What Are My Plans For ProjectC70 Now Its 19 Years Old?

For those who are new around here, I have owned a Volvo C70 Coupé MK1, lovingly known as ProjectC70 for well over 4 years now. Over those years it has been on quite a journey to bring it back up to a standard befitting of such a brilliant little car. Now when you are so busy fixing up cars you tend to sometimes forget certain elements of ownership issues like birthdays and anniversaries, I know I do. So when it came to my C70’s 19th birthday I just had to celebrate it the only way I could.

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Recently I have hardly been posting or writing and that has been due to lack of actual work happening on the car to be quite honest. While not a lot has actually been happening regarding the car, I have still got plans in my head and I am still following them through slowly but surely. Now my C70 has officially hit its 19th birthday, the best way to celebrate it is to buy numerous amounts of car parts and get them ready for fitment. In the last few months, some of you may have noticed that I had removed the dashboard from the car to fit chrome rings around the dials, on top of that I also removed a majority of the interior to clean it all out and dry out after a spurt of water ingress started to show its leery head. Now they are done I am now going to move on to some far more exciting jobs and tasks. These include getting some money together to get the steering wheel refurbished, the seats refurbished and possibly retrimmed as well as the main CD player fixed as well as numerous other small fixes. At the moment I am going to be going out on a whim and buying parts for the car which will need to be custom-made to fit, I’m not going to say too much on what they are in case they don’t fit but expect it to be a first if they do.

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On top of all the interior jobs I have done thus far and the ones I still need to do, I have also recently done a coolant change on the C70 so that it runs cooler now it’s getting into the colder months. While doing said coolant change I changed over a few rusty clips so there is no risk of any of them failing and causing the car to overheat or worse – blow up! My next mechanical job will be working out why the cruise control isn’t engaging, If I can’t work out how to fix it I’ll more than likely go on to replacing all the old suspension components with new stuff both front & rear.

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Apart from the Suspension, the cruise control issues, and the bodywork/metalwork, ProjectC70 is in a very good state for its age, with a majority of small jobs needing doing I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel which is something I’d never even consider on saying a good few months back.

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Even after 4 years of ownership, my love for ProjectC70 is still there and as long as it runs, drives and puts a smile on my face I’ll be having it for a long time. For now, I’m currently fixing up the parts I’ve ordered hence why the work on the car has stopped but that in itself hasn’t stopped me loving it any less.

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I hope this explains why a lot of posts & articles about ProjectC70 have slowly come to a halt, as soon as the weather starts to clear up the best that it can I will start to get back to work on fixing it up and making it the best it can be. Considering that ProjectC70 has now officially hit 19 years old it is only right to get back to work on it again and making it the best it can be. For now, though, I’d like to raise a glass to the C70’s 19th birthday. It is not every day a modern car can reach even 10 years old without too many issues let alone nearly 20. Volvo really did create a well-built product with the C70 and it shows.

 

Hope you Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

 

Let Me Introduce You To The Sexiest Aston Martin You’ve Never Heard Of!!

Aston Martins have always been truly amazing cars. all the way to the engineering of them to the gorgeous looks, everything about them is impeccable. One of those cars which fits the bill is the original Vanquish. Now, of course, everyone knows the original Vanquish from the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’ however, not everyone remembers the Vanquish I’m about to re-introduce you to. I am of course talking about the 2004 Vanquish Zagato Roadster concept.

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When the original Vanquish was released in 2002, it was met with a very warm welcome, it was a completely new platform with a then-brand-new 6.0 V12 powering it, on top of that it was absolutely gorgeous and in some ways, it started the mold for Astons during the early noughties. When Aston Martin brings out a new model, they tend to bring out a Coupé first and then a convertible model known as the Volante and they have been doing this for years. With the Vanquish, however, for some reason unbeknown to the general public, you could only get it in Coupé body style. Now while this never really bothered a majority of Vanquish owners, a good few Aston aficionados were desperately waiting for a Volante-esque model to appear. While Aston themselves never released an official Volante variant of the car, a very well known design studio decided to collaborate with the brand to create a now one-off roadster variant of the Vanquish, I am of course talking about Zagato.

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Now the relationship between Zagato & Aston Martin goes way back to the early ’60s with the DB4 GT Zagato and has since continued with the V8 Zagato of the ’80s, the DB7 of the early ’00s and more recently the second-gen Vanquish Zagato. In fact, I’d personally say that the relationship they have together is synonymous, they just go hand in hand. With the relationship that the two companies have it was only fair that Zagato were the ones to create such a beautiful masterpiece that is the Vanquish Roadster.

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So what exactly makes up the ingredients of the Zagato Roadster? Well, it started off in life as a pre-production Coupé that was sent over to Zagato’s headquarters in Milan, Italy. From there, an extensive amount of work was carried out to transform it into what we have here. Away goes the metal fixed roof in favor of a double-bubble affair made entirely of glass behind the front seats. The roof is a cloth style fixture with an apparent metal hardtop being included as well for those cold winter months. The old automatic gearbox has been ditched for a proper 6-speed manual affair and it’s so much better for it. The front end of it is pretty much standard barring the Zagato badge on the front wings but the rear is on a completely different level.

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The first thing you notice when looking at the rear end of it is the DB7 AR1 style tail lamps, the second thing you spot is the integrated boot spoiler that incorporates the third brake lamp, below that is the Aston Martin crest to show off its origins. Just under that sits the rear license plate which then leads on to the simple but effective rear bumper & the exhaust tips that sit each side of the bumper. It is simply gorgeous and yet so distinctively Aston Martin. Note that there is no Vanquish or Zagato badges on the rear of the car whatsoever. If it didn’t have the Aston Martin badge you honestly wouldn’t know it was one until you saw the front of it.

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The interior is typical Vanquish barring a few things, one of those being the manual gearknob sticking out the center console and the other being the red interior. The color, in fact, takes up a majority of what you see. The only real parts which break up the interior are the small but effective silver trim which adorns the door cards, the center console around the gearknob & the grey air vents. Adding to this is the two-tone steering wheel consisting of both a red & grey color combination. Now normally a Red interior like this does come across as off-putting, especially as the exterior color of the car is a really lovely blue but in the case of this car, it really works well together. a very small detail but a change none-the-less is the panel where the clock and engine button sits, now normally in a normal Vanquish, it’d seat the gearbox buttons but as this is a manual they’re simply removed as they’re not needed. to finish off the interior look, it has some rather lovely set of white dials finished with chrome rings around the outside to make it that extra bit classy.

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Want to hear the best part of all this though? Of course, you do. See, unlike many other concepts & one-offs, the Vanquish here is a working car that has even been wind tunnel tested to make sure it’s as quiet as can be at relatively high speeds. Over the 15 years since it’s launch, it has been able to rack up just under 17 thousand miles which may not sound like a lot but compared to other one-offs & concepts, it shows that it is actually a useable car. This isn’t just some showpiece which doesn’t move, in fact in its early days it went to all different shows including the Concours D’Elegance back in 2004. In fact, it was actually bought a little bit after the show was over by somebody who simply fell in love with it and wanted it to add to his collection. It stayed in America for the majority of its life until it got bought & imported back to the UK in 2017 where it has been ever since.

