in the upper section, with a digital readout that echoes the Honda S2000 or, for older hot hatch enthusiasts, the Vauxhall Astra GTE. It’s so futuristic in here you’re half expecting a Star Trek nerd to pop up from behind the chunky, comfortable Alcantara-covered chairs. It’s disappointing that the gearknob is somewhat traditional, as unlike the EP3’s dashboard-mounted item the FN2’s appears from the transmission tunnel. It feels more robust than the EP3’s though. Time to begin. Turn the key, press the start button and… it’s a refined murmur. The civility continues as I get up to speed; though it’s clear this is a performance car from the ride, my ears aren’t being assaulted and the gearbox is far less demanding than the EP3. You still need to be firm across the gate, but it’s not trying to fight you like the old one. It’s





1 Door handle resembles a Star Trek prop. 2 Seats are surprisingly comfortable. 3 Digital readout reminds us of the Vauxhall Astra GTE. 4 Honda’s attention to detail is exhaustive.

largely the same six-speed gearbox, but Honda tweaked it for the FN2 – the final drive ratio is shorter than the EP3’s. Sadly, however, the ratios feel much longer than they actually are. Perhaps it’s the extra weight – 60kg heavier than the EP3 – and the lack of any extra horses to mitigate it. In a straight line it just doesn’t feel quick, despite the LCD readout claiming otherwise. It’s a testament to Honda’s engineers that they built a performance car that’s refined enough for daily use, but even with that in mind there’s a disappointing lack of theatre. Even Honda’s traditional star turn in the third act of the engine’s rev range is muted. Where in the EP3 getting past 6000rpm was like opening a window on a supersonic jet, here the effects are harder to detect. The high-lift cam mode comes in at 5400rpm – 600rpm less than the EP3 – and peak power comes in at a 7800rpm versus the EP3’s 7400rpm. Honda’s engineers purposefully smoothed out the torque curve for tractability, an understandable decision. The overall effect is that for all its revs, the FN2 doesn’t seem to want to race through them with the same appetite as the EP3. On first impressions, it’s easy to understand why so many feel the FN2 ‘accessible torque’. That’s looking at it all wrong, of course. Whereas contemporary rivals from Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Renault used steroidal turbocharging to boost their performance muscle, the Honda is much purer. Greater and longer-lasting pleasures await with a naturally aspirated engine. This is a car you really have to work with. It’s helpful that the ride’s pretty good, though very firm. This comes as a bit of a surprise considering the slagging it got


HONDA CIVIC TYPE R FN2 The Civic doesn't feel fast in a straight line – it more than makes up for it in the corners, though.

’THE TYPE R FN2 IS AN ABSOLUTE PERFORMANCE BARGAIN RIGHT NOW’ when new. Perhaps that’s down to years of worsening ride comfort and the gentle acceptance of ungentle suspension set-ups in new cars, but it’s supple enough to do daily duties without twisting your coccyx. This car is all about putting your back into it anyway. The joy comes from mining the upper reaches of the rev range for torque, the delight from mastering the ability to keep the VTEC engaged. It all takes time; and that allows you to ponder the handling. It’s not quite as nimble as the EP3, but then this is a much bigger car. Ditching the EP3’s rear double-wishbone suspension for a torsion-beam axle was deemed the main culprit. There’s still plenty of bite from the steering and as you push the nose harder, there’s plenty of grip up front. Only if you’re on the ragged edge do the forward trotters give way. Despite all the refinement, when fully lit, it’s still a hardcore cornering master. This means you get to enjoy one of the last truly great mainstream high-revving engines. Okay, it’s not as raucous as an EP3, but you’re screaming all the way past seven. Once the higher cam lobes come


online, you’ll do anything to keep in VTEC. It certainly doesn’t feel slow in the twisties as you devour corners at barely believable speeds. All that matters is the all-consuming tunnel of speed and horizon the FN2 delivers through the windscreen with frenetic arcade-game fury. Unlike most arcade games you can pause the action – at normal pace the FN2 doesn’t punish you for its performance potential. You can calmly glide around if you want to – something that the EP3 just doesn’t understand. The FN2 offers very nearly as much fun as an EP3 but without the headaches. Why haven’t you got one? HONDA CIVIC TYPE R FN2 Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

1998cc, 4-cyl, DOHC FWD, 6-speed manual 198bhp@7800rpm 142lb-ft@5600rpm 1267kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

6.8sec 146mph 34mpg

Modern Classics view

The FN2 is an absolute performance bargain right now. It’s a fantastic alternative to the turbocharged four-pot formula and represents an engine philosophy we’re unlikely to see again. Naturally aspirated engines and manual gearboxes have all but vanished from new car showrooms, and it’s a formula that’s going to be highly prized in future. This should augur well for values. But even if you leave the balance sheet out of the equation, the Civic Type R stacks up. No, it’s not as focused as an EP3, and I’m not going to lie to you – over a single B-road thrash I’d take the older car’s keys. But for the long slog back home and daily duties? I’d take the FN2 every time. As regards comparison to the Golf GTI MkV, as accomplished as the Golf is, it’s all over before 6000rpm and wouldn’t have me dreaming of a clear B-road on the way home. The Civic does. If you’re looking for one of the last old-school analogue experiences that you can use every day, you’ve come to the right place. What are you waiting for?







10 LEFT f you want to make a Honda obsessive’s eyes glaze over, their hands start to tremble and their significant other start to worry about meeting next month’s mortgage repayment, you just need to whisper one word – Mugen. Mugen Motorsports has been racetuning Hondas and selling aftermarket

parts since the early 1970s. But though you could tune any bit of your Honda with Mugen bits, you couldn’t get a Honda-sanctioned Mugen ’car’. Then that all changed. In 2009 Mugen Motorsports brought along a concept car to the Tokyo Auto Salon, showing just what they could do with the Civic Type R FN2. The crowd’s response was electric – Honda aficionados started to get a sweat on.

That sweat turned to a torrent when Honda announced that 20 examples were to be built at Mugen UK’s Northamptonshire base. It was and still is very expensive – if you can find one at all. Your starting point for a new one was £38,995, while the car on the left cost nearly £50,000. I can almost sense the collective gulp of air from your throats as you read this. But trust me, the Honda Civic Type R Mugen is a breathtaking experience in more ways than just cost. Inhale deeply, everybody.

…AND HYDE A normal FN2 not hardcore enough? Say hello to the utterly barmy Honda Civic Type R Mugen Words Nathan Chadwick Photography Chris Frosin

CIVIC TYPE R MUGEN Mugen UK's engineers coaxed 237bhp out of the FN2.


You’d be forgiven for walking past the Mugen if you saw it parked up. To the uninitiated, it looks like just another modified Japanese car – enormous spoilers and splitters, and a ride height low enough to cause ants to duck. Even to those with a penchant for Hondas, you’d still have to know – there was a run of 200 ‘Mugen’ FN2s that had a limited-slip front differential and a similar paint scheme. There are also FN2s that have been modified to look like one of these. But this is the real deal, number 00. It doesn’t feel too special when you get inside. Sure, there’s an extra bank of dials on the top of the dashboard (yours for an extra £1000) showing oil and water temperature, and figure-hugging Recaro seats. It still has a radio too. Not that it’s much use when I press the Start button. The Mugen whumps into life


angrily, and idles with a menacing serrated air. It’s certainly not musical in the traditional sense. Maybe Aphex Twin? It’s already got the pulse up like age-old techno, but of course many noisy, modified four-pots have flattered to deceive – Max Power has a lot to answer for. And trickling along normal roads to our test location, it does seem to be the case here. It exhibits the typical FN2 complaint – a lack of immediate torque – but I know from my time with the standard car that I have to work for it. What’s more worrying is that for all its extra power – it has 237bhp – and angrily rasping exhaust note, it still doesn’t feel quick, despite the speedometer trying to convince me otherwise. But then I’ve hardly tickled it… Mugen’s engineers revised the airbox, intake manifold, pistons, throttle body and valve springs. The stainless-steel exhaust


WHAT TO PAY Concours

£40,000 Good

£30,000 Usable

£20,000 Project


1 Dials for oil pressure and temperature plus coolant temperature cost an extra £1000... 2 The badge was chucked in for free. 3 Calipers are four-pot monoblocs. 4 Fancy recording your efforts on track? Mugen has a machine for that.



WHAT IS MUGEN? Mugen was formed in 1973 by Hirotoshi Honda (the son of Honda founder Soichiro Honda) and Masao Kimura. Mugen means ‘without limit’, ‘unlimited’ or ‘vast’. Its first engine was a racing version of the 1200cc Honda Civic engine, which was instantly successful – it won its first race at Suzuka. In 1975 it started selling race parts other than engines, beginning with the Civic. The firm was very

successful on two wheels and four, and sought to capitalise on its fame. In the early 1980s the firm started offering tuning and bodywork parts for road cars. In the US, kits were made available through dealers. Mugen continues to compete, primarily in Japanese GT racing, and still sells

system is a bespoke design – the standard FN2’s centrally-mounted fuel tank meant a straight-through exhaust just wouldn’t work, but those clever chaps from Northamptonshire have done a sterling job. It sounds snarly out of the VTEC zone – let’s push it a bit harder... It all begins just after 6000rpm – unlike the standard car, the Mugen wants you to know it’s enabled the higher cam lobes. The shrieking roar turns into a piercing whine as you quickly close in on 8400rpm. At this point my eyes start to wobble and my eardrums are thudding to the beat of my heart. Clawing speed figures out of the molten visual mass that is the dashboard right now is impossible; all I want to do, is keep it in the 2000rpm power band. The short-throw gearshift is smooth and precise – good job, really, as corners are being dispatched so quickly that there’s

aftermarket parts. Our favourites are the superlightweight Mugen NSX concept from 1992 and the Mugen FD2, a four-door version of the FN2 Civic but even more extreme.

little time to think about anything other than the rapidly-approaching horizon. I’m no longer driving to the shift lights or even the rev counter – this glorious engine is wired up directly to my spinal cord. The steering is blissfully intuitive and I’m feeling every inch of road surface. The limited-slip differential embeds you onto your line through the corner, and the only thing that loses grip is fleshy bits of your face as cornering forces try their best to drag it all sideways. This is an intensely physical car. The ride comfort is on the firm side of torturous due to springs and dampers that are stiffer than the standard car. And the assault doesn’t end there – the brakes, 20mm larger than standard and allied to four-pot monobloc calipers, give your sternum the kind of punishment meted out to Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket.



’THE MUGEN FN2 IS A TRULY SPECIAL CAR, AND IT IS A SHAME SO FEW WERE MADE’ If you share the unfortunate Pyle’s physique, the Mugen does a great job of fat-shaming you. The brakes are lighter than the originals, despite all the extra hardware. The forged alloy wheels save 20kg, while you could save an extra 80kg with a composite bonnet and front wings. The only problem is making use of it on the road. Below the point where the VTEC kicks in, you have just 140bhp to play with and are liable to be embarrassed by a more traditional hot hatch. What’s worse, keeping it in the 2000rpm happy place means speeds that can mean a trip to court. If you’re content with that proviso, the Mugen FN2 is a car you can’t help but yearn for. You get out of it grinning nervously and slightly shaky, wondering whether that last B-road blast was real, or just a flashback from Ridge Racer Revolution. How quickly did I take that corner? How was it even possible? The Mugen FN2 is a rare beast of a kind we’ll never see again. Few will understand its appeal, fewer still will ever own one. But everyone who has the merest taste of its upper rev range will certainly want one.


Modern Classics view

The Mugen Civic Type R is an eye-popping experience. It’s an 8400rpm banshee that only shows its cards in those brief moments when the road is clear. That is both a big part of its appeal and one of its downsides. The Mugen really needs a race track to show its worth – and prevent points on your licence. But if you were spending nearly £40,000 on a track car, would a Civic make sense? Surely that money would be better spent on a Lotus Elise or a Caterham? And, if you’re keeping it hot hatch-only, the Renault Megane R26R is more focused still and a lot less money. These are all valid criticisms. Out of a proposed production run of 20, just 10 are believed to have been sold. It’s easy to understand why. There are all manner of aftermarket tuning options that are cheaper. However, while you could buy Mugen’s brakes, suspension and interior modifications separately, the engine modifications are bespoke to this limited edition. Crafty chaps on the aftermarket scene could still do a similar job, but the preference there is for forced induction.

Though the gains are impressive, dolloping in more mid-range torque rather misses the point of the Type R. The Mugen FN2 is a truly special car, and it is a shame so few were made. This rarity makes it a curio that will only retain and grow its value. As a canny place to stash your cash, it makes a good case for itself. Any negative thoughts soon shrink away behind the wheel. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see a high-revving hot hatchback as focused as this again. As utterly barmy, unpractical and fiscally nonsensical as this car was, it deserves our respect. All hail 8400rpm. All hail Mugen. HONDA CIVIC TYPE R MUGEN Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

1998cc, 4-cyl, DOHC FWD, 6-speed manual 237bhp@8300rpm 157lb-ft@6250rpm 1233kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

5.9sec 155mph (est) 21mpg



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Has raced all manner of BTCC machines but it's the FN2 Civic that brought him a third championship Words John-Joe Vollans Photography Honda, BTCC

veteran of the sport, Matt Neal has campaigned nearly 30 British Touring Car Championships. In that time he's amassed an impressive three championship drivers' titles, 61 wins, 170 podiums, 17 pole positions and 51 fastest laps. Matt raced in the FN2 generation of Civic for its entire BTCC career, from its introduction in 2007 to its retirement in 2013. He's the ideal man to talk about racing Civics. MC: Before you began racing, which driver did you admire the most? MN: Bar my dad, I guess the first driver I remember really being in awe of was Nigel Mansell. It was more than just the fact that he's a Brummie too, he was always a fighter. Not always in the best car, he’d fight like hell on track and never give up. I loved watching him race. I’ve tried to emulate his determination in my career. MC: Which of the many drivers you’ve competed against do you respect the most? MN: One of the ultimate has to be Steve Soper. I’ve been lucky enough to drive wheel-to-wheel with a bag full of big names – including Mansell – but Steve was always the professional, consistently delivering for his team. Known for being a BMW pilot, I was invited to attend a diner at BMW Motorsport in Munich and the then head of motorsport Heinz Keibfel described is driver line-up; Ravaglia, Cecotto, Winkelhock. When he got to Steve he said, ‘Soper is like a bull terrier; he bites hard and to the bone and doesn’t let go.’ He was spot-on, reinforcing the never-say-die attitude that I’d encountered and the selfless approach, which I liked. 58 MODERN CLASSICS

MC: Can you give us an insight into how the FN2 race car actually performed, both pre- and post-turbo? MN: The FN2 Civic utliised the K20 engine, which we’d been able to use in the EP3, so it was already familiar. However, we initially struggled with the car’s rear beam axle. Due to international S2000 rules, we had to use the suspension format that the car was initially designed with. It was an Achilles heel for us – the beam axle has traditionally been seen as a bit of a motorsport no-no. Once we got it sorted – by using a rear bump-steer system – it became our secret weapon and ultimately had all the opposition spewing! The Civic was the fastest thing out there. MC: Do you think that the FN2 generation had been developed as far as it was able? Did it have any areas that still had room for improvement? MN: In S2000 regulations the FN2 was pretty well sorted; which is why, in the final season with it, we ran a normally aspirated version.

