Car Culture is killing itself, from the inside

Classic carsCar culture is a very unique entity in society. It’s one of the few communities that have one universal thing in common, a love of cars. What makes car culture so special is its diversity. Classic cars, modified cars, supercars, track day cars, drifters, they all have their own unique sub-communities. It’s understandable why. A car is almost certainly the most expensive thing someone may own after their house. It makes sense that someone may dedicate their time passion and money towards it.

The trouble with these communities however is that each and every single one of them, without exception hates the others. Classic car enthusiasts think modified cars are stupid and impractical, modified car guys think classics are old and slow, track day racers think supercar owners aren’t using their cars to their full potential, supercar drivers think everyone else is poor and everyone thinks drifters are just dangerous drivers. It’s one of the biggest problems with the car community, nobody can unite under one banner.

Modified carsThe amazing thing is there is a massive crossover between the different cultures, there are hundreds of modified classics and supercars out there. Some people do take their supercars to the track and the drifting scene is incredibly diverse when it comes to car choice. But nobody in their own culture will admit to liking something from another.

Track day cars

I hate to stray in to politics here as that’s not what you, me or anyone is here for, but car culture is a lot like the modern political world, everyone is arguing over Brexit, taxes, carrier bag charges, abortion laws, LGBTQ rights, border walls, war and much more, but no one is willing to move an inch on any issue. To solve problems you have to compromise otherwise nothing gets done. Each side has to give a little for things to move forward.

If car culture is to move forward we all have to accept that we are all part of one massive community, car enthusiasts. Each and every one of us celebrates Karl Benz’s creation in our own unique way, and it’s our uniqueness that makes us special.  Classic cars are where we’ve come from, modified cars are our own personalisation of our pride and joy, supercars are the pinnacle of technology and where we are going, track day cars are pushing people to their limit and drifters are going beyond it, each band of our community brings something special with it and we need to accept them or face extinction.

Super cars

Think, as a child how often did someone tell you that something you liked was stupid and you were silly for liking it, that happens everyday in the car community and turns people away from spending time with their cars and the people involved with them. This community is one of the most toxic and hard to get into, but it shouldn’t be. Underneath it all we are the same person, we are passionate about speed, power, metal, oil and petrol. We are petrol heads.

What do you think of the current state of car culture, let us know in the comments.

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Elon Musk is not a nice man

Elon MuskThere are many automotive visionaries, people who go down in history for revolutionising the way we look, think and build cars. Carl Benz inventor of the car, Henry Ford who changed the way cars are built, Enzo Ferrari who found a way to combine a race car with a road car and sprinkle that unique Italian class all over it. Elon Musk is someone who could be classed in the same way. He has changed the game when it comes to electric cars. Going from an economy box with the range of a potato and a top speed just faster than walking to a luxurious must have item that can beat pretty much anything on the roads is a massive achievement.

Elon Musk Twitter rant

But that doesn’t mean he’s a good person. Recently when one of the British heroes of the Thai cave rescue criticised Musk’s ill thought out attempts to help the situation when a plan was already in action, Musk decided to tweet his thoughts on the man, calling him a ‘pedo’. This is a baseless and lacking in any form of evidence. Just because Musk was criticised he decided to lash out and make seriously damaging accusations against a man many are calling a hero.

In a time of the #MeToo movement and Operation Yewtree to make an accusation of this magnitude is foolish at best and at worst could ruin a mans reputation for life.

Tesla Roadster 3

But this isn’t Musk’s first negative out burst earlier this year he bemoaned any press coverage of him that was negative, basically calling it ‘Fake News’ (Where have I heard that before) and in years prior he has tried to sue Top Gear for it’s not overly positive review of the Tesla Roadster, and fired his secretary of 20 years for asking for a raise.

This recent pedo outburst won’t be the last of Elons career, its just a question of how many more will he have before Tesla shareholders take a stand and oust him from the company.

What do you think of Elon Musk, let us know in the comments.