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I remember reading about the Zagato Roadster in a James Bond magazine when I was young but I never really took much notice until I recently started reading about Vanquishes in general. Out of all the special & rare Aston’s made over the years, the Zagato Roadster has to be one that has simply been forgotten about which is a real shame as it is truly stunning.

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It is very difficult to make an already gorgeous car even better looking but looking at it states that with a little bit of help by a company like Zagato anything can be achieved. In my opinion, it should’ve been made as a production style model but as Aston at the time were busy releasing car after car, it was difficult for them financially to commit to such a thing which makes this the only Zagato roadster in the world, such a shame really.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

Alex Jebson

 

Here’s Why You Should Join MotorHeads International!!!!

Are you the kind of person to be forever joining car groups but getting nowhere, do you want to join a car group with no hate, and do you want to make new friends in the process? Well, have I got the group for you! Let me introduce you to the wonderful place that is Motorheads International.

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So what exactly is Motorheads International or MHI for short? Well MHI is a car page & group over on Facebook, with accounts both on Instagram & Twitter if that is your thing. It was created way back in 2011 and has been going ever since and has grown into a group of 18k members strong as of right now. As the name might suggest it’s an international group with members coming from everywhere around the world – whether you are from Sweden, Australia, America or even Italy everyone is welcome.

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The best part about MHI is both the variety of cars as well as the owners who own the beauties. You’ll find people on there who are vintage race cars drivers, mechanics, tow truck drivers or even pilots who own anything from a Honda Beat to a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Everyone is really friendly and also helpful which is something you don’t hardly see in car groups these days – especially ones this large!!

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If there is any hint of trouble, the admin team who run the group get onto the case straight away and get the group back to the way a group should be which is chilled, civil and above all hate free.

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The group is now so large and so out there that if you search hard enough on YouTube you might even find an advert for it on some videos, the exact same can be said for Facebook as well. The group is not far from hitting 20K members so if you ever want to join then I’ll leave a link to the group so you can always get involved.

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Josefin, who is a member of the admin team from Scandinavia is always out at different events both photographing & representing the group wherever she goes so that the group gets bigger and bigger and she is not the only one, a plethora of different members are doing the exact same. If you are one for going to events, you’ll find a good few getting set up by fellow members that you can always join and chill at.

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On top of all that, the group has its own website which sells merchandise, whether it be clothing or even stickers for your car, you’ll find something for you. With good prices as well as a plethora of different good quality merchandise for sale, you won’t be breaking the bank neither.

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I got involved in the group with thanks to an admin member called Colton who sent me an invite over on Messenger to join, now at first, I was apprehensive as it’s not the normal way I’d personally get invited or even join a group but there was no need to worry whatsoever. I was welcomed in with open arms and I’ve been in the group with ever since!

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I’m in a lot of groups over on Facebook, but MHI alongside RPM365 are my two go-to groups to get involved with, in fact, I’d say that they both have very similar traits. They both have numerous active members with posts going up at any time of the day, hardly any hate and generally a brilliant group to be a part of.

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As promised, I’ll post the links to the group page if anyone wants to join, lets help get this group to 20k members. If you like the sound of the group, I’d personally join it as you’ll probably not come across a group as chilled out as them.

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While there, join the group chat for car-based conversations & a chilled out chat with fellow members and within no time you’ll end up making some new car friends in the process.

 

FB Group page link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/299872620053201/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motorheads_international/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/motorheadsi?lang=en-gb

Merchandise Shop (EN): https://shop.spreadshirt.co.uk/MotorheadsInternational/?fbclid=IwAR151cvCzObWLGjFE7sRS0zSiJMUAESRIwqPscZL1iD6CwDW05cd2NwZPDQ

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

 

 

 

What makes a Modern Classic??

These days when it comes down to the age of a vehicle, a car can be one of three things. It can be a ‘Modern’, a ‘Retro’ or a ‘Classic’. Classics are classed as being well over 25 years old and are pretty much sought after for petrol-heads. Thing is though, what if I was to tell you that there is an age bracket which separates ‘Moderns’ from ‘Retros’. These are known as Modern Classics and generally, sit between 15-25 years old.

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Now, these might be nothing new, even though no one hardly talks about them modern classics are accepted in communities. With this article, however, I want to ask a general question and that is this; What exactly makes a Modern Classic and what does it take for a car become one? It’s no lie that I love both Classic & Retro cars. In fact, I wrote an article on them explaining as to why but with some lovely new machinery coming out recently from a plethora of manufacturers, It is safe to say that I’m into modern cars as well.

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Now Modern Classics for me personally are cars which while relatively old now were new when I was young, these can be anything from the original Ford Focus RS all the way up to a Pagani Zonda C12 for example. The reason why I’d consider these modern classics is that they’re both at that age where they are kind of forgotten about compared to both moderns & classics. Add in the popularity these cars once had, and it’s no surprise that these are becoming modern classics.

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The thing is though, not every car can be a modern classic as I’ll prove. Take for example my own car and my stepdads Seat Leon. both of these cars were made around about the same time, both of them were relatively well-loved which shown both in sales & reviews and they both were replaced by their newer incarnations at around the same time. However, for me personally, the Leon doesn’t come across as a modern classic. For a start, it’s only a 1.4 so it’s nothing really special. Would I feel different if it was a Cupra or a Cupra R? More than likely but as it’s an everyday model it doesn’t come across as anything special, never mind a modern classic. This moves me onto my car, while it’s not the ‘T5’ which is the one which will more than likely gravitate towards being a modern classic, C70’s as a whole are quite rare cars and have a very strange but special upbringing. For a start, all MK 1 C70’s were engineered by Tom Walkinshaw Racing which made them drive rather well for a big car, add in the rivals and at the time Volvo’s 4th ever coupe, it has everything there to make it a modern classic.

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For those reasons you can kind of understand why I have it in my mind why my car will be a modern classic and why the Seat, unfortunately, can’t be. Trying to judge what makes a modern classic isn’t easy though, in fact, these days a lot of cars you’d never think of being modern classics are starting to become collectible by both collectors & buyers everywhere. Take the humble 5th generation Toyota Celica for example, not everyone is a fan of them and that is understandable but it seems that the years have been kind as they’re starting to rise in value to people & enthusiasts in the know.

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The thing is, modern classics are different to everyone, take for example a Fiesta RS Turbo from the early nineties. For anyone who was born around that time they might consider that a modern classic whereas I’d classify it as retro instead which can make things confusing and awkward.

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You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned anything about the RX’s situation in this debate. Well for me, even though the Lexus has what it takes to be a truly special car in years to come. For me personally, it’s not quite old enough yet to be classified as a modern classic. With hybrids still in 2019 being quite a taboo subject, I feel like it’s going to be quite a bit of time before we see our Lexus as a modern-day classic.