Showboating sideways action with Neal at the wheel.

It only got beaten by a hooky Chevy from WTCC (not that I’m biased!) but once turbocharged it was unstoppable. I truly believe it became one of the fastest S2000 cars in the world. MC: You’ve raced 13 seasons in Hondas, more than any other driver in the modern era. What is it about the firm’s machines that has kept you behind the wheel for so long? MN: I think it’s their passion. One of my team managers once said, ‘If you cut us we bleed Honda,’ and that’s a good way to sum them up. Not just the company, but the employee passion for the products they’re developing and ultimately selling. I feel it makes you/them go that extra yard, which is what’s needed for success. MC: Which championship season did you feel was your hardest fought and why? MN: Easy – 2005 as it was my first championship win. As it was my first and untrodden territory, I was so far out of my comfort zone. It was a bit surreal when I actually won, even though the car was monumentally good all season.





1 Posing with a Mugen tuned Type R in between races. 2 One of Matt's 61 BTCC victories. 3 Matt leads the field coming into Rockingham's 'Tarzan' hairpin. 4 Team Honda celebrates in style.

MC: Can you recall one race or battle in the FN2 that sticks in your mind? MN: Ha! Yes, unfortunately. I was going for a 1–2 finish at Oulton Park, it was the last corner of last lap and I took myself and my team mate ‘Flash’ [Gordon Sheddon] off and lost the win. That was bad enough but I then had to go and explain myself to a room full of Honda board members and 200 guests! Not a stellar day. I have a good few pages of excuses that I’ll put in a book, but at end of the day I did it, so in full Japanese fashion I looked for the nearest sword upon which to fall. MC: Why did you move to Vauxhall in ’08 and what lured you back to Honda in 2010? MN: The Vauxhall move was a combination of a few things. Firstly, they offered me a very lucrative deal but also Honda was a little uncertain of continuing in the BTCC at that time. Honda was looking for external input from drivers to continue its funding, so that pretty much sealed the move. Coming back was also made easy for me; it was like that girl that you always loved suddenly saying she wanted you back! MC: What’s your best BTCC experience? MN: Maybe my first win in 1999 – oh and taking a cheque for £250,000 off Alan Gow… That, and my first championship win, of course. MC: What’s your worst BTCC experience? MN: I’ve had some amazing experiences in BTCC but on the flip side I’ve had a number of ringers too. In 1994, barrelrolling a Mazda Xedos at 130mph at Silverstone put me out for four months – that wasn’t great. Neither was driving the 1996 Ford Mondeo, which must be the


INTERVIEW most dangerous car I’ve driven. I kissed the floor when I got out of it at the last meeting! Then that Oulton Park lastcorner embarrassment. MC: After nearly 30 seasons, how have your attitudes to the sport changed? MN: My desire just to be there, even if only making up the numbers, has passed. But my passion to make racing work as a team drives me on; and with Honda we've got half a chance, if I keep working hard. If I win a race the biggest buzz I get is seeing everyone who is involved with the team, sharing the experience. I’ve learned you need to enjoy the ride, otherwise you get to the end and think, 'Was that it?' MC: After three championships, do you have anything else you want to achieve? MN: A fourth – I’m serious. I still feel I have speed and good cunning, I just need

Provocative rear end invited challengers.

lady luck to intervene –and I know that every sports person needs a bit of that. If I got four titles then maybe I’d be finally content and could hang up the boots once and for all. MC: On that note, can you see a point in the near future when you take a back seat from driving? MN: Yes, absolutely. I’ve worked with Flash, who has become a formidable opponent – not just for me, but everyone on the grid. I’ve really enjoyed seeing young drivers progress, learn and become complete packages. MC: What are your thoughts on the coming 2018 season? MN: We’re aiming to hit the track with the

THE FN2 IN THE BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP The Civic FN2 will go down in history as one of the most dominant touring cars of its era. But initially, things didn't look so rosy. Entering the BTCC in 2007 under the FIA's Super 2000 regulations, the FN2 Civic initially wore


Team Halfords warpaint, but was run by Matt Neal's family firm, Team Dynamics. The car struggled with traction in these early campaigns, the rear beam axle proving harder to acclimatise to racing than the independent rear of its

EP3 predecessor. However, despite teething troubles, Team Dynamics finished third overall. Another third place in 2008 belied the team and the car's gradual improvement. By 2010 – with Honda now onboard – Team

new FK8 very, very soon and it’s a stressful time because developing a race car is hard work and the bar has been raised so high in the new car industry. It’s very high, in fact – and we have managed to set such a precedent over the past 10 years. It’s never, ever going to be easy but at least Honda is giving us something pretty special to kick off the project with…

HONDA CIVIC 2011 BTCC Dynamics was challenging for the outright title. The chassis was sorted and podium finishes were coming. The 2011 season saw the introduction of turbo power, giving the FN2 the grunt to finally take race wins.


2000cc, 4-cyl, K20A, VTEC plus Owen Developments Turbo Transmission FWD, 6-speed Xtrac sequential Power 350+bhp@8500rpm Torque Classified Weight 1220kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed

Under 4sec 160+mph



The 'anti-GTI' 318is has exclusivity, sporting class and killer styling – and it’s still under the radar... just Words John-Joe Vollans Photography Jonathan Jacobs

s recently as five years ago, it was easy to find a useable second-generation 3 Series (or, to use its factory designation, E30) for £2000. Not any more. Prices have been going only one way for a while. Two grand now might get you a rusty four-door project. In this respect the E30 has gone along the same road as the MkI Escort, with even scruffy three-door examples commanding four-figure prices. The DTM-bred Evolution M3 is leading the pack, but just about every E30 is being dragged up in its wake. Chief in value among non-M3 E30s (excluding Alpinas and the like) are the six-cylinder 325 variants. Sports models command an additional premium. Now you need at least £15,000 for a good 325 with the M-Tech bodykit and sports suspension. There’s still one sporting E30, however, that comes with the right suspension and styling and, most importantly, a more affordable price. The 318is.




£8500 VALUE IN 2020



CLEVER MONEY CARS Right off the bat, let’s get one thing straight about the 318is: it’s not a ‘baby’ M3. This lazy comparison has been trotted out since the car's launch back in 1991. The 02 Series 2002tii is a more accurate comparison. Both are back-to-basics, old-school four-pot BMW sports saloons offering much greater driver involvement than their performance figures would have you believe. Why has the 318is been largely overlooked? When new, it was expected to do battle with the darling of the 1980s hot-hatch scene, the 16v MkII VW Golf GTI – and that was a tough ask for any car. On top of that, the 318is was overshadowed by the more glamorous members of the second-gen 3 Series family tree like the silky-smooth (but wayward) 325i and the frankly game-changing original M3. The 318is never sparkled in quite the same way as its six-pot or circuit-bred brethren. The years have been kind to the 318is, however. Now it stands up as an ideal modern classic. It’s frugal enough to use regularly but it also has more than enough power to entertain. It has M-Tech accoutrements in all the right

Softened 'shark nose' is still iconic BMW.

Germans love a bit of tartan.

16-valve M42 unit weighs just 100kg.

Three colours that signify BMW fun.


‘THE E30 HAS ALWAYS BEEN EASY TO TUNE AND CHEAP TO IMPROVE FOR THE TRACK’ places and you won’t have to sell a vital body organ in order to get one on to your driveway, because they're still pretty affordable. Apart from its relative lack of grunt, we’re really struggling to find any other downside. But before we get into the specifics, let’s take a look at why this 3 Series is currently so much in vogue. The E30’s natural habitat has always been the race circuit. Let's be honest – we all want a touring car in the garage to fulfil that frustrated racing driver fantasy. If you grew up in the 1980s, a Ford Sierra Cosworth, BMW E30 M3 and Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth would probably be in your top three. As a direct result of the glory it achieved in the BTCC, the E30 has always been easy to tune and cheap to improve for track use. More recently, it’s been adopted by classic rallyists as a cheaper and more accessible alternative to the Sierra Cosworth. Add to that the celebrity endorsement of BBC Top Gear's Chris Harris (who prepped and rallied a 325i and an M3) and the current enthusiasm among young, cool American petrolheads for this old BMW, and suddenly it's really not so hard to understand why the E30 has such a strong and growing appeal. Styling has always been a major draw for E30 fans. Pulling together all the strands of Claus Luthe’s subtle re-sculpting of the brutal 1970s ‘sharknose’ models, they just ooze 1980s BMW class. The familiar quad-headlamp look complements a softened, curvier nose compared to that of the more angular E21 predecessor. The glasshouse provides terrific visibility. You’re never struggling to see



Phil Johnstone is the workshop manager from renowned BMW and MINI specialist Peter Van Der Veer. 'The E30 318is makes an excellent investment choice, but there are pitfalls. The M42 engine is reliable, and parts for these cars are not expensive. Finding a car maintained by a specialist can save you a lot of money. 'Check for chassis corrosion, especially around jacking points and around the pedals in the floor pan. 'Cracked dashes are also common, and cloth interiors suffer from sun damage along the line of the parcel shelf. 'Colour can be a minefield. Alpineweiss (146/218), Schwarz (086), Sterlingsilber Metallic (275) all look timeless, but rarer colours like Zobelbraun (196) can be real winners too. Always remember when buying – originality is everything.'

Owner Jim Henshaw works for Brightwells Auctions and sees his fair share of modern classic metal but it's his E30 318is that gets the nod for daily duties. ‘I bought my 318is from a mechanic whom I had been nagging for six years to let me have the car. The heater only works on the first or fourth settings and it blows whiffs of oil into the cabin but I still love it. 'It averages 34mpg and is happy to run all day at 80mph. I do most of my driving in the west, from Herefordshire into the Welsh heartlands. The 318is is perfectly suited to Welsh A- and B-roads. It's light to drive and has fine balance and grip. 'What's next? The bodywork needs attending to with small sections needing replacement. Future road trips? It's lined up for a ski trip to the Alps, so I will have to fix that heater!'




E30s do rust, but 'rot' here means red.

No filthy boots in this car please.

BMW torch recharges in glovebox.

Real cross spokes have hub dimples.

out, or just as importantly perhaps, to be seen sitting proudly inside, enjoying your E30 experience. On top of the strong visual impact of the standard E30, the ‘is’ received a number of specific styling additions. These included a deeper front air-dam, similar to that of the M3 but without the side skirts or rear diffuser. A boot-lid flick spoiler mirrored the front end's sporting intent. ‘Shadowline’ black satin window trims classily finished off the exterior. Inside, a subtle smattering of M-Tech goodies including deep front bucket seats and logos on both the steering wheel base and the manual-only gearshifter wired the owner into BMW's strong motorsport heritage. Considering all of the above, why have 318is values been held back? Well, its bigger brother the 325is does deliver a better all-round drive. The six-cylinder not only has more power (169bhp vs 136bhp), it also has a sumptuous metallic ring through the exhaust, especially when it's being wound up through the gears. Lovely as the 325is’ M20 engine is, though, it's 17kg heavier than the remarkably light (100kg) 318is twin-cam M42 motor. It’s not a lot, but it's weight that you don’t want over the front axle. Every kilo here blunts the car’s nimble feel and eagerness on turn-in. It makes a difference in such a finely balanced machine. While we’re on the subject, it’s very clear that when making this particular 3 Series, BMW engineers had the word 'handling' stamped front and centre in their collective neocortex. The 318is saved nearly 120kg in


‘IN PLACE OF HEROIC SIDEWAYS ACTION, THE 318IS SERVES UP BAGS OF GRIP’ outright weight over its six-cylinder sibling –and that's before any suspension tweaks had started. And there were plenty of tweaks. Standard springs and shocks were replaced by M3-inspired front and rear lowering springs plus firmer and wider 51mm Boge gas shocks. Stiffer than 318i-standard roll bars were fitted (20mm front 14.5mm rear). Overall, the 318is chassis was perfectly suited to its modest engine output. There’s simply not enough power to get you into trouble. The result is a neat and tidy E30 that handles in a very neutral, almost front-wheel-drive fashion. That's not meant as an insult: far from it. In place of heroic sideways action, the 318is serves up bags of grip. Going sideways is the slowest way around a bend, so why not hang up your ego and attack a corner in something that’ll get you round it far faster? Though it makes just 136bhp, the M42 twin-cam, chaindriven engine is bursting with character. In action, it’s the very definition of willing. Let’s also not forget that, before the 318is came along, if you wanted a BMW with 16 valves

Driver-angled dash is still a design classic.


The E30 shell has a number of rust traps. Mechanically these are robust machines, but there are a few areas that still require close inspection. Rust around the taillights and the licence plate is common. If you find some, check the boot floor to see if water has pooled. Door bottoms often corrode and it's especially well hidden under the rubber seals, so check carefully. The inner rear wheel wells can corrode as mud and debris is thrown up from the rear tyres. Dead speedos, tachometers or odometers are fairly common and can be traced to broken plastic drive gears. Be aware that this can disguise high mileage, so check the car's history thoroughly. Door locks frequently fail due to lack of use. Main culprits are the

passenger door and the boot lock. There's no cure apart from dismantling and lubricating, or replacement. Inside the cabin, check the top of the dash for cracks and make sure all the seatbelt clips work correctly. Headlinings have been known to sag: that's especially prevalent on cars with sunroofs. Gear linkages get increasingly sloppy as the miles mount, but there's a very good selection of OEM replacements or aftermarket shortshift kits to put it right. Although the 318is uses a timing chain it can still slacken over time and lose tension. Listen for a clatter on start-up. Driveshaft rubber 'donuts' can crack or even fail, leading to a thumping noise and vibration. It's a simple fix.



WHAT TO PAY Concours

£12,000 Good

£7000 Usable

£4000 Project


Not bad looking for a three-boxer.


in its cylinder head, you had to fork out for something with an M1, M3 or M5 badge on the tail. The M42 engine is happy to spin up quickly to its working rev range, at the top end of the tachometer. When it’s up there, though, the engine does feel a little rough. BMW insisted it didn’t need the balancers employed by Porsche. Sorry, boys – but you did. Still, the M42 was the most advanced engine to be fitted to any factory E30 model. It featured clever Bosch DME (digital motor electronics) management, controlling both the semi-sequential fuel injection and the separate (one coil per cylinder) solid-state ignition. There was also a forged steel crankshaft, forged conrods and two-stage induction. This was all very clever stuff for the early 1990s, when you think that the Reliant Robin was not only still on sale at that time, it had another ten years to run!

SPECIFICATIONS BMW 318IS (E30) Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

1796cc, 4-cyl, DOHC RWD, 5-speed manual 136bhp@6000rpm 127lb-ft@4600rpm 1200kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

9.3sec 129mph 26mpg

The Modern Classics view

We can’t help but be won over by the 318is. This is a delicate and finely balanced machine that doesn’t wallop you in the face with a mountain of grunt but rather whispers constant encouragement to you. It achieves this through fine and precise driver controls, most notably the gearchange. There's a satisfying sense of engineering solidity about the way in which the M-Tech-embossed knob deliberately picks out the ratios. The chassis provides huge entertainment without ever letting things get out of hand. If you want tail-out action, look elsewhere. This BMW is a masterclass in extracting every ounce of lateral G from the tyres without ever feeling like you’re one cocky corner away from A&E. Once it rains, of course, the traditional BMW correction for understeer can still be employed. Feel the front push wide and nail the throttle, and even with 136bhp the tail will obligingly slip sideways. Occasional damp roundabout fun aside, this BMW’s manners are impeccable. Values are steadily on the rise rather than rocketing up, but the headline-grabbing auction figures of the past few years for the M3 have had an impact. Not so long ago, you could pick up really nice 318is examples for under £10k. Though these can still be found, given enough time and patience, they’re the exception rather than the rule. If you can track down one of these cars now, you should get a few years of rude enjoyment out of it and then be able to show a decent bank balance when you decide to move it on. If you ever do, that is.



Peugeot's XU9J4 engine (Mi16 to you and me) powered some of the firm’s best performance cars and racing machinery Words Claes Lutton Photography Peugeot archive/Neil Fraser

PEUGEOT 405 Mi16


You'd take a sales job on the off-chance you might get given one.

Even Kevin Keegan couldn't take corners as well as this thing.


eugeot's 1980s performance comeback was nothing short of miraculous. The 205 was among the first: in GTI guise, it outran an Aerospatiale helicopter in French adverts. On UK telly screens, crop fields burning, the 405 saloon had ambitions beyond chopper antagonism; as Berlin blared, it was Top Gun. And the European Car of The Year 1988 judges agreed – it certainly took their breath away. The fastest 405 needed a sturdy pair of lungs – and the new incumbent XU range, sized between 1.6 and 2.0 litres, was ideally placed to provide them. Luckily, Peugeot Talbot Sport, having exhausted the list of potential candidates for its 205 T16 rally car, came calling at the right time during its development; the XU's short bore and long stroke could easily be worked into a unit that satisfied the rule book. With Group B's turbocharged equivalency rules in mind, the 1775cc XU8T was born - with a 16-valve head to help generate the power needed to play Renault, Lancia and Ford at their own game. Beginning life as a diesel engine certainly has its advantages. Being in the right place at the right time also helps: had Group B never existed, a 16-valve production engine may not have arrived on the scene so quickly. Not since 1912 had a four-pot Peugeot used the same number of valves per cylinder; unlike that pre-First World War


L76 grand prix car, buyers of the 205 T16s could enjoy their 16-valve adventures on the highways and byways. Mass production was never on the menu for the XU8T, however – the exotic materials it used were just too expensive to make in quantity. The inspiration was there, though; and by the end of the 1980s 16-valve heads were no longer seen as exotic. The battleground had shifted from the rally stages (legislated out of existence) to the company car park. Electronic fuel injection also had a role to play in the new powerplant. Such was its significance, the marketing men shouted its inclusion from the 405's boot lid: thanks to fully mapped Bosch Motronic ML 4.1 air/fuel management, the Multi Injection 16-valve (Mi16) had credentials to shout about. Upping the capacity to 1905cc gave the engine longevity, as well as matching the largest possible inlet valves in the cylinder head to improve breathing. Using alloys for the head and block kept the weight down; canting the engine let the tall XU9J4 slip under the 405's slanted nose with ease,


and put what mass there was over the driven wheels. Keeping the kilos curtailed was of utmost importance – Peugeot commissioned German chainsaw manufacturer Stihl to make magnesium cam covers in their thousands. The bottom end was much improved over lesser XUs too: stronger engine mounts, improved lubrication, heftier bearing shells, shorter piston skirts and stronger end caps helped the Mi16's internals take the strain far past the nominal figures quoted by Peugeot in 1988; 160bhp and 133lb-ft. Early units had a fatal weakness in their oil pump drives, however: only the friction of the tightened crank nut pulley held them together, spelling disaster for some owners. Apart from the 405, the XU9J4 (Mi16) served in the Citroën BX 16v and the overlooked 1989 309 GTI 16, originally an experiment by Peugeot engineers to see if the unit would fit under the bonnet. So equipped, Volkswagen's 139bhp Golf GTI 16v was left in the dust; not only was the 309 GTI 16 significantly more powerful, in the right hands it also outhandled it. Alas, British buyers were denied the 309 GTI 16; sales were a pale imitation of the 205 GTI's so it remained a Europe-only model, although several GTI 16s happily contested the Esso Saloon Car Championship on our shores. Furthermore, Peugeot insisted that right-hand-drive conversions were impossible, such was the placement of the

PEUGEOT 405 T16 Spoiler alert: scary power calls for extreme downforce measures.


PEUGEOT MI16 ENGINE brake servo. They got that wrong – as scores of engine harvesters in the early part of the new century proved. Many 405 Mi16s and BX 16vs, by then at the bottom of their depreciation curves, lost their running gear to the faster, lighter and more sought-after 205 and 309 GTIs. Now the market is biting back. As 205 GTI values climb, 405 Mi16s and Mi16x4s are changing hands for sums that would have been unbelievable 15 or so years ago. Indeed, a 205 GTI 16 was never on the cards officially – although tuning houses such as Dangel, Richard Longman and Co and Skip Barber (Roadspeed) offered XU9J4 conversions in period. By 1992, however, emissions legislation threatened to choke the XU9J4 where it stood. Facing severely denuded power outputs, Peugeot added a 16-valve cylinder head to its iron-blocked 1998cc engine to carry on the Mi16 legacy, the last of the fast 405s badged 'Le Mans' in a motorsport-themed swansong. The XU9J4's XU8T forebear had an illustrious motorsport career. After the Group B era came to an end, it tackled the Paris-Dakar and Pikes Peak, allowing Ari Vatanen to question the importance of sun visors in Jean Louis Mourney's film, Climb Dance (search Youtube – it’s great!). Touring car and Super Touring championships here and abroad beckoned for the Mi16: in the hands of Robb Gravett and Patrick Watts, 309s, 405s and 406s took on the best tin-top antagonists with more common components than you may have otherwise thought. Firm in pedigree, resolute in racing: that was the XU9J4's legacy. Only now, on its 30th birthday, has it and the 405 Mi16 found recognition. About time, we say.

Watts up: Patrick leads from the front.

‘IT WAS PROBABLY THE LEAST MODIFIED 300bhp ENGINE ON THE BTCC GRID’ 1991 Esso Saloon Car Championship winner Patrick Watts explains why the Mi16 engine was so special Modern Classics: What was the Mi16 like to race? Patrick Watts: In the 309, with which I won the 1991 Saloon Car Championship, the position and weight of the engine helped me against the VW Golfs and Vauxhall Astras. The canted-back position put more weight over the rear wheels, which helped mid-corner speed. MC: Your favourite Peugeot Mi16 moment? PW: Winning in the 406 in Australia in 1999. [Patrick contested the first two rounds of the Australian Super Touring Championship, winning a race at round one and finishing second in both races of round two. In 2013, he brought his old Super

CITROËN BX 16V Many BXs were harvested for their 16v engines to make 205 GTIs go faster.

PEUGEOT 405 LE MANS Last of the go-faster 405s signified the end of an era.


Touring Championship winning 406 back from Oz to contest the Historic Sports Car Championship's Super Touring Trophy. – ed] MC: Which Mi16-engined racer – 309, 405 or 406 – did you prefer, and why? PW: The 309 won the Esso Saloon Car Championship, the 405 let me have many podiums and the 406 was a brilliant car but was always 0.3sec off the front due to the team working on a smaller budget. That may not sound like much, but 0.3sec meant we were only just inside the top 10 on occasions – it was that competitive! MC: Tell us something about the Mi16 engine from a racing driver's perspective.

PW: It was a very highly regarded engine, and in BTCC form probably the least modified to get 300bhp. Other engines had their heads turned 180deg or, in the case of the Volvo 850 and later S40, run with totally different bolted-in combustion chambers to comply with the regulations. Not much changed on the Mi16 units bar the essentials. That said, occasionally it did betray its origins. The engine is a stressed part of the chassis in a BTCC car, as it takes the suspension loads. I had one block split down the middle through metal fatigue – not something that would happen on a road car. Self Grip Pliers Set with Soft Grip Handles (3 piece) Stock No. 88293

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Lexus is a brand that has always garnered respect. With the IS-F it set out Words Nathan Chadwick Photography Dean Smith

teve Coogan has a lot to answer for. The few remaining Ford Probes are the preserve of a hardy band of enthusiasts thanks to Gareth Cheeseman removing all semblance of coolness from the Blue Oval's big coupé hope. That’s nothing compared with a Lexus, though. Now, decades after Alan Partridge first swapped his Rover for a Lexus, any mention of Toyota’s luxury brand usually brings guffaws, accompanied by tedious gags about Norfolk.


The car before you is distinctly antiPartridge. In fact, you’d half expect the self-appointed hero of middle England to host a stern radio talk show about the horrors of a car such as the Lexus IS-F. A four-door saloon with more than 400bhp feeding the rear wheels; a vehicle capable of demolishing Thetford to Diss in about as long as it takes him to say A-ha... Conceived to elevate Lexus from just a purveyor of admirable if unexciting executive barges and hybrids, the IS-F

took aim at the BMW M3, Audi RS4 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Ten years on, these three cars have become thoroughbred modern classics, yet the IS-F has largely been overlooked, except by a hardy band of enthusiasts – sound familiar? In the meantime, Lexus (finally) released the thunderous LFA supercar; and the visually stunning LC500 has just gone on sale. The IS-F was the beginning of all of this. And we believe it deserves more than just a footnote in Lexus history.


to take on AMG. But was it successful, and do you want one?


LEXUS IS-F Looming up behind a BMW M5 E60, its driver didn’t have a clue. There he was, proudly piloting ten cylinders of the M Department’s finest, floating down the outside lane of the motorway without a care in the world, save for an occasional scan of the horizon for fixed camera points. Then this blue meanie appears in the rear-view mirror. Sure, it may sit low, and the front arches may be a touch wide, but the M5 owner seems to laugh it off as a mildly tricked-up hybrid. Wrong move. As the speeds start to rise and the palms become sweatier, the curvy snout of the Lexus refuses to budge. Soon the M5 pulls to the inside, and the Lexus powers by, a throaty bellow rumbling from its peculiar quad-exhaust pipes, leaving the BMW owner wondering what the flying Lisa Tarbuck that blue missile was.

Welcome to the biggest joy of IS-F ownership. Unless you really know your Japanese performance cars you'd be forgiven for thinking this 5.0-litre, 417bhp machine was just another Uber chariot. But there are subtle hints – look closer and the bodywork is tauter, and the lines just that little bit sharper, just like a boxer ready to make his knock-out blow. That was the aim of a small band of Lexus engineers, headed by former Toyota Supra engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi. Working in their spare time they wanted to deliver a car that could put the German heavyweight supersaloon champions on the canvas. To the surprise of most, the Lexus board clapped them into the ring. The starting point for it all lies in the engine, a development of the unit that hauled the LS limousine in glorious


UK cars left

WHAT TO PAY Concours

£27,000 Good

£22,000 Usable

£15,000 Project


Nathan's sunburn is only slightly less hot than the IS-F. Threefigure speeds within easy reach.

Shifts are nearly as fast as a Ferrari F430’s.


ll that shiny carbon is a bit pointless.

Standard exhaust tips are purely for show – these ones actually work.

High-revving V8? Yes please.

‘TURN OFF THE ASSISTS AND THE REAR END WILL START TO PLAY’ Brembo cross-drilled brakes have six-piston calipers on the front, two on the rear. Alloy wheels are from BBS.

Press this to enter another dimension.

silence; in fact it shares the same bore and stroke dimensions (3.70in x 3.52), port and direct injection and variable-valve timing (see box-out). The engine was further fettled by the Yamaha Formula One team, adding new cylinder heads, titanium intake valves and an aluminium intake manifold. The crankshaft, connecting rods and cam lobes were all forged, too. And what an engine it is. It’s perfectly tractable below 3000rpm, politely ambling through villages with the calm air that you would expect from a Lexus. But when you see the national speed limit sign, we meet the LS-F’s dark side. Time to slip the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system into sport mode, which tells the braking, throttle and steering control systems to

hold their peace for a little bit longer while you have some fun. As you clip past 3500rpm the secondary intake opens, catapulting you forward with the abrupt pace change a fly might feel when splattered on the front of a bullet train. The LCD dash can barely keep up with the rapidly increasing numbers; before you’ve got time to process all that, a third digit soon appears. You’ll hit 60mph in a little under five seconds and plough on to the naughty side of 165mph. Only a giddy redline – 7000rpm – will stop you. The gearbox is silky-smooth even when blasting through the upshifts. One of the first cars to have eight ratios, you really only need worry about five of them when having a play; you can swap cogs in 0.1 seconds, just half a millisecond behind



Aftermarket exhaust system like this one is needed to let the IS-F roar.

that of a Ferrari F430. All that’s very laudable, but it does rob gearchanges of a little character. I want to feel as if I’m piloting something mechanical, and though the seamlessness of the shift is impressive, it’s not as satisfying as more

I BOUGHT ONE MARK GILLESPIE 'I wanted a V8 and looked at the usual German suspects, but reliability was key and having owned three Lexuses with not a single problem the IS-F was a natural choice. Nothing has gone wrong – it hasn't even blown a bulb – in 20,000 miles and two years. I had a custom cat-back exhaust fitted by Infiniti, so that the tailpipes were funcitonal. The only bad thing is brake prices, which are eye-watering. It does its business quietly but if you want to play it's impressive too.'


clunky sequential cog-shifters. A good comparison is with the Maserati GranSport in the GTs feature – that feels mechanically engaging, even if on pure technical terms it is 'worse' and far behind the speed of modern gearboxes. This is a very subjective subject, and if you're going to be using the IS-F every day, you’d be more than happy with its super-quick shifts for day-to-day slogs. Less pleasing is the ride. The F in IS-F stands for Fuji Speedway, the racetrack where the car’s suspension set-up was honed... and you can tell. On the lumps and bumps of rural Hertfordshire it transmits each corrugation through the seat of your pants; it’s very firm. It’s not unruly – you’re never fighting the suspension, but you’re at best having a stern exchange of views.

You’ll soon be in a forgiving mood when you start throwing corners at the IS-F. There’s plenty of grip if you’re going for outright cross-country pace, but turn off the assists and the rear end will start to play. Later models, such as the car you see before you, came with a torque-biasing limited-slip differential that allows progressive, easy to predict slides if you want, and much more grip when you don’t. For all its sideways glory, turn-in’s not quite as eager on the nose as an M3; the electric rack-and-pinion steering feels a little inert around the centre, and only really starts to come alive as the rear tyres start to exercise. In terms of feel, it may be a few notches behind the M3’s, but it’s certainly a lot more eager than a Mercedes-Benz of the same era, and


VVT-i was first used on the Toyota Soarer and Supra MkIV.