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Aston Martin go all in against Porsche and BMW

Aston Martin Rapide AMR 1The Aston Martin Rapide never really hit the right spot. Its impressive V12 came straight out of the Aston super cars and it’s looks were that of an elongated DBS but it failed to reach the sunny heights of the Porsche Panamera or the BMW M5. Aston have now set out to change that with the new Aston Martin Rapide AMR, a car they say is worthy of a race team.

Aston Martin Rapide AMR 3

The AMR is limited to just 210 cars and was built to celebrate Aston’s return to the Le Mans 24 hours to defend their 2017 victory. The AMR is very reminiscent of cars from Aston’s past with the aggressive grill looking similar to that of the track only Vantage AMR Pro and the circular daytime running lights coming straight from the Zagato models.

With 595bhp coming from the V12 engine powering the big 4 door to 60mph in just 4.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 205mph, the Rapide AMR can keep up with super cars, let alone the Panamera and M5. The AMR should be able to keep up with its competition through the corners as well thanks to its new 400mm front discs and 10mm lowered ride height. Aston Martin say the new Rapide AMR is more focused, agile and dynamic.

All this luxury high-speed goodness for the small price of just £194,950 with Aston Martin expecting delivery to take place later this year.

PS: I thought I should mention why I haven’t written here for a while, I recently started a new job in automotive PR. This is taking up a lot of my time and focus. But I am aiming to keep going here but it may be more sporadic and less scheduled. Keep an eye on my twitter @jimafred to see what’s coming when.

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Practically perfect 2CV heads to auction

1561938_1954 Citroen 2CV mainA special restoration project Citroen 2CV, which was rebuilt in front of a live audience at the NEC, Birmingham, will be offered for sale by Classic Car Auctions at the June Sale on 2nd June at the Warwickshire Event Centre.

Having been abandoned in a London garage 43 years ago, in need of a full restoration, the 2CV was recovered, stripped and refurbished by the team at Practical Classics magazine, before being rebuilt on the live stage at this year’s Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show, with Discovery. Once completed, the like-new 2CV was driven off stage by Wheeler Dealers presenter, Mike Brewer.

Practical classics 2cv

“Owning a 2CV has been a life-long dream since I saw one for the first time as a little boy in Paris. However, this one turned out to be far more special than I ever anticipated,” explains the car’s owner, James Walshe, self-confessed 2CV nut and deputy editor at Practical Classics magazine.

The 2CV was first purchased on 16th June 1954 in Paris and was imported into the UK in 1963 by its second owner. In 1975, a growing family led the 2CV to being stored in favour of something more practical. It remained in storage until 1997 when it was purchased by a 2CV enthusiast who intended to restore the little French car, but unfortunately it was left abandoned, with the body stored in one garage and the engine and gearbox in another, for a further 20 years.

1561939_1954 Citroen 2CV pre restoration

Now in the hands of James and guided by the expertise of 2CVGB club members and Citroen experts, the car was stripped, sand-blasted, corrosion treated, primed and resprayed in its original, matt ‘Gris Fonce’. The original 375cc engine was also fully stripped, cleaned and refurbished along with the suspension by a well-known Citroen specialist. The interior retains its original basic nature, with new seat cushions and new roof completing the car. Now returned to its former glory with extraordinary attention to detail, the car has been given an auction estimate of £10,000 to £12,000 by CCA.

1561937_Rebuild on the Live Stage HR

Since its restoration, the 2CV has taken part in a very special road trip. Starting from the old Morris factory in Oxford, the 2CV was driven all the way to its birthplace, the Levallois factory in Paris, France, and then back to the UK, in celebration of the 2CV’s 70th birthday. This unique test run is featured in the latest issue of the magazine, and is star of the front cover.

The full story of this Citroen 2CV is available to read in the June 2018 issue of Practical Classics magazine, available in stores from 16th May.

To find out more about the sale of the car and the full lot list for CCA’s June Sale, please visit: https://www.classiccarauctions.co.uk/citroen-2cv.