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Some of you may have read my Calibra article a few weeks ago and gasped at the fact that it is turning 30 years old this year, I certainly know I did. The thing is, when I was young and living in London, I used to see these nearly everywhere to the point they were fairly common so to find out that they were going to be celebrating such a milestone it certainly shocked me. They’d been under the radar for so long that even I forgot they were as old as they were and that is the typical story of a modern classic.

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So what exactly makes a modern classic? Age is, of course, a major factor, now I’d personally say anything from 15 to 20 years old is a modern classic but other people may have more stringent rules on the matter. For me, the car has to be something rather special, whether it’s a small city car or a high-end supercar. If it is something which is well-loved then that’s another sure-fire way of spotting a modern classic. Last but not least, for me, they need to be relatively rare. There is no point in trying to consider a relatively modern Fiesta as a modern classic because they are nearly everywhere these days which kind of defeats the point. Now, of course, rarity isn’t everything when it comes to a modern classic however it does help.

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So going by that what would you guys consider a modern classic? For me, there are lots of cars which fit that bill, from Ford Mondeo ST220’s all the way to Vauxhall Monaro VXR’s even down to the humble Rover 75 V6, these cars all share something good about them which all make them perfect candidates for being modern classics. Is there anything else which can go on that list? Let me know in the comments and I’ll share my thoughts.

 

Hope you enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

The New Volvo S60 Hits UK Shores!!!!

As most of you guys know, I have a thing for Volvo and the brand they have become. These days they’re making some fantastic vehicles and as far as I can tell, they are well worth the money. So when I was given the invitation to the launch of their new S60, I jumped at the chance.

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This wasn’t the first time I went to a launch event, in fact, it’s the third time after going to their XC40 & V60 launch early last year. This year, however, things were slightly different. Instead of an evening launch of just the one car like they had done previous, this time they decided to do an ‘Evolved Launch’ as it was aptly named. This basically entailed Volvo showing off every model they currently produce as well as introducing the new S60 into the mix. As I’d done before, I went to my nearest Volvo dealer which is in the seaside town of Ayr for the launch. This is where I’d been to the launches prior and there was good reasoning for this. Volvo Parks in Ayr is one of the best dealers I’ve ever walked into, whether it’s the sales team or the service department, the staff are just so friendly and so helpful which makes stuff like these launch events so much easier to go to. Most dealers on launch events tend to just let you be and get on with whatever you’re doing but with the staff at Parks Ayr, they just go beyond expectations to make sure you are settled and enjoying your time. Even before we were shown the new car, the staff were so welcoming to us and that’s before I even sat down to get stuff ready.

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After getting my camera up & running, I was asked if I knew anything about the car prior to the launch to which I replied yes. Like a lot of Volvo people, when a new one is released I tend to read nearly every article, watch every possible video and find pics after pics to get a slither of information from them so I know what I’m getting into when the car eventually launches over here in the UK. To the guy’s surprise, he realised I knew quite a bit about the new car in question so then started to show me a tablet with an app which unlocked the mystery behind the ‘Evolved Launch’ naming. The app worked in conjunction with a small stand the tablet stood on and depending on where you pointed the tablet, it’d play different videos on the particular subject printed into the stand by using the tablet’s camera.

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The app was talking about the manufacturer’s vision for the near future and talked about hybrid & fully electric powertrains in the next few years instead of diesel or a fully-fledged petrol car. Now while I’m not a big fan of hybrids or electric cars, the app itself was really rather cool to use and for anybody who is into new tech, you’d easily be able to spend quite a while on the app just playing around with it.

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While the app was a brilliant way of wasting time, and the food & drink put out was fantastic, I wasn’t there to relax so I got to work on taking pictures of the new car and getting a general feel for it and my own opinion on it. It’s ok to read other articles and get an idea of it but its never the same as seeing the car for real, first of all, the boot or trunk is absolutely massive. Volvo is known for making huge boots with tons of room but this S60 was something else entirely. Not just was it square in size with hardly any intrusion from the wheel arches but it was as long as it was wide.

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Exterior wise it is a really good looking car with chiselled good looks and a sense of family connections, this was a car where you could tell it’s from the same design structure as the V60, the XC60 and the larger S90 & V90. In fact, from some angles, it looks like a smaller, more compact S90 saloon which is no bad thing really as they look stunning. The dimensions are good as well, it isn’t as big as the current 3 series or C-Class but it’s not tiny neither. This is also a first for Volvo as well, see, normally they’ll build a car in an already existing Swedish plant and then proceed to send it over to different countries to launch it. This time, however, Volvo opened up a factory in the USA and this is where the new car is built. Surprising really as the dimensions are perfect for UK & EU roads.

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Interior wise it’s rather smart but also easy to access everything and use. Build quality is incredible as are the seats. They have the ability to be really comfortable but also hold you in rather well. On the cars Parks Ayr had, they all had a mixture of leather & cloth in the seats and the quality of them was great. Rear space was also very good with a decent amount of leg & headroom and with a fold-down armrest with a cubby hole, a shallow tray & integrated cup holders it’s a nice place to be for rear passengers, however there is an issue with it which I’ll mention a bit later on towards the end.

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At the moment, the only powertrain is available is the 250bhp T5 automatic, unfortunately, there are no diesel options available for this model however there will be both hybrid versions and performance versions as well. I have confirmation from the dealer that the ‘Polestar Engineered’ version will be coming to the UK which means 400bhp from its 2.0 4 pot which is crazy considering a CLA45 AMG has in region of 300bhp.

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Prices for the new car start from £36,000 and rise to about £43,000 once specced up which isn’t terrible compared to the equivalent 3 Series or C-Class, unfortunately, there are no prices available for the Polestar Engineered version but I’d suspect it to be near the £50,000 mark. The only trim you can get it in at the moment is the R-Design but expect more to arrive as time goes by.

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Unfortunately, there are issues with the car, they are small but they do need addressing. For a start, some of the interior trim, especially those found under the dash seems a bit low rent compared to the rest of the interior. Secondly, the rear is a bit too dark which isn’t helped by the dark coloured interior, upon further investigation there is no lighter colour option so if you were to buy one, I’d personally spec the sunroof to bring more light in. Another problem (and this certainly has a mixed reaction) is the rear end of the new car, now personally I think it looks good but other people don’t seem to have that much enthusiasm for it. Now I’ll admit, compared to the bigger S90 or even the V60 which it shares its platform with, the saloon may not look as good but that doesn’t mean it’s ugly. The last problem is the engines available, as I have already mentioned, there is no diesel available for the new car as Volvo dropped diesel not too long back for hybrid  & electric powertrains. While that may work for the planet, it doesn’t work for potential buyers who need diesel for long journeys or for the extra economy, add in the upcoming prices for hybrids which are normally higher than a conventional car, not everyone who wants an economical S60 will find it difficult to stretch to one, to begin with.

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In summary, the new S60 is a fantastic car launched in a fantastic way with wonderful people hosting the event, it looks really rather smart and for what you get it’s a really good price, however with a lack at the moment of different trim levels, better specifications, different engines available and no diesel involved, the S60 will more than likely take a bit of time to start to appeal to people.

 

 

Hope you enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

Happy 30th Birthday to the Vauxhall Calibra!