WHAT IS VVT-IE? Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) first made an appearance on the 1JZ-GTE/2JZ-GTE engines in the Toyota Supra MkIV and Toyota Soarer. It varies the timing of the intake valves by adjusting the relationship between the camshaft drive and intake camshaft. Engine oil pressure is applied to an actuator to adjust the position of the camshaft. Changes in the overlap time between the exhaust closing and intake valve opening improve the efficiency of the engine. The IS-F uses VVT-iE – Variable Valve Timing – intelligent with Electric motor. This uses an electrically operated actuator to maintain intake timing, though the exhaust camshaft time is still under hydraulic control. The motor in the

Yamaha's F1 team tweaked the engine.

Steering wheel looks as if it's been dipped in Smurf blood.

The ‘F’ stands for Fuji Raceway.

actuator spins in tandem with the intake camshaft. To advance camshaft timing, the actuator motor rotates a little faster than the camshaft speed. The speed difference is used to operate a mechanism that varies the camshaft timing.

This all adds up to better engine power, emissions and fuel economy. Simply put, you essentially get two engines in one – a comfortable and economic car around town, and an absolute monster when the mood takes you.



THANKS TO The Lexus Owners' Club.

makes an Audi RS4 feel painfully remote. The interior holds up to the Germans too. It’s spacious, comfortable and – preposterous carbon-fibre centre console aside (the car weighs more than 1700kg, how much weight saving is it going to do?!) – classy. You’re unlikely to be upset by the glorious blue glow from the dashboard, and it really is a nice place to be – until you run over a cat's eye – but the ride comfort really is one of very few imperfections. True, the exterior may not inspire in the same way as some super-saloons and it is disappointing those chromed quad-oval tailpipes aren’t actually part of the exhaust system on standard cars. It also really needs an aftermarket exhaust system to truly get the engine singing. But all it takes is a full-bore charge to 7000rpm and you’re in love all over again, the humongous grumbling roar serenading you with eight-cylinder death metal. The fact that everyone else thinks you’re in a hybrid only adds to the joy.


Modern Classics View

Badge snobbery is alive and well. While similarly aged BMW M3 E90s circle around the £20k-25k mark, IS-F prices start from £15k – if you can find one. Just 211 are currently taxed on UK roads. Unlike other rare-groove performance cars, you shouldn’t worry too much about parts, though. Very little goes wrong as the owner of our test car, Mark Gillespie, can attest. By comparison, one need only take a cursory look at M3 forums to see the issues BMW owners have to face. And thanks to the eight gears on this wagon, cruising economy is remarkably good for a V8. Does it stack up as a car to tuck away? IS-F owners are a passionate breed and with so few cars in circulation low mileage examples will always find a home. But thinking more widely, the Lexus brand is in the ascendancy in performance car circles, in direct contrast to more established European brands. Can you think of many firms still chucking glorious

naturally aspirated V8s into their cars? Not many, that's for sure... The IS-F might just be collectable as the car that kick-started the era of the sporty Lexus. It should also be hailed as one of the last of a dying breed – a big, bent eight, non-turbo powering a four-door saloon. And there won't be many of those being made in the future. That makes the Lexus IS-F a very tempting buy. Let's just hope Alan Partridge buys Korean next... LEXUS IS-F Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

4696cc, 8-cyl, DOHC RWD, 8-speed auto 417bhp@6600rpm 371lb-ft@5200rpm 1714kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

4.8sec 168mph Some

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Flat-out in modern classics on road & track

'With 600bhp, it was awesome to drive.' Sounds like it, Tiff!

‘FOR FOUR ENJOYABLE YEARS IT WAS “MY” RACING CAR’ Our man's time competing in the racing version of the V12 Lister Storm went down a… er, storm

he name of Lister will be forever linked to an iconic era of sportscar racing throughout the 1950s when Aston Martin and Jaguar ruled the roost yet were often humbled by Brian Lister’s small Cambridge-based concern. Stirling Moss drove for the team, but they are best known for their partnership with Archie Scott Brown, born with no right hand and deformed legs yet able to control a car sublimely. When Archie was killed in a crash at Spa in 1958 it was



Tiff Needell After a long career not only as a motoring broadcaster but as a racing driver, his opinion on any car needs to be taken seriously

the beginning of the end for Lister. They raced on into 1959 but regulation changes and the death of Ivor Bueb, another of their works drivers, was the last straw. The company withdrew from racing. Lister returned to its core business of machining and fabrication. But in 1985 Jaguar enthusiast Laurence Pearce bought the name Lister Cars and produced a range of tuned-up XJSs bearing the Lister name. Between 1985 and 1992 Pearce sold over 200 cars but always had a dream of taking the marque back to

Le Mans and for that he needed to build his own production car. And so the Lister Storm was born. With a 7.0-litre V12 under the bonnet and with a top speed of 208mph it would remain the fastest four-door car for the next 20 years. Only seven were ever built for the road as Pearce concentrated on the racing version – which, for four most enjoyable years, would be ‘my’ racing car! But reliability wasn’t at its best in the early days of the Storm’s development and results were patchy in the first two years. The sequential gearbox was still fledgling technology and – with the massive V12 pushed back under the windscreen, and pretty much alongside the driver’s left leg – cabin temperatures exceeded 60 degrees C! But it was awesome to drive. With 600bhp, rearwheel drive and limited aero

what was there not to like? We made the finish line at both Le Mans and Daytona 24-hour races and the team would go on to be crowned FIA GT Champions in 2000. By then I was concentrating more on the British series and ended my Lister Storm days with a hat-trick of victories at Donington, Spa and Silverstone. Pearce went on to build a prototype Lister for Le Mans as GT regulation changes pushed the Storm off the grid, before closing down the company when racing budgets soared out of control. But now the Lister name is back again. Lawrence Whittaker bought the company in 2013, initially to build continuation Listers to 1958 spec. But now he’s following in Pearce’s footsteps by making a limited-edition road car. It's a tuned version of Jaguar’s F-type, appropriately called the Thunder.

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Uncovering the best investible bets

Altezza is in demand by those in the know – and that includes you now.


The understated but utterly thrilling to drive Toyota Altezza RS200 is on Keith’s radar this month t’s good to see Lexus getting some love in Modern Classics (p74); that V8 in the IS-F is very special. The original 1998 Lexus IS200 XE10 may not evoke the same emotions, but it’s a very good car – and one that’s become quite rare quite quickly. So why have I chosen the JDM Toyota Altezza RS200 as one to watch instead of the UK-friendly Lexus IS200? Surely the Lexus’s silky-smooth straight-six soundtrack, iconic rear lamp clusters and slightly upscale image should win over the



Keith Adams was the founding editor of Modern Classics and is now editor of

humble Toyota any day of the week? Nah. And here’s why. What makes the RS200 so interesting as a modern classic is the engine. Unlike the silky six-pot in the Lexus IS200, the RS200 had a highrevving four-cylinder with dual VVT-I, titanium valves, a compression ratio of 11.0:1 and a maximum power output of 207bhp developed at 7600rpm. This was a serious engine – one that could beat anything similar that Europe was building at the time. Needless to say, the RS200

picked up a following with enthusiast drivers in the Far East, and although there was a demand for them in Europe, parent company Toyota elected not to fit this engine to the Lexus IS200. And that’s why a few of these Yamaha-engined Altezzas made it to the UK – and are now sought after by those in the know. The differences between the Altezza and IS200 go beyond their engines. Inside, it loses much of the kit and has cloth instead of leather seats. Like the IS200, it gets a six-speed manual box with Torsen diff, but in the RS200, it has lower gearing and closer ratios, allowing you to keep it on the boil more readily. The stiffer suspension makes it a superhandling car – easily a match for a BMW 3 Series. Being a Toyota, you can guarantee that it’ll be reliable, although some parts are getting hard to find. Well-

used examples will throw out their bottom end, but look at that happening as an opportunity to fit a lighter flywheel to make the most of that VTEC-like power band. Does all this make an RS200 a viable alternative to a BMW M3 for a fraction of the cost? Yes, and no. That rev-happy engine is a fantastic thing that – just like an E30 M3 – comes to life from 5000rpm onwards. In overall character, it’s closer to an E30 than an E36 (surprising, given when it was launched). Rarity and a low profile mean these are hard to track down – but finding a nice original example, and making sure it’s well documented, is vital if you want it to look after you financially as well as enjoy it. Definitely one to buy if you like revs, rear-wheel-drive thrills, near-bulletproof reliability – and watching your investment rise.



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MODERN NOT CLASSIC Exploring moderns that aren’t yet classics

It’s believed that nine out of ten of all RAV4s are still running.


The Toyota RAV4 may not seem like much, but it really did change the motoring landscape hat’s the link between Kurt Cobain and the Toyota RAV4? The answer, of course, is spring 1994. That’s when Nirvana’s front man died and the RAV4 made its Japanese debut. There’s another unlikely connection. Both Cobain and the RAV4 were mouldbreakers. That might seem like a weird word for the RAV4. After all, there was nothing especially clever about it. Powered by a prosaic 2.0-litre four, it was a two-box, three-door design with full-time 4WD.



Tony Middlehurst has been writing about cars for years. Occasionally some good ones, too...

But if you were switched on to the motoring scene in 1994 you wouldn’t be challenging that mouldbreaker tag. RAV stood for Recreational Activity Vehicle. For most 1994 folk, a ‘recreational vehicle’ was a Winnebago with all the torsional rigidity of a wet shoebox. The addition of the word ‘activity’ was what made the RAV4 different. It implied a degree of physical exertion at your destination. Something more than rolling out the awning, popping the cap off a brewski and clicking the telly on.

A lot of that activity schtick was marketing hype, but the RAV tapped into a dormant market Toyota didn’t even realise existed. Most off-roaders back then were hulking, ladderchassis’d dinosaurs. They had their place, but that wasn’t on the High Street. The dainty monocoque construction of the car-like RAV4 was just the ticket for less hairy-bottomed members of the motoring public who liked the idea of a light, small-footprinted, highseated 4x4 runabout with good visibility, some off-road ability and Toyota’s trademark reliability. A fair few of these were, frankly, old dears, but plenty of younger drivers also signed up to the RAV4. It was novel. So novel, in fact, that Toyota’s Masakatsu Nonaka – the chief engineer who came up with the original 1989 Tokyo Motor Show RAV-FOUR concept

– ran into internal opposition during the productionising process. The whole thing was about to die on its feet until it was put back on track by an intervention from Japanese and European sales personnel who were fed up with fending off would-be buyers. Toyota thought they might shift 4500 in the first year. They received 8000 orders in the first month. Some 53,000 were sold in year one, twice that number in year two and a total of 300,000 in the first three years. Twenty years after launch, the five-million mark had been breached. The RAV4 is still part of Toyota range, but has lost most of its individuality. Now it’s just another SUV, a rather sad fate for a car that kicked off a new genre. Still, it’s nice when a global megacorp is taken by surprise. You don’t see much of that going on these days.

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Nettie Day ‘It sounds great and pulls like a train, even in fifth… it’s great stress relief’ Year 1999 Mileage 84,000 Acquired July 2017 Dream car This RB5 Other hobbies Taking the car to shows, detailing and waxing it to within an inch of its life. Going to rally, motorsport and Welsh rugby events plus theme parks like Disney. Travelling and socialising with my buddies.

great stress relief. It’s my daily drive and it makes me smile every time I drive it.

What’s the worst bit? Nothing really except chavvy boy racers wanting to race!

Why did you choose the car? I’d been looking for an excellent example of the Subaru RB5 for about 12 months but it seemed like I would never find a good one. Lots of these beautiful cars have been messed about with. I was just about to give up and go and buy a lesser car when the advert for this one popped up on my laptop. It seemed like just what I was looking for so I went to see it – and snap it up – the next day. It’s everything I wanted and more. I find all new cars look the same these days but this is a What RB5s look like when you resist the temptation to barry.


modern classic. It’s got great performance, great handling and great looks, and there aren’t many about. It gets a lot of attention and I get a lot of praise for the way it looks, but the real credit goes to previous owner, Calvin, for keeping it as it should be. I’m just carrying on looking after her the best I can.

What’s the best bit? No rot at all. The car is mint in every way, and it’s in the best colour. It sounds great and it pulls like a train, even in fifth: it’s

Any modifications? The previous owner kept the car just right. The only mods are the brakes and a 280bhp remap by Roger Clarke Motorsport.

What’s it like to run? Not bad. Insurance is cheap at £334 a year fully protected as a modern classic with the NFU. I found any company that specialised in performance cars added another 600 quid to that!!  I’ve managed to get 340 miles out of a £60 tankful. Tax is £23 a

Not so much as a Parrot to spoil the classic ’90s view.

month and Demon Tweeks has just fitted a set of Toyo Proxes to it for £250. My very good friend Dave Williams services it. The RB5 Owners’ Club is great, they’re a very welcoming bunch.

Any advice for potential owners? Check for rot and rusty arches, and if you can find a good one buy it – they’ll only go up in value. I believe there are only about 130 RB5s left and they’re not all WR Sport versions.

Any funny mishaps? That’s got to be scraping my front bumper against my best mate’s car. That put a nice black mark on my bumper. I was only parking it! I got glasses the following week…

FORD ESCORT RS COSWORTH 4X4 LUX Paul Stonebridge ‘There are some dogs out there for silly money’ Fast Swede on the Ring.

Year Acquired Mileage Dream car Other hobbies


Michael Havanan ‘It’s fast, and just pulls and pulls, but it’s no sports car… I got all giddy and nearly lost it on the very first bend’ What’s it like to run? Year 2009 Mileage 100,000 Acquired 2015 Dream car DeLorean Other Modern Classics owned BMW 5 Series E28 and E34, Golf GTI

Why the Saab? I knew I wanted a petrol auto, and that estates often looked better than saloons. I’d owned a Saab 900 and 9000 and liked their quirkiness. I bought this one for £3000 to replace a very rusty BMW E34 520i. It’s one of the last YS3E cars, so has every option available including paddle shifts and 260bhp. It’s badged as a 2.3T but is actually an Aero. It may have been cobbled up from leftover bits. It’s fast, and just pulls and pulls, but it’s no sports car. I got all giddy and nearly lost it on the very first bend.

What do you like most? It loves the Nürburgring. Just floor it and go. And go and go. It’s crackers. I’d always dismissed paddle shifters as

gimmicks but they really worked at the ’Ring. It would have been even quicker if I’d taken the piano out of the boot! The 9-5 just does everything I want so well. It’s fast, roomy, super-comfy, reliable, has all the extras you’d want, looks cool and isn’t common. Perfect!

What do you like least? It’s pretty thirsty. Still, I’ve averaged 39mpg on a long run. Tax is £520 but I’m not fussed because the car was only £3000 and it’s ace. This spec and performance in a similarly aged BMW or Mercedes would cost a packet more and diesels just sound horrible to me.

Any mods? Just replacing some trim bits so far, but I do have plans…

Mark Wilkinson, MD of Heritage Insurance, gives us the lowdown on getting the best quote. ‘The best way to get a fantastic quote is to store your car in a locked garage overnight, have a low limitedmileage policy, one named driver, fit a Thatcham approved tracker/immobiliser and join an owners’ club to get a 15 per cent discount.’

It had 76,000 miles when I got it. Now it’s just a couple of thousand short of 100,000. My E34 was up to 208,000 when it went so I’ve got to beat that. The Saab came with a full service history which is pretty much essential as anything other that fully synthetic oil can cause sludge build-up until bang, you’ve had it. I change the oil twice a year and so far so good. It’s such a pleasure on long journeys, the seats are so comfy and the ‘estateness’ has come in handy loads of times.

Any mishaps? I got it LPG gas converted after a pleasant experience with LPG on my BMW. The Saab was having none of it and literally blew its injectors and bits of ECU everywhere! My friend Tom is a Saab expert so he took care of it for me. The gas kit was removed and we vowed never to speak of it again…

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1996 June 2014 48,500 McLaren F1 Travelling, dining out

Why the Escort Cossie? I have an RS collection, albeit with newer cars than the Escort Cosworth, but that was my dream car back in the ’90s so I just had to have one (especially in Imperial Blue).

What do you love about it? Its iconic status, its stunning looks and the fact you literally cannot go anywhere in it without Joe Public smiling, thumbs-upping or just generally coming up and having a good old chat about it.

What do you dislike about it? It’s not the most reliable or the most comfortable of cars! I think of it as hot, jumpy and temperamental.

What’s it like to run? As stated above it is quite unreliable, but it is 21 years old. Availability of parts is OK but prices are very high as most bits are Cosworth-bespoke, and not just generic Mk5 or 6 Escort parts. The RSOC is great for info. I’ve had huge help from the Oxford branch. Blokie’s Motors in Swindon is a must for maintenance.

Any mods? T34 turbo, Engel alloys, Morette lights, RS500 foglight grilles.

Any advice for buyers? Take your time. These cars are rapidly rising in price. There are some dogs out there for silly money, but also some crackers. Don’t expect much for under £30k. Club and forum members are more likely to be enthusiastic about them, so if they crop up privately from that source have a look. Be careful with dealer cars and get them thoroughly checked out. Avoid rot if possible, obviously.




Christopher James ‘Grunt, noise, road presence, it has it all – but the first question I get asked is about economy’ Any modifications? Year 1999 Mileage 163,000 Acquired June 2017 Dream car BMW 850 Other hobbies My wife and I are currently in the process of setting up our dream coffee shop after leaving our ‘normal’ jobs, so no time for hobbies really.

Why the E55? Having gone through around 60 cars without ever owning a Mercedes, I bought a CL500 on a whim three years ago. What a car it was, the best built one I’d ever had, but I sold it after three months because it didn’t suit our lifestyle. I did buy a W220 S320 earlier this year, but again, despite loving it, it was sold as not being quite right for our needs. The day I sold it I realised I’d probably made a mistake, so I was again looking out for another Merc. Why did I buy the E55? Grunt, noise, road presence, comfort – it has it all.

What’s the best bit? The sound is addictive, and it has lots of road presence, but the best bit? After all the recent work on it, knowing it’s

completely rust-free, both underneath and up top, is hugely satisfying.

What’s the worst bit? I still don’t think the headlights are the prettiest.

What’s it like to run? Parts availability is good and independent specialists are numerous. The first question I get asked most of the time, after finding out it’s a 5.5-litre V8, is about the economy, or lack of it. I have to say though that I can get 400 miles to a tank in sensible-ish driving. Having the main cats removed not only increased the horses from 350 to 380, but also freed things up a bit, which increases mpg. Win-win. Oh, and did I mention the sound?

Does a full new driver’s sill count as a modification? Otherwise I’ve left the car pretty much as it left the factory apart from K&N filters and the aforementioned cat delete (it still has the primary cats in there).

Any advice for buyers? Mechanically it’s pretty much bulletproof. The biggest issue on any W210 is rot. You won’t have to look too far for it. Most panels will probably have crusty edges. Spring perches go, as can lower control arms and window regulators. Now’s the time to buy a W210, while they’re right at the bottom of their price curve. They won’t be this cheap for long.

What do you fancy next? No plans for anything different at the minute. My next project is finishing my 1983 Datsun Stanza, which is due for some welding work and paint early next year.


Steve Farman ‘Now it’s been modified to 220bhp it pulls very well’ Year Acquired Mileage Dream car Dream trip

2005 June 2013 65,400 Audi R8 or 6R4 Doing Route 66 in a 1970’s Corvette

Why did you choose the car ? It’s got probably the best flip paint job Mini ever did and it’s an S, so it’s a great pull at the trade and car shows we take it to. It’s a one owner from new Mini with a full Mini service history – a one of a kind car.

What’s the best bit? Now it’s been modified to around 220bhp it pulls very well but there’s more to come. The best bit for me though has to be the paint.   What’s the worst bit?   Being so worried about the paint. Because any damage to it won’t be repairable, I never leave the Mini in a car park.  

Any modifications? Quite a few. It’s got a GRS intercooler, a 17 per cent reduced supercharger pulley, an alloy header tank, GP replica wheels, R56 JCW big brakes, AP coilover struts, a JCW airbox, JCW strut brace, Milltek exhaust, and R56 JCW heated leather & Alcantara front seats.   

What’s it like to run? My garage fixes them, so no problems there, and when we break a car I take the best bits for it. I’ve got uprated anti-roll bars, big cams and 550cc injectors waiting to go on it.

Any advice for potential owners? You must check the oil every week at least on all supercharged Minis as a low oil level will kill the timing chains. Same on the second-gen R56 model as well. I’d also advise going for a reduced supercharger pulley. It spins the turbine lobes faster and produces more power. No brown here: the rare vision of a rust-free W210.


Any funny mishaps?   Not yet…


What’s agreed value and how to get the best deal? Should the worst happen, agreed value will get you a fair settlement. Make sure you read these top tips to see if you’re getting the best deal Agreed valuations needn’t be a chore, if you adhere to the following guidelines you’ll get a fair deal that won’t leave you out of pocket. Firstly, be objective, your car might not be the pristine Concours winner that you think

value. A simple search on coupled with a look in the Modern Classics, with a glance over some auction results will give you a good idea of current value. When submitting your agreed value documentation ensure that you take the time to fill it out

‘Agreed Valuations tend to last for two years…’ it is. If you’re unsure speak to your car club. Not only are they a source of mechanical advice, they also know what prices are paid for similar cars to yours. Agreed Valuations tend to last for two years in which time, if you bought a rising star, it’s likely to have significantly increased in

as fully as possible. Photographs are essential for insurers so if your car looks dirty and unloved (unless it’s very rare) this will have an effect. Insurers ask for six photos, which include the engine bay, interior, both exterior side profiles, front, rear and the interior. You need to provide

updated photos in two-year’s time remember. Lastly, we all know restorations or modifications can add value to your car. Keeping your receipts will help your case when agreeing a valuation. Of course, should the nightmare happen, the biggest advantage of an Agreed Valuation is in the event of a complete write-off, the insurer will pay out the valuation (excluding the excess) so you can get on with the hunt for a replacement.

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INSURED CARS The GTV (916) is top of the modern classic pops with customers

1 2 BMW 325 3 Fiat X1/9 4 Toyota Celica

Alfa Romeo GTV

Porsche 911

OUR DRIVES Tales of running modern classics in the real world


The MX-5 project reaches its conclusion, three months late and over budget. Whoops… I was warned not to buy a cheap car as they always cost a fortune to put right. Did I listen? Did I hell. Have I proved that you can polish a turd, or have I simply put myself in a financial hole? Well, both actually... Once I took the plunge and shelled out a paltry £500 to get this MkII MX-5 on the driveway back in June, I then messed about driving it. These tight little sports cars are so much fun to chuck about that I simply used every sunny day as an excuse to come into work with the top down. Even when it rained, it was entertaining, dutifully sliding its tail with predictable levels of provocation and easy control. Huge fun! Having started with a fairly down-at-heel MX-5, I can only complain so much about the amount of money it’s cost to repair; nevertheless, I’m still stunned. This car is only 17 years old, and the degree of steel deterioration on this, my first Japanese car, has been an eye-opener. The guys at MX-5City ( have been fantastic and didn’t bat an eyelid at the corrosion, while I’ve combined gasping noises with sharp intakes of breath at every new and unwelcome revelation. Mine was ‘above average’ apparently, MX5City frequently see much worse cases. MkIIs are particularly rust-prone and suffer worse than the original.


The transformation from how it looked when I bought it, to now, is almost unbelievable. I even muttered the old cliché when I came to collect it: ‘Is that the same car?’ Thankfully for me, it was and I now have the privilege of knowing, despite the cries from my bank manager, that I’ve brought a car back from the brink. The bodywork now shines without a hint of the repair work, just glossy, deep paint. Fantastic! My budget only extended to fixing the rear arches and the sills, so the front end still carries the odd mark to show its age, but this MX-5 is now one I’d be proud to park at any summer car show. Basking with a line-up of its peers is the future I wish for this car and you could be its new owner. In spite of spending nearly £3000 on it, I’m happy to cut my losses and, on the advice of MX-5City head honcho, Martin Dooner, I'm offering this MX-5 for £2500. Interested? Email JJ

MAZDA MX-5 MKII Year Acquired Mileage Costs Other cars

2000 June 2017 85,579 It's over! 1984 VW Scirocco Storm 1987 Lotus Esprit S3 1990 Mercedes 190E 2.6 1990 VW Golf GTI 16v 1992 Range Rover 3.9 1997 BMW 528i E39 1998 Peugeot 306 1999 Alfa Romeo GTV


Purchase price: £500 Full service: £250 Battery: £80 Replacement ECU kit: £90 Bodywork: £1800 Final total


Deep, lustrous paint now graces JJ’s formerly tatty MX-5.

Rotten rear arches and sills were sorted.


JUNE 2017: It all started so well, I loved driving my budget sports car with the top down and the sun shining. But...

JULY 2017: ...It didn't last long. A running issue developed and the idle was all over the place.

AUGUST 2017: The first of many trips to MX5City this was to investigate the running problem and get a service.

THANKS TO MX-5City (www.mx5city. com) for steadfastly and professionally bringing my MX-5 back to life.

SEPTEMBER 2017: Running problem cured, attention turned to the crusty rear arches. Gulp, this is getting pricey!

NOVEMBER 2017: Both the rust rear arches and sill ends replaced and the car gleaming in fresh paint. All done!

Fancy hopping in? Drop JJ a line...



No step ladder required with a Range Rover.


Say hello to snapper Dean Smith's Range Rover After 18 months in a VW Maxi Caddy I’d finally had enough of being electronically limited to 70mph and having to drive a commercial vehicle over high miles. It had to go. The problem is that, being a car photographer and avid mountain biker, it was the perfect vehicle – it swallowed all of my camera gear and my bikes and it was great to shoot and work from, but it was utterly joyless to own and drive. So what to replace it with? The criteria was: no more than 100k miles, vast, good ride, toys, ability to soft-road and an interesting engine. I started by looking at leasing a new car, but with my high mileage over three years it came to over £14,000

Dean’s new mobile studio shapes up nicely.


– and at the end of the lease I’d have nothing to show for it. I then turned to the classifieds, predominantly looking at Audi A6 Allroads (C6 chassis) and BMW 535ds, but I just couldn’t get very excited by them. At around the same time a mate tweeted: ‘Only a total idiot would buy a 140,000-mile Range Rover for his wife’s daily driver, right?’ True enough, Dickie is (mostly) a total idiot, but it did get me thinking. Running costs aside, surely a Range Rover is the ultimate high mileage photography vehicle? Oodles of space, armchair-like comfort with all mod cons, ride comfort to die for, interesting engines and surely a classic in the making. Hundreds of keyboard warriors, all with seemingly very

little experience of them, angrily advised me to steer clear, stating that they were all, without exception, wholly unreliable and completely and utterly terrible. From browsing a few of the forums and seeking advice from those in the know, the general consensus was to look for a 2006 facelift with the TDV8 and full-dealer history. Once you’ve found that needle in a haystack, you should buy on general condition and how it drives. After seeing a few high milers that were a little rough around the edges, I knew I had to up my budget to get into relatively reliable Range Rover ownership. As soon as I spotted ‘VUP’ at the dealers, I knew it was the one. It had been the MD’s personal car for a while and even next to the

newer examples on the forecourt, it looked spectacular. It had the right history, right spec, right condition and it was wearing proper rubber – a clear sign that he’d looked after it. A part exchange deal on the van was done and I am now the proud new owner of VUP – a Java Black 97,000-mile, 3.6-litre TDV8 which is about to embark on a hard-working 20,000 miles a year with me. Come on, what could possibly go wrong? Dean

RANGE ROVER VOGUE, 3.6 TDV8 Year Acquired Mileage Costs

2007 November 2017 97,200 £11,000

‘It had the right history, right spec and the right condition’


Nathan's Alfa Romeo 147 GTA has never been shinier.


Cleanliness gets Nathan’s Alfa closer to godliness for display purposes For most people, polishing and cleaning their car is a big part of the appeal. Not for me – I prefer driving them. However, I had to become reacquainted with the shampoo and brush for the Lancaster Insurance NEC Classic Motor Show, where my GTA was on show with three other cars from the December 2017 issue. Calamity had already hit us – the Maserati that was due to appear couldn’t make it, and the Fiat Tipo Sedicivalvole had hit engine trouble on the way and was on the way on the

back of a low-loader. Its owner, Ant from Autosportivo (07946 548727), had recently valeted my GTA after giving it an MoT and a service, but still the Alfa didn’t satisfy JJ’s standards. Only one problem – the cleaning gear was in the Fiat! Dropping by the Poorboy’s World ( stand did the trick – I picked up some spay and rinse cleaner and set to work. In the end the Alfa looked great, but getting up close and personal did reveal even more scratches than I thought there were. Things got worse with a close inspection of the roof – there

appears to be a little rust spot, which will need sorting. My list of jobs for 2018 includes setting up the suspension for a mix of comfort and handling precision. Oh, and the number plate needs changing... What are your project plans? Get in touch at Nathan.chadwick@ Nathan

If you've kept an eye on my MX-5 saga (see above), you'll grasp that, best case scenario, I'll lose £500! Hey, you can't take it with you, and at least I have the comfort of knowing that I've returned an MX-5 to the road. My other half wasn't quite so understanding when she saw the bills for the bodywork, so in order to maintain domestic harmony, I took a punt on a couple of cheap Jaguars. The gold S-type was first to go. It had provided a month of faultless daily transport - my GTV was out of action with a duff CV joint. I then sold that Jag to a very nice French lady called Estelle who picked it up and drove it all the way to Paris. As a parting gift, I received a letter through the post a few days later from Dartford Crossing asking why I hadn't paid my toll... thanks! As part of the S-type deal, I gained a MoT-fail X-type estate and this is now also with its new owner via an eBay auction. Between the two Jags, I've clawed back nearly £600. JJ

JJ's Jag off to its new owner.



Year Acquired Mileage Costs Other cars

Year Acquired Mileage Profit

2004 April 2017 74,500 £230 Ford Focus Zetec

2004 September 2017 139,888 £590

DELICATE PLASTIC SURGERY I can’t stop driving my GTV on a regular basis, so its cosmetic appearance has hardly been a priority. However, there are a few niggles that I’m determined to get sorted. The alloy wheels are probably the worst offenders, but using the car to get to work most days has left little opportunity to pop it on

ALFA ROMEO GTV Year Acquired Mileage

1999 September 2014 117,054

axle stands and send the wheels off for powder coating. So that’ll have to wait, but in the meantime a trip to Autolusso turned up a mint second-hand rear light cover – a cheap and quick way to tidy up the car. As it covers the whole rear, the GTV’s stylish yet delicate lightlens cover is frequently damaged. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix – just remove the four retaining nuts from behind the carpet trim in the boot and align the replacement with the threads. Tighten the nuts and stand back to admire. That’s one more thing off the list, now to find a friendly powder coater… JJ

Rear light lens looking factory fresh again.


IN THE TRADE The latest ups and downs in the Modern Classics market


CCA bidders Accord goodwill to Hondas e bemoaned the lack of Japanese metal at auctions last month. Classic Car Auctions served up seven Japanese cars out of 160 entries at its December 2 sale, so a good increase in numbers. It paid off, too. A 1999 Honda Accord Type R sold for £6600 – some way north of the open market as we went to press. With just 46,800 miles on the clock, this Pirate Black example had an extensive history file to back up its claimed cherished status. However, we think this is just the start – with so few of these cars remaining, let alone with this mileage, we foresee greater price rises. Often dubbed the finest front-wheel drive saloon ever, its 212bhp VTECempowered engine provides plenty of entertainment, but there's room for the kids too. We couldn't find another with mileage this low – the only one we could find wore 77,000 miles and was up for ten bob less than five large. Room for Accord values to breathe, we feel... On the subject of exhalation, a Honda CRX MkII in the same sale went for just shy of £13k. With just 23,000 miles on the clock, lots of history and the original bill of sale, a repeat of Anglia Car Auctions' £20k CRX was thought possible. On the day, it fell some way short – it had been stored for nine years and was in need of a cambelt and service – but this price feels about right for what is a characterful and now very rare car. For more details, visit



Currently trending: barely used fast Fords Silverstone Auctions knocked the Blue Oval F-Ford's ball out of the park during sake! the Saturday leg of its two-day sale at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. It had a whole collection of fast Fords, either super-low mileage or concours restored, and you could barely see the rostrum for bidders and gawkers. They certainly weren’t disappointed by what they saw. Top jaw-dropper was a 6000-mile Sierra Cosworth RS500, one of just 56 sold in Diamond White – most were black. That lack of miles doubled its

value and it sold for £112,500. Yes, for a roadgoing Ford Sierra. After that it was hard to be surprised when a similarly white ’96 Escort Cosworth Lux with a barely run-in 837 miles went for £91,125. Collectors are all chasing the best, and there won’t be another like this any time soon. So pretty much the same can be said about the Escort RS Turbo S1 that came along five lots later. This had less than 18,000 on the clock and had scooped a Best in Show at 2017’s RS Owners' Club event. It actually fell shy of its £45k low estimate, but £44,438 still feels like strong money for any MkIII Escort.

Diamond White geezer: this RS500 went away for £112,500.

Inflation-beating Integrale advice With values of Lancia's rally-bred Integrales – especially the treasured Evo versions – rising ever higher, those of us who still haven’t bagged one may have to think outside the box a bit to stay within budget. Like buying one from their home country, maybe. They were all ‘lefties’ anyway, so steering wheel location isn’t an issue. A clear highlighting of the savings to be had came at a recent Bonhams auction in Italy. The globe-trotting auction house offered a 1992 Evo in Rosso Monza that was in unmarked original condition and had only covered 46,000km (28,500 miles). Even better, the car's two previous owners both lived down south in warm and sunny Puglia. It sold for a handful of loose change under £50,000 – a figure we’d have scoffed at a few years ago for an

Integrale. But things have changed and UK dealers are now asking £60,000 or more for good Evos with that kind of mileage. No question, £50k is still a ton of money, but that was for one of the best; much cheaper opportunities exist. Just search some European classic sites for confirmation of that, and then go and look at some.

£60k's rich for an Evo, but there are still native bargains.

Mazda RX-7 Poole car – what goes around… The first major UK classic car auction of 2018 will be held by South West Vehicle Auctions in Poole, Dorset, and there are some tasty lots being lined up. We’re highlighting this 1990 Mazda RX-7 Turbo as these second-generation cars are scarce yet still so reasonably priced. This one has 70,323 on the clock, confirmed by its comprehensive history. For those nervous at the prospect of rotary engines, there's a £4000 bill for an overhaul and new clutch just 17,000

miles ago, so you should be able to enjoy the free-revving 200bhp that’s on offer with a degree of peace of mind. Still not convinced? The estimated sale price is £2700-£3300. There, that got your attention. It might be a bit of a come-and-get-me estimate – we reckon something like £4000-£4500 is nearer the mark for a car like this. But auctions can be funny things, and it would be a shame to miss this Mazda if it does sell for anything near the estimate.


The team's favourite cars on sale this month This Wankel wearer's up for grabs on January 26. Estimate just £2.7k.

1992 CITROËN BX 17TGD On sale at: ACE Classic Cars (via Price: £2150 ‘Marcello Gandini designed one of my favourites, the Lamborghini Countach. As I can’t afford to buy one a diesel BX allows me some Gandini style with added frugality. And after a lift in Nathan’s Alfa, the pneumatic suspension would be a blessed relief for my back!’ JJ

2002 HONDA CIVIC TYPE-R EP3 On sale at: 4Star Classics (via Price: £12,995 ‘This is a big price for an EP3 but you’re unlikely to find another as good as this. Just one owner, freshly serviced and only 12,000 miles, this is almost unrepeatable. There is one problem: is it too nice to use as Honda intended? I’d love to find out…’ Nathan

Porsche price downturn spreads abroad Evidence keeps piling up that the bubble has burst Auction on those Porsche prices action! that have spiralled out of control in the past few years. The worst effects seem to be on the 1990s cars, which is no real surprise as they did most of the rocketing, percentage-wise. The cooling seen in Britain and North America was also very evident in Paris recently, at Artcurial’s autumn auction. It offered five 1990s 911 variants, all top quality cars with low

miles and decent stories. Just two of them sold, and one of those was the impeccable 964 Turbo pictured below. Turbos are not feeling the pinch so hard, and this was a 60,000-miler in rare Peruvian Red. It went for a slightly over-book £156,000. The rest had estimates that suggested their owners have yet to wake up and smell the discounted coffee. Bidding petered out where values currently are. Auction houses now need to be a lot tougher on sellers’ expectations.


Good Turbos are treading water while 911 values take a dive.

On sale at: North Yorkshire Classic (via Price: £2450 'BMW E30s of any spec are now very cool and the money they are fetching reflects that. So I've been looking for alternatives whose prices haven't gone crazy... yet. Step forward the 190E. For money which would get you an OK-ish E30, this Merc looks really fantastic.' Simon


AUCTION SCHEDULE Where to go for your own modern classic bargain... JANUARY 2018 Friday 26 South West Vehicle Auctions Parkstone, Poole, Dorset

2002 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL55

1999 Fiat Coupé 20v

EXPENSIVE AND CHEAP AT THE SAME TIME Sold for £36,563 at Silverstone Auctions It’s the supercar you can use every day. Values are only going one way, which made this a pretty shrewd investment. That's if the new owner can hold back from adding a pile more miles to the miniscule 12,500 currently on the clock – all in the hands of the same family and with full service history. It still looks new, and that kind of mileage will command increasing premiums.

SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY PIT Sold for £2730 at Anglia Car Auctions Low mileage isn’t everything, you know. This car was offered with a warranted 35,700 miles yet the seller had spent £4000 during 2017 on stuff like cambelt, water pump, springs, dampers and a set of tyres. That pretty much covers these cars’ weaknesses, so it should be an easier ride for the buyer who paid only £2730. Maybe the colour and short MoT put bidders off.

Saturday 27 Anglia Car Auctions’ classic sale King’s Lynn, Norfolk

FEBRUARY Wednesday 7 RM Auctions Place Vauban, Paris, France Thursday 8 Bonhams Grand Palais, Paris, France Friday 9 Artcurial, Rétromobile Porte de Versailles, Paris, France Friday-Sunday 23-25 Silverstone Auctions’ Race Retro Sale Stoneleigh, Warks

1996 TVR Griffith 500

1990 Toyota Celica GT-Four

ADVENTURE THAT PAYS FOR ITSELF Sold for £16,376 at Bonhams Padua might sound like a long way to go for a TVR, but look at the price paid – for a right-hook UK car with 40,000 miles and renovated chassis. That would be £20k all day back home, which is also what the low estimate was. Imagine the fun you could have had blasting that 325bhp back across Europe – with a suitable breakdown recovery card in your back pocket, naturally.

THE SAINZ ARE ALL THERE Sold for £2192 at South West Vehicle Auctions In a very busy SWVA sale it was hard to sniff out bargains, but this looked like one – even if it did sell for a little above its £2000 top estimate. A Japanese import, it showed 101,000 miles, which isn’t massive for a looked-after Toyota. With the best of these turbocharged 182bhp, four-wheel drive rally refugees now hitting £5000 and rising, it looked a good opportunity.

Tuesday 27 Barons Auctions’ Classic Winter Warmer Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey

MARCH Saturday 3 Historics at Brooklands Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire Wednesday 7 Brightwells Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire Thursday 8 Dorset Vintage & Classic Auctions Athelhampton House, Dorchester, Dorset Wednesday 21 H&H Classics Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambs

1999 BMW Z3 M Coupe

1995 VW Golf ‘Rolling Stones’

LOOKS DON’T COME INTO IT Sold for £42,750 at Silverstone Auctions The rise and rise of BMW’s Z3 M Coupe continues. Even Silverstone Auctions was behind the curve on this one, giving it a £37-42K estimate. But for a car with 40,000 miles and a comprehensive service history, that’s just not enough any more. Dealers are asking several grand more for Z3 Ms with similar mileage, so you could almost view this as a good deal.

WHY DIDN’T THEY PAINT IT BLACK? Sold for £780 at Anglia Car Auctions VW’s attempt to get down with the (very old) kids in the mid-Nineties involved sponsoring rock tours and selling cars off the back of it – Pink Floyd and Bon Jovi special editions were also produced. There was nothing special about these Golf MkIII cabrios apart from the badges and unique seat cloth, but the UK only got 1100 of the Stones version so it has novelty value.

Saturday-Sunday 24-25 Classic Car Auctions’ Restoration Show sale NEC, Birmingham

APRIL Thursday 19 Brightwells Modern Classics Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire

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A 2.0-litre engine and the halo effect of an F1 team make this little limited-run hatch hot stuff. Here’s how not to get burned buying one he arrival of the Clio Williams in 1993 brought some real performance to the range. The engine grew from the Clio 16V’s 1.8- to a 2.0-litre, with an uprated 16-valve head, forged pistons and bigger valves contributing to its 150bhp output – a seriously impressive figure for 25 years ago. It was enough for a top speed of 130mph and 0-60mph in just 7.8sec – and there was as much show as go, thanks to Sports Blue paintwork, gold wheels and Williams decals. The initial plan


to build just 3800 cars was soon forgotten as demand outstripped supply, leading Renault to launch the subsequent Clio Williams 2 and 3. A total of 1180 cars were sold in the UK, of which just 390 were the original-spec model. The original Clio was a likeable machine with real potential, but with that non-blown 150bhp engine under its bonnet, it’s good old-fashioned hot hatch motoring at its best. There’s rarity appeal too, with fewer than 1200 UK-spec cars imported of all Clio Williams’ generations.

ENGINE Codenamed F7R, Essential the engine fitted in the Clio Williams is a 2.0-litre version of Renault’s F-Type powerplant that first appeared in 1982. In this guise it’s a twin-cam unit with a 16-valve head and fuel injection (obviously). There’s no turbocharger to worry about, and the engine as a whole is robust and reliable when maintained well; just make sure you only buy a car with a comprehensive service history to ensure it’s been well looked after. However, head-gasket failure isn’t unknown, so check for the usual signs of oil in the coolant and vice versa (look for the tell-tale white ‘goo’ around the oil filler cap). Check that all the fluids are to the correct level (a good sign of careful ownership), and examine the main engine mount to the right of the


‘GOOD OLDFASHIONED HOTHATCH MOTORING AT ITS BEST’ Two litres, uprated 16v head, forged pistons, bigger valves, 150bhp – a lot in 1993.

Having the logo of an F1 team on your derrière and dashboard does no harm at all. Sports Blue paint and those distinctive gold alloys added to this funster’s visual attraction.

power steering reservoir because this is prone to cracking. Rocker cover gaskets are known to leak and the hydraulic tappets can wear (listen for excessive noise). On highmileage cars, check for blue smoke on the over-run – and look elsewhere if you see any. TRANSMISSION The Clio Williams’ clutch is by nature quite stiff, so don’t worry too much about this – although you should carry out the usual checks for clutch slip and make sure all the gears engage without crunching. The uprated JC5 gearbox is reliable but is not a unit that responds well to long-term abuse; on your test drive, make sure it doesn’t jump out of gear (a sure sign that a new gearbox will be needed soon). If there’s excessive movement of the gearstick when the car is cruising at speed, it could be an indication that the engine mounts are worn.

SUSPENSION The all-round independent suspension is relatively uncomplicated (front struts, telescopic shocks and rear trailing arms) but check for signs of wear. Does the car feel sloppy when cornering, or is there more body roll than you’d expect? Try to inspect the dampers for signs of leaks (as well as looking for this on previous MoT advisories). Check the front anti-roll bar as this can suffer from accident damage and issues caused by incorrect jacking. BODY & STRUCTURE With the oldest Clio Williams now almost 25 years old, rust is a potential problem. Panel-wise, check the outer sills for signs of rot and accident damage, and be on the look-out for rust and bubbling paintwork around the rear arches in particular; what looks like minor bubbling will be a sign of rot

pushing through from behind. The doors and tailgate should also be checked for rust, as well as the boot floor and the car’s floorpans; crawl underneath the Clio to check the inner sills and box sections for rot. Also check around the engine bay for any signs of twisting and potential corrosion issues, as well as around the windscreen. BRAKES & STEERING The braking system is relatively low-tech by today’s standards, with only the Williams 3 coming with ABS as standard – although each of the three generations at least has discs all round. On your test drive, make sure the car stops in a straight line and there are no scraping noises that suggest worn pads (and probably discs). Do the discs look relatively rust-free, and is there any evidence that the brakes have been changed recently? The handbrake was never the Clio’s strongest point,

but it should still hold the car. Steering-wise all should be well, although check for play in the steering column – a common problem on high-mileage examples. INTERIOR & TRIM The interior of the Clio Williams can suffer if a car has been abused or covered a lot of miles, so check for upholstery wear (particularly the seat bolsters) as well as sagging front seats. Make sure the original blue carpets are in place and in good condition; feel around for signs of dampness, especially under the glovebox area (this suggests a leaking heater matrix). Make sure the state of the whole interior (steering wheel, pedals, etc) tallies with the mileage shown on the odometer. Electrical problems are common, so check that all the gauges work, that the electric windows aren’t overly slow and that the car’s full beam is operational.





With two years of ownership under his belt, Glynn Jones has already treated his 1994 Clio Williams to a part-respray. It’s a low-mileage example, with just 55,000 on the clock, but the car had suffered from various knocks and scrapes in the hands of its previous elderly owner. ‘The old boy I bought it from was a keen driver but obviously had a knack for scraping everything in sight,’ says Glynn. ‘I still bought it though, as this car came with a full history and was mechanically perfect.’ As he works for a local bodyshop, Glynn was able to carry out the work himself, respraying both sides of the Clio along with the tailgate. ‘It’s otherwise an original example, apart from a stainless exhaust,’ he adds. ‘Even in standard spec, the Clio Williams is great fun to drive – I love the mid-range acceleration it’s got,’ Glynn enthuses. ‘And living in South Wales, I have easy access to some properly twisty roads where I can really exploit the Clio’s grip.’

SERVICING COSTS Annual service 10,000 miles £275 Major service 40,000 miles £450


CLUB Renault Sport Club Clio Sport Owners’ Club

SPECIALISTS Interior wear is common. This one has fared well.

Prima Racing Kam Racing Pure Motorsport Motorsport Tools Voodoo Tuning Renault Parts Direct

IMPROVING THE BREED Anyone wanting to

WHAT upgrade their Clio Williams will find plenty TO MOD of options to do so.

For improved stopping, Prima Racing can sell you a full set of Tarox drilled and grooved brake discs (with pads) for just over £500, or you can buy a complete six-pot Tarox front brake kit (with new calipers) from £1050. If you fancy a touch more power, a Superchips ECU remap will add around 10bhp for just £295 fitted,

with a Pipercross panel air filter costing £35. A cat-back stainless steel performance exhaust with 90mm tailpipe is tempting at £275. For stiffer handling, a GAZ heightadjustable fast-road coilover kit offers great value at £545. The ultimate modification was the Dimma Clio Williams. This widened the car in full Max Power style, and one car even got a Sapphire Cosworth 4x4 drivetrain. Some say just six were built – it's not to everyone's taste, however...

SPECIFICATIONS Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

1998cc, 4-cyl, DOHC FWD, 5-speed manual 150bhp@6100rpm 129lb-ft@4500rpm 990kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Max speed Economy

7.8sec 130mph 32mpg

Some say this is the best hot hatch ever. Discuss...

WHAT TO PAY Concours

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Renault Megane R26, Seat Leon Cupra and Vauxhall Astra VXR: all superb Golf GTI alternatives. Which is the best drive?

Vauxhall's last Cavalier SRi was once the sales rep's hero, but now they’ve nearly all gone. We drive one of the few survivors.




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Silvio Berlusconi’s old car is almost as entertaining as one of his parties, says Nathan he idea that all Ferraris should be in red is rather shortsighted, but if you need any convincing that other hues work, check out this Mondial in grey metallic. It’s easy to see why former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is claimed to have acquired it. This car was brought to the UK from a museum dedicated to Mr Berlusconi, and now lives in Norfolk. We just had to try it. But first to the exterior – it’s exquisite. We could only find minor stonechips here and there – it looks a few years old, rather than 35. Only a minor paint-level scrape on a door closing panel detracts. The wheels are in


perfect condition and they wear period-correct Michelin TRX tyres. As these tyres are expensive (around £300 per corner) it’s a relief to know there’s plenty of tread remaining. The good news continues inside – the seats have only a few marks and though there are a few minor abrasions near the driver’s door, it’s pretty good. Only minor bolster wear points to anything other than light patina. If you’re really looking you’ll see nicks in the headlining and on the leather dashboard, but that’s really splitting hairs. Under the bonnet the engine is tidy, with plenty of original stickers still in place. The visual

CHOOSE YOUR MONDIAL The Mondial 8 is launched in 1980. The 2.9-litre V8 produces 214bhp. 703 made in two years. The Mondial Quattrovalvole QV (four valves per cylinder) is launched in 1982, with 235bhp. A cabriolet is introduced in 1983 (629 built; 1145 coupes sold).


The Mondial 3.2 debuted in 1985 with a 270bhp 3.2-litre engine and a styling refresh. The Mondial t is launched in 1989 (‘t’ for transverse – the 3.4-litre V8 was mounted longitudinally. Power was up to 300bhp. Production ended in ’93.

pleasure is backed up with a reassuring amount of paperwork, even if details of its life in Italy are scarce. Since being in the UK it’s received doting care from Ferrari specialist Keys Motorsport. Recent bills include one for £1874 for a new cambelt, exhaust and driveshaft boot. On the road this Ferrari feels mechanically sweet. The 2.9-litre V8 fires up to a refined but naughty-sounding idle, and it doesn’t take long to provoke all eight cylinders into full-on hooliganism. In-gear acceleration is eye-opening and it sounds glorious. The gearshift is a little less friendly – getting into second is how you might imagine a Victorian railway signalman experienced his daily grind. This is customary for Ferraris of this era until they warm up. The problem is that as this is a lefthand drive car, your right knee is often doing battle with the gearstick. The steering is unassisted, but it has plenty of feedback on what’s happening at ground level. This car feels so mechanically fit that a European jaunt wouldn’t be too onerous on it physically. Right, which way to the bunga bunga party?

FERRARI MONDIAL QV Year Mileage On sale at

1982 44,700 miles Kim Cairns Classics

SPECIFICATIONS Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

2927cc, 8-cyl, DOHC RWD, 5-speed manual 235bhp@7000rpm 192lb-ft@5000rpm 1430kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

6.4sec 149mph 22mpg

INSURANCE QUOTE Policy £250, with £200 excess. Free legal cover, optional agreed value. Quote based on a 39-year-old self-employed male, no points on his licence, living in Peterborough. Car is garaged, 3000 miles per year and with comprehensive cover. Call 0800 085 5000 for your quote.

KIM CAIRNS - Established 1972 Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten www.

2008 ALFA ROMEO BRERA S. Prodrive Sport Limited Edition of only 500 by Prodrive. Finished in metallic black with black leather. Comes with the all important Brera Sport Limited Edition certificate and fully stamped service book. Very rare car, an investment! .................................................... £6995

2005 PORSCHE BOXSTER 987 3.25 6 SPEED MANUAL. This superb Boxster is a Generation 2. Finished in immaculate seal grey with unmarked black leather heated seat. Other options include Sat Nav and CD player, 19 inch Alloy Wheels and the expensive Bose Sound System. 69,000 miles with full documented history. ........................................................ £13,995

1982 FERRARI MONDIAL QV. Finished in immaculate gun metal grey with black hide. The car had been in a museum collection in Italy for a number of years before it being imported to the UK by the previous elderly owner in 2012. It was taken to the Ferrari Specialist for a major service, including a cam belt and tensioner replacement. LOVELY RUST FREE UNMOLESTED EXAMPLE....£33,995

2006 VW BEETLE CONVERTIBLE 2.0. Finished in Brilliant Silver with grey 2007 HARLEY DAVIDSON FXDC SUPER GLIDE CUSTOM. Stage one tuned. trim and a black hood. 52,000 miles with full service history. Unmarked Lots of extra chrome and sissy bar. Part of a small private collection immaculate condition ......................................................................£5695 only 4,000 dry miles by very fussy and careful owner. Immaculate show condition.........................................................................................£9,695

1985 PORSCHE 928 AUTOMATIC. Finished in immaculate Grand-Prix white with unmarked dark blue full leather refurbished alloy wheels 94000 miles. Full Service History and Huge History file. THESE CARS ARE INCREASING IN VALUE RAPIDLY IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A 928 DO NOT MISS THIS ONE ..................................................................................................... £16,995

1994 JAGUAR XJS. 4.0 Coupe. Finished in Metallic Red with beige hide. 2005 MERCEDES SL 350. Finished in immaculate Obsidian Black with 88,000 miles and Full Service History................................................ £8995 unmarked black leather. Panoramic roof, upgraded alloy wheels and Mercedes Command System. ONLY 42,000 miles, with full service history. IMMACULATE LOW MILEAGE CAR ................................................... £13,995

2000 PORSHE 996 CONVERTIBLE. Finished Aubegine with tan ruffled leather. Options include factory hard top, 17 inch Alloy Wheels and Base Sound System. 76,000 miles with full service history. Comes complete with the hand book pack, spare keys and cherished number plate .......£17,995

1998 ALFA ROMEO GTV T SPARK 16V. Finished in immaculate brilliant 1991 BENTLEY MULSANNE S. *immaculate white WITH dark blue hide*... 2006 BMW 650 CONVERTIBLE. Finished in metallic silver with black silver with unmarked black hide. Only 52000 miles, full service history with Dark blue wilton carpets and dark blue Lambswool rugs. 42,000 miles. leather. Same family owned from new. Full BMW Main Dealer history. Very 11 service stamps in the service book. This immaculate well looked after Very hard to find in this condition! ................................................. £16,995 high spec car in immaculate condition! ............................................. £9995 car should not be confused with the normal Alfa GTV of this era ...... £6995

1998 PORSCHE BOXSTER. Finished in metallic turquoise with grey 2001 MERCEDES SLK 230 KOMPRESSOR. *finished in desingo blue with 2008 MERCEDES CL 600. Finished in immaculate Magnatite Black with unmarked Ivory leather sport seats. 84,000 miles. Large history file. Very well looked after two tone desingo leather* ...interior. Turbine alloy wheels. 51,000 miles. ventilated leather. The car has every option including command. Heated and cool seats, example! ............................................................................................. £6995 Full Service History. Very well looked after car! ................................. £5495 Multisentronic front seat with bolster adjustment and massage setting, night vision, DVD and sunroof. AMG wheels, distance drive dynamic and much more! The new car invoice is in the file amounting to £108,000 when the car was new! Mint condition. EXCEPTIONAL VALUE! ..£22,995

To view all of our cars please visit FREE DELIVERY ENGLAND, WALES OR ANY UK PORT SNETTISHAM, NORFOLK PE31 7PF - 01485 541526 -



£36,730 PRICE



A few cabin imperfections aside, there's not much to dislike here, says Nathan he BMW M3 E46 has long been widely tipped for secondhand superstardom. There are cheap ways into E46 ownership, but anything less than ten grand is a lottery – and you'll almost certainly lose more than you win. However, with prices for manual M3s on the rise, dragged up by CSL and CS values, a convertible with the sequential manual gearbox (SMG) offers very nearly all the pleasures but for a lot less outlay. The tempting price of this SMG example caught our eye – got to be worth a closer look. Once you’ve got over the Phoenix Yellow paintwork you’ll


discover a body that’s in fine fettle. There are only a few customary stonechips here and there, and a light smattering of lacquer peel near the rear spoiler on the passenger’s side. The wheels are in good condition and all four Kumho Ecstas have plenty of tread remaining. The inside needs a little love – the once-shiny surface of the driver’s seat bolster has worn away, and there are some creases and minor marks here and there. The steering wheel is very worn around the rim (no cracks), there are numerous scratches around the centre console, and there's a big crack and indentation below the

CHOOSE YOUR BMW M3 (E46) Sales of the inline-six coupé and convertible begin in Oct 2000. 6sp Getrag available either as manual or SMG (sequential manual gearbox). The SMG gearbox is updated in 2001 to SMG II specification, offering faster shift times.


2003 sees the launch of the CSL, a lightened, stiffened version with 355bhp and SMG II. Just 422 cars are built for the UK market. The CS (2004-on) offers some CSL toys – steering rack, brakes, M Track mode – and similar alloys. 275 are built (inc 101 manuals).

gearlever. There are nicks and scratches in both door pulls, and nail indentations in the leather. There's better news with the mechanicals – which is the bit we’re more interested in. The engine bay is very presentable and all the fluids are up to the maximum mark. There’s plenty of paperwork with the car – which makes a change for M3s of this era. Dealers serviced it yearly until 2006 before an independent specialist took over until 2011. There are receipts for work completed too – highlights include a new suspension arm, alternator and rear springs. It's never anything short of a treat to drive an M3 – the heartsoaring naturally aspirated straight six screams with fury (sounds great with the roof down!) and it handles cleanly too. It’s a lot of fun and, although it's not quite as dynamically pure as a coupé, the convertible still satisfies the keen driver. The next owner will need to spend to sort out the interior but, even so, this is a lot of car for not a lot of money. Unlike other cheap M3s this one appears to have been looked after. And as for that colour – well, you don’t have to look at it while you’re driving it, do you?

BMW M3 (E46) Year Mileage On sale at

2002 82,000 miles Fender Broad, Bristol

SPECIFICATIONS Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

3246cc, 6-cyl, DOHC RWD, 6-speed SMG 343bhp@7900rpm 310lb-ft@4900rpm 1570kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

4.8sec 155mph 21mpg

INSURANCE QUOTE Policy £300, with £300 excess. Legal cover and optional agreed value. Quote based on a 39-year-old self-employed male, no points on his licence, living in Peterborough. Car is garaged, 3000 miles per year and with comprehensive cover. Call 0800 085 5000 for your quote.

Durham Tees Valley Airport, Darlington, Co. Durham, DL2 1LU Sierra Cosworth Rouse 302R £54,995

Ford Escort RS Turbo Series 1 (1985) £26,995

Rarer than hens teeth and exacting condition YEAR:





Cosworth Rouse 302R


Something a bit special



Ford Escort RS Turbo Series 1 (1985) £29,995 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 MILEAGE: 80000 CONDITION: Used

Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9 (1993) £13,995

RS Focus MK1 (2003) £36,995 YEAR:



Focus RS MK1


Subaru Impreza AWD Classic (2000) £8,995


Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9 (1992) £13,995 YEAR:








205 GTi


205 GTi




2001 Honda Integra DC5 MILEAGE: 90000 CONDITION: Used

Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9 (1990) £13,995 Man and wife owned from new - as original as it gets YEAR: 1990 MAKE: Peugeot MODEL: 205 GTi MILEAGE: 90000 CONDITION: Used

Phone: 07771 677943


2000 Suburu Impreza Turbo MILEAGE: 40000 CONDITION: Used



Rare low mileage example in pristine condition

Escort RS Turbo



Non sunroof in excellent condition

Honda Integra DC5 (2001) £12,995



Extremely low miles and no boy racer additions!

Quality car with desirable no sunroof option





Original bill of sale exacting standards YEAR: MAKE: MODEL:



Ford Escort XR3i (1986) £18,995 Concourse potential extremely low miles YEAR: MAKE: MODEL:

1986 Ford Escort XR3i MILEAGE: 11000 CONDITION: Used

Renault Alpine A310 V6 (1978) £25,995 Yet another rare gem






Alpine A310 V6 55000


Golf GTi £8,995 Stunning 16v GTi in exacting condition YEAR: MAKE: MODEL:

1990 Volkswagen Golf Gti 16v Mk2 MILEAGE: 97000 CONDITION: Used

Ford Capri 2.8i (1981) £21,995 One owner, low miles a golden nugget! YEAR:





Capri 2.8i




BMW E30 318iS (1991) £13,995 Originality personified






E30 318iS





£7296 PRICE



Nathan tries an unmolested 1980s star with the allure of Kylie yet much lower running costs hink of iconic Golfs from the 1980s and the GTI is obviously top dog. But few hatchback-based cabriolets elicit the same wistful nostalgia as a Golf Cabriolet – especially in Clipper form. This one’s in white too, which makes this a time portal to the late 1980s/early 1990s; a time when leafy suburbia was full of Clipper Convertibles blasting out Kylie’s latest warbling. These Golfs are in serious demand, and represent a great investment. This one, priced at less than five grand, provided all the temptation needed to have a look. We left our Kylie cassettes at home, however.


The exterior is in excellent condition – we couldn’t find any major problems, just a few stonechips. The black BBS alloy wheels look fantastic against the gleaming white paintwork, and are free from damage. Each one wears Nexen tyres with plenty of tread remaining. The roof is in excellent condition and, given the damp nature of our test day, we can attest to it not leaking. The windscreen wiper needs fixing, though. The interior requires a little more love, but the vendor will address this issue before sale. For the record, however, there are a few water marks in the boot and bonnet area, and the

CHOOSE YOUR GOLF CABRIOLET 1980: Golf Cabriolet introduced. Built by Karmann, it ignores the MkII Golf restyle and continues until 1993’s MkIII. Engine choices are 70bhp 1457cc four (GLS) or 1588cc GTI unit called the GLI. In 1982 the GLI gets the 1.8 GTI engine. In ’83 the GLS gets a


carb-fed 1595cc unit. In 1985 the GLI is renamed GTI. In 1988 the Clipper replaces the GLS, with a 1.8-litre carb engine. VW adds moulded bumpers, side skirts and wheelarch extensions. 1990: electric roof introduced. Production ends in 1993.

headlining is a little grubby. The leather-covered seat edges are pockmarked and ripped in places, and the dashboard covering is peeling and torn in a few places. The vinyl covering on the doors is also coming away. However, as stated, these issues will be rectified before the car finds a new home. There isn’t much in the way of service history with the car – it’s been restored rather than pampered – but it is how this car drives that matters. We’re happy to report that it’s a vibrant little motor – the engine revs freely and though there’s not a great deal of power, it is easily accessible. The steering is customarily heavy and the brakes need some getting used to if you’ve never driven one before – Golfs do not decelerate quickly by nature. The mechanical side of this car is perfect, with no peculiar noises or rattles. This is a very good example of a largely unmodified 1980s Volkswagen – a very rare thing. With the bleak midwinter to sort out the interior issues ready for spring, this is a tempting proposition. Judging by the attention we got from pedestrians, the time to get your chequebook out is now.


1989 153,000 UKD Auto

SPECIFICATIONS Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

1781cc, 4-cyl, SOHC FWD, 4-speed manual 89bhp@5200rpm 106lb-ft@3300rpm 1015kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

8.1sec 118mph 30mpg

INSURANCE QUOTE Policy £115, with £100 excess. Legal cover and optional agreed value. Quote based on a 39-year-old self-employed male, no points on his licence, living in Peterborough. Car is garaged, 3000 miles per year and with comprehensive cover. Call 0800 085 5000 for your quote. for more photos call: 07711 645 465 Unit 9 Nepicar Park, London Road, Wrotham, TN15 7RR

email: 1990 Mini City A beautiful classic Mini with just 8900 miles. New MOT with no advisories and just serviced. Smooth automatic transmission and super-clean with no rust in the usual places


1994 BMW 318 ti

2007 BMW 325i Sport

1997 VW Golf Cabriolet auto

32,000 miles from new and 2 owners, new MOT with no advisories............................£3,750

1 owner from new and just 19,000 miles, immaculate throughout.........................£10,250

1.8, just 29,000 miles from new, 3 owners, full history and electric roof..............................£3,995

2010 Jaguar XF Luxury V6

2011 BMW 120d Sport

1999 BMW 318iS M Sport

5750 miles from new, immaculate condition, one owner with new MOT.....................£16,250

Manual, 61,000 miles, full history, unmarked throughout, 2 owners...............................£9,250

Very rear with factory fitted M-Sport bodykit, full leather interior, manual.....................£4,995

1992 Mercedes 190E 2.0 auto

1999 BMW 328i Sport Convt.

1985 Fiat X/19

52,300 miles, one owner from new, private plate, stunning throughout........................£6,500

61,000 miles, new roof, sport spec, getting very rare in this condition, manual......................£8750

Restored, new engine & gearbox, running motorbike carbs, stunning!..........................£8495



£82,356 PRICE



An exceptional example that’s in its ‘good value’ window of opportunity, says Nathan f you consider performance per pound, the 996 Turbo still stacks up as a bit of a bargain. Prices have advanced a little since we tipped them for doing just that way back in issue two, but consider what you can get for £55k and the 996 Turbo still has a whiff of a bargain. This one in particular – it’s an X50 option model, which means extra torque and horsepower – represents great value. We’ve seen a few of these over the years, but this has to be one of the best on the open market. You’ll be hard pushed to find anything wrong with the exterior. We tried, and could only root out


some very minor stonechips, plus a dislodged bit of rubber trim near the roof. The black paint is deep and even, and all shutlines are perfect. It’s a car that looks as if it’s done ten per cent of its current mileage. It also does without the expensive-toreplace carbon ceramic brakes that were an option on these cars. The wheels are in perfect condition and the Michelin tyres have plenty of tread remaining. The good news continues inside, with just light creasing across the seats and their bolsters to show for its 55k miles. The only real wear we spotted was some nail marks behind the door pulls on the driver’s side,

CHOOSE YOUR 996 TURBO The 911 996 Turbo is unveiled at the 1999 Frankfurt Auto Show, and goes on sale a year later. Its watercooled twin-turbocharged flat-six produces 415bhp/415lb-ft. Porsche offers the X50 option in 2002, including larger K24 turbochargers and intercoolers, a


reprogrammed ECU and a new exhaust. Peak power is 450bhp. 2004: the 996 Turbo Cabriolet. The 996 Turbo S is launched in 2005: X50-spec engine, carbon ceramic brakes, a six-disc CD changer and aluminium interior trim. Production ends in 2005.

and the ashtray has a few scratches on its lid. There’s not much to see under the engine flap, but what’s there is clean yet clearly used carefully. That’s backed up with extensive service history. Yearly services at Porsche Chiswick until 2008 were followed by similarly annual fettling by FearnSport untill 2014, then Paul Stephens took over. It received engine-out refreshment, new inlet manifold, turbo oil pipes and a coil pack in 2014 at a cost of £2153. It also received new radiators, brakes and calipers as part of a service in 2012 (£1528). There are plenty of other receipts to prove that this car’s been cherished. If you’ve never driven a 996 Turbo, imagine being bolted to the front of a supersonic jet. At whatever speed you’re doing, it feels like double that velocity is a mere twitch of your toe away. It may not offer the fingertingling cornering excitement of a GT3, but the Turbo delivers instant hits of adrenalin like few other cars. This one showed no faults during our test drive. With all Porsches becoming ever-more cherished, the 996 Turbo will soon be clambering out of sight. This example is a very good rung on the ladder.

PORSCHE 911 996 TURBO X50 Year Mileage On sale at

2002 55,347 Silver Arrows Autos

SPECIFICATIONS Engine Transmission Power Torque Weight

3600cc, 6-cyl, DOHC 4WD, 6-speed manual 450bhp@5700rpm 457lb-ft@3500rpm 1317kg

PERFORMANCE 0-60mph Top speed Economy

4sec 192mph 22mpg

INSURANCE QUOTE Policy £365, with £300 excess. Legal cover and agreed value included. Quote based on a 39-year-old self-employed male, no points on his licence, living in Peterborough. Car is garaged, 3000 miles per year and with comprehensive cover. Call 0800 085 5000 for your quote.

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PORSCHE 987 CAYMAN R PDK £ 4 3 , 4 95




43k miles, FSH, 3 owners. Simply sensational £36,995

80k miles, 3 owners, SMG gearbox, faultless and awesome car £10,995

1994 JAGUAR XJS 4.0


Fabulous Celebration model with just 64k warranted miles, ice cold air con and good history. £10,995

1 of 3 made from new. 65k miles. Hard and soft top, leather. Immaculate £9995


A true 300+bhp Quattro, 6 speed ‘wolf in sheeps clothing’. One of my favourite cars of all time. £11,995


Bodily and mechanically restored MANUAL gearbox with black leather. Awesome! £24,995


Tel: +44 7794 477785


Advertise your classic for FREE and reach 1.4 million of buyers in print, online and via mobile. TO ADVERTISE in Modern Classics, visit, click on the top link, ‘Sell a car’, and follow the instructions for ‘advertise your car online and in print’. All adverts are free for private individuals, and the most relevant will be handpicked for Modern Classics.

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Here we have a Vauxhall Carlton CDI Sports Auto 4 door saloon just 2 owners from new with the last owner for 23 years no debit a future classic. This immaculate example has only done 49,000 miles from new in the hands of these 2 careful owners the genuine low mileage is fully supported by every mot certificate and a large history folder. £4,650


Here we have an absolutely stunning MG Midget 1500 sports in beautiful red paintwork, Stunning bodywork beautifully restored brand new front wings and sills. £4,675


This really is a stunning car first registered 07/08/1962 chassis number 109E88262 still contains its original buff log book comes with a binder of paperwork and magazines and still contains its original brochure. £7,995


Here we have a immaculate Ford Fiesta 1100cc 3 door hatchback a total show winning example and has only covered 18,498 miles. As you no doubt have seen from the images the car is presented in immaculate condition. £5,995

DAIMLER DOUBLE 6 Craner Classic Cars are offering this stunning Daimler Sovereign Double 6 lovely presented and truly outstanding example having been in the hands of this gentleman for over 32 years that’s nearly half of somebody’s life time. £12,650


VW GOLF MK2 1.3 5DR 1984




PORSCHE 944S 16V 2.5 1987



STUNNING HUMBER SCEPTRE First registered 26/07/1965 powered with a 1600cc engine and comes with working overdrive. Comes in this lovely colour combination and is fitted with brand new carpets to compliment has red door cards, black interior and comes with 4 brand new tyres a very striking car indeed it drives absolutely superb. £6,950


We at Craner Classics will be glad to help you out call for further information on 07806 693878


For more pictures please visit

01454 501314 / 07519 392083 | SALES@UKDAUTO.COM



Reg J2 LRH (private plate). Mileage: 3,880. Purchase details and bill of sale (original) (Ford Main Dealer) - 8/8/91. V5 c documents - both blue and red. MoTs pre-storage and new MoTs following re-commissioning by main dealer (Ford)* POA

Reg F950 LND. Mileage: 37,324. Purchase details and bill of sale (original) 31/3/89 (Ford Main Dealer). V5 c documents - both blue and red. MoTs pre-storage and new MoTs following recommisioning by main dealer (Ford)* POA

*Re-commissioning by main dealership, Evans Halsaw, with documentation of work carried out and costs.

Please call David Hannam on 01829 732236

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Visit: or call us on: 01858 438884 (quote Z802) Terms and conditions: From £1 price applies to selected titles across our magazines on print or digital. See for our complete range and prices. Offers are only available to UK residents paying by recurring payment methods and are available until 31st January 2018. Cost from landlines for 01 numbers per minute are (approximately) 2p to 10p. Cost from mobiles are 10p to 40p per minute (approximately). Costs vary depending on the geographical location in the UK. You may get free calls to some numbers as part of your call package - please check with your phone provider. Order lines are open 8:30am - 9pm Mon - Fri; 10am - 4pm Sat. Your subscription will start with the next available issue, unless you specify otherwise. For full terms and conditions, please visit


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THE FINAL COUNTDOWN Our favourite automotive wins and epic fails


Twelve-cylinder engines are a dying breed, but you can still gorge on petrol in style for a lot less than you might think BMW 750i E38

Contributors Keith Adams, Chris Frosin, Jonathan Jacob, Claes Lutton, Tony Middlehurst, Tiff Needell, Dean Smith, Emma Woodcock Advertising enquiries Modern Classics, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Fax 01733 395045 Marketing Rachael Beesley, 01733 468511, Commercial manager Sarah Dodd, 01733 366432, Dealer key account director Katie Phillips, 01733 468482, Senior telesales executive Qasim Nasib, 01733 468315, Production Print production Hollie Swift, 01733 468074 Private cars for sale 01733 366338

Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph WE FOUND ONE FOR £29,950 Okay, so maybe this isn’t quite as affordable as the others. But look at it another way – it’s a reasonably modern RollsRoyce for a fraction of the price of a Phantom, and people won’t think you're Sir Alan Sugar. It’s not as quick as the other cars here (it's a heavy beast) but it handles much better than you’d ever imagine.

PUBLISHING MANAGEMENT Managing director, Automotive Niall Clarkson Editorial director June Smith-Sheppard Finance director Lisa Hayden Group finance director Sarah Vickery Group MD Rob Munro-Hall CEO Paul Keenan

Mercedes-Benz S600 W220 WE FOUND ONE FOR £7000 It may not look special – so many W220s are now automotive litter, if they still survive. It comes from Merc’s less illustrious era, after all… But the S600’s stats mean it deserves saving – zero to 60mph is a memory after 4.3 seconds, with 100mph turning up just 5.3 seconds later. In fact it’s 1/10th of a second faster over a quarter mile than a Ferrari 575M. It’s almost worth buying one just to wind Ferrari owners up.

Toyota Century G50

Daimler Double-Six/Jaguar XJ12 WE FOUND ONE FOR £9995 A truly last-of-an-era vehicle this – the last Jaguar powered by a V12. It’s a saucy minx too, with 318bhp and 336lb-ft on offer from a delightfully decadent 6.0-litres. The simple fact was that you could get similar results from the XJR's supercharged V8 XJR, but we miss the creamy smoothness. Not many were built, which has kept values strong.


Modern Classics, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA Tel 01733 395162 or 01733 468000 Fax 01733 468379 Web Email Facebook modernclassicsmagazine Twitter @Mdrnclassics

Editor John-Joe Vollans Assistant editor Nathan Chadwick Markets editor Russ Smith Art director Garry Mears Art editor Simon Russell Designer Debbie Nolan Production Mark Holmes, Rob McCabe Office manager Leise Enright

WE FOUND ONE FOR: £9940 Perhaps the coolest-looking 7 Series armed with one of the best V12s ever made – a tempting combination. A super-smooth 332bhp and 361lb-ft means overtaking is a delight. True, there are cheaper examples out there but they’re best avoided unless you’re planning on turning it into a garden ornament or refinancing your home.

WE FOUND ONE FOR £15,000 This may not be the sexiest car here – it looks a bit like an obese Lada Riva. But it’s not meant to be showy – the brochure states ‘the Century is acquired through persistent work, the kind that is done in a plain but formal suit.’ There’s nothing plain about the engine – it’s a silky smooth 5 0-litre unit


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