The 25th anniversary of the convertible Mini

Mini Convertible anniversary 1Just 300 anniversary edition Mini convertibles will be built to celebrate 25 years since the first ever convertible Mini (then run by Rover) but what’s so special about this anniversary edition, Mini have after all been building Mini convertibles ever since that first car rolled off the production line. Well on the surface not much has changed over the standard car. All 300 cars will be painted Starlight Blue with contrasting white bonnet stripes. The list of standard items is basically the standard Minis ‘chilli’ pack, which comes with a full Harman Kardon sound system, and a top spec sat nav. The roof of the Mini convertible anniversary car does come with the Union Jack printed into the canvas but this is also available on the standard car.

Mini Convertible anniversary 3So what is the difference between this and the standard car, pretty much nothing the only difference I could find was the Mini Convertible comes with some nice grey leather seats that aren’t available on the other cars. It’s just another excuse for Mini to sell you a more expensive car, and this car is nearly £10,000 more expensive than the standard Mini Convertible, which I think you’ll agree is absolutely ridiculous for a car that is not unique in any noticeable way. This limited edition car is just another badge special, a car BMW have stuck a badge on that means they can charge more and more money for. It is absolutely ridiculous.

Mini Convertible anniversary 2This is a dangerous trend that is growing exponentially as the years go on. Companies are conning customers into spending more for a limited edition car that is in fact available already straight off the production line. I know this will fall on deaf ears and all 300 Mini anniversary convertibles will walk out of the showroom in seconds but do not support this. Soon enough we will all have a badge on our cars that says limited edition and yet all the cars will look sound and drive exactly the same.

What do you think of Mini’s latest badge special car the Anniversary Convertible, let us know in the comments.
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The New Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury

Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury 6 Now, Maybachs have never been the prettiest of cars, they sort of look like elongated Mercedes S Classes rather than the uber luxurious transport of the rich and famous. But with the new Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury they are breaking new ground in the world of ugly cars.

The Maybach Vision UL is a high riding luxury SUV with what is trying to be a swooping saloon body but on such a big car just looks stretched. To put it into perspective of how big this car is, its bigger wider and taller than the already gargantuan Bentley Bentayga. The Vision UL rides on 24 inch wheels that look more suitable on Puff Daddys Hummer than they do on a German example of luxury.

Now with such a massive car you might expect a giant engine, V10 or V12 maybe even V16 like the original Phantom concept. But believe it or not this new Maybach monstrosity is fully electric. The output of the UL’s four electric motors is 740BHP giving the big loaf a top speed of 155mph, not bad for a giant electric SUV.

Where Maybach are known for succeeding however is the interior, the new Maybach continues this trend with swathes of white leather and aluminium. Where a Rolls Royce feels like a smoking lounge inside, the Maybach feels like an up to date trendy bar. Its clearly for the UK market at there is a full tea set in the rear centre console.

I’m fine with companies making ‘ultimate luxury’ concepts but at least make them look good. The Maybach Vision UL is hideous on the outside, which really lets down a fantastic interior if Maybach were to ever bring the UL to market (which I doubt) I will forever fear driving behind one, because I may have to burn  my eyes to remove the sight from my mind.

What do you think of the Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury Concept, let us know in the comments.

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Drive your cars, its what they’re built for

BMW i8 5Cars are built to be driven. Fullstop, end of story, that is literally their only purpose in life. But some people seem to buy up cars and insist on never driving them. If I bought a book and never read it you would laugh at me. If I bought a new outfit but never wore it that would be ridiculous. So why are people ok with it when it comes to cars.

Ferrari FF SnowWhen a brand new Ferrari leaves the factory it is expected to be driven its what the designers, engineers and builders made it for. Why is it then that decades later that same Ferrari will come to auction with barely any miles on it in pristine condition and sell for £20,000,000. The bidders at these auctions are exactly the same, they will never drive their million pound purchase for fear of decreasing the value. What you’ve bought then is not a car, what you’ve bought is the world’s most expensive paperweight.

Ford Sierra CosworthMy bigger fear nowadays is this problem is spinning down into the formerly everyman classic market. I recently came across a Ford Sierra Cosworth with no miles on it. Since it left the factory it hadn’t travel a single mile. That is ridiculous and cruel. If you bought a horse and never let it leave the stable you would be put in prison for animal cruelty. Performance cars are meant to be driven, and driven hard. They are built to take the punishment and will reward you with the greatest pleasure known to man (no not that one). FUN!

Jaguar E-Type Barn FindThe pleasure of owning a car doesn’t come from having it sit in a sealed garage under a cover until you die and your kids sell it on, the pleasure comes from driving it, appreciating it, forming a bond with the car. Sell the kids for all I care just drive the car and enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed, on the road.

Do you think cars are meant to be driven, let us know in the comments.

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Morgan Aero GT Rolls off the production line

Morgan Aero 8 GT 5Morgan have never been a particularly modern company, its cars seem more at home in the 1940’s than on a modern racetrack. But that hasn’t stopped the small British company from taking on the world with their old timey sports cars. The latest of which, the Morgan Aero GT has just started to roll of the production line in Malvern. Designed as a celebration of the end of the Aero 8 (Morgan’s most modern car to date) the GT was revealed at the recent Geneva Motor show with a 4.8 litre V8 bringing 367BHP to the party. The Aero 8 GT is capable of going from 0-62 in just 4.5 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 170MPH.

Morgan Aero 8 GT 3Only eight Morgan Aero 8 GTs will be built making each model special. The Aero 8 certainly has come a long way since its cross-eyed beginnings back in 2001. The various aerodynamic upgrades such as the rear diffuser and front canards are directly aimed at improving the rather tail happy Aero 8, the Aero 8 GT also uses Morgan’s latest adjustable suspension. Each Aero GT will be built in direct contact with the customer making each car unique and a special celebration of the Aero 8’s history.

Morgan Aero 8 GT 6It’s sad this is the last Aero 8, whilst not exactly a world-beater the Aero 8 has always held a soft spot in my heart for being one of the last true British sports cars, its looks are straight out of a history book and could in some cases be mistaken for a kit car, but the Morgan Aero 8 is a classic example of British engineering at its best, not the best mechanically but certainly one of the few cars left that did it their own way and didn’t conform to what a sports car should look like, the Morgan Aero 8 went its own way and should be proud of that.

What do you think of the end of the Morgan Aero 8 and its GT send off, let us know in the comments.

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Yet another classic reimagining?

Electric Mini 10BMW haven’t had a problem shifting the new Mini, every year there seems to be a new model slightly bigger, slightly faster or slightly more efficient than the last. But in 2019 BMW are taking a gamble with the Mini, they are producing a fully electric Mini that BMW hopes will one day become their main Mini car. To get people excited about the idea of an electric Mini BMW may have made a mistake though. BMW have produced a one off electric classic Mini. Why is this a mistake you ask, well if they are capable of making one electric classic Mini whats stopping them from reproducing the original Mini that has been such a success since the 60’s. If someone had to choose between the modern Mini and the original there would be a lot of new Minis left over.

Electric Mini 1The electric Mini was specifically built for the New York International Auto show as promotional material for Minis electric future. The Mini on the surface resembles the very same Mini on which its based with its classic red paint complemented by the white roof and iconic bonnet stripe. On closer inspection though the original Mini badge has been replaced with a classically styled version of the new Mini electric emblem seen on both the bonnet and wheel hubs. BMW are saying: “The spontaneous power of its electric motor provides a new dimension to the unmistakable go-kart feeling”. Shame nobody will ever get to feel that ‘new dimension’ as they aren’t making any more.

Electric Mini 5Why is it that when nobody cares about a classic car, the company seems to be determined to bring it back, cars such as the Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip that I talked about last week. But when there is a clear want for a modern version of a classic the company refuses such as this Mini. BMW make us a new Mini! (well not a new Mini just the old one again). I guess we’ll just have to pick up an original classic or buy an incredibly over priced Mini Remastered from DB automotive.

Classic Mini Electric Gallery

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What do you think of an electric Mini, let us know in the comments.

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Jeep unveil 7 ‘New’ concepts ahead of the Moab Easter Safari

JeepJeeps have never been massively popular in the UK, the UK has always preferred to go with a Land Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser for their off road pursuits. Maybe it’s out of national pride for the UK car industry in the case of Land Rover, or maybe its because of the Land Cruisers reliable go anywhere ability but Jeeps have never really set the market on fire over here. In the US however the Jeep pride is alive and well. The Jeep is the American Land Rover, and it is completely the reverse situation of the UK the Jeep is king where the Land Rover has never really succeeded across the pond.

This is probably why Jeep goes all out for the Jeep enthusiasts who congregated at Moab for the 52nd annual Jeep safari. Jeep have unveiled no less than 7 new concepts for the fans of the classic machine which is still recognisable as the original Willys Jeep from back in WW2. “Pushing the limit is something the Jeep brand is no stranger to and these seven new, exciting and capable concept vehicles are the latest example of that,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep brand, FCA “Every year, we look forward to introducing new concept vehicles to our enthusiasts. The Moab Easter Jeep Safari presents a unique and perfect opportunity to collect valuable insight from our most loyal customers.”

Jeep 4SpeedThe first of the seven concepts is the Jeep 4Speed, the 4Speed is a lightened and simplified version of the standard Wrangler, featuring the first introduction of an all new 2.0 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine the 4Speed uses a number of carbon fibre parts to reduce weight this means the 4Speed rides two inches higher than the standard Wrangler. Despite its name the 4Speed teams it’s 4 cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The 4Speed has been shortened by 55cm whilst retaining the same wheelbase, which means greatly improved approach and departure angles, essential for off road motoring.

Jeep SandstormThe Jeep Sandstorm Concept is a Baja inspired truck which Jeep say is “all about blitzing long sandy straightaways whilst still being capable of handling the daily driving duties”. To do this the Sandstorm uses high tech and ‘extremely heavy duty’ suspension and a high-powered 6.4-litre V8 engine the Sandstorm uses a much longer wheelbase than the standard Wrangler to improve its high-speed capabilities and stability.

Jeep B-UteThe Jeep B-Ute is a car that most Britains may recognise as it’s based on the Renegade. The standard Renegade isn’t the most off road capable of cars so Jeep have given it a buff makeover with aggressive wheels and tyres, higher ground clearance and a roof rack, transforming a previously baby Jeep into a off road machine.

Jeep Wagoneer RoadtripThe next vehicle is something that is becoming more and more common lately, it’s a remake of the original Jeep Wagoneer, called the Roadtrip. The Wagoneer Roadtrip is a hark back to the early days of Jeep where they finally strayed away from the Wrangler platform and built something that would eventually become the Grand Cherokee in the UK. To try and keep the nostalgia intact Jeep have used a 5.7 Litre V8 teamed with a comparably small 4 speed gearbox, underneath however the Wagoneer Roadtrip is an all new Jeep with modern suspension and wheels and tyres.

Jeep Nacho JeepThe Nacho Jeep is probably the least interesting of the new concepts because its basically just a Jeep Wrangler with all the options added on, Jeep have even called it a ‘rolling catalogue’ the only other major upgrade is the striking Nacho yellow paintjob making the Nacho Jeep really standout amongst the black and grey cars on the road today.

Jeep JeepsterLike the Wagoneer Roadtrip the Jeep Jeepster is essentially a celebration of Jeeps past, using a clour palette from the 1966 concept the Jeepster is really trying to evoke the past with modern styling, the windscreen is raked back by 2.5 degrees to create a compact design along with the shortened roof. Very little of the Jeepster is any different from the standard Wrangler Rubicon and is just trying to reminisce about the early days of Jeeps success, like many other retro remakes.

Jeep J-WagonThe J-Wagon is appears to be just another Jeep with all the options selected, based on the long wheel based Wrangler Sahara the J-Wagon is a sea of black and leather, basically a premium Wrangler, Jeeps attempt at combating the incoming sea of Range Rovers whilst the J-Wagon will almost certainly be more capable off road that the little Evoque and maybe even the new Velar its unlikely to stand up in the luxury stakes.

When I first got the release on these 7 new Jeeps I was excited, finally a company going all out for the enthusiasts but on close inspection it seems that Jeep have merely gone through their catalogue and built a number of cars in interesting colours, the most interesting appears to be the Wagoneer Roadtrip as it’s a celebration of Jeeps past and is something actually new.

What do you think of Jeeps new wave of concepts, let us know in the comments.

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