Getting older is not easy, especially for cars. So when it comes time to celebrate a specific cars birthday you’ll always find it’s a big thing. So with that in mind, I’d like you to raise a glass and celebrate the 30th birthday of the Vauxhall Calibra.

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So, what is the Vauxhall Calibra and why is it so special to us European petrol heads? Well, the Calibra was Vauxhall/Opel’s replacement for the outgoing manta B2. It was based on the then-new MK3 Cavalier/Vectra A, however, unlike the cavalier, the Calibra was a whole lot more aerodynamic. For the time, it was the sleekest car available which was huge back in 1989. The looks stayed relatively the same with a few minor changes midway through the production run up until 1997 when production ceased. Externally these included an updated front grille, slightly different headlamps as well as slightly altered front & rear bumpers while internally there was a newer steering wheel & slightly altered dash with airbags fitted.

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Engines were plentiful in the Calibra range. Sizes ranged from a plethora of 2.0 liters all the way up to the 168bhp 2.5 V6, the 2.0’s could be had in either 8 valve or 16 valve configurations with the early 16v ‘Red Top’ lumps being engineered by Cosworth however these never really had the dynamics to match the Calibras beautiful sleek bodywork. That was until 1992 when a truly spectacular variant of the Calibra was unveiled.

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I’m of course talking about the 4×4 Turbo. These are known by owners and Vauxhall people alike as the holy grail of the Calibra range and for good reasons. Engine-wise, it had the C20LET which was a turbocharged version of the already existing C20XE, however, the changes didn’t stop there. The 4×4 turbo also had a six-speed Getrag gearbox fitted to help get the most of the turbo 4 pot, these two helped the Calibra tons but Vauxhall wasn’t finished just yet. Normally, the Calibra was a three-door FWD coupé which was fine until you started converting it to run an AWD layout. With most of the lineup consisting of mainly FWD cars, Vauxhall took the independent rear suspension setup from the already existing Omega and fabricated it to fit the Calibra chassis, this made the car perform leaps and bounds compared to the FWD variants. Power output for the 4×4’s stood at 204bhp and with a top speed of over 150mph, these were quick for a mid-nineties Vauxhall.

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The 2.5 V6 C25XE engine arrived for the Calibra in 1993 and while it was down on power compared to the 4×4 Turbo at only 168bhp, It was credited for being the better one to both own & drive due to its linear power delivery. This engine was used as the base for the 4×4 DTM race car which had success in the German Touring Car Championship.

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While on the subject of the DTM championship, after the success, Vauxhall came up with the DTM limited edition to celebrate. These were only available in white to mimic the race car. Limited to only 22 cars, trying to find one now is not easy as these are becoming future classics & owners aren’t wanting to get rid any time soon.

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The Calibra was able to fend off competition from a lot of coupé’s for quite a good amount of years and with race success under its belt, it sold relatively well for a European GM product. It could never outsell the likes of a Mercedes-Benz or BMW as these were the darlings of the coupé market in the nineties but it wasn’t a complete flop. With its sister car the cavalier taking numerous BTCC championships with thanks to the legend that is John Cleland, both the Cavalier & Calibra were loved, especially in the UK.

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With everyone in the nineties wanting to be seen, the Calibra was a very good credible car to buy. It had racing success under its belt as did the Cavalier it shared a lot of components with. It looked fantastic as well with its gorgeous bodywork and with the C20LET model in the 4×4 turbo, it made for a decent performance car and if you couldn’t quite stretch to the turbo, the normal variants were just as good.

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Unfortunately, in 1995 GM decided to pull the plug on the Cavalier for the upcoming Vectra B and due to poor sales in its later life, the Calibra ceased production two years later. It lasted for 8 years and with that came many a good variant and a car for everyone. In the UK it crafted the way for many a performance Vauxhall throughout the ’90s and put them on the map for making really good performance cars which weren’t too expensive to buy or run and that statement still stands true 30 years after the Calibra’s launch. Even today, Vauxhall has never made a replacement as of yet which is a shame.

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To celebrate the 30th birthday of the car, there is due to be a static display ran by CalibraClub.net, Performance Vauxhall Show & Performance Vauxhall at this years PVS at Bruntingthorpe Airfield, there are tons of Calibra owners wanting to join but slots are only for ten cars. Expect to see anything from early models to the limited edition cars and anything in between. The PVS or ‘Performance Vauxhall Show’ as it’s fully known is a huge UK-based Vauxhall show so that’ll be the best place to celebrate the cars birthday in style.

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So, raise your glasses to the Calibra, a brilliant car often overlooked by people. If you ever find a 4×4 Turbo or a limited edition Calibra for sale, go out and buy one as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Why I Prefer Old Cars To Modern Cars!

 

The world of motoring is always evolving, new cars are launched with a plethora of ground-breaking gadgets & gizmo’s, more reliable engines and better safety equipment. So it only makes sense to go buy a brand new car right? Well, this is unfortunately where the majority of people are wrong. Because what you really need to do is buy an old car and here are the reasons why.

 

Their Better Built.

Now yes, on first glance, this may seem crazy to say, modern cars have better build quality and on the whole are quieter, however, this doesn’t always mean they are built better. A lot of manufacturer’s older cars were constructed better than their more modern counterparts and were built with better components and stronger metals, this means that they are surprisingly solid. Now sure, not all old cars will be as reliable as newer ones but with better materials used, it’s not the first time a classic has been known to outlive a car considerably newer.

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They Look Far Better.

How many times have you driven into a car park and noticed cars looking identical with the styling? With old cars, you don’t get this for good reasons. First of all, designers back then really were on top of their game producing some really iconic shapes with some even going to style houses. This made for an interesting time in car ownership and easier as you could distinguish cars from each other, it also meant that truly gorgeous cars like the shark nose BMW’s of the ’80s or the classy grace of an old Mercedes-Benz instantly became a hit and even now are still in demand.

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They’re Easier To Work On.

With new cars coming out every other day, manufacturers make it really difficult to stop everyday people working on their cars. While this works for people who don’t really have a clue about how cars work, for people like myself and others who are about the place, we find it annoying, to say the least. You have to strip down a lot of plastic to get to the engine and then you have to strip down even more of the car to change a starter motor for example. With older cars you’ll be surprised at how much space you have to work with, take both my mothers Lexus RX400h & my Volvo C70 for example, now these cars are premium cars from high-end manufacturers but you’ll discover the slightly older Volvo easier to work on. The Lexus has acres of plastic covering everything. Even removed, there’s no space to put a hand let alone a spanner or ratchet which makes typical maintenance a pain, made even worse by Lexus’s Hybrid system which dominates most of the car’s engine bay.

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You Actually Have To Look After Them.

This statement links in with the one above but it’s a tad different, with a modern car, you can be 100% certain that it’ll do everything you’ll ask of it and more and won’t put up a fight, it’ll do the job of ferrying you and others around. However with older cars, especially classics, the same can’t be said. You have to listen out for noises & smells, you have to watch air/fuel ratio as well as make sure the temperature of both the water & oil are where they should be. If a classic car has a choke you have to be careful that it’s not running too rich or too lean as this will wear down the engine. Now to the average person, this is too much to worry about, however to people who love old classics and retro’s, we won’t have it any other way, we love fixing our cars as nothing comes close to the satisfaction of fixing something broken.

