When it comes to UK cult cars, it is very easy to pretty much straight away to think of the Mini from ‘The Italian Job’ fame, the Aston Martin DB5 from ‘Goldfinger’ or even a certain red Jaguar MKII from the TV series ‘Inspector Morse’. What if I was to tell you that there is actually another classic UK cult car that has been forgotten about over these last few years. I am of course talking about the humble yet instantly recognizable Ford Anglia 105E.
I say humble because unlike most cars mentioned above that were pretty much loved straight away when launched, the Anglia 105E was launched in 1959 to replace the 100E and was simply released as a small family car for Ford Europe. Ford at the time, especially in the UK & Europe was going for a more American approach to their designs. With the likes of the Consul Capri Classic coming out at a similar time to the Anglia looking like something straight out of 50’s Americana, Ford Europe was on a roll with their designs and this showed with the humble Anglia. Made to look like an amalgamation of American cars including the Ford Thunderbird and even a ’50s Studebaker, it certainly looked fantastic. The rear window was a big design point on these cars as it sported a backward slanted rear-window affair where it had been taken from the accidental design specification for an electrically opening breezeway rear window. add in the muted rear fins and the chrome grille on the front spanning pretty much the front end of the car and it looked fantastic for a run of the mill car.
Powering this humble cult classic was a 997cc OHV I4 ‘Kent’ unit giving it ample power with equally ample top speed. British Anglia’s were given a then-new 4-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top three gears. By 1962, this was replaced with an all-synchromesh gearbox and was subsequently fitted to the larger-engined 1198cc Anglia’s known as the Anglia Super, these were distinctive due to their easily identifiable painted contrasting coloured stripe.
Bodystyles for the Anglia came in 3’s. First of all, you had the 2-door saloon that everyone is synonymous with, secondly, you had a larger 3-door estate and last but not least you had the 2-door panel van. Over 1 million Anglia’s were made from it’s introduction in 1959 to its death in 1968. With this many cars made, it slowly but surely started to become somewhat of a TV and Movie Car cult classic.
Now, of course, everyone knows the Anglia as the ‘Harry Potter Car’ due to the infamous scene where Rupert Grint’s character ‘Ron Weasely’ flies the car to Hogwarts in front of both members of public and then in front of the train they ultimately missed but did you also know that apart from that small scene, the Anglia has been in the public spotlight since the ’80s. Originally being shown in the BBC Comedy ‘The Young Ones’, it has gone on to star in many a period drama including both ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘The Royal’. For those two shows, especially ‘Heartbeat’ Anglia’s were painted numerous colors to signify the ranking of the on-screen police officers. This was actually a nod to the Anglia’s role as an actual police car. With their distinctive blue & white liveries, they soon became known as ‘Panda’ Cars.
In the show, there were also some black Anglia 105E’s that starred and these were something a bit special. first of all, they were only driven by the Sergeants of the show so where hardly ever spotted and secondly, they were the top-of-the-line ‘Deluxe’ models. These examples were painted fully black with Police plates front and rear. While the constables drove the normal 105E’s, the Sergeants drove the black 105E Deluxes.
Up to 5 Anglia’s were used in the show and even if you go back to Goathland where the show was filmed, you’ll still see some examples sitting outside known landmarks in the show. Going back to Harry Potter for a second, here’s a little fun fact: Goathland train station was also used as the Hogwarts Express stop in most of the films. The actual Anglia used in the Harry Potter film can be seen on display at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum in the New Forest, Hampshire.
In 1968, Ford decided to drop the long-lasting Anglia name for an all-new model, the now loved Escort MK1. Where the Anglia was just a humble commuter car that found fame in numerous TV shows and Movies, the Escort went on to dominate the rallying scene all the way from the late sixties to the early to mid-nineties before it was dropped in the late-nineties for the MK1 Ford Focus.
These days, it isn’t difficult to see a crazy Anglia build being made up using different engines and drivetrains from other Ford cars like the Escort. In fact, it is not the first time you’d see an Escort and an Anglia being worked on by the same tuners, whether that be Cosworth or Harris Performance, they seem to bide well with the tuners thanks to their lightweight and fairly modern for the time MacPherson strut suspension system.
With over 1.5 million Anglia’s made over its nearly 30-year life, it is to no-ones surprise that these cars have become somewhat of a cult classic car. While it may have been outshone by both the Cortina and the Escort in both sales and popularity at the time, the Anglia fought back by being humble and by simply sticking to its roots. by doing this, it has become the star of many UK TV Shows and even a Hollywood blockbuster film franchise.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
While writing these days, it is not every day I am given the opportunity to help out others in need. Most days I sit here typing away at my keyboard listening to music at way too loud a volume inadvertently winding people up. More recently, however, I’ve been given the opportunity to help out some people in need and that is by fundraising for a charity close to my heart called SameYou. While this is a fantastic charity and one I’d love to help out, due to never fundraising in my life, I have no clue where to start or what to do and this is where I need your help.
For those that may not have heard of the charity SameYou, they’re a small UK-based brain injury charity that is run by the one & only Emilia Clarke from HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ series boxset. It was originally set up by Emilia and her team after her own personal fight with a brain injury at the young age of only 24. This was one of the many reasons why it hit me personally. With me having Epilepsy from my late teens and writing more in-depth about it here only a few weeks back, I thought it’d be a brilliant idea to write to them about fundraising. After a few weeks of no reply, I finally woke up yesterday to a reply from them with a couple links for setting up a GoFundMe Fundraiser event for them, the thing is, as I mentioned above, I’ve never fundraised before for anybody.
With this blog, website and all the social media pages that run alongside it all being about cars, I feel as if the fundraising should be car related in some way or other. The only issue is that my mind is drawing a blank when it comes down to using the art of cars to help fundraise. Of course, you can do the classic Car wash and raise money that way but with the weather being sketchy at best around here recently, I can’t see that ending well for anyone.
Now while I may not have many ideas flowing, I do have one idea that is a possibility but would need a lot of physical & mental training as well as permission from numerous doctors & professionals in the know before it could even go-ahead. I am of course talking about pulling one of our cars over a certain distance. Not just would this need to be overlooked by doctors and medical professors, I’d also need to get the right apparatus to pull the car in question. with both ProjectC70 and our 2007 Seat Altea XL both being about 2 tons in weight, the apparatus would need to support both my weight and the car’s weight as well. On top of that, I’d obviously need a location as well as space to do it in. This is of course just an idea, for now, that might not even come to any fruition but it is an idea nonetheless.
Is there anything else that could possibly be done through the art of using cars to fundraise other than that?. With my memory not being great at the best of times, it is at this time where I could be doing with some help to put something together to put this wonderful charity on the map a little bit. Brain Injury is and can be a killer for many people and for it to hit young people before they even get their lives on track is simply awful, so with some help and some suggestions, I’d be willing to help out where needed to fundraise.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
With the cold dark nights slowly starting to go away and all of us recently transcending into a new year, this is the perfect time to go out and buy and modify a potential track weapon for the summer season. With car season coming into full effect in a few month’s time, this is the best time to be buying a cheap track day car. With a majority of people not being able to buy something expensive in the first place and insurance being difficult for covering track days, the cheaper the car, the easier it is to insure so think carefully when picking your perfect cheap track day car. Here are ten potential track day cars that won’t break the bank but should be great fun when modified right.
Mazda MX-5 NA/NB:
It was just typical that a Mazda MX-5 would make this list, but before thinking that this is just news repeating itself, hear me out before you scroll away. There’s a very good reason why the MX-5 is so loved on the track day scene. First of all, they’re undeniably cheap. with good examples being anywhere from £1000-£2000 you can pick one up easily. Secondly, they are a good base for modifications and with a massive scene for MX-5’s in general, you’ll have a field day getting the right parts needed to make your MX-5 a little track weapon. With early Na & NB MX-5’s having a really low curb weight, you really don’t need much to get the most out of an MX-5 really good for track days, with power being low from standard, insurance should be well cheap and fairly easy to get as well. Look out for rust on the early ones, especially the NA’s as these suffer quite bad from tin worm.
MG ZR 1.8 160 VVC:
Yes, I know what you may be thinking…….an MG ZR? really? well, hear me out on this. As the name suggests, the ZR has 160 bhp from the factory which is plentiful for track days. With a few suspension tweaks like coilovers and uprated anti-roll bars and you soon realize the full potential the Zr has to give you handling wise. Reliability isn’t fantastic, especially the fabled head gasket issues these cars suffer from but as long as you can get an uprated gasket fitted to them, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever have an issue with them going bang. With an FWD drivetrain layout, it may not be as pure to drive as the MX-5 above but what it lacks in purity it makes up for in usability. Where the MX-5 has the opportunity to spin out on a damp or really wet track, the FWD layout of the ZR means that it’ll pretty much stick to the track regardless of the conditions. Prices can be had from a few hundred pounds to about £2000+ for a minter. Insurance isn’t the cheapest, especially for really young drivers but for what it’s worth, if you can afford one and modify it properly, it’ll be a rewarding drive.
Renault Clio 197/200:
Potentially the newest car here, it’s an honest surprise that these are now becoming so cheap now to go out and buy & run. While these two are quite a bit more than the MG or MX-5 above, £3,000 isn’t to be sniffed at for a well looked after Clio 197 or Clio RS200. Because it’s a Renault, you’re almost certified to be the king or queen of the track day thanks to their impeccable handling, their fantastic grip and last but not least the stonking amount of power they both have. in Cup spec, you really get a true understanding of why Renault has a certain reputation when it comes to fast hot hatches. reliability is so-so but as long as you can get a good one and know your way around French electrics then you should be fine.
Subaru Impreza GC8 Turbo 2000:
Possibly the only AWD car on this list, the MK1 Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000 is a very good shout for a track day car. With 215bhp and an old-style AWD system, the 2000 Turbo is both quick and easy to drive regardless of weather conditions. With 4 doors on tap and a big boot, these are also very practical as well. The Impreza is a very well known contender on the rough stuff and pretty much cut it on numerous rally stages across the world making it an icon in the process. Due to that, they handle really well and with their signature Flat-4 engine under the bonnet, it makes for both a fantastic noise and a pretty much 50-50 weight distribution. Finding one isn’t that easy these days, especially one that is in a mint condition but if you search high and low, you’ll be bound to find one within budget. Watch out for rust with these as just like any Japanese ’90s car, they rust badly.
Ford Fiesta ST MK6:
This list wouldn’t be complete without the MK6 Fiesta ST or even a Fast Ford for that matter. While it may have not worn the RS badge, the MK6 ST made up for that with a stonking 150bhp from a 2.0 engine. That may not sound like much these days but considering that a Citroen C2 VTS had about 120bhp and a Corsa C SRi had about 130bhp, this Fiesta was a little firecracker. Add in the Fiesta MK6’s lightweight and it’s fantastic chassis and it’s no surprise that these can become a fantastic track car. Fast Fords are always a perfect buy but watch with the MK6 ST, due to these being owned by a good few boy racers over the years, it can be very easy to find a bad example of one. Make sure to get one with full ford service history and try and get one preferably owned by an enthusiast. If you want to make more power then there is, of course, both Mountune and Airtec to help you with that as well as a plethora of others.
SEAT Leon Cupra 1M:
Before anyone says anything, this choice right here isn’t a biased choice whatsoever. For those that know me, know that one of my favorite hatches is a Seat Leon. In my opinion, even though we own an MK2 Leon FR that is fantastic, my favorite Leon is the original – the 1M. Now while a Cupra R will be way out of the equation, a 1M Cupra 1.8T will be well within budget and still looks and goes just as well as it’s badder & faster stablemate. With 180bhp from its 1.8T 20v engine, you are bound to have a great time thrashing this little beauty around a track. Reliability is very good with these cars as long as you can get a good one and with aftermarket support as long as your arm, you’ll be sure to improve on any weak points the car may have. Prices for these are very cheap even for a minter so finding one shouldn’t really be an issue.
MK3 Toyota MR-2:
Here we have a left-field entry and our first mid-engined entry into track day car ownership. While the MK3 may not be the best MR-2 money can buy, what it lacks in credibility it certainly makes up for with driver enjoyment. The MR-2 always was and always has been a driver’s car even from the get-go throughout its 3 generations. With the third-generation car, the 3S-GE & 3S-GTE engine was dropped for a 2ZZ unit shared with the 7th Generation Celica T-Sport. While it wasn’t the quickest and you do have to wring its neck to get every available power out of it but that’s the charm of this generation of MR-2. If power is an issue then it is very easy to fit the 3.0 V6 engine from the Camry into the car. This pretty much doubles the power of the original engine, gives it way more torque and also has a wonderful engine note to boot. Being a Toyota, reliability shouldn’t be an issue, even with a V6 swap so mechanically it should be ok. Check for rust though as these cars suffer from it, while not as bad as other cars, if not treated it can become worse over time.
MGF & TF 1.8:
While on the subject of mid-engined cars, let me introduce you to yet another left-field choice and also another MG to make the list, this time the MGF & TF. Just like the MR-2 above, the F/TF is a mid-engined 2-door sports car with a low amount of power and also a low weight to boot. With the 1.8 fitted it creates 134bhp which may seem like a piddly amount compared to others on this list but trust me, with a car as light as the F/TF, you don’t need tons of power to get the most out of these cars. Buying & finding one of these cars is fairly easy to do as prices are cheap and there’s plenty around the place. Reliability is the same as the ZR above and unfortunately, just like that car, the F & TF both suffer from Headgasket issues, fear not, however, as you can get a stronger head gasket to fit into these cars to make the engines stronger and more capable of abuse a track day brings.
Peugeot 306 GTi-6 & Rallye:
No track day list would be complete without one of the best hatchbacks of the ’90s, I am of course talking about the Peugeot 306. In particular the 306 GTi-6 as well as the 306 Rallye. Considered by most as one of the best budget hot hatches going, it’s only right that these two variants make the list. What made these two cars great was their handling, as with every ’90s Peugeot, the 306 handled beautifully and could easily run rings around a similarly aged Golf or Astra. The Rallye is the rarer variant out of the two and for good reasons, they were lightly stripped out to make them a pure driving machine. The items that were removed consisted of the electric windows as well as the electrically operated mirrors, the Alloys were changed out for lightweight steelies and even the stereo was removed to remove as much weight as possible. Put any of these cars on a track and you’ll soon realize why they are loved the world over. Prices have not quite hit big money for these cars yet but trying to find one isn’t easy, especially a Rallye. Reliability isn’t terrible on these cars, especially considering French car’s reputation for their reliability.
Honda Civic VTi Coupé EM1:
Last but not least, we come to the Honda Civic Coupé EM1. First of all, these cars are unbelievably cheap to buy and run, with a VTi costing about £2000-£4000 depending on condition, these are one hell of a way of getting a VTEC powered track car. With 160bhp on tap, the VTi is no slouch neither and due to its lightweight, it certainly shifts. Being a Honda, reliability is never going to be an issue and with aftermarket support as large as ever for these cars, it is very easy to get bits together to make the perfect track day beast. With a very large engine bay and a small bay, it is very easy to do most modifications yourself making it so much cheaper to transform into a track car. Alongside the decent power figure is also a very low weight figure. weighing in at around a ton, it doesn’t need a lot of modifications to make it competitive. With EP3’s and FN2’s still being a tad expensive, getting an EM1 makes perfect sense as they are relatively cheaper and a whole lot lighter as well as being a very good left-field choice for a track day car.
With car season coming up within the next few months, it is very tempting to want to go to a track day, I know I’ve been thinking about them recently. Whether it’s your first ever track day or you’re a master, it is very easy to go out and buy something expensive, fast and way too on the edge for most tracks and conditions but with these cars above, it shows that you can go out and buy something on a budget, fairly quick and competitive and also capable around most tracks without being too much on the edge.
Hope You Enjoy!
When people think of the sport of Rallying, there’s a lot of cars that come to mind pretty much straight away. Think of the Audi Quattro S1 or even the Grp. A Escort Cosworth for instance and you have a very good line up of successful rally cars coming to mind. With a lot of people reminiscing over Group B and also Group A, it’s fair to say that there are a few fairly forgotten rally cars around the place and one of them is the original Alpine A110.
If you go back about 20 years before the birth of Group B and it’s craziness, the sport of Rallying was very different. For a start, the power levels were way more manageable, the teams were smaller and the cars were pretty much along the lines of ‘Race on Sunday, Buy on Monday’. Cars included were the original Mini Cooper ‘S’, the MK1 Escort Mexico’s as well as the Lancia Fulvia. Mixed in with those beautiful lot was the Alpine A110.
So what was so special about the Alpine then? Well for a start it was incredibly lightweight, weighing in at a lowly 706kg it was a good bit lighter than the Fulvia and the Escort MK1. Add in the small tuned Renault & Lotus-powered engines powering it, it was a force to be reckoned with. The best part though was its engine layout, even though the engines were small, they were hanging right over the back wheels in an RR (Rear Engined, Rear-Wheel-Drive) setup and this made it an absolute hoot to drive as well as very nippy through corners. due to the low weight over the front end, turn-in was crisp and due to the small size, it was unbelievably agile.
Power was also one of its good points as well, starting with a lowly 55bhp from the start, this was soon upped to 140bhp in later models which made it quick as well. You have to remember that while 140bhp may not sound like much these days, in the ’60s & ’70s rallying scene this was rather good, in comparison, a Mini Cooper ‘S’ from the same period only had about 70bhp. Add in the lightness and that amount of power made it a rocket.
While on the subject of lightness, the Alpine was made entirely of fiberglass while the chassis was a steel backbone affair. This was unseen on a rally car before simply due to the cost of materials. Compared to the rest of the competition that mainly used steel construction and steel bodies, the A110 was exotic in a way even though its underpinnings were from Renaults.
While aerodynamics isn’t exactly the be-all and end-all of rallying, you do need aerodynamics to a certain extent for the faster courses and this was where the A110 came into its own. unlike its rivals, the alpine was a properly curvy coupé with a teardrop-like design to it and this made it significantly more aerodynamic than anything at the time.
With a car as advanced as the Alpine was at the time, it was no surprise that it dominated the rally scene for a good significant amount of years, in fact in 1973 alone it won 6 rallies including the treacherous and difficult Monaco Rallye. the only car to come close was the humble Mini Cooper ‘S’. It was the first-ever car to win the World Rally Championship in 1973 making the Alpine Works Team the first-ever World Rally Champions. During the early 70’s nothing could touch the Alpine for dust. in fact it took it’s rivals a good few years to come out with something as successful.
With the original Alpine being so good at what it did and being loved the world over in the process, Renault decided to bring back the Alpine name in 2017 and go about creating a new-age car to hark back to the original. In late 2017 the new A110 was revealed and quickly afterwards put into production where it got a reputation for being a very good left-field rival to the likes of the Alfa Romeo 4C and the Porsche Cayman 718.
Even though the new car harks back to the original, everything has been modified and dialled in to make it as competitive as possible. Powering it is a 1.8T 4-cylinder unit with 4-valves per cylinder created by Renault-Nissan and then tuned by Alpine themselves to create a power output of 250bhp and 320nm of torque, this means it can do the 0-60 dash in a very respectable 4.5 seconds and with thanks to a 7-speed DCT it can go onto a top speed of 155mph limited.
In October of 2017, the new A110 cup was released and this was the return to racing for Alpine, unveiled as a track-only variant of the car it shares the same chassis as the road car but modified so it can include a roll cage, adjustable suspension and race brakes. On top of that, power was upped to 270bhp and the gearbox was replaced with a bespoke racing sequential gearbox and also new Michelin racing tires were fitted as well. Prices for the Cup variant started at €100,000 each.
In 2018, Alpine came back and released the GT4 version of the Alpine Cup, power is upped again and now the car has benefitted from added aerodynamics which includes an aggressive front splitter and large rear wing. customers of the already existing Cup could go to Alpine and get their cars upgraded to GT4 spec for a small fee if so wanted. Testing for the GT4 began in late 2018 so people could get used to the car before the 2019 season began, this gave both the drivers & the teams associated time to dial the car in for competitive use.
With the original Alpine A110 being nearly 60 years old, it is now wonder that in that time it has gained many a fan in both the rallying scene, the classic car scene and now with the modern variant, the sports car scene. Motorsport has always been in Alpines blood and with the Alpine A110, it cemented them as a very serious contender to larger rivals and with many a rally win under its belt, it has been able to hold its own and is now officially up there with the best.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
As some of you out there may know, I own a Volvo C70 Coupé known as ProjectC70. for those that don’t, in March 2015 I bought said Volvo as my first car for a measly £1200. Out of those 4½ years of ownership, a good 3½ years have been as a long-going project car, hence the name ProjectC70. A lot of people know about my car and the changes it’s had but one thing I have never said about it was how it ultimately saved my life from a truly horrible bout of Epilepsy.
Now before we get onto the car, I want to start from the very beginning. From a very young age, I have had health issues. From the age of 1½, I have had Kidney issues that meant for a majority of my life and even up to now, I was always having checkups at hospitals and for a good 14 years, I was also on a high-calorie milk feed to make up for the lack of food I was able to process. Since 15 years of age, this was pretty much my life and I was used to it. I was told what I could & couldn’t do and kept at life proving doctor after doctor wrong. By the time I was 15 I was lucky enough to have my last ever operation regarding my kidneys and this entailed me not needing to be on a high-calorie milk feed every night.
After that, everything was perfect, I was able to live life as normal for pretty much the first time in my life and I was so elated. I was so new to it that it felt strange to just do things that everyone else took for granted. It was going well and I was enjoying life, I was able to leave school at 16 & take up college doing the Mechanics course I loved. This was until April 2014 came around. This was when the worst thing to ever happen to anyone happened to me, this was my first seizure.
It was a normal college day and everything went normally, maybe a bit tired and stressed to some account but nothing out of the ordinary for a typical college student. I remember coming home and going to sleep for about an hour or so and by this time, this was a relatively normal thing for me to do. After waking up from my small nap that’s when everything got threw up in the air. I was shouted for my dinner and withing 5 minutes of waking up, I experienced my first ever seizure at the dining table in our house.
While I don’t remember a lot of what exactly happened, I remember getting sent to the hospital to find out what the hell had happened. After originally thinking it was a heart murmur, they soon took a brain scan and that was where they found out I possibly had Epilepsy. It was only until the second fit about a month later that they actually officially diagnosed it as Epilepsy. This is where something inside me just started to click, this was when I decided to fight the long difficult battle.
When in the hospital, I was told that the kind of seizures that I’d had were known as ‘Tonic-Clonic’ fits, the worst kind of epilepsy you can have. What that means, in short, is that when a seizure hits me, I go unconscious and start to convulse all my muscles. While they last for maybe a few minutes, the recovery is by far the worst. The headaches are futile and the pain in my joints is even worse, for me, it takes a good few weeks to actually get back to full health. For the first few hours, all I want to do is sleep.
As I said, with the news of this coming as a shock to all of us, I decided to fight it the best way I could and that was to buy a car, this is when the fight within me started. From August of 2014, I saved as much money as I possibly could to buy my very own C70 and I wasn’t going to give up without a fight and on March 6th the following year, ProjectC70 came into my life.
When the car came along I was elated once more. It was everything I’d ever wanted in life and to a young 17-18-year-old, I never realized that it’d be possible for someone in my situation would be able to have this happen so soon after my recovery. Even from the start of C70 ownership, I knew that there was a different feeling inside me about this car, it wasn’t just a box on wheels, it was my shield from my horrible brain injury.
Even though I was elated, I knew that I had to try my hardest to keep my fits at bay and try as I might, I did just that for over a year and a half but in October 2016 they came back with a vengeance. Instead of having one fit one day then another maybe a few weeks later, this time I had two fits in the same night one after the other. With that happening, I was back to the beginning again.
No fear though, I had my beloved C70 outside to get me through it all and regardless of what I had to personally go through, as long as my C70 was there I was prepared to fight with all the might I could muster. This is when I started to fix the C70 up and when it started to become a project car of the highest proportions. With ProjectC70 sitting outside in desperate need of work and me being at a bad point health-wise, I felt as if I could take on the world one bolt at a time.
When working on the car, regardless of how I might have been both mentally & physically, It never once phased me that I had this condition that could rear its head at literally any moment without any real signs. When working on the car, it was just me at that moment fixing something I loved, for those few hours I was normal.
All in all, I’ve probably had over 10 fits in the 5½ years I’ve had epilepsy and throughout it all, the C70 has been there by my side as my reason to fight the condition. It must’ve worked as I’ve not had a fit for well over a year now and to add to that, slowly but surely the C70 is also taking shape as well and for that, I couldn’t be happier.
Many people think that cars are just a piece of metal on wheels with no real purpose but to get us humans from point A to point B but for me and many others, certainly for those who are in really bad situation health-wise, cars are so much more than that. Recently I have been told to get rid of the C70 for something else but with everything I’ve gone through with it, I could simply never sell it.
By Alex Jebson
When it comes to cars, a lot of people love them for certain reasons. Whether it is their dream car or even a car they saw belting around racetracks, everyone has a reason why they like certain cars. For me and the C70, it was simple, I had a massive love for GT cars so when given the opportunity to own one as my first car I jumped at the chance. Add in the S80 that we had prior to me saving, this added the fuel to the fire so to speak, I simply had to have one. For my mate Junior, it was a very similar story but with a very different car manufacture. Whereas a lot of people might lust after a BMW M3 or a Jaguar F-Type, Junior has an undying love for Ssangyong Musso’s.
So, why is this and what makes Junior of all people like these cars so much? Well, simply put when he was growing up, his dad bought his first-ever Musso. Unfortunately Junior can’t really remember much about it apart from the fact it was silver, regardless of all that though, it sparked something inside him that he simply couldn’t shake however hard he tried. This was the start of Junior’s obsession with these true underdogs of the 4×4 world.
When I say that these are underdogs in the 4×4 world, I really mean it. The Musso exists due to a partnership between SsangYong & none other than Mercedes-Benz. Simply put, SsangYong was to build a car using the running gear from Mercedes and the Musso was the outcome. Engines available were a 2.9 non-turbo diesel which had a low output of 98bhp and a 0-60 time of 19.7s making it the slowest 4×4 on the UK market. after that, you had a 2.9 turbo diesel with 120bhp and an improved 0-60 run of 14 seconds. If you wanted a petrol-powered Musso, there was a 2.3 N/A 4-cylinder with 146bhp and then the mightiest of them all, the king daddy if you so wish. I am of course talking about the GX220. Because of the Mercedes underpinnings and the large bay that the Musso had, the mighty 3.2 M104 inline 6 was slotted in place giving the Musso a healthy 220bhp and a 0-60 of between 8.5s and 9-5s depending on reports. as mentioned, this was the engine in the GX220 which also so happened to be the top-spec Musso available at the time. The 3.2 powering it was so mighty that it was even known as the fastest 4×4 on the UK market for quite a substantial time even beating out the V8 Range Rovers which is actually surprising to hear, especially considering that a V8 Range Rover is one of my all-time favorite 4×4’s. Transmissions available for the Musso’s were either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed auto.
Designed from scratch by Ken Greenley, it isn’t actually too terrible in the looks department compared to other SsangYongs to come. With SsangYong being known throughout the Millenium for building truly ugly cars, the Musso stands proud as a 4×4 that actually looks rather good compared to the rest of the lineup. Even though these cars don’t appeal to a lot of people in regard to their design I actually like some of the design details they have. For example, the front door kinks down towards the front wing giving the car a rather nice side profile. Add in the rear-end and the way that it meets at an angle in the middle is also a nice touch and looks very Range Rover-ish but with an obvious stronger rake. Add in the 6-spoke wheels that come standard and it looks alright for a 4×4.
Getting back to Junior and his out & out obsession with these cars, it properly started for him when he was given his first Musso in green. Originally bought as a family car, it got replaced by another Musso so instead of part exchanging the old one for the replacement, it got given to Junior to play around with and that was the one Junior started to fall for. Unfortunately in 2009, the green one Junior had been given had to get stripped & sent to the scrapyard due to the overall condition of it. Shortly afterward, his dad sold the second green one with all the spares from the one Junior had.
After being without a Musso for about 4 years, in 2013 Juniors’ dad was looking at another 4×4 to tow their caravan they had and this is where the silver one came about. After being told about it sitting in a garden for about 4 years they eventually bought it for £350. Surprisingly after 4 years of sitting, it started the first time and only really need a few wheel nuts and new brakes to pass. After getting it roadworthy they used it for everything including a move from Bristol to Dumfries, Scotland. It was used daily up until July of last year where sadly Junior’s dad, unfortunately, passed away. Since then it was put into storage where it sat until March of this year when junior himself took the car over and brought it home to the driveway where it now currently sits.
Due to both his and his dad’s love for these underdogs, Junior decided to keep his dad’s memory alive by buying himself a red GX220 to remember him by. His original plan was to restore it but due to quite severe rust, it, unfortunately, got scrapped as it was too far gone. This is where his new one comes in. With junior feeling bummed out by the condition his red one was in, he decided to buy a white 1997 Musso GX220 as it’s replacement. Named ‘Harley’, this Musso is an Australian Import GX220 with the 4-speed auto fitted to it. White is a rare colour for Musso’s, especially here in the UK so to see a white one is quite a sight.
In the late ’90s, Daewoo bought out SsangYong which meant that there was also a Daewoo variant of the Musso, major differences between the two were new bumpers, new lights and a new front grille. Apart from that they pretty much stayed the same all the way from 1993 to 2005, not bad going for a 12-year life span. The Musso name came back recently but instead of getting applied to a 4×4 it was put onto their new pickup truck instead.
With everybody loving cars for different reasons, It’s nice to see people like Junior not just keeping these cars going but also keeping his dad’s spirit alive as well. All the rare parts and money in the world means nothing, especially if it’s getting preserved to keep a long-lost family members spirit alive and Junior is doing exactly that and good on him. anyone in that same situation would do that if given half the chance, including me!
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
When it comes to project cars, there can be good times and bad times. I know this all too well due to the shenanigans ProjectC70 has put me through. What if though, instead of getting a relatively good example of a project car, you decided to get a car that had been laid up for a good 17 years or so? Well, that was what my good mate Joshua decided to do.
Instead of buying something relatively popular and easy to fix, in 2017 he decided to go out and buy a 1971 Triumph Toledo 1300. Known as ‘Lucille’, the car was in a right state when he bought it, it was so far gone that it was almost falling in half when he got it, this was due to the strengthening bar down the driver’s side being pretty much non-existent. Along with even more rust in different places, Josh only had one real option and that was to buy a donor car.
Josh had been looking for a classic that needed some well-needed love and attention as he was wanting to do his first-ever restoration with his dad as their first joint project. He found Lucille up for sale and with some help from his late grandad, the rest was history. With Josh wanting to go down the fast road route with his Toledo, it was time to get to work.
The first job was to strip down the donor car and fix or replace the panels on Lucille for better ones. Amongst the numerous amount of cutting out old rust both visible and under layers of undercoat and welding in new pieces, one of his big jobs was a new front end taken straight from the front end of the donor car as the old one was completely gone.
On top of that, the running gear was been completely stripped down and now has a rebuilt 1300cc engine with a stage three highlift cam, stage 3 racing head and a stage 3 racing flywheel built by an ex triumph specialist. to run alongside that it now also has a stage 2 racing clutch. The carburetors were ripped out for Dolomite 1850 ones and now also runs a twin chain timing gear. The bottom end has also been rebuilt with a balanced crankshaft to make it even smoother when running. With all that being done, the next thing to do is to pair it to a Spitfire 1500’s gearbox with overdrive. The last touch in the drive train is a new exhaust made up from both Dolomite & Spitfire pieces, this is due to the fact that is going from a 4-1 into a 4-2-1 setup.
Suspension wise, its getting poly bushed all round as well as a disc-brake conversion on the front. originally Toledo’s had drums all around until discs became standard in ’73 and because Josh’s car is a ’71 it still has drums fitted. When finished, the car will be sitting on a set of Carmona Engineering Mod Mistral Minilites to set the car off.
Differential wise, it is going to have a 1500 rear axle & differential fitted for now until Josh gets enough together for a potential LSD setup. an LSD can be used in them but due to costing around the £1000 mark, they’re definitely not cheap to pick up.
Lucille is also going to get resprayed in its original color of Mallard Blue, on top of that it is also going to get front fog lights fitted and a heated rear windscreen as well. Interior wise will mostly be original apart from a custom made steering wheel made just for the car.
Now, for those of you that may not know that much about the Toledo, simply put it was the successor to the 1300 & 1500 and the predecessor to the Dolomite. You had two engines available and these were the 1300cc unit and the 1500cc unit. The main difference between the older 1500 and the Toledo was the front end arrangement. see, Triumph 1500’s had twin-headlamps whereas the Toledo had rectangular units set in a grey plastic grille.
The main difference was the move to rear-wheel drive with a live rear axle. Power outputs for the 1300 engine were 58bhp whereas the output for the Toledo 1500 engine was 61bhp for a single carb model and 64bhp for a twin carb setup.
The Toledo came in two body styles, a 2-door saloon, and a 4-door saloon. Even though the 4-door model was longer and larger than the 2 door model it only weighed 50kgs heavier, this meant a curb weight of a lowly 890kg, impressive for a 4 door saloon.
The main differences between the two body styles were as followed. in the 4 door, you had two extra ashtrays in the rear doors & radial tires instead of the cross-ply’s the 2-door came with. Even though the two body styles looked similar, there were subtle changes made for both models. These included non-wraparound front & rear bumpers for the 2-door and also under riders as well whereas the 4-door got wraparound bumpers from the start. By 1972/1973 these were later changed on the two-door models.
By 1976, the 2-door model faded out while the 4-door stayed on for its final year when it was produced alongside the then all-new Dolomite. This was the only time where they got a facelift that consisted of black & silver grilles instead of the grey, mirrors were also added & so was chrome trim down the lower part of the door as well as on the rain gutter.
Like a lot of people who know, project cars are never easy to work with, but with the path that Josh is going down with his Toledo, it is sure to be a little firecracker when finished. With the work that has already gone into it and the work that is due to be done in time, Lucille will be a Toledo like no other. With cars and owners like these, this is pretty much what keeps the classic car scene continuing even to this day and long may it continue.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
When it comes to dream jobs, there’s a lot to choose from. Whether it’s becoming a musician or even a comedian everyone has their dream job. One of those dream jobs for a lot of people is to become a pilot, I mean what exactly is cooler than flying a plane and seeing the world from a completely different perspective? Well, for my good friend Keiran, he is lucky enough to be in a position to be a pilot. Because of this, he needs something a little extra special to drive around in when he’s not in the air. Thankfully for him, he has such a car, a 1971 MGB GT.
Now personally, I love the MGB GT and I always have since the day I first clocked eyes on them but for some reason, I’ve never had the notion to own one. Keiran, on the other hand, had to have one. See like a lot of people, the MGB GT was one of his dream cars. With an E-Type Jaguar out of reach, Keiran settled on his affordable dream car instead, this 1971 MGB GT.
Lovingly named ‘Molly, Keiran has owned this MGB for exactly a year now and as mentioned above it has been a car that he has cherished pretty much all his life. Being around classic cars and immersing yourself in that community is an amazing thing and Keiran has done exactly that, he lives & breaths classic cars. No surprise really when his Dad started up a company manufacturing knock-off spinners & hubs.
Now originally the MGB was a two-door roadster to compete in the ever populated ‘British Sports Car’ craze of the late ’50s & ’60s. rivals included the Triumph TR-series as well as the Sunbeam Alpine. originally powered by an enlarged 1.8l tuned variant of the MGA’s 4-cylinder B-series engine, output was measured at 95bhp & 110 ib-ft torque. By 1965 MG released the MGB GT which was a two-door coupé based on the roadster. With the rear hatch designed by Pininfarina, it certainly looked fantastic and due to it being a coupé it was both weathertight & also benefitted from a large boot area. With later models being both powered from the C-series 3.0 i6 and then the 3.5 Rover V8 unit, there was an engine for everyone.
With this in mind, the MGB GT soon got the title of “Poor Mans Aston Martin” and I can see as to why. See unlike a DB5 or even an E-Type the MG was by far cheaper to buy and run. In fact, in some cases, you could have two MGB’s for the price of one DB5 or E-Type. It wasn’t as if you were even lacking in anything really as even the interior & build quality on the early models were on par with anything considerably more expensive.
Getting back to Keirans car again, his MGB GT is a 1971 MK2 model, you can tell this by the toned-down chrome around the grille and lack of wire wheels. Originally built at the renowned MG Abingdon factory in Oxfordshire, Keiran’s model is a very late MK2 model with the older styled dashboard and center console carried over from the MK1. When the MK3’s were released, the interior, along with some exterior features were changed.
Being an MK2, Keirans car has what is known by MGB people as the “Fish Mouth” grille, named aptly due to its recessed nature. Add in the chrome bonnet trim and it is a very rare feature to see these days. In fact, this grille was the first attempt by MG to break into the American market before regulations changed. by 1974, every MGB was given new black bumpers known as “Rubber Bumpers” due to the material used.
Along with the rubber bumpers, the US cars got their ride height increased by 1.5 inches and also a detuned engine producing a lowly 60bhp. This made the MGB a bit of a flop in the US market when launched which is rather unfortunate.
With every classic car & owner story, Keiran absolutely loves his MGB. Even though he’s only owned the car for 1 year, he says that he feels as if it’s been about 10 years. It evokes a feeling you just don’t get in a modern car, whether that be the smells or even the view you get from behind the steering wheel, owning an MGB is a magical experience to behold. With the long bonnet and the Mota Lita steering wheel that is fitted to Keirans car, it feels special before you even start it up and take it for a drive.
Repair wise, Keiran has done a fair amount to his MGB GT to make it outstanding. These include a new stainless steel exhaust system fitted, re-chromed bumpers as well as numerous mechanical parts fitted. Mechanically speaking he has replaced the condenser, fuel pump, fuel sender & rocker cover to make sure that the 1.8 B-Series purrs along nicely and doesn’t give him any untoward aggro.
In the year of ownership, Keiran hasn’t been afraid of using his car to its full potential, trips have included a convoy around the Peak District with his mate and their S1 Jaguar E-Type. It’s recently been on show at this year’s NEC Classic Car Motor Show down in Birmingham which is a massive car show here in the UK. On top of that, it has also been driven around the BBC’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ set which is undeniably cool. It has also spent some time driving around the Black Country Museum as well.
Next year, Keiran wants to take it on even more adventures, these include the Beaulieu National Motor Museum as well as the small village of Goathland on the Yorkshire moors. Goathland for people who don’t know was the home of the TV Drama Heartbeat which also happens to be one of Keiran’s favorite TV programs.
Even though Keiran is only 21, he is already a committee member of the MG MG Car Club Young Members Branch where owners and young enthusiasts of both classic & modern MGs under the age of 25 can come together to enjoy these cars. With a lot of young people not getting into classic cars, Keiran and his branch try their utmost to keep the classic car scene alive by getting members to sign up. Simply put, if no one does anything, these cars and the scene that comes with them will simply disappear into the history books if nothing is done about it. Keiran is so passionate about classics that he will take 5 or so minutes out of his day simply to let people come up and chat about his car to passers-by.
For anyone wanting to look into buying a classic car and are considering an MGB, go and take a look at the ‘MG Car Club Young Members Branch’ as you’ll find a lot of like-minded people who’ll take you under their wing so to speak and help you out with anything you may need.
Hope you Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
Being in the automotive journalism scene, over the years of doing this I’ve been able to join a good amount of car groups through social media. Now for me being a massive lover of classic cars, it was only right that my Facebook newsfeed was pretty much covered in classic car groups & their posts. Through these groups, I’ve been able to meet some very good people with equally as good classic cars and make some good mates in the process and recently I have been able to do that. So, with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to my mate Harley and tell you the story behind his Triumph Herald.
Harley is a 16-year-old lad who has a love for classic cars and just like a lot of classic car enthusiasts when it came to picking his first car he didn’t want a Corsa or a Fiesta, in fact, he had something completely different in mind. Instead of buying any of them, he decided to buy a 1966 Triumph Herald instead. So what is a Triumph Herald you may ask? Well, during the late ’50s Triumph decided to build a replacement for their Standard 10 to compete with both Rover & Riley and the likes.
The Herald was released with 5 body styles. These included a 2-door saloon, a 2-door coupé, a 2-door convertible, a 2-door estate & last but not least their 2-door van known as the courier. Originally powered by a 948cc engine, they were soon updated and powered by a 1147cc unit in 1961 giving the car a massive 39bhp. Compared to the old engine, the newer 1147cc unit had a power increase of a truly incredible 5.5bhp.
As I’ve already mentioned, Harley’s example is a 1966 1200 Saloon and is in incredible condition for a 53-year-old car. With hardly any rust or paint issues to be seen, this Herald has to be one of the cleanest ones going. To keep it being one of the cleanest cars going however hasn’t been an easy task at all, like all cars it has had a lot of work done to it to keep it in tip-top condition. These include new driveshafts, new brakes all round, some snazzy yellow headlamps, a restored interior, a tuned-up engine with a rebuilt carburetor. On top of that, it has had new parts fitted like a new lift pump, fuel lines and last but not least some really rather lovely banded steels with wider tires.
So, as you can already tell, Harley loves this little thing but there might be a question you might be wondering and that is this. Why exactly did Harley go for a Herald and why does he love them so much? Well, simply put, Harley has had a fondness for Heralds ever since he was 13. He knew someone with one and simply fell in love with it and vowed to own one when he was older. His Herald isn’t actually the first one he looked at, see like any other petrol head, it took him quite a bit of time to find the perfect example within budget and with his car, the wait certainly paid off.
Another reason why Harley got the Herald is due to the simple yet innovative mechanical setup. Being a small, low powered car everything is easy to get to and fix and it is even easier to drive and that is no surprise really, with light steering and its small size, it made the Herald such easy to drive.
The only real issue with the early Heralds and other Triumphs of this age was the handling characteristics. See, early Heralds had a tendency to be a handful at high speeds, to overcome this issue, Triumph came out with what they called the “Swing Spring”. This was a “limited” independent rear suspension setup that made the car a whole lot more planted. Thankfully there are many companies that do Swing Spring Conversion Kits to make the earlier examples handle like the later cars for not much money. They also promise easy fitting even from a home mechanic with no bodgery involved.
It’s never easy buying a classic car for your first car simply because there are so many cars for the taking. With so many of them being out of reach it is great to see one you’ve always dreamed of owning still being easy to get into and with the Herald, they are still at a price where they are relatively affordable and really easy to own.
Harley here really fell on his feet with his Herald, it has to be one of the cleanest examples in the country and even with the modifications done to it thus far, it’s not been ruined or distastefully modified. On top of all that, it has been really looked after well both by Harley and its previous owners. This is a car to be proud of and with Harley working on it, I can see this Herald being something even more special than how it currently is.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
So we all know the story with the Lexus LS400 right? If not, here is a brief rundown on it. In the late ’80s, Toyota wanted to build a full-sized luxury car to rival the best from Germany, America & The UK. The only issue that they had was their image, see at the time Toyota was known for building cheap, reliable and long-lasting vehicles with no other real attributes apart from getting the occupant from A-B in relative comfort. this was a major problem for the brand, especially when they wanted to build a luxury car, simply put Toyota simply couldn’t bring a luxury car to the market and expect it to sell to either current SEL or XJ40 owners due to badge snobbery and on the other hand, they couldn’t sell it to the humble Corolla owner as they simply couldn’t stump up over the equivalent of £60,000 on what was a Toyota product. Not wanting to give up, Toyota decided to take a leaf out of both Nissan & Honda’s book and create a luxury sub-brand, thus creating what we all know as Lexus. This is the story of both the beginnings of Lexus and the LS400.
With Lexus standing for ‘Luxury Exports to The U.S’, this name worked out well, not just was it to the point, to people who didn’t really know or didn’t really care, the brand ‘Lexus’ pretty much rolled off the tongue as a manufacturer with a bit of caliber. With the name figured out, Toyota went on to build its first-ever Lexus branded car. Originally named Project F1, it stood for ‘Flagship One’ before eventually getting known & released as the LS400. The simple task of the LS was to be the best car the world has ever seen. Unlike its rivals from Germany, America, and even the UK, the Lexus was unbelievably reliable. Like a lot of Japanese cars of the time, it was built to work day in day out without falter or hassle. With Toyota and Lexus slowly getting customers through their doors with the original LS400, they decided to move on to the 2nd generation model in 1994.
While the second generation may have looked similar to the original, pretty much everything was updated and upgraded. It was longer than the previous generation but somehow shaved off 95kg compared to the MK1 it replaced. Add in the updated 1UZ it had carried over from the original car, it made 260bhp & 270 Ib-ft torque which meant an upgraded 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds.
With a lot of Lexus’ these days, the LS400 came equipped with an absolute ton of fancy equipment as standard and the MK2 was no different. Dual-Zone climate control was added as well as rear cupholders, in regards to the entertainment system, an in-dash CD changer was also added as well as an option. The best part though was the electric memory steering wheel, it would come out and greet you when you turned the key and then go back once you got out the car to make it easier to get in and out. Compared to its rivals, for the amount of kit it got as standard, it was by far more than the equivalent Mercedes or Jaguar, add in the lower price and its no real wonder the LS400 flew out the showroom.
What made the MK2 so good though was its packaging. See, with the likes of Mercedes or Audi or even Jaguar, the Lexus never had an LWB option which meant that it never went crazier in the price for a bit more legroom. They were able to make it longer thus giving it better interior legroom while still retaining the same wheelbase as the original.
The MK2 also got enhancements in safety with larger crumple zones and 3-point seatbelts at all possible positions. On top of all that, it also got a collapsible steering column making it one of the first cars to ever have an electrically operated collapsible steering column. While in Europe and in the US it was badged as a Lexus, over in Japan it was badged as the Toyota Celsior and with every JDM spec car, these came with even more options than the equivalent Lexus badged models. These included reclining rear seats, a GPS system as well as more exterior colors.
In 1997, the LS400 was facelifted to give it a fresher appearance, this included new headlamp units, a new grille and refreshed rear lamps as well as new front fascia, new wing mirrors and a new set of wheels. Interior wise it got retractable rear headrests, a trip computer, reading lamps and ultraviolet tinted glass. Mechanically speaking, it got a new 5-speed automatic gearbox and a new state of the art VVTi system raising power to 290bhp and a 30Ib-ft increase in torque which meant that acceleration times & fuel economy was vastly increased.
By the early ’00s, the LS400 got even more equipment thrown at it, these include the option of the CD-ROM based GPS system taken from its Japanese cousin, front side airbags, HID headlamps, a traction control system and brake assist. In Japan, the Celsior got the first-ever laser adaptive cruise control system which was big news back then. Unlike modern systems where it controls the throttle and brakes according to the vehicle in front, the Celsior’s version worked off throttle control and downshifting.
What To Look For.
While Lexus’ are uber reliable compared to its rivals, like every car they do have their issues. While Toyota & Lexus took home many a reliability award during the time of production, don’t expect these to be perfect.
First of all, due to all the equipment onboard it is no doubt that after nearly 30 years on the road something will come up and one of these is the LCD screen for the clock & climate control going black.
The power steering fluid can leak which can then go all over the alternator failing it in the process. if this does happen you’d need to fork out on a new alternator & power steering pump.
Bad spark plugs can cause a shuddering on these cars, with a V8 you, of course, have to buy 8 of these but due to plugs not being too expensive these are relatively affordable. While you are there, change out the ignition coils as these can also cause similar issues.
Catalytic converters are also an issue on these cars and replacements aren’t exactly cheap, quote a good few hundred pounds for them to be replaced. For these, it’d be easier to get these from the main dealers as aftermarket ones don’t last too long on these.
Check both the seat rails & the seatbelts as these can get tired & blocked over time. Thankfully there are a good few guides on how to fix these issues so they aren’t as bad as first thought.
The main issue really with this car and with every Lexus it seems are the eye-watering parts prices & labor costs from the dealer. Even though it runs Toyota parts, Lexus charges a good chunk more for their parts and a lot of these can be crazy expensive. Thankfully the Lexus LS400 & Toyota Celsior don’t have too many issues compared to a lot of big cars so it shouldn’t be needing these parts all the time and with Lexus & Toyota specialists all over the place, it is easy to find places that can fix stuff cheaper than the main dealers.
With prices for these hitting a very low bracket, it is very easy to find yourself lusting after one of these brilliant cars and with Toyota’s impeccable reliability record it makes perfect sense to buy one over an equivalent Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz or Audi A8. As long as you can find a perfect one in an amazing condition they’ll be bound to last for millions of miles. Parts prices and labor are expensive, especially at main dealers but with a lot of specialists around the place, it really isn’t difficult to get a majority of the issues fixed a whole lot cheaper.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson