A Love Letter To ProjectC70!!

Well well well, how time flies! Can you believe I have owned you for 5 years now? Yeah I know, I can’t quite believe it neither but here we are. After tirelessly searching for a C70 like you for well over a year, I honestly thought I’d never get one but then after searching high and low on a nationwide search, I spotted you, a little diamond in the rough. From that point on I knew I had to take a punt on you and bring you home.

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I still remember the day I clapped eyes on you, unlike the pictures taken of you by your previous owner, you looked absolutely gorgeous in the flesh. Your slick Saffron Orange Pearl paint instantly caught my eye, add in your factory 17″ BBS Propus alloy wheels and you looked like nothing else in the Cul-De-Sac where you once lived. It was 6:30pm at night when I saw you but my excitement started way before that. Even though I had been saving for a car similar to you for well over 8 months into an academic year, It never quite hit me how special buying you would be. See, before you came along, my life wasn’t going that well. College staff at the time was being difficult to work with and It felt as if they tried everything in their power to stop me from getting what was my dream first car.

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See, unlike some people I knew, I never had the money to get a new car on finance so, with that, it meant I had no choice but to buy a used car. The thing is though, as, with old cars, it wasn’t easy for me to pick a definite answer. There were so many nice cars and also scrappers with numerous owners out there for sale, I could’ve gone for anything I was looking at. If it wasn’t for my parents buying a MK1 S80 of a similar age, I would’ve never even found either you or C70’s in general. See, Volvo’s were never my go-to car choice. Like a lot of people, I simply preferred other marques over the Swedish giant that built you with love, care, and attention all those years ago.

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Originally, My intention was to acquaint myself with a car like you after having a couple of smaller cars beforehand but when I noticed the prices that cars like you were going for, It was very difficult to get you out of my mind. With prices equal to a similarly aged Vauxhall Corsa or Renault Clio, you came in completely out of the blue with way more to offer than those two cars for pretty much the same price, this was what got me hooked. My decision was only finalized after doing an insurance quote and getting a very reasonable but unexpected price back. For the same price as a Corsa for insurance, I could get you and save about £200 on insurance and considering what you came with as standard, it was very easy to finally make my decision on what I wanted.

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As soon as I got the green light from my parents, I got to work saving up every single penny to find what would be you, a very lovely but underrated little Swedish meatball. As soon as I joined back up to the college in August of that year I instantly started saving my college money together to buy you. All I had on my mind was you, nothing more & nothing less. For me to save as much money as I could, I asked my parents if they could help me save a bit of money on certain things so I could get you. Knowing how much a car like you meant to me, they obliged pretty much straight away by helping me pay my phone and also sort out packed lunches instead of paying out for food.

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With this arrangement sorted out, I was well on my way to buying you. As mentioned above, It wasn’t easy going due to the staff at the college trying as hard as they might to pretty much throw me out months before getting enough money together. With them putting that amount of pressure on me with my Epilepsy, it was very lucky that I was able to keep relatively cool and focus on other things instead. With the way the staff was going, on certain occasions, it felt as if I’d never be able to live out my dream of buying a car like you.

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This is when the beginning of March rolled around. My life was about to change drastically and for the good. After keeping my head down the best I could and getting on with my college work, I was able to save up a pretty decent £1700 out of a £2500 limit, this gave me enough money to find a car like you and also tax & insurance deposit as well. At the beginning of the week dating from the 2nd-9th March of 2019, it was pretty much a blur, to be honest. I was never expecting to be buying you so quickly and this was because I was originally planning to buy you in the summer of 2015 instead of the spring but with the way the college was going, I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I was either thrown out or pushed to the point of leaving out my own free will, It was now or never.

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I come across the advert for you over on Gumtree on the 5th of March late at night and instantly went to show you off to my parents. After getting an answer from your previous owner, we settled on checking you out at 6:30pm the next night after both college and your previous owners work. I couldn’t keep my excitement at bay however hard I tried which was strange, especially after being able to keep it a secret to a lot of people over the 8 months of saving up. I was literally counting down the hours as they went by and the excitement got even more intense the closer it got to the end of the college day.

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After college finished, I instantly headed to the bank as quick as I could to release all the funds I’d had saved up to buy you and bring you home. It was time to face the music and head to the address where you were situated. Of all the C70’s similar I’d looked at all over the classifieds on a nationwide search, I found you living 25 miles away from home and only a 10-minute drive from the college where I was studying at the time, It was as if it was meant to be.

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I turned up at your old residence at 6:00pm that night and I was patiently waiting for you to turn up so I could get up close to your Swedish magnificence and you certainly didn’t disappoint when you slowly rolled in at 6:30pm that night. I still remember the first time I ever saw you. I was elated with both joy and also shock due to the impact you had on me in those first 5 minutes. I’d seen many pictures of C70’s for sale on the internet but I’d never got close to a Coupé like you before. You blew me away with your beauty pretty much straight away, all I remember saying when I walked over to you was ‘That’s My Car’  and that was before I’d even handed over any money. You blew me away so much that I didn’t even knock the price down, you were honestly perfect in my eyes.

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After buying you and bringing you home, I decided to get some pictures of you the next day as I was so proud of the achievement I’d done. Without even realizing it, my phone soon started to pop off with notifications as the celebrations started to come in one by one. Within a weekend away, I’d gone from someone quiet to everyone talking about me and you. By the time I came home that weekend, you were on everyone’s mind whether good or bad.

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As the months and years have gone by, me and you have had to put up with people throwing both shade and good comments our way and through it all, we’ve proved that it is possible to own a car as lovely as you without paying over the odds. While some of the comments haven’t been nice, a lot of people have made some really nice comments about you and that makes me happy.

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Since becoming a project car nearly 4 years ago, you have transformed into something even more special to both me and to everyone who has had the opportunity to see you up close & personal and for that, I’m glad to put the work in to make you my dream C70. while the last few years haven’t been easy, I still have that spark to work on you regardless of circumstances.

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As well as being a top car to own and live with, you have also helped me on my darkest days and have proved to many people that an epileptic can indeed own, drive and fix a car of their own and not be treated any different than anyone else. it’s not the first time you have saved me neither. When I went through my breakup a few years ago that caused me to have two fits in one night and lose pretty much everything, you were sitting there with open arms to fix your little issues.

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From that point on, alongside my writing, you became lovingly known as ProjectC70 and you have opened me up to your epicness in a way I never thought was possible. Every time I go out to work on something wrong with you, I am at my calmest and happiest and you make that possible by being relatively easy to work on and fix.

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I have been able to have the confidence to fix major issues wrong with you and get them fixed with relative ease without stressing out on missing bolts or screwing something up. The Volvo community loves you and the work that I have been able to put into you over these last 4 years.

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I still can’t quite believe that it’s been 5 years since I originally clocked eyes on you and brought you home, the years and good times have come in quick for the both of us. We’ve met some amazing people and also some people not worth mentioning but through it all, both me and you have shown that with a lot of love and determination to make things worse, we can both go from strength to strength regardless of what people say so from me to you, Happy 5th anniversary ProjectC70!

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

Everything You Need To Know About The Volvo P1800 And What Made It So Special!

When it comes to cult cars of the ’60s, it is very easy to mention pretty much any Ferrari, the Aston Martin DB5, the Jaguar E-Type or even the humble yet well-loved Mini. With so many great cars coming out in the ‘Swinging Sixties’, it is very easy to look over a certain car for another that is very similar, look at the Mustang vs Camaro battle or the Ferrari 250GT vs the Lamborghini 350/400GT rivalry for example. One of those cars I feel has been semi-forgotten about is the beautiful yet simple Volvo P1800.

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Before we start on the subject at hand, however, I’ll start off with a bit of history first. So, it’s the late ’40s & early ’50s and Volvo have just released their PV444 onto the market to cement Volvo’s future just after the devastation of WW2. The PV was the first Volvo in 20 years to come equipped with a 4-cylinder engine to reduce emissions and to increase fuel economy.

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Through this time, Volvo soon got a reputation for building well-built, strong & dependable cars and so with this in mind, Volvo decided that the best thing to do was to take it rallying to show off how dependable it actually was. to no-ones surprise, the PV stormed to numerous victories on its home turf of Sweden as well as numerous other rally stages around the world at the time. With numerous victories in the bag and the 4-cylinder engines showing their worth in both performance and reliability, Volvo decided to build an open-top sports car with similar build credentials of the C1 Corvette.

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What I mean by that is simple. Just like the Corvette, Volvo’s new sports car was to have a body made of fiberglass to make it as light as possible and with one of the well-known ‘B’ series engines powering it, it was meant to be quick. I mean it was meant to be a sports car after all. Called the ‘Volvo Sports’ or the ‘P1900’, it was released in 1956 and was made to take on the American market due to their fondness of sports cars. Unfortunately, due to the lack of power the 4-cylinder gave out & the lack of knowledge the Americans had about Volvo at the time, it was pretty much a flop. So much so in fact, by the next year, only 68 had been made and that was it, Volvo pulled the plug.  With that amount of criticism given, Volvo went back to the drawing board and vowed to never make the same mistake twice. This was where the P1800 was born.

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Bursting onto the scene in 1961, the P1800 soon got the attention of many sports car lovers from all over the world. for a start, it looked way better than the P1900 it had succeeded and secondly, the engine was majorly reworked to produce a pretty decent 100bhp from its 1.8 ‘B18’ engine. While this didn’t make it as quick as an Aston Martin DB4 or a Ferrari 250GT, it had a 400cc & 30bhp size & power increase over the P1900 and the PV that came before it making it pretty brisk in comparison. Add in the beautiful looks done by Pelle Petterson under the tutelage of Pietro Frua of Ghia, it looked as elegant as a Ferrari or a Lamborghini but with a price tag, badge and build quality of a typical Volvo of the time, think of it as their ‘Exotic’ if you like.

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With that in mind, the P1800 started to sell surprisingly well and was starting to be loved the world over as a very good entry-level GT car. The engine & drivetrain was bulletproof with hardly any issues to really fix, the interior was simply stunning for a Volvo of the time and it was wrapped in one of the prettiest bodies the ’60s had ever seen, what was there not to like?

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Originally, the P1800 came with what was known as a ‘Jensen’ Body. See, unlike many cars of the time that was pretty much put together and crafted by hand, Volvo decided to get the UK-based sports car company, Jensen, to build the body while Volvo did the rest. This made production costs and overall build time quicker thus meaning more cars could be made and eventually sold to the public. Out of all the P1800’s going, these ‘Jensen’ bodied cars are the rarest and the most sought after variants of the P1800.

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By 1963, due to a problem with quality control, Volvo ended the contract with Jensen after nearly 6000 cars were built and moved the production to their Lundby plant in Gothenburg, Sweden in favor of the new 1800S. Now while many think the ‘S’ stood for Sport, it actually stood for ‘Sverige’ or Sweden once translated into English. This meant the new cars were better built with stronger bodies. with the ‘S’ the P1800 really came into its own as a dependable yet sporty GT coupé, on top of the stronger body, the engines got an 8bhp upgrade over the original 100bhp cars. by 1966 the power was upgraded yet again to 115bhp giving it a top speed of 109mph.

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By the time the ’70s rolled by, the P1800 got upgraded yet again into what we now know as the P1800E. the ‘E’ stood for ‘Einspritz’, the German word for fuel injection. The engine was also upgraded with the ‘B20E’ engine which as the name suggests was a ‘B’ series engine with a 2.0 displacement and of course, the then-new fangled Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection system fitted. on top of that, the camshaft was also revised to give out a full output of 130bhp while still remaining the same fuel economy as the earlier cars. this power increase gave a top speed of 118mph and a 0-60 of 9.5s which was quite good for back in the day.

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The 1800E was also the first P1800 model to get brake discs all round as well for improved braking over the earlier cars that had discs on the front and drums on the rear. With Volvo being all about safety, this was a massive step forward in the car industry for the time.  In 1972, to meet emission standards, the engine was changed out for the lower compression ‘B20F’ unit for certain markets including the USA. Along with the new ‘F’ head, the ECU, manifold pressure sensor and head gasket were also changed out for the cars with the new ‘B20F’ engines. Power for these was down to 125bhp which might sound like a bit of a disaster but in reality, it made the car easier to live with and more of a cruiser than an out & out sports car.

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In 1972, alongside the new ‘B20F’ engine available, there was also a new variant of the P1800 to accommodate the new engine and this one was by far the one everyone remembers and for very good reasons. Called the ‘1800ES’, the new car was a shooting brake style design instead of the 2-door 4-seater coupé the P1800 was known for. featuring a longer body & wheelbase & longer rear quarter windows as well as the all-new rear end to accommodate the full rear tailgate area that was made entirely of glass. When the 1800ES was getting designed and signed off, Sergio Coggiola & Pietro Frua built two prototypes but both were considered too futuristic for some and the design eventually went to Jan Wilsgaard’s design proposal instead. as mentioned, the new-fangled ‘B20F got fitted into the P1800ES giving the car a detuned output of 125bhp and this was done by giving the car a thicker head gasket & a lower compression ratio. This made the car easier to drive and not as on-edge as the older cars thus drastically improving the driving experience in the process.

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The 1800ES was also very practical as well, with a foldable rear bench, a large cargo area and of course the full glass tailgate, this was a sports car that could actually haul IKEA furniture if needs be. Due to the large cargo area, this was also brilliant for long road trips as it could take a lot of bags without too many major issues. While on the subject of road trips, the gearboxes used in the ES were also perfect for long trips. while the 4 speed with overdrive stayed with the car, new to the ES was a 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic. The ES was in production for two years before getting killed off altogether in 1974 due to upcoming stringent emissions standards of the time.

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In its 13 years of production, 39,407 coupés & 8,077 ES’s were produced making it very popular for the time. Even after nearly 46 years after the last P1800 rolled out of the production line, the cars have become quite a collector’s item with many an owner and fan lusting after them and keeping them for years. With thanks to the 60’s TV series called ‘The Saint’, a white P1800 and P1800S adorned UK & US televisions cementing these cars in the hearts of millions worldwide.

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Famous owners and also fans of the car were both the late greats, Sir Roger Moore & Irv Gordon to name a few. Sir Roger loved driving the P1800 so much on set he actually bought one for himself and for a time, this was his only car. Sources close to Roger say that he used to take his kids to school in the back of said white P1800 similar to the one on the show which must’ve been pretty cool, to say the least.

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Irv Gordon, on the other hand, became well known in both the Volvo circles as well as the car community for owning a red 1800S that over time started to gather up well over 3,000,000 miles as of and after 2013. Irv’s car was credited with being awarded a ‘Guinness World Record’ plaque for celebrating such a milestone. in a twist of fate, however, Irv, unfortunately, passed away in late 2018 while away on a trip to China. With an indicated 3.2M miles on the clock when he passed, no other car has even come close to that humble little Volvo.

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With a lot of classic cars getting love for many different reasons, I think its time to show a bit more love & recognition to the Volvo P1800. It may have been a Volvo to some but to others, it was every bit an icon to those who have continued to own them over the years. It may not have had the pace of a Ferrari or an Aston but what it lacked in some departments it made up for in others. If it’s good enough for Sir Roger Moore then it’s good enough for the rest of us.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson.

We Need To Start Helping Fellow Petrolheads Combat Mental Health Issues!

As any petrolhead knows, the car community is absolutely huge. Look anywhere on social media or online on the likes of Youtube and you’ll get an idea of how large the community actually is. For me, I’m in many groups on social media and I’m friends with many different wonderful people in countries thousands of miles away who all share the same passion; cars! So why is it a surprise then when I say that nearly every single day, yet another fellow car guy suffers from some form of mental health issue?

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It’s no surprise really when you understand that the once-great community we surround ourselves in has now turned into what seems to be a massive row and argument over who has the best or cleanest or even the most expensive car at the likes of meets or even groups. When you have people behaving like that, it is no wonder that one by one people start to leave the once brilliant community behind. Now even I admit that there is more to it than just meets, even if you are like me and you fix never-ending project cars if you don’t get no help even when literally shouting from the rooftops then that can very easily turn you off fixing the car in question and can really affect your head even if you feel fine otherwise. I know this situation all too well as it has happened to me before on numerous occasions and let me tell you, it is not a nice feeling to be in a situation like that at all. It turns out that I’m not the only one who’s been like this at one point in their lives neither.

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In some cases, someone could already be feeling down through other things and all the hate and lack of support you can possibly get in the current car scene pretty much tips them over the edge. With mental health issues being so broad and being very well hidden (especially those who are men), It’s very easy to judge and come out with stuff without realizing what’s actually going on inside someone’s head. I’ve been unfortunate enough to see this enough in a good few mates I’ve made through the car scene and it isn’t easy to watch whatsoever, especially when you consider them to be good mates of yours.

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All is not lost however, all the stuff I mentioned above is easily reversible, in fact, it’s one of the easiest things to fix. First of all, and I know this sounds daft but if someone you know needs some help and they live close by then simply suggest and ask if you can give them a hand, not just will this get you busy but it’ll also help out the people involved.

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Don’t ever put anyone’s car down, whether that be to someone’s face or even behind their backs. The main issue with the car community is everyone’s opinions bouncing off each other and once they become conflicted causing an argument that’s when things get bad and it’s simply not needed. Regardless of if it’s to your taste or not, its not a nice feeling for someone to put hours and hours of blood, sweat & tears into building their dream build just for it to be shot down in flames because one person doesn’t like a certain part or a certain way someone has fixed or modified something.

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If someone you know is feeling down and needs taking out of their slumber they’re in, there is a lot of things you can do that can & will instantly boost said person(s) mood pretty much tenfold. Whether their car is on the road or not, one of those activities you can do is take the person to a well-known petrol-heads place of interest, whether it’s ‘Caffeine & Machine’ in the UK or even to a ‘Cars & Coffee’ event, these types of places are brilliant for talking to people and sharing the love of cars.

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Even a simple convoy with a few like-minded mates to a well-known tourist attraction has been known to boost people’s moods pretty much straight away. Nothing makes a car person feel better than going out on drives with good mates on good roads, the memories stick with everyone involved for years on end as well which is a pretty good feeling as well.

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If like me you are involved in a lot of amazing car groups, get to speak to some reoccurring members of the groups to find out where there might be some events you could both could go to, regardless of size it gets a gaggle of people out from the current situations they might be in and for a day or so, they forget about everything that is currently wrong and embrace themselves in the moment and for that, they’d forever be thankful. Groups I would personally recommend are both ‘Motorheads International’ or ‘RPM365’ due to their wonderful helping, caring members creating an equally amazing atmosphere. There’s hardly any hate in any of these groups and the admins are always on top of things if things start to get iffy, these two groups alone feel like a massive family instead of a typical car group.

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The last point I’ll make is a simple one but yet so poignant. If you really want to help anyone who is having mental health issues regardless of what it is, simply sit down and listen to the person affected and support them the best you can. whether it’s by joining them in a game on a games console or even being around them in other ways, listening and support go a long way to help someone fight their insecurities and current issues. It’s very easy to try and make out that it’s nothing important and that it’s just a phase but for a lot of people, it is a whole lot more serious than just that so instead of trying to be the big man by ignoring desperate pleas for help, simply listen to them and support them the best way you can.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

I’ve Just Found Car Royalty For Sale!!!

Like a lot of petrolheads, I always find myself looking up the classifieds at cars for sale. whether it be for cars that are semi-affordable or even the high-end stuff people like me could only dream of owning, I still find myself looking at some wonderful machinery for sale. Now, I’ll freely admit that I don’t tend to look up the super expensive stuff too often and that is only because at this point in time it’s highly unlike that I’d ever be able to afford cars like that so for the time being I find myself looking up semi-affordable stuff a majority of the time. While on the Xbox the other night though while playing with a few friends, I decided to go onto AutoTrader and look up special cars for sale and see what came up and this, of course, led me to one badge in particular – Ferrari. Upon looking at a few for sale I stumbled upon what can only be described as ‘Car Royalty’, I am of course talking about this 1958 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta!!

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Yes, I can’t quite believe it myself, an actual real-life, real deal Ferrari 250 series car is for sale right now on AutoTrader. Even saying those words is something incredible, let alone being able to see pictures of one. This particular example is simply stunning, in black, it simply looks mean and looks as if the owner of said car was always up to no good. If anything could be described as a Mafia car, it’d be this very 250 GT. It reminds me a lot of Chris Evan’s Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB that was on Top Gear a good few years ago.

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So what was the Ferrari 250 series cars then? Well, this was possibly Ferrari’s best ever range of cars purely down to their vast range available. They were a series of sports cars & grand tourers built from 1952 to 1964, what made these cars great was the fact that they were designed for both road and race use in the sports car racing series. the engines used in the 250’s was the race-inspired 3.0L Colombo V12 designed by Gioacchino Colombo. It was regarded for its light weight and its impressive output of nearly 300bhp in full race trim. The engine itself was half the weight of the Jaguar XJ straight-6 unit and with that, the V12 propelled the 250 series cars to numerous victories. What made the 250 series cars so good was the ethos of “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday”, this basically meant that cars like the 250 were pretty much race cars for the road and this gave them fantastic performance and a raw driving feel over their rivals.

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Getting back to the car that is for sale, as I mentioned it is black. This is a rare occurrence to see a black Ferrari simply down to the fact that most are red. it also doesn’t have any prancing horses on the front wings neither. There’s also no badges anywhere saying 250 GT anywhere. Apart from the Prancing Horse on the grille, the Ferrari badge on the bonnet and the Ferrari badge on the steering wheel, there is nothing to show that it’s a 250 GT. The car in question has also gone under a full bare metal respray and full interior restoration, on top of that it is Ferrari Classiche certified being one out of 353 built. Being a Ferrari, it is also a matching numbers car making it even more special. Mileage is at a lowly 2,500 miles which is low for a 62-year-old car. All of this can be had for a low price of £500,000 which is nothing for a Ferrari 250 series car, especially considering that a 250 GTO can go up to about 50M at auction and a 250 California SWB is about 10M.

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Overall it looks stunning, with its de-badged look, black paint, wire wheels, and its cream interior it is simply gorgeous and as mentioned, I can see this being owned some time in its life by a Mafia-type person, I don’t exactly know why I think that but it definitely has that look about it that is for sure. I am definitely not one to stereotype a car with an owner but it looks like something straight out of the set of ‘Peaky Blinders’ or ‘The Godfather’ films. Pininfarina really did a good job designing the 250 series cars and this shows with this immaculate 250 GT.

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Interior wise it is simply immaculate and also gorgeous in its cream colour scheme. As per usual with Italian cars, the ashtray hilariously takes up most of the centre console space because of course, it does. It’s a known thing about both classic Italian cars and Classic Ferrari’s that their ashtrays are overly huge. There are lashings of chrome everywhere and it makes the interior a wonderful place to be in. There is just enough to equipment on board to making driving pleasurable without being distracted by unnecessary gadgets and stuff.

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It is currently for sale with ‘Atelier Petworth’ down in Lurgashall, not far south from Guildford and as already mentioned it is up for £500,000. This may seem steep but when compared to the price of other 250’s that sometimes crop up from time to time, this isn’t as expensive as those cars whatsoever. If I had a spare half a million laying around, I’d certainly skip over a new 812 SuperFast or 991 GT2 RS and go for this instead.

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I mean, what is there not to love? it has a wonderful 3.0L race-derived V12 engine that just sounds gorgeous, it has a massive boot so could be usable on a long trip if needed, it looks fantastic, to say the least, and with both its history file and its equally stunning interior it represents the best of Italy’s mechanical industries. You drive one of these and you are in the best of the best Italy has to offer, nothing has or ever will come close to a Ferrari 250 series car.

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With these cars becoming rarer and rarer every day, it is very rare to see one up for sale so when I came across this I just had to write about it. I fear that this will be the only time I’ll ever get a chance to see one of these for sale on AutoTrader so it is only right that I write about it before it eventually sells.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

Heres Everything You Need To Know About The Ford Anglia 105E!!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

I’ve Been Given The Opportunity To Fundraise For SameYou But I Need Your Help!!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Top Ten Cheap Cars For Some Trackday Fun And Why You Should Buy One Now!!

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.

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Mazda MX-5 NA/NB:

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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:

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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: 

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

Here’s What Made The Alpine A110 So Dominant In Rallying!!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

How ProjectC70 Saved My Life And Why I Simply Couldn’t Sell It!!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Why Buying Ssangyong Musso’s Helps This 17-Year-Old Remember His Dad.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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