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The Community & Clubs are Brilliant.

If there was ever a reason to buy a classic it’d be this, the classic car community & the vast amount of classic car clubs around the world are really good, unlike a lot of groups, there’s no hate towards specific cars or makes, anything goes as long as it’s within the certain age limits the different groups make up. For example, I’m in two groups with my car, one of which is ‘Retro + Post Millennia 365 Motor Club “aka” RPM 365’ and the other is ‘Young Retro Motor Club’ and there are very good reasons to why. First off, the people in both groups are fantastic and the admins who make the group what it is have done a fantastic job, the other cars in the respective groups are also lovely and have stories behind them. Whether they are family cars handed down or barn finds which have taken on a lot of work to make them into a show winner, there’s a story to be found with each one. Thirdly the group is so welcoming to people. Now even though my car is over 18 years old now, it’s certainly not the oldest car around — in fact some consider mine new compared to what they have which is fine. I’m still allowed in with open arms in both groups and there’s not a lot of hate with anybody, everyone is chilled and in certain circumstances, help is given out either physically or over the internet. Even though I’ve only had 4 years of car ownership, the best kind of community for me personally is the classic car community as they are a cut above the rest.

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There’s No Badge Snobbery.

These days badge means everything so it’s such a refreshing feeling to see an old Austin Metro get the same amount of love as a similarly aged Rolls Royce or Bentley, regardless of budget, favorite manufacturer or dream car there is no sniggering or bad comments about cars people own. In fact, there’s often a mini group of people within an already existing group that like the car you seem to have and this is brilliant for meeting friends. You can own a car with a lesser-known badge or from companies which built cars to a low cost & you’ll be able to find someone who can easily look over the badge and will love it regardless.

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There’s A Vast Array Of Different Vehicles.

This is no surprise however it makes for a fantastic variation of cars, there’ll be times, for example, you’ll be at a car show and see a car you’ve never seen before and one conversation later with the owner and you’ll have information on a car you never knew existed or on a vehicle you’ve never looked up before. Even a simple search of the classifieds and you’ll see something which is like nothing else on the road. Add club posts into the mix and you’ll have something nobody would’ve known existed which is also a very refreshing thing to see. Being able to share information about it to people who might won’t know much about the car in question is an amazing feeling.

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You Keep Specialists In Jobs.

This is weird to say however bear with me, with old cars comes rare parts and tools. Dealerships get rid after cars have turned an age limit as they fix the new stuff which is nothing new. These parts & tools wind up being acquired by specialists who then take over the work if you don’t fix cars. Now, these are mainly small garages with maybe a few people employed who work on one specific kind of manufacture — there’s always that one “guy” if you will. Now these guys are the unsung heroes when it comes to the classic car scene as they know everything there is to know about the cars they fix, whether it be a Ford specialist or a Mopar guy, there’s information to be had from these people and with more people buying modern stuff, these guys go under the radar even more than what they already are which is a crying shame.

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The Modifications Are Fantastic.

When it comes to car ownership, the first thing that us car owners love to do without a doubt is to make it our own, whether it be a simple thing of changing wheels or fully modifying a car, it’s in our blood, it’s something we can’t get rid of. Now in the classic & retro car scene, this is where it’s at its best, the modifications both done & seen to classics are just amazing.

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Take this Vauxhall Viva, for example, this is my mate Darryl’s Viva, now, I met Darryl through the Facebook group “RPM 365” & just like me, this is his first car & also like me he works on his car outside his house using the limited tools that he has. However, unlike my build process where I’m going down the OEM+ route while fixing all its bad bits, Darryl here went with a completely different route. He started off with a 1972 Viva 1.3 5 door which in itself is a pretty solid choice for a classic car.

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However, as you can see this isn’t any normal Viva because it’s currently running a tuned 1256cc Chevette engine with a stage 1 clutch which is pretty good however Darryl wants to change this to small block Chevy V8 for that gorgeous old school V8 rumble.

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Exterior wise, its matte black with subtle satin black ghost flames on the front end of the car which looks really rather swell if I do say so myself.

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Like most people, Darryl has two sets of wheels for the car which include the good old Cobra drag slots & also a lovely set of Cragar 4 spokes as well to fit in with the muscle car vibe this beautiful car has in spades.

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It sits on upgraded front suspension which means, unfortunately, the Slots won’t fit just yet. To fit in with the muscle car vibe, it has chopped front springs and custom rears for that really lovely 80’s rake it fits so well.

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The front end is all fiberglass and these include both the front end & wings which makes this car light at just over 700 kg, it also has a Magnum front end which makes the car look a bit more aggressive with its 4 round headlamps and magnum grille. The headlamps have also been changed for custom halo units. To go with the muscle car vibe, it has the obligatory front spoiler with again custom projector spotlights fitted as well as custom halo indicators, add these into the rest of the package and it’s a one of a kind car.

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What makes this special however is what’s been done to the doors. Remember I mentioned that it’s a 5 door? Well, Darryl has smoothed off the rear door handles so it looks like a 3 door and to the unsuspecting eye it can be believed to be a 3 door car until you get up close to it and find out otherwise.

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Now let’s talk under the bonnet, shall we? I’ve already mentioned that it’s currently running a tuned 1256 Chevette lump with a stage 1 clutch but what I haven’t mentioned is that upon further inspection there seems to be no battery under there and no washer bottle. Why is this exactly? Yet again, Darryl and his remarkable mechanical & engineering skills came into play as he was able to relocate both of them to the boot to save weight & gain better access for his potential V8 swap.

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It’s finished off with some other small but really nice details like American style plates and color changing bulbs as the originals weren’t up to the trick of lighting up the road anymore.

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Want to know the best bit of all though? All of that work was Darryl’s own, instead of buying a modern car and going through the process of mapping it & putting wheels on it and then calling it a build, he took a car that no one really knew a lot about, saw potential in it and made it his own. So much so that last year, it was featured in a Street Machine magazine article which is no easy feat.

And this is what is seen a lot of in the classic car scene. Taking cars which aren’t around anymore, having a vision and then carrying it out and making it look spectacular.

 

In Conclusion.

If you want to get into car ownership where there is a loving community with fantastic cars and tons of owners with stories to tell, it makes sense to buy an older car over a newer one. Sure reliability won’t like a new car and you will have to keep an eye on what the car is doing but that is the charm of owning a classic car, add in a different kind of driving experience & looks that classics have and it’d be a no brainer to go out & buy one.

 

Do you think I’m correct in what I’m saying and if so, what would you add? Also, do you like old cars as well and if so are you considering buying one? Let me down below and I’ll be sure to comment on my thoughts.

 

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

What’s It Like To Own A Volvo C70 Coupé As A First Car For 4 Years In The UK?

As everyone who knows me and this blog by now, I currently own a ’00’ Volvo C70 Coupé 2.0T which I’ve owned since just before turning 18 years old, It’s also my first car as well, now this may not sound like much however in the UK where we tend to buy small city cars like the Vauxhall/Opel Corsa or the Ford Fiesta to name a few, the Volvo is quite a leap in car choice compared to what a majority of first time drivers over here buy, so with that mentioned and with ownership crossing over onto its 4th year, why exactly did I buy my C70 and what is it actually like to own 4 years on now I’m nearly 22 years of age?

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Well, we’ll start off with the first part of the question and that is this, why the C70 in particular and why not a similarly priced small car?, well, I’ll freely admit that the Volvo was never my first choice in cars and before buying the C70 I wasn’t really considered a Volvo enthusiast of sorts, I’d never grown up around Volvo’s and I never had any friends or family members with one neither so I was completely blind to the brand due to those reasons, however, when my parents were looking to change their MK1 Honda CR-V for a wagon, we first tried to get a Subaru Outback MK4, however, as luck would have it these were way out of league for us as at the time, now, this is where I come in, I decided to help by looking at cars similar to the Outback but was more affordable and this is where it really all started unbeknownst to me at the time, because what I found was tons & tons of MK2 V70 Wagons for sale, thinking nothing of it, I soon shown these to my parents to look at & to my belief they started to look them up, however for some reason they decided to look into a MK1 Volvo S80 2.4 (170), now while this was a completely different step compared to the V70 originally planned, it still shared the same platform & most of the equipment so it still kinda made sense, this is where I started to fall for the brand.

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See, as soon as we got word we were to buy a 2001 Volvo S80, I went down to check it out and as soon as we got down to Hemel Hempstead which is the outskirts of London and we saw the car for the first time, I instantly fell for it, compared to the CR-V which we had before, it had way better kit, was ten times more comfier and was just a complete cut above the rest in every single way and I soon found myself enjoying every second of that car, so much so intact, that when we got home a few days afterward I instantly went onto my iPad to look up the classifieds to find a Volvo for myself, this is when everything was to change.

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See, up until that point, I was looking at cars for sale which were a bit different than the rest, however, most of these were small & not very powerful, some of these included an R53 Mini One, a MK6 Ford Escort, a MK1 Ford Focus, a MK4 Vauxhall Astra Coupé Bertone as well as many others, a Volvo never made the list as I’d never really appreciated them before, however with the new arrival of the S80 I decided to look up Volvo’s for a possible second or 3rd car as I had in my mind that insurance would be too much to have as a first car.

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However, I started to look regardless and at first glance I found nothing I really liked nor something which shouted out to me as either a car I’d love to own or a car which grabbed my attention, see, while Volvo make fantastic cars, they’re never marketed for young owners specifically apart from a small few so this made it difficult as the ones which looked like a possibility were way too expensive and the ones which didn’t were unbelievably cheap, however, I kept looking and after starting to endlessly lose hope, I eventually came across the C70, now I remembered these mainly as being convertibles so when I saw that there was a coupé for sale, I was rather intrigued, first of all I never knew at the time that Volvo made a C70 coupé and secondly I was kinda already looking at possible coupés as potential cars, especially the likes of the EM1 Civic coupé, the MK4 Astra Bertone coupé and the CL203 Mercedes-Benz C-Class SportCoupé so to find yet another potential coupé to the list wasn’t exactly a bad thing at all.

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The main difference between those three cars above and the C70 was quite large to be quite honest, see with the cars above, to find a really good one you had to search with a fine tooth comb to get a good one which wasn’t ragged to within an inch of its life whereas the with the C70, even though their fewer to come across, on a whole they’re looked after a whole lot better, now at the time, there was only the one C70 coupé for sale and it was down in Taunton for £1000, it was in Nautical Blue with BBS Propus Alloys which were a factory option and it had the 2.0T B5204T4 engine fitted with the M56 manual Gearbox fitted, this particular car grabbed my attention like no other, even though it was the only one for sale at the time, compared to the cars I’d looked at before, this C70 just had something the others could never have, whether that was outright pace, levels of equipment or even the price, the C70 had it all, however, I still knew that with a car like that it’d possibly cost a lot to insure so it came to my absolute surprise that when I did a quote on that blue C70 that it wound up being the same price to insure as a mid spec EM1 Civic manual which in comparison had hardly nothing in it nor had the pace of the big swede.

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With that information, I decided to see if the insurance results were frequent or if they kept changing price, the reason for this was solely down to previous quotes I’d been given on the cars I’d been looking at prior to quoting the C70, however, to my surprise, as long I stuck to the 2.0T engine, the C70 would stay true to its word and kept delivering fantastic quotes, to the point it could actually be reachable as a first car instead of the 2nd or 3rd car it was originally intended to be, however, before I could actually go-ahead to get one I had to chat with my parents to see if it was ok with them, at first they weren’t so sure but after having a discussion, it was given the green light – I was getting a C70 as my first car and nothing was gonna stop me from getting one!!

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After getting the green light, I researched everything on the MK1 C70 Coupé, everything from potential upgrades too numerous videos on the car itself, I’d read articles on the car and everything associated with it to find out more about it and what I was eventually getting myself into once I had enough money saved up.

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While on the subject of money, at the time when all this was happening, I was just about to start my second year in my first college and due to my age at the time, I had a budget of £2500 to spend but this also had to buy the car, tax & insurance so not really a lot considering.

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Once I started the College, I saved as much as I could to buy what would eventually be a C70 of sorts, this meant not getting new clothes or even haircuts when I needed them, this way I was able to save as much as I possibly could to get the C70 I’d always been after, it wasn’t easy but it had to be done to get a good example, after doing that for about 7 months out of an academic year, I finally had enough money to buy what would now be my C70.

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I remember it like it was yesterday, it was a Friday and I had college that day and I was in the garage workshop that day all day, I’d found the car the night before on Gumtree and arranged to meet what is now the previous owner the Friday night at 6:30PM that night as like everyone else he was at work that day, I remember trying my hardest to keep it a secret from all my mates & fellow colleagues however it was such an exciting time that a few suspected that something was up as I just couldn’t keep my excitement at bay, in fact, due to that, the day flew in so when I finished that day, I instantly went to the bank to get all my money, we had to kill a few hours so we went into the town to kill time.

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Eventually the time came to head to the previous owners house to see the car, emotionally I was all over the place as the day had finally came, for a good half an hour I was just all over the place however when the car turned up I was just star-struck, it was everything I’d ever hoped for, it had the engine I was looking for, it had the BBS’s I loved and it was in a color I rather liked, I instantly fell in love with it and couldn’t help but not buy it, that night 4 years ago today I came home with my C70 and I’ve had it ever since!!

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Now onto my second point and that is this – What is it like to actually own?, well, it’s certainly been an experience and I’ll admit there has been ups & downs to the ownership however I won’t change it for the world, before it became a project car it drove really really well and was really easy to control and was such a relaxing drive, however due to age and old parts, it needed new stuff fitted quite quickly so after a year of driving it, I took it off the road here & there to fix it and that was how it became ProjectC70.

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At this point, I’d changed colleges due to issues with the first one and with my newly known skills, I decided to put them to use on the C70 and fix it myself with some help from fellow friends, colleagues & family members, soon after I started, the car came from an ordinary C70 into my vision of what a C70 should look like & drive like, first off was to replace the power steering suction hose and after doing that things just escalated into what it is now, now sure the car has been testing as of late and I have looked at potential replacements, however, for some reason or another I’ve stuck to the C70 and kept at it through thick & thin.

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It’s actually very well built and also very easy to fix, however, due to negligence & old parts it has been a pain in a lot of circumstances, however slowly but surely I’ve ironed out its issues and got them fixed once & for all, the build is still in progress however as of late I’ve been doing some relatively big jobs to it to fix it’s issues, these include chrome rings around the dials in the instrument cluster as well as a front bumper as well, currently I’m in the process of ripping out the carpets to change the door seals as they’re perished and are letting water in which isn’t good however it is fixable.

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As already mentioned, it’s not been an easy road to both ownership and to the stage it’s currently in now, I’ve lost contact in friends, meetings & numerous events however, I know that when the car is eventually done, it’ll be perfect & possibly one of the best C70 MK1’s in the country, if not the best then most likely the cleanest example going and for that it’ll all be worth it.

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For those of you who fancy owning a C70 or have even considered one, I’d say to go get one, they are such underrated cars with fantastic engines and really good looks, the community overall are fantastic and for the money that they currently go for, it has to be the best bargain coupé out there!!

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Here’s hoping that the next 4 years are just as fantastic as the first 4 have been, it’s been a long road but overall I’m pleased with the purchase and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

Here’s Why Rendezvous Is The Best Short Film Petrol Heads Have Possibly Never Heard Of!!

In the world of filmography, there have been many truly fantastic car scenes in some equally as amazing movies, whether it’s the Mustang vs Charger scene in Bullitt or even the numerous Bond Film car scenes they all wind up being fantastic, however, in the world of Short Films, not just do you hardly hear about them but due to a limited budget or an array of other things, they never seem to stand out like the rest do, however, there’s one which stands out from the rest and that goes by the name of ‘C’était Un Rendez-Vous’.

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Otherwise known by the name of Rendezvous, it is a short film which was filmed way back in 1976 by Claude Lelouch and it features Claude himself driving what sounds like a Ferrari 275 GT/B blasting through the french city of Paris at about 5:30am on a Sunday morning in August while every Parisian is on their annual vacation, it’s a 9 minute film which certainly isn’t long but unlike other short films which can be quite hard to follow or difficult to get into, ‘Rendezvous’ is just simple & very easy to get into, there’s no music to distract you nor any voiceover work to follow neither – just pure V12 Ferrari symphony!!

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So what is the plot?, well, Rendezvous doesn’t really have a plot at face value however, it only clicks at the end what the plot actually is – see, Rendezvous is actually a nine-minute long street race which starts from Port Dauphine and finishes 10.597 meters later at the finishing point the Sacré-Cœur Basilica which is out of shot by the end of the film where he meets his girlfriend coming up a flight of stairs, it includes sights such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, the Opéra Garnier, the Place de la Concorde as well as many others.

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The best bit of Rendezvous is definitely the realism of it all, remember, it was 1976, GoPro’s weren’t around back then and cameras weren’t as small as they are now and CGI was way out of reach for short filmmakers and this was exactly the case of Rendezvous, it was all for real and only included one camera which was mounted onto the front of the car, add in the fact Claude only had two people who knew what he was doing, one of which, a guy with a walkie talkie to guide him through a tight archway onto a busy street and the second his girlfriend at the time, there was no shut roads or police blockades to guide him, this was all real and not staged one bit whatsoever.

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Claude had to dodge real traffic and real conditions, these included dodging buses, multiple cars, pavement hopping as well as running numerous red lights and of course a mass amount of Parisians & tourists on vacation, this made it not just exhilarating to watch but also scary to create, see Claude done this film all in one shoot so he had no idea what he was going to get himself into, this made it even more exciting to watch as one wrong move and he was done for.

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What’s really fascinating about it all though is how much Paris has changed since way back then, now of course city’s change over many many years – look at London for example but in Rendezvous, Paris is on the whole like a ghost town, there’s hardly any traffic, hardly any shut roads and due to the light traffic, there’s none of the infamous Paris traffic jams, add in the new roads which have come along over the years it’s weird to see an older Paris compared to the one we have now.

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Rendezvous actually has a lot of things that bigger, more expensive films have, take Bullitt for example, the car chase scene between Steve McQueen & the baddies in the Charger, there is no music & no speech involved and it’s went down as one of the best scenes in a movie ever and this is exactly the same in Rendezvous, add in the tense watching & the fantastic driving in it and it has to be the best short film I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

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The actual filming was done by Claude in a Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 instead of an actual Ferrari and that was for a very good reason, the Mercedes had the pace of the Ferrari but ultimately due to its self-leveling hydropneumatic suspension which came in handy with Paris’ different road surfaces, this made the footage a whole lot smoother and easier to watch than the Ferrari could ever do, however, this brings me onto the only real issue with Rendezvous and that is the sound.

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Now at the time of filming, Claude Lelouch was quite the filmmaker and had quite a bit of money and was able to buy himself both an actual 275GTB and the SEL, so when he was filming Rendezvous, it was easily possible to take the Ferrari, however, due to the different road surfaces, he took the SEL instead but instead of using the Mercedes’ glorious V8 soundtrack, he decided to dub the 275 GTB’s V12 engine note over the footage taken from the Mercedes which makes it the only issue for the film as in some places it doesn’t quite match up which is a shame as otherwise, it’s a fantastic film.

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It’s such a fantastic film in fact that many a people and many a company have tried to recreate it in one way or another, these include Nissan’s 350Z promotional DVD called ‘The Run’, ‘The Fast And The Famous’ which included Jay Leno in an SLS AMG as well as many others, hell, even Turn 10 & Playground Games, the creators of the Forza Horizon series has a side mission which involves taking an Alpine A110 around a route based in Edinburgh to pay homage to the film.

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If you haven’t seen it, I’d urge you to look it up as it’s truly fantastic and well worth a watch, with the way traffic laws, are getting these days, it’d be impossible to do something like that these days in a major city which makes it such a pleasure to watch, add in the phenomenal driving and amazing views of Paris and it’s truly something to behold, here is a link to the video on Youtube if you fancy watching it.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

 

 

ProjectC70 Gets A Sweet & Classy Upgrade!!!

So for those of you who have stuck around from the beginning, you’ll know that I currently own a MY ’00’ Volvo C70 Coupé 2.0 Turbo Manual which is my first car and of which I’m currently restoring/upgrading, well over these last few days I’ve been doing just that as I can finally reveal that she now has chrome rings around her dials in the instrument cluster!

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So how did these come about & why did I go for them for the C70?, well as you guys may know after the Aston Martin blog a few weeks ago, I’m a massive fan of Aston Martin’s and GT cars in general and if given the possibility, I’d happily own multiple GT cars throughout my life if given the chance, now one thing I’ve noticed with multiple modernish GT cars whether they’re Mercedes CL’s or Jag XK’s or even Maserati 3200GT’s, they all seem to have chrome around the dials in the instrument cluster to make them feel classy & upmarket, however, because Volvo aren’t as upmarket as those other brands, when the C70 was launched way back in 1996, chrome around dials were never added as standard nor as an option, weird really for a car which has massive GT car credentials.

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This is where DidoTuning come into play, DidoTuning is a polish company which manufacture & create chrome rings for an array of different cars and they sell their products both on their website & on their eBay page so when I came across them after finding an extensively modified C70 over on Facebook & seeing fellow group members & friends apply these to their own cars, I just had to buy them for ProjectC70, overall they cost about £30 including shipping which to be honest wasn’t too bad.

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After a hefty 2 week wait of mainly customs related issues they finally arrived, and I finally got to have a look at what I got for my £30, so essentially they are 3 chrome aluminium rings which are cut to shape of the cluster so in theory, they should clip in tightly & then have the ability to fold over so they don’t fall out, however, as with all aftermarket stuff, fitment just wasn’t quite right, especially on the two outer rings but I’ll get to that later – first of all, I had to remove the dash pad off my car and remove the actual cluster first!

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Now for those who have been here from the beginning, it’s not been the first time that I’ve actually removed the dash pad from my car, the last time I did it was a good few years back when I replaced the interior centre console trim & dash trim which really wasn’t easy, however as I’d had no choice but to remove the dash pad before, I knew what I was doing.

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After looking a bit online, there was no turning back, it just had to be done, the job entailed removing all the plastic trim like the air vents & speaker vents, a plethora of T25 screws, a few 10mm bolts & the removal of the glovebox itself as well as disconnecting the passenger airbag, as the battery was already removed I was safe enough to undo it.

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To make things easier, I used a 18V drill with an extended T25 Screwbit, a 10mm Spanner to remove the 3 bolts under the dash & a small flathead screwdriver to both undo the electrical connections & remove the trim, with all those tools combined, it made getting the dash pad an absolute breeze to remove and even easier to remove the cluster itself, now sure I could’ve bought a trim removal tool or a bone tool from IPD but with the time it’d take to turn up, I wouldn’t be writing this article as of right now as it’d possibly take a few weeks to turn up from America.

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I started by removing all the trim with the flathead screwdriver, it’s real easy to do, just pop the screwdriver under the trim & pull and hey presto it’s out, I did this all around the dash removing the front dash vents, the higher speaker grilles & two plastic inserts which fit into the side of the dash, that was step 1 done, now onto step 2.

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Step 2 involved removing the T25 screws which hide behind the plastic trim, as mentioned above, this was made a breeze with the drill & screw bit, one zap on the drill and the screws were slowly but surely coming out one by one which brings me onto the step 3 – The glovebox removal.

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Step 3 was the removal of the glovebox innings, this again was really easy on my car, a few T25 screws on the outside & then a few more T25 screws once it was removed and once again, the glovebox came out and now I was in sight of the fabled passenger airbag, as I was working, it was vital that the battery was either disconnected from the car or a cable was removed, due to the C70’s battery being removed to stop drainage this wasn’t an issue whatsoever.

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Disconnecting the airbag was really easy with the battery removed, it was just a matter of disconnecting the connector & removing the 3 10mm bolts nearby and that was all it took for the removal of the dash pad, however, I wasn’t finished there.

 

With the dash pad removed I had to remove the cluster itself, this included removing yet another two T25 screws prior to removing the pad itself, once they were undone, I just had to unclip the 4 connectors both on top and behind & the two metal clips on the top of the cluster and with a slight yank it was freed from it’s slumber.

 

With both the cluster & pad inside, it was time for the disassembly of the cluster itself, however before that, I wanted to check the bulbs while I was at it as they can easily blow so with it out it only made sense to check all the bulbs and I’m glad to report back no blown bulbs whatsoever, with that out the way it was to business.

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Stripping down the cluster took a bit of figuring out as it’s held in with tiny little screws as well as a multitude of black clips holding it altogether, I was also worried of not breaking it as I’d never removed or worked on a cluster prior to this point before in my life, after gingerly removing the screws and slowly but surely separating the clips, it slowly came apart into two separate pieces, now the main part I was interested in was the front bit as it held the slots for the chrome rings, however as I’m about to reveal, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.

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So what was the problem exactly? Well, with my car like many, it has 3 sets of dials, it has a dial for the fuel level & coolant level which sits on the left of the cluster, it has the speedo in the middle & lastly the rev counter on the right side with the middle dial being bigger than the two outer ones, now while the rings were size specific with the middle one being bigger than the other two, it made it easy to figure out where it went, however, the two outer rings weren’t wanting to play ball whatsoever and kept popping out of place & with a lack of knowledge & overall patience it wound up that after a while we started to notice deep scratch marks which would block my vision when fitted back into place.

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This meant that I had to order a second used cluster off Ebay to work with with the intention of just swapping the screen part while already using the existing dials & original to the car cluster electrics, this meant that I could keep the original mileage which was the most important bit in the whole change up, after ringing up both Volvo Parks Ayr and Volvo specialists M.J. Motors over in a village not far from me called Auchinleck, they said that if I kept the electrics the same it will keep the original mileage so I ordered the second cluster with everything crossed that it’d work.

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With my trust in both the specialist & dealer, when the new cluster came in earlier today, we instantly got to work stripping it down, fitting the new chrome rings and then refitting, I decided to let my stepdad fit the dials as he is stronger than myself and also has more patience than me as well, it wasn’t easy as the two outer rings kept popping out which was the issue I had a few days prior, however, he persevered and finally got them to fit, after putting the cluster back together, it was time to put the car back together.

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The cluster was just a matter of screws & clips so nothing really difficult, I had to be careful however as with the ill fitting outer rings, it was very easy for it to go belly up and I wasn’t wanting that to happen as we’d be back to square one, however this time everything went back together smoothly and it was ready for refitting time.

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Refitting was the reversal of removal, so first of all the cluster went back in, then it got connected up, after that, the dash pad got put back in place, the airbag got reconnected, the 3x 10mm bolts were next to go in and then once they were in, the glovebox was lined up and refitted, once that was back in the rest of the T25 screws got put back in and then last but not least, the trim & vents went back in and hey presto – ProjectC70 was now fitted with chrome rings around the dials & what a difference!!!

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Now, I’ll be honest, cheap aftermarket parts don’t really interest me as a whole as they tend to look tacky or be made from really crappy material and it can really show and can ruin an otherwise nice car, however, to give DidoTuning their due, these rings look absolutely amazing and because they are actually aluminium instead of chromed plastic, they really suit the car a lot, in fact I’d say that they look factory which isn’t something you can say about a lot of the stuff you see for sale online.

 

So would I recommend them? well it all depends really, they look fantastic and really suit the car, however, with some of the parts ill fitting & really tight spaces to work with, it isn’t the easiest job to do, however, if you take it easy, it will be do-able and the results will be fantastic.

 

Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson